Severed Heads

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Is Severed Heads '€œIndustrial'€ music? Severed Heads creates When people think of '€˜Industrial'€™ music, they think of angry middle-aged men with spikes on their backs in the middle of a mosh pit (doing that stomp-dance where they pound the air). Severed Heads creates somewhat unclassifiable music that can still be categorized to certain genres. The harsh name of the band does have an '€œindustrial'€ ring. The Australian group mainly creates electronic based music. Since they were originally signed to Nettwerk Records in the United States (Volition in Australia), Severed Heads were labeled as Industrial. In contrast to the term, Tom Ellard'€™s voice is very melodic and somewhat soft. Their electronic melodies do not have the aggressive or sinister style of typical Industrial music. At the core, Severed Heads are rooted in electronic pop music. When they do not adhere to their pop song structure, they travel to bizarre musical territory. Although Severed Heads may not be industrial music, the band is industrially productive! Tom Ellard is the one remaining member of the group. Even though musicians came and went throughout the decades, Tom Ellard has been the band'€™s driving creative force. Rooted in electronic music and innovators of the video synthesizer, Severed Heads has a hugely diverse catalogue. In reality, they create bizarre electronic pop music. One of their most respected songs, '€œDead Eyes Opened'€ does not have sung vocals. Instead, the group uses vocal samples of Edgar Lustgarten, reading from '€œDeath on the Crumbles'€ on a BBC Radio Show. Their most well-known album, '€œRotund For Success'€ featured the tracks '€œBig Car'€, '€œGreater Reward'€, and '€œAll Saints Day'€. Their bountiful discography also includes albums such as '€œCome Visit The Big Bigot'€, '€œBad Mood Guy'€, and '€œGigapus'€. With the help of Stephen R. Jones, their use of videos became a staple during their live performances. To fully experience Severed Heads, both eyes and ears were open.

Sevcom Communications used www.sevcom.com to give fans a taste of the music before their purchase. Ellard was one of the innovators in utilizing the Internet for his independent record label. The albums, '€œGigapus'€ and '€œHaul Ass'€ (both by Severed Heads) were self-released without neglecting quality. Ellard also released three albums with a side project collaboration named, Co Kla Coma. After a hiatus of several years, Ellard returned to electronic pop music with the 2002 album, '€œOp'€. Originally titled, '€œLap Top Pop'€, the unique '€œOp'€ album underwent a plethora of upgrades. Each upgraded version included new songs and brand new instrumental tracks.

Tom Ellard is proud of his new 2006 Severed Heads release titled, '€œUnder Gail Succubus'€. Originally released in a metal DVD case, the packaging for '€œUnder Gail Succubus'€ presented multiple problems. Eventually, the plastic cases became the acceptable and accessible format. As an album, '€œUnder Gail Succubus'€ consists of electronic pop songs mixed with the modern vibe created in the classic Severed Heads style. The opening track, '€œSnuck'€ includes a bouncy rhythm and a guitar-sounding melody. Ellard'€™s signature vocal style also remains. Other standout cuts include '€œThree Doors Down'€, '€œInside The Girl'€, and '€œPsychic Squirt'€. A second disc, '€œOver Barbara Island'€ consists of 8 instrumental tracks recorded live on June 21st 2006.

Tom Ellard and Severed Heads is the epitome of independent music. He is the record label. As a label, Sevcom sells the music directly manufactured by the musicians without the typical middle management of record labels. Not only does Ellard have creative control, he has complete control of Severed Heads. Every single song is in the hands of Ellard. If Industrial Music consists of avant-garde music that is electronic in nature, the music of Severed Heads may sometimes be classified using that term. As a group, Severed Heads transcends just one genre. As a word, '€œIndustrial'€ means something relating to the output of industry. In the music industry, Tom Ellard and Severed Heads have complete control of their musical output. Since Ellard has complete control, Severed Heads can be anything'€¦ beyond one genre. Industrially, Tom Ellard is essential to the independent music industry.


