US - Maryland - Full Moon 76 - 12/19/02
hugging Nat Fowler at ATP
"You don't have to be from New York to bring back
rock'n'roll" (typical rock journalism)
Oxes, the "controversial" ultra-math-rock band, hails from Baltimore, USA. This power-trio
consists of two wireless guitarplayers, Nat Fowler (a.k.a Nettarino and Natale) on black guitar,
Marco Miller (other names unknown) on silver guitar and drummer Chris Freeland (a.k.a. Han Sum
Since 1999 Oxes have been delivering the math-thirsty world some of the finest Fucking Champs
and early Don Caballero fueled riffs and Storm and Stress- and U.S. Maple inspired anti-riffs.
They began recording for Baltimore's Reptilan Records and Box Factory Records. Also have they
released a split with Arab On Radar (oh well, that was Oxes pretending that they were Arab On
Radar) on Wantage USA. Baltimore's finest indie, Monitor Records, released both their full-lengths,
Oxes and OXXXES.
Those who saw the band performing at the latest All Tomorrow's Parties festival at Camber
Sands in the UK have never seen such an electrified live-performance unless they've had the luck
to witness AC/DC in their heyday. After drinking too much of the elf-juice I met Nat at All
Tomorrow's Parties during Dead Moon's show at the festival. Instead of interviewing them I hugged
him and did an impersonation of U.S. Maple's Al Johnson.
LK: At first I want to know about your musical backgrounds, how you met and when you
started playing together as Oxes?
Nat: "We met at college, UMBC. I was the asst manger at the sheep farm on campus. We were
studying how adding three more stomachs to sheep would make them more like cows, or just kill
them. Chris was an avid milk drinker, he LOVES cereal. So he decided to Come and see if he could
get some free milk out of the deal. Marc hates milk, but has been eating cereal with Chris for
11 years, in 3 different bands."
LK: Could you tell me what kind of guitars you and where you got them?
Nat: "The kind is called abc. A fellow, very smart, makes them. He doesn't make a lot and
they are very expensive and very heavy. They are made of aluminium and were machined to exact
specs and are very precise instruments."
LK: You've covered a Foo Fighters song on one of your singles. Was it because you
think they suck and you can do it much better than they do or are you fans of them?
Nat: "I'm a fan of their good songs, and we continue to cover it after so many years
because we always play it different."
LK: There's been great fuzz about the cover artwork of OXXXES. Why? I heard
that people don't even protest against John Waters films in Baltimore?
Nat: "The fuzz came mostly from Chris's huff. He shaved it right before the photo shoot.
John Waters doesn't have a huff, he glued it to his face, so there you are."
LK: You guys tour a lot and your tours are pretty long compared to many indie bands
I know. Do you always get along well on tour and is it what you enjoy the most?
Nat: "I enjoy meeting new people and in Europe eating new foods. The thing I like the
least is being forced to eat at fast-food restaurants when on the freeways in America. I wouldn't
say our tours are longer, les savy fav and arab on radar have done so much more touring compared
to us recently, to give an example."
LK: Comedy and good sense of humour seems to mean a great deal to Oxes. Is it because
you want use the humour instead of vocals or is there another reason?
Nat: "We are jokers. We approach music as a joke and when the joke gets old we make up
LK: Oxes have been compared to bands like Don Caballero, Shellac, U.S. Maple, Karp,
Fucking Champs and some others. What do you think of that?
Nat: "I think it's relatively unimaginative but when someone wants a reference point of
what a band sounds like, what can you do?"
LK: I haven't heard OXXXES yet, do you feel like anything has changed since
you put out OXES?
Nat: "Yes. We approached the songs much differently. We wanted the songs to not be old
Oxes songs. I think the next album will be an odd mix of dance music and Oxes."
LK: How were your weekends at ATP, what do think about the festival?
Nat: "They were incredible. Awesome and indescribably euphoric. It was hard to tour a
shoddily planned euro tour in a rickety diesel van for 6 weeks after having paradise for 10 days.
Ok, paradise except for the FUCKING TERRIBLE FOOD. Why do Brits eat that shit??!!"
LK: Which bands/artists would you consider inspirationally great?
Nat: "Chris Burden, Ali G, Philip K. Dick, David Cross, Salvador Dali."
LK: Could you tell me about the most rock'n'roll experience you've ever had (on
tour or elsewhere)?
Nat: "Playing baseball with cantaloupes in front of Fort Thunder with lightning bolt."
LK: Why are you in a rock band?
Nat: "It is the only practical way to live an interesting life at this age with these
talents that i have, you know?"
LK: Do you know if there's "Free Love in Amsterdam"?
Nat: "It's not free, right?"
LK: Are there any bands from Baltimore you like?
Nat: "Yes, of course. Charm City Suicides, Stars of the dogon, INK, The Oranges."
LK: Would you like to add something?
Nat: "Not yet."
Copyright © 2002 Benni