Sneeze Interview...

By Graham Halliday

On Wednesday 30th of December 1998, Sneeze played the last gig of a residency @ the Annandale & this following interview, their 1st ever as a band apparently, was done by Graham. Sneeze is Nic Dalton on vocals, bass, guitar, keyboard, bongos, drums, penny-whistle, etc, Tom Morgan on guitar, vocals & playing the role of Doctor of Love, & Lara Stix Larson/Meyerratken on drums, vocals, beer-bottle-top-percussion-stick [known in the business as a lagerphone], bass & wheel spinning. Tom is not present here, as he didn't show up until they decided to start playing.

G: What is the history/beginnings of Sneeze?
N: Sneeze actually was something me & Tom started before Smudge or Godstar, Michael from Troy Horse suggested we should do a 7" album, because we had very short songs, so we did the double 7".
L: You should use one of those [mimics Dictaphone].
G: I would but I don't have one, it would be simpler though.
N: I looked up 'Lara' on the Internet & it only came up w/ Lara Croft etc.
L: Why were you looking up me?
N: I thought maybe you had a site or one of yr fans did. Anyway, we recorded it, put it out, but we never played live until 1996, never thought we would as it would be too difficult to learn all these songs.

G: Does the name refer to the length of the songs?
N: Yes, it was originally 'Sniff' as they were all under 2 minutes long.
L: 'Sneeze' is way tougher... Power of the Sneeze.
G: Were you there at the start?
L: Not even born [don't take that literally folks].
N: Since we never thought we'd play live, as we'd have to learn 41 songs, we didn't really need a drummer.
L: They asked me... I'm not really in Sneeze, always reminded of that, I'm not in the photos, I took the photos.
N: Then we started playing live. Acoustic 'Sneeze-lite'. Then Stix Larson joined.

G: I noticed this thing on a Captain Beefheart website [Electricity] where it says they're looking for record labels especially from outside the USA to put out unreleased early Beefheart stuff [I show print-out to Nic], would Half A Cow be interested?
N: I don't know. Would the Captain like it?
G: Well, he always said he'd like to get his records out to the people even if they were for free, and you said Safe As Milk was one of yr favourite albums [this drags on for a while, next!].

G: What records have you been recently listening to?
N: 'Flying High' by Gene Clark, a double cd, not new, but there's 6 new songs on it. All the new HAC stuff. Hey Lara [towards drumkit], what records have you been playing recently?
L: More You Becomes You by Plush.
G: Who's Plush? [mind you I don't know who Gene Clark is even now]
L: A guy from Palace Brothers, [forgot name, not Will Oldham, someone else] who's a genius. [The next day I saw this item in Waterfront & it's an LP packaging in a big paper bag with printing on it & the proper cover inside, sort of like Thurston's Root project mentioned elsewhere in this issue].
L: Also Yo La Tengo, 3Ds.

G: Is the riff form 'Commencing December' taken from SY's Brave Men Run [In My Family]?
N: No it's a coincidence, I don't know that song. What album's it off?
G: Bad Moon Rising.
N: No, I don't have that one. Thurston Moore's an asshole [it seemed to be said as a joke so I didn't get all defensive as I might normally do, incidentally from talking to Nic on previous occasions he's said he stopped listening to them when Dirty came out & hasn't heard anything since, not even the Diamond Sea, but recognises the classic greatness of Sister & Daydream Nation].

G: What is the true story of 2 Kates? There's graffiti in the cement on my street that says KATE x 2, were they real people?
N: Yes, they were 2 Lemonheads fans from before I joined, but they were from Melbourne, Not Sydney. I watched Party of 5 for the 1st time last night, I liked it, it was a good show [I laughed]. [To Lara] If you meet Neve Campbell, can you get her signature for me? It's N-I-C.
[They go off into personal chit-chat between themselves...]
N: I don't know why anyone would get married.

G: What is happening with Half A Cow in the new year?
N: New Sneeze LP with 50 songs [1st I thought he said fifties songs & asked were they covers?], Bernie Hayes LP, 2 Litre Dolby LP, reissues like Missing Links from 60s.

G: Has Sneeze been on tour much?
N: We've been to Melbourne twice, we played at Public Bar & we did 5 shows in America...oh we're going to reissue all Lustre 4 stuff [Lara was in this band].
L: Where's the reel tapes?
N: Somewhere in my basement.

