News Podcast

Ep. #227: John Wright & Frank Barnes of Compressorhead

John Wright is a founding member, singer, songwriter and drummer in British Columbia’s Nomeansno, one of the greatest rock and roll bands in the history of great rock and roll bands. Frank Barnes is an artist who specializes in robotics and is the mind behind innovative projects like Robocross and Drummer. Barnes is part of a team based in Germany working towards creating a completely robotic punk band called Compressorhead, which consists of a guitarist named Fingers, a drummer named Stickboy, a bassist named Bones, and at least one occasional human collaborator named John Wright. There’s a Kickstarter campaign in place to raise 290,000 Euros to build Compressorhead a singer and the deadline to donate is Dec. 5. Here, John and Frank and I discuss the Compressorhead practice space in Berlin, replacing Stickboy’s elbow, whether or not John has ever broken his elbow playing the drums, how Frank came to know Nomeansno and the Hanson Brothers and John, when Frank got drunk and approached Rob Wright about his robots idea, John is not Paul Shaffer but is Compressorhead’s musical director, writing songs like the Ramones and Hanson Brothers, whether John has worked with robots before, MIDI, trips to Berlin, how the members of Compressorhead get along with each other and what Stickboy, Fingers, and Bones are really like in robot, Frank thinks his robots are like kids, his collaborators Markus Kolb and Stock Plum, the robot musician origin story, real instruments, what Compressorhead tells us about music production today, how the robots work, robot fish and robot great white sharks and robot grabby arms, Great White, if the robots’ musical tastes will evolve, fearing Compressorhead and what they stand for, Kickstarting and fundraising and obtainium, recording and producing the Compressorhead album, threatening robots, what happens if the campaign doesn’t work, world tours, John’s role in the future of Compressorhead, the status of Nomeansno, dot rocks, Rob’s famous bass amp, inanimate objects that have Facebook pages, the song “Compressorhead,” and that was the end of our very human conversation.  

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