Mr. Plow was nearly arrested
after pulling into a McDonalds on the road and asking the
girl behind the counter to talk to him. ďThey almost called
the cops on me they thought I was weird,Ē he says, popping a
piece of sushi in his mouth during lunch on Main Street, in
Vancouver. ďAll I wanted her to do was to ask me how my day
was, after driving for ten hours and not talking to
So is the lonely downfall of an
in demand acoustic singer/songwriter touring the countryside
with only a guitar and his inner thoughts to keep him
company. Not that heís complaining. After playing in eight
bands over the course of 12 years this is the one gig thatís
gotten him enough success to avoid a day job and produce his
third full-length album, Mad Plow Disease. The album,
another signature brand of potty rock is giggle-fit inducing
and included with the acoustic-Plow fans know and love there
is a slew of band back up for many of the tracks. Reading
the liner notes alone is a lesson in North American west
coast underground, including Norwood Fisher, bass player for
Fishbone, and Rocky George (ex Suicidal Tendencies, now also
a member of fishbone)
as well members from The Doers, death metal drummer Gene
Hoagland and Asa Hooker from The Catholic School Girls. Over
lunch he discusses the details of being an enigma, which
includes regrettable songs, manly backup dancers and a 1972
How did the creative spark
for Mr. Plow develop?
Plow: I used to play in this
band called the Hairy Areolas and we were this crazy punk
band and played fast songs so no one was really hearing the
lyrics and I thought the lyrics were the main point behind
the band so I did this Mr. Plow thing so people could hear
the lyrics. Thatís where the whole thing came from. Iíve
been doing this ever since and now
Iím sitting here eating sushi.
You have a lot of really
obscure musical influences (Richard Cheese, Mojo Nixon) how
have you honed this taste in music?
Plow: For that I think I gotta
thank my mom. She didnít ever really get mad at me about
what I was listening to growing up and she always opened
doors to new music. Then I took a music composition class in
high school and the teacher was some crazy hippie who would
make us sit in the music room where there was no windows and
then turn the lights out so it was pitch black and it was
first class in the morning so it was like 8:30 a.m. and heíd
put on Frank Zappa. For a bunch of 16-year-old kids.
Listening to the Hot Rats CD. It opened my brain up to all
these different things and it was just insane.
How do you keep yourself
awake on the road?
Plow: I listen to standup comedy
just to hear another voice more or less. Bill Hicks is a
genius. My buddies from Tacoma, who do the acoustic thing
like I do, called Who Cares. And buddies of mine from
Phoenix called The Meat Department kinda like Tenacious D.
They sing about
little punk-rock kids shop at Hot Topic.
So what do you say to people
who are about to see you for the first time?
Plow: You gotta have an open
mind because if you donít have a sense of humor or open mind
youíre going to hate me beyond belief. Iíve played in front
of rooms where people have no idea what to make of it they
look like deer caught in the headlights.
Is that due to playing a
Plow: Yeah. I played this little
bar in whatís known as Little Tokyo, in Los Angeles and they
were all just dumbfounded and I thought it was more of a
clean set. There was the hesitant clapping at the end of the
songs. I get people coming up to me in private after a show
whispering how much they enjoyed it, so that their friends
donít find out.
Howís the song writing
process for you? Does it just pop into your head during the
shower or the middle of the night or do you work at it?
Plow: It comes in many different
ways. Some of the songs are inside jokes. My songwriting
ability is almost like menopause; itís like a crazy hot
flash. Iíll write four songs in the span of three hours and
then I wonít write a song for seven months. Then Iíll have
another hot flash. This one song off the new CD I wrote it
in my head while driving to Phoenix. Itís called Are You
Really A Guy.
line ďIs that a dildo in your pocket or are you really a
guy?Ē is pretty classic. Was the song autobiographical?
Plow: No, thank-god! Iíve never
been set up on a blind date. The song just came to me and
then the next thing I know I had to pull over at a rest stop
just so I could write down the lyrics.
Thereís a bunch of backup
singers on that song, where did they come from?
Plow: Theyíre all guys! Thereís
not one girl n that track even though they sound like girls.
Denton from The Joint Chiefs, heís the one who does the real
high-pitched voice. Then a couple buddies of mine from
Oregon and I even believe Shawn M from The Doers and Joel
from Black Rice is one too.
Plow: As disturbing as it is, I
mean they sound like Edith Bunker from All In The Family,
with that high whine going on. It worked out really well; it
was one of the hardest parts to get done because I was just
killing myself laughing.
You won last yearís readers
choice awards in The Georgia Straight, Vancouverís crusty
business oriented newspaper. Did that just blow your mind?
Plow: I thought it was the
biggest joke in the world. I was driving over a bridge when
I received this phone call and I almost crashed my van more
due to laughing hysterically than anything else. I donít
know. I got my little certificate/diploma stating that I was
the best local male musician and Bif Naked won best female.
The best joke going around for a week after that was that we
were going to do a duet. I donít understand how that
People secretly like you
Plow: yeah, itís a hush-hush
Any regrets about certain
Plow: Thereís one track, Iím not
going to give the name out just because the song still
haunts me to this day but a select people know about this
song that um, still request this one song. I
try desperately not to play itÖ
What song? You wonít tell me?
Plow: No, itís just wrong. I go
with the understanding that if people request a song at a
show you have to play it, thatís why Iím not giving the name
of it but this is the only song thatís gotten me kicked off
the stage at a show.
Is it on your first album?
Is it on your second album?
Plow: No. Itís on a demo from
about five years ago and I regret that song but people keep
bringing it up, thereís nothing I can do.
If your music was a vehicle what
kind of vehicle would it be?
Plow: A 1972 neon-green Pacer
with sheepskin seat covers, kick ass flames, no hood and a
muffler thatís dragging ten feet behind, as I try to drive.