Feature ·

Throwing in the sweaty towel


The Coachwhips are kaput.
After releasing three albums in
two years, each progressively faster, louder and more distorted than
the last, San Francisco-based garage-rock trio Coachwhips is calling it
quits. Known for its intense live shows and records that never top a
half hour, Coachwhips has been through nearly two separate lineups in
its brief stint. Replacing Mary Ann McNamara and John Harlow with
keyboardist and drummer Mat Hartman and Val-Tronic (shortly after
recording 2003's Bangers Vs. Fuckers), frontman John Dwyer has proven himself a perfectionist, regardless of what he claims.
After releasing a few albums as experimental-folk artist OCS (including the double album 3&4,
released April 19 with Patrick Mullins of Burmese rounding out the
duo), Dwyer has decided to narrow his focus on OCS and potentially
start up yet another project in his long musical history. Coachwhips
will be on stage July 22 at 10 p.m. at Boogaloo on Marcy Avenue in
Williamsburg and on July 23 (the final show) at around midnight at the
Dream's Rooftop on Cook Street in Bushwick. Both shows are $10 and
Child Abuse, Trin Tran, and Intelligence are expected to open. He broke
the news to Prefix in early June, but he also talked about life
without drugs, his next project (called the Yikes), hedonism and his
womanly hands.


Prefix Magazine: It might be too early to predict what 2005's best albums will be, but did you have any favorite albums of 2004?

Coachwhips: My favorites of 2004, I guess, would be the Intelligence, the Country Teasers, Abner Jay's One Man Band.
I mostly ended up buying old shit that my parents had. I had thought it
sucked, then realized I was ripping it off now. Funny.

PM: I noticed that after Coachwhips' Peanut Butter and Jelly Live at the Ginger Minge was
released in January, there was a bit of confusion as to whether it
really was a live record, given its title and its perfectly imperfect,
rough quality. Does the band usually record live to re-create the
energy and sound of a live show?

Coachwhips: Coachwhips did record everything live, except for the occasional snap track.

PM: How
is playing live different from recording an album, in terms of how it
affects your mood and music? Do you prefer one or the other?

I prefer live, usually, because I am a very impatient man in the
studio. I think people think our records sound like shit on purpose,
but really, it's just that I am a lazy man, not willing to make them
sound nice. This is kind of a joke.

PM: Speaking
of live shows, there tend to be some interesting hospitality requests
on various bands' riders. For one, it's been said that Ashlee Simpson
requests any kind of bottled water except Evian. Would I find anything
out of the ordinary on an average Coachwhips rider?

Val (Val-Tronic, keyboards) usually requests beer and red wine so she
can put together this atrocious concoction she calls "buhwine." It's a
mix of the two, and it usually signals the end of the night for me.

PM: You and Patrick Mullins released OCS's 3&4
in April. OCS is an acoustic folk and noise band, an obvious departure
from Coachwhips. How do you divide your time between the two bands,
particularly considering that Coachwhips released an album in January
and OCS released a new one only three months later?

Appropriately enough, Coachwhips are now over, so I think that answers
your question. We are doing two last shows in NYC, then it will be OCS.
I am trying to start a new thing called Yikes. I have no job, so I have
free time. I am a poor, poor man.

PM: What made the Coachwhips split up?

Infidelity; [boredom]; I have other things I want to do; Val-Tronic has
the Double Dutchess (which is amazing); it was either that or sell out,
man; our sponsorship from Philip-Morris fell through. These are all
real reasons.

PM: You're
based in Rhode Island and San Francisco. Do you have a favorite element
of one that makes either city superior to the other? Anything from
preferable weather to better cannolis to prettier women?

I am [now] only in San Francisco. There are many better looking girls
here, but Rhode Island's cannoli is far superior. I have a lot of
friends still in Rhode Island, who I miss, but this place is now my

PM: It says in the liner notes for 3 & 4
that Patrick is a Virgo and you're a Libra. As a Libra, you should be
loyal, vain, easily influenced, and a romantic, according to the latest
astrology experts. Are any of these spot on?

Coachwhips: I am merely vain and incredibly unreliable.

PM: Do you believe in astrology?

Coachwhips: Sure, I believe.

PM: Speaking of tangents, if you were on death row and could request a last meal, what would it be?

Coachwhips: I would request fresh basil, cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Oh yeah, and some black-oil-cured olives, raw and tasty.

PM: When
you were a kid, did you have any favorite cartoons, toys, types of
music, or other inclinations in the world of pop culture?

Coachwhips: I loved The Herculoids, Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes
a lot. I also loved AC/DC, Adam and the Ants, and the Beatles. My
parents were pretty cool hippy types 'til I ruined them in my later

PM: Aside from music, do you have any special talents? Is there anything you're particularly bad at?

Coachwhips: I like to draw, paint and read. I am terrible in bed and at sports.

PM: Has there ever been a point in your life at which you wished you were a woman?

Coachwhips: I have never wished to be a woman, but I do have womanly hands that are kind of weird.

PM: Hey,
me too. Out of all the music trends to occur in the last five years --
boy bands, the "Latin female invasion," new Britpop, garage rock,
eighties post-punk revival -- do you have a favorite or least favorite?

Most of the newer stuff I like. I happen to know or have met the people
involved, so I feel really fortunate for that. I like Justin
Timberlake's record all right.

PM: That's
a very safe but optimistic answer. So if you weren't a musician, how would you
be spending your life?

Coachwhips: If I'd
never done drugs or music or met the people I did, I've always imagined myself
as a corporate dominator. Thank God I burned out at an early age.

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