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat goes on?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œJust finished another year of teaching. I worked at 3 universities, teaching music and video. Also, casual at a science museum, where I conduct a variety of seminar teaching for high schools and further education. Once you get past a certain age, you want to pass on the knowledge. Been a crazy year for releases too. 2 albums and 2 small books, with more coming.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œThe new Severed Heads album, '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™ was just released. Tell us about the LP.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œThe title is very old, from an 80'€™s booklet I created. That and the cover art should tip people off that it hearkens back to an older musical period. I feel that I'€™ve used enough different styles now that I'€™m not trapped in a genre. '€˜Gail'€™ can re-visit some of the old Severed Heads motifs, without too much cloying nostalgia.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œIncluded in the '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™ package, is a 2nd disc titled, '€˜Over Barbara Island'€™. Tell us about this.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œThat was a live show which was supposed to take place outside, in a kind of demented tiki lounge atmosphere. It was a benefit for The National Art School. As it turned out, the rain forced the whole show inside a bleak white gallery space, where it sounded quite horrible. It'€™s my idea of cocktail music, which I don'€™t really comprehend. So, it came out kind of mangled. As it uses some sampled sounds, I made it a free disc. Free in, free out.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat is the meaning behind the titles, '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™ and '€˜Over Barbara Island'€™?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œAs always, the titles are really open to interpretation. A succubus is a female demon that seduces men. I guess this one wears a badge, like they do at McDonalds. '€˜Hi! I'€™m Gail. How would you like your soul eaten today? Fries with that?'€™ The other one, '€˜Over Barbara Island'€™ is the yang to the yin. As well as being, '€˜Over Barbara Island'€™ is a different girl. The island had to do with the visuals for the live show, which were lurid 3-D island landscapes.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œHow is '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™ album different from your previous album, '€˜Op'€™? Why?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œIt'€™s completely different to '€˜Op'€™. '€˜Op'€™ is a cartoon book, funny papers. It'€™s a series of cheaply drawn, brightly coloured cartoon books. The idea with '€˜Op'€™ was not to make albums, or make an album that somehow never got finished. So, it was informal. '€˜Gail'€™ is a real album, formal and sensible. I think of '€˜Gail'€™ as something that gets kept, whereas '€˜Op'€™ would be used like a magazine or a newspaper.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œFor the '€˜Op'€™ album, you released upgrades or different versions. Will you do the same for '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œ'€˜Gail'€™ is '€˜Gail'€™, finished. '€˜Op'€™ could suddenly start up again at any moment, sometimes free and sometimes pay. I would like to make an '€˜Op'€™ that gets handed out like pamphlets. If a track on '€˜Op 1'€™ were done again later on '€˜Op 3'€™, no one would complain.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œFavorite song on the '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œNot favorite, but the first one from which others grew was '€˜Lo Real'€™. Unlike '€˜Op'€™, this album took years. Some things took 4 years. Not every day, but a bit every month. '€˜Lo Real'€™ was one that just kept on needing a bit more work, a bit more. There are all kinds of things that happen in the background and you might not even notice them.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhich song took you the longest to do from conception to completion on '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™? Why?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œ'€˜Taking Out The Surfing Bird'€™ took the longest. It was first released in 2004 as a different track on a limited edition CD. Then, 2 more movements grew onto that over the years. Some tracks have holes in them that have interesting shapes. It can take time to find the right piece.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œHow would you describe the music of Severed Heads? How would you say the sound of Severed Heads has evolved?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œThere'€™s the same mind set as back in 1978 when we first started making sounds. I'€™m always amused by those who would say, '€˜Oh yes they used to be Industrial, but now it'€™s just pop rubbish.'€™ They fail to see that we have a proud tradition of pop rubbish going back to the very start. One thing that is evolving is the technology. I refuse to use tape recorders any more because the nostalgia exceeds the results. I don'€™t give a damn about analogue anything. We used it when it was appropriate. Now it'€™s nostalgia, which I loathe.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat is the story of '€˜Lap Top Pop'€™? What happened?