Feb 2014 19

Preparing to set off on one more big tour before the announced hiatus, the charismatic and bold Jimmy Urine speaks with ReGen about his creative melting pot, the tight bond of MSI, and what’s coming up next.
MSI

 

An InterView with Jimmy Urine of Mindless Self Indulgence

By Corinne De La Coeur (DarkIvyException)

From the band’s start in 1996 to now, Mindless Self Indulgence has exhibited a unique and highly entertaining mix of punk and electronic/industrial music with the high energy stage presence to back it up. Armed with raw, crude lyrics, heavy dance tracks, and charisma to boot, MSI has earned a large cult following over the years. Now, five studio albums later, including the recent release How I Learned to Stop Giving a Shit and Love Mindless Self Indulgence, the band has announced that they will be doing another spring tour in the states before taking a hiatus.
Front man Jimmy Urine took the time to speak with ReGen about the band’s creative processes, recent successes and struggles, the exciting parts about touring, the pending hiatus, and what may or may not come next for MSI.

 

What are you guys most excited for this tour?

Urine: I’m excited for interacting within the band; we’ve always had a ‘we’ve got nothing to lose, I don’t give a shit, let’s burn it down attitude’ every time. I don’t know what it is. Anytime someone in the band gets nervous about something, nervous about getting on stage, or premiering a new song, whatever, we’ve always channeled that into ‘Fuck it, let’s burn this fucking thing into the ground, it’s been going on long enough’ attitude. So it always ends up perpetrating more people coming out and bigger gigs.
The last shows we did in UK and Europe, we kind of had a weird mood. I think it was because 2013 really sucked; not for us, but just in general. Everyone I knew personally or non-personally had a horrible year – really horrible, not even lying. Not like ‘Oh my car broke down’ bad, but ‘My fucking husband died’ shit. Divorce, people dying, everything like that. So we were kind of over that year and by the end of it, we kind of thought, ‘You know, fuck everything we’re going to have a show for ourselves.’ So we kind of ignored the audience completely and just interacted with ourselves, like trying to make each other laugh – trying to piss each other off or trying to fuck with each other to make each other mess up the songs and stuff. Everyone just sort of observed and we didn’t even really notice until everything was done. We went in thinking, ‘Let’s just have a show for ourselves. Who cares if people like us?’ and when we were done with those types of shows, people would say, ‘Oh my god, that was better than the last time you came through’ versus when we’re really trying to nail it. So we’ve gotten in that headspace recently and I’m looking forward to that with these shows. It’s always fun to hang out with my friends, which is basically all the people in the band.

I think Mercury was in retrograde in 2013 or something like that?

Urine: Mercury must have fucking crashed into the fucking sun or some shit. That was fucking crazy, last year sucked. Horrible.

2013 was a busy touring year for MSI as well as releasing the new album, the Kickstarter, games, comics, etc. What were some of the biggest challenges and successes for you?

Urine: All of that was really a huge challenge, but we kind of jumped in feet first. We thought, ‘Okay, let’s do the new record’ and, ‘Okay, let’s do a Kickstarter;’ that seemed to be the way that would work very well for us because we have an audience, we have a fan base. We leaned towards that. Kickstarter is like a popup shop. You’re not trying to convince some motherfucker who buys Nickleback records or Macklemore records to all of a sudden buy Mindless records; you’re trying to make a nice product for somebody who loves Mindless Self Indulgence. So someone who loves Mindless will want to buy a really nice vinyl or a very nice hoodie or a cool comic book or something like that. So we thought, ‘Oh, that’s perfect for us,’ and we jumped in feet first and we were basically touring UK and Europe while promoting the Kickstarter. The Kickstarter was done as a ‘If we don’t reach this goal, fuck you; we’ll just shelf this record.’ So I didn’t go fully into really writing it. I kind of started half-assed then we got back from Europe and we went over the goal. I thought, ‘Oh shit, now we’ve got to fucking write this thing in like two months!’ (Laughs) So then we were writing and we got called to Soundwave in Australia, so we had to take a quick break for that around this time last year. Then we came back and had to get everything done to start sending stuff out. Most of the obvious stuff was done – the CDs, MP3s, the T-shirts – so that was very good. A couple things we knew were going to be late, like the vinyl and couple of personalized things; really, just because they were personal, me writing handwritten lyrics because I wasn’t just going to write them with a pen on a piece of paper. I was going to get an ink brush and then outline every letter like fucking calligraphy shit, like an idiot, but I figure if someone is paying a shit load of money for handwritten lyrics, it should be something cool and nice and also unique. Regardless, we’re selling out Kickstarter orders then we jumped on an American tour for the record cycle. We had licensing deals to release the record. Everything went well; it was just a lot of work. The worst part was probably Australia. Not that Australia’s bad. We had a great time down there; it was just the most pressure because I was away from home where I was doing everything, from writing the record and completing all the Kickstarter stuff and literally everything was about to drop in March and we had to take two-and-a-half weeks out of that time that could’ve been used for writing songs and completing the Kickstarter shit, and go down to Australia and like fucking have a good time. Still, I’m thinking the whole time, there’s only so much I can do with my laptop in a hotel room that’s not getting free wi-fi. (Laughs) So I kind of had to try to take a vacation the best I could and enjoy myself, but the whole time, I’m jumping out the bed thinking, ‘Jesus Christ I have to do shit and then go on tour!’ So that was probably the most pressure.

