Carl King Interview, Some Magazine In Germany, 2005
I honestly don’t remember what magazine this is from. I’m sorry, and I’m not being pretentious. I did so many interviews in 2005 that it was a blur. I found this in a text file on my hard drive, simply titled, “Germany Interview.” I was interviewed as Sir Millard Mulch, and we talked about the “How To Sell…” album.
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When did you come up with “Sir Millard Mulch”? Why this name?
I came up with the name Sir Millard Mulch when I was about 15. I grew up in a small suburban town in Florida, and everyone in Florida has these massive plots of land filled with grass that must be trimmed over and over. They call them “lawns,” and I thought it was the stupidest idea in the world; the biggest waste of my time. Why should we cut down a bunch of beautiful, natural trees and bushes, run all the animals out, and then have to constantly push this big beast of a lawn mower around every week that is spitting out gasoline and oil and getting dirt in your eyes? It’s a vicious circle. People say, “We have to mow the lawn so we can go out in the yard,” but that’s the only reason they ever go out in the yard because it’s too hot in Florida for most people to go outside. Then they have to go out in the yard with a hose and water the lawn, or it will die, because grass isn’t meant to grow in Florida. Then they dump zillions of gallons of toxic chemicals on the lawn so it can handle all the heat, and it pollutes the water supply. It’s a luxury, yet it’s something that is absolutely absurd and counterproductive. Imagine how many people in America are walking around and around in circles right now, pushing a lawn mower. Kings originally invented the idea of lawns to show off how much extra land they had, and covered them in non-yielding crops just to boast. I chose the name Mulch because people take all of the trees they chopped down and use them as ornamental piles of sawdust around the edges of the house. Millard is part of my family name, and I felt like a knight, carrying on this tradition of futile lawn work, when I felt more inclined to practice my guitar.
What’s “Holographic Music”?
Well, holography is a way of taking a 2-dimensional object and causing it to take on the appearance of being 3-dimensional. My music is often created by artificial means, constructed from flat samples that are set in motion. It is a “simulation” of real music. In this day and age it is difficult to tell the difference, and I think the possibilities are quite amazing. You can create music that a human would never be able to play.
In what other musical projects were you involved in in the past?
Let’s talk about what I was ALMOST involved with. When I was 18 years old, in 1994, I got a postcard from Larry Boothroyd of the prog-punk band Victims Family. The band had broken up and he told me he was starting a new band called Saturn’s Flea Collar. He asked me if I was interested in playing guitar / making noise. I thought about it a while and I got really excited but then I got scared and didn’t respond. They ended up putting out an album on Alternative Tentacles Records, and that freaked me out.
In 1998 I got a letter from Steve Vai’s manager, Ruta Sepetys. She would praise me endlessly and talk about how I was going to go on to do such amazing things. I was so confused and wondering what this Los Angeles rock star manager wanted from me. Was she going to get me a record deal or manage me? I had no idea what to say to her. I was young and naive at the time, and honestly had no idea what a manager was.
Sometime around 1997 or 1998, I was asked to be on the Devin Towsend album, Infinity. At that time, it was called, “The Death of Music,” and was to be an 80-minute song. Devin told me he’d send me the tracks and to just “go off,” meaning, do whatever I want. I was this confused college kid and totally blown away that this amazing singer I had seen on stage with Steve Vai had asked me to be on his album and to do whatever I wanted. It never ended up happening.
In 1999, I was hanging out with Trey Spruance of Mr. Bungle, who was a fan of my music. He was actually really excited when he saw my CD in someone’s hand, and said it was one of the only CDs he got in the mail that was any good. I told him that Mr. Bungle should let me open for them sometime, to which he replied, “Oh, definitely.” That never happened.
In 2001, I was booked to open for Spock’s Beard in Atlanta. Something went wrong and my band instead ended up playing in a small classroom (!) with about 7 people in it. I got mad and quit music for a while, after that one.
In 2003, Trey Spruance of Mr. Bungle came over to my house and I played him some tracks from “How To Sell…” in its infancy. He instantly hit the floor laughing so hard that he couldn’t breathe, pounding his fist on the floor. He told me he wanted to put it out on his label, Web of Mimicry Records, and I spent the next 2 years trying to get details from him so that the album could be released. He would rant and rave about how great it was, and that, “Why have a record label, if not to put out records like THIS?”
In 2004, I tried to get an opening slot with Sleepytime Gorilla Museum’s tour of the United States. I really thought I had a chance, because the singer is on my album, and we’re on the same label. Dan Rathbun said, “If there are markets where you actually have a big draw, that would give us a little more leverage to get you on for a few shows this tour, but i can’t promise anything.” So that never happened.
In 2005, when the album was finished, I couldn’t get ahold of Trey. When the release date came (July 2005), NOTHING HAPPENED, so I started selling the album myself. As of December 2005, I haven’t heard from him in 8 months. It took Web of Mimicry 5 months to even put my bio on their site. My distribution through Revolver never happened. This, of course, has been a blessing as much as it was a curse.