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWell, '€˜Op'€™ did start as '€˜Lap Top Pop'€™, until all my laptops got stolen. I was writing the album on United Airlines flights. You can usually get quite a lot done on a Sydney to San Francisco haul, although sporadically. But the machines were taken by the usual junkie through the window, and the album with it. So I thought, '€˜All permanence is illusionary'€™, and settled down to do what the fates were directing me to do, which was do an album that was never finished. The first edition of '€˜Op'€™ was such a disaster that I knew I was onto something good.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhere did you meet Stephen R. Jones? How did you eventually form the group?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œStephen R. Jones showed up at our first gig in 1980. Later in 83, he built a video synthesizer, which used control voltages. As the band, at that stage, used the same voltages, he asked that we play live and send him some signal to drive the machine. That was the '€˜Live At Metro'€™ gig that has been on a few DVDs and now on YouTube. A few years later, he joined in. It was five piece band for a while there.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhy did you two go your separate ways?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWell, he wanted to get on with '€˜grown up'€™ stuff. You get to a certain age and you think, '€˜being in a band is retarded. I want to do something a bit more sophisticated'€™. It was hard at first because I had to take over the video production, but he had taught me well enough that I knew that I sucked and eventually got better at it. Like most of the ex band people, we see each other a lot. Except the dead ones, I only see them every so often.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat inspired the song, '€˜Snuck'€™? Tell us about that track.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œ'€˜Snuck'€™ is not a real word. It'€™s '€˜sneaked'€™. The song is a list of words that don'€™t fit together. Some are things my girlfriend says when she is asleep. The chorus about Target just entered my head one day. Some passing spirit just flies down and puts whole lyrics in there. My bad lyrics are those that I can'€™t quite remember what the spirit said. As for the music, it was part of a jam I was enjoying with friends, re-mangled.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œOn the track, '€˜Psychic Squirt'€™, you use lyrics from an older song. What was this all about?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œIt'€™s a bit of '€˜Do You Know The Way To San Jose'€™ by Burt Bacharach. Listen to the original by The Carpenters and then, look at the city now. See how it changed, like a mutant growth. The track sings about mutant growths. Everything around the world now seems to be a mutation that has grown too big like the props from '€˜Lost In Space'€™. The world is over ripe.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œThe packaging for '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™ is unique. Tell us about it.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œBloody metal boxes! It was my stupid idea to sell it in metal boxes. They weigh so much that the postage eats up the income from the bloody album. And then, they get bent in the mail. So, eventually I hope everybody will start buying the transparent plastic version. But, it'€™s part of trying to make people dissatisfied with vaporous mp3 downloads. The most interesting thing is actually the serial number that is embedded in the album. Upload it to a torrent and I have your name and address instantly.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œOn the different parts of tracks for '€˜Bruise Vienna'€™, you use acoustic guitars and drums. Although Severed Heads mainly creates electronic music, will you use more acoustic instruments in future recordings?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI really have no idea. I'€™m working on a vinyl box set at the moment of our ancient stuff. It'€™s funny listening to the old guitar tracks. Endearing, cute. It is almost tempting to take up the hurdy gurdy.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œI love the '€˜Op'€™ album. I especially love the songs, '€˜Symptom Symphony'€™, '€˜Out On The Mental Ranges'€™, and '€˜Hippie Bonfire'€™. Will the first version of '€˜Op'€™ be available again?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWell it always is. If you have '€˜Op 2'€™ you have the cards. The cards unlock the old album for download. But really, it went hideously wrong. Something to do with mixing tracks on United Airlines flights made it brittle.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œTell us about the purpose of '€˜Op 1.2'€™. These are completely different tracks, all instrumental. Why was this done?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWell, '€˜Op 1'€™ went crazy. The mix was all wrong, and about 100 copies didn'€™t even play in people'€™s CD players, due to the video track. So, I had to do it again. But in the meantime, I put out a stop gap. You got to download it for free, if you had '€˜Op 1'€™. It was a concession.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œYou stated that '€˜Op 1.2'€™ was much more enjoyable to create. Why?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œBecause it wrote itself. I just went to bed and the next morning, it was sitting there all done. The spirits did it.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhich pop music album do you like more, '€˜Op'€™ or '€˜Op2'€™?

