Troy Gregory Interview by
Troy Gregory is one of the most prolific and genuinely entertaining artists of the twenty-first century. This e-mail interview took place not long after the release of his Laura album (on Fall of Rome Records). Mr. Gregory's songs are stark and frighteningly real journeys into the world of demented modern rock. Troy is also in the band The Witches...one of the best and most genuine rock bands in the United States.
This is one of five e-mail interviews that were conducted simultaneously in August 2004. Compare Mr. Gregory's answers with responses provided by four other fantastic artists to the exact same questions:
Butterfly Boucher * Claudia Malibu * Matt Duss (Fey Ray) * Elizabeth Sharp (Ill Ease)
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Name: Troy Gregory
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan
Outside occupation(s): Ice Cream Bunny and Psychic To The Stars
Web site: www.witchesonparade.com
How do you make decisions?
What life design you may be wanting to have or leave behind...seemingly meaningless decisions like choosing what kind of ice cream you want at the 3,241 flavor castle of frozen lovesicle.... or the split second reaction in an immediate onset of danger to your personal living being habit...avoiding blood, pain, or panic...choosing a candy victim tippin' the candy machine, did you lose a tooth the last time you bit into one of these? ...did you find a galaxy of ants in every single one of your birthday Clark Bars? ...buried, cremated, fed to the community soup...salad or suicide or get into a knife fight with some drunk burnout...pull the plug or leave on the night-light, don't look in the basement...pass this drunk jerk in front of me or get off on this exit...all these decisions and others execute on more or less (and a few the same) different degrees of nervous system behavior...physical and mental awareness coping with make shift variables of hand made intellect coping or in disagreement with experience n' instinct distinguishing various results ranging from instantaneous response to repercussions that fester over years until they manifest as an empty gesture or desirable goal...whatever....causing nothing as much as spilling Kool-Aid two cities over or setting up future generations to be penned up and eaten by merciless giant spider chickens sporting skull bone night vision helmets tilting cardboard rovers with deadly poisonous pinky toes to roll your body over...an individual is created and destroyed by the decisions made by what is thrown at them at any and all times of their lives....the other road may swallow your ass whole....get off the damn roads and create your own path and see what and where that decision gets you on the way to Grandma Wolf...park yourself on the dance floor...rot and become....blue moon, superman, or vanilla...waffle cone if they have them, but not always when it is very hot and muggy outside because they tend to leak....last time it was a Cookie Dough (c) Flurry fresh from the magical flurry tree in the sacred basement where the all powerful kings of the world gather every November 13 to offer unwilling sacrifice to a voice (using the voice of some hot chick) that lives in the old furnace that was mange when asbestos was still considered safe to have around...my elementary school was like an asbestos island...like I was saying, them great Kings and Queens surviving road crew congregate to piously beg for powerful wisdom to tell them what the hell to do with themselves.
If you could change something, what would it be?
I would really like it if I could support my wife and clockwork cats with my incredible music so she can quit the job that is giving her carpotunnel....eventually get on to all that sexy world peace, equal justice even for f*ckin idiots, curing diseases with a shadow cast behind my left eye, having Celine Dion lose her voice and never find it again, getting my car finally fixed (since it has been broken down in my driveway now for more than five months and there is practically a garden of weeds growing under it from the cracks in the concrete that I am having a hard time mowing around), getting around to cleaning the basement and go looking through all those damn boxes and start to get rid of some shit...change the fact that I cannot fly or become invisible along with my new special powers of green molten lava rays beaming from my eyes at the enemies of wild romance fleeing in horror to the sewer at the very thought of my sweet kung fu grip....also like to change in all of those Canadian coins in my top drawer next to the firecrackers that I finally lit half them off.
Do you prefer buying things new or used? Explain.
I wouldn't mind a new working car to dodge six year deep potholes on I-75 with...not many other cars besides the Munster Dragster I would really want though...if I am ever dragged into the mall by someone for anything, I am usually mortified yet tragically not surprised on how difficult it is to find a decent shirt that doesn't have some logo or catch-phrase on it.....I rarely buy anything new for myself mostly because I am broke and I have broken things that I want to fix but they usually just remain broken for a few more years until I can afford a new one of whatever it was I was going on about, I wouldn't mind to find a nice inexpensive black suit coat with New Years glitter from 1959 still in the pocket. Used hygiene products are not that cool tho...I prefer a spankin' new toothbrush, dental floss, or condom as opposed to the community hand me around...presto with micro appointed behavior chips complete with slogan obeyment if that is such a word, catch phrase recognition and a 3-D vision of eternity painted on the back of a potato salad stained paper plate that just zinged out the window. Last thing I really spent money on was getting fixed the bass I had since I was thirteen which was bought used out of the Trading Times.