From all of these experiences, I have learned that professionals in the music business are just as incompetent and confused as I was when I was in high school in a small town. Given the opportunity to make a bad decision, they WILL make it. 99% of the dream-come-true deals you are offered will never happen for one reason or another, but it’s that 1% that you need to focus on.
“How To sell…” is pretty much a monster of an album. How long did it take from planning to actually recording it, from having the first ideas of the concept to bringing it all to its final form (literally as much as graphically)?
It took me a total of 3 years from conception to release of the album. I handled every single aspect of it, from composition, recording, financing, getting famous people to play on it, legal, business, promotion. I received help and encouragement from a handful of people, and encountered an incredible amount of discouragement and adversity from everyone else. When I started work on it, I had a respectable job at an advertising agency, a long-term relationship with a female, a dog and cat, furniture, an apartment on a lake. I had a choice to make, and to make the album happen I had to have nothing in my way. I threw it all away, moved back in with my parents, lived on ramen noodles, and set out to finish this “monster album,” if I had to die doing it. It was embarrassing, but it paid off.
What do you think of selling and motivation experts like Zig Ziglar, Ron Willingham or Anthony Robbins? Do people really need them?
If you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people. You can define success however you want, but your environment will become your reality. I was literally a depressed, self-destructive nobody before I started studying all of these books, and now I am working with some of the best musicians in the world. You tell me if people really need them.
How do you motivate yourself?
Every day I wake up and I think about how much of a failure I will be if I don’t get started on something new right away. I am full of anxiety and I don’t live a normal life like other people do, so I have nothing else to rely on. I don’t enjoy going out to bars or shopping for household items. I spend all of my time thinking of ways to improve myself and my creations. Some of the wisest words I have heard were, “Keep doing nothing, and when nothing happens, don’t be disappointed.” I create my own life, each day. It’s my fault if I am bored or lonely or poor.
What do you want people to think about you as an artist?
I want people to know there is a genuine guy who is facing the immense challenge of running everything himself, with no support from labels, who can do whatever he wants at any time he wants. There is no elitist music industry bullshit here. It’s all me.
Would you like to see your compositions brought onto stage some day?
I’d love that, but it would require a lot of changes to the traditional concert format — most importantly, the audience. I have a long list of other things that need to be changed about live music performances, but let’s start with getting rid of all the people who aren’t qualified to listen to music.
Is it true that you were kicked out of the Ween tour band? Do you regret this?
I was never associated with Ween, that was a gag! But it WOULD have happened if I was given the opportunity. I promise.
What do you think of the “Holy Trinity” of rock’n’roll – sex, drugs and, well, rock’n’roll?
I don’t participate in any of those. I was a virgin until two years ago, I have never used drugs, and I mostly listen to a soft rock radio show hosted by John Tesh called, “Intelligence For Your Life.” He gives out tips for living a happy life and plays a lot of acoustic ballads. I listen to it on the way to the post office.
What other musicians do you hang out with?
I actually don’t hang around any musicians. Musicians tend to be irresponsible and out of touch with how things work. I do hang around some other creative people but only if I am working on a project with them. I don’t actually go out of the house much, so most of my communication is done through e-mail or instant messenger.
Where do you live?
I live in California part of the time, and Florida part of the time. I call it Califlorida.
Why do you live where you live?
California is all about networking, and Florida is all about getting things done.
On the “The Sir Millard Mulch Lexicon”-section of your site one can read of Adolf Hitler as a “failed German artist”. Actually, he was Austrian, just like the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Oh, by the way, do you think Stanley Williams should be executed?
I apologize. I was referring to Hitler as German, not because of his ethnicity, but because of his occupation, in the same way I would refer to Arnold as an American. I am against the death penalty / execution because of the manner in which the system dehumanizes crimes, criminals, and victims. Law is a cold and hard process under which people become a number. No crime is that simple. (You can go to prison in the United States for copying music! Since when is music so important that it deserves jail time?) The legal system in America is designed to move quickly rather than accurately, to process as many people through it and make as much money as possible. The idea of Fast Food is applied and we now have Fast Law. It has become a tool of the media. I believe some very important criminals should be kept alive and studied, rather than put to death. Tookie was one such example. I am more and more embarrassed of calling myself an American. I believe that something of Nazi-scale or larger IS in the process of happening in the United States, and that the smart people might want to get out while they still can. I am sure the Germans can see the red flags (no pun intended).
How old are you?
I am 30.
What book are you currently reading?
I am currently reading, “Buzzmarketing: Get People To Talk About Your Stuff” by Mark Hughes. One of the most interesting things is the origin of Tie-Dyed hippy T-shirts. The phenomenon was created by a man named Don Price, a brand manager for Best Foods, also the creators of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, Entenmann’s Cookies, Thomas English Muffins, et cetera. As a challenge, he wanted to figure out a way to make sales of Rit Dye skyrocket. So he figured out he could get hippies at Woodstock to wear tie-dyed shirts, and took hundreds of them up there and handed them out. Joe Cocker, Mama Cass, and Janis Joplin all wore them on stage! It is a perfect example of the “rebel consumer.” Marketing is behind EVERYTHING. Just look at Scientology. It’s a religion run by a dead science-fiction author, with high priests being Hollywood actors. Amazing.