Raised by Gypsies Interviews Johnny & Sarah
1) What made you become Captain Johnny Sausage? Why not Captain Johnny Bacon? (If you go to Denny's or wherever and they give you the choice of sides, you always pick bacon) And Sarah what would make you want to work with a man with such a name? Do You have a food related Name as Well?
Johnny: Well, the story behind my name is that I'm a huge fan of Les Claypool and a lot of times he refers to himself and other people refer to him as "Colonel Claypool" and I really liked that idea of using a military rank along with your name. It just sounded cool and silly in my head! And I live near water and I'm descended from many a sailor, so nautical things just really appeal to me, and Captain seemed like the obvious rank to go with!
The Johnny part came from....Well a lot of it came from Johnny Ramone--I'm a HUGE Ramones fan. That and I just like the way Johnny sounds. So many people use Johnny in song lyrics; one of my all-time favorite songs, "Johnny Johnny Johnny" by Shonen Knife is one of my favorite examples! That and when I was younger, my stage name used to be Johnny Rhythm haha. But as for the sausage part, well firstly, sausage is just hilarious I mean just look at that thing!
But secondly going back to Les Claypool he has a band called Sausage (basically the original lineup of Primus reformed as a new band so regular Primus can continue to do its own thing) and I just really liked that name so I applied it to myself and became Captain Johnny Sausage!
As for why not bacon? Well I personally find sausage to be the far superior meat product both in edibility and hilarity! I always order sausage if its available....its just so awesomely delicious and stupid!
Sarah: Well, I thought Johnny's art and music were totally awesome and I couldn't believe that he wanted to work with me (though honestly I was a little weirded out by the Buckethead avatar he uses). We first met when Johnny approached me online to do a music trade (and although we've worked with each other on lots of other projects since, we have not yet completed that original music trade!) I love sausages too so the name was another plus! No, I don't have a food-related name yet...John, do you have any suggestions?
Johnny: Hmmmm good question...how about Sauerkraut Sarah?? Sauerkraut's another hilarious food!
Sarah: I like it! I love sweet red sauerkraut!
2) Johnny you also perform under Metallic Diaper. What is the difference between a Metallic Diaper and a chastity belt?
Johnny: Ok so here's the REAL difference: Metallic Diapers are kinda like the training version of a chastity belt; you basically put them on super horny babies (there is also a pull ups version for toddlers) to get them ready for the real thing once they get older. But as for the band Metallic Diaper, that is a project I formed with Joh Bucci a few years ago. He does most of the instrumentals and I write the majority of the lyrics and lead vocals. We now have another all -acoustic band on Captain Crook called Cyberpeanut.
3) You have a split cassette with Cat Shit out. Are there plans for a full length? What about you Sarah what are your musical plans?
Johnny: Well yeah I'm weighing my options with that...I have another split coming out soon--I won't say who with yet but I've heard a sample from it and it's sounding amazing! It's someone I'm quite sure you're familiar with. But I haven't decided yet whether I want to compile all the songs from the splits (and other songs I've done one of which can be found on the new Captain Crook Compilation) into a convenient re-release available as digital CD and Cassette or just leave those songs alone and record a full new album for a solo release. I'm also working on a few other super secret projects that will hopefully come into fruition soon, as well as new CyberPeanut, maybe a new Metallic Diaper, and a new project with Sarah.
Sarah: The only thing of mine that has been officially released so far is a track on Captain Crook's "Some Unreleased Stuff!" compilation; other than that, I've just been putting out my lyrics and rough recordings on my SoundCloud and YouTube accounts. So I guess my plan is to actually release an album! (Haha!)
I have a good number of completed songs that I want to put into an album, which I'd call "Songs for Sundown" because they're all story-centered songs, kind of like bedtime stories. The reason why I haven't released an album yet is because I'm mostly a songwriter and a singer, but I'd really like to release my songs with some good instrumental accompaniment and decent audio quality, so I'm waiting 'til I get a lot better at guitar and at music production (and/or get help from someone more experienced *wink wink*).
