Photo by Nick Canada
At first glance it’s easy to mistake the 30-odd members of Dark Meat for a modern-day Manson Family. Or an even moderner-day Polyphonic Spree—minus the matching gay robes and annoyingness. Yes, Dark Meat has many members. And they all radiate freakish joy and tour the country in a jury-rigged church van that barely has enough room to sleep sitting up. Oh, and the band’s full name is Dark Meat/Vomit Lasers/Family Band/Galaxy. No scrimping on people or names for these jolly life-lovers!
Initially a Neil Young cover band, the project eventually morphed into the scruffy, psychedelic carnival of hooray that you see before you. We quizzed two of the founding members to see how much they knew about the rest of their ridiculously huge band.
Vice: Name everyone that has ever been in Dark Meat and their respective instruments off the top of your head. No cheating.
Jim McHugh (guitar, vocals): OK. There’s Ben Clack on bass and vocals, Forrest Leffer plays drums, Kris Deason on guitar, Bryan Poole on noise amp, uhh, Al Daglis on alto and tenor sax, Charlie Estes on trumpet and percussion, umm, Nick Canada on trumpet, Aaron Jollay plays trombone, Becky Noble on clarinet, uhh let’s see here… John Fernandes on violin, Jason Robira on drums, Jeff Tobias on alto sax, Pete Erchick on keyboards, Andy Steck played with us for one show and basically just held an A chord on a Yamaha, Kayla Cox on “Yoko” screams and junk percussion, Emily Armond on piccolo and flute, Heather Heyn on vocals, Page Campbell on vocals, Claire Campbell on vocals. Give me a half second… I know I’m missing some motherfucker… Chris Smith on percussion and vocals, Steve Miller on percussion and vocals, and Tim Schreiber on guitar, vocals, percussion, and timpani. Let’s see, anyone else I’m leaving out? Umm… Laura Carter and Jason Trahan have played with us during noise shows. Asa Leffer is our producer and sometimes plays keyboards. Uhh, I want to make sure I’m not leaving anyone out… Chris Bradley—whom we call the “Spiritbird”—he was our original second drummer. I think that’s everyone. I might have forgotten someone. I don’t think I did.
What color hair does each person currently playing with the band have?
Jim: Jeff has black hair, mine’s blond but sometimes has red shit in it from face paint, Ben has thinning blond-brown hair, Kris’s is brown, Forrest’s is black, Heather’s is anywhere from red to blond depending on the week, Page’s is blond, uhh, Claire is a brunette, Robira’s is dark brown, “Spiritbird” has reddish blond hair with a gnarly red beard, Tim’s is sort of a strawberry blond, Aaron’s is bright red, Charlie’s is gray-brown, Nick has black hair, Pete’s is crazy gray, John’s is black-black, and Becky’s is blondie-brown.
What are their middle names?
Jim: Forrest’s middle name is Elias, Kris’s middle name is Carl, Robira’s is Tito—he’s Hispanic. Page’s middle name is Robson, my middle name is Mitchell, let me see… uhh… I just had somebody… I forgot who it was. Oh, Claire’s middle name is Marie. That’s all I know.
Who has the worst gas?
Ben Clack (bass, vocals): Jim. Definitely.
Dark Meat’s latest album, Universal Indians, is out now on Orange Twin Records.