G: What local bands do you like?
N: Hoolahan from Melbourne, the usual suspects- Gerling, 2 Litre Dolby. I don't really see too many.
G: Have you seen Skulker?
N: Yeah, they're okay, not my favourite though. I'm a recovering alcoholic so I'm trying not to go out. Really busy running label, recording, 4-tracks....

G: Would you do Sneeze live tapes, do you record your shows? Because I was thinking of expanding this [CYF soundtrack tape which I brought along a copy of for them] into a tape label.
N: Yes, we thought of that, give them out to 1st 50 payers of the previous week's show, we have heaps of recordings.

G: Is Sneeze your main band now or Kombi Nation?
N: I wouldn't say I have a main band. Haven't written any TKN songs in about 2 years but we're going to put an album out on Blind. I want to get Sneeze more popular but we've only been doing mid-week shows & no supports for other people or airplay, but it's sort of my main band but not really, We've done the residencies...
G: Technically you've never had a single, even Shaky Ground had its video but wasn't the title of the 7" or whatever.
G [To Lara:] Is Lustre 4 still going?
L: Not anymore.
N: Weren't they a great band?
G: The only song I know is the one off the Antfarm cd [Soda Crash from No Guts, No Glory, the 1st of 3 CDs full of local bands which you may know about], but I really liked it.
L: The songs on the EPs were totally different to that.
G: You did support for Bikini Kill, what was that like?
L: Let me just say that Kathleen Hanna's a hypocrite. It was all "dude!" & "like"...

G {to Nic]: Were Love Positions popular back in the day? How many gigs did you do?
N: About 4 or 5 gigs, 1 here supporting the Clouds, which was great.
[Lara practises Create Yr Friends on acoustic guitar]
N: C, C...
L: About Plush again, Liam Hayes who was in Will Oldham's band, he's a fucking living legend. I saw him play a whole show in New York & it was brilliant.
G: Did you see any other bands over there, like Sonic Youth or maybe they were on tour over here?
L: I saw her [Kim] walking out of her house & down the street w/ a pram [w/ Coco in it]. I felt I had some connection, wanted to talk to her but couldn't manage it.
G: It's just I had to know, being SY-obsessed.

[Tom finally shows up]
T: Hello.
G: I was doing an interview with them & it filled up 5 pages.
T: Oh, wow! [Well anyway maybe those weren't his exact words but he seemed suitably impressed].

The following is the set list from that night. Because they have so many songs they use a spinning wheel w/ all the titles on it to choose which song to play though sometimes they just play the ones they want. I did take some photos there w/ my sister's new manual camera but unfortunately none of them came out because there was no flash, but don't despair because I did take some the previous week & more earlier in 98 @ the now-closed Sandringham & some shall be used here. But here is what they played in the right order in case anyone's wondering:

Winter Won Out / I'm Upset Enough / Pins & Needles / Cos Yr So Sweet [w/ funky bassline] / Monday Night On Mars W/ Zero People [it says on my notes "mega-distorto" for that one] / (Don't Go) Girlie / 2 Kates / Doomed To Visit Disneyland [no thanks!] / Darth Vadar Helmet / Autumnal Eyes.
That was the 1st set then followed by Bill Gibson solo who had a song that says "Even Hitler had a girlfriend, why can't I?" about how nice guys come last & similar tunes.
Sneeze Set 2: Dad's trailer / Too Much Man to Be My Woman / Cold cold Morning / Casual Cashew Daddy [someone once suggested that this song is about Adam Sandler] / Doctor Of Love / the 1 that says "do you remember the time you 1st heard Ziggy Stardust & Touch Me I'm Sick?", also starts w/ the line " I hope you like the same bands as I do" / Pedal [more distortion] / Bands, jobs & Girlfriends / I Got A Type / Shaky Ground / When Honey Snaps [official Nic goes mental & flips the bird song] / Satan ["on the surface she's pretty nice but underneath she's Satan"] / Ain't No Love On The Road / Going Scared ["it's pretty weird"] / There He Is / Nevermind / ? / Ripped Jeans / Demand / Dirt Diet [their country song]. The End. Go home.



Interview by Graham Halliday, copyright 1998. Orginally written for Chunky Yet Funky Zine.