You guys are infamous for your stage antics. This being the last tour before your hiatus, what can fans expect? Anything crazier than before?

Urine: Pretty much the usual craziness and you never know what the audience will bring, what kind of things they’ll bring to the show. We also wanted to preserve the randomization, to make every set very unique per town we go into. So we’re going to add some new songs we haven’t played before from the new record and we’re going to add some old songs we love and bring them back, but we’re also going to add four blank spaces in the set and those spaces are going to be band choice.
For instance, we might play ‘Shut Me Up’ and ‘Stupid Motherfucker’ and then there will be a blank space and on the set list it will be written as ‘Steve’s choice’ and then we will all turn to Steve and ask, ‘What do you want to play today, Steve?’ And Steve may say something that I don’t want to fucking play, he may pick something we all think is cool, or he might want to play the song we just played again! It’s his choice and we have to listen to him for that particular space. And the next blank space will be Kitty’s choice, Lyn-Z, and Jimmy, so on and so forth. That way, no matter what we do, there will be some sort of uniqueness in every single set. When you’re in a band, unless you’re a jam band, you pretty much follow a set when you’re there. Or maybe you have two or three sets and you alternate. This way, we don’t have to think of two or three alternating sets.
Plus, kids travel too; they kind of do Grateful Dead-ish type stuff with us. They’ll do four or five days. Maybe if they’re from America, they’ll come all the way to fucking England, like ‘I’m taking an English vacation while I fucking follow Mindless across England.’ So since these kinds of kids will go to two or three cities and come to two or three shows, they could be like, ‘Okay, it’s the same thing.’
So those are the kind things we want to do for this time. We just want to have a good time because it’s a pre-hiatus and we’ve also been touring this record for a whole year so we want to have some fun for ourselves.
A lot of our antics are so that we can entertain ourselves; it’s always been like that since the beginning. We’ve always been bored by stuff on the road – I think most people are bored by shit on the road. Like if you were stuck in a band like Nickleback or Daughtry, I totally understand if you do heroin because to play those kinds of boring songs all the time every night would get boring, boring, boring.
You could have a crazy, fucked up song, but if you played that every night for a whole year, you’re not going to think that it’s the most interesting song in the whole world. The most eclectic, fucking weird song, you’re going to think, ‘I know how the verse goes. I know when it’s going to chorus.’ So it’s interesting when you do different things; whether it’s all new things or sometimes fucking with each other or when the audience fucks with us and we didn’t expect that. Who the fuck knows? So that’s why we’ve always had that kind of a set or that kind of energy because we’ve always thought, ‘Let’s not be bored tonight.’

What do you like the most about supporting acts?

