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A friend of mine once gave me a recording of some Greek underworld music from the twenties and thirties. He translated the titles for me. I can't understand a word they're singing, but they sound like mud and murder and they're called things like "You don't have the balls to carry that knife," "Smoking hash in the basements" and "Crazy bitches birth, you've driven me crazy."

I used to play in a band with a sax player who's obsessed with this crazy Gypsy bullshit. I used to play in this other band with a piano player who's obsessed with nasty-ass New Orleans swamp fumes funk. I bought a banjo because a friend called me up and told me they had this sweet Kay banjo they wanted less than three bills for. He was right. That was three years ago.

Both those bands broke up.

So what am I supposed to do? That's right, use wiles, blandishments and threats of violence to make the sax player and the piano player write songs with me while I figure out how to work over this weird five-stringed thing. Try to match a bunch of sixty-year-dead Greek gangsters for death, dirt and tawdry thrills while watching the dueling obsessions of my captive musicians turn into some shit like I never heard. Oh, and steal the rhythm section of an evil Iowa City hardcore band because it seemed like the right thing to do.

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