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The Internet, with its infinite streams of communication and staggering collections of information, can be a pretty boring place. Wouldn’t you agree? Isn’t it high time to move your eyes across something interesting?
Well, congratulations! You’re about to embark on a conversational journey with the reformed Feederz. This interview, originally printed in 2003, promises to be as good now as it was then.
Who promises, you ask? Remember that it doesn’t serve anyone well to ask so many questions. It may be the very reason that Frank Discussion “left” Microsoft and Seattle for Los Angeles a year after this chat. When The Feederz arrived in California, drummer Ben Wah came along, while Denmark Vesey stayed behind. Brant Boling has filled in on the bass since.
As for the current whereabouts of Frank Discussion, the last words on the subject are that since 2007 he’s been working on a movie titled Amor y Saqueo, Spanish for “Love and Looting.” According to his own testimony, he’s written the script and plans on directing, producing, and being a part of several other steps along the way.
Frank has also dedicated himself to a science he calls “antistasiology,” or the study of resistance. In his words, it’s meant to research the tactics, strategies, and organizational structures used by various resistance movements both in history and in present.
It would be wise to note here that this is actually a fake transcript. The real one has been moved to another website by Frank Discussion. To access the real material, go to the Google homepage and type “Fuck You, Dale” into the search bar and click on “I’m Feeling Lucky.” The first twenty Razorcake subscribers to phone Todd the actual URL will receive a free download of Vandalism: Beautiful as a Rock in a Cop’s Face from The Feederz website. Just kidding. Really: just kidding.
This is the real interview. Or is it?
Frank Discussion has matured. Before you start picturing him with a cane and smoking jacket, let me set you straight. Think about grade school; remember that time around fourth grade when the girls stopped hitting on the playground? Everyone said that the girls stopped because they mature faster than boys do. That’s the beauty of it. On the surface they grew out of it, moved on. What I know, and most any other girl knows, is that the aggression didn’t disappear, it progressed. The aggression took on a less tangible form, had more thought behind it, and, in the long run, was more vicious and far-reaching than a sock to the head. Instead of a bloody nose, you ended up with a bad reputation that followed you through high school.
The same progression can be seen in Frank. There were no animals on stage, no shots fired at the audience, nothing as overt as that. Sure, he’s still immediately provocative (he hammered a nail into his nasal cavity the night I saw them), but we talked a lot about computer hacking—a subtle way to be extremely destructive without immediately calling attention to oneself.
“But what about the music?” you ask. I had high expectations and they more than met them. Vandalism: Beautiful as a Rock in a Cop’s Face is a perfect balance of elements from Teachers in Space and Ever Feel Like Killing Your Boss? Live, they’re incredible. Anyone who’s seen them always says the same thing, “Did you watch how Frank plays!?” He plays high on the neck with long nails in place of a pick. Oh yeah, and he plays fast. Denmark is one hell of a bass player. He looks like he’s possessed while playing. Ben’s kit is so big, you can barely see him behind it, but he knows how to work that set-up. They’re powerful, frenetic, and spot-on. One thing became apparent: the Feederz have changed their aggression. They’re more dangerous than ever. Mothers hide your kiddies. Here come the Feederz.
The Feederz are:
Frank Discussion—guitar, vocals
Denmark Vesey—bass, backing vocals
Ben Wah—drums, backing vocals
Interview and original introduction by Megan Pants
Originally ran in Razorcake #15, 2003
Megan: Do you have a really good immune system? I mean, handling all of those dead animals—a lot of people would get sick.
Frank: I was born sick, so that’s not a problem.
Megan: Is there any significance to the spelling of Feederz?
Frank: Actually, a lot of ads use Zs. A lot of what we’ve always done is turn shit like ads against themselves. In a lot of ways, the Feederz are an advertisement, a negative advertisement. So we jumped in and we used Feederz because it was part of the whole sickness and we just swallowed it all up.
Megan: Ben, I overheard you say you’re on the injured list right now. What happened?
Ben: I broke my wrist a couple times when I was a kid. Every time I have to play drums successively for days on end and put a little too much oomph into it, it’ll start bothering me. Nothing I can’t handle.
