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Reglar Wiglar

The Goblins

Interview by P.C. Jones

Published in RW #11, 1998

The Goblins masked rock and roll band.

Writers who resort to dictionary definitions in order to jump start their work are often accused of sloth and slackery and rightly so. Having said that, Webster's defines a goblin as an ugly, grotesque sprite that is mischievous and sometimes evil and malicious. Perhaps that's what the scholars believe and they may be right but we here at the Reglar Wiglar found another sort of goblin: The Goblins.

The Goblins we love are known more their merry prankstering, their prolific recording career, their notorious feuding with rival rock factions and a propensity for rock than for being ugly sprites (partly because they wear masks in public)

The Goblins have littered the local and national music scene with their oft times brilliant, sometimes controversial, rarely dull and always humorous, on and offstage antics. The enigma that is the Goblins continue to perplex and pique the curiosity of the record buying public.

What are the origins, or perhaps more importantly, what are the intentions of this post nostalgic/progressive/ retro/garage/punk post rock band of the new millenium? P.C. Jones was able to get some answers which only succeeded in adding fuel to the fire thereby muddying the waters and clouding the real issues and avoiding the question at hand; what are the fun-loving Goblins up to and why?

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NOTE: The Goblins declined (refused) to be identified individually for this interview. Some members may or may not have even been present during this interview but they have asked (demanded) that the details not be exposed. As a courtesy to them and out of respect for their "art" and their high-powered attorneys, we agreed. All interview questions are considered answered collectively by the band.

RW: How did the fun-loving Goblins come to be? We're you friends before you played rock together or were you like the Spice Girls or the Monkees?

Goblins: First of all, we are not convinced that the official stories associated with the Monkees being "put together" by casting agents is necessarily the gospel truth. Their natural chemistry seems a little too convincing for them to have been quite as "pre-fab" as we have been led to believe. We've all seen (television shows) California Dreams, The Heights, and The New Monkees, so we know what Hollywood thinks "rock'n'roll" "groups" are supposed to be "about".

RW: Don't sprain your fingers, now.

Goblins: Le'ts just say that at the time of the Monkees' reign, a certain English quartet, named after a Nazi compact car, wielded a lot of power in the industry and it was in their interest to keep the more talented Monkees down, even if that meant propagating falsehoods. And don't get me started on the Spice Girls. That first album is the best freakin' record since Jobriath.

As far as our history, we've been through several members and paid some dues before settling into the present "successful line-up". However, our management recently informed us that the current foursome has been good friends and in a band together since infanthood, as will be made evident in the upcoming Goblin Babies project.

RW: Wow, I can't wait for that.

Goblins: Also, we've been further informed that we all spoke in 1940s Brooklynesque street urchin speech patterns and we played joyful bubblegum pop. We also had a rival in the neighborhood bully and his gang's band and we had a cute snickering puppy. We're actually lobbying for a youthful version of our mascot, Mr. Beef, as our pet, to be called Baby Veal.

RW: That's cute. When you guys aren't rockin' together, what do you do? Do you hang out?

Goblins: When we aren't rocking?

The Goblins Giant Robot Rock 'n' Roll

RW: How have you dealt with the inner Goblin turmoil that I've read about in the tabloids. Have you tried therapy?

Goblins: We were in band therapy for six months in 1997 and it was one of the worst experiences in our career. First of all, the beautiful therapist in her tight skirt, frilly blouse and over-sized glasses balanced seductively on her nose with her long, tousled hair and suggestive biting of her pencil, proved too distracting for any real progress to be made.

Within a few months of starting the sessions, all of us—except Buh—had slept with her, unbeknownst to the others, and soon jealousy began ripping the band apart.

The weirdest part is that I've spoken to several groups who've gone through band therapy and they all have the same story. Bottom line, if you have inner demons or festering internal turmoil or secret disdain and hate for those around you. it's probably best to repress it and just keep it bottled up.

