Very Good Friends of Carl King, you might notice this is another AUDIO-ONLY episode. It’s PART 2 of my Chat With Chewbode, my longest-term friend and creative collaborator. If you haven’t listened to Part 1, go back to Episode 62, where we talk about becoming friends and growing up in the swamps of South Venice, Florida.
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As a reminder, Chewbode has been involved in most everything I’ve made… he’s contributed to all of my Carl King, Sir Millard Mulch, and Dr. Zoltan projects. As far back as designing the cassette J-card for my first demo tape, all the way through to story-editing my latest animated pilot. In this multi-episode conversation, we tell the story of our 33-year friendship — from riding the school bus as teenagers, to dressing up in business suits and selling a fake invention in New York City. This is the story of two smart, creative kids who met in the swamps of South Venice, Florida, and made plans to escape. Part two begins now.
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I’m Carl King, and this is The Carl King Show, where EVERY WEEK, we learn about music, filmmaking, and creativity. If you like this show, head over to Patreon.com/carlking, and join for just $1 or $5 per month.
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CK: Let’s talk about Venice High School where we met and we attended. It seems to me that the educational system at Venice High School or in Florida, in general, did not work for either of us. We were smart kids-
CK: … and I know that at least in fourth and fifth grade, I was considered gifted. I don’t know what happened by the time I got to high school but I’m assuming you were also considered gifted in some way. I don’t know if that was ever officially said to you, but why didn’t we seem to be able to follow the program. You told me that you wouldn’t do homework. Can you tell me about that?
Chewbode: Yeah. Well, it wasn’t a political statement or anything. It’s not like I was trying to prove some point. I mentioned that my credit hours got really messed up when I moved to Florida. I tried a little bit, then kind of got disillusioned with the fact that things just weren’t going to stack up in the way I’d kind of thought about, and-
CK: Well, I mean, was this when you wanted to be a surgeon?
CK: So, you wanted to be a surgeon and-
Chewbode: Brain surgeon.
CK: A brain surgeon, and you ended up living next to a creek in South Venice.
Chewbode: Next to a broken alligator bridge.
CK: Next to a broken alligator bridge. That’s unbelievable.
CK: And so when you transferred those high-level classes and credits, they didn’t have the counterpart in Venice High School. They’re like, “What the heck’s that?”
Chewbode: Exactly, and in high school you have the option to do dual enrollment courses, and I don’t know if they still call them this, but you get your credit for your high school but you also get a college credit, and I had started doing that my freshman year in Michigan, and then when I moved down here, the slate got wiped clean.
CK: “Who do you think you are, some kind of brain surgeon?”
Chewbode: “Doogie Howser?”
CK: “Uh, yeah?”
Chewbode: The wind was taken out of my sails. I was like, “Oh crap, now what?” Maybe the school system kind of just put its middle finger up at me, and I’m just like, “Well, you don’t want me to really succeed because you kind of screwed me over with all this, so I’m not going to really try to match and put the effort in to try to match this anymore. I’m just going to kind of coast.” That said, there was plenty of things that I was interested in and I believe I did well at. Closer to my senior year, I started really getting to a point where I was just zoned out and didn’t really care.
CK: I think I remember you telling me that you were able to participate in class a lot of times and listen and learn the material but because you wouldn’t do the homework, they would still fail you or something like that.
Chewbode: Yeah, and to be fully honest, I can’t even explain properly why I wasn’t doing the homework, other than …
CK: You just weren’t interested. Your mind was so interested in other things.
Chewbode: There was a situation with all this that made it feel like this organization, this … The school system itself was screwing me over and, damn it, you’re not going to take my free time of me playing with my buddies in off hours-
Chewbode: … or doing my own stuff, and so it was kind of that, but not … Looking back I think that’s what it was, but I don’t think I actively felt a protest kind of feeling at the time. It’s just like, “Hey, it’s my time, which means no homework.” I’m punched out for the day, so to speak. Ultimately, though, during the day I would go to classes. I would sit and learn stuff, but of course homework was a huge chunk of your grade, so as time went on, I got to a point where I started getting really terrible grades in some classes, but some classes I would be okay. I had a physics class at one point and I basically did nothing in that class but because I’m nerdy and I like astronomy and space and I grew up during the space shuttle age, so that was amazing stuff and I love those kinds of things.