Megan: How’d you break your wrist?
Ben: Being stupid. Your typical punk rock stuff.
Megan: Frank, with the letter prank, do you know if any kids actually ever submitted any essays to that? (Frank wrote a letter on school letterhead. Thousands were distributed to students in school. It basically stated that they were just training to be drones. The format was that it was a contest in which the students could submit essays for a cash prize. The letter is on the Feederz site and is worth checking out.)
Frank: No. What happened is that they said on the news that it had happened and that was how the scandal broke open, because some people actually bought it. Essentially, what occurred was that I printed up about five thousand. Actually, this guy I knew, his parents, one of them had been an anarchist dockworker in San Francisco, so we got along famously. I actually got along better with the dad than with the kid. I told him what I was planning and he said, “We’ll take care of it.” They walked in there, older folks, and said, “We need to do this.” Printed them right up and got kids to hand them to their teachers. I got several reports that teachers actually read them and then passed them out. I guess they thought, “They’re being a bit obvious here, but…” It sounded official, so they went ahead. The next thing I knew it was on the news and people were whining about “What’s this going to do to valid scholarships?” and all that shit. Then they said that the police are investigating it and I knew, well, this is Phoenix, and it’s going to take them about ten seconds to figure out who the hell it was. So, I hid in the Mormon part of town in Mesa, Arizona for three days until I got a plane out of there and that’s how I ended up in the Bay area.
Megan: I had always heard it was the gun incident. (Frank had opened fire on the audience with blanks.)
Frank: At our first show? No, we played a bunch of shows after that.
Megan:Denmark Vesey isn’t an arbitrary name, why did you pick it?
Denmark: Well, Denmark Vesey was a man known to fuck shit up back in the day. Are you familiar with Denmark Vesey?
Megan: Yeah, but tell the story anyway.
Denmark: Well, Frank?
Frank: I’m the one who turned him on to Denmark Vesey.
Denmark: I think Frank would be better to eloquate it than I.
Frank: Well, essentially, Denmark Vesey planned, and almost pulled off, an insurrection in Charleston (South Carolina). A slave revolt that would’ve burned down Charleston. It involved up to about seven thousand slaves, which puts the whole lie to the thought that slaves were passive and there was no resistance. It was pretty well planned and if some of the people hadn’t opened their mouths—actually Denmark Vesey had made rules saying, “Don’t talk to these people, don’t talk to house slaves”—because they had a tendency to get Stockholm syndrome.
Megan: Where they end up with loyalty and go back.
Frank: Right, loyalty to their captors. And that’s exactly what happened. They turned them in. So, they found out about it before it could fully come into place, which is truly sad. Denmark Vesey, just wiped off the map. You never hear about Denmark Vesey.
Megan: Did you hear about how he won his freedom?
Frank: Through the lottery!
Megan: Fifteen hundred dollars!
Frank: You know, how I found out about Denmark Vesey in the first place was through a quote of his. At one point, I think he was in a pub, and he was getting after this guy because he was sucking up to the slave owners. He was giving him a bunch of shit for it. The guy says, “Well, what am I supposed to do? I’m just a slave.” and Denmark Vesey turned to him and said, “Some of us deserve to be.”
Frank: And that sort of attitude definitely is not too politically correct or leftist, but it’s absolutely on the money. Those are the choices we all have to make.
Megan: In “Aborted Jesus” what is a “D&C messiah”?
Frank: Well, you know what a D&C is, right?
Frank: It’s a suck and scrape, an abortion. I think it’s dilate and curate.
Megan: Has anyone tried to, or actually gotten a, copyright on any of the anti-copywritten material you’ve made?
Frank: Yes. “Fuck You” ended up being copyrighted by Kirk Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets. Yeah, they did a cover of it and copyrighted it.
Megan: Another Phoenix band, too. The only one I’d heard was a metal band had covered “Jesus” and had gotten the copyright for it, but…
Frank: I’d never heard that.
Megan: …I only found one source that said it, so I don’t really know. In ’97, the Phoenix New Times said that the last sighting of you had been in People Magazine as part of a Bay area wax dripping cult. What is that about?
