That Was Then/This Is Yesterday

Interview: Nondor Nevai (December 2002)

Posted in Interviews by wwyork on August 3, 2014

It’s like putting a Disc Doctor into a bio-computer. It activates the modem, and guess what? You fucking go online, and it’s Philip K. Dick on your ass.


This interview, which dates back to late 2002, appeared in the one-off ‘zine Night Moves (published by my friend Mike McGuirk in 2004). The intro that appears below was written for Night Moves as well. It is now woefully out of date:

Nondor (Nándor) Nevai is like a real-life version of what is sometimes known in books, movies, and plays as a “character.” Bay Area dwellers may remember him from his surprise appearance at the Stork Club in Oakland in January 2002, at the Flying Luttenbachers / Burmese / Total Shutdown show. I don’t, since I wasn’t there, but that night apparently he smoked crack in the bathroom, started a fight during the Burmese set, and generally bummed a lot of people out. He also did guest vocals for the Luttenbachers that night, which would have been the main reason he was there. [Amazingly, there is video footage of this performance for those of us who missed it the first time!]

He is also, despite being obviously quite talented (or not talented at all, depending on when and how you’ve encountered him) one of those people about whom you can’t say exactly what it is he has done that is “good” or “important.” His only solo album to date, The A Capella Cantata, is basically a drunken (?) karaoke rampage, recorded in one take over music by Stryper, the Boston Pops (the Saturday Night Fiedler album), and some other whack shit the likes of which I can’t identify. Sound unappealing? It is, and it’s great, and you should definitely hear it if you are one of those people who has a sense of humor and/or who knows the true meaning of things like depression, sorrow, humiliation, heartbreak, degradation, rectal bleeding….

Anyway, I should actually have a complete list of all Nondor’s efforts/projects, but I don’t. I do know he was also a member of To Live and Shave in L.A. and their more recent (still active?) splinter band To Live and Shave in L.A. 2—playing ugly, depraved “free glam” alongside Weasel Walter, Rat Bastard, and Misty Martinez—as well as the groups Vagiant and Aborted Christ Childe. He also had a label called mm,yousick? DISCriminations, whose output included a split single with a group of black nationalist rappers on one side and a white supremacist rock band on the other (no, I haven’t seen or heard it). And, more recently, he was involved with some musicians on the L.A. Sunset Strip metal scene, including Southern Lord signees Deth Bred (read on for more about that).

[Note: This interview starts and cuts off abruptly because Nondor would start talking so fast, right off the bat, then he’d eventually have to disappear due to people coming to visit him or someone else calling on the other line. There is actually more to this interview, but I skipped around while transcribing it and then lost the tape before I could finish.]

Part 1

Man, I need to come up to the Bay Area, to see if I can get some liquid LSD.

What’s that like?

That’s—it’s the only thing that really matters! It’s like when you hit “reset” on the computer. It’s memory, it’s integration … but it’s not for everybody—definitely not for everybody. But it’s the one thing that I hope I’ll do once a year till I die. The Bay Area is the only place I know were I can probably find it because of the cognoscenti up there—ethno-psycho-pharmacologists, etc.

But man, I tell ya, I’ve gotten wrapped up in some crazy shit down here, and I need to get out of this city. Los Angeles is kinda like Las Vegas. If you’re not a criminal or a prostitute, or a police officer—which is basically a criminal without balls, right?—then you’re the man in the middle. And if you’re the man in the middle, then your days are kinda numbered, ya know? I met this nympho-maniacal 22 year-old girl from Santa Monica, who I just discovered a few months ago is a porn star—or ex-porn star—and she and I started a band called John [?]. And amazingly, I gave her a drum kit, and she’s a free jazz percussion genius.


I think so. Shit, I’ll admit, I’m biased. But she fuckin’ goes apeshit on—oh shit, one second, man. [He comes back after a long pause.] Mr. York?


So, I’ve gotta go. This psychotic roommate thing seems to be a California specialty. [Reader’s note: I had previously told NN about having been assaulted by a drunken roommate the night before.] This whole embroilment I was gonna tell you about began with my realizing I had to expulse my roommate, who’s in the Hell’s Angels. He was totally stealin’ from me. It got so ridiculous, to the point where one day I’m tunin’ my drums and he comes up wearing my Krisiun long sleeve—you know Krisiun?

Yeah, yeah. [Krisiun is a Brazilian death metal trio in the Morbid Angel style.]

He’s wearin’ my fuckin’ first tour, Black Force Domain [shirt] with the psilocybin patch that I put on the middle of the inverted star, and acted like I wasn’t gonna notice. And that’s when he had to go, and that’s when my trouble started. And I’ve basically realized that if you wanna get in trouble, all you have to do is date a porn star with a vindictive and very watchful parent, ’cause they’re incredibly protected, man. And the police force aren’t so much working in concert with the pornography industry as they are … they’re more like the tip of the finger. It’s completely fused. It’s blowin’ my mind; I’ve learned a lot! And it’s been made clear to me. They just blew up my fucking van, dude.

