Sunday, March 29, 2009

Missing Foundation history- Pete Missing interview

Below is the first in a series of interviews done with members of Missing Foundation done by Vincent Dominion, who put together a sort of oral history of MF through the words of people associated with the band. He kindly gave us permission to reprint some of these here on the blog. Missing Foundation has a storied history involving many characters, but why not start with the main character himself, Pete Missing! This interview must have been done around 2001 or 2002, right around the time Pete was in Berlin, and exhibiting his work at the Tacheles. Following this time, Pete came out of his self-imposed exile to return to the United States and ran a gallery out of a storefront in Madison, Wisconsin, if I remember correctly. It is here that we started communicating and planning for the 1933 reissue. Pete then returned to New York City for a time before splitting his time between Berlin and NYC again.

The interview is a bit short on details about Missing Foundation's history, but it's a good insight into communication with Pete. At bottom, he's a visual artist, and is most in his element with his paintings and his art, which are often strewn around him when he works. His writing is a bit like his painting; very busy, very extravagant and colorful, full of slogans and superimposed images. You can really tell how he'd be the mouthpiece of a band like Missing Foundation.

[Pete at the Tacheles in Berlin]

Can you describe your time with MF?
Manic psychotic creative destructive constructive [prophecy of the coming events we have now]

Are you still in contact with w/ex members?
Adam I just saw on tour in New York he has a kid and is working on a new band. Chris Egan is a photojournalist in Boston.

What did you think of the Spitters?
Heavy load but unlistenable, not grounded and still boring rock music in the end but stage shows were more power. The cd’s are not a good representation of the Spitters sound. A well missed band. Mark dead in New York of cancer in 2000.

I heard about a show you did at the Knitting Factory w/John Zorn and Marc Ribot. Can you tell me about that performance? What do you think of those guys and was it recorded?
Well, John and I lived on the same block and he is a friend/collaborator of improvisational music. I was happy to throw my Berlin recordings of electronic sampling live with vocal overdub. John Zorn of course is a small genius and Marc Ribot is also great noiseician and guitar player. This may be recorded but I do not have a copy.

What music/writers/filmmakers are you into now?
Only electronics but I couldn’t really pinpoint. I think.....Tricky, Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, Chemical Brothers.......I give everything a listen and there is a lot of drum & bass live instruments with electronic etc.... still coming up.

After MF why did you take off to Berlin?
Basically after the F.B.I. was at my house on a false tip and not finding anything I decided to go back to live in Berlin but this time I went into the former east and found an incredible place far from the anals of America. I was able to record and build massive installations. Check out the photos on the web site or Berlin is my dream city but maybe someone else would get lost there. It has a big underground of active people, artistically and politically. Their energy changed my life my music and my interests.

Why did the F.B.I. raid your house?
The reason the F.B.I. were at my house is because they tried to say that I started the riot in 1988 (at Tompkins Square in NY) but in the end they realized they were dealing with an entire angry neighborhood, which fought gentrification, homelessness and homesteading rights on city owned abandoned property falling into deterioration. And at that time a government that was and is not working for the people. The F.B.I. investigation fell back on the 9th precinct police department which found no real criminal actions against MF.
Basically, they would have to arrest the entire lower eastside and so I moved to Berlin to squat and make new music and leave America behind in search of a better atmosphere.

Can you explain the differences between America and Europe? The lifestyle, the food, the politics and the general awareness of everyday life?
I would say Berlin and Europe as a whole is the complete opposite way of life. America is abrasive and abusive. People haven’t learned not to hit each other over the head. Europe has more history and more information. We are making the same mistakes they made 700 years ago. The only difference is our big party is burning up the resources. Germany banned nuclear, dropped out of the war on Iraq and the green party is in power for 4 more years. Gay marriages are legal, men and women can go nude in the park, drugs are decriminalized, prostitution is legal, free medical, free dental and free education for everyone. 20 million dollars to the culture in Berlin, it’s illegal to go hungry and 67 is 76. America is pop culture, beer culture and full of decadence and violence. For sure the nature will revolt and the world is in a warning.....pharmaceutical nightmare......genetically engineered chicken......end of the food chain......cannot replant the seed......waterwars........MF.........future shock........bombs...war.

[MF logos in Hamburg, Germany]

How would you describe your current musical/artistic direction?
The new “Nature Revolt” cd was released on Maspop records in New York 2002. This is my latest drum & bass message project with artist/musician DJ Hazard. You can order it through my website. Me a Cyril were on European and American tours and the concerts were high energy gigs. In Berlin we connected with one MF drummer, Florian Langmaack from Hamburg and combined our sound. Florian is a set designer for movies but is still recording. Me and Florian recorded “Rotation” and “Low Denominator” with Binar Tobi, electro beat computer wiz from Berlin. Another electronic cd recorded in Berlin is “Cracked Ocean”.

MF was so noisy and primal. It seems that most people who start out doing that kind of music end up on the drum and bass electronic side. What took you in that direction?
After living in former East Berlin for 7 years it becomes a part of you. Berlin is the electronic central for Europe and runs a wide range. Atari Teenage Riot is great digital hardcore but there are many more. Binar was a project I worked with on ambient electro noise with digital vocal scratching that sounds like machines. The door to the future is music technology. Music is medicine.

How would you describe your life today?
Still hectic and on the road, can’t stay in one place for more than 6 months........I have to keep changing the scenario.........always searching for new possibilities to change the present course of the planet.

Anything else you want to add?
Only that America’s big party is coming to an end and the world has just cause to hate our guts but every big industrial nation makes war games and oil games. When we switch to hydrogen power, solar power and wind energy then we may be able to slow down the destruction of the planet. We are in a global warning and a war with Iraq will open the gates of hell. It is all crashing but 50 years of light might be silently good and stop trusting your government. Open your eyes and understand what’s wrong with pop beer culture, pill popping slow death, and genetically fried brain food. America the land that shits on it’s own people with pesticides, chemicals in every waterway and no medical, no dental and no education for everyone. We end the food chain for our acceptance of it and we radiate radiation kill kill kill aggressive abusive America. Fuck all your SUV’s as the environment goes up in smoke!

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