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Atom and his Package.

IF PEOPLE LAUGHED MORE than they stabbed one another, the world would be a better place. Enter a new musical dragon: Atom and His Package. It's one guy, a sequencer, and a new breed of kung-fu which tackles the imperial system of measurement (you know-rods, gills, hogs' heads); promises to work out more if Enya will take him ("There's only one word difference in 'new age' and 'new wave'"); and tackles the use of derogatory Native American sports team names by turning the argument on its ear. Musically, he nods to and improves upon largely ignored cues left by The Dead Milkmen, Devo, and They Might Be Giants. Screw comparisons. Atom's his own master and his songs are fucking fun.

You know somebody personally who killed a deer with a flashlight?

That was Sean, who does Har Mar Superstar. who I was traveling with.

He's in Sean Na Na, too?

Yes. He used to play bass in Calvin Krime.

The Amphetamine Reptile band.

Yep. They were on tour, driving through the middle of Pennsylvania and they hit a deer. Sean was driving. It was pitch night; scary, middle of nowhere. They stopped. Sean creeps up to the deer. The deer goes "boo." Sean runs back to the van; "Aahhhh! I cant go back there!" So the other two guys went and looked around. The deer was fucked. It was in lots of pain and was in no shape to survive. They had a Mag Light. The option was to wake the guy up who was sleeping and the least likely to remember, so they told him "You have to kill the deer." He beat the deer to death (moment of silence).

So people know I'm not making this all up, can you give me the Atom Cliff's Notes?

I've been doing it full-on for three years. When it started, I didn't intend for it to be a band. I wasn't, "Oh I will start this one-person, weird, quirky whatever thing." Basically, my old band (Fracture) broke up. A friend of mine played me a song through his sequencer and I was like, "Oh, that's really cool." Not only do I like the. sounds it makes, but it makes me able to write, record, and arrange entire songs on a self-contained thing rather than just write guitar parts in my room with nobody to play them with. I started recording on a 4-track and giving them to friends just for fun. Then I set up a tour for Franklin, and they said, "You should bring your thing when you come with us."

Ever considered re-joining a "real" band?

I miss traveling with a bunch of friends. There are pros and cons to this. If I want to go on tour, I go on tour. I don't have to wait for anybody's schedule. The cons? I miss the camaraderie of having your five close friends with you.

Which ex-Misfit traveled essentially alone, with a sequencer and a guitar?

Bobby Steele. Someone forwarded me this Misfits chat room forum. Somehow it came up that I covered a Misfits song ("Where Eagles Dare") and someone asked Bobby Steele's reaction or some shit. "It's really good, but I've been doing that forever. I paved the way for him." He was in the Misfits, for christsakes.

I don't think you're stealing his concept.

I don't owe that much to Bobby Steele.

Can you name another famous punk rocker who toured the same way in 1997? It was more out of necessity.

'97? Wow, and it's a punk rocker?

Walk Together, Rock Together.

Kevin Seconds did?

Yup. A lot of his acoustic stuff before 7 Seconds got back together again.... I've come up with a literary comparison to you; especially how you use irony and satire: Kurt Vonnegut. You're joking, but you're not joking. The song, "If You Own the Washington Redskins, Then You're a Cock" (Which contains the line: "Wouldn't it be offensive if we cheered 'rah rah rah" for the Carolina Negros with our beatbox cheer and our fake foam afros?") is a funny approach to a pretty serious topic.

Wow. That is very, very flattering.

What I get from the albums is lots of sympathy and understanding but things are kinda fucked and the best tool you have is humor. It's not a heavy hand, but that doesn't take away the cutting satire.

Sure. Not to put an over amount of importance on writing a song like that or "Hats off to Halford," but I think humor is not the only way to make a political point or opinionated point. It can be an effective tool and I think one of the' strong points is that it's not so alienating. "Hey, fuck you. You're wrong. I hate you"--that doesn't always work.
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Title Annotation:musician
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2001
Previous Article:Built to Spill.
Next Article:BURNED UP.

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