To follow up my post on the B L A C K L I S T by Memphis Art Brigade, I wanted to feature this guy. Lamont is a significant black American artist and musician whose character and career summarizes MAB’s urban education project. His name belongs on that list along with countless others.
Bim- I first met you in Columbus at the Gibson Brothers reunion show. What is your relationship with members of the Gibson Brothers?
The Gibson Brothers music freaked me out before I actually met them- in the form of their cover of “I Had A Dream” by Nathaniel Mayer. I guess I met them through being employed at Used Kids by a founding member Dan Dow. I was always into music and had been in a couple of bands, but working at this store changed my life and still deeply affects me today. I love those muthafuckas you know…all of em! But yeah that lead to a close friendship with Don Howland who was also a member of the Gibson Bros and their neighbor at the time. Howland and I have been making records together for 17 years now. Our last “And Without a Name” came out on Columbus Discount Records a couple of years ago to good reviews and is considered by some as one of our best. We have a new one in the can right now. He’s one of the smartest guys I know and I consider him my brother. I make it a point to cover his songs with Obnox because they’re great tunes and no one else touches em, not even him in some cases. I would meet Jeff Evans and Ellen Hoover not long after that. I never knew them when they were a couple. I’d never known Evans when he was an Ohioan either. But I have great respect for Jeff and all the crazy cats he’s worked with over the years. His father was one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet. (Miss ya Mr. Evans!) Howland and I have toured Europe with Country Jeff a couple of times…the first tour for 3 weeks and second for like 7 and a half weeks. We were in gnarly spots like Novi Sad, Serbia on that trip. Not many people play there, but Don and Jeff were not phased. And what can you say about Ellen…she’s simply beautiful through and through. She used to lay out our Bassholes covers and has been so supportive over the years that I don’t know what to say…let’s put it this way, Obnox has played Columbus twice and she’s been right there in the mix. So yeah I know all the Gibson Bros and following them has kinda shaped some of my taste especially when it comes to blues, country, and early rock. A lot of guys have come up through a relationship with one of the Gibbys…Jay Reatard, Rich Lillash Jack and Greg Oblivian, Alecja Trout, Me, Jeff Novak, Richie Violet and Chris Wilson, Bruce Saltmarsh was down and Dan Brown, George Reyes, Jeff Bouck, some of Darrin Lin Wood’s best work was done standing right next to Jeff. Jon Spencer got over the Pussy Galore hangover touring and recording with the Gibson Brothers. Who knows? Maybe someone will do a proper set and put their legacy in perspective. Its worth checking out fa sho!
When did you first start playing music? What instruments do you play? and would you list the bands you’ve played in, chronologically?
I was a late bloomer sort of…I didn’t start playing until I was a junior in high school. Most of my friends at least played an instrument long before that…they maybe didn’t write songs, but they played. I started out singing at church and in school. When it comes to punk, I am a drummer. That’s what I do best and that’s how I generate a lot of ideas. I’ve been playing guitar lately, but not very well. I play good enough to write songs. Recently people have wanted to hear these songs live so I’ve had to get better real quick. Luckily when it comes to Obnox I have one of the best drummers out there…I haven’t been in as many bands as some. The bands I’ve made records with are Flipping Hades, Bassholes, My Uncle Wayne, This Moment in Black History, Deathers, Puffy Areolas, and Obnox…I’ve toured with V-3 once. Pretty soon, like two weeks from now I’m going to play drums on the new Unholy 2 ep.
What was it that drew you to making music? What is one or some of your proudest accomplishments/projects you’ve worked on? And what is your greatest frustration with the music industry?
I’ve heard you described as ‘punk rock’s Elvin Jones.’ What does that mean to you?
Ah that Punk Rock Elvin Jones thing…yeah people say that sometimes. I am into him and Art Blakey and Zig Modeliste and countless others. I take it as a compliment. I don’t think I’m heavy like a jazz guy because that’s that black classical music ya know…the last great American art form if you will. I do wanna make punk records that are important to people like jazz is important to so many. I do hate to see a drummer doing ordinary shit with no feeling, but making these fuck faces like he or she is gonna bust a nut. It just seems fake to me. I try to remain calm and protect the pocket like a jazz cat so yeah the Elvin thing I take as a compliment.
How do you relate to being a strong, engaged and engaging black artist within the underground scene?