The Oral History Of Kid Millions' Man Forever: "A Cross Between Metal Machine Music And 'Dare to Be Stupid'"

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Joshua Bright
Kid Millions is juggling a shitload of action. The drummer extraordinaire just played another epic gig this past weekend with Oneida, the psych-rock jamming savants he's anchored since 1997. Man Forever, the bohemian collective of shape shifters he's united to realize his percussive-based spiritual vision, releases Pansophical Cataract (Thrill Jockey) this week; the group is also making killer videos and even throwing a hilarious, but dead serious, contest where you can actually be a member, at least for one performance.

Sound of the City caught up with a glorious bevy of Kid Millions' Man Forever collabbers and friends in honor of the new record, and tomorrow night's gig at (Le) Poisson Rouge). (Kid himself is absent; on the day the Voice and he were supposed to spiel, he experienced the misfortune of dropping his phone in the toilet at WFMU. Read our June 2011 interview with him here.)

Shahin Motia (Ex-Models, Oneida, Knyfe Hyts): My memory is that Kid put together Man Forever over roughly a one-month span in early 2010. At the time, [Oneida members] Kid, Barry [London] and I were just burning through recording and filming, like, twenty-odd bands at [Oneida's recording studio] the Ocropolis, for a brahject that ultimately became Koozies & Woodies & Beer, a Japan benefit compilation we only recently released. We were so busy then... I mean, we worked day jobs during the day and were in the studio every night. Over a three-month period in early 2010, we recorded 21 bands for the comp, mixed Oneida's Absolute II album, mixed the Sightings album Future Accidents, banged out a few remixes for people, played a few Oneida shows. Somewhere in there Kid saw Fireworks Ensemble perform Metal Machine Music, conceived the first Man Forever album ("It'll be a cross between Metal Machine Music and "Dare to Be Stupid"—actual quote), and spent a few days in the studio with Brian, Richard and I banging it out. That MMM concert was on February 5 and we completed Man Forever March 14—while juggling like thirty other sessions.

Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs): I first got involved when Kid (or John... ) asked me to help with drum tuning on the first MF record. He had the concept and the way in which he wanted to record it, and I came in to assist in tuning the drums to specific pitches. This was back in February 2010, if my memory serves me correctly. I went down to the Ocropolis, Oneida's studio in the basement of Monster Island, and walked up to Kid's drums. Now this is a significant moment for me because Kid has been, and still is, one of my favorite drummers and on this rock scene he's been paving the way—to be the one tuning his drums is quite an honor. I was very careful in handling each drum. I could hear his sound in the way he had his drums set up and I was careful to preserve that in adjusting each drum head. He almost keeps 'em like a jazz drummer would, but of course he rips into 'em like he does. Mitch Mitchell is coming to mind now but I don't know if that occurred to me then. Anyway, I tuned the drums to the intended pitches and he did the recording. He mentioned he had in mind to record the drums in a way similar to the harmonious/harmonic blur that is Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music and having each drum in a specific relative tuning helps enhance that effect.

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