Synapse Magazine, May/June 1978.

Like bloated slugs in the middle of a lettuce field, we civilized people hot in touch with the New West marvels of our stupid shit-worth culture are reduced to talking about the Screamers. Gonna talk about 'em, all right, in the dubious comfort of our iso-homes, and jesus, it's a wonder how Danish Modern has stuck around isn't it? And those Screamers, they just won't go away. Screamers, what can you say about 'em.

If you're smart, you won't say anything. But practically nobody's smart, and practically everybody feels compelled to say something about the Screamers, particularly the press, who are some of the least smart people around mainly because they think they're smart. So about the Screamers, you have to say:

Click. They are an L.A.-based musical group of 4 boys with various types of strange short hair. Click. They use synthesizer, keyboards, drums and voices, no guitars. Click. They excite everything from dumb mesmerization to pogo frenzy in persons exposed to their big-beat jerk-drone music in performance.

One day fairly soon the Screamers will make a record, and it will be very good, and people will listen to it and talk about it. They will have read about the Screamers in Time and Newsweek and the Cupboard Companion, and they'll pass the joint of legalized commercial Tru-Flo Marijuana (or maybe just hand onto an individualized Sayf-T Saniroach) and say, "Interesting phenomenon." Maybe a note to comsume then if they should come through town and look at that hair and rumors of gay activisim and YOU'D NEED TO SLOG INTO BATTLE WITH THE HATE OF CENTURIES AND AN ATOMIC BAZOOKA ON EACH ARM TO MAKE THE SLIGHTEST DENT IN THE SOLID WALL OF BULLSHIT THAT HAS KEPT ANYBODY FROM KNOWING ANYTHING SINCE ADAM BIT THE APPLE.

If you want to understand something read about John Travolta or some other symbol which was made for the media and has no existance outside the media. The Screamers are different, probably unfortunately for their wallets. Live: Tomata the singer sounds like the kind of artifical voice box they have to put in after surgical larynx removal. His face can instantly assume any caricature. He will sometimes move his hands within a drone like an Egyptian death spirit. Gear on synthesizer is usually either like one of those floor mounted punching bags or a doctor in mid-operation. K.K. the drummer stares at an empty space with his mouth open, absolutely intent on popping people's heads around. He looks as if he never stops. He has to be transported place ot place on a platform complete with drums, never ceasing to beat.

An this description is probably a waste of time. The Screamers do something outside words. I don't know what most of the lyrics to the songs are, and I really don't think I give a fuck. I didn't understand the Screamers at first and after considerable contact: I still don't understand them, thank god.

Nevertheless you have to do something, can't just sit around, never too old to go to school, right? So we go to the house where Gear and Tomata are, talk to them. They're due for a photog session so Tommy Gear just shaved, obviously with a new blade because he's got bright red patches all over his faces and looks like the Red Death. He speaks lightly and seriously with one side of his mouth raised about half an inch above the other. Tomata comes in from getting some Danish. Everything he says has the same weight, though he goes through a variety of acting styles. One might expect him to offer you a damp rag for your forehead. K.K. comes in late and the way he talks is kind of hard, flat, blunt and funny. He is rumored to be from the Midwest. Paul the new keyboard player is sort of bright and young looking, seems like a nice guy. He is duly exhibited.

So now you say, "Here's where I find out what those Screamers are all about. They're gonna talk and explain it all." right, all that stuff about how they hold seances to raise the ghost of Aleister Crowler, and they sleep on beds of nails and can turn themselves inside out at will, and how Liza Minneli comes over for late brunch and a quick dip, and their mothers are transvestite Greek Orthodox priests and their souls are are furnished in tasteful elegance and the resultant effect on their creative natures has produced music that is the essence of BLA, BLA, BLA and BLA, hopefully summed up in one pithy statement like "What today's youth wants and needs is a lot of avocados."

Wrong. My guess is all the Screamers really want from an interview is to get their pictures in print so people can get curious about them. So let's not even pretend any of this means much, and just slop a bunch of it out for your curiousity. There's a bunch of sawed-up wood lying around.

What are you building our here?
Tomata: Sawdust.
Gear: A temple to punk rock . . . I thing we're in a period of transition in a sense; barriers are being blurred or being redefined--it puts everything in a jumble. I think that's why punk music came along when it did, is because of the redefinition of categories.
Tomata: First they called us punk, then they called us art, now they call us techno-punk. . .
K.K.: Yeah, we've been going down a list to see what we can indoctrinate everbody else to think is "new."
Gear: We also had the reputation of being a mental health or psychotherapy band. At least we're getting away from that, although we played at Camarillo State Mental Hospital recently.
Tomata: There was this girls there who kept following me from one side of the stage ot the other just rubbing her tits and going "punk rock . . . punk rock."
Gear: The best part was a guy who sat at the edge of the stage and for the entire duration of the show prayed to Tomata . . . I don't know if I believe in God, but definitely the power of prayer.
Would the Screamers use sound patterns proven invariably to produce certain responses in listeners?
Gear: It could be used, but there would have to be a warning, like on drugs, "This could be hazardous" . . .
Tomata: It would be interesting if we could stimulate cardiac arrest . . . to see them drop . . .
On alternate modes of communication:
Tomata: It's kind of interesting when you see people who are flipped out or retarded, in the way they talk or try to express themselves, but they really can't, so it's like animal sounds, things like that, they jerk about, their hands go . . . I'm really fascinated because they are saying something and it's very . . . lucid, the way their sounds are made, and it's sometimes more direct than if they were speaking common English.
Gear: It's developing a language that goes beyond differences . . . sounds that come from insied their organism rather than from their brain.
On music:
Gear: Popular music has suffered what I refer to as a tyranny of guitars. It would be like it classical music if they were to feature one instrument alone . . . The synthesizer as you know is a very versatile instrument, but every time I see it, it's used just as a mere sound effect device.
Tomata: It's a whoopee cushion.
General statements:
Gear: "I took some cockraoch eggs and autoclaved them at 500 degrees to see what would happen and they still hatched live."
"Style. . . You can't really seperate the information from the means of communication."
"We have these French exchange students across the street and they do these exercises on the front lawn."
"We want to escalate the impending stagnation of pop music."
"The way people are today, I'm more concerned with inciting them to do anything--any kind of awakening would be welcome."
"We were in a resturant the other night that used to be a mortuary."
"The Comte St. Germain (influential legendary world figure supposed to have lived hundreds of years) . . . Now there's a religion in Pasadena that worships him."
"Halloween's coming up."
"We're obsessed."
-Greg Burk