On Tuesday, March 2, 1982, Late Night Snack (a weekly live-music program cablecasted by WQAX and Channel 3 in Bloomington, Indiana) featured The Dancing Cigarettes at Oscars . This interview, conducted by Tom Donohue, took place backstage between sets.
Tom: How long have The Dancing Cigarettes been together?
Tim: About two and a half years.
Tom: How many of the original members are still with the band?
Tim: Uh... All of 'em.
Tom: All of them? You were all there that first night at the Bluebird in that album contest?
Tim: Oh, no... Don Trubey: Oh, no...
Emily: Oh, no...
Tom: See, that was the first time I saw The Dancing Cigarettes.
Tim: We don't really count that.
Don: That was pre-Dancing Cigarettes.
Michael: But we used the same name. It wasn't the same band.
Tim: We just made that name up on the spot, and it happened to stick.
Emily: Have you been walking around in the crowd out there?
Tom: I haven't myself. I was doing camera the last set, and I was up directing the first set.
Michael: Somebody in the first row, I think it might be the owner of the bar, keeps hitting me with spitballs.
Emily: It's his birthday.
Tom: No. It's... It's one of the guys who work the door. And it's his birthday.
Michael: Oh. Well, if it's his birthday, I'll forgive him...
Michael: Or spit back.
Tom: So, John...
Emily: Ask him a question about drums.
Tom: About drums? What do you know about drums, John?
John: Well, I didn't know much until... until...
Don: Till the band started.
John: Till the band started. Yeah. And then I just kind of developed... The way I tune the drums has changed a lot since the foundation of the band. It's like now I tune 'em up pretty tight. Compared with before... I really didn't even have a concept about how to tune the instrument at all when I started. Uh... I'd say, you know, my style is minimalist. I just try to keep the beat.
Tom: That's how all of you were when you first started. You were just picking up instruments and playing 'em. Weren't you?
Emily: It's kind of an advantage because, you know, if we really had all the licks and things and had been in fifteen different bands before this, then it would get kind of staid, you know. But it's... Well, I don't want to call it experimental, but I guess it's an experiment.
Michael: (broadly) Well, we wouldn't want to call it experimental. (laughs)
Tom: One of the things I really noticed the first time I saw you was that you had a lot of humor...
Emily: Had to.
Tom: The way... The way you approached all the music with a sense of humor. Have you lost some of that now or just going at a different angle?
Michael: I'd say we're all bitter and cynical by now. (laughs)
Tim: But... laugh it off.
Tim: It's... No. I think we're very... We're a bunch of jolly people.
Emily: Our music's not... You shouldn't laugh at it because, I mean, it's not funny. (laughs)
Tim: There's a few songs that are...
Emily: Yeah. They're funny.
Michael: I think our intent is, like, pretty serious, but our approach is sometimes pretty humorous. But we mean it... Man. (laughs)
Tom: You mean it to be humorous or to be serious?
Emily: Now you really got yourself in a corner.
Michael: Yeah. I guess... Well, we wouldn't want to limit the subjective role of the observer, you know, in determining whether it's funny or not. (laughs) That's up to each man and woman to interpret.
Tom: You allow the audience to pick their own...
Michael: Yeah. If they want to laugh, they can laugh.
John: Yeah. Actually, it'd be... If they can't take it seriously, it'd be really good if they could, at least, enjoy it, you know, from a humorous point of view.
Tim: It's just... A lot of it... The approach of it is so different from what a lot of people are used to. You know, it becomes...
Tim: Yeah. It becomes scary and then humorous, you know, as a result of that. I don't know... Scary? (laughs)
Tom: But does the audience reaction sometimes really scare you?
Emily: Well, in Chicago, there's always 300 people that are, like...(makes bow-down gesture)
Tom: It's time for the third set of The Dancing Cigarettes in just a couple minutes, so we want to give them a little bit of time to rest and relax and get everything...
Don: (sniffs loudly)
Tom: Yeah. (laughs) Get everything in tune and ready to go, so...
Emily: Stay tuned.
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