What draws you to a person and what makes you want to stay away?
Under hypnotic trance is how I have been lured into the presence of some folks........more than once had someone use without irony, and in fact being very angry, red faced, and teary eyed grabbing my collar, pushing me against the Party Store wall, spit and drool flying at me like a hole in a garden hose....screaming "How Do You Like Them Apples?! Huh?! How Do You Like Them Apples???!!!"
What is the world about?
From what I have read, the ocean floor's deepest spot is 10,920-m--being Challenger Deep at the southern end of the Marianas Trench off the Mariana Islands. The world will be destroyed by its human inhabitants for cheap evil.
Do you think that your friends have good common sense? Explain.
Makes good common sense to breathe unless you are trying to keep quiet under your bed while some creature is stalking your home at 2:30 AM looking for your frightened naked body... I fortunately keep company with people that don't really need the DO NOT DRINK warning on their turpentine, I think... I usually like what most of my friends will choose to put on the record player. Things not making much sense is very common. I am lucky to have friends.
Is cooking soothing and relaxing or is it an irritating waste of time? Explain.
If you were to be burned at the stake by puritans or in
a large cauldron by headhunters...it would be quite irritating and you may
reflect upon time wasted in your life. I have no problem preparing something
that I would like to eat unless it is something that may bite me in the
process. Don't like cooking for other people because I am afraid that my
raspberry peanut butter machine herring dip may give them botulism. It is
a pleasure to know someone who really gets into cooking...guess if you are
really starving and I mean really starving to death somewhere like a lot
of people are, you are not too concerned about how comfortable or irritated
you are trying to pull the skin n' flesh off of a three month dead mongrel
in the gutter garnished swill, splitting dithered fingernails wearing a
rabies stained KISS THE COOK apron.
Is consciousness best altered or unaltered? Explain.
Depends on the digs doing the alterations, even though I believe our consciousness is in a flux of constant alteration--be it meth, school, whiskey, church, television, Etch-A-Sketch, crack, exhaust pipe fumes, etc.--what you intend to function as or for under the chosen or forced influence makes up a batch of significant difference to its conduciveness or detriment for a chosen or forced situation...a shot of morphine for someone getting the gangrene cut off their lip with a switchblade in comparison of effect to some cat washing windows at the 183rd floor... I prefer a sober airline pilot but I don't mind being stoned at a boring wedding.
What makes things important?
What makes something important is definitely how much it is worth in a monetary value and the number of good decent God fearing people that agree with this, be it the importance of an idea or an object...because we all know that the majority is always correct. So in using that dynamic theory...Billy Joel is much more important than Ornette Coleman and Britney is far more superior to Dinah Washington, and I don't stand a chance of being on the same level of importance on the fast food chain as Ricky Martin. Who needs Voltaire or Selby when you got Kathy Lee and those Chicken Soup for The Mental Midget Soul books? The importance of something is many times relative to its placement at any given situation, like the broken guitar neck in Blow Up that was worth fighting for in the dance hall but became a worthless hunk of broken wood out in the street and is discarded as such. Many people believe something is important just because they have been told that it is ( "Well...it won a Grammy!"..."I heard the Detroit Free Press gave it 4 stars !" blah blah). If a person's basis of importance towards something is implemented by a sentimental value, that does not necessarily diminish it as being frivolous by any means. It can be and is just a worthless toy to one yard sale rummager yet to another that stretched out to all hell Stretch Armstrong might remind them of a fond moment as a child or perhaps a reminder of a lost loved one that gave it to them as a gift or some real weird yet exciting sexual encounter.The importance of an idea, lets say to civil rights, something people whole heartedly know is worth fighting and possibly dying for, is also in the hand and mind of the individual or individuals as a collective that adhere towards that principle....the personal rights of a gay couple is of no importance to a Rush Limbaugh type of creature...what the Christian Bible may decree, may be of absolutely no importance to someone who is not a Christian or several species of alligator, same tolls for any and all religions...what Paris Hilton is f*cking up is of no importance to me but does attract the attention of being a serious "must know" for the inquiring zombified readers of People, Maxim, or countless other rags of top ten list faux journalism. Who or what the hell happens on American Idol is extremely unimportant to me, but I don't want or need the people who watch that trash lined up and gutted groin to neck. An oxygen source is pretty important to deep sea diving and strutting about the moon. What usually is the basis of something deemed important for myself is apparently channeled by a curious feeling inside...something that even mere words like true love or unadulterated truth cannot accurately describe or embody in an equation of absolutes...a something, somewhere, or someone that I hope sticks around for as long as possibly durable. Authenticity. If an asteroid the size of Canada smashed into the earth or if the sun explodes like a supernatural pack of black cats--the chained events would most likely be extremely important to everyone and everything in a way that is probably not too cute. I have found throughout my life many things that I felt were important which showed not to be...and other things that I felt were insignificant have proved to mean a great deal...sometimes I just need to wake up.