I had an interest in science and astrophysics in general, although I didn’t know that’s what it was called back then. Telescopes and things like that. And-
CK: Chewbode has a big telescope in his living room as we speak.
Chewbode: I do, yes. And I remember seeing, like with dad, remember seeing Halley’s Comet, which comes around every 80 years roughly and-
CK: I remember that.
Chewbode: … you only get to see that once in your lifetime if you’re lucky, and so neat things like that. I think really appreciating a human’s place in the universe kind of feeling, I kind of appreciated that as a young age. So physics was one of the things … another thing that I was always interested in. And I went to that class and I talked to the teacher in that class and I was pretty blunt with him. I said, “I can’t do homework. I just can’t.” I talked to him and he’s like, “Well, hey, listen. If you take the tests and you can pass the tests with a certain percentage or higher,” and I want to say it was like an 85 or 90% or higher every test, “I won’t fail you for the course. You’ll pass for the year.”
CK: Was this a D passing or was it a …
Chewbode: Oh, for sure.
CK: Oh really?
Chewbode: It was just scraping by, for sure.
CK: Oh, man.
Chewbode: He wasn’t going to pass me with an A, but-
CK: That’s amazing.
Chewbode: … I got the credits for it and I didn’t lose the credits for it, so that was kind of the important piece. At the time, mind you, that was the important piece for the … All I cared about is I could squeak by and get out of this facility at some point. I was also into journalism. I did some writing from time to time and that was kind of a fun thing. Even though I’m not a big reader, sometimes you engage me to help you work on some stuff or listeners to your podcast may know about Lux that came out a while back and those are little short story things that I put together for you. Well, for me, but you happened to publish them through your podcast. So those kinds of things happen from time to time, but it’s not a big-
CK: Okay, let me also say real quick, because this fits in, Chewbode is an incredible Dungeon Master. So, as far as writing and imagining characters and storytelling, incredible. Okay, continue.
Chewbode: Yeah, microcosm once again. We’ll get back to that. A lot of that floats around microcosm.
Chewbode: The writing comes up and I get involved with that from time to time, but it’s not something I really focus on and do a lot of, but I think I’m pretty good at it, and if I can put it in front of the right people to edit me, it probably could be pretty good. Higgins would be a great person to read some of my stuff. He’d be like, “Oh, change this around and it’ll be really a lot better.” I really try to be very visual in how I describe things. Going back to the Ground Zero Software, having a glass plate that is in the shape of a mushroom cloud and the logo’s all purple, this color scheme and the texture and the shininess and everything, that gets projected in my mind, and when I write, I write to really describe that kind of stuff, maybe too much sometimes.
Wanting to write fantasy stuff or exotic things or goofy things is one thing, but I also enjoy just writing simple stuff, what I would consider a simple thing. It’s just kind of matter of fact, and journalism did that for me. The high school newspaper is a direction I kind of floated into. It happened to be I had a skillset with a computer. “Hey, guess what? You can use a computer.” So, why don’t we convert, at the time, using these large layout pages of pasting articles down, cutting up stories and advertisements, gluing them down on … are they called broadsheets or something? There’s big, huge pieces of paper that were like cardstock, and you’d lay out everything on there, and then you’d take that to press, and there was all these blue lines that they couldn’t copy or whatever, and those would disappear and it would just look like a newspaper.
CK: Yeah, non-repro blue.
Chewbode: Yeah. But they were wanting to get away from that and do it all on the computer, and they had Macs at the school, Macintoshes, Apples, and I knew all that stuff, and so I became the production manager. And from time to time, I would write stuff. And so that was something that was, again, here we go, the technical thing but sort of creative, and I enjoyed that. And I found that my days would be like I would just freaking start skipping classes, and I would go into physics when I needed to take a test, because that was part of the deal. I always ended up making my way into the journalism office and then riding the rest of my day out hanging out in there and talking to the teacher, and all these classes would come in and they’d be like, “Who’s this dude that’s just hanging out in the backroom all day?” And I would help them out sometimes, but usually I would just kind of hover around.
CK: Basically trying to stay in there.
Chewbode: I was hiding.
CK: Yeah, totally.
