Sure, we're always curious to know about an artist's upcoming release, most recent tour, or arsenal of analog gear, but XLR8R's also got a curiosity for quirk. Thus, each week, we email a different artist and find out what makes them tick, in the studio and in life. John Pugh parted ways with !!! some time ago to devote all of his time and energy towards his Free Blood project, in which he conducts experimental dance jams alongside Madeline Davy. We caught up with him recently to talk music (lots of it), desert boots, and the perils of sleepwalking at the Holiday Inn.
What are you listening to right now?
Blues Control by Blues Control Country; Life by Roxy Music; Funeral At The Movies by Shudder To Think; 1930 by Merzbow; Have It All by Planningtorock; All Around The World by Little Willie John; Singles 06-07 by Jay Reatard; Savoire Faire by Family Fodder; Satanic Panic In The Attic by Of Montreal; It Is Finished by Nina Simone; Shadow & Substance by Various Artists, Glass Records; Rally Round by Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus; Here, My Dear by Marvin Gaye
What's the weirdest story you ever heard about yourself?
When I was in my pre-teens, I used to sleepwalk on almost a nightly basis. In sixth grade, my class took an end-of-year trip to Montreal (our French teacher was involved somehow). The first night, I started walking around this massive, two-story Holiday Inn in a hallucinatory nightmare state, weaving deeper and deeper into a maze of hallways that all looked the same. It must have been four in the morning, because nobody was awake, except for a group of French-Canadian mountain climbers who were just checking into their room. The mountain climbers didn’t speak a word of English, but couldn’t just leave me wandering the halls, crying my eyes out like a baby on brown acid, so they shepherded me around the hotel knocking on doors, disturbing sleepy Canadians, looking for someone to claim me. The whole time, I was in a somnambulant daze. Eventually, they found my room, but my roommates wouldn’t open the door for these strange-talking beardsmen. One of them went down to the front desk and somehow convinced the concierge to give him a key to my room. The next morning, I only remembered bits and pieces, like a really vivid dream/panic attack. Our teachers commanded us to build a blockade of furniture in front our hotel door every night after, so that I couldn’t escape.
What band did you want to be in when you were 15?
I was torn between Minor Threat and Midnight Star.
Worst live show experience?
Unfortunately, [there are] too many to list. Usually [it] involves bad sound, bad vibes, or our own asinine behavior biting us on the ass. Let’s leave that for history to judge…
Favorite city to play in?
We had a great time in Portland and Philadelphia. Tokyo was amazing too, but for completely different reasons.
Do you have a favorite remix from The Singles?
Not to play favorite, but after hearing DJ Spun play out the Scotty Coats & Wes The Mess version of "Weekend Condition" at the PS1 party, I was floored. It made me truly proud!
What is your favorite thing you own?
Engraved cuff links given to me by my wife. And my notebook collection, full of at least 20 years’ worth of hair-brained schemes.
Name one item of clothing you can't live without.
My desert boots.
If you had to choose between Brooklyn and Manhattan, which would it be?
What did you always get in trouble for when you were little?
Peeing in the trash can in the TV room, 'cause I didn’t want to miss Night Court.
What other artist would you most like to work with?
The Neptunes and Brian Eno, at the same time!
What's the last thing you read?
Dreams From My Father by Barack H. Obama.
Complete this sentence: In the future...
…we will all be deaf and music as we know it will be obsolete. Start to vibrate!
Stupidest thing you've done in the last 12 months?
Again, too many to list. Most recently, wearing desert boots in three inches of snow.
More stupid things, some smart things, and a full-length album!