The Geraldine Fibbers wouldn't tell me where their name came from. In fact, when I asked the question, lead singer Carla Bozulich snorted and sighed to let me know what she thought of the question, before giving me a typically twisted answer. "It's an anagram for the phrase 'Be her last grief in bed.'" Well it is, (don't bother to check. I did the math), but I'm not sure if I bought the explanation. In fact, this band, who on their debut album, Lost Somewhere Between The Earth and My Home, are so frightening in their insistence on telling the truth, vicious as it may be, tell enough half-truths in person to earn at least part of their name. They're not lying, just telling fibs. Their debut album, hailed by many as one of 1995's best albums has been tagged by the band themselves as "sickened traditional" music. It is a warped mix of raging rock and twisted pop, with an interest in country music that goes far beyond watching "Hee-Haw" reruns. Many of the songs are just fine until The Big Bad Wolf makes his appearance. And on Lost... the Wolf usually sticks around until the end. In Austin to play an open street party during the South by Southwest Music conference, Bozulich and Fibbers guitarist Daniel Keenan had enough time to throw a couple barbs, a little sarcasm and a dose of truth our way. UR: Do you listen to much country music? Carla Bozulich: Country music sucks, man. Daniel Keenan: It's a sham. We tried to get an angle on this whole "grunge" thing, y'know, 'cause it was getting a little blown. And country was like -- well, nobody does country. (Sits up a little) No, for me -- if I feel like I need to come back down to earth and relax, I put on Hank Williams CDs and that makes me feel really happy. And y'know, if, the, uh, (looks to the wood paneled ceiling for the name of a typically useless alternapop band), Goo Goo Dolls think that's stupid -- well, fuck them. They try to look like Nirvana, so... CB (interrupts): Tammy Wynette is a really important person. DK: Tammy Wynette rules. UR: What do you think about the so-called "new country?" CB: Oh, that's a silly question. What can you think about it? DK: Do you mean like Garth Brooks or you mean like Tarnation? UR: I mean like Garth Brooks and... DK: Garth Brooks is a smart guy. I don't care what you say about him, but he's pretty smart. CB: He's got the whole Nirvana thing down. He's taking the best from everyone there ever was. DK: Jimi Hendrix, fuckin' Nirvana... CB: Iggy Pop. [Garth]'s got the punkest fuckin' (They both break down laughing) UR: Well, y'all lost me. DK: Have you ever seen one of his (Brooks') concerts? CB: He goes the whole nine yards. DK: He burns guitars. He crushes guitars. He does the national anthem. CB: He hurls cymbals into the audience. DK: Women cry. It's like the Beatles, Hendrix -- it's everything rolled into one. Fuck you if you don't like Garth Brooks. CB: At his last concert, he threw a cymbal into the concert like a frisbee. (Leans forward) Rumor has it that a baby's head was chopped off. DK: And y'know what? On top of it all, he's a closet homosexual and nobody knows about that and it's really sad. He's got all these balls to do all these things -- to fuckin' take everything from everybody and to make this beautiful giant- he's sold more records than Billy Joel -- but he can't come out of the closet. CB: He's got some of Billy Joel's moves too. DK: He IS the piano man. (Begins singing) "When you're five years old..." CB: He's taken the best element of every supersonic star ever. DK (in background still singing): "Captain Jack will get you high tonight..." UR: I think it's about time we move on. CB: He's our main inspiration. UR: A lot of the songs on the album that get tagged as "country" sound more like warped fairy tales. I'm thinking especially of Outside of Town, Song About Walls, and Get Thee Gone. They seem to have almost a sing-song quality... CB: Well, Song About Walls is straight-up Skynyrd. (I shake my head and Carla breaks out laughing.) DK: Y'know what the problem is. We're a retarded pop band. we can't figure out the last hook that will really drive it home, so we get all these great little things to get it started and then we lose it and it turns into this big mess at the end. CB: And we get it all done and we realize that we forgot to put a chorus in the song. (Pause) But you're right -- folk tales. [I] like to tell 'em. UR: The liner notes actually look like an old fashioned fairy tale book. CB: It's set up after a really old copy of Alice in Wonderland that I have. It's the same font. It's laid out the same way as that book. DK: And if I don't mind saying, "Thank you Smashing Pumpkins for stealing that idea on your record." They're on our same label (Virgin) and they stole it, and they're fuckers. And I don't mind saying it... They stole it and they think they're so righteous. I hate them. UR: Hallelujah. Pass the gravy. CB (laughing): Get down. DK: They saw our record come out. They saw what we did and they fuckin' stole it and they fuckin' stole it and fuckin' did their whole artwork around what we did. And that really sucks. They are lame. And you can print that- I don't care. Tell Billy to call me. (Leans into the tape recorder) Call me, baby. (Carla is giggling uncontrollably on the other couch.) UR: Careful, he might. DK: Are you kidding me? He won't call me. He cancelled a show in Japan because it didn't sell out. Talk about fuckin' losin' perspective. It's about music -- not how many people show up. Whatever. But we won't have that problem. UR: Why not? DK: Because we'll play in front of two people. CB: Because we don't expect anyone to show up. We're always shocked when anybody comes. DK: It's about plugging your guitar in and making connections amongst ourselves, not how many people see us play. [But] for a band that basically doesn't sell records and you don't hear about very much, people go out of their way to see us sometimes, which I think is kind of admirable. UR: Careers like that usually last longer. DK: I don't think this band is going to break up any time soon. CB: Let's just knock on wood, shall we. UR: If felt that the album, Lost Somewhere Between The Earth and My Home... CB (slowly): L-S-B-T-E-A-M-H, for short. UR: Exactly. I felt like it was emotionally very "to the point." It was direct and devastating. I was wondering if it was as draining to make as it seemed it would have been? DK: It was extremely draining. I can tell you this much. There were many times when personally I wasn't sure if it was what I wanted to do [because] it was so draining. And there were times when we in the studio and people were hacking at instruments, they were so pissed off. A lot of songs just bring that out. For example, Dragon Lady, which was already an emotional song 'cause Carla was so pissed at me. "I'm so sick and tired of your bullshit" is basically the theme. (Carla is laughing.) And so she wrote the lyrics and they were there and by the time we got to the studio, we kind of had it down. It was the last song we wrote. But the day we recorded it, some bad news came on the phone. CB: The minute we recorded it. The minute I was about to sing the words I found out a friend of mine was dead. And the producer was like, "Well, go sing the song." DK: And if you really listen to the song you can hear it. Because it's the best performance I've ever heard her give on a song, period... [When] she came in (from the studio) she was shaking. (Carla laughs uncomfortably) DK: I think the record took a lot out of everybody. UR: Finally, I wanted to know what you thought of the whole SXSW convention. DK: I think it's a great idea. CB (looks at him, incredulous): Why? DK: Well, personally, any excuse to go have a few beers, listen to some music, watch a bunch of people get crazy -- it's good with me. I mean, is there a deeper reason why we're here on this planet? Probably not, but I wouldn't have expected a band that sounds dead-serious on record to live by such a flippant philosophy. Just goes to show that you never know where the truth might hit you from.
Back to the articles page
Back to thee shrine