SubEx: We’ve already proclaimed on our Twitter feed that your upcoming album “Diorama of the Golden Lion” is this generation’s “Bat Out of Hell.” How would you describe the album’s sound in non-Meatloaf-related terms?
Corn Mo: Glammy - a bit of Sweet, a bit of Mott the Hoople, a bit of Queen, a little Cheap Trick, a little Judas Priest and some Conway Twitty.
SE: You really have one of those voices that sounds good singing just about any type of music, and you’ve also played in jazz bands, country bands, metal bands, glam bands, etc. What is your favorite genre to play and/or sing?
CM: Metal. Although, when I’m at the karaoke bar I usually do Kid Rock. And I’m fucking good at it.
SE: Along those same lines, is there anything you haven’t done, musically speaking, that you aspire to?
CM: Real opera. Although I am studying the song cycles of Franz Schubert. I want to do a concert of the Winterreise someday.
SE: What was the first song you ever illegally downloaded?
CM: I’ve never illegally downloaded a song, but I once bought Van Halen 2 on a dubbed cassette from the big kid in school.
SE: What's the best bargain you've ever found at a garage sale or thrift store?
CM: A $75 accordion.
SE: I think it’s pretty well-known that you got your start in our own backyard (Denton area) how did you end up moving to New York? One press-release I read mentions “…a bed of nails, a magician and a wager” what’s the rest of that story?
CM: I was booked to open for the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus at Club Clearview. After the show, I invited them to crash at my place. The second time they came through, the musician of the group told me he was leaving and advised that I join the circus and move to NYC. It was the best tour I have ever been on. I hooked up with the aerialist.
I became really good friends with a guy named Magic Brian. We did a sideshow at the Meadowlands one day and they needed someone to lie on the bed of nails. I’d never done it before so I asked for a lesson. The guy said, “You just lay on ‘em. Oh, and don’t get up with your elbows.” I had to take off my shirt and wear a leather vest. The Discovery Channel was there to film my first attempt at the bed of nails. There is no trick. It really hurts. After the show, Ward Hall, the boss, asked me to put my shirt back on since I don’t look good in just a leather vest. Magic Brian, who has the body of a collegiate wrestler, was asked to finish out the day with the nail act. I moved the fat man’s belongings to the fat man’s area and then took tickets for the geek act, which was my friend Okra reading in a den of snakes. My back was still sore at 5pm that evening and Magic Brian was even worse, having done 12 shows that day. That’s the only time I benefited from being a fat ass.
The wager is when Kinko the Clown, Magic Brian and I would dare each other to eat the worst meat product we could find at the gas stations on the tour. It was stupid.
SE: Growing up in Texas how did a love for sports/football conflict with a love for music/playing instruments?
CM: I moved from Texas to Kentucky for a couple of years and then back to Texas. During my freshman year, I was in jazz band and I played football. I hated football. Everyone was too zealous about winning. I just wanted to have fun knocking people down. My jazz band teacher offered to let me be in the marching band the following year if I learned to play saxophone. I would be in the drum corp in marching band and play saxophone in concert band. I made out with more girls in marching band than I did being on the football team.
SE: Speaking of Denton, J&J's or The Tomato? And how does Denton pizza compare to NYC?
CM: Dave, the bass player for .357 Lover, worked at the Tomato. He told me they rarely cleaned those pizza trays. One day, he told his boss that people were complaining about bugs in their pizza. The boss told him to charge for extra toppings. Dave walked out.
However, I liked their pizza. I still have a Flying Tomato poster.
I do prefer J&J’s. I like their pizza more and I like $5 pitchers of Shiner. It’s a great place to see a show, too.
NYC pizza is really good depending on where you go. However, J&J’s trumps Ray’s Original. Ray’s sucks ass. But Lombardi’s is amazing. They say it’s the water that makes the crust so good up here. The trade off is that I can’t get breakfast tacos up here. I have to make my own and that includes the tortillas. And there is no Shiner up here. And Lone Stars are $4 or more.
SE: And how do you feel about the destruction of Fry Street?
CM: I haven’t seen it since it was destroyed but I know someone in Denton had been wanting that area gone for a long time. I think the same guy that owned that used to harass Recycled Books to the point of creating water damage and staging a break in. And I think he’s the reason the Argo was closed. I may be wrong. Anyhoo, that was a great place to play. I got my start playing at Kharma Café.
SE: Ultimate night out in the big city of Denton, Texas. Where does it start, and what is one thing you have to see/do?
CM: It used to be getting a 6pack of Schlitz on McKinney and Bell and heading to the Good/Bad for an art show or rock show. I guess now it would be going to J&J’s to get pizza and then decide if you’re going to stay there to watch a show or go to Dan’s or Rubber Gloves or any of the other fine rock clubs. OR pick up a 12-pack and head over to Wally Campbell’s house. He usually grills Earl Campbell Hot Links and quail that he shot himself. He has a fallout shelter in his backyard for making out in. I miss Shiner. OR going to Mazatlan and then to Holiday Lanes for a bucket of beer and bowling. I hope the guy with the oversized TAZ shirt is still wandering up and down the lanes cheering on the bowlers with his wireless mic.
SE: Ever attend an infamous solstice mushroom party (usually at the same tiny house with a multi-tiered fire pit)?
CM: In Denton? No. Wait is what rich people do? I’ve never seen a multi-tiered fire pit. I did whippets on Fannin St. Is that close?
SE: Outside of your musical endeavors, you also do some blogging over at Digital City; Which do you more enjoy, being the interviewer or the interviewee?
CM: Being an interviewer is work and I try not to look like an idiot. I enjoy the follow up questions the best. Being interviewed is easier since I have the answers.
SE: Describe something that's happened to you for which you have no explanation.
CM: Tim Delaughter “gave me” to David Bowie. [video proof]
It made no sense to anyone but I hugged Bowie and he smelled delicious.
SE: The title character in your rock opera “Alice Wakeman” got his name because his mother had sex with rockers Alice Cooper and Rick Wakeman, and couldn't be sure who the boy's father was. If Cooper and Wakeman got into a fight, who would you put your money on?
CM: Wakeman is a giant but Alice is scrappier. Once, two guys did a comedy show and made fun of Wakeman during their set. They had no idea that Wakeman was there. He knocked on their dressing room door to tell them how funny they were but they were scared shitless and wouldn’t let him in. I think Alice Cooper could kick Rick Wakeman’s ass but only because Rick Wakeman would allow it. Afterwards, he would write an epic album called “Alice Are You Having a Laugh - The Odyssey”. Alice would counter with an album called “I’ll See You on the Nightmarish Golfcourse.” They will both be very good albums.
SE: What’s your favorite Neil Diamond song?
CM: I have two favorites: I am I said and Coming to America. I was a ringmaster in a circus in Alaska and requested to sing the latter during the finale. I sang it twice a day and it never got old.
SE: What was the last thing you regret buying?
CM: Sesame Chicken from a Chinese place on 23rd and 7th.
.357 Lover's latest album "Diorama of the Golden Lion" is out September, 29th. SubEx highly recommends for anyone even remotely into hammy rock-opera goodness.