John and I are also working on a new album, tentatively titled "Virgins, Too". All of the songs will be based on myths and legends. We both really love ancient mythology and we're really excited for our first album together!
4) What is it like being part of the Captain Crook Records family?
Johnny: Terrible! They all suck and I hate them! ...Haha just kidding! It's really fun and crazy--the people here come from all walks of life and styles of music! I've gotten to know some really awesome people through Captain--my art got a new audience and it's really just been awesome! Slade is the mad genius who started this whole thing; he's an amazing guy! It's like a family, it really is. A psychotic, dysfunctional family living in a cardboard box with nothing to eat but an expired juicebox and some baking soda...but a family none the less. The love is there.
5) Do you feel that cassettes are the optimal way to experience recorded music?
Johnny: Well they're definitely one of them! I have a certain nostalgia for cassettes--I mean they're what I grew up with and used for a long time (and obviously still do). When I was little, I would look at these little boxes that contained music inside them somehow and they just fascinated me to no end. I had a transformer action figure that turned into a Cassette (Soundwave was his name I think ) and I just thought that was the coolest toy ever and I really didn't even like Transformers! Man that was a cool toy....between him and this steak with a face (complete with moustache sunglasses and a baseball cap ) I got from McDonalds those were some of the coolest toys I ever had. But yeah I like Cassettes, Vinyl, 8-track, Reel-to-Reel, and even CD pretty much equally but for different reasons. I'm not really a fan of Digital though I'll use digital and I see the benefits but it aggravates me when there is no physical option. I wouldn't buy an mp3 player for years out of hatred for the medium.
Sarah: I love cassettes. There's definitely that nostalgia factor from growing up listening to them and recording on them, but I also just think they look adorable compared to CD's and other forms of recorded music, and especially when they're in their plastic cases I think of them as pretty durable. However, to be honest, nowadays I mostly listen to music on my laptop, which I enjoy because I can see all my favorite music together in one place, like a giant candy store of goodies!
6) As artists, do you find yourselves doing a lot of artwork for j-cards?
Johnny: Well so far the only artwork Ive done for a j-card was the one for The Justice of the Unicorns album but I'd love to do more! I've done art more in advertising for bands and artists, be it in a comic or a flyer or what have you.
Sarah: I haven't done any artwork for bands yet but I would so love to!
7) Are there any bands you would like to do artwork for?
Johnny: Yeah, tons!! I got to do art for some amazing people, Gabby LaLa, Franki Love, Well Worn Boot, Marko and The Bruisers, Slade and the Big Nothing, just to name a few! But there are so many more I'd like to do art for: ANYTHING Buckethead, Les Claypool, or Ian Anderson-related, Shonen Knife, Bredon Small or Dethklok, Weird Al, The 184.108.40.206.'s, Anoushka Shankar, Amon Amarth, Becca Parks, Black Sabbath, Blackmoore's Night, Blind Illusion, Devo, Deep Purple, The Sword, Kali Kazoo, Dick Dale, The Meat Puppets, Ghost, Guns N' Roses, GWAR, Hank Williams III, Herman's Hermits, Junior Brown Tenacious D, Motörhead, Nile, Psychostic, Ringo Starr, Swashbuckle, Spinal Tap, System of a Down, That1Guy, The Wipeouters, White Wizzard, The Who....This list could go on forever and I'm just including bands that are still active and not even all of them haha.
8) What is it like doing two comic strips? Is there a time when you think, "Well, this might not work for one, but it does work for the other"?
Johnny: It's not that bad! The worst it gets is when I really wanna work on one comic but I know I'm running low on reserve strips for the other one haha. But genuinely its really fun cause both comics are really different and were created in two totally different mindsets. And I'd never be able to do it without Sarah and that's no joke haha (random stupid trivia fact no one cares about: Jim and Sally used to be called Jim and Sarah!) but I don't really doubt either strip. They're both funny and I think they both can make it cause they're very unique in both look and tone amongst other comics on the web these days. Jim and Sally I created years ago and I don't think I'll ever stop doing it but I love Mercy MiMi just as much for different reasons, but I feel both strips can make it, based off of their own strengths.
