IAmA rapper called MC Frontalot. I coined the term 'nerdcore' and remain that subgenre's final boss. AMA.
There is already a lot of information about me on your compootah. And in books and magazines. And in a documentary called Nerdcore Rising. But maybe you would like to know more information things! I will try to provide.
twitter: @mc_frontalot http://facebook.com/frontalot http://frontalot.com
frontalot is the final boss ultimate inferno difficulty
What's up, Bryce! I miss you.
On "Charisma Potion," are you saying "attribute" or "attribute?"
As the parent of a 3 year old, I have to ask - how many people recognize you from the Elmo's Potty Time video?
Also - best rap about TP production evar!
I have definitely had a few folks come up and say they got to the rest of the catalog by hearing the TP Factory rap first. I think it would be a little bit hard to figure out who I am if all you had was that DVD.
Will there ever be an Aquabats collab?
I say this because I really want an Aquabats collab. And I might cry if I don't get it.
Really big fan, by the way, you're awesome. Thanks for doing this AMA!
My dear friend MC Lars has worked with them! And of course they're great. But I am not so much a Ska guy, myself. Still, if they wanted to do something together I'm certain we could figure out a very pleasing mixture of our various weird music ideas.
To get started, I'm going to cut n' paste these questions and answer them.
How's your back?
Also, is the headlamp effective against grues?
Back has actually been in better shape most of the time since that first tour (the one in the movie that features me whining and groaning about my back). I think I eventually learned to do some damn stretches before and after going onstage, and to simply BE THAT ASSHOLE who always has an important incoming phone call when heavy things need to get lifted nearby.
Of course the headlamp is effective against grues. You think it's just to keep my luxurious hair from getting in my eyes?
Thanks for doing an AMA. Big fan.
My question to you today is about the future of Nerdcore hip hop and the implications therein. It seems like recently several artists in the genre have been garnering some attention from sources outside of the usual corners or Nerdcoredom. Guys like Adam Warrock, Beefy and MC (I’m not a Nerdcore artist) Chris getting picked up for soundtrack work on television and popular internet video series. While I would go so far as to say that I believe that any kind of publicity like that is probably good for the genre as a whole, I fear that most of the more non-nerdy types who hear these tracks for the first time write these songs off as novelties at best. I know that those of us who are “into the scene” don’t think of this music as novelty. It’s just “our music.”
What do you feel the Nerdcore community at large can do to help bring artists like yourself closer to the public consciousness without seeing our favorite artists being labeled as “comedy” or “novelty?” I feel like there are nerds-a-plenty out there that just haven’t had Nerdcore introduced to them as anything other than a laugh, and that makes me sad.
Thanks in advance for any knowledge you may feel so inclined to impart on the subject.
By the way, the next time you guys tour through Denver, hit me up. There’s a home-cooked meal waiting for you, Gaby and the guys anytime.
It is a good question. And it is a strange and difficult balancing act. Most of us like making songs that are funny or have funny aspects, but none of us (well, none of us who you mention nor any of the other nerd rappers who are any good) think of our songs as joke songs or our acts as comedy acts. We make music songs! We just happen to be fucking hilarious people! If you're as old as me 'n chris 'n schaffer, you might remember when a lot of hip-hop had a sense of humor. Public Enemy was pure politics but Flav got to keep it hilarious in every intro. NWA came hard like a granite countertop but they have jokes in every single verse. So I want to think of myself as a traditional MC and not a novelty MC.
So why do I put something that sounds ridiculous like 'nerdcore' in front of my music? Why do I call myself 'Frontalot,' a name that no self-respecting rapper would ever touch? There's two reasons. First, I feel like I should wear my self-loathing on my sleeve since if you bury it deep under the pretense of thinking you're god's gift to music listeners, it ends up bubbling out every so often and then you're beating up Rhianna or peeing on a groupie on video or whatever miserable shit popstars always end up doing. Second: I always liked the idea of a culled audience. I figure I can tempt them in with something that seems like it's worth about ten seconds of your attention (nerd rap? that's probably dumb but I will click it.) and then IF you are part of my natural audience, you will almost immediately see that there's something interesting going on. And every time your expectations get topped, you get excited. The folks who don't grok will wander off, and good for them, and who cares about them anyhow. I work hard on these songs. I like it when every single person in the crowd understands them already and finds them a little bit meaningful.
