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Bathtub with steel poles: “Scars from Montana”


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There aren’t many bands doing anything Steel pole bathtub does, whether it is popular or not. There aren’t many bands you can compare them to. However, they are a strange, original group of sound samplers who somehow manage to sound like a three-piece band, guitars and all. Impossible? Listen to their new one Slash records Edition Scars from falls. Meanwhile bassist Valley Flattum explained moving, recording, selling out and his cat pension.

There aren't many bands doing what Steel Pole Bath Tub does, whether it's popular or not.
There aren’t many bands doing what Steel Pole Bath Tub does, whether it’s popular or not. Number 78, June 1995

SNUD: Dale, this is SLUG magazine, what’s going on?

Valley: Not too much, just playing with the cats.

SNUD: Just play with the cats. How many cats?

Valley: Well, there were three more with me a few seconds ago. I chased them away.

SNUD: The new album, Scars from falls came out on May 2, right? And you’re going on tour Don’t believe anymore.

Valley: Yes, we just got back from tour. We enjoyed four weeks.

SNUD: With whom?

Valley: Just us, and then we participated for a few weeks
Love 666. It was like we went on tour and then had four or five days off, and then we went with Faith No More, which should be interesting.

SNUD: Are you a Faith No More fan?

Valley: AH no.

SNUD: Real.

Valley
: No. I mean, I don’t mean…I’ve never…I’ve only heard the hits and stuff and it’s not the kind of music I listen to, so. They’re nice people, but some of them played on the new one
Milk cult file. You know, I like the stuff they did about that, but I don’t generally listen to music like Faith No More. You know.

SNUD: What do you usually listen to?

Valley: Oh, I mainly listen to old music. I only buy cassette tapes or records. I don’t really like alternative music, I guess.
God flesh is my thing. They are one of the most original bands around.

SNUD: But you guys are quite original.

Valley: Oh, we try, but we’re getting old. I think we’ll have to go out to pasture soon.

SNUD: Well, you can become rich and famous now that you’re in the game Slash.

Valley: Yes, we have to milk them for some money.

SNUD: Where does the name Steel Pole Bathtub come from?

Valley: Sort of boring Montana gibberish. There is no real story. You know, that’s where I was born and it’s cool. I don’t regret growing up there, I’m just glad I got to leave. I mean, it’s just boring. After a while you can only look at the mountains for so long. It would be like “oh, it’s so beautiful.” But it forces you to do something. It forces you to invent your own fun, and so I know people who grew up in big cities who constantly need some kind of stimulation where they can’t just enjoy themselves.

SNUD: So you’ve been together for seven years, you were on Boner for a long time and did a lot of Indy stuff. And then out of nowhere came Slash or how did that happen?

Valley: Yes. We’re just at the end of a few months ago or something. We’re done with this tour. Ian was in Alaska, I was in Los Angeles and they came down and saw the show and really liked it and started talking to me. We didn’t really go… we just really talked to them. There was no big bidding war or lawyer stuff.

SNUD: Weren’t you looking for a label or something?

Valley: Uhh no. We were curious about what… it was like, well, we want to sell out and make a ton of money. And we really liked them and they seemed to understand what we were doing. They released all the records that… the first records I ever bought. You know, so that’s kind of… if that means anything.

SNUD: Whose idea was it originally? I mean, I know you guys have been doing this movie thing for a long time and the dialogue sampling thing for a long time, but whose idea was that originally? Was it yours?

Valley: Well, I bought the first dictaphone we had in the band. I bought it at a flea market. I showed it to Mike and he said, oh, you know, you can connect a footswitch to that, this one external jack. And so you know we did that, and so the first thing we had was a little dictaphone thing.

SNUD: So is there a real movie freak in the band or is it just all of you?

Valley: Almost all of us. Darren probably knows the most about movies. He probably sees most of it. Has the most. He can remember most names, I think. If we all don’t need names, we can always ask him and he will know.

SNUD: So there were things from the early films that you guys did that were notable and you know… you thought, Jesus, I hope no one ever finds out about this, or…

Valley: Are
a crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy world was exploited quite severely The wonder of sound and movement, I don’t know…two just had an unreal amount of samples. A lot of that was to cover up sloppy songwriting.

SNUD: When you did the writing for Scars from Falling Down, was that more of a conservative effort because, you know, it was your new label and your new release and a different kind of thing, or was it more like your standard approach?

Valley: Yeah, it’s kind of like you’re okay, here’s a chance for people to actually hear this record to make sure that… not that we… you don’t know that you, like other plates, didn’t care. You know, I think there is such a thing… Try not to make the same mistakes again. Like it this time it was cool because we got to record a lot more songs. You know you’re weeding out the bad. Finish it at the end and leave, that doesn’t really work. You know and you’ve written enough songs to see how… Good stuff that… But I don’t know, you know what I mean, it’s… I think a lot of it is just that we’ve toured a lot and that we are better than we had been doing things. Maybe more willing to do it.

SNUD: Well, I hope you guys stop. It doesn’t look like you’re going to do that, but I don’t think they’ve made a final decision on that yet.

Valley: Yeah, it’s weird that we didn’t play there on this last one. Drove all the way through, but I don’t know. Hopefully we’ll still be a band when the CD comes out.

SNUD: You’ll still be a band unless you get into a fistfight.

Valley: No, we don’t. We get along too well.

SNUD: No, I meant Faith No More.

Valley: I don’t know…it’s just weird. I’m all involved in the music industry. But if we can do our part to undermine or put some record label out of business… then take a label with us when we go.

SNUD: Everyone has a job to do.

Valley: Everyone is proud that there is one less record label.

SNUD: Get any satisfaction from sinking another record company weasel?

Valley: I mean, you can think of worse things to do.

Read more from the SNUD archive here:
Interview: consolidated
Local band: Honest Engine: August 1994

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