Chewbode: Oh, sure. But at the same time I was in a happy place too. I wasn’t going in there to sleep or screw around, I was genuinely trying to be helpful and talking to people, and I was trying to learn things and stuff like that, but way, way on my own set of rules. That was kind of how my days went, and it was just all about just getting by, essentially. And that was reflected in the homework aspect as well. Just, “No, not going to do it.” The journalism stuff I contributed enough to where I did pass that course with probably like a D or something if I remember correctly, but that was pretty much my senior year was just a … it was just horrible.
And sure, there was a lot of people … I don’t know if explicitly you ever came out and said it, and but there was definitely people hovering around me that would be like, “Dude, why are you screwing this all up? You’re way smarter than this. Why don’t you just do the work?” And I’d be like, “I just don’t want to.”
CK: Well, let me pick up the ball there and say sharing my own experience, which is almost exactly the same as yours, but it’s funny that we had the same high school experience and we were friends but we never really talked about having the same experience.
Chewbode: But we knew we were both in this experience.
CK: We knew we were. It was kind of like-
Chewbode: Yeah, “He’s in the same thing with me and we’re kind of doing the same thing,” but we never really talked about it.
CK: Yeah, I don’t know that we ever put it in context and reflected on it. I wanted to say that I experienced the same thing, that I was unable to force my mind to engage in school, and it was because I had natural interests already. I did not need a teacher to tell me what to be interested in, because I was already interested. All I cared about was guitar, and it was like that’s all I’m going to do.
Chewbode: And you were really good at it at that point too, so-
CK: Yeah, and I got good at it because I was literally … Steve Vai practiced 16 hours a day. Okay, I’m going to practice 16 hours a day.
Chewbode: Yeah, and what’s this teacher in music class going to be able to teach me that I don’t already know? Not to say that you were egotistical about it, but it was like, “I’m moving past that, lady, and this stuff is below what I’m trying to accomplish.”
CK: I knew my path. I knew where I was going even though I had no idea how I would actually accomplish it, but I had my own interests that were very strong. There was no question that I was specifically interested in learning things that I wanted to learn. And it got to where I was going to fewer and fewer classes, and it ended up, similar to your journalism thing, mine just happened to be more independent, where I was just parked on a picnic table outside. One of the things that I was always doing was writing liner notes and lists of songs for albums that didn’t exist, and working on my liner notes. You know, just seemed like this is the thing I’ve got to get good at, right?
And I remember the principal coming by one time on a golf cart and he pulled up to me and he’s like, “What’s going on? What are you doing out here? Why aren’t you in class?” I think I told him, “I’m just not interested in being in class,” and he kind of looked down, he saw that I was reading a book, and he said, “Stay out of trouble,” and he just left, and left me sitting there, and I didn’t do a bit of homework for at least since maybe 10th grade onward. I wouldn’t do it.
Chewbode: And that’s directly because you were like, “This just isn’t applying to me.”
Chewbode: Not because you felt like … I felt jaded a little bit because this institution screwed me over a little bit. That wasn’t really how you were viewing it.
CK: I felt it was a waste of time. I’m like, “Why do I have to be here?”
Chewbode: I felt that too, and some jadedness.
CK: Yeah. And there were a lot of classes where I did pay attention and I would sit there and watch the lectures, listen to the teacher, absorb all the information, like physical science classes, and I ate that up. I was like, “Oh, that’s great, that’s interesting.” And some earth science stuff, things like that. Some basic geometry triggered my mind at some point. It was like, “Ooh, that’s interesting how you can take these shapes and do this thing.” I can understand that you and I both had this intense desire for learning but not what they were providing.
CK: Now, towards the end of high school since I barely had any credits by the time I got to my fourth year, the senior year, one of the gym teachers started this program for students who had difficulty in traditional learning settings or something like that. And he set up a separate school within the school called the EYE Program, and I was never able to go back and find out what the EYE, E-Y-E, stood for. Something Education Youth something or other. And it was this revolutionary thing at the time where they took us to a rec center next to the school, just big room and with cubicles all around the sides, and in the middle they had four desks with four teachers, and the books. And they said, “Do your thing, go to work.” There were no classes, there was just a big room with textbooks in the middle and teachers if you had questions.
Chewbode: You could just go grab whatever textbooks you wanted?