Front, hello! Thanks for doing this AMA. Been a huge fan for a couple years; you are my favorite artist. Anyway, my question will resolve a debate between my cousin and I.
At the very end of Stoop Sale you say, "Saw him do it. He was wishing that he wouldn’t get caught."
Does this mean that the buckle allowed him to not get caught by the "store" owner, or that the buckle is not magical at all, allowing you to see him steal it? That is all. Thanks!
I like that so many people have been trying to parse out a 'correct' answer to the end of this song. It occurred to me when I got done writing it that you could read it either way and that your reading might tell you whether you have a BEAUTIFUL AND MAGICAL SOUL or are someone who believes that WONDERMENT IS DEAD IN THIS WORLD. I always thought of it this way: the thief takes possession; at that moment he's wishing he wouldn't get caught; that's the wish he gets; thus, even though he's seen taking it, his observers are powerless to catch him. And he's squandered his one true wish. And I don't get mine because I thought about it too much.
What career would you like to have if you weren't a rapper?
Novelist! I had always wanted to be a novelist. But I also kind of always wanted to be a voice actor for animation, so I might try my hand at that eventually. And if all else failed I suppose I'd return to graphic design.
MC Frontalot did you want to go to Tim Horton's and look at some beavers?
I feel like I could probably order donuts and see pictures of beavers on the internet, but thanks for the invite.
I was first introduced to your rhymes through "Floating Bridge" over a decade ago, and I've been hooked ever since. Thank you for being the link between my hip-hop and nerd obsessions.
Two questions for you, Sir!
What's the story behind the M. Doughty refrain on "Your Friend Wil?" The Soul Coughing voice cuts so cool against your Wheaton-inspired lyrics, and I wondered how that collaboration evolved.
Was "Yellow Lasers" based on a true story?
I actually wrote that melody for him, and offered it up VERY sheepishly. In 1996 it was beyond my wildest dreams that I'd ever be composing something for Doughty to perform. I stalked him on twitter to get him to do it. I mean, it helped that I was working on a project for Wil (of whom Mike is a fan) and that I was already a rapper who some people had heard of. I DO NOT RECOMMEND STALKING SINGERS ON TWITTER AS A GENERAL RULE.
The answer remains no, thank gracious.
Please fill in the following ability scores for yourself.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
If you are unsure, you may roll four six-sided dice and use the the top three of four as your score. Also, please include any special ability modifiers.
CHA: 2 (modified to 22 with my +20 Mic Of Compelling Stage Antics)
It has been great seeing you the last couple years at PAX East and I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and the fans. What is the worst experience you have ever had to endure with a fan? Thanks.
I don't want to dodge this on but I've either blocked it out or no interaction with a fan has ever been all that bad. I will contemplate and come back to it.
OKAY! I have been answering questions for five hours and it has been plenty of fun. Thank you all for stepping up with fascinating and insightful inquiries. I gotta run. See you at Comic-Con and PAX and later on tour and then also on internet and HAUNTING YOUR DREAMS. Cheers.
do you make a living doing this?
Hey, Front. Thanks for doing this.
I discovered you probably the same way many others did - Tycho posted the lyrics to Yellow Lasers at the end of a newspost many, many moons ago and I clicked the link he provided. Probably one of my favorite things you've done was that set at Songfight Live with Yook, it's a mainstay on my iPod.
Having been following your work for so long, I'm more of a fan of the original mixes of many of your early songs, the ones on the Nerdcore Hiphop "demo". Nostalgia, maybe! Did you have to change them for the album because of the couple hundred uncleared samples your rocked per track? Or was it that you had changed as an artist by the time you were ready to release the album?