Mercy MiMi and Jim and Sally are pretty distinct series. When I'm going in for a comic I know whether or not to try for a Jim and Sally joke or a Mercy MiMi joke and just kinda take it from there I know that's a bit confusing but its the best way I can describe it haha.
And I love doing Mercy MiMi cause I get a chance to do a lot more romance and relationship stuff which is something I just never really touch on in Jim and Sally! Jim is pretty much asexual, Jerry is too gross for anyone to want him, and they're really the only guys in the series so all the poor ladies of Jim and Sally pretty much got a raw deal when it comes to good men folk haha.
9) What do you feel are some of the most influential comic strips to you?
Johnny: Hmmmm strip-wise? "Maakies" by Tony Millionaire is by far the biggest influence. I like "Pearls Before Swine" but I don't really think its an influence. But there are other comics that arent strips affect me profoundly, like "One Piece", which is part of where I got the idea to draw random pictures with lyrics to songs in them, and then of course R.Crumb, and anything Spumco-related, John K of course being the big cheese. The Scott Pilgrim Series affected me profoundly, as well as "Bone" for sure, "Sock Monkey" "Archie Comics" a good amount of Old School Manga and Anime, a lot of animated cartoons. Honestly, animation and other style comic books have been bigger influences than strips really especially old Fleisher cartoons and Looney Tunes. Bob Clampett in particular--that guys a real screwball but he's amazing. The whole reason I made my comics into strips is pretty much because of Maakies. There are a toooon more influences I could list, but you get the general drift.
Sarah: The comics I read most regularly and with the most relish as a kid were the Archie comics, and they're the biggest influence in my comic art. I love the silly characters and storylines, but most of all I admire the art style (cartoony with big eyes and flat colors but with mostly realistic body proportions) and the "cinamatography" (all the different cute backgrounds and establishing shots, the wacky cartoonish action scenes, and the variety of poses and camera angles used to tell stories) that the Archie artists use. Other comic strip series that I love and admire are Bill Amend's "Foxtrot" and Scott Adams's "Dilbert".
But yes, just as Johnny said, I've also been influenced greatly by animation and other comic forms (especially manga). For animation, some of my favorites are the Hanna Barbera cartoons (especially Scooby Doo), the older Nickolodeon series (like Doug and and Rugrats) and the Beetlejuice animated series. As for manga, my all-time favorite is Yukito Kishiro's Battle Angel Alita, which has great emotional depth, masterful storytelling, and incredible art.
10) Why does everyone hate Family Circus?
Johnny: 'Cause its really boring drawings of even more boring characters in a circle....and I've yet to see a single clown on a unicycle juggling bananas!
11) Johnny you have "Jim and Sally", which you do yourself, and you do "Oh Mercy Mimi" with Sarah . Is it easier or harder to work with someone else?
Johnny: Haha it's definitely easier. Sarah and I can come up with really funny ideas for Mercy MiMi in no time but sometimes I can be thinking for hours trying to think of something if I'm working by myself on Jim and Sally and the creative juices aren't flowing! But sometimes that can come really easy too. In general its much MUCH easier working with Sarah than by myself. And she even helps me out on Jim and Sally quite a bit with various things! So yeah really, without her I couldn't do this stuff! Especially not to the quality that it's at now!
Sarah: Don't listen to him, he's bluffing, he's wonderful even on his own. Pffft what a flatterer! But haha honestly I feel the same way about him--I couldn't do it without him! When we brainstorm together it is so much fun and we come up with tons of ideas. And he's such a talented workhorse--he cranks out these great comics and comic reviews like clockwork, whereas I struggle to put out just one! He's also really great at making connections with other comic artists and finding opportunities for us! So I definitely think it's easier to work with someone else, especially when you get along so well with him!
12) Was it a subconscious decision to have female names in both of your comic strip titles?
