I didn't know what to make
of Seth when I first met him. Was he a hippie? Was he a freak? Was he stoned off
his ass off some sort of barbiturates? Was he homeless? Or was he just plain crazy?
I guess in the 'regular' world he would be all of the above. In the 'regular'
world guys like Seth Faergolzia are misunderstood and outcast, almost invisible,
blending with the street side chaos and monotony that we've all grown so used
to. Put aside by the 'normal' people as a street urchin or panhandler and cautiously
stepped around like mounds of dog turd in the middle of the street. But, after
listening to his CD and hearing his poetic and metaphoric words over clever funk/folk
melodies I knew that Seth was a bit more than just plain crazy, he was just plain
brilliant and I knew I had to meet him.
I met with him at the Mercury
Lounge in Manhattans Lower East Side. One of his band mates, Lucas 'The Scientist'
led me down the creepy dark staircase into the bowels of the club. This was where
they kept the empty beer bottles and other disposable items. I was brought into
an old empty storage room where I would meet Seth and the rest of his nine-piece
band called Dufus. All of the band mates had the same similar appearance; dread-locks,
thrift store clothes, furry side burns, reggae styled pull over hats and grimy
un-showered, unshaven grimaces. They all seemed rather friendly yet were unsure
of me. Some looked at me with concerned eyes; others quickly sized me up and seemed
disappointed. I may have been dressed a little too normal for their liking and
thus been stereotyped as one who would not understand the bands artistic and experimental
ways, one who would judge them as all the others in the 'regular' world would.
But, Seth greeted me with open arms and welcomed me. And we sat there in the small,
dingy storage room and spoke about his band, Dufus.
Seth sat next to
me, close enough where I could tell that it has been a few weeks, even months
since he bathed last. His hair was unkempt and wild, it seemed as though he was
trying to grow dreads himself as it appeared bunched up and unwashed. His outfit
was worn, torn and faded, and I wouldn't be surprised if he had lived in it for
days. We sat there and I began asking questions, I spoke directly to Seth for
he was the one I specifically came to see. He was rather quiet a bit hesitant
and even shy; which after listening to his emotional and often energized jazzy
funk/folk music surprised me a bit. There were times when he spoke so low and
so soft that I could barely hear him. The rest of the band sat around smoking
dope and hanging on every word of our conversation and at times it became so quiet
that an uncomfortable aura would fill the room. I tried to get the conversation
flowing; I tried to find the one question that would spark his interest and bring
him more to life, something that would raise his voice an octave or two. I asked
questions about the band, about the band mates, about his music, and he would
answer in the same soft tone. Then finally.. "You said that you want to bring
'death to monotony;' what kind of monotony are you talking about?" I asked.
Then, as if a light flipped off inside his brain he quipped, "Well, it just
seems that everything is getting really plain and this pop monster is getting
really large. It seems like everything is turning into one line and not really
causing any up and down emotions. It's like everything is trying to level out
with all of these other pharmaceutical controlled things.. A lot of these bands
make up one solid sound and quite often it was all one person's idea, and they're
all just following that same exact sound. See, I have an idea and I'm trying to
make it so that each person is able to be as expressive as they want to while
in the restraints of the music I write."
"So, how is that different
from the pop monster?" I ask.
"New ideas.. New ideas, I guess." Seth
answers after thinking for a second or two, "Sharing new ideas, not as if they're
owned. My dream is to have the people on stage and the audience perform together;
that would be great. I would like for each member of the band to leave the stage
one by one until there is nobody left on stage and it would be like one giant
audience performing with themselves."
"Just like one big party." I said.
"Yeah, something like that…"
After the interview was over I went
back up stairs and waited to see Seth and Dufus take the Mercury Lounge stage
and perform live. Soon all nine of them would be up there looking ever so motley
and after everyone took there places they all began to scream at the top of there
lungs as if they were letting out all their angst and frustration towards the
world, towards society. This certainly grabbed the attention of the chattering
audience who seemed lost in there own private conversations and two-dollar bud's.
Startled people quickly turned towards the stage to see what the hell was going
on. The screaming continued until the house became silent and they had everyone's
complete and total attention. They then broke into the groove for "Having a Party"
which is a Zappaesque celebration with plenty of funky jazz riffs and sing along
chorus lines. The audience began bobbing their heads and some danced along. There
were those who seemed confused and that was the overall intention. The rest of
the show was an upbeat jamboree that was as unpredictable and lopsided as it was
rehearsed and centered. It was controlled confusion orchestrated by the genius
mind of a madman.
Seth broke out from his timid persona and took control
of his band, the stage and the audience with a commanding presence. He is a true
and talented musician whose approach is abstract and unconventional, kind of like
a modern day Frank Zappa with a fresh and free outlook and an artistic style delivered
without boundaries. Dufus is certainly a band that is not afraid to color outside
the lines and not afraid to experiment, take chances and give it to you the way
they feel it inside. They improvise a lot on stage and get wrapped up in the moment.
They'll scream and yell, harmonize, talk and make strange noises and it all comes
together that makes sense in a twisted irregular way. It's music without a label;
sounds without rules; poetry without borders. It is the farthest thing from pop
music, the farthest thing from 'regular' music, the farthest thing from the spoon
fed feces that radio and MTV and mass media have been feeding us forever. It's
grimy, it's odd, it's strange, it's different, it's real, and that is what makes
it so damn special.
By the time I left I still didn't know what to make
of Seth. He could be a hippie? He could be a freak? He could have been stoned
off his ass? He might be homeless? And He may just be crazy? But one thing I knew
for sure, Seth isn't regular…
Thank God for that.
Don Sill for Crud Magazine 2001©