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In Music

Fantastic Mike Stasny and friend.

Say Hi to Tammy Faye: file under miscellaneous musical projects


Distorted vocals, buzzing sound effects, incessant beats, complex everything-and-the-kitchen-sink arrangements. That's one side of Say Hi to Tammy Faye's new CD, "Walking on the broken Backs of the Meek and the Blind." Eclectic rhythms and breathy, Grandaddy-style vocals. That's another side. Stark acoustic guitars and simple arrangements. That's yet another angle.

The disc, released by MSIF, an imprint run by Mike Stasny -- in fact, it stands for Mike Stasny is Fantastic -- is the latest of many projects by a single musician named, well, Mike Stasny, who also uses the name The Tile Company on his projects.

In advance of Say Hi to Tammy Faye's appearance at Onopa Brewing on Saturday, June 11, we sat Stasny down -- or tried to -- and asked him a few questions. Like his music, Stasny's responses are wide-ranging and thoroughly spontaneous.

OMC: How do you work, when you're doing a disc like the Say Hi To Tammy Faye CD? What's your process like?

Mike Stasny: I usually write my material in two ways -- completely naked; that is with the songs stripped down in the form of an acoustic guitar or piano and maybe vocals, at most -- and with as many quick overdubs as possible. That is, make a quick melody with a quick beat and then just add layer after layer before you get a real chance to understand what you are doing.

If I am in the mood for a big, full song with lots of layers, I will pull out a load of gizmos and throw them into ProTools -- this process is very intuitive and experimental -- I just cake sh-t on top of sh-t until I have a moment of clarity and reflect. At this point I will either strip down or add more to a song -- on any level -- this process requires as little thinking as possible.

My more "naked" moods require lots of thinking. I will choose an instrument (usually a guitar) and sit without any distraction and just work on a song -- this is the process I envision "song writers" to take -- to really sit and think and think. Slowly but surely something will happen.

OMC: You've got lots of names you work under. Do you just come up with a new name for every project or do certain types of projects have one name and other types another name?

MS: It is really all over the board. Say Hi to Tammy Faye seems to keep popping up because SHTTF is somewhat of a hodgepodge of all the things I am into. If I cannot make up my mind on whether I am working on a folk album, disco, punk, electronic, heavy metal, etc., album, I will usually call it Say Hi To Tammy Faye. SHTTF is my "file under miscellaneous" project.

With the exception of SHTTF, normally, I change my name for every project. Its just more fun that way; (it) keeps things fresh. However, there is one consistent. The projects are usually presented by MSIF (Mike Stasny is Fantastic International) or FML (F-ck My Life Entertainment). This also makes things fun because MSIF and FML work as faux corporations for my faux music projects.

OMC: This disc has a lot of wide-ranging ideas. Do you find it difficult to bring a record like this to the stage?

MS: Yeah -- especially because I always love to see people play their instruments live and with this project I just can't -- I can play the acoustic tunes live but for the more orchestrated, layered stuff I just sing to a CD of custom-made live versions of the songs -- same as the album but with no vocals. I wish I could perform the songs with all the instruments so people could see just how much work I put into them and how many different tools I used to make them -- but again it just isn't practical -- its too hard to organize a band for songs like these.

OMC: Should we take the name of your label to mean that you're a) an egomaniac or b) a self-deprecating funny man, as would seem to be the case, since you refer to your projects as "faux music projects."

MS: A little bit of both. On stage, I think I paint a caricature of myself because it's the only way I can co-exist with the egomaniac in me. I love myself and think I am something to watch but I am also trapped in a personality that needs constant approval from others to just feel regular. This is a tortured existence because if you come off like you think you are the sh-t then people will throw rocks at you.

A reverse psychology form of protection is to set myself up to get picked on, which is a horrible fear of mine. I overtly sell myself to an audience of people that hates ego. I raise my hands and say, "HELLO EVERYONE, I AM MIKE STASNY -- AND I THINK I AM THE SH-T". In most cases -- when this approach is working for me socially -- people put their rocks down because they feel a kind of sympathy for me. "That Mike Stasny is already kicking himself in the groin. There is no need for me to thrown anything at him". To all those people -- I say thanks.

Find Mike Stasny and his diverse projects on the Web at, the-tile-company.com.

Talkbacks

EliCash | July 24, 2007 at 2:30 p.m. (report)

That picture is pretty homosexual...."Not that there's anything WRONG with thaaat!" ...but the music SOUNDS like it could be cool, potentially... you guys should have asked how he feels about the name now that Tammy Faye just died a semi-tragic death....

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OMCreader | July 23, 2005 at 10:55 p.m. (report)

friend of stasny said: I bought the new album at a Say Hi to Tammy Faye show and I think it is titled "Walking on the broken backs of the meek and the kind". "walking on the broken backs of the meek and the blind" is a pretty cool title and not much different, but I figured I would let you know.

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OMCreader | June 10, 2005 at 6:37 p.m. (report)

Da Funki G said: IS THAT ALI G!? OR AN IMPOSTOR!?

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