PS: My daughter will be potty training soon. I'm going to get her a copy of Elmo's Potty Time, of course. Do you get royalties from that?
Yes, I agree! Some of those old demo versions of those songs from my first and second albums are better than the retooled versions. Particularly: yellow lasers, crime spree, gonna be your man, indier than thou. It is because I can't sell stuff with samples in it, so we had to write music for those songs instead! I don't think the different music is the problem so much as my production inexperience at the time. But even now, five albums later, I think that if I leveraged millions of dollars worth of top music producer labor and studio wizardry by just looping shit out of popular songs, it would be kinder to the ear than my essentially home-made originals. For evidence, see: every rapper's mix tape.
I don't get royalties from Elmo's Potty Time, but the Sesame Workshop is a great bunch of folks and they deserve all of your eleven dollars and fifty cents.
My wife thinks you're damn sexy and I can't get her to stop screaming out MC Frontalot lyrics in bed. I wouldn't mind so much but she makes me wear black frames and a red necktie, too. Oh, and one time I came home to her dancing to "Gonna Be Your Man" in a USB cord thong.
Cam footage or it didn't happen.
Hey MC, whats your favorite D&D class?
Thief/Assassin (which I think now is Rogue?), followed by Cleric.
In "Nerdcore Rising" you commented you were deciding whether to pursue rap full time as a career. Obviously, you seem to have gone this route (Win!).
So…..IS it possible to be a full-time independent artist and actually survive financially in modern times, or do you have supplemental income?
I was lucky to be freelancing in graphic design and web development, so I was able to slowly let go of my clients as the rap income built up. AND I was able to get the most expensive part of my distribution empire (a fancy website) built without overhead. I let my last client go and have not had to take any non-rap jobs since 2006. And no, there's no other supplement (like a gold fountain? a pet iguana who barfs five dollar bills?).
Random, Adam Warrock, chris, and Lars all do nerdcore full time now. There may be others I'm failing to know about. Amanda Palmer rocks seven figure kickstarters. And your weirdest aunt sells crochet fuzzy celebrity placentas on Etsy. So yes, independent artists can make ends meet. It may even be easier than it ever was before internet came along.
How do you decide which songs are your "video worthy" songs? Do you have some kind of test audience or do you just pick your favorites?
I've heard accusations that the recent zombie attacks in Florida are all just you stirring up interest for an "Invasion Of The Not Quite Dead" video... explain yourself sir!
Spellah and Gm7 and Brendan and I talk about what songs are the most likely to have appeal (for being catchy or interesting or whatever) plus some of them just come out better than other ones.
Y'know... there IS a video for IOTNQD. Check it out.
In your opinion what is the worst (favourite) of the first world problems?
Of the lyrics in MY OWN SONG, my VERY FAVORITE is "scheduling your root canal." Even if you have fantastic perspective on class privilege, you are likely to complain about that. But it is a huge luxury to be able to get your teeth fixed like that and in many parts of the world you instead get to spend the rest of your life in constant pain eating mush food.
More questions about what I think my personal moments of TOTAL BRILLIANCE are, please!
What is Kompressor REALLY like?
Scary as hell. And mean to animals.
I want to thank you for all that you have done for us nerds. Your music has meant a lot to me over the years.
How did you get your music career started?
Do you have any advice for an aspirering nerdcore hip-hop artist?
You have been with nerdcore since the begining. I was wondering how do you feel about how it has progressed with time?
Is the song Yellow Lasers based on a true story?
I think I already hit the first two. 3: I am ecstatic that new kids come up and are talented and think that 'nerdcore' is a useful and meaningful descriptor for their work. They're the ones who make it a movement or whatever, who make it a real thing. THANK GOODNESS FOR DR AWKWARD AND RANDOM AND ADAM AND ETC ETC ETC. Best possible outcome when you make up a music subgenre just to point out your own personal weaknesses. 4: No, thank goodness.
