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April 2004 - Pawl Tisdale

Pawl Tisdale

One generally wouldn’t think of someone in their 30's as an "old timer", but when it comes to his participation in the Lincoln music community, Pawl Tisdale certainly stands out as one of the elder statesmen. Pawl’s been a member of some of the most beloved bands in Lincoln history; Peer Puppet, Trout Mystery, Sideshow, Pablo’s Triangle, and Tangelo, just to name a few. In addition to his work with his bands, he’s also a songwriter in his own right and releases solo work under the names Clean Plate Club and Mannheim Creamslinger. Still not enough for you? Pawl is also an incredible artist as well.

SCS: Your involvement in the Lincoln music scene is long and you were in some very high profile bands, Peer Puppet, Trout Mystery, Sideshow, Pablo’s Triangle, and now Tangelo, as well as your solo work in Clean Plate Club and Mannheim Creamslinger. There was also Flesh Pedal, Sam The Butcher, Creche, and I’m sure I’m leaving a few things out…What was your first band, how old were you when you started playing in bands, and how old were you when you started playing drums?

Pawl: My first band was "Funnel Dots" with Victor (Sockman) Day. It was definitely an experimental band using a casio and a drum. Ah yes good old High School 1984. We played one show that was so sparsely attended that even we left during our set. After that I was in a bedroom band called "Jerome' with that same drum. Rich Higgins heard that I had a drum thus I was forced into Peer Puppet as the drum-er. Bernie joined shortly thereafter. I reckon I was pert near 16.

SCS: I know I’ve seen you play trumpet in Pablo’s, and keyboards with your solo stuff. Do you play anything else?

Pawl: Yes, I play Cody Mcgraw on 7th Heaven. I played bass in a band called Dr.Solo, with Colby Starck, Ben Armstrong, and Jason Merrit. I'm trying to learn the violin as well. I want to dispel the myth that I am a good trumpet player because I really am not. I'm not being modest, It just looks like I know what I'm doing.

SCS: In the interview I did with Tangelo you mentioned that Gary Newman was the person who made you want to start playing music. What about Pleasure Principal that awoke something in you?

Pawl: I think Gary Numans' appeal was more his pouty, sad boy, I'm so tortured robotically attitude rather than his music, which actually wasn't all that spectacular. I don't remember what I may have said in the Tangelo deal but I think it was more my friend Victor who got me started playing music. He played me bands that I never thought could possibly exist. As far as Pleasure principle is concerned, I liked the synth junk.

SCS: What else influenced you as a writer and as a player?

Pawl: Sticky eye-burning, crystallized, red hair, skunk buds, Beotch! No, that is just not true. I think my greatest influence are the people who do not seem to be likely candidates for having any music skills or talent but keep at it by torturing people with their music only to find later that they actually end up kicking ass with all their practice putting those pompous, egotistical, overbearing no-talents that never seem to get better and let you constantly know it to shame. I'm looking at you Hootie. I also am influenced by bizarre sounds that are converted to rhythms. ie: samples of unlikely instruments.

SCS: Having been involved on the scene for so long, what’s your assessment of how it’s changed over the years?

Pawl: Back in my day we used sticks and leaves for amplifiers and old shoe leather for strings. I think that early on in Lincoln's music scene it wasn't as easy publicly to get away with looking strange or playing crazy music. The music today seems to be a conglomerate of music in the time long ago. It is much tighter today, but not as exciting because it isn't a new thing. Back then it feels like when you played punk rock, you might have been doing something wrong. Now it is definitely more accepted. I'm sure people nowadays still get hassled for their individual tastes but it seems more normal now to appear a bit off the path. Then:Omigod a boy with an earring! kill him! Now: Omigod that boy doesn't have an earring! kill him!

SCS: Back in the late 80's and early 90's there was comparison between Lincoln and music scenes in Athens, Seattle, Lawrence, and other places that were considered to have "happening music scenes" If the scene has had a "Heyday", when would you say that was, and why do you think it was?

Pawl: Of course I would say in the mid 80s-early 90s just because that is when I felt most active. Spry, youthful, naive. But I was there at the pinnacle of the Capitol punishment era that my older brother Mott-ly was a high priest in. Those would have been the heyday for anyone in any scene.

SCS: What Lincoln shows or bands stick out in your memory?

Pawl: there are way too many cool Lincoln bands to make a list without forgetting the best one that I will remember tomorrow. But... PSW, (power of the spoken word) is a band that defied the mode of the times. Metal/punk, dark, spooky. Jake Ryan who sang, once held up a pig's head at a show at a Unitarian church. Gosh. It would have been stupid today, but back then it was creepy-good. I heart Mercy rule, 13 Nightmares, Roosevelt Franklin, Baby hotline... whoops, a list.