Frank: That whole thing—that’s how the New Times in Phoenix writes. They like to say things in odd ways. Some people invited me to a party and it was one of these art things and they said, “Oh here, drop wax on people.” Someone took a picture and it ended up being in People Magazine, much to my embarrassment. Then they put “Wax dripping cult.”
Megan: What’s the cult part?
Frank: Who knows? They made that up. They’re just being cute.
Megan: Are you actually singing full Japanese that you understand on “Mothra”?
Frank: Actually, it’s not Japanese.
Megan: It’s not?
Frank: It’s Malaysian with a Japanese accent, I guess. With an American accent. Essentially, it’s the theme song from Mothra, and the guy who wrote it, the whole thing’s in Malaysian, but it was sung by Japanese, which is why you have the [singing with a Japanese accent].
Megan: Funny. Have any of you read any good books lately?
Frank: Uh, well, god. I’m pretty much constantly reading something. The most recent thing that I did was I got into some fiction books and started reading the Dune series, which is kind of entertaining. The guy did have some insights on how politics and everything function, and all the plotting. We’re seeing a bit of that now, actually a lot more clumsily than in those books. At least they didn’t try to use documents written in a child-like scrawl as proof, but they’re getting away with it, which is the amazing part.
Ben: I just finished the collected stories of Phillip K. Dick and I’m just about three or four stories deep into Wake Up Screaming by H.P. Lovecraft.
Megan: You’ve played with Blöödhag. Did that influence the focus on science fiction at all?
Ben: Those guys are good friends of mine.
Frank: Actually, if we’re a part of any cult, it’d either be a Mothra cult—I actually put out a web page at one point about a Mothra Gihad—or maybe Cuthulu. We like tentacle porn. Ever see Daegon?
[pause, looking at Megan for response]
Ben: You’re thinking about it.
Megan: Not that I can remember.
Frank: It’s so funny. You see this girl and she’s all, “Kill me! Kill me!” after she gets dropped in to mate with these Daegon.
Megan: Tentacles—I don’t work with that at all. I’m freaked out by octopuses. Did Henry Rollins really beat you up after you nailed the rat to the stage?
Frank: Fuck no!
Megan: It’s in his book (Get in the Van).
Ben: It doesn’t say that.
Megan: He said he hit the cage.
Ben: He threw the cage.
Frank: Phlebbbbbbt. That is utter fucking bullshit. Actually, I had to be reminded of it because I didn’t have a clue…
Denmark: Too many of those steroids are going into his head.
Megan: Or into his neck.
Frank: Ron, this guy who was there that night, had to remind me. He told me, “Don’t you remember. He came backstage and he started whining about the rat?” And I go, “You mean that little whiny creature?” Because I didn’t know who the fuck he was. So, all of a sudden, you’ve got this situation where this guy’s whining, going, “You killed the rat.” And I just go, “Glad you liked the show.” Then he came over to the house where we were at and I had a boa constrictor. I took the rat and gave it to the boa constrictor afterwards. He was telling me about how cool it was that I had the boa constrictor and shit and then he fucking wanks the shit in the book.
Ben: What I find curious is that he has no neck now, but he still tries to talk out of it.
Megan: How did you end up being a tester at Microsoft? The only people I know who have gotten positions like that were caught doing some sneaky shit and then got hired.
Frank: No, actually, I stumbled into the job. It’s kind of funny because one thing that they found, and I found, was that I had a knack for breaking things. So, that turned out to be an advantage. In a sense, Microsoft ended up paying me—well, in the end—right around twenty-five dollars an hour to learn hacking skills and help them bring about open source, because you have access to the source code… make a few copies…
Megan: Send them out to the right people.
Megan: Have you ever been involved with 2600 (a print and online magazine about hacking)?
Frank: What do mean by involved with 2600?
Megan: Done or followed anything that they’ve been involved in.
Frank: Definitely very familiar with 2600, but as far as going to the Friday meetings or anything, I haven’t done that. Actually, there’s a newsgroup, alt.2600, and there’s another newsgroup, alt.hackers.malicious (a.h.m.). Those are a little more…
Frank: Well yeah, even though I definitely read a lot on alt.2600, most of the time you’ll find my posts on a.h.m. Matter of fact, “Owned” became voted…
Megan: They took it as their anthem. I saw that. There was another group, a smaller alt.hackers one that had adopted it as well. What are some of the best hacks or pranks you’ve heard about lately?
