Jon and Jim from SUPERCHUNK
I met Jim and Jon from Superchunk before their show in Nashville last October. I told them we were doing a different kind of interview, that I had questions for them from our readers. This was a complete fabrication. I made up the questions myself earlier in the day during work. These questions were on notecards that I wanted them to read aloud and answer. Jim read most of the questions. And it went like this (our questions are in bold):
Jim: Okay number 1, back in ’84… This is going to knock your socks off…
Jon: Back in ’84…
Jim: “Back in ’84 in an interview with Kerrang, Mac said, ‘Jim’s lucky to have this job…’
Jon: Who said that?
Jim: Mac. “…and described your position in the band as ‘sort of like a favor to a friend.’ Around the same time in her Rolling Stone interview, Laura said, ‘Jon is as smart or maybe a little smarter than your average turtle.’ Are there two warring camps in Superchunk?”
Jon: Well, first off…
Jim: “Is it more than that? Is it Jon and Jim versus the world?”
Jon: …the second quote is a fabrication because there’s never been an article on us in Rolling Stone.
Jim: And they certainly wouldn’t interview Laura if they were gonna do it. Cause she’s barely smart enough herself to go the bathroom and not befoul herself. If she was any dumber we’d have to water her.
Jon: But that’s all off the record though right?
Todd: Is it Jon and Jim versus the world?
Jon: Essentially. Yeh, I think it is.
“Jon, in Superchunk’s offtime you tour coffee houses as a poet. What’s a bad poetry gig like?”
Jon: The fruit is even less ripe that is…
Jim: …at a rock gig?
Jon: …thrown at me. Yeh. You’ll see some fruit tonight probably.
Jim: Okay, number three.
Jon: …if anyone shows up.
Jim: It is Tuesday.
“Jim, for many years you’ve been a professional dog-walker. Do you regret not completing your associate degree?”
Jim: I don’t walk dogs.
Jon: I eat ’em!
Jim: I eat…
Todd: It is Monday by the way.
Jon: That’s worse. Thanks.
Jim: Actually, I do take care of cats. In reality, I do. I’m very good with pussy.
“Jon’s been flaunting his drumming skills with several other bands recently — Rocket from the Crypt…” some guy named some Arab guy… Jay Farr-ar? [pronounces “Farrar” with the accent on the first syllable]
Jon: Yeh. Arabian rock.
Jim: “…have you had him tested for Hepatitus C?”
Jon: Have you? It’s more directed at you.
Jim: No, but he is…
Jim: He does have gonorrhea.
Jon: No, but he does have diarrhea.
“Jim, has Jon really offered to donate some of his hair to you?”
Jim: Hey, that’s not fair. I’m just as God made me.
Jon: That’s right.
Jim: I’m bald.
Jon: [picking up blank index card] What the fuck is this? There’s nothing on this.
Todd: Oh, I’ll have my girl get on that.
Jon: Really, do you have a photo?
Jim: She’s gonna get on it.
“I’ve read that on tour you both kill a lot of time going to movies. What did you think of Mariah Carey’s ‘Glitter?'”
Jim: She was in a movie?
Jon: Our t-shirt mistress, Becky, just saw it the other week. We didn’t see it. I think it played in Chapel Hill for…I don’t even think it was a full day. She said it was bad but not as bad as she hoped it would be.
Jim: It closed after the opening that day.
Jon: Keep ’em coming, man.
“Do you describe the band’s music as more like the fission inherent in unstable isotopes of Uranium 235 or would you say it’s more jazzy?”
Jon: We just call it pop-punk. Or…
Jim and Jon together: Emo.
Todd: Are you emoting on stage the whole time? Are you feeling it?
Jon: Yeh, but you don’t know it though. It’s coming out of another place.
Jim: Ask me that one, Jon.
“Jim, have you ever seen a cat’s penis? My girlfriend tells me it’s gross.”
Jim: Seen one? I’ve sucked one off!
Jon: So, this girlfriend, is there a photo?
Todd: The girl I was referring to [earlier] was my secretary. She’s obviously screwed something up.
Jon: Do you have a photo?
“Recently, we’ve heard in Superchunk’s lyrics more and more of Mac’s Scientologist beliefs coming through. Do you think that soon we will know Superchunk as ‘The Scientology Band?'”
Jon: It’s something we’ve all been getting into, I think.
Jim: Ever since I moved in next door to Tom Cruise…
Jon: He’s very cool. By the way.
Jim: …and started banging Nicole Kidman which precipitated their divorce.
Jon: Yeh. You don’t hear about that.
Todd: Maybe we shouldn’t print that.
Jon: It’s a secret.
“You’ve both been very public about your fascination with Barry Manilow. Do you think there’s any truth to those stories about him and Willie Nelson?”
Jon. I’ll tell you a story. A friend of mine when I was growing up… he was actually a friend of my older brother’s. I was probably 14; he was probably in his early twenties. He worked at a hotel in Oklahoma. And one day Barry Manilow was playing in town and he came to stay at the hotel. And the guy I know went up to bring his bags up and opened the door and he was there with a transvestite.
Jim: Barry Manilow was?
Jim: I like Barry Manilow.
Jon: And then I saw a photo in this book that came out a year or two ago called Superstar and it’s about a guy who just took photos of famous people. And there’s a photo in there of Barry Manilow in a limo with what looks like a transvestite. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Jim: Barry Manilow. A guy I kinda like.
