Thursday, October 25, 2012

Morte Treehorn from KILL THE HIPPIES (Interview)

Still running... Recently, I was asked to contribute to a new Cincinnati based zine debuting in December about a particular record and a band that defined a moment. Well, 1,125 words later I was finished describing what Kill The Hippies Will Not Over Stimulate EP was to me... It also got me thinking what KILL THE HIPPIES were up to so I contacted Morte Treehorn, founding member/life changer of a band I once described as the best band that ever lived... KILL THE HIPPIES a band single-handily responsible for defining what punk-rock was, is and continues to be for me.

Questions by Shawn Abnoxious, Answers by Morte Treehorn (seen above) Photo by Mara Robinson

Morte... Firstly, give an update on KILL THE HIPPIES. What’s going on?

We moved base camp from Kent and are now headquartered in Lakewood, OH. We still play about three shows a month - but we haven't been able to travel as much as we used to. As far as having any new music to offer, we are about to finally release a CD of some stuff we recorded about 6 or 7 years ago. It has three different drummers! Right now we are feverishly learning cover songs for Halloween - we're gonna be The Freeze.

Is the whole 'punk-rock' thing still important in your life today, as it was when you were 18?

As far as music goes - yes. As far as feeling that I need to impress people in a scene goes - no. It really wasn't until my late 20s that I gave in to a complete obsession with music/style/living arrangements. When I was 18 I was pretty much a nerdy hickoid with some dubbed copies of the Angry Samoans, living at home, and going to school. Now I work full time and have to get up early - so I guess I'm back to the level I was at 18 - but not able to heal as quickly? Not as good looking? Better breath?

So, you admit to infringing on Angry Samoans copyrights? Pirating music?

I suppose I've been a bit, shall we say, insensitive to Metal Mike all these years. My cousin bought the tape though, so we kept it in the family at least. I suppose you could say that my family has invested in the Angry Samoans since the 1980s. Wow, the only Samoans stuff I actually bought was bought used - no royalty checks there. They played at the WCSB Halloween show last year - and I attended - but it was free. A friend of mine burnt me a copy of Back From Samoa back in the early 2000s too. Another friend made another tape dub of Inside MY Brain too. Oh yeah...there's that VCR tape that dubbed - copied over a Rocky IV in store promotional loop. I don't think much of my money has trickled down toward any one of the Angry Samoans over the years - except what I pay into Social Security. Do you think this will hold up in court?

Morte, your fucked... IF they get you... Stay running... Since were on the subject of 'music piracy' Would buying a used record be the same thing as 'stealing music' in some ways? No royalties are being issued for a produced product... Is it, in your opinion, 'stealing' from the 'industry' buying a used record? How do you feel about 
someone 'stealing' some KTH mp3s or something from a blog or friend?

Ha ha ha - products and commerce. That’s what I like about vinyl records they're sculptures. Works of art. No one gives a fuck about the painter just who owns the painting. I'm going nowhere with this. Anyway - go ahead and share the KTH magic. I wouldn't be mad if we got played on the radio, so why would I care about some mp3s? Now - someone needs to figure out how to copy an LP on a 3D printer. That’s some piracy I'd like to see.

Morte, are we wasting our time with 'punk-rock' or are we a part of something that is really worthwhile?


Can you elaborate or does vagueness count for something here?

Sorry, just being cheeky. You know I've always had trouble with absolutes. So I'm answering yes to both. As far as the punk rock goes, I really not sure if I'm wasting my time. Sometime things click all at once and its as close to perfection as I can get near to. The idea of wasting time seems to denote that we're supposed to be moving toward a goal. Some sort of defined success. Punk rock (and some other things) first attracted me in that it seemed removed from the things that middle class society seemed to be pointing me toward. A place where the finish line didn't matter. I have trouble being in the moment. It's one vehicle that put me there. Still does when it's right. So does jumping into bodies of water. Maybe it’s just a good place to waste time? Burn it up and not give a fuck about it. One of the last places I still can.

What can the readers of ...Thwart! Expect to see from KILL THE HIPPIES in the nearest of futures? What’s the big plan? What do you want anyone to read this to know about you, the band or your habits?

We have the CD of previously unreleased tracks coming out - we're really excited about it. Its called The Band Nobody's In and will (basically) be two albums for the price of one. We have another full length in the can as well. Just welcomed a new drummer to the fold - Joey Pepperoni. He's really making us work! We are 40, he is 21 - back to hard-core for KTH. He's also in one of my fave current bands - Swirly in the Fryer - sick shit! What can readers look forward too? More freakin recordings, more shows. Hopefully a trip to Cincy? We miss you man! This summer involved a lot of gardening and canning. Really into making pickles - and eating them. Most importantly, folks should be on the look out for our new corporation: Phoenician Micro-systems. KTH is our flagship product. We also house the Audio Sculpture division right here in Lakewood, OH - a four-track studio! The promotions department has been mothballed for about a year - but were are about to ramp up production.

Sounds interesting indeed Morte. Just before your beheaded as an enemy of the state, because we all know where this fucking trains heading, would you chose a last meal or last sentence? What would it be? Thanks Morte. You are a true titan.

Last sentence!

Such a beautiful smart-ass. Thank you again.

Any time, sir.

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