Chewbode: And just do the thing you were interested in.
Chewbode: Cool. I guess cool.
CK: And so I burned through every class in there in a few months and graduated, all within a year, acing everything.
Chewbode: Now, was that based off of the fact that it was just really interesting to you? Or you just took this opportunity to be like, “This is my fast track to just get through all this garbage to get out of the school?”
CK: Yes. I’m going to get out of here and have a diploma. I’m going to learn all the stuff without having to go to classes, without having to interact with bullies. I can work at my own fast pace, fly through the stuff, learn it, take the test, ace everything, learn it, go home, no homework, no BS. It was so easy once the path was cleared for me, and so that I could learn in my own style. You had a bit of a similar setup. I don’t know if you want to go into that or not, but towards the end of school, you did something similar.
Chewbode: With my senior year I obviously didn’t have enough credits to graduate. I don’t remember what my GPA was, but when I first got to the school, I was like a 3.8 or 4 or something like that. I was doing pretty well and it quickly dropped off. I think it was like sub 1. It was pretty terrible.
CK: Totally. Mine was too.
Chewbode: Yeah. Obviously I wanted to graduate. I didn’t want to be one of the people that your parents were like, “See? I told you you wouldn’t make something of yourself,” or whatever. I was like, “I’ve got to do this at least.” And I felt some responsibility in general just to myself in the future. I was like, “I don’t want to have to come back to school like in 10 years and try to get my GED,” or whatever. And not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m just saying I didn’t feel like … I wanted to just tackle it then, right?
So I took some summer classes, summer courses, to get some of those credits taken care of, but there was also a GED program that was happening. And so my high school … Excuse me, my senior year of high school, as I was exiting the school, I didn’t want to have to be going back and be a second year senior, right? That-
CK: Which I was.
Chewbode: Yeah. Well, no offense to you, that was an embarrassing piece for me. I was like, no, I didn’t want to be that guy. And so from that perspective, I was kind of glad to push through that. And yeah, so that was my experience. And then, of course, once that’s behind you, you kind of just … It’s like running through … at the end of the marathon, breaking through the ribbon as you cross the finish line. You’re like, “Yes, I’m done. I’m free to do what I need to do in the world.” Even though it was over the summer, I felt like I still did it in my senior year and I kind of, “Ha, ha, ha, I win,” type of thing. Similar concept, yeah.
CK: As a sort of reflection on this, if I could go back now as the adult 47, 48-year-old whatever I am and tell 15-year-old Carl, I would tell me, “Hey, Carl, you’re totally right, this is BS. These people are wasting your time. The system is just bad, it’s not working, and you should get out as soon as you can.” And I would say, “Don’t worry about it, what everyone’s telling you, what your parents are telling you,” because ultimately it worked out amazing for me, and I never … I don’t regret a bit failing out of all those classes. But I was maybe lucky, because maybe someone else who fails out of all that stuff doesn’t end up with the skills that I had. I don’t regret it at all and I look back at it like, “Man, I wish at the time somebody had told me that,” like some smarter adult had said, “You know what? You’re right, this place sucks. You’re going to be all right.” I’m curious, what do you think?
Chewbode: Yeah, I mean, that’s a pretty interesting philosophical thing to think about-
CK: Now, real quick, I probably … I wouldn’t just go out and blanket say that to every kid in school.
Chewbode: Yeah. Knowing who you were back then, you time-traveling to yourself, so to speak, and saying, “Do it this way, kid.” Yeah, those constraints in place, I would agree. The funny thing is, I think even though I went into more of a corporate environment and started doing IT work in general, there’s a predisposition when you go into the corporate world in certain fields where you have a degree and you have certain levels of knowledge. They may even frown upon GEDs, you know? “Why didn’t you graduate high school? Blah, blah, blah.”
From what you were setting sail to do, that crap didn’t matter to you. You know, you didn’t need to have … You were never going to get to a position where you had to present a piece of paper saying you had a such and such GPA and you passed these courses. The knowledge is what you were gaining out of it.
CK: Nobody ever asked me.
CK: I could do graphic design and I got into a graphic design career because I learned on a computer that somebody taught me.
