This is Larry Heartfeld here from Anti-Pop Records here to interview Michael D'Orazio, He's been a veteran here at Anti-Pop records for probably 3 solid ground breaking years...Before that he was signed to Sunrise Records from 2004 to 2010.... It was 2015, when he started to break new ground on his recordings, and it was the beginning of a long string of albums, that catapulted him into a successful romp of new ideas and concepts... There is no genre for what he does, he doesn't follow trends but is more inspired by the early eighties underground, such as post punk, or perhaps even goth. He wanted me to do this interview, because he wants people to know certain aspects of his personality, and creative processes. An interview was long overdue concerning his quest for creative dominance, and perhaps his mental inconsistencies that trouble him on a daily basis... So here it is...(Michael sits down with a cup of espresso he made from a stand up pot, we are sitting in his well decorated kitchen, with Xmas lights decorating the walls. It's almost like an outdoor Café, with fake plants in the corner. It's a relatively hot day, with the sun going down, and a cool breeze flowing through three consecutive windows, that are a nice view of the street, and the building next door..)
LH: "So let me get straight to the point Michael, do you hate Jews????"
MD: "No I don't hate anyone, why do you ask??"
LH: "Because it seems you have done some work in the past that might have been construed
MD: "Well it all started when I did this song called "Burning Out" when I was 21 years old, and the first lyric of the song said "My Honey needs more money and my Honey she's a Jew". When I wrote that lyric I wasn't aware what I was doing and it wasn't until my producers brought it to my attention that it was "Politically Incorrect"...Back in those days Politically incorrect was still in, and you pretty much could say anything without reprimand... But after they took those tapes, and whisked them away without giving me proper copies I got "Jew Paranoid".... I started to rebel against this politically Correct bullshit, and took it to the next level, out of outrage, and resentment. In other words they made me worse then I was... I keep telling myself that the lyric was no worse then what Robert Crumb did in his comics, poke fun at stereotypes, satirically. Stereotypes that were drilled in my head during my early years by people who tried to pit me against, or stir up trouble with a Jewish friend I had back in those days. There was always this thing about Jew's and Money... Nothing new, after all I didn't start it.."
LH: "That would explain why you did the comic "Hitler wanted to be an Artist, didn't you know"..
MD: "Yes, exactly, I dared myself to do it. Then I put it into my book "Trixie, the Schizophrenic Girl", and I distributed it locally, to see what kind of effect the stories had on people. To make them see a much darker, or controversial aspect of art and comics that they weren't used to seeing, or experiencing..."
LH: "And then what happened???"
MD: "I'm not quite sure, really, it was mixed. I would say though I experienced, some hostility, some exclusion, maybe some types of deception from people who thought perhaps I was arrogant or bigoted for doing that kind of work... No one came out openly though and addressed the issue in a sensible or humane way. It was mostly just a type of backlash, that may have caused some emotional and physical violence, I didn't expect.
LH: "So you got beat up, and abused??"
MD: "In most cases yes, I did experience some physical violence, on a few occasions. They sure taught me a lesson, now I can't really show my face around a particular town that I frequented. I still go there, just don't hang out there all the time. I have to watch who I run into....These people don't forget. "
LH: "Ok, let's change the topic, because it seems so ugly of a situation...Let's talk about what your doing now, instead of the past, what have you truly been up to since your horrific situation, and since you moved on..."
MD: "Well due to all the hostility, I dropped out of the local scenes, and started to knuckle down, especially since I got this apartment through a program I was in...I was in jail for 8 months after an assault charge, that was reduced to 2 misdemeanors. I don't really want to say openly what I did, but I was mentally ill, and off my medication when things went down.. All the abuse I took from people in society, and all the harassment, made my life spiral out of control. When I got out of jail, I was pretty much inactive for two years, solely working on my cooking skills, I only did two albums, that were extremely depressing in nature. They had artistic merit, but I really don't push those albums at all. After two years in late 2014, I started to feel energized. I started to plug out acoustic albums, then in 2015 I bought new equipment, including a multi-track recorder, and a nice keyboard workstation, and I started to do more commercially acceptable albums utilizing many overdubs to get the desired effect. 2015 was just the beginning though, It only progressed from there"
LH: "Do you still perform live in public"
MD: "Absolutely not, I did my last set of live recording at a coffeeshop in Norristown, Pa. And the harassment started all over again... I did the open mics for 12 weeks straight trying to record the sessions, but I ran into trouble there also..."
LH: "What happened???"