Frank: Actually the most fun one is probably Evil Angelica.
Megan: What’s that?
Frank: Evil Angelica does defacements, but she’s very creative about it. It’s kind of funny because a lot of times defacements are looked down upon and a lot of times it’s because they’re done pretty stupidly. It’s the equivalent of here you have a bright white painted wall and they put “Ted!” So, someone just putting, “This page owned by:”—all of the sudden you have this blank area that you can put anything in the world there. And it’s just up to you to do it when you do these things.
There are obviously a lot of levels to hack and there are more involved hacks, but there are hacks that people can do that aren’t just stupid shit, that aren’t that hard. You can be a “script kitty”and pull off something meaningful. And there are some good tools out there now. There are tools out there that automatically search for thoroughly up-to-date vulnerabilities. They just go through them, hit them, see if they can get the buffer overflow happening. And, of course, Windows is usually the common target, and that’s only because they’re so insecure. I mean, you can lock down NT or 2K, but you pretty much have to know what you’re doing and then worry about patches, too.
Megan: Not to mention whatever browser you’ve got.
Frank: Yeah, you know, Internet Exploder is always good. You know, worse than the browser itself is the email app.
Frank: Lookout. I call it lookout. What I love is when all the viruses start coming through and people start saying, “Oh, just turn off your windows script hosting.” Starting with ME you’re starting with a situation where you couldn’t turn it off, you couldn’t disable it, you couldn’t even delete the sucker, because it automatically would drop it back in. People generally don’t ask the simple questions. The simple question here is: when was the last time you ever received an email that was scripted from anyone you knew? The only people who are going to send you scripted emails are: A) spammers or B) viruses. I mean who else is gonna use scripts?
Megan: We just had this problem.
Frank: Now I’m on Unix.
Megan: We were on Mozilla, but we still had Explorer, so they were just fighting each other all the time. Now we run Opera.
Frank: Have you seen the Bork Opera?
Frank: MSN would do a browser check. If a person had Opera, the MSN portal page was unreadable. It was funny. They went in and tested it and essentially took out the entriants for the browser name out of the registry, and all of the sudden, the page was fine. So what they did was they came out with a bork version, and it was the same Opera, except for if you go to msn.com, everything is like the Muppets. You know, “Bork, bork, bork, bork, bork.”
Megan: How did you hook up with these two guys, or vice versa?
Frank: That’s actually kind of cute. At one point… [Denmark Vesey starts making blow job signs.]
Megan: Wait, who’s sucking whose dick over there?
Frank: Uh, okay. Meanwhile back at the pharmacy, I put something in the guestbook saying that I was looking for a bass player or a drummer. At one point, I had gotten a drummer and all of the sudden I couldn’t get a hold of him.
Denmark: Shitting the bed.
Frank: Okay, that works. So, I put up the ad and apparently Denmark Vesey saw it and he emailed me because he knew Ben.
Denmark: I called Wah Ballsy at work. I said, “I’m emailing the D right now.” Then the next morning I woke up and there was a full fucking letter.
Frank: I said this is what we’re going to need and if I haven’t scared you off, send some tapes or something.
Ben: When Frank called, I had just had a particularly rough weekend and been down in Tacoma or SeaTac at the casinos. I was pretty schnocky. My phone rings and I pick it up. The reception’s kind of bad and I’m drunk and I just lost about a hundred dollars playing blackjack and eating some pretty bad prime rib. This voice goes, [gravelly Frank voice] “Ehhh yeah, this is Frank.” And I think it’s him [motions to Denmark] and I’m like, “Man I am really not in the mood for this right now.”
Denmark: He thought I was goofin’ off.
Ben: I thought he was puttin’ me on, ‘cause from the get-go it was too far-fetched. He’s goin’, “I emailed Frank and said that it’s you.”
Denmark: Yeah, because I said, “Do you need a drummer? Please contact…” and I gave him your phone number. I didn’t think he needed a bass player. I thought he just needed a drummer.