No way!

I have photos of it. Ostensibly, it was an overheated radiator, and yet it turned from steam to opaque smoke to flame, and it was consumed by flame. I got my fucking masters outta there, thank god. But it’s annoying, because all this shit that’s happening has sort of been preventing me from getting out my record, which is so much better than the first one. I’ve got this player-pianoforte now—this Yamaha MIDI player piano—and I wanna tell you about it, so let me call you back, or call me back, OK?

Ok, when, like today?

Any time.

Part 2

[Again, this picks up in conversational midstream, and I have no idea how we got on this topic.]

NN: Were you ever molested or incested?


NN: Me neither. I’m a conventional sexuality [sic], but, uh, I’ve been observing Santa Monica … and it’s blowin’ my mind.


NN: Sure.

Like what?

Pre-pubescent cocaine hot tub incest. Institutionalized.

So I heard you were playing with some guitar players on the Sunset Strip.

Uh, that’s incredible shit; I’m glad you asked me about that, Will. I’ve got a video of it. I’m very proud of it, and yet I cannot posit it as “music” necessarily. I’m not just saying that to dress it up. Depending on my mood, I think it’s incredibly brilliant music, or, really what it is, which is Free Heavy Metal. But I’m not talkin’ about fuckin’—what are they called, Blubber or some shit?

Blowhole? [They have an album called Free Metal.—WY]

Blowhole, yeah. See, that’s the thing: I’ve graduated past art school. The [Sunset Strip] audience is not fluent in improvised music; the players are not cooperating; and I am genuinely, like, ruining the gig—the first gig after a big hiatus—of Deth Bred, which is the brainchild of Dethy Hunn, who is a…. Put it to you this way: he’s short; he’s a garbage-head, which means he’ll do just about anything intravenously; he eats out of dumpsters; and he wears methamphetamine-psychosis-induced, Clydesdale-like futuro-armor, okay?


And when he says the “n-word,” it’s a little bit too authentic—know what I mean?


He’s from Louisiana; he’s a ranger. The Rangers are the scumbags of the army. They have the killing tactics, but it’s where you send—you know, not dummies, but not us. And his band Deth Bred is like—I’ve tried to produce his album, and I sort of did. It’s fukkin’—that’s the thing, Will: this stuff wouldn’t have any use if it weren’t actually totally fuckin’ authentic. It’s like Sunset Strip, totally trashed-out, ampheto-heroin…. It’s like Nikki Sixx’s diarrhea in his pants from the time he almost died, you know? Lots of effects [mimics effects-addled vocal style], but the tunes are really, like—chicks can shake their tits to ’em. [The music is] not smart, you know?

Oh, so they’re still in that tradition?

Oh, fully. Not only are they in that tradition, they didn’t know there was a choice. If it was a reference, it would be so horrible, dude. But it’s not; it’s not a reference. This dude, when I met him, I saw exactly what it was, which was a dying husk piece of shit, one of all the never-was-es that should’ve been Vince Neil. He was trying to talk himself up, but he was obviously totally over the hill; that was the only reason I got interested in him. Through him, I met Hevy Thundarr. Ok, Dethy Hunn—yes, D-E-T-H-Y, yes, H-U-N-N—and Hevy Thundarr—yes, H-E-V-Y T-H-U-N-D-A-R-R—who is the illegitimate son of Alice Cooper. And he looks like Marty Feldman; he’s got a wandering eye and a big ‘fro, okay? He’s insane, and he is the third person in this. And I have a video and I have … Don Bolles recorded … God, I thought it sounded good. The thing is, it is Free Heavy Metal.

So there’s no songs?

There’s songs, and there’s improvisations, and there’s no—um, there’s not enough preparation for the idiomatic requirements of heavy metal composition. So we know the songs, but I keep ruining it, and also we’re under-rehearsed, and there are complete and utter monitor problems. So, put it to you this way: if I told them I was improvising, they might have refused. The crowd is excited, because they’re seeing something different. But, it’s a naive thrill because it’s not that chuckling, fucking, goddamn knob-twisting shit, you know? [There’s] no fuckin’ arms crossed; people are yelling out, but sort of at a risk, ’cause they’re not sure if other people are gonna yell out. ‘Cause no one’s sure what’s happening—there’s no point at which the audience or the players are sure what we’re doin’. But anyway, enough about that. I’m glad you asked about that.

So you’re in that band?