Johnny: Hmmmm not really...With Jim and Sally, it's more like I was going with the tradition of having two friends be in the title of the series, ya know, Heckle and Jeckle, Ren and Stimpy, Tom and Jerry, Beavis and Butthead, Rick and Morty, and stuff like that. I always wanted Sally to be a girl even before I knew who she was; I just knew I wanted to make a series where a guy and girl are best friends but aren't involved romantically, 'cause that never seems to happen! If there's a guy and a girl together they almost always get together romantically. But with Mercy MiMi lol it was just kind of based off of both the sisters' names and the obvious pun haha.
Sarah: Yes, "Oh Mercy MiMi" is also a reference to the Marvin Gaye song "Oh Mercy Mercy Me".
13) Are there plans to publish collections of "Jim and Sally" or "Oh Mercy Mimi"?
Johnny: Oh yeah for sure!! We have big plans for both series! We both want to collect them and do hard print exclusive material as well and maybe even some E-book stuff!!
Sarah: Though we've been releasing Oh Mercy MiMi exclusively online so far, both Johnny and I feel like there's nothing like a hard print comic--something you can hold in your hands and love! So we are definitely planning to self-publish print comics and we'd also love to have our comic strips run in print publications (Johnny's Jim and Sally has been printed in various newspapers in the past).
14) Do you feel as if your music and comic strips are connected, such as there being a song written about a storyline in "Jim and Sally" for instance?
Johnny: Well I think so to a point. There have been a few songs written about Jim And Sally One Metallic Diaper Song called "Pun With Jim" and a Cyber Peanut song Called "A Song About a Comic". For Mercy MiMi, we have the CyberPeanut Mercy MiMi theme song! But since Mercy MiMi features a lot of musical characters we for sure want to do more music based on and for the series! And I'm sure Jim And Sally will have more from time to time too!!
Sarah: Yes haha, lots of character in Mercy MiMi are musicians and play in fictional bands. For example, Mercy and MiMi's father, Magellan the Magnificent Rockstar Merman, is the lead singer and guitarist for a once-popular rock band called the Torpedo Trio; their brother, Marky, is in a band called The Fish Sticks; and Marky's girlfriend Ramona is the frontwoman for a band called Shoujo Spoon.
15) If "Jim and Sally" and/or "Oh Mercy Mimi" was to become an animated series, do you already have the opening and closing theme songs planned out in your head?
Johnny: Well, for Mercy MiMi we at least have a basic version of what could be the theme song for an opener haha. But for Jim and Sally, nothing yet, but I imagine it would have really trippy bass haha for both songs.
16) Would you ever create a sort of comic book for "Jim and Sally" and/or "Oh Mercy Mimi", put inside a DVD case and have it come with an audio CD full of music based upon the comic strip?
Johnny: Yeah!! I'd love to--a lot of bands and comic artists I love have done that! Tony Millionare, Jethro Tull, Jhonen Vasquez, and Bryan Lee O'Malley have all done that!
17) Final thoughts, shout outs, questions, etc…??
Johnny: Just keep on lookin' at what we're doing cause me and this rad gal have a lot in store for the world! And we hope you'll come along for the ride! And for cripes sake spread the word ya bums!! But Big Shout outs to Derek Kowatsch creator of Idaho Comix Underground, he's an awesome guy who always gets the coolest artists for his zines, Slade and the whole Captain Crook family, and really just anybody who reads or listens to our stuff!
Sarah: We love all our fans and supporters--they keep us going! I'd like to give a special shout out to my artist brother Harold Muliadi, who recently graduated with a degree in Fine Arts and had his awesome oil paintings and digital art displayed at California Lutheran University. Harold has helped us a lot with feedback and ideas for Oh Mercy MiMi, and even did a guest comic for us (you can see his guest comic and contact details here: http://oh-mercy-mimi.deviantart.com/art/Room-and-Water-Board-Oh-Mercy-MiMi-19-458254107)
Also, I'd like to give a shout out to a wonderful young artist named Wendy Martin, who is starting a mermaid comic too! You can find lots of her unique and adorable concept art for the upcoming series on her deviantART account (http://wendymartin.deviantart.com/)
And of course we'd like to thank you for interviewing us! We love your blog and how great you are at spreading the cassette love!