Frank: So, I go over and we play a little bit and the second time I go over, he’d been talking about how it was hard with the way I play guitar, that it would be easier once we got a bass player. So the second time I go over, he’s learned all the parts, particularly to the new material. I was like, “Well, that kind of settles that.”
Denmark: And he turned to me and said, “Hey little boy, what are you doin’ for the next coupla years?” And then I got this weird yellow trickle running down my leg and into my shoe. Then we played “Mothra,” probably.
Ben: Yeah, it was rough at first. I’m not a very good drummer, anyway. It’s not the instrument that I started out with. It was kind of tough and I needed that. Denmark has been very enthusiastic. From the beginning I was just going, “Man, you’ve got to be kidding me. I don’t have the chops. I don’t have this, I don’t have that.” I was at a particularly low point at the time and not really wanting anything in particular to do with music after a slew of unsuccessful hardcore bands.
Denmark: So, we practiced our fuckin’ asses of for five weeks and recorded the album, Vandalism: Beautiful as a Rock in a Cop’s Face, and hopefully the kids dig it.
Frank: See, that’s the thing—skills can be learned. It’s a lot harder to teach attitude.
Ben: That’s true.
Megan: Do any of you have an archnemises? It seems like Frank has had several short-term enemies.
Megan: Long term enemies, the grudge that’s never gone away.
Frank: I guess in my case Henry Rollins has decided to be, but as far as arch enemy, no. He is obviously still a whiner and apparently not a good liar. And then, of course, I get the feeling that Jello Biafra is still not in love with me, but other than that… He’ll probably be even less in love after last night.
Megan: What happened last night?
Frank: Well, we were playing at
and someone made up a bunch of T-shirts saying, “Frank Discussion stole my wife,” with pictures of their wedding on it. At that very same show Theresa (Jello’s ex-wife) sang with us.
Ben: It was a pretty rousing rendition of “Gut Rage.”
Frank: It was so fucking beautiful. And Winston Smith (artist who did a lot of the art for the Dead Kennedys) was there. He got one of the shirts and he’s giving it to Biafra. Life can be entertaining sometimes. Sometimes you can’t plan how things work out.
As a matter of fact, you were talking about hacking earlier. At one time, I made this fake CNN page, and it’s a simple hack where you put what looks like a URL going along with the address. If you put an “at” sign (@), it doesn’t read anything to the left of it, and just reads to the right. So, it can look like a regular CNN page when you put it out, but it only jumps to the end, so it was actually going to a page at feederz.com. It was supposedly that Bush was saying that he had proof of Iraqi deception and it included all this shit about how they had evidence that Saddam Hussein was trading suicide camels. That not only was he involved in 9/11, but that he had also been involved in the bombing of Pearl Harbor, just all this shit. Then, about two weeks later, I see in the regular news they were talking about, “Oh we have evidence that there was terrorist plans to attack Pearl Harbor.” I go, “You know, these fuckers, they don’t even check their sources.” And I’m laughing my ass off. I had no way of predicting of how things would unravel, or ravel, in their own way, just like last night.
Megan: What symbol would a Care Bear Punk have on its belly?
Ben: Razor blade. Safety pin.
Frank: Before or after?
Frank: Well, the bruises from the baseball bat. And, of course, you generally want to go for the head, ‘cause then you can sell the skins. Virtually indistinguishable from baby seal fur.
Megan: A little more durable. What are some of the ways you’ve seen your artwork used? Anything completely out of context?
Frank: No, actually a lot of the stuff we do is kind of hard to take out of context.
Ben: “Jesus Entering from the Rear” for a Preparation H ad.
Megan: Time to destroy… unhappiness! Some of your old logos had Feederz Terrorist in it. Are you still using that?
Frank: Some logos had Feederz Terrorist, but we never used that. Actually, I think the Feederz Terrorist came from an old (Portland) New Times Weekly story in the early days. They just said Feederz and then terrorist because we were being investigated for being terrorists. I think Search and Destroy ended up taking the picture and putting terrorist in there, but it wasn’t our logo. People have just incorporated it.