TOM ELLARD: '€œ'€˜Op1.2'€™ for sure. Some albums are effortless. '€˜Co Klo Pop'€™ was effortless. Actually, all the Co Kla Coma albums were lots of fun. '€˜Op 2.5'€™ was less so, but I still enjoyed it very much. Others had me in tears. '€˜Haul Ass'€™ is a record of a very difficult, poverty stricken time. This forthcoming box set is being complete misery, trying to listen to stuff from 1977 with an open mind.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWas it difficult to start Sevcom?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWell, in 1988, Sevcom was just an idea. It acknowledged that labels were the new bands. But it grew slowly, based on printed booklets and then Otto Ruiter started up a BBS which I took over in 1992. We got a web page up in 1994, '€˜Dead Eyes Opened'€™ was one of the first Internet tracks ever available for download. Then, Stephen M. Jones just walked in and made it all work. He already knew how to run the web thing with SDF, and helped me get the plumbing connected and the heater turned on.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œSevered Heads and Sevcom were one of the innovators of independent music on the Internet. Is Sevcom a success? What has been the key to the success?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWhat we did back in the old days of the net doesn'€™t really matter anymore. Sure, we were first at most of it. But, that all gets forgotten in the rush for the next 15 minute wonder. All permanence is illusionary. Fame is a random process. Now, everybody has a Myspace. So, who cares if sevcom made the first MP2 album? Everybody has so many MP3s; they can'€™t bother even playing them.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œOn the sleeve for '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™, you wrote, '€˜Please share your own music, not mine.'€™ Still, you put a substantial amount of your music on the Sevcom website. How have you been hurt by the Internet?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI only think it'€™s worth reminding that people make records. They are not spawned from the air by record labels. Somebody cared a lot about that track you'€™re uploading. Steal it, but just remember, it'€™s somebody, not some thing. I give a great deal, yet somehow, only that which is stolen is appreciated.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œDo you do many overdubs while recording?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œBack when I went from 4 track to 16 track tape recorders, the temptation was to go hog sh*t crazy. And I did on some of those Nettwerk LPs. Now, when you can have as many as you like, I try to use as few as possible. Like Brian Eno says, '€˜Don'€™t overdub, use a treatment'€™.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat is your opinion of Pro-Tools?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œHated it until I started teaching it. That'€™s when I had to hone all the techniques. Now, I respect it, but there are so many dumb things in there, like real time bounce downs that don'€™t live in the 21st century. I love FL Studio. It'€™s a big ball of confusion. You can'€™t teach that. It just has to infect you. I use FL Studio a lot.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œOut of the myriad of albums you have released, which one are you most proud of? Why?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI think there are a few good bits on all of them, and some utter crap. I really am sad that the Co Kla Coma albums didn'€™t get more attention. I have to say I got bored with the old ones over the years. Some kid will be raving about something I did in 1980 something and I'€™ll be wondering if the rest of my life was just a waste of their time.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhen writing and creating songs, what is the creative process like?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œSpirits. At least it is something that visits and leads you by the hand and shows you what to do. It'€™s sometimes odd that I'€™m teaching, as I think that creativity can'€™t be taught. But I hope I can lead the right ones to the muse and they will have that bright, vibrant, visitation. Composing is being able to see a jigsaw in all the pieces magically assembling themselves.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œHow are the fans responding to this new album, '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œThey'€™re wondering why it'€™s taking so long to get their damn metal box in the mail.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhere did you find the samples for the classic Severed Heads song, '€˜Dead Eyes Opened'€™?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œAha! It'€™s question #1. It'€™s Edgar Lustgarten and his TV show '€˜Scales of Justice'€™. We have a whole area devoted to this question. Look at www.severed-heads.co.uk/faq.html.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œMany people have remixed your songs. Which ones did you enjoy the most?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI heard that Orbital did '€˜We Have Come To Bless The House'€™, but decided not to go with it. That would have been interesting. The Clifford'€™s come up with some pretty funny versions.