interview with Pat Ogl of Thanatos, December 15, 1996
Pat – there's no such thing as a tour
that does well financially, really, on this level.
QRD – you've recently added drums to your band, is there a particular reason why?
Pat – there should've always been drums. the second half of the first record was suppose to have drums on it, but the person I wanted to do it wasn't available. we tried to get drums on the second record, Sam (Rosenthal) was going to program it, but he didn't really want to & I'm pretty hopeless with programming drums. so there weren't very many, there are some. I think there should've been some percussion, not necessarily a drum kit, on all the records. no one was available for the first record, the second one we worked with what we had.
QRD – do you feel inhibited by your family or friends as far as your art & music goes?
Pat – no, not at all. my dad did the cover for the second record, all the artwork. my parents have all the records & they don't seem bothered by any of it. I don't see why they would be. most of the stuff I do I'm not a real maniac. my mother wasn't real thrilled with our cover of "Cop Killer," but other than that, they're not gonna have a fit about it or anything. my parents are pretty liberal
QRD – do you believe in unconditional love?
Pat – in regards to what?
QRD – basically, a love that's so strong there's nothing someone can do to destroy.
Pat – I suppose that would be my mom or my dad. I don't know it probably differs from person to person. I can't answer that question, in any intelligent way.
QRD – what do you think about ufo's & aliens &/or mankind's current fascination with them?
Pat – I think a lot of people need to get a life. I know far too many people who waste their time worrying about whether or not there are aliens or big foot when there are things to worry about on earth. I'm not much of a ufo/sasquatch watcher myself.
QRD – if you won the lottery would you make more or less music?
Pat – you think about it & if you win it, you have all this time to not work; but sometimes working & having to cram & jam everything in kind of helps. you might be able to go off & having time to do everything you wanted to do. certainly you'd be able to get the equipment. that's always a problem having access to the right equipment I don't know. I would definitely drink a lot more....
QRD – why did you decide your new release should be a limited edition?
Pat – the new release kind of came out funny. I decided I wanted to tour in the fall without really thinking about it too much. it was a good tour all in all, but I made decisions without thinking. all of a sudden I realized I had no intention of having an album to come out then; I knew it wouldn't be til 97. it hit me it would be really stupid to do the most extensive of the three tours we've done for an album that's a year old. we had a couple songs already recorded. "Neighbor of the Beast" & "dry, gray, whisper" were done. the first song was recorded specifically forth EP. I had the idea of putting out a single on vinyl of the live stuff, so basically the limited edition just came out as a spawn of the tour. the tour came first & then we thought "man, let's put something out." it was going to be something I would put out myself, a single, but then I found out it cost as much as a cd & said to hell with it. Sam Rosenthal of black tape is obviously involved with doing all this limited stuff & he liked the idea of little things for the tours just for the die hard fans & that's kind of what this is. I think you'll find that's what he'll be doing with black tape as time goes on.
QRD – so is black tape touring then?
Pat – they're not gonna tour, they're gonna do some limited edition, some kind of trippy single on vinyl kind of stuff. I doubt if they're gonna tour.
QRD – what's your favorite Swans' song?
Pat – you know what? I don't know shit about the Swans. the only title of any song I can name is "God Damn the Sun." I've heard they're records. I heard their new one & I thought it was great, but I couldn't tell you any names off of it.
QRD – do you have a personal savior since 1800?
Pat – I don't idolize anybody except maybe my father. I was talking recently about the three people living, I don't want to disturb the dead, that I would want to meet. it wasn't David Bowie or some other rock star. the three people I'd want to meet are Jacques Cousteau, Jimmy Carter, & Walter Cronkite. those are my three people. I find musicians to be very boring people by & large.
QRD – do you think drugs & addiction are a sign of weakness & sobriety a symbol of strength?