RW: I would agree with that. What's on the horizon for the Goblins? What are your plans for the future in these uncertain times?

Goblins: We plan on entering politics. The Pumpkin Party will succeed where the Whigs and Federalists failed. "14 or fight."

RW: How have you found dealing with the music industry? Do you think you've been treated fairly and with the respect you deserve?

Goblins: Though we've been met with nothing but venom, lies, disdain and indifference from the mainstream music "insiders" we really have nothing bad to say about them. It's the fans who have stood by us through thick and thin, buying our records and cheering at our shows that have really disappointed us.

Just joshing, we love everybody; the fans, the press, the A&R people, the petty reviewers, the jealous feuding bands, the backstabbing managers and the bound-to-burn-in-hell label accountants. We try to keep a positive attitude about everything.

RW: How is dealing with the fame and money that inevitably follows the simple act of forming a band?

Goblins: All the money goes back into the show. Cow suits, robot drummers, cloning chambers and gay jazz dancers don't come cheap. As for the fame, ask Bruno, Coco and LeRoi, 'cause Fame aint nothing but a delightful Alan Parker motion picture to us. We're just as "down" as ever.

RW: Have the Goblins been able to accomplish what you've set our to do so far?

Goblins: Well, we've been fortunate enough in this business to have the opportunity to live our dreams. We dreamed a Unabomber rock opera (The Una-Suite) and we made it happen. We dreamed a robot monkey drummer (Chimp-O-2000) and we brought that dream to life, we dreamed a mime musical (The Goblins present Goblin Pride) and we made that dream a reality. We dreamed a holiday special for Jewish children as uplifting as anything Bob Hope does for gentiles (Ha Ha Hanukkah) and we put that dream to video.

Goblin Pride album cover

RW: That's remarkable.

Goblins: Also, we have pushed the fans and they've pushed back remarkably and heartily, Goblin vs. Goblin, our double 7" solo record (each Goblin had a side to do a solo project. Fans then voted for their favorite side thus determining the new leader of the Goblins-ed) was a big success with Dom Nation recently winning the title, and our Austrian David Hasselhoff tribute opened a lot of overseas doors as well.

RW: Awesome.

Goblins: We've said it before, and I don't mind sounding like a broken record when you guys are helping us break records: Goblin fans are the best fans in the whole wide freakin' world! Thanks everyone for the support.

RW: Goblins fans are some of the most rabid fans I've ever come across. Since this issue is sort of an unofficial Woodrows special, whatever that means, I've been told to ask you, what is your all-time favorite Woodrows record and why is it special to you?

Goblins: Though the music on it is not much to speak of, we've always thought that the one where they were all in black-face (This One's for Jolsen RoosterCow 1985) on the cover and did covers of all those racist, 1930s country songs was pretty ballsy.

RW: It was pretty ballsy, but you know I asked the Woodrows about that record and only Ricky Woodrow even remembered it being made and he said he was sure it was done as social satire and to make a political statement, but that line often follows any question where there may be legal consequences as a result of the answer. Do you have any horror stories or funny anecdotes about the Woodrows on tour?

Goblins: Look, we played a few shows with them, I wouldn't call it a tour. They never watched our set, not even once, they borrowed an amp and got semen on it, we let them keep it?

RW: The amp?

Goblins: They kept snapping wet towels at Buh Zombie in the dressing room and I didn't want to know what they were wet with!

Buh is the biggest record collector in the band, he has everything in plastic, in a temperature-controlled room and cross-referenced on his computer, but when we got home from that tour, he took every Woodrow record he had, even the banned, white label promo cover version of Eata Muffa Pi: The Woodrows Konquer Kampus, and he gouged "We are a-holes" into the vinyl, drew penises and moustaches on them on the cover, slipped notes into the sleeves with the Woodrows' home number saying "Zues is a Sissy" and then left them at the Greektown Salvation Army.