Urine: The number one thing I like about supporting acts is if it’s my wife. To me, with supporting acts, it’s just like, ‘Good luck.’ We’re not actually in a position where we can pick those acts. I think a lot of people want to see their dream lineup, almost like fantasy football – like, ‘Oh, I love System of a Down, I love Mindless, and I love Slipknot! Why don’t all of you guys just play together?’ It’s all logistics; it’s all who knows who. But yeah, that sounds like a great concert if that ever fucking happens, but the chances of that happening are so slim. People just don’t know what the ‘behind the scenes’ are.
When I was a kid, I thought the same exact thing. But once I got into business and I started seeing all the logistics of it, then I was kind of like, ‘Eh whatever.’ Now I just feel if you want to buy on and do something that I like I’ll put you on, that kind of stuff. It’s never much more than a business situation. The most un-business one is when it’s my wife, mainly because A) I like the shit. (Laughs) I like the stuff she does. B) She’s my wife and we met on tour, so whenever I go out on tour, we always like to have at least one show where she’s on it if not two or three because it’s a nice little revisit to us. Mainly, it is because I dig her music and I really dig her as an entertainer as well. She’s really good; it doesn’t matter what crowd she gets in front of, even if her stuff is sort of upbeat ’60s. She just really knows how to work an audience as much as I do. I think that’s why we first got into each other and were attracted to each other. When her original band, Morningwood was opening for Mindless way back in the day, I was just thinking, ‘Who the fuck is this?’ She was really that good and just nasty and off the cuff; really fun, really smart, and really hilarious. She really knew how to work a crowd. So I’ll give her an opening slot and tell her, ‘Have fun; do what you want with it.’ (Laughs)

Why the hiatus?

Urine: First off, I want to say we are not breaking up. There’s no break up of Mindless Self Indulgence. If we ever do anything like that, it’ll never be based on our relationship to each other. As opposed to a lot of other bands where, you know, you meet somebody and they have the greatest guitar solo and you write ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ and then the next fucking minute, the guy’s an insane heroin addict or the guy is a bipolar crazy motherfucker. With Mindless, it has always been a sort of art project with people who are my friends. So we’ve always been friends and we conform the band to what is good for us. We check to see if everyone is cool with a tour, if everyone is having a great time. If we have a problem, we just do something about it. If somebody says, ‘Oh, I don’t want to do something,’ then it’s just, ‘Okay, fuck it.’
So we would never ever breakup based on our relationship with each other. We love each other; we think we’re the greatest and we really dig each other.
The hiatus is mainly just for taking some time off for family and time off for side projects. I want to do more video games, more soundtracks, and more side projects. There will definitely be future Mindless releases. In the near future, far future, there will always be Mindless stuff. I’m not sure where it’s going to end.
But I have no fucking clue! We might take this hiatus for a couple of years and I might get hit by a car and that might be the end of it. (Laughs) So our whole band is kind of warning people.
The last time we took a break, it was for everybody to have kids and get pregnant and we didn’t know what the end result was going to be. Do we want to be in Mindless as moms and dads? Is Mindless Self Indulgence a place for a person to be a mom or dad? So we just sort of slinked away and didn’t tell anybody we were taking a couple years off. We just said, ‘Fuck it! We’re going to have kids and we’re going to have families and do everything we want to do.’ Then we came back and we said, ‘Fuck, let’s get back on the road!’ We had fun, we did it, and it was great.
With this, we’re giving the fans a heads up so that they can come out to the show. Because if you don’t, who the fuck knows if we’re ever going to come back to your fucking town again? We may never ever. Or we may in a couple of years. There’s a lot of lazy people out there who think, ‘Oh, they’ll come back in a couple of months’ or ‘they’ll come back in a like six months. I’ll see them back in Atlanta.’
No. (Laughs) It isn’t going to be like that. I can’t say for sure that we’re ever going to come back again to tour. It’s too early to tell. So a hiatus kind of gives that ambiguous ‘could be now, could be later, could be never.’ You never know! Fucking hell! I have no fucking clue! I could get struck by lightning!

Hopefully not!

Urine: No! I’ve been lucky so far, no lightning. But yeah, that’s really what that whole thing is all about – it really is a heads up. It’s really weird, but a lot of people in this day and age are really dumb about knowing what’s around. I will be on Twitter twittering completely about ‘All the concerts and the shows and coming to your town. I’ll be coming here at this particular venue.’ I’ll be on Twitter day of the show; you know, ‘Here I am, kids. I am about to step onstage.’ I get on the bus and the next day, in the next town, someone will be like, ‘Hey when are you guys going on tour? Are you ever going to come to Kansas?’ I’m like ‘I was just in your fucking city! You are following me on Twitter! What the fuck did you not see for the last month?!’ There is a real weird disconnect where people use social media but they don’t really pay attention. You don’t know how many times, and it doesn’t matter what town, whether it’s London or Japan or fucking Kansas or whatever, there’s not just one but a shit load of motherfuckers who ask, ‘Hey when are you going to tour in the US again?’ ‘We just finished a fucking a tour in the US!’ Literally, the day of the last show, I’m asked when we’re going to come back. So I figured I’d give people a heads up; that way, they’re not lazy or stupid. If they are lazy or stupid, this might light a little fire under their asses to come out and give me a nice hug before we take some time off.