Are people becoming more intelligent or less intelligent? Explain.
I am not sure if the human race as a whole has ever been completely an intelligent species whatever the hell intelligence may mean...sure there have been many individuals that have moved beyond standard ideas of possibilities and raised the bar so to speak...on levels of compassion as well as of science. Throughout history, wonderful displays of knuckle-headed buffoonery have been paraded...still marching on in fact. It takes a certain amount of brilliance to make a doomsday missile but it is still pretty stupid thing to make. Of course, with the advent of media technology (with even more so immediacy, accessibility, and sensory attention than in the past) having an instant collection of brain washed consuming shill is a snap. Work retail for awhile and you meet some supreme totems of idiocy for sure. I am not positive if it is because I am getting older and realizing how many dumb as f*ck people there are in the world or that there has always been an overwhelming amount and I was just too ignorant myself to notice just how much and to what extent. As with many things, intelligence can be relative to the situation at hand...a top notch Monkee brain surgeon may have the intelligence required for their gig much more than a mechanic placed in a situation to operate on Zira or Dolenz, yet rendered utterly useless compared to the mechanic if you need your '92 blue Ford escort fixed...but is that intelligence or "know how" or are they the same thing? Trained ingrained smarts? What is considered intelligence is related more to trivial regurgitation quite a bit these days anyhoo . The top 40 charts and 'must see TV" are a dead give away to the dunce-like biped apparatus cabbage row packaged to respond in that niche of communication which I am positive creates perfect simpletons like a well oiled dumbass machine. But then again I smoke, which is pretty stupid...and I am sure to do countless other ridiculous things onward in my lifeline...I somehow manage to poke myself in the eye at least once a year. I am not sure if I like my answer to this question too much...so often I feel extraordinarily dumb.
What are you certain of?
I am certain that I have a better chance of being struck by lightning than winning the Lotto. I am certain that if I jump off of a building that I will mess myself up really good. I am certain that I would be a complete mental wreck if I had to dance the Hustle with a King Cobra wrapped about my inner thigh. I am certain that if the world doesn't change its tune then we all doomed. I am certain that if I slept with Audrey Tautou that my wife would not be too thrilled with me. I am certain that the world owes me nothing. I am certain that pirate werewolves are sweet. I am certain that I would not want to have Madonna or Eddie Van Halen in my band or anywhere near the studio. I am certain that King Tut's ghost is gonna get you high, brother. I am certain that I will never regret choosing not to not see Motley Crue, Ratt, or Jefferson Starship in concert. I am certain that I never want to own a Hummer or ride in a Hummer limo (which may be the most disgusting vehicle on earth). I am still not sure what I want to be when I grow up though...maybe God or Goddess, charismatic cult figure, or Batman. I know that I really know nothing.
Do you know the difference between wrong and right? Explain.
Not really if I don't want to admit that I really do. My mind and body are callous rivals. Defining right and wrong parameters, especially on a fixed strict linear basis, has a peculiar habit of still birthing a closed shop--erect the definite gallows--monotheism in such a dangerous way that it doesn't make me a notoriously big fan. Granted that in many examples it is justified such as in speed limits and "YOU MUST BE THIS TALL TO RIDE THE APOCOLYPTOR." Although I did happen to witness part of a Britney Spears video the other day with her throwing tantrums with some guy that is supposed to be her equally as juvenile stupid boyfriend tossing deli trays in slo-mo, supposedly offing herself (unfortunately not for real) to the million dollar tune of din n' dung and I knew for sure without a doubt that it was just soooo wrong. I felt violated and unholy....washed my hands vigorously until I saw skeleton and still felt cheap.