MD: "The people who ran the coffeeshop, and the people who hosted were aware that I was recording the sessions. People who came in were trying to ruin the recordings by making loud noises. If you listen to the Jus Java Recordings you'd realize that the guy who came in the coffee shop on one tracks was speaking intentionally loud, and to obscure the music on the recording, Among other things. Like the barista banging on the espresso machine, the salt shaker being slammed on the table, and also some lady banging her chair on the ground curiously. The last straw was when this girl Maria kept trying to bum cigarettes, host was out sick, the owner was rearranging the seating in a fucked up way, and the barista was serving me half cups of coffee...Among other things. I realized I wasn't going to get anywhere with these people. The owner came to the bar a couple of times and told me that everytime I never showed up, it was crowded, just to get my goat, and told me that "But your music is Dark"... They did there best to try to get me angry, but I have my threshold for bullshit so I stopped attending. That coffeeshop closed shortly after, thankfully. It was a nuisance... This happened in 2015.
LH: "This isn't the first time you had trouble at a venue before, didn't you say..."
MD: "Yes I had trouble at Chaplin's Music Café in Spring City, Pa. I was introduced to the venue by an acquaintance to support the venue. I believe It was owned by a Guy named Lee, at the time, and back in those days all was well. But then ownership changed after a few years, and people who I don't care to mention, had there sons, manage the place. I used to hang my artwork up there but this guy named Liam kept fucking with my artwork, and blaming it on people who came to the venue. Obviously it was him. On two occasions my artwork was dismantled, and stolen, and then he leaned a ladder directly on the glass of one of my pieces while I was there, and then one of my prized pieces which had a new homemade frame had books piled high on top of it when I asked him "When he was going to hang it"... He also called me "Gay" on a few occasions, and would fuck up any chance I had to have a show... I only did three shows at Chaplin's. The first was a brilliant performance that was recorded, but the sound guy James split the tracks in the wrong places when he mastered it. The second show a truly a disaster resulting in a depressing performance, and the third show went well, but James just forgot to record the first song, he said by accident...I had to pay full price for them to release it to me. I went back and had to edit the recordings so the tracks were split right. And that was a pain in the ass....I left Chaplin's for a while back in 2010, and didn't come back until after I got out of Jail. I tried to get a show, being things changed, but the young manager Chris told me "Sure we like to give shows to people just starting out", So after that I never, ever went back to that venue...
One of the straws that broke the camels back before that was some old guy, an owner, Dennis who is actually a Deacon of a Church, called me "Gay", criticized my work, and said something like "I Love what you did for the Place", Sarcastically speaking...I know what he meant. After all the bullshit I dealt with Chaplin's I will never go back there even if I was a huge success...."
LH: "That's Fucking horrible, and terribly unprofessional"
MD: "You got that right. There were other places I had horrible experiences, but through time as I progressed creatively it got worse, and worse. Steel City coffee house never offered me a show, so I never asked. I was kind of insulted being I supported that place for a decade or so. I used to go there all the time, but I was just a shadow, unnoticed, ignored. I wasn't impressed much by that place anyways. Their taste in music and culture was totally boring...That and also there was the clique factor...I think it was a Jewish owned venue, so go figure, I'm the fucking enemy, which also inspired "Hitler wanted to be an Artist". It always comes back to the Jew's don't you know"
LH: "Ha, ha, ha"
MD: "It seems there is a thin line between Freedom of Speech, and Political Correctness"
LH: "So you stopped performing, and now you consigned yourself to just being a recording artist".
MD: "Yes, I find it exhausting to be in the public eye with with the general social climate all being
assholes. I mean in the past there were always problems, but I find that things got worse. People are miserable. I have to lie about how I feel in public, because If I let people know how contented, or happy I am, they sort of punish me for it. I can't be honest with people. I paint a picture so black about my life, so people will adopt a more sympathetic, or more empathetic approach to me socially.
I am honest about my lying, I think it stems from my mental illness, that is progressively getting worse. I blame my illness, not just on my chemistry, but also my experiences with people. I realize that there are concrete environmental factors that contributed to my illness..."
LH: "Are you becoming much more reclusive these days???"
MD: "Yes, indeed. I think reading all those Syd Barrett biographies isn't helping, ha ha. My interest
in Syd Barrett came at a time when my own illness, contributed to my own social evasiveness. Syd Barrett retreated into sort of a seclusion, probably into his own fantasy world in order to protect his sanity... I myself live in my imagination mostly, because of the hurt I feel, inflicted on me by people who go out of there way to show me that all my attempts at forging a life that is somewhat special is in vain... Frankly, I can't take it anymore... I don't know if it's just me, but coming out in the open these days is so risky, and painful, that I am reluctant, fearing that my mental health will decline much more rapidly. My imagination though does fuel my creative drive. It also gives me hope, and I live somewhat in my dreams... Reality is a dream stealer, don't you agree!!"
LH: "Did you always live in your imagination???"