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œFans of Severed Heads are known as Cliffords. They made an album called, '€˜I Can'€™t Believe It'€™s Not Lard'€™, comprised of Severed Heads covers. Which song do you like the most?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œIf I said I liked one over the others, it would hurt some feelings. But, I guess the weirder, the better. Some people can mock me while adding some extra something. Just mocking is not so interesting.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œThe Sevcom web page features exhibits where fellow Clifford'€™s can have their own little page. Tell us about the exhibits on Sevcom.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWell that was more Stephen M Jones'€™ idea. He tends to be more egalitarian than me. I just wanted to have a few exhibits by selected artists. Stephen thought it better to have open access, which is part of the SDF ethos. So, anyone can have 50Mb. That may seem small in these days when Google gives you 1 GB. But, we don'€™t use you as an advertising billboard.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat are the Sevcom Music Servers?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œThe original idea was to supply 8 hours of uncomfortable muzak to fill a working day. I only managed 4 hours before it got snapped up by the film company. They were working on a similar mood and the match was good. Actually, it'€™s less muzak than the idea of '€˜piped music'€™ that'€™s fascinating. I am slowly working towards a number 5.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œHow did you get involved with the soundtrack for the film, '€˜The Illustrated Family Doctor'€™?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWell, Kriv, the director, was working on a script and needed a music worker that understood the bleak humour of the film. I was lucky that I'€™d been in the same headspace for a while. So, I could supply and expand existing material. We got along well and I have done a few TVC soundtracks for him since. Doing the soundtrack was relatively easy. It would have been hard if it was a heart warming tale of two young kids or something vile like that. Winning the ARIA award for the music was just plain weird.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat is the meaning behind the name, Severed Heads?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œIt was a joke. We were called Mr. & Mrs. No Smoking Sign, because that was really ugly. Then, we wanted to fool people that we were Industrial and it worked. Severed Heads was a really dumb name, so that'€™s what stuck. Forever. I hate it by the way.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhen creating a track, do you have a set theme or idea first or the music first?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œUsually, it'€™s a notion. On '€˜Op 2.5'€™, there'€™s a track called, '€˜We Choose Moon'€™. Although I used the Kennedy speech, in that, I actually went looking for it, knowing that the track was going to be about moons. Then, I wrote music about moons. Then, the video, about moons. It was a notion that stuck in my head and had then to be made real. Same with pilots. Moons and pilots are part of the uncanny, which energizes music.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat was the recording process like for '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™? How was it different from other times?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œMy entire life I wanted the one box that did music. I used to sketch the plans for one, back when I had tape recorders, mixers, keyboards, et cetera, eating up the living space. It focuses everything to the one point. Now, I have one machine, the computer, which disappears when you start using it. It'€™s perfect. Apart from that, creating music is mostly brain work, fitting puzzles together, following the flow. I hope to make it entirely mental one day.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œThe song, '€˜Kittens'€™ (from '€˜Op'€™) talks about a father nailing a kid to the carpet. What is '€˜Kittens'€™ about?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œHe'€™s nailing a rent boy to the carpet. Daddy is a homosexual pervert murderer. '€˜La la la'€™. I'€™m sorry, but these songs have meanings that don'€™t really connect up sensibly. It'€™s word music, not poetry.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œMusically, what else have you been working on?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWell, the live album, '€˜Viva! Heads!'€™ came out the UK and I am pretty happy with that, as it really does update our live recordings to the present day. That'€™s what Severed Heads sounds like live, not like the recordings that were about before. It'€™s a fun album too. And there'€™s at least one box set of vinyl underway.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat are some of your favorite instruments?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI like instruments that disappear, ones that become direct pipes from brain to sound. That means I really don'€™t like instruments at all, I guess. Perhaps, I should have played the guitar. Colin Newman once told me that was the least intrusive noise device. Synthesisers are less physical though, so you don'€™t have technique.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œAround what time in your career did you start financially surviving form music?