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Feature: Sir Deja Doog on 'Some Kind of Sex'
Posted April 15, 2015 by Rob Peoni

 

It proves difficult to imagine a more singular, courageous voice within the last 10 years of Hoosier rock music than Eric "Doog" Alexander. Anyone seeking evidence of this fact, need look no further than Sir Deja Doog's monumental 2014 LP Love Coffin, in which he grappled with the life-threatening implications surrounding his diagnosis with a cancerous brain tumor--a battle he continues to this day (SEE: Sir Deja Doog's Freaky Ride).

 

So, when Doog approached MFT with the possiblity of releasing a 10th anniversary edition of his LP Some Kind of Sex, we jumped at the opportunity to include it in our new Preservation Series. The album will be released this Saturday on Record Store Day. The release is limited to 200 cassettes. To celebrate the occasion I traded a few emails with the infamous Doog. Below, he offers insight into the making of Some Kind of Sex, updates readers on the status of his recovery from brain surgery, and further solidifies his reputation as one of the most radical dudes around. 

 

 

Rob Peoni: Where were you living during the time you recorded Some Kind of Sex?

 

Doog: I was living between Muncie where I went to school, and Frankfort where I was raised. Most of the actual recording of Some Kind of Sex occurred over a week or two in a house where scenes like this were not uncommon:

 

college

 

College, you understand.

 

RP: Do you care to elaborate on the circumstances around the photo? 

 

Doog: Well, I came home and Erick was naked, covered in fake blood, and scaring people with a big knife. It was pretty funny because some of us thought he might have killed someone once. He probably didn't. That was just his sense of humor. That's the way it was in those days. Great music was being made, but you were just as likely to walk in on an orgy as a recording session. A lot of weird things were happening. You know, college!

 

RP: Who played on this record?

 

Doog: The warrior god pictured above played drums on a few tracks, and the notorious Dick Knapp laid down some bass. Nick Peterson and Katie Trees were on "For Love Lost in Time" which was recorded in Frankfort. Also Nick Newby of the band Brazil played piano on "Peach Tree Underscore." I demoed the entire album before it was recorded. Everything was tracked under my watchful eye. Justin Prim engineered the album, but I spent countless hours mixing it myself.

 

RP: What sort of release did it garner at the time?

 

I sent the album to a number of labels, but none of them got it. I burned a few CDrs for my Muncie audience and resolved to destroy myself and music thereafter. It's funny now, but I was a troubled young man.

 

RP: Some Kind of Sex was released in 2005, correct? That particular time in Muncie has always felt to me like one of the most fertile breeding grounds for Indiana music over the last decade. A lot of the same faces who were hanging around that area have gone on to play significant roles in Fountain Square, Bloomington & beyond. Was there something in the water up there? 

 

Doog: It was recorded in 2004, and released to CDr in 2005. It was a special time in my life, but I'm not sure it was much different than any other college town. Other people have mentioned this to me--that there was something special about Muncie during that time--but I'm not sure there was. There's probably some truth to it. I do know that I made some of the best friends I have during that time, that these people seem different to me than everyone else, but I think it's just love that makes it seem that way. 

I think the Muncie to Fountain Square connection came initially from Naitha, who wrote "Fountain Square Don't Care" in the early aughts, and Jesse Lee who were both in the Muncie band The Lou Reeds. Again, I can't say for sure.

 

RP: Talk a bit about your college experience and that time and place's role in relation to your musical journey.

 

Doog: As for my college experience, I signed up as a music major. I recorded an album my freshman year with a friend named Brian Harney called Flashpan. We decided to drop out and move to Athens, GA. After checking it out and coming back here to save some money I was arrested with a felony amount of weed. How lame is that? I hate our government, but I'm not going to get in to that. I went back to school and joined Revel in the Morning. They had anarchist tendencies and a lot of passion, which turned me on. Soon I was all in. That band imploded because we were violent, crazy, egomaniacs. Some of the music was good though. I was living with those folks when I recorded Some Kind of Sex, which was a rejection of the hardcore and punk aesthetic I was immersed in. I just wanted to say, "Fuck you, I can make this experimental pop album because I study music composition, art, and poetry."

