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black tape for a blue girl interview
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black tape for a blue girl interview February 12, 1998
black tape for a blue girl is the original Projekt band.  Sam Rosenthal writes pretty much all of the material which is a lot of times ambient keyboard tones with lots of reverb & then sometimes people sing & lately there's cello & now flute too.  he also runs Projekt in case you didn't know that.  here's some other data to help this make sense: Lycia & lovesliescrushing are bands on Projekt & there is a novel/diary/book that Sam wrote called the first pain to linger that comes with a cd.
QRD – have you ever not signed anyone you liked because you didn't see much sales potential in Projekt's market for them?

Sam – no.  but occasionally I have signed people who I later didn't like so much because I thought there was sales potential.  but I did like them at the time I signed them.

QRD – would you rather your fans deify you or anthropomorphosize you into someone like themselves?

Sam – I don't understand the question.

QRD – they can either put you on a pedestal or say, "I identify with him, because he's just like me."

Sam – the second one.

QRD – is that which one they do?

Sam – yeah.  occasionally there's some things that feel like a pedestal & that's awkward.  because I'm just me, give me a break, I don't know how to react to that.

QRD – do you feel that the slowing down of black tape for a blue girl with the growth of Projekt has hurt you as an artist or forced you to make better records & push yourself more?

Sam – both.  it has hurt me as an artist because an artist should be making art & I don't make enough art.  however, when I do make a record, since there's a longer time in between them, it seems like there's a lot more change to me.  that's to me though, I don't know about the audience, but to me it feels quite different because it's three years later.

QRD – what's your favorite song that's not on the new record?

Sam – by me? I dunno.  my favorite album is probably a chaos of desire, & it's hard to pick one because they all just flow together to me.  so it would probably be something on there, but I don't know what.

QRD – do you feel that Projekt's future is more towards the ambient crowd or the goth crowd?

Sam – I would say that it's sort of what you by your choice call the "goth crowd."  I think if you think about black tape & Lycia though they do have ambient elements they are pretty much in that crowd.  I don't think that either of those would be snorfled up by the ambient crowd, they're probably still going towards the goth crowd.  but I just think that's just more of where it's at for Projekt.

QRD – has it always been that way? that that's which one you've preferred?

Sam – yeah. my music has an ambient element to it too, so I can't just break it one way or the other.  I can't say black tape is just that, because it still has ambient in it.  but I think always the stronger support has come from the gothic crowd.

QRD – what's your favorite Swans song?

Sam – I have never heard a Swans song that I know of.  I've probably heard them at a club, but I didn't know it was the Swans. answer: I don't know.  wait, did I just make myself look stupid?

QRD – what kind of monster would you most like to be & what kind do you most identify with?

Sam – I am not very knowledgeable about monsters.  probably one of the big ones that can destroy cities.  that'd be the funnest monster to be.

QRD – & the kind you most identify with?

Sam (snooty goth voice) – the Phantom of the Opera (laughter).

QRD – what's the most punk thing you've ever done?

Sam – I stole an extension cord from one of the clubs on this tour.

QRD – what's the number one trick of being a successful band?

Sam – doing what you want to do.

QRD – were the written unsung lyrics like on the rope originally supposed to be sung?

Sam – no.  those songs were instrumentals & I had been writing stuff & it just seemed like a nice idea to put stuff with instrumentals.  so that's where it came from.  they were never meant to be sung & not finished or something like that.

QRD – what's the connection between the written piece & the song?

Sam – I think often times the piece was already written & I just clipped the title out of the written piece.

QRD – so the songs were untitled?

Sam – I think, I can't remember because that was a long time ago & I have Ronald Reagan's disease.

QRD – in the eighties did you want black tape to be a live band?

Sam – I never really thought about it, so the answer would be no.  Oscar lived in florida & I was in school & who's gonna go to see a band do original music when no one has heard of the band.  it would be really hard.

QRD – do you think noise culture & musical dada-ists have a future where they make a living?

Sam – can you give examples?

QRD – early Swans, Teenage Jesus & the Jerks, Cindytalk, Glenn Branca....

Sam – I think you can make a living at anything if you know how to sell it right.  if you look at Philip Glass, he was at one time considered really weird & he's making a living at it now, but he's less weird than Glenn Branca.  & Sonic Youth took it & did enough to it that they can live off it.

QRD – do you think its moment's passed or its moment's coming?

Sam – to me, & I'm not familiar with the examples you gave, the things that would be called music concrete is so annoyingly boring.  all that stuff where you hear people tuning radios & banging on drums & dropping things is so dull.  I hope they can't make a living at it so they'll stop doing it, but not the people you mentioned because I don't know them.

QRD – so do you know what no-wave is?