Hey Front, I'm a just starting (Nerdcore-ish) rapper and I've got to ask; was it hard for you to get listeners in the beginning? What method(s) did you use? Thanks in advance.
I am the worst person to ask about that because I did not try to get anyone to listen at first. I literally made songs because I thought the multitrack software was cool and put them up because I thought it was cool that I had a web server and knew how to encode an MP3 (in 1999 you still had to post detailed instructions on how to actually LISTEN to an MP3 if you wanted most folks to hear it). I mean, I also loved rapping and thought it was fresh that I could make myself sound like a better rapper than I was by editing takes together. But i did not think I was good or that anyone should pay attention. And if Penny Arcade hadn't noticed me, I don't think the press would ever have noticed me, and nobody would have heard of me, and it would still be a hobby. SO I HAVE NO ADVICE other than try to make songs that you would want to listen to and be proud of. That might help.
No questions, just thank you for being awesome!
GLAD TO BE OF SERVICE
Hi, Mr. Frontalot! I got to meet you last year at PAX. Thanks again so much! I was literally shaking, so I may have fanboyed a little much. :) http://ekpax11.posterous.com/omg-i-got-to-meet-my-favoritest-rapper-mcfron (I'm five-seven, and he's leaning in a bit. Dude is very tall)
So, on to my questions...
Unlike most, I actually discovered you from your songs in the In The Groove arcade dance game. How did your songs end up there?
In regards to "Nerdcore HipHop". Did you really start out doing karaoke rap? And what artists did you cover initially?
Thanks and many regards. Please come to further reaches of Canada, we love you here too.
I kind of don't remember! I guess they wrote me an email and asked if they could use some tracks?
Karaoke rap: no, I never do rap songs at karaoke and never have. In that song, what I mean by 'karaoke rapping' is: performing with playback instead of a band. I wrote that song before I ever imagined having a band, or even going onstage to rap.
I'm a huge fan and I just wanted to thank you for doing this AMA!
Is there anything new you are working on that you would care to share with us? When can I expect more auditory orgasms from your general direction?
Oh, also: the final kickstarter-funded videos are in the works at long last: I'll Form The Head and Colonel, Panic!
My next release will be a compilation of the most awesome live recordings from my big ol' tour archive, properly mastered. Hopefully before tour season starts up.
Hey MC Frontalot. I'm a huge fan (in fact, Final Boss is in my car CD player at this very moment) so thanks for doing this AMA. A few questions:
I'm curious how your colleagues and friends reacted when you announced you'd be becoming a full time rapper. Did anyone try to convince you not to do it? How did you tell them to suck it?
How do you feel about terming the word "nerdcore"?
What makes a song/artist nerdcore? To me its nerdcore if the artist identifies as nerdcore, regardless of subject matter. Thats why any geeky song isnt automatically nerdcore. Agree?
Finally, if I promise you a place on my sofa, will you please come to the UK? I'd love to see you live.
I don't think anyone told me not to do it. I was already sitting at home all day every day in front of the computer, so becoming a nerdcore rapper full time wasn't blowing anyone's mind, really.
I am very glad to have come up with a term that people find useful. I do not know if it is luck or because I am a SUPER GENIUS. Probably the former.
Nerdcore is certainly an opt-in designation, so pretty much anyone can call themselves nerdcore and I won't argue with them. But it is also a term that seems to describe certain things (particularly BEING A BIG DORK and having it come through in your music) well enough that it is going to get applied to the work of people who don't care to use the word themselves. So it is a bit harder to opt out of. See for example mc chris, MC Lars, Childish Gambino. I sympathize with them. Nobody wants to be pigeonholed in a way they didn't choose for themselves. But on the other hand, when you make things and put them out there, you don't have much control over how your audience reacts and how they classify you. I'm just glad that people use the nerdcore classification to group together music that they LIKE instead of music that makes them want to pee in your gym locker or whatever.
When you go on tour how do you decide if you want to bring the full band or just DJ PC?
Edit: Now that I think about it... is it DJ CPU?
