A Talk with Ian McGaughey of The Michus, p2

(Page 2 of an interview with Ian McGaughey, member of the 1980s band The Michus.)


Q: Yes, that sure does sound like Kurt's lyrical style. What was the next verse?


Ian: He didn't like anybody

'Cause he was such a bad boy.

He went around robbing banks

And killing all the nice people.
You know, it's made even better by Kurt's singular voice. He has such a unique delivery. His phrasing and syncopation are nearly impossible to imitate.


Q: So after "Joe Fred" you recorded your first song with guitar and bass, "She Died at the Bank."


Ian: "She Died at the Bank" is one of my favorites. Not only are his lyrics priceless, but the guitar solo has to go down as one of the weirdest you've ever heard.


Q: I'm sure you're aware that someone once called "She Died at the Bank" the best song to listen to while on LSD.


Ian: Oh my God — no. I hadn't heard that!


Q: Yes, he said — and I'll quote — "The two-minute and 47-second song is an entire acid trip in itself. It starts off with this hokey count off, then delves into a pre-grunge grunge that throws you back in your seat. Within the first 55 words (only four of them having more than one syllable), we promptly learn about the death of the singer's mother, his attempted suicide, his banishment to an insane asylum and a subsequent escape with new-found friends. A super-white bass solo that sounds like the guy fell off his stool is followed by perhaps the most trippy guitar solo ever placed onto recording tape. It all culminates in a devilish chant of 'Dead Dad! Dead Dad!' before ending in a swarm of tape hiss and someone exclaiming in utter embarrassment, 'Oh my God.' It is perfect in every way."


Ian: Well, the only thing I can imagine more dangerous than taking drugs is taking drugs and listening to The Michus. I certainly wouldn't advise it.


Q: I've heard that guitar solo and it truly is mind-bending. Can you tell me about it?


Ian: We actually had recorded a previous take of the solo, but Kurt didn't like it and wanted to do it over. This was the one and only time I can ever remember re-doing something in a Michus recording. Anyway, for some reason I wasn't able to erase it and re-record, probably because it was already part of the main guitar and bass track which we wanted to keep. So we recorded the solo on top of the old one, and I tried to cover up the previous solo by making the new take louder. I would agree that the resulting effect is a bit wild.


Q: You were essentially the engineer or producer of these recordings. Can you describe the process of recording a Michus song?


Ian: I had two blue Teac omnidirectional mics that I bought for $20 each at Service Merchandise. They plugged directly into a tape deck. We would record the bass and guitar tracks first, with one mic on my bass amp and the other on his guitar amp. We would then take that recording and play it back through my stereo speakers, placing the mics close by on the floor and recording onto the master tape. I would pound on the floor for the drums while he sang his lyrics, and the song would be complete.



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© Minor Mysteries 2002