Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley
From the fables and spoken word folk tales it's known that just the outside of the house that the entirety of Nurses' debut album, Hangin' Nothin' But Our Hands Down, was written and recorded in was pink. No one needs to break the news that there are not many houses that hue. Look around the neighborhood and you'll find a lot of tope and its various sister colors, but not much blush wine. The choice to crack those jugs of latex and turn your residence the shade of baby salmon is not made without consternation and careful thought. The ones who go there are usually ruled by some sort of madness. They're mad and the pink on the outside helps. The colors on the inside need to be considered to complete the comfort level need to be just as jarring. They need to be facials - spades slapped flush against the side of the cheek. There needs to be apricot and grape purple, a room full of neon green and a living room that features black walls and all furnishings different variations of gray and silver. The kitchen should be all white so that the very speck of dirt or wayward ketchup splash stands out like an orangutan in a shark tank. The bathroom - or all of the bathrooms in the house (any of these make believe pink houses that we're mindlessly daydreaming about) - should be constructed out of nothing but roses, a la the floats in the annual Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena, Calif. The toilet bowl seat should be the color of rose that signifies friends forever and the roses that flow out of the faucets should obviously be blue one way or another.
It feels funny even having to explain that, knowing you already understood the obviousness. This house - with its rec room of neon green and bathroom made wholly of flowers - chillingly whispers in your ear, "I'm going to help fuck you up. Have you got a problem with that?" to which you can honestly answer back, "You tell me," amid hacking snickers from the house. All that's known is that the house was painted pink on the outside, but lead singer Aaron Chapman admits to reaching some kind of dementia within the sanctity of its walls and windows and there are hints upon the hints that some insanity may have been flying around inside like moths or lost birds slipped through doggy doors or accidentally lifted panes. These other rooms carried their weight in influence - colored with the crushed prisms and sickness of having to go on reaching for the shortest and last straws. Within the parlor of the place, one gets a sense that even with sugary melodies humming through the floorboards the inclination is to get into heated games of Russian roulette and just let the cards fall. It's almost carnal the way that regular old normal life is treated in the drifting (now Californian, formerly of the mean streets of Chicago) band's music - the sanity of understanding and comfort as mysteriously and instinctively - droolingly - stalked like sex. They need it, can't get it - can't get a handle on the nuts and bolts of normality, not for all of the fighting try. It's crazy, all of it. They've been driving from here to there, living in their van - even when they're not on the road - living as four homeless, down and out young men, worrying their parents, contracting itchy, scratchy head lice just to get to the end of the winding, mirror-filled maze. God kills almost everyone, they sing in "Gettin' Angry" and yet it's the vengeful, twisted sense of humor of Satan (and probably God as well) that's got them by the necks right now.
The Daytrotter interview:
*You've gotten really intimate with your van. How do you divide up the chores around the van?*
John Bowers/Aaron Chapman: We actually outsourced the cleaning of our van to a developing country so we could maximize profit.
*What is it like being homeless? Especially when the bagel bundles run out?*
JB/AC: Really fun, but surprisingly exhausting. I could go on forever. You never really get proper sleep. Basically, after not sleeping or eating well for four months I've never felt less healthy. I started to feel demented from being so sleep deprived. We showered in fountains or sprinklers, made friends with bums, got robbed twice, got athlete's foot and head lice. It was
actually pretty hard. One of the neatest aspects was not working and playing such a massively different social role, it was an invaluable experience. We don't have a place right now, but we rented a room for a month before this tour to recover and I feel much better. Ah man, the bagels! Yeah, Panera gave us about a year supply of bagel packs -- seemed pretty cool at first. I used to really like bagels, but when that's all there is to eat, it gets sorta old. We did get pretty creative with different condiments and toppings but there's only so much you can do. I've since sworn off bagels and I won¹t turn back until someone invents mini, frozen pizza-bagels.
*How is your Californian garden? What did you plant?*
JB/AC: Excellent! We planted bamboo for a fence, and moringa, which is some sort of magical tree with healing properties. Other than that pretty much run of the mill fruits and veggies.
*Are your beards all still in proper shape?*
I shaved my beard when we left Chicago and rented a place in California. I felt like a phony wearing my hobo beard in a comfy bed. And I was starting to look like a 70's NASA scientist (not in the fun way.) John still has his beard and it's getting pretty big. John is right here and he wants me to say that he'll challenge any of your readers to a handsome match any day.
*There's a Bay Area band called No Doctors. You guys could probably party, no?*
JB/AC: Ha, we probably should. Maybe we can set up a bill with Clinic, No Doctors, and Nurses. Wait, Nurses first, we have to headline the show. Man, this is the ultimate set up for a joke and I feel really unfunny. What's the punch-line supposed to be? Doi.
*You're fans of that new Philly sound -- Dr. Dog, The Teeth. What do you love about it or what brings it home for you?*
JB/AC: I stumbled across Dr. Dog's band name one day and I thought it was really awesome and I started calling everyone I know "Dr. Dog." So before I even heard their band I was already into them. When I looked at their web page and listened to them I was real impressed. Then a friend introduced me to The Teeth. I really like the sound and quality of their recordings and their songs are catchy and fun. It seems like they just want to write good songs and not take themselves too seriously. I like both of those groups, they make me wanna jump on a trampoline.
*Is "Man At Arms" a good indication of a direction you're taking your music?*
JB/AC: I'd say so. It was the first song we wrote after our record so we've sorta come a ways since then, but it'll probably be on our next record. We¹ve been making lots and lots of tapes and we have another album worth of material. We're going to call it RECOND SECORD!
*What's your favorite charcter from a song -- any time, any place?*
JB/AC: Yankee Doodle