Pat – you know, it depends what you mean by addiction. if somebody gets addicted to pain killers because they're in pain, like he's a football player who has a blown out shoulder & he starts taking pain killers so he can still play & then years later you're addicted to it & you have to knock it off. that kind of addiction, it happens. the kind of addiction that somebody goes through all that kicking it & then go back & take it again & again & ruin their lives & don't do the things they want to do in order to get drugs, I think that's weak & pathetic. I've done as many drugs & drank as much booze as the next person, but it's very regularly interrupted the broader stretch of my life. I think I tried to blame it on that, but it never really happened. I can think of a couple musicians I don't really know very well, friends of friends, that I look at & laugh. they think they're all cool in the underground, but they drink so much booze that people are afraid to leave them with paint thinner because they might drink it, that's really pathetic. as far as drugs go, I think it's worth not doing them on the off chance you might be one of the ones who fucks up their life. it's not worth it.
QRD – any interesting dreams lately?
Pat – I dreamt I was playing a Nina Hagen song at a festival with thousands of people. I was trying to figure out if I could play that song, which is titled "Born to Die in Berlin." I don't remember my dreams.
QRD – what do you think of plagues & where do you think they come from?
Pat – plagues? like the bubonic plague came from rats. fleas on rats that carried a virus, an infectious bacteria that comes from nature. now it's kind of obvious that the recent plagues are coming from cutting down the rain forest & interfering with the natural order of things & getting exposed to viruses & bacterias we haven't seen before. another thing I know is Ryan Lum from Love Spirals Downward was talking about this area of california that's so polluted these surfers keep coming up with these weird diseases & people don't know what they are. that's caused by toxic waste.
QRD – so are you for or against them?
Pat – for or against plagues? that's like saying "are you for or against living & dying?" it's kind of part of our existence. I don't think anyone who's not a total idiot would be for a plague. anyone who's read excerpts from Malthus that didn't understand what he's saying might be all for plagues, but wait til it hits their family & friends, they might change their minds pretty fucking quick. it's all a part of life. all those people who think plagues are some sort of evil punishment or population control, it's simply not true. resources are what controls population.
QRD – what's the earliest memory that you have?
Pat – there's a lot of things that I remember that I'm not sure if they're real memories or if I dreamt them at a later date. I remember riding in a car with my parents listening to David Bowie's "Changes" on the radio, that must have been 1971, on a family vacation & I remember when Nixon resigned & I remember a lot of stuff before that. I also remember running in the hallway when I was a little kid & running smack into a bureau & splitting my face open. they still have that bureau at the house & it's about knee-high on me now, so I must have been pretty young then.
(excerpts from rambling conversation)
Pat – ... "goth," a term I absolutely hate. I don't mind people who call themselves that. I appreciate all the people that are into "goth" & like what I do. I hate the term "punk" too. when I was a kid punk & goth were terms that were made up by the british press as an insult & these fucking morons take it on like "oh, it's my term." it's like if somebody called you a scumbag & you're like "yeah, that's right, I'm a scumbag," & from then on you call yourself a scumbag, it's the same thing to me. I don't mind the term darkwave though.
QRD – what about avante garde?
Pat – what does that mean? out in front? if they call me that, I'm not out in front of anything. I can see why someone might think that; but to be honest, if I had more resources available to me it would sound less like that. I really have come to like the first record. the second record is a really good record, but it could've been better. you know what would've made it better? if I cut a couple of songs off of it. a couple songs weren't done.
QRD – on your first record why did you choose to cover "Don't Fear the Reaper" instead of one of the other Blue Oyster Cult songs?
Pat – it's funny, because we did stuff by K.C. & the Sunshine Band on the very first stuff Thanatos ever released (Across this Gray Land 3) that was kind of a joke. "Don't Fear the Reaper" wasn't really a joke. I like Blue Oyster Cult. they were one of my favorite bands growing up, they were one of those metal bands that had a lot of creepy songs & had a sense of humor too. we were goofing around & we did it towards the end of the record. it's like one drum track & five vocal tracks, I did three of them & Sam did two as backing vocals. I think it's kind of funny & kind of creepy. I would've liked to do another song by them, but I didn't have any of their records with me. I would've loved to do something off of Mirrors one of there less known records. I use to have them all on record, but I stopped buying them after Fire of Unknown Origin.
QRD – that's their best one.
