Interviewed by an Idiot: Great Scott interviews Disco Vietnam

Great Scott interviews Disco Vietnam. The world will never be the same, Scott Towler: Aight, so I have to confess right out of the gate here: I literally just learned your name through our...
By    July 7, 2009


Great Scott interviews Disco Vietnam. The world will never be the same,

Scott Towler: Aight, so I have to confess right out of the gate here: I literally just learned your name through our correspondence about this piece.

Disco Vietnam: Yes, well my full name is Disco Irwin Vietnam.

ST: Let’s dive right in, shall we? Dolphin-safe tuna: myth or reality?

DV: It’s a myth. No one is safe from a dolphin’s wrath, least of all a school of tuna fish. Incidentally, I’ve recently discovered veggie tuna salad is superior to regular old tuna salad.

ST: If you were at a Waffle House and they asked how you wanted your hash browns (without looking at a menu, mind you), what would you say?

DV: I would ask my hash browns be reverse engineered into French fries.

ST: You realize that’s an insult in more states than Kentucky, right?

DV: As long as one of those other states isn’t North Carolina I suppose I’ll have to be ok with that.

ST: Speaking of, marrying your sister: curse or righteous path for the American right wing?

DV: That depends who is marrying my sister. My parents would prefer she marry a nice Jewish doctor.

ST: Same with mine. Shifting gears a bit, you’re a producer. What instruments do you know how to play?

DV: I am first and foremost a guitarist, though I am serviceable on bass and know what I’m looking at when I look at a piano. I say, “That is a piano.”

ST: What instruments play you? Be honest…we all have ours. Mine is the bassoon.

DV: My skin flute gets me into trouble.

ST: Have you ever had someone tell you: enough with the hair, can you focus, please?

DV: Balding at 27 would distract anyone from their goals.

ST: Let’s say you and I are stuck in a studio for hours and all I have with me is my knowledge of generic pop music. Do you tell me to pipe down, or do you take my input?

DV: Have you ever met someone that’s better than you at the only thing you’re really good at and it isn’t even something they do?

ST: Every single day, no joke. Do you keep a day job outside of the music world?

DV: Yes, I am a producer for a business news television program.

ST: I only ask because I always seem to encounter those that are better at doing what I love outside of the environment I expect them to be in. It’s almost as if their lesse faire attitude enhances their natural talent. Ahem. Pussy is your go to word, which is both comical and stern. What, in your mind, constitutes a pussy?

DV: Actually my go-to word is “gatch.”

ST: Well, what’s a gatch?

DV: A gatch is a baby’s pussy.

ST: Ahhh…of course! What scares you?

DV: The Cryptkeeper and Ben Stiller movies where everything goes wrong.

ST: What about a rogue group of wee people, a la “Warriors?” I’m thinking relentless crazed baseball-bat-wielding maniacs. Have you seen them around?

DV: Yes, though I haven’t had a chance to check out the new Yankee Stadium.

ST: Are you a big baseball fan?

DV: I am an ardent and lifelong supporter of the 2009 World Champion New York Mets.

ST: A lot of people consider sports an unnecessary distraction. What’s your stance?

DV: I wonder what those people do in their free time. If you think Joey Esposito from Howard Beach would be at the fucking ballet if there were no such thing as sports I don’t think you’d find him there. He’d probably be in his basement trying to invent baseball.

ST: I even had one girl tell me, “god, there’s just so many other things those athletes could be doing to contribute to the world.” Absurd, right?

DV: Yeah, like the Naked Gun movies and double homicides.

ST: Let’s talk about your knack for criticism…you seem to write pieces that reflect your general feeling towards music at large. Comments?

DV: William Parker wrote: “The role of the critic is to become the poet. (S)he must find a plant and water it and care for it without crushing one blade of grass or weed along the way.” So if you’re on that negative shit you can basically go fuck yourself and I make it my personal Jedi crusade to knock you out of the box and prove to people you have no value.

ST: That quote is awesome. How long have you been a writer?

DV: I used to write time traveling stories about this kid named Billy Schantz when I was in the 4th grade.

ST: Has music gotten worse since you started writing/producing?

DV: No, it keeps getting better. See you’re one of those motherfuckers that doesn’t even like music. You have an unsophisticated understanding of what’s good and what’s bad and everything you hear must be ranked in accordance with other things you’ve heard and the degree to which you’ve liked them. I don’t approach music that way because I’m not a fucking gatch.