What would you do with a baby if you did not want it?
That would be entirely up to the mother since it would be her body that is radically changed and will have to go through the birthing process. Of course it would be something that I would discuss with her and offer support on various ways to deal with the situation...but ultimately it would be her decision and I would take the responsibility needed for the child not to grow up and murder me like Madame Curoinza said could happen along with the rain of horse heads and blood sleet.
Is communication important? Why or why not?
In the beginning was the word...Thunderbird! Art as communication is (for me at least) distinguished by its intent and execution...same could be said for almost anything else. Who or what am I to judge or execute? Yet I sure as hell do plenty o' times. Wonderful music critics have remarked about the amount of reverb or echo on my records as if it were a result of some foolish faulty mishap on my part . A phone sex operator compared to air traffic control letting a pilot know when and where to land have different ideas of what is conducive communication depending on how horny you are and how drunk the pilot is. There is a big difference between a Noam Chomsky essay compared to the liner notes on Kiss Alive even though Gene Simmons would probably have an argument declaring my statement as being a weak model. Sign language is nice unless you have hand your hands crushed by Mammoth X-K-Tel: The Avenging Abominable Carrying Pigeon! Smoke signals don't translate on that worldwide web very well even in Flash. I am sure that people have and will shoot at a waving white flag. I see people run stop signs and red lights all the time and rarely use their turn signals. Being able to communicate by signaling with a flashlight from the shed is handy if you are up to something. Lassie always knew to go get help in town every time Timmy fell into the well. Communication breakdown; it ain't always the same.
How can you tell if something is close or far away?
My sense of depth and perception has relocated incompletely nearby and somewhat out beyond and afar particularly when involving distance in time distant consistent with distance near time inconsistent...a direct effect of a few years of sinister drafting gigs when they were low on work and kept me on the blueprint machine inhaling luscious toxic fumes all day plus an all night drunken Creature From the Black Lagoon in 3-D marathon projected on a stucco basement wall with four Max Fleischer shorts... Fortunate for lucky me, I can tell the sidewalk is not as far away from my head as I would like to think that it is...I used to be able to catch mosquitos in the air with my "look at my bloody hand" until I stopped completely one unusually dark afternoon...it wasn't that I chickened out because of West Nile Virus like the confounded papers accused me of...no!...no...it was on that fateful August afternoon, me and the once foe and fiend Mosquito signed (in blood of course), a diabolical pact that will seal the fate of all those insolent sycophants and that snobbish Debbie Hill who all laughed and pointed and taunted me at the University and called me mad! They called me MAD!!?? MAD!!! WHOSE LAUGHING NOW?!!!
If you injured or killed an animal or a person while driving and you knew with absolute certainty that no one would ever know that you did it, would you stop or just keep going? Explain.
If I smashed a turtle shell all to hell--I would be keeping on with the driving on down that loathsome road--not that I dislike turtles, I think turtles and especially the snapping ones are very interesting fantastic creatures but I don't think I would be able to drive back and breathe my voodoo on the poor turtle and up he comes skipping back to life to tell stoned yet inquisitive kids where Mr. Owl is so they can get their sucker basically stolen... If I injured an animal that I wouldn't think would attempt to viciously devour me if I tried to help it, then I would stop but probably still end up with a new hybrid of super rabies and get my mug in dozens of medical journals with a disease of the month centerfold where I let everyone know how much I love bubble baths and hate crowded elevators. If I killed a human being by mistake and no one saw it...I would probably drive on to tell the truth....sure I would be a mental wreck all the way home and I would probably imagine seeing the body haunting all over my house and hear it walk around at night or when I am in the shower I hear it break dishes and slam windows whispering " I am going to get you motherf*cker!"...but I would also be even more of a mess locked up in some prison for being a klutz rather than for being malicious, and hearing the other inmate slung in the cell with me screaming the same threat three inches from my face while swinging a sock full of pennies over his head . I can live with a creepy ghost but not a homicidal creep. If I injured a human being...I would go back and try to help them while I am freaking out and most likely vomiting. The ride to the hospital would sure have some awkward conversation..." Sorry I almost killed you but I really really really want to save your life now! You're going to be okay I just know it! You want the tape deck off?" Also depends on the injuries the person received...if their guts are spilling out on the road, it would probably be a good idea to not try to carry them into the car, same goes if I see protruding skele-bones. Of course I wouldn't have my hot new cell phone with the Jefferson's Theme ring tone on me, and if I did it would not have been charged up at all for weeks. So I would probably drive talking to myself up the road to the place off the freeway where the old Stuckeys that became a Velvet Touch and now only sells crayons is, and use their phone booth to call a real ambulance while disguising my voice pronouncing that my name is Maurice.
