BurningStars.net: How did Bitter Flesh Thing start?
Zazu: After playing drums in a bunch of bands and being left with nothing when members would leave, I decided to take
things into my own hands. I formed Bitter Flesh Thing with the intention that I would never have to start over again. I began
writing music with the BOSS DR-5, which is a drum machine with other instrument sounds. I played drums in the band
origionally and met a singer. He was pretty damn good! We then hooked up with an old friend of mine that played guitar.
The curse of Bitter Flesh Thing started when our first casualty was the singer. He decided to move to Texas before we had a
chance to play out. I was like "ok I'll sing then". What a disaster! I had no idea what I was doing the first time and practically
blew my voice out. We then looked for a singer to fit the type of band we were, which is impossible to find in Rochester, NY. I
told myself that I was going to sing and make it work. It took a while to build my voice up and learn how to sing in an
aggressive manner but I finally nailed it. So here we are two CD's and eight line-up changes later. I told you we were cursed.
BS: Where did the name Bitter Flesh Thing come from?
Zazu: There was a sound on my keyboard called Flesh Thing and I thought that kicked. I said to myself "what would
describe myself as a Flesh Thing?" definately bitter.
BS: What groups influence you?
Zazu: I'm influenced by anything that is good music. Here are some of my favorites Missing Persons, Nine Inch Nails, Rob
Zombie, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Cibo Matto.
Trahello: I would have to say the groups that most influence me are Led Zeppelin. No other drummer had the power that
John had. Most late 60's, early 70's rock, Chick Corea Elektric band.
Leuth: There's so many but if I narrowed it down I would say Foetus, J.G. Thirlwell is wicked crazy. Sol Invictus made an
impression as well, deeply dark and moving. I also have a penchant for the Manchester UK sound, most notably The
Chameleons. Mark Burgess is the dad I never had, musically speaking.
BS: How do you go about writing a song? Do you write the lyrics or the music first?
Zazu: Both. It's happened both ways but most good songs just happen. Not a great deal of time goes into them. The time
consuming part is the production, getting just the right sounds.
BS: Does one person write the songs or do you collaborate?
Zazu: It started out with me writing all the songs and it has be come much more of a collaboration. I believe that every person
has the potentional to add something to a song. So we make sure we can come up with the best products by keeping open
BS: What are the best and worst places you played at?
Trahello: The best place I ever played was in Montreux, Switzerland. I was there playing a jazz festival back in '98. It was a
real blast! In Europe, the people treat you like a rock star, unlike a lot of the general public here in the states. It's not like
people here suck or anything, but it seems like people in Europe are more into being a part of an underground thing and
riding it into the mainstream. As opposed to being told what to like by the big media. Worst place? That would have to be a
back woods bar in North Carolina called Chubby's. I was in a rock/funk group that got a booking there, which turned out to
be horrible. You can just imagine how the southern folk reacted when the funk beats and slap bass hit them at about 100db.
Put it this way, the floor was dirt and possum was on the menu.
Leuth: To be honest, they all sucked! Well, not exactly true. The worst was at a country bar. Straight out of the Blues Brothers
movie. We played experimental blues and they line danced. The best was close to God so to speak. We played a club called
the Limelight. It was a large church, stained glass windows, granite walls. We felt like we were converting the masses.
Zazu: The worst place in my book is any club you drive six hours to and play to one person. That really bites hard!
BS: What do you do in your spare time?
Trahello: I practice, eat, drink pretty heavily, hang with the band and work so as to pay the man.
Leuth: I'm real interested in film, so I've been writing a screenplay. I'm constantly noodling around on the bass as well. My
fingers always crave activity. What's that saying "idle hands...".
BS: What would you be doing if you were not in a band?
Trahello: Probably working as a boom mic operator for Martha Stewart.
Zazu: I would start a band! I know our guitarist Chi would be in some serious trouble though. You got to hear the stories he
tells us about. Before we met this guy, he was completely insane. I'm sort of a little scared of him myself. We're going to have
a special section on our website soon which will feature these stories. Fun for everyone!
BS: Do you have any tips for anyone who is an aspiring musician?
Trahello: Umm well give up! There is already enough competition. If you won't do that take some lessons and become a real
musician. Don't be a hack that makes it big. I really hat that! Pay your dues.
BS: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Leuth: I always seem to have these shifting goals, but they all have the same theme: health and happiness. Sounds cliche but
we should stop and think about how hard it is these days to achieve without Prozac. I strip it all away and make sure that I
Zazu: Well it sucks to say but Bitter Flesh Thing, at least in it's present form, will probably not be around unless we get
signed. It would be nice to market ourselves to the masses so everyone could enjoy our music. The way the music scene is
today though, it makes it near impossible to do what you want to do. It's not like the days of The Beatles where you pass out a
couple records and everybody goes ballistic. There is music overload in our society which causes people, including me, to say
who cares about a band. There are so many horrible bands, it is hard to find a good one. Even the record labels are signing
crap because they can get money off one single. I think people will not go out their way to find good music and unless it's put
on a silver platter in front of them they'll never know. I know I will always be writing and playing music in some way even if
it means playing in a wedding band when I'm washed up.
Bitter Flesh Thing interview by: Maureen Benedict