You can only do so much

Urine: I know, right?!

MSI

What kind of other new projects or collaborations will you be working?

Urine: Nothing I can talk about as of this second, but the last ventures and collaborations I was working on I really enjoyed. I did a video game for Warner Brothers called Lollipop Chainsaw that was written by James Gunn who’s working on Guardians Galaxy; he did Slither. That was really fun; I want to do more of that. There are soundtracks I’ve been working on with some people that are probably going to come out soon. Plus, a few side project type things. I haven’t had time to really work on any of those side projects; I kind of squeezed those in between putting out the Left Rights and putting out reissues of Tight and getting ready to put out How I Learned to Stop Giving a Shit and Love Mindless Self Indulgence. So, now I get some time off and focus on these particular things

I listened to an interview in which you mentioned that the inspiration for MSI’s music comes from a variety of weird, artistic sources; what do find most inspiring for your music currently?

Urine: It all comes from the same basic types of genres, but at the same time, it depends on what’s going on with those genres. A lot of times, people assume that it’s musical – like, ‘Oh, you love Devo,’ and I think, ‘No, I don’t have anything against Devo, but I’m not the biggest fucking Devo fan in the world.’ I mean, I like Mark Mothersbaugh. I think he’s a cool guy. But most of our influences come from things not related to music. When you work in music, music is work. It’s your job and a lot of people get pissed when I say that. ‘Music isn’t a job; people do it and they feel it,’ and I’m like, ‘Bullshit. If somebody wasn’t selling anything, if they were making zero money and they were just in the fucking subway station, they would only do that for so long before they’d decide to get a real job.’ People do enjoy making money off music.
Personally, a lot of the stuff that influences me has nothing to do with music, whether it’s video games, or anime or animation, or comic books, or movies, or books, or weird counterculture things… which are very hard to find nowadays. Kids don’t even really understand what counterculture is because it’s just accepted culture. A culture is a culture is a culture. We can post things that are retro, post things that are modern, and post mash-ups of that. They don’t really have a counterculture; they’re not like, ‘Fuck the pigs’ or anything like that. There’s no real counterculture underground. Growing up, there was a counterculture. Living in a counterculture world in the ’70s and ’80s had a lot of influence on the things I do, whether it’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show to Run Faster Pussy Cat to Heavy Metal to Akira, Ghost in the Shell, anime or stuff of that sort. These days, it’s really anything old or new. I get the same pleasure on the internet that a young kid does. If I’m looking up something specific, let’s say a scene from Ghost in the Shell and look at it again for whatever fucking reason, there might be things linked off to the side that I didn’t even think of, like new anime, and click on it. Or something I was looking for that came out around the same time, I remember going to a theater and seeing it, but I couldn’t remember what it was called. The internet has made it really easy for research. You don’t necessarily have to have a VHS bootleg of a VHS bootleg of a VHS bootleg (which I still fucking have all those). Mostly everything is available on DVD or Blu-Ray or the internet. Even weird fucking movies that nobody saw ever like Lisztomania by Ken Russell are now available. I still have that fucking VHS from four years ago and no one had ever heard of it and now there’s a Blu-Ray version of the fucking movie.
Whatever I get out of that is what I get out of that. I might think something’s cool, I might hear something I want to say live, I might see something I’d want to wear like, ‘I love those shoes. I’m going to fucking rip those shoes off.’ Or I might watch something and rip a harpsichord bit and put it in a song. Who the fuck knows?! That’s what people do… period. Everybody who’s an artist, whether they’re a musician or an artist or whatever, they steal, but in a good way! You have to take two things and nail them together. There are some people who steal outright and might as well just be fucking cover bands. I’ll name a few off the top of my head. Interpol is basically a Joy Division cover band. I never know why anybody thinks otherwise. Black Velvet Motorcycle Club sound like Jesus and the Mary Chain for the first couple of records. Those are the kinds of things I hate. I don’t like that shit because then you’re doing a direct rip. A lot of those new, Church-ish style bands are really just ripping off New Order, but without the hooks, which really kind of bugs me even more. I think, ‘Yes, it’s great that they’re doing an homage to New Order, but it’s kind of annoying that they removed all the great hooks that New Order did and replaced them with really boring ones.’ (Laughs)
A lot of the stuff that’s influential to me? You never know what it’s going to be – just something really odd, cult stuff, something I liked as a kid, something I liked as a teenager, and it stuck with me through my life and it still influences what I do. And of course, I should never be surprised that I’m making a very weird (laughs) kind of product because of all of this stuff.