RW: Buh Zombie did that? Are you fuckin' kidding me? Somebody must have scooped 'em out of there 'cause they were selling at Reckless Records for $75 bucks a piece a couple years back. The Woodrows even endorsed it. I think they thought they did it themselves as sort of a promotional move. They got a lot of mileage out of those covers not to mention a few extra bucks. You might not want to relay the information back to Buh, he sounds kind of high-strung. Did the Woodrows pull any pranks on the Goblins or vice versa.

Goblins: Well, it's not too funny, but those guys thought it was hilarious, so I guess you could call it a prank. See, Johnny Puelo, one of our road crew, is a dwarf, which is why we bring him on small tours when we only have the station wagon. He fits in the back with the amps and watches out for cops since the rear window is blocked.

RW: Clever.

Goblins: Well Johnny P. likes to hit the bottle after a show, so what happened was, The Woodrows switched his chianti with grain alcohol, so that he just totally passed out, I mean passed out cold! So those guys dragged Johnny back to their room, like I said, this isn't really funny... they gang raped him.

RW: No!

Goblins Millennium album

Goblins: Now that's an aspect of the rock and roll lifestyle The Goblins never got into, but when we told Johnny later he thought it was funny too, so no charges were pressed. He's actually worked a couple of tours for them since then.

RW: That's crazy. You've recorded with the Woodrows at their home studio in Antigo, Wisconsin, what was that experience like?

Goblins: Well, that's actually a funny story. One of the great advantages of being a masked band is that if someone's late for a show or can't make a video shoot, you can just put someone in a spare mask and go about your business like nothing's wrong. This was a case where we took that to an extreme.

See, little Johnny P. had been spending a lot of time in Antigo. The Woodrows would invite him up for a party and he'd stay for a week—he really grew attached to those boys after a while. Anyhow, he was begging us to come up and record, but of course Buh wouldn't even consider it. Well, at the same time, Creeper had some distant cousins who had a band and a common Aunt they shared kept telling them to ask their successful cousin in the business for help. After avoiding their calls for months, he put two and two together and just slapped masks on that band and sent them up to cheesehead land.

They didn't sound like The Goblins, they didn't play the same instruments and they didn't even have the same amount of members in their band, but the Woodrows never saw our set anyway so we figured they wouldn't notice.

RW: Brilliant.

Goblins: We thought Johnny would be a good sport and go along with it when he noticed it was a gag, but Creeper's cousin said he never came downstairs the whole weekend.

Actually, one of them said that he passed the Woodrows "bed chambers" when he thought he saw an ugly fat girl in a Green Bay Packers cheerleader outfit with a fake moustache sleeping in a doggy bed, so we think that might have been Johnny P.

Anyhow, there's a funny twist to this story, because the tape they make that weekend was eventually picked up and released by a major label as it. And the name of the group is...

RW: Who? Who?

Goblins: Ben Folds Five.

RW: What did the Woodrows think when you played the song "(The Police Are) Just Doing Their Jobs"? I wouldn't think that they'd be too receptive to that kind of pro-police philosophy.

Goblins: Yeah, well Ricky said he'd heard our album and liked it but he never mentioned that song and Erin said he thought we sounded like fags, but he has a girl's name anyway—or maybe he's a girl, I couldn't tell—and I'm pretty sure the other guys never even knew who we were.

However, on a related note, we played a show with The Woodrows in Hartford, Connecticut and there the local cops see our song as kind of an anthem, so they came out en masse. During the Woodrow's set Toby tried to throw a botttle at a table of cops but he missed and hit a TV camera that ESPN was using to shoot footage of The Woodrows to use as the theme music for "Strongest Man in the World" program and, needless to say, they blew that cash cow.

RW: That's pretty much the story of their career.

Goblins: But as far as we care what they think about us, we can't let critics and negative people get us down. We're just doing our jobs, and when you're a Goblin that's what it's all about.

This interview wouldn't have been possible without the help of Jake Austin, the Goblins manager. His ability to appease egos and smooth out conflicts and, in general, "get things done" was indispensable.

Reglar Wiglar

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