ST: Lovely, thanks. Is George Michael a hero to you?

DV: Yes. “Freedom 90” so fuck you.

ST: I meant the Arrested Development character. He was a juvenile sage if you ask me.

DV: I’ve never seen Arrested Development because when someone says, “Such and such show is the best show on TV you’re not watching,” and “you’re” means “you-plural” like fucking ustedes, that’s when I just shut down and say, “You know what? Fuck you TV Guide. You’re fucking obsolete. I know what’s on. I know when it’s on and if I missed it I’m aware I missed it.” What is their vested interest in getting me to watch a show I’m not watching. What does TV Guide care? What do you care? How is it newspapers are closing all over the country and good journalists are being laid off but fucking TV Guide can pump out its propaganda every week? Why? So Party of Five can move up a fucking decimal point in the ratings? Is that show still on? No. So what was the point?

ST: Loud and clear, though I have a hard time not touching on this one further, as I work in TV, and happened to pen a shitty article for Weiss’s site about some of the “best shows you’re not watching.” That being said, I live in a place where most people I know either claim to not watch TV or seem to think they are above it. But TV has a place in society, right?

DV: It has a place in my den. I won’t cast aspersions on those assholes.

ST: So, a friend of mine just did a hard 12 hours in jail, it had me thinking. If you could reform jail food, what would be your “kick off” meal?

DV: The Sizzler!

ST: With all the trimmings, or?

DV: Can my grandparents come?

ST: Of course! If there’s anything that can be said about the penal system in America it’s that there’s room to spare, so bring the family! What do your grandparents think about the music you make?

DV: My brother and I once made one of our grandfathers cry because he was so proud of us. My other grandfather wanted me to become a rabbi and thinks we’re too loud. Guess which one was in the Holocaust.

ST: Stem cells: delicious accoutrement or half-true salad accessory?

DV: Depends. Does your salad have cancer?

ST: Maybe, I didn’t check. What if they came in leopard print?

DV: Then get me two so I have a spare if someone spills grape drink on it.

ST: Fine, forget the stem cells. What if life came in leopard print? Would you go Pier 1 on our asses?

DV: Disco Vietnam’s drummer Kenny used to work at Pier 1 so maybe. I’d have to consult him. If we got a discount maybe.

ST: Friends in an urban setting: moochers or justified supporters?

DV: If the friend is white, neither. If the friend is black, both. Is that racist?

ST: Ha! I honestly can’t say. But there’s no sense of community anymore is there?

DV: Not among the goyim. Jews are different.

ST: Ever had a friend that “stood in your way?”

DV: Yes. Operative word is “stood.”

ST: How did you (to Tony Soprano) “take care of it?”

DV: Have you ever felt like someone was plotting against you at work? Maybe you were just being paranoid … or maybe you weren’t. If you work with me and stand in my way I convince you you’re just being paranoid when in fact I really am plotting against you. This way we can stay friends.

ST: Yeah, plus onion rings are rarely a solution. But we all thought he was going to die, right?

DV: I don’t know what kind of problems you’ve had to solve but onion rings have generally solved most if not all of mine.

ST: What if Meadow could have parallel parked the car successfully on the first try?

DV: That’s quite a hypothetical. That would make Meadow the first girl, fictional or otherwise, to ever successfully parallel park on the first try.

ST: Should Sigorney Weaver have done all that narration?

DV: For Planet Earth? YES!!!

ST: I agree. Every time I hear her, I think Aliens. Maybe she’d be better in the J.J. Abrams Pretty Star Trek?

DV: You mean Galaxy Quest?

ST: Was that the one with Tim Allen and Tony Shaloub?

DV: No, you’re thinking of Event Horizon.

ST: Right! Laugh a minute, that one. Down to brass tacks though, you produce superior recordings. Stuff that the radio doesn’t deserve. Is it ever so good you just want it for yourself?

DV: No. I create it so others may reflect the light I shine.

ST: And as a musician, do you ever want to hold back in hopes that people will “get it” down the line?

DV: No. You can’t control that part of the process and you can’t predict it so fuck it.

ST: What are you working towards? What’s the endgame?

DV: Ever see the movie Defending Your Life with Albert Brooks. That seems about right.

ST: Anything else you’d like to share with the world while you’ve got the mic?

DV: No fuck you.

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