Hello, His Name is Brak

from Regicide to ICBC to Goblingoat and back again, he's been rocking your ass for more than two decades, though you probably weren't aware of it for most (all) of that time and neither was he since he was in grade school for much of it. Paul Czarnowski, aka Ron Rodent, talks to Marc Heiden about low frequencies, dairy metal, and the fact that "rock" is spelled with a "k".

Marc Heiden: So what have you been up to since leaving Champaign?

Paul Czarnowski: Chicks, chicks, and more chicks. More than I need! Well, no, scratch that. Is there a corner I could cry in?

Marc: Believe it or not, it's occupied at the moment.

Paul: Oh. Well, then, I've been jamming once in a while with a band called Chasm here in Chicago but I don't know how that will work out, if at all. Otherwise, I've been really dormant and settling back into Chicago. I'm Full-Time Student-Man! again so I'm just now getting used to volumes upon volumes of homework, so unfortunately there's no time right now to get anything started, but I think I'll have gotten used to the whole routine in a few weeks or so. There's a couple of people to hook up with and jam etc. so I'll see what happens soon.

Marc: Is Goblingoat officially dead and buried? Are you worried about the legions of heartbroken little kids with Goblingoat posters on their walls?

Paul: Dead, buried, decomposing. I feel awful about anybody heartbroken over Goblingoat. Those who heard us perform live on WEFT thought we were a comedy act; no band could argue THAT much with each other! There's a couple of people who tried to spread the word for us here and there...well, mostly there. There's this kid in Germany who bought a tape and let all his friends copy it, and is now always asking for more. "We're big in Europe!" is our claim, just like that of any other metal band. The two guys who wrote the majority of the music (Scott, guitar) and all of the lyrics (Alan, singer) lost all interest in the band, and they REALLY wanted to get rid of the drummer since we recorded Demo N (get it?) so it ended up a lost cause. Scott is in St. Louis, in law school (he's got a CPA already), and I don't have a clue where our singer is... I'd like to play some of that material again so all I have to do is find someone who can play E5, F#5, and G5 chords and in a few seconds they could learn all that is Goblingoat.

Marc: What's up with ICBC? And what exactly was the story behind the Regicide name change?

Paul: Hmmmm. No label interest yet, seeing as there's no recorded music to interest anybody with. there are a couple of people up here who might be interested in getting it off the ground but I'd rather stick to the lineup I had in Champaign, with Henry & Vince (newest member). Need drummer! so currently it's on hold again, but it's not something I'm going to put off for another Goblingoat, knowhutimean? The first chance I get to put it all back together again I will. We came up with the name Regicide when sitting in the hallways at Loyola, looking at, if I remember correctly, a dead bug/butterfly collection. My afterschool life was pretty damn lame, now that I think about it. There was one called "monarch" or something, so thinking death metal names, "there's Deicide, Genocide...Regicide!!!!" And what a clever name it was. However, I discovered about a year later that there were at least three more bands that had that name, some of which were signed to actual labels. Bastards! the crushing reality hit when I was walking around campus and came upon a flyer for a goth metal band from Ohio called Regicide. A name change was mandatory. My friend Ian came up with the name InterContinental Ballistic Cheese years earlier when we were young and stupid at Loyola (geez, I am OLD!) and said I could use it, and I think the name is appropriate for this kind of music.

I didn't know there were goth metal bands in Ohio. Geez.

Marc: What do you have to say in response to the rumors that ICBC mk. 2 is going to be a freeform jazz experimental band?

Paul: What rumour? We're just going to be called "Ballistic Cheese." Wait'll you hear the bass solo I wrote!

Marc: How does it make you feel to hear an entire stadium of football fans singing along to "Cheese" during the halftime shows?

Paul: It makes me want to cry with joy sometimes. Just walking out there and listening to the stadium echo the same four bars over and over gives me that feeling not unlike the kind one gets from watching warm family sitcoms.

I played that first in front of an audience of about 75 when we played Mabel's once. The soundguy asked me to play something so as to set the levels, so I played the first line of "Cheese" and all the people that I knew screamed it out. I played it again, oops, I mean I played the second line and pretty much everybody in the bar sang along. The guys in the band were a bit confused. Serves 'em right. A quickly-thrown-together ICBC (me, Vince, and a guy named Silver on the drums) played it on Halloween when the Goblingoat guys needed to get more beer.

Marc: What made little Paul choose the bass as an instrument, as opposed to guitar, drums, or tuba?

Paul: Cause 3 of my friends played guitar, so someone needed to play bass. I wanted to play drums too but...as for tuba, I figure that one day when we put out the Goblingoat mega-remixes album, we'll have all the band members play different instruments over the rhythm tracks. It'll be so kickin'.

Marc: Who are your influences as a bass player?

Paul: The great Cliff Burton, of course. I think Robert Goulet is cool too; he doesn't play bass, but the feeling's there, you can tell. The bass player from Suicidal Tendancies & Infectious Grooves is killer. And Geddy Lee and Les Claypool are great too but I don't think I could ever do the things they (especially Mr. Claypool) do. But I think I subconsiously have been trying to imitate Steve Harris from Iron Maiden all this time, AND I DON'T KNOW WHY!!!!!!!!!

Marc: What have you been listening to lately?

Paul: Faith No More's last two albums, Tool's latest album, and the Deftones' first cd. And of course Metallica and more Metallica. I went through this big hardcore death metal binge with At The Gates & Carcass, which are the only two death metal bands I can stand right now. I just sold all my other death metal cds cause I hadn't listened to them in over a year. I traded them in for The Mackenzie Brothers' record, a Bob Newhart record, and Eddie Murphy. I don't know where to put Eddie, he's kinda obnoxious. I've also been listening to Slayer's Undisputed Attitude album, which is weird cause I really don't like Slayer all that much. It's just a fun cd. Faith No More's "King For A Day..." cd kicks ass. Their new one is pretty lame; it starts off strong but the last half of it just kinda falls flat on its face, you know?

Marc: Have you seen any good cartoons as of late?

Paul: No longer have cable!!!! NOOOOOO!!!! I did get to see the first few weeks of Johnny Bravo and I'm very happy I did. I still watch all the Tick reruns I've got. Space Ghost Coast To Coast still kicks ass but I want to see more Brak!! I've seen many of the South Park episodes and since then I've been swearing just like the little fat kid. What a role model! I'd like to see Stickin' Around. They cancelled Eek! the Cat, YOU BASTARDS!!! King Of The Hill seems to be a lot funnier than most of the recent Simpsons episodes. The show I'm waiting for now is Sam & Max.

Marc: Where did you get the bunny suit? What does it say about you as a person?

Paul: I got it for X-mas as a joke from my parents. ha ha! dirty bastards. They remembered the scene in A Christmas Story where the kid gets the bunny outfit from his aunt, so they labeled it from a relative who we hadn't seen in a long time. They just laughed at me when I opened it up. WHO'S LAUGHING NOW?!?!?!?!? They regret it now because I've actually worn it to parties and have given it to relatives who now just look at our family funny. I think the outfit says a lot about me, mainly that I'm sick and I need professional help. Or maybe it's something symbolic that I won't realize till I'm 40, bald, divorced, and full of nostalgia, where I decide to write a colorful, witty, and surprisingly deep and emotional screenplay about it. I will call it, "Citizen Kane." What do you think?

Paul Czarnowski will be appearing this fall at Farm Aid in Tinley Park, Illinois. You can order Goblingoat tapes and ICBC merchadise by emailing him.

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