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A Chat with Captain Puscifer
Jonny Polonsky talks about his enigmatic and slightly freaky new band.
To be clear, the only thing Puscifer shares in common with Tool or A Perfect Circle is a constant reference to genitalia in the lyrics, and brilliant music. Well, and frontman Maynard James Keenan, who started the band as yet another extension for his creativity. To dwell on the fact that Puscifer is not Tool or A Perfect Circle is like trying to convince someone that Shaq doesn't play for the Lakers anymore.
Puscifer is an interactive multimedia adventure, delivering their rock-cabaret-funk-comedy-triphop orgy through music, video, clothes, and a theatrical live performance that leaves audiences gasping for air, trapped in seizures, and otherwise having one hell of a time.
"There's all manner of forms of entertainment and sonic subterfuge coming your way," says Jonny Polonsky, also known as Captain Puscifer, the guitarist and keyboard master for this musical circus. In other words, the Puscifer show is basically a big party, with live music, skits, video madness, and lovely freaks of all sorts.
Indeed, Puscifer is just as much of an art form all its own, as it is a musical performance. The lineup regularly changes, and has featured a wide array of artists over the course of 2 lp's and several more ep's and singles, from Tom Morello to Lustmord to Milla Jovovich to Trent Reznor to Joey Jordison to Lisa Germano and beyond.
Polonsky says he's been lucky enough to score a seemingly permanent slot in the outfit. "I had a band with Tim [Commorford] and Brad [Wilk]- from Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave- for a short time. And we jammed with Maynard one day, 'cause they're old friends from when their respective bands started out. We did a couple songs, which ended up on the Puscifer record, 'Momma Sed' and 'Sour Grapes.' And, that band didn't really work out, but Puscifer started up shortly thereafter, and I've just been a part of that ever since."
If Puscifer is starting to sound like a cult, well, Maynard could very well be a Jim Jones kinda guy. After all, he makes his own wine, and his followers gladly shell out $14 for a 6oz cup of his juice at shows. And then there's his warnings about California falling off into the ocean. Not to mention, it's been rumored that Puscifer shows are little more than devil-worshiping festivals, where they sacrifice virgins on stage and then dance around wearing their pubic hair.
Of course, Polonsky denies these claims, coyly saying, "um...all the stuff you mentioned, we don't actually do, to my knowledge." Polonsky seems almost too nice for this outfit, a wolf in indie rocker clothing, coming off as a ponderous artist when really he's a sinister pagan.
When asked about whether or not Puscifer is offensive, Polonsky says "that's just part of the whole process of being an artist, I think, and ultimately being a human being. Examining what your beliefs are, because you don't always know. You just have to feel out how you react to certain things, whether it's a word, or a piece of music, or a person or a situation. I guess it's like the eternal question, 'who am I? What am I? What do I think, what do I feel, what do I believe?' And those things are always changing and evolving, hopefully. Art, and for me personally, music, is a really great way to see what you're interested in."
As Puscifer rolls into Lorain Palace Theater on March 21, we sadly won't get the chance to pay $250 for the "meet & greet" Maynard's so graciously blessed other crowds with. Even so, it's sure to be one hell of a party.
w/ special guest Uncle Scratch's Gospel Revival
Sunday, 03/21/10, at 7:30 PM
Lorain Palace Theatre
Lorain, OH 44052