MD: "I think so. I guess that is why most things when I was young, or traumas never mattered or bothered me much. My sister thinks I have Asperger's Syndrome to explain my mental condition, but it's hard for me to decipher what the real truth about my diagnosis is. My upbringing was very tumultuous, and very chaotic... My parents were very harsh, which made me a sort of tough character regardless of how people perceive me. My father always encouraged my creative, constructive side, buying me legos, and erector sets. He wanted me to learn how to build things, him being a carpenter and such. But he did not encourage me musically, telling that he wouldn't buy me a guitar when I was young cause he thought I would never use it. There was a lot of reverse psychology that made me pursue the things my parents never thought was imaginable, which was to be an actual successful musician. My idea of being a music, or rock star, was blown way out of proportion. I looked at Rock stars like Gods, or something more extraordinary, not realizing you can just make an honest living doing it.... "
LH: "I think that is most young musicians to look at Rock Stars as something much, much more... That is why they look up to them as some sort of role model".
MD: "Except for all the drug taking, that is. I can't do drugs, I am already too mental, and struggle everyday day with my illness. I can't afford to risk my health and sanity, especially financially. I am low income, and on disability, which is another social stigma... I mean I worked for 24 years doing mostly menial labor, and I ended up on social security, because my ability to hold scheduled jobs deteriorated. Anyways I find Rock-n-Roll biographies to be bad influences, somewhat misguiding, even if they are partially true. They exaggerate all the aspects of the stars life, into mere legend. No one could live up to how they portray a Rock Star. I mean I know I couldn't... And with all the dead rock stars lying around these days, who would want to be a rock star especially in America... All the drugs, and suicides, or even perhaps murders. Being a celebrity, or development into a personality always has risks. Jealousy doesn't help relationships. I found the more I achieved the more alienated I got. That's the downside".
LH: "Did you ever think about writing an autobiography???"
MD: "I think about writing an autobiography all the time, but I am constantly processing facts and information. My mind is saturated with ideas concerning my life. It's overwhelming... I wrote an early memoir about my growing up and being in my second band "The Burning". It was called "Evil: the Rise and Fall of the Burning". It painted me as this probably below average guy, who ended up
with an opportunity to be something more. It was an honest account of my early experiences with being in bands, replete with photographs. The Burning was my center piece, my initial inspiration to continue on my musical journey. I tried later to recapture the magic, but ended up doing something a little more different. I tried to put the post punk into my acoustic music, or bring gloom into the local acoustic scene which I did. But me doing the wrong thing at the right time didn't work out so well. Everyone is doing all this positive commercial crap at the venues... totally puts me off.
Kind of reminds me of how the Nazi's instituted "Positive Cabaret" into Cabaret's in Nazi Germany in the 1930's, in order to eliminate any sort of political commentaries, that might went against Nazi political agendas... "
LH: "Wow you thought that up yourself???"
MD: "Yeah, Nazism in America doesn't exactly wear Swastikas, it's more subtle now.
LH: "That's frightening to think about".
MD: "Yes, it is, in fact Ronald Reagan said in an interview that if Fascism manifests itself in America it will come from Liberalism. All these Liberals are fighting fascism, not knowing, or being informed, that fascism actually comes from forms of Liberalism. Look it up. Look up "Liberal Fascism on Google, ha ha. But you have Nazism from the Alt Right, and Fascism from the Alt Left. That is why I don't take either side. I am independent politically, although I lean more toward the Right in some ways..."
LH: "Even though your on Disability do you still work hard on your Craft???"
MD: "Yes, in fact the transition from working jobs to full time artist was a tough one, I am more of a workaholic then I ever was. I am constantly putting out albums monthly, and its all stream of consciousness. My sister thinks just because I churn out so much work, that the quality suffers, but that isn't true. Streaming all my ideas quickly is more professional in my opinion rather then tediously working on projects that take forever. I have a huge body of both music and art, and I don't dilly dally. I just crank it all out quickly and easily, I have tremendous momentum in creating music, and most of them are masterpieces of music, and song. "
LH: "How many albums do you have now???"
MD: "About 57 it seems"
LH: "What's your favorite album thus far"
MD: "It really is hard to say. "Frankenstein's Curse" is probably one of my best albums, but my last album which is purely instrumental, "The Evil that Men do", which shows I am a virtuoso at harmonica really is a beam of light, it really soars. But I got a lot of great albums... You just got to sift through it all, and take time to listen them"
LH: "Where can you find these albums???"
MD: "You can listen to all my music on Bandcamp.com. That is 27 years of songwriting... Some of my favorite tracks are on Youtube as well. I have a few on CDBABY, as well for download, just clips. And all my CD's are on Createspace, and Amazon.com "
LH: "Well thanks Michael for your time to talk, we'll be getting back to you when things start taking off... "
MD: "Thanks, I'll see you soon, Bye"