I also felt challenged by Crafty [Jon Rogers] and Everything, Now! who were blowing minds all over the state. Soon, I was playing with Everything, Now!, which was good for me because I was starting to lose my shit and Crafty kept everything together for everybody with his supernatural wizard powers. I dropped out of school to focus on practical mysticism and soon I was living in Bloomington playing in the noise, garage, psychedelic, freak out collective Hot Fighter #1.

 

RP: Talk about the themes you were wrestling with lyrically on Some Kind of Sex.

 

Doog: Young love is central to this album: anxiety and bliss, as well as heartbreak and despair. There's also a cute irony to it all, most clearly on “The Ballad of Andy Woehead” where dark lyrics are paired with a track that could be on Christian rock radio. It's a pop song about metal and it was much in defiance of metal as it was the Christian scene. People that weren't engaged in culture at that time, I mean people then and people now who weren't there, "don't get" why we started turning to this kind of irony.

I knew I was punk. I didn't have to out-punk anybody. I'm thinking, "How can I defy anyone's expectations at this point?" So I wrote the song, "Some Kind of Sex" about same sex attraction in defiance of Christian homophobia as much as homophobic hardcore tough guys. Just, "Fuck you," that was what it was about, but it was also kind of sweet. The loving "fuck you" is my favorite mind fuck still to this day.

“Seeds of Prurience” sounds like Elliott Smith singing with My Bloody Valentine, singing the sweetest death metal lyrics anyone ever sang:

Tonight I killed a kitten with these brutal bony hands

I smashed her skull between my palms, like this...

Tongue and fur, pet and purr, the pretty kitty let me love her

She wanted me to, so I did

And Oh! As gentle as the snowfall

I planted her just beneath the ice

I know everything has to die

But it's a bloody fucking business

To take it away

 

RP: On Some Kind of Sex, Love Coffin & elsewhere, pop music serves as a perfect vehicle for your songwriting. Does staying within an audience's comfort zone musically allow you to be more playful or subversive in your writing? Talk a bit about that dynamic. 

 

Doog: You are exactly right about that. I consider myself more of a performance artist than a songwriter or musician. When I write or perform I'm always considering the context and space of the performance as it relates to the entire history of American, Western, and folk art. I also consider current trends, which I actively defy. I only make an album when I feel challenged in some way to show I can do it because I feel like people aren't taking me seriously for some reason. That's what I think I'm doing anyway. It's probably just bullshit.

But yes, when I make a deliberately accessible album I fill it with subversive ideas. Something like the “Kamikaze Crucifix” for instance is a catchy song, but it is also the undoing of a poisonous myth that has resulted in the slavery of women for thousands of years. It says, "Thank you, Eve, for your sacrifice, your menses! You are the creator of freedom, of sex, and the mother of us all!"

 

RP: Your message of love and inclusion on "The Ballad of Andy Woehead" feels particularly relevant given the recent backlash over RFRA. Are Hoosiers finally ready for Some Kind of Sex

 

Doog: Hoosiers are crazy, man, I don't know what they're ready for. Most of these anti-gay activists are gayer than I am, and I'm a pansexual genderfluid queer. Why is it so hard to love what you love?

 

RP: How has your relationship with these recordings changed over the last 10 years?

 

Doog: Ten years ago, when I made them, I was immediately ashamed. That's how I felt about everything I did back then. Today, the subtle shades of misogyny in "Independent Woman" make me uncomfortable. The lyrics on the album are not great. I say all the things a young person drunk with freedom and no clue about what's going on typically says. Those are the shortcomings. All in all, I am proud of this record. I listened to “505” the other day, which I forgot starts with with this fanfare that sounds like the intro on your Louis Armstrong CD is skipping over this glitched-out beat before moving in to a doo-wop verse that alludes to John Donne's “The Ecstasy” sang with this coy Morrissey persona. It's the silliest, overdone undergrad thing I've ever heard, but it's done well. Most of the album is done well, I think. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I'd continued in this direction instead of tripping off into la la land with Ram Dass.

 

 

RP: Would you like to update MFT readers on your current health, and what your week-to-week/day-to-day has been like during the recovery from surgery?

 

Doog: I never understood why people keep health issues private. I made this decision a long time ago to be as open as I could about everything always. I thought that considering what you should and shouldn't share might burden a mind that could otherwise be employed observing itself and creating art. This was a decision to let everything but art go. It was a bad decision in a way because my life went to hell, but that was my trip and I'll own it. 