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œIn the late 80'€™s, pretty early on. Sometimes, I was even wealthy, which was a feature of those times. I have actually done really well out of music over the years, which puzzles me greatly. I think other people found me useful and steered me this way and that, like a tractor. And as they fed themselves, I got fed too. I never really sat down and thought about how to make money, like I do now. But musical careers are brighter than they are long.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œDo you think that success and credibility are mutually exclusive?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWhen I won the best soundtrack ARIA award for the film music, I was deprived of that illusion. It'€™s too easy to say, '€˜I'€™m too weird no one will even credit me.'€™ Then, suddenly you win a mainstream award and you have to ask yourself if perhaps, just perhaps, the people who win awards might earn them somehow. Not always, but that win questioned my presumptions about mainstream versus alternative music.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat song are you most proud of?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œIt depends how drunk I am. Honestly, it varies with the mood. I like those that please and annoy the most. '€˜Gashing The Old Mae West'€™ is useful for teaching. It might be the one that lasts longest in music history.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œHow has the Video Synthesizer affected your career?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI have two slipped discs from carrying it up stairs. It broke the ice at parties. It gave journalists something to write about, when they sounded bored writing an article. You could use that to liven them up. Now, it gives me something to impress children. Look kids, analogue.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œOne of my all time favorite Severed Heads tracks is '€˜Sevs In Space'€™. What inspired this song?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œLet me try very hard to be helpful. After writing this track, I think it comes from Altman'€™s film '€˜Brewster McCloud'€™, which I saw sometime and then stored in the mind pit. The lyrics are about Icarus, but they are again, not supposed to be a narrative. The music has a parrot in it. If you try to find sense, you'€™ll be disappointed.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWho are some artists you would like to collaborate with in the future?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI guess I am out of the loop these days. Thinking about what'€™s going on right now, I feel a foreigner. I did a lot of this rehashed style some while ago and can'€™t pretend to be still thrilled. Not that no one is doing my thing, but I am not doing theirs. These kinds of offers come at odd moments and I can'€™t presume to predict what is next. I am sure I'€™ll be puzzled.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œHow did you get the deal with LTM Records to re-release '€˜Rotund For Success'€™?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œJames Nice wrote to me one day and said that I was a fat sh*t. He actually said, '€˜So you hate record companies do you?'€™ I got all embarrassed and felt I should really be more cooperative with somebody who took the time to crack my shell. I think it'€™s simply part of his charter, as we were loosely associated with Factory Australia, back I the day. LTM does Factory'€™s mopping up, and so we are appropriate to include.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œOriginally, you were on Nettwerk Records. How did this deal come into fruition? Why did it end?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œTo get Skinny Puppy on Ink Records in the UK, Nettwerk had to take one of Ink'€™s bands. Actually, Ink wanted Moev, whether Nettwerk really wanted us is another matter. I guess we were okay until Nettwerk finally came out of the closet and admitted they were a frock rock label. I look bad in a frock. Nettwerk'€™s tastes are easily defined by money, and frock rock beats cookie monster any day.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œYou were in a side project called Co Kla Coma. How did this start? Will there be any more albums?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œCo Kla Coma was simply a collaboration between me and two performance guys from Oklahoma. They pretty much just wanted a mention on the records, although I'€™d get samples mailed down, guitar riffs, Christian speeches, all kinds of odd bits. Co Kla Coma had a stage patter about sonic weaponry, a coma tone that induced sleep. We have a film half finished. Later on, one of them moved to Santa Cruz and we could collaborate a bit more. The other guy is now a full time nutter.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œDo you believe in God? Do you believe in a certain religion?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWell, I allow metaphysical ideas. There are patterns in life that are not logical yet often described. I can believe in things, but more in line with Jung than the Pope. There'€™s a big difference between religion, which is social, and belief which is personal. As for God, if you define it, you limit it. Seeing as the definition is that it'€™s unlimited, God is a paradox.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œYou also earn a living besides music. What else do you do?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI say, '€˜yes'€™ really fast and before you know it, I'€™m already raking the leaves and cleaning the gutters. I do a lot of part time jobs, at one point this year I had 7. I'€™m an arts & education workaholic. Books also earn more than music.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat do you think of rave culture? Has rave culture embraced Severed Heads?'€


