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WeirdMusic.net EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWs

 

Mark Freddy

 

 

For years Mark Freddy honed his performing skills as a street musician traveling around Europe and North Africa. From the streets of Dublin, Ireland to the streets of Cairo, Egypt he played in many weird and wonderful places while meeting some interesting characters along the way. This experience helped shape his approach to music, giving it a tongue-in-cheek attitude. At the same time he soaked up the predominantly new wave music that permeated Europe in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. In a twist of fate, he missed “The Magic Bus” (yes, that bus) that drove non-stop from Athens, Greece to New Delhi, India. The next bus would leave a week later. But during that waiting time he had second thoughts and decided to return home to southern California and pursue a recording career.

Being influenced by the likes of David Bowie, Talking Heads, and XTC; he made forty-something analog recordings at four different studios with eight different sound engineers between 1982-1989. These were primarily done as record company demos, but a number of them found their way to the airwaves. Now for the first time, nineteen of these have been digitally remastered and compiled into an album titled Circular Reason. Many have found these songs a little quirky to outright zany. Still, there are some serious themes sprinkled throughout. And although the accompanying musicians named The Flanger Managers are serious artists themselves, their performances on these tracks are fun and freewheeling. The Flanger Mangers are not a band per se, but a group of musicians who are friends, friends of friends and family who've mingled together through the recording studio and live performances. Their contributions on these recordings are obvious (see album liner notes).

Mark Freddy & The Flanger Managers debuted November 1, 1982; not as a live show, but on a Los Angeles radio station KLOS 95.5 FM with their song “Work Is A Four Letter Word,” something he wrote while on the Greek island of Crete.

 

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WEIRDMUSIC.net INTERVIEW - Mark Freddy


- Do you Like/Write Weird Music ??


I like to write music, weird or otherwise. I don’t intentionally try to make it weird. I just write music that sounds good to me. If someone thinks it sounds weird, then it’s weird to them. I don’t try to sound weird for weird’s sake, if that is the question.


- When and where did your experience in music start?

Since the human voice is the most familiar and emotional musical instrument, I guess my music experience started soon after I was born. I do remember my parents playing a lot of interesting records in our home like Charlie Parker (be-bop), Martin Denny (exotica) and Harry Partch (microtonal). My childhood friends thought the music was strange. To me it was just normal. I really didn’t get bit by the music bug until I heard David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The song on the album that particularly got me was “Hang On To Yourself”. Once I heard this I just needed to learn how to play guitar…

- What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the rest of the year ?


I’m currently building my own custom acoustic instruments in the tradition of Harry Partch. These are based on a 43-tone-to-the-ocatave scale (not 12 like a piano) that I hope to create some interesting stuff with. Right now there’s a lot of playing with hammers, saw, screwdrivers and sandpaper. As for the rest of year I’ll be doing shows with my backup band, The Flanger Managers.

- What do you consider your greatest inspirational sources in music ?


Like I mentioned, David Bowie was the one that showed me that being a chameleon rocker has no limits. I was also profoundly influenced by XTC, Talking Heads, Squeeze and the neo psychedelic band The Dukes of Stratosphere with their album Chips From The Chocolate Fireball.


- Please describe your personal studio for us...


Well, it’s more like a woodshop with a table saw, band saw, drill press and belt sander. I’m not just building experimental instruments, but recording a lot of the grinding & cutting sounds I hope to use in future music.


- What are your favorite readings ?


“Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art” by Stephen Nachmanovitch; “A Brief History of Everything” by Ken Wilber; “A Man Without a Country” by Kurt Vonnegut; “Neuromancer” by William Gibson; “Alone with Others” by Stephen Batchelor


- In your opinion, what role does the third sector, public and non-
profit entities; have for music on the Internet ?


Their role is to provide a connection between people who have a particular interest in music without the primary goal of maximizing financial gain, I guess.


- Who is Wacky Jacky ?


One of Alex's most dynamic and definitive singles to date.


- Anything else ?


The following sentence is true. The previous sentence is false.

 

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