I always want to bring the full band, and I only ever don't if it's impossible for some reason. Usually that reason is financial.
Is "Yellow Laser Beam" based off a true story?
This is the most popular question so far.
The secret track on Zero Day was a very fun puzzle. Did it achieve your expectations? Was it broken faster or slower than you expected it to be?
I think it got broken within the first 24 hours. Maybe 48. It was nice and fast. Even a year and a half later, only 258 people have solved it, so I think it was sufficiently difficult.
What are your nerd credentials?
Hmmmm. Myopia, asthma, video game and comics obsession, web design and accounting background, and having invented nerdcore hip-hop. Maybe that's enough?
Maybe about 30. I need some new ones. Half of them have sharpie marks on them or are falling apart.
What have you been listening to recently?
The new Busdriver album Beaus$Eros (bows & arrows), which is fantastic. Also, the new Fountains of Wayne and the most recent Mike Doughty.
Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Amanda Palmer, Busdriver, PJ Harvey, Jean Grae, Tom Waits.
Do you have any plans to collaborate with Wil Wheaton and release a Shellfishcore hip-hop album in the future?
For the sake of the entire non-hearing-impaired population of the world, thankfully, no.
Not that Wil's rapping is bad. Just, c'mon. Shellfishcore. Ufff.
I'm a big fan and have a few questions.
Phoenix, when? i understand any reason for avoiding Arizona...but i want to see you rhyme against a rhythm live.
I recently decided I would love to start writing raps and whatnot. I've written poetry before, and decided it was the next logical step...and then when i started all i got were really bad lines, and no idea what to write about. What pill do you take that makes you rap well?
Thanks for making awesome music that keeps me dancing and rappin in my seat while I punch away at makin websites all the live long day. You do good things!
As skully mentions: we show up at KoL Con in phx whenever we're invited!
The pill is called Rhyminex DM. It is a 24-hour time release capsule. Don't take two at once or you'll turn into Jay-Z.
Hey, Front. Huge fan, we've talked at multiple shows and you've already been pestered by plenty of my questions in meatspace. I'd like to thank you for the AMA, and hope to see you live with a bit more frequency.
So the Kickstarter for Solved: What was your overall impression? Both with this specific deal and the whole crowd-microfinancing thing in general.
Touring: I heard through the grapevine that Nerdapalooza and some other venues just aren't financially feasible for you guys these days. Is that true? And if so, is it just the case for the whole Front Tour-A-Tron with Sturgis, Brandon, and Ken, or does this apply for DJ PC stuff as well? Any chance of ever dragging g-minor or The Categorical Imperative out of their comfort zone?
I'm seeming to notice more emphasis on other vocalists and more complex instrumentals in recent albums. Is this for live shows? You've tweaked your performances of Final Boss and some others significantly; any chance of a mixtape with your current versions making its way webward?
Any chance of seeing more work with JoCo? How did the Crazy Cruice go? I was on the cusp of going, until reality kicked in. I didn't notice any chatter about it on your usual social media platforms, but I may have just missed it.
Sorry for all of the questions; you remain one of my favorite performers both in content and in person. I really appreciate all of the effort you put into your work and how kind you are to us raving fanboys/girls; I've got some fairly amazing achievements in life, but being able to say that I'm friends with you and the touring group is still among the highest. Please refrain from ceasing the rapping. :)
Kickstarter: it went better than I imagined, and I think those guys had a great idea and that it's making great things possible. Love 'em.
Touring: yeah, nplza hasn't had us in their budget lately, but they continue to grow so hopefully we'll be back some day. It is a community effort and they're doing their very best. I will keep doing van tours with the boys as long as I'm able. Life gets in their way sometimes! TCI has youngn's. Gaby has musicals to write.
Live stuff: yes, a live album this year! Focus will be on songs that are very different live than on record.
More with JoCo: let's hope so. We're talking about doing a split EP some day where we assign each other songs in the songfight/songfu mode. The cruise was great but there was sort of a social media ban onboard, which is why you didn't hear about it while it happened. Also, the whole thing is so disgustingly opulent and fun that it seems cruel to talk about it too much after.