How are plants and animals different?
Plants don't usually sleep and scratch at the foot of the bed or lick your face and knock over beer bottles... It has been warned that on the real Christmas Eve in April that all the animals on Earth speak with deadly human voices in every impossible language sharing stupid people jokes and stories about U.F.O sightings talkin' blood in the river...wild exotic plants cruise the nursing a broken heart nightclubs and discotheques of the over world, winning instant dance contests for the sick kids back at the hospital and Old Mrs. Litter.
Would you rather be remembered or forgotten? Explain.
There is a new Witches song (don't mean to plug ) called "Silent and the Shade" that deals with two different people at a funeral and the relationship they had with the deceased. One of them recounts intimate moments shared while the other has already forgotten whose funeral they are at even before they get another helping of mostaccoli at the wake. Of course I would want my family and friends not to be " Troy? Who the what the fuck of?"...but getting an obit or eulogy in Mojo or Tiger Beat next to one on Gwen Stefani and Dave Matthews don't mean dick to a dead man from a dead world. Don't leave my family with an award or plaque, give them my invisible royalties .
How do you explain things?
Probably not that well seeing as how asking for "no ice please" in an orange pop has been ignored countless times and taken for "sprinkle a bit of that there orange soda on top a huge iceberg if you please"...must be my faulty grammar and incessant clammer... I am aware that I do tend to find myself thinking and talking in pictures and that I am hazardously prone to spin off a subject or its meaning not unlike rats in the City Pool Swimming Pool...or to quote the great Foghorn Leghorn "This will cause more confusion than a mouse in a burlesque show." Making up new fangled fanged instantaneous slang on a repeated viewings of " Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things" level, cackling annoyingly frustrating contradictions at eight miles a minute, using double bubble double negatives while snapping my gum doesn't make for earnest points of view to get in get out of the mud...although I have been told that I discuss film quite eloquently using Der Kling Klang Ebonics. Sometimes I explain things about as well the person I am talking to is listening to me. I give bad directions to the Lager House but I can tell you how to get to the Detroit Zoo and find the reptile house without getting too lost. I find that if I am explaining something musical to someone that they tend to stare at me like I am vomiting crickets. I don't like using a Hallmark Card to explain how I feel about a person or to wish them a happy birthday even if I am awkward and tumbling on my words with a mouth fulla cookies. I would like to think that my emotions will portray themselves sincere and clear enough that the person will catch the drift. But that has blown up in my face many times as well... I find that some people prefer a Christmas card to a raised Pabst and a "Hey.". A "wink is as good as a nudge" and all that blind bat chitter-chat has helped me out with some seriously traumatic situations as well as getting my nose broke a few times. I wanted to wear one of those REPENT THE END IS NEAR sandwich boards to my high school graduation while wearing a rubber Swamp Thing or False Face mask...but somehow my parents talked me out of doing that while holding my head under a scalding hot faucet.
Do you know what you are doing? Explain.
I mow the lawn just fine yet still manage to hit rocks that sling at my eyeballs. There have been times that I have felt as if there was some schizophrenic Gepetto having a good dirty laugh at my expense...some people might call that demonic possession. I don't always know when I am flirting with someone, which has led to some very embarrassing moments as well as a few unexpected nice ones . I know how to drive a car but I have smashed into the back of Elton John's limo before, and it wasn't on purpose this time. I believe that I know what I am doing musically but don't always know what the end result will sound like until it has been executed. Which has been a large part part of the "chilling thrilling" for me...although I like it very much when I am not thinking about doing it and I am relative only to the initiated moment. I find that my favorite and most satisfying work exhumes from that space. There have been many times in my life that I realized that I have no clue whatsoever in the billiard room with a knife. I don't know what I am going to do tonight but I do know that it will involve a blimp, a walkie talkie, and the accursed stuffed animal god Rufus J.Bubbles McCall ( Ph.D.) of Bikini Island and its glorious notorious nether regions. May there be mercy in the mayhem upon my poor plasma and toll road soul...and to you and yours at yer final earthly birth on your turn to go.
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