Takes One To Know One… JADA WAGENSOMER > 2/28/12


Today’s Takes One To Know One Power-View is with mythical beast-ess Jada Wagensomer, the master-mind-ess behind Brass Tax, who are  feverishly celebrating the release-ess of their Neurotic Yell debut LP, “Brass Tax Album“. If Ivor Cutler, Ruben & The Jets era Frank Zappa and Harry Nilson all became, ummm “involved”, with Suzy Quattro, then the ensuing baby girl would probably insight a jealous cat fight with Jada, especially after Brian Wilson tried to sue for custody. In addition to Brass Tax, Streetrobe, and Baby & Guy, Jada also donates her triple platinum larnyx to Jail Weddings, and, I am proud to say, her patented bass face to Dante Vs Zombies. She loathes starting sentences with upper case letters. By the way, I have no problem with Jada’s Christmas obsession. (Interview sponsored by The Inglewood Lollypop and Tiara Company- aka Dante Vs Zombies‘ Dante White-Aliano). 

D:  Are you mad at me?

J: yes

D: What are you thinking about?

J: naked children

D: You’ve been making music for how long?

J: since you were kneehigh to a grasshopper

D: Have you ever thought you should stop?

J: nope, never

D: You’re a licensed hypnotherapist. What got you interested in this?

J: uh, money and helping people and stuff. i have always been interested in telepathy and astral projection and things of that nature. i used to practice self hypnosis when i was a teenager and i was even was able to move stuff with my mind! (i only did this once). i guess the thought of controlling people is appealing to anyone (but that’s not really how it works). or is it?

D:  Did your approach to music change after you became a hypnotherapist? If so how?

J: not really.

D: Why not?

J: they are very seperate things to me. they live in different parts of my brain.

D:  How many goddamn instruments do you play anyway? Which one comes to most naturally to you? The least?

J: i play piano, charango, banjo, guitar, bass, accordion, ukulele, banjolele, kazoo, nose flute, etc. any stringed instruments in the above list come very naturally to me. the accordion is the most difficult, but sometimes i feel possessed when I play it, like I’ve opened up another dimension.  

D:  I would like to know more about your musical history. Can you tell me about some of your early bands? The earliest one I’m familiar with is the Not So Lonelies, but I know you’ve been in quite a few musical projects prior to that, back in Chicago and what not. Can you share some details about those?

J: i was in alot of bands in chicago, starting when I was 13 (i moved to l.a. from chicago 6 years ago). let’s see, there was blust, the scabs, hotfoot, the deadhounds and the holidays (which i continued for a little while with new band members when i first moved to l.a.). but my 2 favourites were ‘a revolution called steve’ – named after the Aerosmith pinball game (of course) and ‘forklift experience’. those were both just kind of fun, goofy indie rock bands. i have been booed off the stage many, many times but that never even once made me question if i should keep doing music or not. i just figured everyone else was retarded, and as it turns out it’s true!  i had always recorded demos of my songs on this crappy 4-track i got when i was 12 with me playing everything. those recordings will always be very special to me. i hope to release a record of those someday. demo recordings of songs tend to be my favourite because they are never really finished and you can always hear new things that aren’t there in your mind so the possibilities are endless. this is a pretty funny story… the band i was in called the deadhounds probably lasted the longest. we had a record out and t-shirts and stuff, but none of my bands in chicago were successful at all. one day a few months ago, my brother blaise (who still lives in chicago) saw a guy on the subway wearing a deadhounds t-shirt and he was like ‘hey my sister was in that band’ and they guy said ‘oh, i just found this in a dumpster’.

D: How come you don’t let Foot Foot sleep with you? Aren’t you worried about losing your deposit when the landlord sees that patch of carpet he’s destroyed in front your bedroom door?

J: alright, first of all, I do let foot foot sleep with me as he is an excellent sleeping companion (eventhough sometimes he tries to steal my essence) AND that patch of carpet was destroyed by the previous tenent’s cat because they wouldn’t let their cat sleep with them, so I think you should take this up with them.

D:  What’s your deal, anyway? I mean, come on.

J: is it cool if i ask you a few questions?

D: Jada, you know I don’t have any answers.  What do you think makes you so perfect for Triangle Room?

J: i am triangle room

D: Do you prefer Yes or No questions or freestyle questions?

J: maybe

D: If you had to choose to lose a limb, which one would it be?

J: does a phantom penis count?

D: Is there any other kind of penis?

J: i’m not sure

D: Do you have a recurring muse, if so, what/who?

J: homeless people seem to be a reccuring theme in many of my songs. i also write a lot about the plight of the common working man (me included in that) and the unavoidable mundaneness and monotony of everyday life. my lyrics might seem depressing, but i always have a sense of humor about everything and the music isn’t sad, so i think it’s a funny contrast. 

D: What would be the hardest combinations of food for you to digest? 

J: oh man, you get a carb, protein, starch, and dairy situation going on? forget about it. whew…

D: Will you please smoke marijuana?

J: i would like to again, but i don’t want to get “the fear”

D:  Have the parents of the girl in ‘The Man With The Tooth’ video seen the video?

J: not yet, but i’m sure they will be very proud, i mean who wouldn’t be?

BRASS TAX ‘Man with the Tooth’ from Burke Roberts on Vimeo.

D:  Is it okay if this interview never ends? I mean, I could just keep coming up with questions for the rest of my life. Will you keep answering them?

J: yes

D: You recently got a remote control helicopter for Christmas, and from what I’ve seen, you’re getting rather good at controlling it. Can we somehow turn this fact into an interview question? If so, what would the question be and what your answer be to that question?

J: question:  how did you get to be such a badass? answer: I didn’t have any other choice

D:  What were your first words?