You've mentioned before that you are mistaken for a novelty act. I don't think of you as that, because you make good music that just happens to have nerdy themes and jokes.
How would you define the "line" an artist has to cross where they become a novelty act?
A novelty song might be something that has these qualities: * it is more compelling for being weird or funny than it is for being music * you can't get anything out of it on repeat listens that you couldn't on first listen * if you put it on a mix CD with songs that aren't novelty songs, the person listening would be like 'ugh, you should take that one off.'
But it's almost always the critic's response, isn't it? Almost nobody sets out to make a novelty record. And I might denigrate someone by calling them a novelty act when you think they are weaving their subtle and rewarding artistry and it's just way over my head. Sorry, I guess my answer is: who knows.
Have you always been a good story teller, or is it something that you discovered/crafted through rapping?
I always wanted to be a writer. I did lots of short stories and edited the literary magazine in high school. I wrote a short novel as my honors thesis in college. So actually I came to rapping from the writing angle much more than the thinking-I-would-be-good-at-rapping angle. Jury remains out on whether I'm actually any good at either of those aspects of my job.
Kristen: I got Hodgman to advocate for me at the Brooklyn Book Fair and then hassled her A LOT until she agreed to do it. She is incredibly nice. Once she was on board, Eugene and Wyatt I guess decided I was legit enough to spend 45 minutes with. Comedians do something that to me seems almost impossibly cool and difficult, so it remains a big thrill to me that I'm able to trick them into being on my albums. Trying to get Posehn and Reggie Watts on a future thing.
Tell us about Ma Front. I have two young sons, and I want to know how to raise them so that they'll come back and visit me. ;)
You could try running customer service for their merch mail-order business for them when they're in their thirties! That is a very endearing thing for a mom to do. Also gives you stuff to talk about on the phone all the time.
Why didn't I get to see G-Minor7 at the SF show last year? Made me a little sad.
Gaby does not really like being on the road. It's hard for him to work and car rides are boring for him. He hates noisy bars, which is most of where we play. And don't tell him I said so but he is kind of bad at lifting up equipment and moving it through doorways without bumping into things. So we all understand why he doesn't come out on the road any more! But we miss him, probably more than you do.
That said, he claims to be considering doing a fall run with us this fall.
In the fall, if I didn't make that clear.
Are you working on a new album or new songs?
Next studio album will probably be a kid's record with a storyline that runs all the way through, perhaps an album-length fairy tale or sci-fi epic. Fall of 2013, tentatively.
When will you start taking on full time disciples?
When I am old and living in a dojo on top of a mountain.
Can you loan me your dog for the weekend? He's the cutest!
I get this a lot. Start a dog walking service in Brooklyn and then maybe.
What's your favorite Science Fiction franchise?
Star Wars. Even with the later era of disappointment and sadness.
Yes, and he's amazing. Maybe some day he will want to do a song together.
I have sinus congestion. What do you recommend for a stuffy nose?
Also please make music forever.
Hanging out in the desert helps. Also zirtec.
You have an extremely unique style. What are your influences for this and how long did it take to develop into what it is today?
I just kind of tried to rap as well as I'm able. Never consciously aimed at developing a style. I'm still trying to get better! Probably the stuff I listened to in High School influenced me the most: Del, De La Soul, Public Enemy, Tribe Called Quest, 3rd Bass, NWA.
Hey Frontalot! Been a fan of yours for a while. I was never much into rap but you're highly unique, original and very talented! As a fellow geek/nerd, what are some of your favourite computer games of recent months?
I am in deep with Diablo III. Those Blizzard fuckers really know how to light up the reward centers in my brain. Just got Max Payne 3 (though on console) and it is kind of incredible. Think I'm almost through it.