Anyway, I get this now because losing faculties you took for granted is embarrassing and humiliating. Seven months ago I couldn't tell you what a pen or a cell phone was. It was just babble. Today, I'm typing, reading, writing, and able to carry on conversations with only some difficulty. People say they can't even tell that I'm impaired, but I can. I know I'm not at the level of function I was before the surgery. Parts of my brain were taken out of my head and I will not get them back. My right leg feels like it's in a distant place, which causes all kinds of problems. I have a lot of problems with my right hand too. I'm able to get out, but I have to use a wheelchair. I also need sunglasses and earplugs because I have light and sound sensitivity that causes seizures. My friends have totally stepped up and saved me in that way which is AMAZING, really, it's been hell. I had no idea a person could suffer this terribly.

At the same time, my will is iron. There are some things I can do well, and I do them with the same intensity I've always done the things I want to do. It turns out I can edit video, so I do it all day. My first short feature is nearly complete.

 

RP: As someone so musical by nature, have you been listening to much the last few months? What has your relationship to music been like throughout the recovery process? 

 

Doog: For months I was so prone to seizures I couldn't listen to anything. I have been listening to more music lately. I'm at that age when you feel like you've heard it all so you don't like to hear things done poorly. I probably spend five hours or so actively seeking new music, but I don't like 99% of what I hear.  My friend Gregg released this 45 from lathe to vinyl via Auris Apothecary the other day and I am in love with this jam:

 

 

I was clicking around MFT the other day. There's a lot of great Indiana music! I stumbled across Chieftan, which I loved. I also love the new Oreo Jones and Sirius Blvck videos. I could go on and on about Indiana, but that's your job. I stumble across lesser-known gems from canonized artists a couple of times a week. I make playlists on Grooveshark.  Here's a folk playlist for drifting away to sleep.

 

RP: In the months since your surgery and subsequent treatment there has been a steady outpouring of support from Indiana’s music community: benefit shows in Bloomington and Indy. Beyond the monetary assistance, what has that support meant to you? Has it strengthened or reshaped your connection with Indiana's music scene in any way? 

 

Doog: It has been unbelievable. I was diagnosed a month after my dad died.  My mom moved to a Pacific island a month before my surgery. I thought, "How are my brother and my best friend going to shoulder this burden by themselves?" They didn't have to. Our community literally saved my life not only with the benefit shows which have raised, I would estimate, over five thousand dollars, but by taking me to doctor's appointments, helping find food, cooking me food, getting food from the places they work, snuggling with me when I can't even move for hours at a time, all sorts of things. I have been helpless, and my community, including the Indiana music scene, have nursed me back to life. It's been unbelievable. 

The support as saved my life, and my gratitude cannot be measured. I LOVE Indiana music. It kind of surprises me that a wretched creature like myself has been seen as worth saving, honestly. Maybe I should reevaluate my self worth. 

 

RP: How did you come to get involved with the MFT Preservation Series?

 

Doog: I was chatting with Jon Rogers and I mentioned that I was considering a 10-year anniversary reissue of Some Kind of Sex. He told me about the MFT Preservation series and mentioned that I would be a good candidate. I was honored. 

 

RP: Talk about any other plans for other releases this year, including the Bad Dharma film.

 

Doog: Sir Deja Doog's Bad Dharma: Real Life Schizophrenic Horror! is my first short film. It is is a journal of the terrible inner struggle I faced in 2012 as well as the outer struggle for survival in a world that violently and systemically oppresses the disadvantaged. It is told through songs I recorded to my broken phone as I drifted down the coast without refuge.

All of the characters represented are a part of Sir Deja Doog, the Lord of the Recurring Darkness, a shape-shifting magical being I created in my search for self-understanding and expression. The quality of the original video and audio was poor, so I created remixes that reflect my experience at that time. It debuts mid-May with screenings in Indianapolis, Bloomington, and possibly Chicago. After that it will be available to stream in HD online. 

Marching Sunn will also be releasing An Impossible Darkness to cassette in the coming months. You can read more about that release on the Sir Deja Doog Bandcamp page. 

Expect a couple of music videos from Doog 3:16 productions in the coming months as well.  Look for the Water Brothers Trust Anthology sides E and F later this summer. Also, check out the Bob Heaven’s Bandcamp to hear the new Hot Fighter #1 tape and for more information on the Hot Fighter #1 experiment.

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