Megan: Have you ever seen your FBI file?
Frank: No. I just figure I could go through the hassle of going through the Freedom of Information Act, but, you know, why? I mean, first of all, there’s probably information that wouldn’t be in there, especially after the Patriot Act, and all that shit. Also, the way I look at it, if you aren’t in a few files, you haven’t lived.
Megan: Have you ever been physically threatened by any religious community?
Frank: Actually, someone got on the guestbook and was really funny. I guess someone had gone on the Warped Tour and put out the lyrics to “Jesus.” This person went to the Feederz site and said, “Well, you talk about Jesus, who died for your sins and everything. If you try to do that again, I’ve got baseball bats and shit and I’m gonna fuck you up!” I said, “Hey, if you like ‘Jesus,’ you’re gonna love ‘Aborted Jesus.’ It’s all about how, if Jesus had been aborted, you’d be fucking worshipping a puddle of chunks. I’m waiting for you to drop by at any time.”
Megan: Who is Frank Moore and what is your connection to him?
Frank: Frank Moore! I met him at one point around Berkeley and we had talked a few times. He has got a great attitude, that guy. He’s cool. I told him what I was thinking of doing and he thought it was hilarious. So, we went up there and put him in the basket up at
Gilman St. He sees the fun that can be involved in using the “shock value” and “guilt value.” People go through all these changes, and you can have a lot of fun with that. It’s hilarious. He’s got all the girls around him, and people are going, “Oh, I’m too ugly.” And here’s this guy, he’s a quad (quadriplegic). He has to use various devices just to communicate with people. He can’t even speak, and he’s got all these girls. They’re screaming. They’re getting naked with him. It kind of puts the lie to a few concepts that people have.
Ben: When we played at Justice League, he came on and did that, too. When they brought him up—I’m sitting in the back—I can’t really see what exactly is going on and I was a bit more concerned with matters closer at hand. For everybody who was, [angrily] “What was up with that!?” there was an equal number of people there who had no concern, who were screaming “Timmy” [in SouthPark’s Cartman’s voice] at him when they brought him up. I didn’t even really notice it until I saw the tape of it and I hear it in the background, “Timmy!” The guilt/shock factor; there’s something to be said about that.
Frank: Besides that, which becomes more interesting, is what the people out there show of themselves, more than anything else. It gets displayed. Actually, the Gilman St. one was really hilarious, because after the whole thing with Speckles (a dead dog that Frank brought to the stage with him—people in the audience got the tags from the dog’s collar and called the previous owners), these people were running up to him (Frank Moore) asking if I had kidnapped him. “Are you here on your own free will? We’re here to help you.”
Megan: “We want to call your owners, too.”
Frank: Fucking hilarious.
Megan: How did you come up with the music for “Lobster Quadrille”?
Frank: Actually, there was a movie called Dream Child and in that movie they had this, um, big New York university…
Megan: Cornell? Julliard? SUNY Purchase?
Frank: No, not Rikers.
Ben: I’d have a better chance of getting in there.
Frank: Anyways, in Dream Child they had these people doing a chorus of “Lobster Quadrille” and I went, “Finally, the music to it!” Because, actually, I’ve always been a big fan of Lewis Carroll and if you really read those books, there’s a lot of shit there. A lot of things get questioned. Things get looked at from different points of view. A lot of what people talk about with pranks is taking a slant, and angle off, and all of a sudden all of the underpinnings are just sitting there. Everyone kind of agrees not to look behind the curtain. “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” and they go, “Oh, okay.”
Megan: “All right, can’t be anything to see there.” Have any of you been arrested?
Frank: Well, yeah. Actually I’ve never been arrested for anything major. Matter of fact, a few months ago I was sitting at this table and all these people are going, “I went to jail.” “Yeah, I went to jail, too.” “Looks like we’re all felons here.” And I went, “No.” They all looked over and said, “Yeah, well you just never got caught.” “Yeah, that’s generally the idea.”
Ben: Only in driving related stuff. That’s the only legal problems I’ve ever had.
Frank: I think I covered arrests on my last spoken word CD. [laughter]
Megan: How does your family feel about you?
Frank: They’re probably praying for me.