Can you describe your relationship with Zack Johnson and Josh Nite (of Kingdom of Loathing fame)? How you met them and all that. Thanks :)
We were investigating a distress beacon from the ship Prometheus together and wandered into a huge, gothy chamber filled with weird eggs. Josh looked at one of them too closely and got his esophagus impregnated with a weird alien parasite. Later at dinner, it burst violently from his chest. The three of us often look back on that shared experience and laugh knowingly, then fuel up our flame throwers.
What goals/plans do you have career-wise? Are there any particular collaborations you would like to pull off? Any venues you are shooting for? Any milestones like being on the soundtrack of a Hollywood blockbuster or some such?
I continue to dream (without really doing anything to make it happen) about having some fancy hollywood movie about geek life demand a theme song from me. I mean, ideally it would be a movie that I'd be excited about, something from Gilliam, Burton, Payne, Whedon, Raimi. But that is just a dream, and realistically I'd be on just about any movie sound track if the film were not about how war is awesome or how girls are dumb or other things that movies are often about that I do not agree with.
I want to voice some cartoons. Cartoon producers, call me!
The one venue I've always wanted to play is the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Sadly, I couldn't fill it up by myself. But maybe TMBG will let me open for them there some day.
How do you feel about DJs pirating your (or others') music in order to play it on community radio?
How do you feel about the censorship of swearwords and adult content for radio?
Was the movie Nerdcore Rising completely true or were there elements of fiction/dramatization in it?
Do other styles of nerdy music count as nerdcore, or does it have to be rap?
End-user music piracy does nobody any harm. And in fact, for someone at my level, every time a set of ears gets exposed to my songs, that's a net positive. That's an n% chance of a new fan. And any new fan has some chance of becoming the kind of fan who supports me materially by buying what they already downloaded, or getting a shirt, or seeing a show, and all that is what lets me keep doing this full time. Pirates who make money piss me off, though (see: russian MP3 sites, TV shows that don't file their ASCAP paperwork properly, etc). Because they exist, I am glad that copyright laws are enforceable when appropriate.
Nerdcore rising contains no staged stuff but if you were there for all of it (I was!) you would notice that some stuff is out of order and the PAX show which was actually a bit after the tour is made to seem like the last show of the van run. There's also huge crowd cheering hilariously cut to the end of a performance that's in front of like 14 people in Tennessee I think. Little stuff like that, mostly serving the narrative flow. Real life doesn't have that much narrative flow. The thing that seems weirdly false to me when I accidentally watch the movie these days is: right before going on at PAX I'm all like "I think this will be the largest crowd I've ever been in front of." I think? I THINK? The only thing going through my mind as I'm saying that is that it is 50X as many people as I've every performed for previously and that I'm terrified. I bet Negin wishes I'd been honest and said that. Would have done wonders for the NARRATIVE FLOW.
Thank you so much for doing this! I have been to numerous shows and been a fan since the early days. Speaking of the early days, do you ever talk to KOMPRESSOR anymore? Are they still producing anything? I was going through my wayback mp3 archive and found your collab piece and still think it's awesome. Would it ever find its way onto a mainstream release?
Haven't chatted with Drew lately, but he remains a prolific web cartoonist and tee shirt monger. He also puts out albums every so often. His last one was I think all booty-shaking jams.
Do you have a chord/tab area somewhere? I'd love to be able to learn a few songs (Diseases of Yore, Shame of the Otaku for example) but haven't been able to find them. What was it like working with JoCo, was it in studio, or did he send you his parts over the interwebs?
I don't have any chords or tabs posted, but a few songs have gone to notation to help incoming keyboardists. Maybe I'll make those sheets available sometime.
JoCo is a friend and is always fantastic to work with. We did Diseases of Yore via email and FTP, but we get to do it live every so often, usually with Paul & Storm on backup.
Thanks for doing this.
1 - How deeply does the Frontage go?
2 - Have Jerry or Mike from PA ever demanded a post-PAX 3 Way?
3 - Why haven't you released a collaborative track with mc chris yet?
4 - Still not smoking?
I only really care about one of those. Thanks for retweeting a link to my site awhile back. Your song "Charity Case" is the reason I don't pirate music anymore. I bet you're an awesome person IRL.