“Jeaneane Garafolo is a professed fan. Why is she so bitter? Do bitterness and the band go hand in hand? Would you give her my number?”
Jim: Well if I had it, I probably wouldn’t. But I gotta tell ya, I felt a connection.
Jon: Yeh, they had a moment.
Jim: We had a moment.
Jon: When we did that video.
Jim: Really, I’d never even seen her before that day. I didn’t reali…I’m not in the loop culturally speaking.
Jon: She puked on you didn’t she?
Jim: She tried to make me puke on her. But it didn’t work.
Todd: Was that during or after?
Jim: I was on my way to the bathroom…
Jon: Yeh, it was a break.
Jim: …we passed each other in the hallway. And she punched me in the stomach.
Jon: Yeh, yeh. You know, she had that look…
Jim: True story. This is a true story. She punched me in the stomach and uh… I fucking dope-slapped her a little and said, “Bitch! Why you do that?”
Jon: “Bitch, why you got to be doin’ that.”
Jim: “Bitch, why you gotta be doin’… Why you gotta be playin’ me that way?” And she was…
Jon: She was like “What?”
Jim: We haven’t spoken since.
“Jon, we don’t hear much about your Tourette’s Syndrome since that incident at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. Have you finally gained control over it? Is there hope for others?”
“Mac often writes songs about his gay dogs. Why don’t they just get a room?”
Jon: They do have a room. I think he… he spends like a thousand dollars a month on a room for them.
Todd: Does it have shag carpeting and lots of lotions?
Jon: I think it does yes.
Jim: I think the question is more trying to figure out why Mac doesn’t have sex with the dogs. The answer to that is Mac’s ass is so tight — he’s such a tight ass — that the dogs would split him open if they penetrated his anus.
Jon: That’s what I was gonna say.
Jim: He lets his cats lick his scrotum though.
“Jim do you consider yourself a guitar player or a lover?”
Jon: You actually… in the back of his guitar he’s got a uh…
Jim: It’s funny that you should say this…
Jim: I have an orifice.
Jon: …back there. He took that up from Punky Meadows.
Jim: I hollowed out one of mine and inserted a Pocket Pussy…
Jim: …so I can fuck it during solos.
Jon: Make love to it. You make love to it.
Jim: Make love to it.
Todd: So you’re a lover and a guitar player…
Jim: My guitar’s name is Eileen.
“Jon, tell us about the weight gain.”
Jon: The weight gain. It’s all in my face now. Yeh.
Jim: Ever since he started emulating Kenny Loggins.
[Jon has grown out a little beard as a part of his George Michael Halloween costume.]
“When did Laura give up her job as cheerleading coach to focus on the band? Has it helped or hurt the music?”
Jon: Oh, well… [laughing] …it’s never helped.
Jim: Anything she could do to make it better would, but she really doesn’t care.
Jon: She’d have to care first.
Jim: She’d really have to give a shit, but apparently she doesn’t.
“Is it better to tuck the dollar bill into the g-string or make the stripper pull it from your teeth with her breasts?”
Jon: I think you just put it in the love-purse. That’s what I do.
Jim: I don’t have to pay strippers. They pay me.
Jon: To strip at him.
Jim: They’re like “let me take my clothes off and rub my pimply ass and scarred back from where my boyfriend, he beats me up every night when I come home from this shitty job.”
“If Superchunk starred in “Just Say No” commercials, what would you be saying “No” to?”
Jim: I’d be saying no to Just Say No commercials.
Jon: Yeh. That would show them. That’d be like a total mindfuck, wouldn’t it?
Jim: Turn it around, see? That’s what it’s all about.
Jon: Yep, yep.
“Why are dames so exasperating?”
Jon: We don’t… We don’t like girls.
Jim: There are two things to keep in mind about chicks. One is, the old joke that is why do women wear makeup and perfume. The answer is, they’re ugly and they smell bad. The other thing to remember is that, say you’re playing for some hot piece of ass, right?
Jon: Right, right. She’s in the front row?
Jim: Totally hot. The thing to remember is that somewhere, someone is sick of her shit.
Jon: That’s right.
Jim: So you can’t let it get you down.
Jon: That still doesn’t prevent me from getting Eric, our guitar tech, to go out there with his laminate with the peel off back of it and handing that to her…
Jim: Let me read to you from Thom Jones, The Pugilist At Rest, a short story called “Wipeout” which is about a guy who has trouble with women. Let’s see, what does he say here? This woman has just run away from him after he totally screwed her over and he realizes as soon as she runs away that he wants her back.
“The whole world had lost its meaning and color for me. I was filled with a generalized sense of loathing, bitterness, remorse, self-pity and despair. Life was so lonely without her. But you have to be true to yourself. What I did sprang from my deepest instincts. The scorpion stings; it can’t help itself. There are no choices. And there really isn’t any sense moping. When the word got around about what had happened, I had it better than ever. The like an element of danger. I had more action than ever before. Chicks coming and going. You know, you can really get it down to a perfect art.”
Jon: If ladies know that you’re a loose cannon, they will flock to you.
Jim: It’s the mother thing.
Jon: Yeh, yeh.
Jim [to the tape recorder]: This is all a joke. This stuff could come back to haunt us, Jon.
Jon: Wait, you’re not recording this are you?
[This interview appeared in a zine I ran called Popshot Magazine.]