As far as shows, Peer Puppet in the Lincoln High School cafeteria at lunch for brown bag day was fun.

SCS: Sideshow toured quite a bit, are there any events from that period that stand out?

Pawl: While playing in Minneapolis, a drunken, strung out, Courtney Love jumped on stage and demanded that we play a song with her. Bernie said not without a kiss on the lips. As creepy to watch as it was to imagine, He got his kiss. We didn't play anything and two big jar-headed brutes came and dragged her out. That was funny. There are a zillion more but you'll have to wait for our memoirs.

SCS: Back when Duffy’s Duff Stuff was an actual small newspaper, there used to be a fair amount of Sideshow coverage when you guys would be out on tour. Pretty much every single one mentions either problems with your van, or your van seems to be doing all right this week. Unless Bernie was sending back tour diary entries, the van got more coverage than the music did. Was the van really all that bad???

Pawl: Yes we indeed had a shitty van. It is a rite of passage for a band to spend all the weeks gig loot on an $800 hose. At least we weren't stoopid enough to have bought a school bus

SCS: What was your most memorable live performance with any of your bands, and what made it that? Feel free to include as many as you wish.

Pawl: Sam The Butcher played at Duffys for 30-45 minutes, which to the audience must have seemed like a dream weekend. It was oil drums, gas tanks, drums, bubble blowing girls, strobe lights, howls, chants, a slaughterhouse film, a very high volume assault that was too loud and strange to leave without seeing what might happen next. And not a Goddamn hippie in the group. That was fun. Also when Sideshow got to play with Fugazi at the now defunct Peony park. Looking out at the thousands of cute, confused, cute, rebellious, cute teenage faces made you want to embrace them and quietly utter, "sssshhhh...It will all work out." That was memorable.

SCS: I know you were up at the Mayo Clinic last year for treatment for arthritis. Is it affecting your drumming, and do you anticipate it will ever prevent you from being able to play, or play as much as you’d like to?

Pawl: Unfortunately yes I do believe my drumming will soon be a bit too much. But I will just keep slappin them skins fer a bit more. Fer the kids.

SCS: Is that a hereditary condition?

Pawl: I do not know.

SCS: Back in the 80’s & 90’s, you used to contribute your artwork to some of the local zines, and put out your own kick ass comic called. Burnt Cookies. Are you doing anything publicly with your art lately? If not, do you have plans to?

Pawl: I am happily unsuccessful at achieving any type of publishing deal thus far, but I will definitely keep drawing little cartoons for that day when opportunity kicks my bottom. I will soon be launching back out into the world with a bunch of new paintings and stained glass pieces. Summer maybe.

SCS: Back in June of 92 you opened a gallery down under the O St viaduct called The Butcher Shop with Gina Dikeman. Whatever happened with that? How long did it last for?

Pawl: Ah, The Butcher shop. It lasted 1 month then it was shut down by the landlord because it thought the art was Satanic. That is a true story.

SCS: Has Chip Davis threatened you with any Cease & Desist action?

Pawl: I really cannot talk about it. However for the record: I did not touch Chip in an inappropriate manner.

SCS: Who are some local bands or musicians that you admire or feel should be recognized?

Pawl: Here's that list brouhaha again. If you enjoy playing music for the beauty of the feeling and the sound, and don't really mind if people agree with you or not, and especially realize you ain't probably gonna make no money at it... Then I definitely admire you.

SCS: Who recorded your "Hutudus" album, and where was it done?

Pawl: recorded it in my basement on a 4-track with tons of tasty beer, which I sadly now cannot have on account of my arthritis medication. drag!

SCS: Was that supposed to be a Mannheim Creamslinger album but somehow or other ended up as a Clean Plate Club album?

Pawl: I am retiring the Mannheim Creamslinger schtick for a while and will only use it for my Christmas collections. Clean Plate Club is a permanent.

SCS: Are you working on a new album now, and if so, when do you expect it to come out?

Pawl: I actually have my next project all recorded but I am Too fuckin' ignernt to figure out how to edit my music into the computer from analog 4-track to mpegs. It is a Sci-Fi motion picture soundtrack called, "Draculoid" It to me is a good piece of music. I also am working on an accapella cd titled, "Accapawla, Enchanted Heart, Haunted Lung." but don't wait up for that one just yet. Also a Mannheim Creamslinger, 20 gratest christmas hits will be in stores by Christmas. Or with my luck, just a bit after.

- Tery Daly