J: surprisingly my first word was money which i obviously don’t like very much because i decided to become a musician.

D: Do you think your last words will be different? If so, what do you think they’ll be?

J: my last words will probably be, “i wonder what happens if i do this?”

D: Why do you think your neighbors are so rude to you?

J: i’m not quite sure, but i share a wall with their teenage daughter and i can hear everything she does. lately she has been obsessively listening to nirvana and dante vs zombies (which is very weird because i don’t think she knows i am in that band). therefore she can probably hear everything that i am doing in my room and maybe that’s why.

D: Why are you so obsessed with Christmas? 

J: I’m not sure? i just really really love christmas. it warms my cold cold heart (i know my christmas obsession bothers you)

D: What’s your least favorite holiday? Why?

J: Mujahideen Victory Day is bullshit 

D:  You’ve said you were a “Dew Baby” as if people are supposed to know what that means. When I’ve said, “what’s that?”, you’ve explained that you drank a lot of mountain dew as a young girl. Do you currently enjoy this beverage? Any hypothesis on what effect this has had on your life?

J: no, I cannot remember the last time I drank a “soda pop”. i never actually drank water or ate real “food” as a kid. just things like cans of frosting, soy sauce, ketchup sandwiches. i’m sure these things rotted my teeth and vital parts of my brains. thanks parents!!

D: When’s your brother coming back to LA?

J: soon

D:  Make believe that I just asked you a really serious, multi-layered question. Without revealing what that question might be, answer it in the most long winded, self important, overly-intense way that you can.

J: well dante, although the term’s provenance rests in African folklore (i.e., the gum doll Anansi created to trap Mmoatia, the dwarf), some Americans consider “tar baby” to be a pejorative term for African Americans. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “tar baby” in its original sense — and as “a derogatory term for a black person (U.S.) or a Maori (N.Z.)”. Several United States politicians — including presidential candidates John McCain, John Kerry, and Mitt Romney — have been criticized by civil rights leaders, the media, and fellow politicians for using the “tar baby” metaphor. An article in The New Republic argued that people are “unaware that some consider it to have a second meaning as a slur” and it “is an obscure slur, not even known to be so by a substantial proportion of the population.” It continued that, “those who feel that tar baby’s status as a slur is patently obvious are judging from the fact that it sounds like a racial slur” (italics in original text). In other countries, the phrase continues to refer to problems of an intractable nature [vague] worsened by intervention.

D:  Do you have any plans to make a Streetrobe record?

J: no, Streetrobe is a live performance piece only

D:  I’ve noticed that you divide your songwriting output up into several projects, rather than combining them into one. For example, when I suggested you play Streetrobe songs as Brass Tax, you responded as if I had dementia. Why do you do things like this?

J: well dante, i am a very multifaceted person and each project i do has a very different concept and feeling. i take on a new personality with each one and furthermore, the twain shall not meet. blah blah blah etc. etc.  

D: Describe your dream project. The one that you would do if their weren’t a single logistic to stand in your way.

J: there isn’t one BIG  thing that i would like to do. my favourite things to do are one off projects, for example ‘the zombie zombies’ which you were also involved in. we dressed up as zombies and covered zombies songs but changed the lyrics to be about eating brains (and then i got sick because i drank too much fake blood). i am very proud of that. i guess i would just like to do alot on one off conceptual bands and actually be able to pull it off with huge stage shows, fireworks, strippers, animatronic robot sharks, etc. they would almost be like mini-musicals (but without all the gay stuff). ‘pennies from heaven’ with bernadette peters and steve martin is my favourite movie of all time and has been a huge influence on me artistically. i swear i will learn how to tap dance even if it kills me. lately i’ve been wanting to do a live stage show acting out and playing the kinks album soap opera. i really love that album and the concept behind it. ray davies is my favourite songwriter of all time. i have been wanting to start a band called ‘the dumbheads’ for a while now. it would be a fugs/frank zappa style doo wop group with weird instrumentation like synthesizers and banjos and 4 part vocal harmonies.     

D: What do you think the most common misconception that people have of you is?

J: people always think i’m angry or too serious, both of which i am never. it’s just the way my face looks, i can’t help it.

D: Wait, so then you aren’t mad at me?

J: no, i still am

D: Is there lyrical subject matter that you refuse to touch?

J: not really. some of my lyrics can get very personal and i don’t really have any problem exposing myself to people.

D: You buy expensive honey that is supposedly better because the manufacters’ “take the time to talk to their bees”. Jesus christ, Jada. What’s that all about?

J: i don’t ‘buy’ the honey i ‘accquire’ it in another fashion (wink wink). it’s goddamn good honey and i love me some honey. i don’t feel like i need to defend myself on this.   

D: Are you enjoying this interview?

J: quite

D:  How about now?

J: not so much

D:  If some fucking leprechaun or a bear or golden fruit bat or something were to tell you could be rich and famous as a creative artist, but it couldn’t be music, and you’d never be able to play music again, and you couldn’t refuse, ( I don’t know why, but you couldn’t). What would you put all of your sudden extra time into?

J: i really want to answer these questions with sincerity to actually do this interview justice because i can tell that you have really put alot of thought and effort into these questions and i know that the world really needs to know how i feel deep inside my soul, so i’m gonna say:  masturbating  

D:  Tell me about the first song you ever wrote. What was it about? What was it called? What did you like and dislike about it?

J: it didn’t really have a name but the only lyrics were “oh no here comes the o”  it was just a and f with a capo on the 3rd fret, it was completely meaningless like most of my songs, i just thought it sounded cool. i was 9

D:  Want to play 20 questions? ( we should probably do this part in real time)

J: didn’t we just play 39 questions?

D: Wait. Don’t tell me. Is it a pound of butter?

J: how did you guess?