No, no, no. What happened was, Dethy—I recorded one incredible death metal record with him, where he got used to improvising, and it’s fuckin’ so good. It’s so lo-fi, people would probably think it’s un-releasable. The guitar sounds like it’s around your head at all times, unless it’s a complete rest note, you know? And it’s overmodulated, recorded on Dethy’s cassette deck. But as far as I’m convinced, it’s almost superior production for this music, and I really wanna put it out. That was what I got out of him just before the time he basically kind of started attacking me.

What happened?

I would let him hang out and record for a few days and do drugs, and try and not give him too much shit, because with these fuckin’ junkie parasites, no act of kindness goes unpunished. The more you give, the more indebted you become, and it’s seen as a sign of weakness. [Ain’t that the truth?—WY] So our relationship ended with me almost concussing him with a stone carver’s hammer, which I carry, you know, in a harness—just for looks and stuff. But basically, he kicked me out and he hired Don Bolles. Don Bolles is the small-boned drummer of the Germs, from Phoenix, who turned me on to DMT, actually. I knew about it, but he knew where to get it. But that’s incredibly important. ‘Cause DMT is the quantum leap that’s relative to the leap that acid rock made, like an unforeseen leap that couldn’t be accounted for by any precedent.

So what effect is that having on music today? What music is coming out of that?

Um, almost none. The only DMT band I can think of are the Riders of the Mark from Tucson. It’s acid rock, but past…. It’s like, what’s some shitty new wave band? It’s like what Suicide should be. It’s like acid rock but … technologized out! DMT is like a techno super-hallucinogen. I mean “techno” like, you can’t help but see technology in all of reality. Basically, it’s a computer program that activates the modem in your brain, which is called the pineal gland, which is a psychic eyeball with light-sensitive tissue in the middle of your brain. It’s like putting a Disc Doctor into a bio-computer. It activates the modem, and guess what? You fucking go online, and it’s Philip K. Dick on your ass.

But forget about that. Don Bolles, the drummer from the Germs—and he was in Celebrity Skin—and fuckin’ Dethy Hunn … after I got this live recording and video tape and got this album of them … and I got some fuckin’ totally out shit—outré shit—that Frisco will die for. It’s fuckin’ Dethy Hunn’s totally overmodulated solo over a degaussed fuckin’ Tears for Fears cassette! It’s so fuckin’—William, when you hear this, man. It’s mean-spirited, ugly … it’s ignoring you … you can’t stop it. He’s like [sings guitar solo followed by warped-sounding fragment from “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”]. He didn’t mean it. See, I snuck some fuckin’ Karlheinz shit out on him, because he was highly resistant to it. If I made a good suggestion, he would say no.

But don’t worry, I bought a lot of disposable cameras and I got a lot of shots of it. And I’m pretty proud of this shit. I’m not even saying it’s good music, necessarily. Like, maybe an aktion—like, A-K-T-I-O-N, like the Austrians or something—it’s kind of more like that. But I put myself at risk, dude, with dumb, dirty people. And of course, I think I became one.

Are you still one?

Oh, no, I’m over it. I’m a Gentleman composer, man. My new record—I’m at the point where I’m going, “Ok, I’m gonna go to Europe now.”

Part 3

Here are a couple of the messages Mr. Nevai left on my voice mail last month [November 2002] when we were trying to coordinate this chat. I hope I’m not betraying any trust between the two of us by printing these transcripts, but these are too good to pass up, and there is some promotional content for him. So here they are:

Message 1:

Sorry I didn’t respond earlier, but I don’t have a lot of means of consistently accessing my e-mail … at all. Maybe someday soon. I sort of have refugee status right now in Los Angeles. I should be interviewed; I don’t even know how much longer I’m gonna be alive. Hopefully for quite awhile if I have anything to say about it.

Um … I appreciate your thinking … uh, your interest; it’s quite anomalous lately. Um … and my new record—I don’t know if I talked about it—it’s, uh, sonatas for automatic player piano. Pretty … good … I guess. Gimme a call later. Bye.

Message 2:

Will York. Hey, sorry I missed you. Boy, have there been some conundrums. My life’s gotten too interesting for art lately, but it’s just about when … when my art is just finally reaching where it should be. I’m the fastest drummer in the world, and my new album, Wooden Machine Music: Five Automatic Sonatas for Player Piano Forte, is fuckin’ pretty goddamn good. I’ve got a Yamaha player piano—MIDI player piano, 88 robotic keys. Forget about Conlon Nancarrow. Oh man, it’s just … beyond, dude.

But uh, I’ve got just all this great new shit that I wanna share with everybody. But, unfortunately I’m in Los Angeles and it’s started to get … oh, man, wait’ll you hear! So let’s talk about it tomorrow.

Oh, have you heard KROQ lately? Death metal, dude, it’s fuckin’—death metal’s on the radio now, but with, uh, alternative, sensitive, emotional choruses [indecipherable] in between.

I like Color Me Badd.


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