Chewbode: Exactly. The skills spoke for themselves, and that’s kind of how I always felt about it as well. And my whole career over the past 25 to 30 years has been absolutely predicated off of that. I hire people under me and I am very keen to sort out the people that they may not have the educational expertise but I can see very clearly their passion and/or their level of involvement because they tinker, they do this, they do that. That stems directly from my own experience.
To be completely frank, I got that GED. I didn’t go to college. I joined the workforce, I did some stuff early on for the first couple years out of high school, but I never went to college and got a degree. And you like, “Well, I went into a business field and so on and so forth. How do you do that?” And it’s like, the reason I was able to do that was exactly what we’re talking about here. Since I was eight, I’ve been programming computers, and I learned programming languages, a couple different ones, over that 10 to 12-year timeframe of when I got into an IT workforce. And my proof in the pudding was to walk up to a VP of technology and show him the code that I had been writing at home. And he’s like, “You’re hired.” It wasn’t quite that simple, but it was very, very close to that. I had left that interview and got a phone call 15 minutes later. He’s like, “Well, we’ve hired you, basically.” I’m like, “Okay, great.” Start Monday, no degree, nothing like …
It was my passion and my own motivation in the things that I loved to do that carried me there. And granted, that’s not for everybody. You cannot be a brain surgeon and do that. That doesn’t work.
CK: Yeah, right. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Chewbode: But in some cases, especially creative things, and certain more lucky things, you can kind of do that, and it’s a great thing when you can.
CK: That’s kind of funny because now that you say that, I realize I got into graphic design because I walked into a print shop because I made my own zine in high school called Ring Finger Entertainment, which I think I’m going to put on Patreon. I’m going to scan it.
Chewbode: Oh, that’d be great.
CK: Anyway, I made my own zine and went into the local print shop, the copy store, and asked them to make copies of it and staple it. And I walked into that place and I smelled the printing, the paper and everything, and I saw the computers with typesetting on them, and I was like, “Ooh, I want to be in here. Just on a visceral level, I want to be in this place. I like this.”
Chewbode: It kind of clicked for you?
CK: Yeah. And I kind of started hanging around, kind of finding a reason to go in there or whatever and talk to the owner. Ended up meeting these two dip [bleep] kids in high school that were in the EYE Program with me, that E-Y-E thing.
Chewbode: Oh wow.
CK: They were these white supremacist kids.
Chewbode: Oh, terrible.
CK: And they worked at that print shop. I basically somehow said, “Hey, can I have your job?” And they didn’t care. They were like, “Yeah, man. Yeah. Take my job.” They’re like, “I don’t want to go to work.” Cool. So I walked in there and said, “Hey, I’m going to be taking those guys’ job. I want to learn how to do this stuff.” The owner said, “Okay, well come back on Saturday morning. I have some paper for you to staple for an hour.” So I got my mom to drive me there, drop me off for an hour so I could staple paper in the backroom.
Chewbode: It was like a crazy apprenticeship or something, but you just forced your way into it.
CK: Yeah, and the guy kind of hung out with me, because it was a Saturday and nobody’s around, so he sat next to me and he asked me questions about myself, and he seemed to like me. “This kid seems curious and nice and smart.”
Chewbode: He totally saw the value of what your skills were.
CK: And he was like, “Well, come on back on Monday,” or something. I don’t know if I could have put it into words that I want to learn how to do graphic design. It was more like, “This feels good to be here and it feels bad to be at school,” on some level. I was just sort of sorting that out in my mind, of, “Why does it feel bad to be in this room but it feels good to be in this room?” So we gravitate towards those things without realizing it.
Chewbode: Yeah, this was subliminal. Like somehow subconsciously you know what you like before you know what you like. Yeah, I completely experience the same thing and basically like I’m saying, I think that’s the basis of how I like to exist around people and in places is the creative piece that sparked me in my journalism class that made me hide out there all day and help people and zero credit for any of that, et cetera, et cetera. It was just a fun vibe and it worked and it was … that is exactly the same transposed into Brimstone: The Uncanny Vigilante video game type of thing. It’s all the same to me in that sense, and I think you and I have that core … like there’s a residence that we have in ourselves that we detect those things and we gravitate to that and each other and our friends and stuff that were involved in those projects. It’s hard to explain it but it’s very … You know it when you know it. I don’t know if you can put it in words either. It’s a very weird feeling, but yeah, you get to this experience of you like what you like when you like it, and if you don’t like it, well, move on to something else.