TOM ELLARD: '€œNo, we looked suspiciously at each other. I didn'€™t like their neo-hippy Mandelbrot bullsh*t. They didn'€™t like our lack of BPM. For a so called liberating movement, they sure had a lot of rules. Rave culture was too confining for Severed Heads.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat are the three best things about living in Australia?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWhen the bombing starts, we'€™ll die second last, before New Zealand. It'€™s still possible to occasionally find something here that wasn'€™t designed in America, although that'€™s getting rare. Sometimes, the most interesting people to meet are the ones who don'€™t want to live in the center.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat are the three worst things about living in Australia?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œIt'€™s an island with a small town mentality, a world suburb. The people with fire in their belly leave here. Then, come back when they run out of ideas. Many good things are too far away, too expensive and too hard to get.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat LPs have you been listening to during the last couple of days?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œMagma'€™s '€˜Mëkanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh'€™ because a friend said that I should hear some Magma. A lot of Residents stuff, old and new, trying to work out just where I started to dislike it. A recording of Kraftwerk, playing live as a guitar rock band in 1971, which reminds me a bit of Popol Vuh, which I like.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat is your favorite part of your live show?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWhen, it'€™s thankfully over and I did not make a complete fool of myself.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œHow has your live show evolved?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œIt all fits in tiny little boxes that are easy to carry. It can draw upon a lot of history. It'€™s more likely to be at a gallery than a hall. It'€™s now going back to one off shows, like the very early ones, than hits and memories rock gigs. The idea of a live show becomes perhaps a misnomer.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œAbortion. Pro-choice or pro-life?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI think that moles and bunions have a right to life as do all sundry lumps of flesh and will picket the nearest shoe shop to stop this dreadful flesh trade.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œEuthanasia. For or against?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI think we should keep people on endless palliative care even after they die. I mean, it'€™s selfish that corpses should not offer the opportunity for moral righteousness. I hope that soon we can dig up old bodies and give them the care they deserve. Of course, we should still kill felons. The State has to exercise power in both directions.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œSevered Heads does not have a MySpace page. What is your opinion on MySpace?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œThere was a Severed Heads page, but after some trouble, I got it removed. Frankly, I don'€™t like crap, even if it'€™s popular. I don'€™t like information Nazis, like News Corporation pretending to be hip. Also, I don'€™t like having friends, which I have never met. And if that cuts my sales, well bite me.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWord association. When I say a name, you say the first word that pops into your head. So, if I said, '€˜The Beatles'€™, you may say '€˜Revolution'€™ or '€˜John Lennon'€™. Okay?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œFish.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œTelevision Personalities.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œThis Has Been A Reg Grundy Production.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œBoxcar.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œZippy The Pinhead.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œHappy Mondays.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œBaggy Trousers.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œKool Keith.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œL. Ron Hubbard.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œFelt.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œFat and wolves.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œMomus.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œIce cream.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œEminem.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œMelts in your mouth, not your hand.'€


TODD E. JON

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