Pat – I like the old stuff like Secret Treaties & Agents of Fortune. that song "The Revenge of the Vera Gemini," now there's a song to cover. that's a great song or "This Ain't the Summer of Love," now that's a truly wicked song, I remember hearing it when I was like ten years old.... they had a lot of good spooky songs. Fire of Unknown Origin is kind of a poppy record. think about "Joan Crawford has Risen from the Grave." that came out around the same time as "Betty Davis Eyes." so it was a nice contrast.
QRD – I don't know what you're talking about.
Pat – you don't know "Betty Davis Eyes?" it was a huge hit in the early eighties, it was annoying. it was a long time ago, I was probably in middle-school back then. it was a really rotten song, it might have been the seventies.
QRD – it's kind of surprising that you like Blue Oyster Cult that much, maybe you wouldn't now though.
Pat – no, I think they're a really good band. I don't listen to them much today, I was a big fan when I was fourteen & I don't honestly listen to Blue Oyster Cult now, because quite frankly I've heard it all to death. what I listen to now -- stuff I've bought recently, Billy Bragg, John Cale, or new bands like Clairevoyant & Chainsuck.
QRD – do you like Nico?
Pat – I can take her or leave her. I mean, the Chelsea Girls album has some good stuff on it, but Sam gave me an album by her, I think it was Desert Shore but that would've been good if you took all her fucking rotten vocals off it. I think she was a moderately talented person who did some good things when she had -- let's see why is Chelsea Girls a good album, you have John Cale, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, etcetera writing the songs for you, if you can't put out a good album with those songwriters that is pretty fucked up. Her Velvet Underground stuff is fine, but basically they were better without her. With the exception of "All Tomorrow's Parties," the songs she does are the weakest tracks on the album ("I'll Be Your Mirror" & "Femme Fatale").
Pat – just for your information, we are in the process of doing a new record; it's suppose to already be done, but it's not.
QRD – is that because of touring?
Pat – no, touring might have actually helped a little bit because some of the songs we played on tour, a lot of them are songs on the new record that people hadn't heard before. it's not like anybody knows who we are, so they don't notice. I think in the smaller towns on the off nights, & twenty people come they know who we are. in bigger towns where like 200 people come at the best shows.
QRD – twenty people still know who you are.
Pat – actually I shouldn't say that, because the majority of people at any given show we played at were there to see us. that's partially do to playing at live venue places instead of hangouts. part of it taking so long is there is a lot of production going onto this record. Tucker's really producing it. I'm doing most of the lyrics again except one cover. we have Eric playing bass on songs, Tucker plays guitar & bass, & there are more people involved.
QRD – it's not as much your personal album then?
Pat – yes, very much so. if I don't like something it's gone. I wrote most of the songs with one or two exceptions. like that "dry, gray, whisper" song, the lyrics are mine, the melody line with the lyrics is mine, & the rest of it is all Tucker. usually I go in & play jangle-jangle-jangle, then go "here Tucker" & it gets keyboards & da-da-da-da-da. songs wind up different than if I was doing them myself. I'm not a very technologically adept person; also, I'm not very patient.
QRD – do you do your stuff in one take?
Pat – I still do vocals very quickly because
I do them exactly how I want them to be done. it's not like I'm going,
"okay, that's good enough." I do it & that's how I want it.
I don't like to play lead guitar, I can come up with something every once
in awhile, but if I have to fill a whole album with it, it doesn't work.
I play rhythm guitar & I sing my songs. I can play my guitar
better than a lot of people who think they can play guitar; but still,
I'm not like Tucker or anything close to that. Sam was asking me,
"do you feel like you're not doing as much as you normally do?" & I
was like, "yeah, I feel like I'm not doing as much as I normally do &
thank god, because I don't feel like I'm having a nervous break down doing
this record." it's gonna be different, hopefully better. we'll
finish it soon... it'll probably be out in may. we're also on that
new Children of the Damned cd on Appollion Records from germany.
also Necropolis up in Hamilton Ontario has put out a compilation of ten
or eleven bands that have played there & we're one of them, & it's
the first Thanatos show ever. it's a live version of "The Wait Smothers
Me." it sounds kind of odd because it's a lot of industrial stuff
on the compilation.