CK: I think the lesson to take away from our story is that the educational system wasn’t able to recognize our talents and help us along. It’s like it didn’t know what to do with us and we didn’t know what to do with it, but luckily we were independent learners and we had the ability to educate ourselves and go out and find opportunities. And we actually both ended up with pretty successful careers. Now, going back, there was something that I noticed that you and some of our mutual friends did, and I’m curious where this came from. I ended up with a pretty big collection of silly stories, like collaborative stories, that you guys wrote in class when you weren’t paying attention.
Chewbode: You must have a lot of them then.
CK: I have a lot of them. Yeah, I do. I have big folders in a file cabinet full of these crazy drawings and funny stories where person A would write a sentence and then you’d hand it to the other one. Person B would write the next sentence and you would build this giant story. There were comedic turns and non sequiturs and funny things …
Chewbode: Gross-out things. Yeah, all sorts of stuff.
CK: My question is, what inspired you to write these sick poems and recipes? Were you modeling that off of someone else that you maybe saw on TV or in a magazine or did you guys just invent those activities in the moment?
Chewbode: The improvisation of lines and words has always been an interest to me because I really enjoy the concept of super mentally low power output. I’m not going to invest hardly any energy and I’m going to blurt something out and see where it sticks. That devolves into gross-out humor from time to time but-
CK: I remember one exact quote is there was this whole paragraph about a PE coach named, I think, Charlie Powell, and I don’t think he’s around anymore. I think he passed away.
Chewbode: I think he did, yeah.
CK: He was quite a respected, long, long-time teacher at that school.
Chewbode: He was like the football coach to …
CK: Yeah. And he was around forever. Another weird thing I remember about him is that he was pretty overweight, but that guy religiously was out running laps on the football field every morning at like 6:00 AM or something.
Chewbode: Yeah. He was one of those guys, yeah.
CK: Yeah. And he had taught generations of football players. Anyway, there was a long scene that was written in prose about an encounter between I think him and the French teacher. It was a long description of them walking up to each other and looking at each other, and the one guy moved his nose very close to I think Coach Powell’s face, and then they handed it over to you, I think, and you just wrote the words “so he sucked it.” And that was the end of the story. And it was like, “Oh, that’s the perfect, perfect non sequitur.” Well, it is a sequitur. It makes sense considering what else is going on, but that was that comedic turn of, “Boom, there it is.” It’s just that.
Chewbode: And that’s the thing, is those kinds of things … and this is not … I’m not trying to brag. This is not any type of boast, but it was … back then I could do that way easier than I can now. I think that’s evident, but the-
CK: But you didn’t counter it with another paragraph. You countered it with “so he sucked it.”
Chewbode: Yeah. Four words.
CK: Period. And you guys probably laughed so hard you got kicked out of class or something.
Chewbode: Yeah, yeah. It was very funny. I remember all of us laughing over it, but those are the kinds of things, I didn’t think about it. As soon as I got the paper and I read the previous person’s line, it just flowed out of me instantly, and that’s kind of my point, is I had very little mental energy that went into it. It just ejected from my body like a prepackaged, weird saying that somehow was inside of me that I just let loose, and it was lucky enough that it was funny. Trust me, there’s plenty of things I’ve tried to write like that, that weren’t funny, but majority of the time I could make it happen and part of it was sometimes I was able to do it very effortlessly, but the other part of it, too, was that I really wanted to … again, that’s a kind of a gross-out thing, I wanted to see what the next guy was going to react to.
CK: Which, you can’t top that.
Chewbode: Yeah, how do I write that next paragraph?
CK: No, it’s over.
Chewbode: And inevitably the next guy just writes “the end.” We’re done, we go onto another story at some point.
CK: So, I guess my question is, there was something that influenced you guys to be doing that. Was it Monty Python or was it … What were you consuming at the time?
