MC Trachiotomy is the king of New Orleans, sitting on a throne in a ramshackle palace full of huge mechanical puppets, 18th century antique instruments, a defunct (fully stocked) wallpaper store, a warehouse full of weird artifacts, and plus there’s a 24-hour taco truck in the backyard. It's called the Pearl Lounge, and it hosts a crazy live rock and hip-hop party every Sunday night from midnight to 6 AM in the upper Ninth Ward. He got his start in the screamo pyromaniac band Crash Worship, then in 1995 disappeared into the purple smoke of lo-fi percolation in a voice that sounds like the reason for which he named himself. He's toured the world repeatedly, loves the tropics and Greece, and played with the Butthole Surfers at their reunion shows last year. So hey, let's find out more about this guy.
His longtime buddy Quintron says he once "painted himself green and cradled an empty coke bottle like a baby as a stunt to ward off City clean up-crews. And he trained his dog Pablo to bark at smoke machines."
Another friend, Colleen Kane, told us about the Pearl's lifesize threadbare robotic ostrich that jerkily pecks to and fro, rising from behind an antique box piano that used to live in a funeral home. On the wall, a hand with hair draped over it paws at framed snapshots of two little girls, one with a bottle of champagne. "If I haven't made this clear yet," she says, "the place is a creepshow. The bathroom features a fake bloody eyeball in the soap dish, a dusty antique birdcage, and a package of Super Dr. Cool toothbrushes taped to the peeling wall. The hangar adjoining the house contains row after row of unsettling scavenged junk: a vintage mannequin with legs askew, antique appliances and tools, hundreds of rolls of wallpaper, a shoeshine chair, old business signs, 'end is near'-type hand-lettered signs, and don't forget the morgue gurney. (I haven't.)"
Vice: How has your life's calling led you to this place?
MC Trachiotomy: MC Trachiotomy came from my stint with Crash Worship. The birth came in concept with Bisquittino in 1995. We were ready to rock the party houses, streets, and neighborhoods with crappy recording devices—it was all a cappella loops and found effects. It has evolved considerably since 1995, some with DJ Lefty Parker, some with a live band. It still feels fresh to me but many people—or shall I say most people—still don’t get it. Some have always known, some are starting to catch it, some may never know. The live shows have gotten super nutso, often times with exotic dancers. They can last for hours and sometimes have lasted for what seems like days.
Tell me about the Pearl Lounge.
Back in the early 90s the choices for drinking establishments and music venues were kinda bleak in our neighborhood so we started throwing weekly parties. Most of us worked in the quarter, and getting super stupid goofin’ and prankin’ on Sunday seemed to be the obvious choice. Lenny Bruce said, “Constant abrasive aggravation creates the pearl.” In essence it is the disease of the oyster.
Are there any artists in hip-hop that you like right now? Any new trends you like or don’t like?
On a personal level I love the flow of Sub Zero Perma Frost.
She’s one of the coolest performers I’ve seen in years! Her show at the Pearl Lounge was incredible.
She has been on top of it since as long as I can remember. On another tip, in New Orleans "sissy rap" is getting much bigger, though Katey Red and Big Freedia have been around for quite some time and are still young and fresh. Bounce is still king in Nola, even if it’s the retro tracks. Some of the brass bands in town are incorporating raps into ensembles. Cathy Cathodic from Boston kicks it. I am also into the Quasimoto MF Doom sound. I don't really feel that I am a hip-hopper somehow. I don't know what to call it. “Underground” sounds good.
When I stayed at The Pearl, I woke up to find your neighbor across the street (the old guy) telling a friend that he learned as a boy to breathe underwater from the porpoises in Pensacola. Who is this guy? Is he your neighbor from the CIA?
He goes now by Koocoo. He has had a range of employment, but his CIA days were during the 60s and early 70s. We don’t talk too much of this these days, just talk more about the breathing underwater. Porpoises actually hold their breath. He has done the offshore foreman thang, that can’t be easy. These days he nurses his home brew, sneaks into recording sessions at the Pearl, and grows award-winning roses. I donated my bocce balls to his immaculate lawn for garden parties. He keeps a watchful eye on the neighborhood, specifically the Pearl Lounge. He’s like my Homeland Security. He is a dear friend and a confidant. He just turned 64 and is going to be featured on an album by Paris’s DJ Urine.