Did MSI ever have a target audience in mind? Do you now?

Urine: That’s a good question. We never had a target audience in mind; we just were very mindful of who our audience was. We knew what we didn’t like. I think that was the main influence as a band. Individually, we all like this book or this movie and we all bring different things. But as a group, we decided to not do what we don’t like. We don’t fucking like ballads, don’t like guitar solos; let’s not do this or let’s not do that. It was very intentional, especially with what was going on at the time. You’ve got to remember that we were doing this unprofessionally from ’96-’98 and professionally from ’98 to now. So, some fucking band that looks like us gets onstage in ’98 and doesn’t play guitar solos or fucking ballads and is screaming at you and then talking to you. We had girls in the band playing weird electronic punk rock, freak show shit, and I’m fucking singing in falsetto then screaming at you the next minute. We’re doing back flips into the audience and people are thinking, ‘What the fuck is this?’ It’d be like time travel to the Cro-Magnon era and some fucking caveman saying, ‘I don’t understand what he’s on.’ (Laughs) Nowadays, it’s kind of par for the course.
We’ve been very aware of who our audience is since we’ve started; we didn’t really have an idea of going for ‘these guys.’ You don’t know who your target audience is really going to be, but you can very easily, no matter what band you’re in, figure out who the fuck they are pretty quickly and you cater to them… a lot of times in a bad way, almost like patronizing them, but we’ve always catered to them mainly because they end up having the same interests that we do, based on our influences. We pick the influences that we like, put it in a big cauldron, bubble it up, and it comes out as Frankenstein Girls. Now these kids are saying, ‘I really like that. I like that because I was a big Rocky Horror fan.’ Or another kid says, ‘I like that because I was really into Ghost in the Shell.’ Another kid is like, ‘Oh, I love fucking Tank Girl and the art is like Jamie Hewlett! I’m so into you guys.’ Whatever it is, we now all have the same interests. I’m not going to say I like Rocky Horror if I don’t like Rocky Horror. I love Rocky Horror. So we can sit around and talk about Rocky Horror, we can sit around and talk about synthesizers, we can talk about comic books, or whatever. I think demographically and influence wise, we kind of get on the same page in more realistic terms than other bands. When you’re in a huge band or a giant pop band, there’s a big machine behind it. When you’re sort of a midrange cult band like us, there’s a lot of do-it-yourself. We’re the ones pulling the levers, pulling the strings, making decisions. There’s no dude at a desk who doesn’t know what the fuck they’re talking about going like, ‘Well this is what kids like; you better fucking do this,’ which becomes not very genuine.

 

Mindless Self Indulgence Website http://www.mindlessselfindulgence.com
Mindless Self Indulgence MySpace http://www.myspace.com/mindlessselfindulgence
Mindless Self Indulgence Facebook http://www.facebook.com/msi
Mindless Self Indulgence Twitter http://twitter.com/msi

 

8 Comments

  1. Michael Anderton says:

    I think i might be one of the few people who read the whole thing…

  2. Shina says:

    I read the whole thing too! Can’t wait to see MSI in Tempe! :)

  3. Sandy Vagina says:

    It’s weird to see Jimmy’s words not written in all caps.

  4. Greeeeat fucking interview.

  5. Brandon "Future Jimmy" Preston says:

    Their energy on stage and love for their fans will never get old!! I fucking love these guys!! 26 shows and counting!!

  6. Sarah says:

    read the whole thing ^^ you better go on tour again D: i still need to see you guys

  7. Alexia says:

    AW MAN, I may never see them live. Anyway the weird and cool thing is that know one I knoe personly has heard of MSI, but it’s like thet with all the good shit.

  8. What an inspiration… over and over again. <3 MSI
    We are the robots!!!

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