Chewbode: Yeah, I think it was very subconscious and I think it was just a … you cast a line out there and you pull back something that’s just interesting, like the concept. I personally seemed to remember a TV show I think when I was a kid where people would do this kind of thing but it wasn’t gross-out humor, but they would verbalize it and it was an improv kind of thing. I guess maybe a more modern equivalent would be like Whose Line Is It Anyway? or something along those lines but I can’t recall anything about it other than I remember people standing on a stage and one person would start talking and the other person would almost trample what they’re saying to start the next sentence. They passed this verbal baton through this line of people and it would end up just being a hilarious thing, because you’d end up really playing this game of telephone, which is that I whisper into your ear a saying and by the time enough people talked to each other, the meaning is different.
CK: Yeah, but it’s sentence completion where you’re telling a story.
Chewbode: Yeah. It’s a little different obviously, but I guess my point is I remember a TV show or some sort of format, maybe it was a physical, in-person thing, but I think it was a TV show I saw where they would do that, and I thought it was just really weird and funny. I’m almost positive I had started this whole thing with writing this stuff down with our friends and just started … I would write a sentence and pass it to someone and they would instantly know, “Ah jeez, we’re going to start doing one of these again?” And it would just always end up in some crazy ending or whatever. And sometimes it was poetic. We would have rhyme and meter to it, and sometimes it was just flat story.
I honestly don’t know the true origin of it other than I remember the mental fragments of people physically speaking lines like that, and it was just a different way to do that.
CK: I wanted to ask you, from the outside, you and I didn’t look like a likely pair, I don’t think. Our appearances were very different, and this kind of thing is a big deal to a high schooler, I think, at the time when you’re like-
Chewbode: Yeah, back then for sure.
CK: … “Am I like this other person or am I not like them? These are the people that I look like. Those are the people I don’t look like.” You were more clean cut and I think maybe you even had a mustache at that time.
Chewbode: Yeah, probably-
CK: Starting to grow a mustache.
CK: And short hair. I was a heavy metal kid with tons of acne and super long hair and looked like a skeleton.
CK: I don’t know, do you have any thoughts about that? Because from the outside, it just doesn’t seem like we would have been friends. Did that ever occur to you or were you like-
CK: Did you ever think, “Oh, I’m hanging out with this heavy metal kid”?
Chewbode: No. I guess there was one thing … I don’t know if it’s from my upbringing or what. I don’t know where I’ve learned the value of this. I’ve never been the kind of person to say, “Well, he wears Nikes so he’s part of such-and-such clique, or his hair looks like that so he must be a stoner or something,” or whatever. It’s just BS to me. I think it’s superfluous branding of people that just don’t matter because, not to be too cliché, but it’s about not judging the book by the cover in my opinion.
CK: I think there was some level of, in me, I was a musician kid but I did not identify with other musician kids, didn’t fit in with them, and I fit in more with what I thought were smart kids and engineer-type kids, and that actually followed me for a long time. That was a problem I had. I had a really hard time relating to musicians. My band was more you and our artist friends or whoever I was working with. For whatever reason, I didn’t … It’s interesting because that was the world I was in, but I was the musician who didn’t like musicians. So funny. It’s interesting to think about.
I think it was a temperament and lifestyle thing, because I just didn’t like being out in bars and out in crowded places with the drinking and the noise and the chaos, and ultimately that’s why I don’t think I could keep a band together or be comfortable in that scene as much as I felt that that’s what I was supposed to be doing for some reason. And looking back, being in a band and doing that stuff just wasn’t for me, or I probably would have taken it seriously and I’d still be doing it right now. But anyway, you and I didn’t hang out much for a few years after high school because I went and did the music school thing and you kept at it with your IT career, and we got back together in 1998 when I was putting out my first Sir Millard Mulch CD and I started my record label called Ed Furniture, and that was when our creative collaboration really kicked back in.
You were the computer dude, my friend that could do computers, and there was this internet thing and I hired you to make my first Ed Furniture website. It started becoming a regular thing that I was coming to your apartment all the time to work on website things. And I ended up getting a gig as Sir Millard Mulch at this event called the New York Music and Internet Expo in 1999 in New York City.
And that’s the end of Part Two of my Chat With Chewbode. In Part Three, we’ll tell stories of the music technology conventions we performed at in New York City, as well as the making of the Sir Millard Mulch Ibanez Instructional videos.
OK, that’s the end of this Episode of the Carl King Show. Remember to subscribe on Spotify, Apple, YouTube, or anywhere else you consume to these dang episodes.
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