It goes better than I have any right to expect, thanks for asking.
They demanded one, and then demanded that I not participate. Elitists. This is the closest we'll probably ever get. It occurred about an hour after doors closed at PAX 2006.
I don't know! We talked about doing one about ten years ago. Maybe someday we'll get it together. I'd love to.
It is a struggle. I am trying to get back on the wagon.
Do you really have a thing for goth girls?
Visually, yes. I could stare at them all day. Emotionally, not so much. To look that put together, you usually have to be kind of vain. And to think your obsession with darkness is worth wearing like a badge, you usually have to be either in your early 20s or irreparably damaged. None of those things are impossible to relate to, but they're not exactly selling points when I'm seeking girlfriends.
So I think I first heard of you through Jeffery Rowland's Overcompensating. What's that dude like in real life? Seems like he'd be quite the character.
Bonus question: What's your favorite webcomic?
My money is on Achewood.
Believe it or not, he is EXACTLY like the version of himself that you see in Overcompensating. Right down to the mustache and the giant decomposing spider bite hole on his shin. Fun fact: Jeffrey was one of the first thirty or so people to ever join my Valued Sucker Program in the early aughts. Maybe even before Yellow Lasers was on Penny Arcade.
Achewood, yes, is a fave. At the moment I am also loving KC Green's Gunshow and Ryan Pequin's Three Word Phrase. My housemate Meredith's Octopus Pie is also extra fantastic.
Beer, cheese, or monkeys?
I would like the monkey to serve me the beer while wearing one of those Wisconsin sport fanatic cheese-shaped hats.
Hey Front, huge fan - I've been at your PAX Prime show for I think the last five years and pretty much always buy your latest CD from you at PAX, so I have a nice signed collection in my car. You're awesome to talk to.
One of the things I've noticed is that you've improved your stage presence during that time period - I've always had fun, but I feel like the last couple of years you've really gotten better at performing. What are some of the lessons you've learned over time about what works and what doesn't in terms of putting together a performance?
The biggest thing is probably just getting comfortable enough with being up there and getting through the set that you can do it without knowing exactly what will happen. And you never know exactly what will happen, which is the seed of stage fright, broken momentum, and unrecoverable errors.
Also, if you do anything a lot you just kind of get better at it. I'm glad that seems to be happening!
reddit user passionlessDrone posted these in the original request:
1) Describe the first time you realized you were a nerd and were proud of it?
When I was young, being nerdy was much more of a shame point. But I was proud in my extreme reflexive arrogance -- I decided I was a thousand times smarter than the kids who picked on me and that some day I would invent a way for them to SUFFER. I walked around kind of thinking I was Lex Luthor and one day I'd show 'em. Not really an epiphany moment. More like: all of third grade.
2) Clearly you know someone with Aspergers. Can you describe your approach to that song?
I wanted to make a song where people without Aspergers would parse the emotional tone of the chorus and think that it was making fun of aspies and than anyone who actually had Aspergers would maybe ignore that and listen to the actual presentation of the story, which is the opposite of making fun. I thought it might be revealing somehow to generate those two opposing responses on first listen, and have the aspies be the ones getting it right. I don't know how well I pulled that off, but some people have told me it works pretty well. The story's not about anyone specific, just a little piece of fiction about a kid who's too distracted by a decoration to make a connection with someone he likes.
3) How did you get Wyatt Cynac to participate on your album?
Emailed him! He was extremely kind about it.
4) Have you humped a goth girl yet?
Never once. Though non-goth girls occasionally cosplay as actual goth girls in an attempt to TRICK ME.
5) Is there a number of Stellas at which they are no longer crisp?
A crispy Stella is simply one that is served hell of cold. I think! Onstad might correct me there. So the theoretical limit to the crispy Stella supply would be: one more than the number that would fit in the world's existing refrigeration containers. (Stellas chilled naturally outdoors are of course not 'crispy' but rather 'crunchy.')
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