Sam – I thought no-wave was like the Talking Heads late seventies new york scene.  no-wave as far as I know was the stuff Eno & Cale were producing in the mid to late seventies.  that's what I thought it was....  it was kind of rock still & kind of punk.  like remember how Lords of the New Church were considered alternative & you hear them now & it's like the Who or something, it's just rock & roll.  terms get old & lost.

QRD – what's your favorite slur of the name black tape for a blue girl?

Sam – I haven't heard enough slurs to vote on one. it's just people being goofy.

QRD – so how do you keep cats from pee-ing on furniture?

Sam – give them to Michael Plaster. then they won't pee on my furniture.  I don't have that problem with our cat.  it's a very good cat

QRD – what's going on with lovesliescrushing, are they gonna have another record?

Sam – I don't know.  Scott calls me about every two weeks & says, "I got my new record done!" & I say, "great, send it to me," & I never see it, so I don't know.  one day.

QRD – I keep hoping, even though everybody says the day has passed for the My Bloody Valentine derivative school of guitar.

Sam – it's funny, I never listened to My Bloody Valentine.  so when Scott sent me that I was like, "wow."  & then everybody said it sounded like that & I was like, "who's My Bloody Valentine?" I'd heard the name, but....

QRD – I heard My Bloody Valentine after lovesliescrushing & I thought, "this is pretty weak."

Sam – Scott is definitely less song oriented than that.

QRD – yeah, there are people who like songs & people who like pieces.

Sam – I've been listening to Fripp & Eno like No Pussyfooting since 1978 or something like that.  so there's a history for that kind of stuff.  Scott had never actually heard that album.  there's a lot that's in that same tradition even if it's independent.  a lot of people haven't heard that because it's "god-awful-noise," but that album came out in 1975 so it's a twenty year tradition.

QRD – so, you growing your hair out?

Sam – no, actually I got it cut. I got about a foot cut off of it, but now it's growing again.  the last time I had my hair cut was in 1984.

QRD – do you think christianity is on the rise or in decline?

Sam – I think lately it's been in decline.

QRD – do you think that's good or bad?

Sam – no. I don't know.  maybe it's because I don't live in california anymore you don't have as many nuts in the parking lot screaming at you with bullhorns so it seems like there's less christianity around, but maybe it's the same.  there're probably more christians in the midwest, but they're just not so in your face about it.

QRD – do you think militant christians are any better or worse than militant satanists?

Sam – at least the militant satanists have a sense of humor.  I don't know enough militant satanists.  militant vegetarians are kind of annoying also.  anything's annoying in your face.

QRD – your doing a tour for your book, how many copies did you press & is it actually distributed enough to actually warrant it?

Sam – yeah. 5,000 books were made & we press the accompanying cd as we need it.

QRD – is it going to be limited to 5,000?

Sam – no, the cover will probably change color or something like that & I'll press more.  I think I only have 1500 left.  it's doing as well as lush garden through the distributor now.  probably because it has different packaging.

QRD – do you have any wisdom for anybody?

Sam – if you put soy sauce on scrambled eggs it makes them taste a little bit more meaty but they're still eggs.

QRD – what's your favorite cartoon?

Sam – I'd like to say Ren & Stimpy, but I don't watch it much.

QRD – who's your favorite ghostbuster?

Sam – I've never seen it, but I do like Planet of the Apes quite a bit.

QRD – Planet of the Apes rips, but I don't know about the cartoon of it.

Sam – the cartoon was pretty bad & the tv series wasn't very good.

QRD – I like the one where they go to the seventies.

Sam – that one was lame, it's just a highway to the next one.

QRD – the next one's good, Julius takes over the world.

Sam – the book is really good.  the book is much better than the movie because it has extra stuff in it.

QRD – does it have Ricardo Montalban?

Sam – it doesn't say Ricardo Montalban, but you know he is the guy playing Armando. you know it's him.  I don't think there's a book for the third movie because it was so bad.  so if someone does have the book for the third movie, please send it to me care of Projekt.

QRD – on Fantasy Island, remember how he was like, "how will they survive off of the island...." do you think he kills them all?

Sam – no.  have you ever seen him when he was a young man in the forties?  he was a male lead, the sexy male lead in films.  he & Desi Arnaz went up for some movie roll & he got it & Desi didn't so Desi went on to do I Love Lucy instead.  but he was the romantic lead.  he's had three careers.  he was a romantic lead in the forties, then he was a nobody, then he had Fantasy Island, & then Star Trek.

QRD – what did you think of the Simpsons' rendition of Planet of the Apes?

Sam --  "Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Wanna Get Off?" that was great. I was reading in some fanzine that there were thirteen references to Planet of the Apes in various episodes.