You can choose to have one -- and only one -- super power. Other than gaining that power, you remain exactly the same as you are now. What super power would you pick, and why?
Jon Lukens: Photographic reflexes. The Taskmaster, a Captain America villain, had them. Basically, if he saw someone do something he would then be able to do it. This seems like it would afford me a lot of practical advantage in life, and while it would be nice to shoot fire out of my eyes and teleport around and all that, I fear that exhibiting such abilities would inevitably be a ticket to some secret dissection table somewhere.
What was your favorite day job, and why? If you hated them all, what was the best (meaning most interesting) way you ever quit a job?
Jon Lukens: I worked in an ice-cream distribution warehouse one summer: long periods of sitting in the heat talking punctuated by short bursts of activity at 30 below. The boss didn't care how you did it as long as you got it done. When we weren't in the freezers filling orders, one of my co-workers would tell me about his crackhead ex-mistress and his youth in Panama, another would talk about his burgeoning career as a professional wrestler and spout Rush Limbaugh-inspired gibberish while wearing a T-shirt that read "I fought the lawn and the lawn won."
We've all heard variations on the phrase "there are two kinds of people in the world... Those who (do or think something) and those who (do or think something else)". What are the two kinds of people in the world for you?
Jon Lukens: People who think they have the answer and people who know that it's a stupid question.
If money/ambition/significant others/et cetera were all non-issues, where would you choose to live and why?
Jon Lukens: Somewhere clean, but with decent public transportation. Berlin, maybe. I'm not sure. I was in Glasgow once and I felt like the city suited me. Ljubjana seems nice -- but I've only spent an afternoon there. I'm not a big fan of Brooklyn anymore.
You've been given the money and resources to produce a movie biography of the most significant, influential person in your life. Who's it about, what's the story, and who plays the central character?
Jon Lukens: Being honest about influence, I'd just have someone sic the camera on my immediate family, ask them a bunch of mildly intrusive questions and hand it off to a good editor. If were talking about artistic influence I'd like to see a Phil Dick biopic starring Vincent D'Onofrio or Phillip Seymour Hoffmann, maybe a Filth and The Fury-style documentary on Suicide, maybe a Lungfish documentary.
Summarize your driving ability in 25 words or less.
Jon Lukens: Calculated, overcautious and fraught with error.
What is the function of your music in a capitalist society?
Jon Lukens: It addresses the inequitable distribution of access to reputation capital and receives little reputation capital for doing so. Ask an obtuse question, get an obtuse answer.
You've just entered a contest in which the prize is an MP3 player loaded with the complete, exhaustive recorded output of any artist you choose. You win. Who do you choose?
Jon Lukens: I don't know. Throbbing Gristle, maybe, so I could hear everything on their ridiculously expensive boxed set.
What are you carrying on your person -- in your pockets, purse, et cetera -- right now?
Jon Lukens: My wallet, the keys to my apartment, my Powerbook and half a glass of lemonade.
You're on tour, you're in an unfamiliar city, you haven't eaten in 24 hours, and due to some poor financial decisions, you have only a single unit of the local currency -- one dollar, one pound, or thereabouts. What do you eat?
Jon Lukens: Nothing. If shit is going that badly, I'm not going to spend my last dollar.
What was the last song you danced to? Who, if anyone, did you dance with?
Jon Lukens: If I was drunk enough to dance then I was too drunk to remember the tune. I think it was some smarmy ironic retro '80s top 40 garbage. Fuck retro '90s top 40 garbage in advance. I was with my wife and a friend of hers from out of town.
When did you last make a mountain out of a molehill?
Jon Lukens: I was in the band called Amverts and got into an overwrought debate about something that was virtually inaudible while we were mixing a track.
Post-Schwarzenegger, are there any high-profile people you'd like to see run for Governor or other high office? Who and why?
Jon Lukens: It would be interesting if Eliot Spitzer ran for president. He seems to keep his nose relatively clean and I find it vindicating when bad things happen to bad people in a court of law.
Apart from cheeseburgers, what is the cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast?
Jon Lukens: Coffee and bread.
You receive a series of e-mails stating that Grace Jones, Junior Brown, Missy Elliott, Ian Mackaye and Philip Glass are interested in a collaboration. How do you respond to each request?
Jon Lukens: Grace Jones: If she is just providing money and vocal and publicity I'd be cool with it, but I'd want to write the beats and everything myself, and make sure that things have a traditional song structure and that it doesn't turn in to some sort of extended club mix without any real dynamics.
Junior Brown: I haven't really listened to him so I just went to his homepage. The audio files are in RealPlayer format, and I'm sort of an asshole about open formats and I find the RealPlayer interface really annoying. Maybe Junior is too busy rocking to deal with his website. Anyway, I just looked him up on LimeWire -- looks like he does a version of "Hot Rod Lincoln". My grandfather used to play that song. Anyway, after illegally downloading a track and listening to it while I was sitting here typing, it seems Junior is a pretty talented guy. I could see us doing a cover of "The Battle of New Orleans" or maybe "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" -- if we went straight country, that is. It might also be nice to incorporate some of that lap steel into some sort of Santo and Johnny gone dub meets Arto Lindsay type jam.
Missy Elliot: Missy is pretty talented, but after the Gap commercial, I think I would have to turn her down.
Ian MacKaye: I'd be all for it and think we could write some good songs, but I'm not sure if the results would be much more surprising than sounding like Ian MacKaye and Retconned cut a record together. I imagine something angular and minimal with a few good hooks. I'd want acoustic drums on top of the drum machine, though.
Phillip Glass: I guess I would be into it, but I can't even begin to think of how we approach things except for him coming up with some sort of algorithm for sequencing sounds I generate.
Have you ever seen a ghost? Or a dead body? Tell us about it.
Jon Lukens: I saw the embalmed corpse of my aforementioned grandfather. They overdid the makeup and went from looking brown to looking red.
Everyone can do at least a couple of decent imitations -- of celebrities, maybe, or associates, friends and family. Who can you "do"?
Jon Lukens: I used to be able to imitate this guy I went to high school with pretty well. He would refer to fucking as "throwing the meat", as in, "Dude, I'd throw the meat to her -- tell me you wouldn't." He would speak these words in his vaguely Elvis-like southern accent without a trace of irony. He was a good guy, and tended to make rather astute observations about life in spite of his use of that one comical but somewhat disgusting metaphor.
What was the last book you read and hated? Why did you hate it?
Jon Lukens: The Lives and Times of Jerry Cornelius: Stories of the Comic Apocalypse, by Michael Moorcock. Though I enjoyed The Final Programme, and loved Behold The Man, I couldn't stand this fucking thing. It could never really tell what was going on -- the prose had the feel of something like The Atrocity Exhibition but it was punctuated with info dumps that went nowhere. Don't get me wrong -- I don't mind reading Burroughs or Steve Erickson or things like that. It's not a matter of form as much as a matter of a lack of form not being compensated for with content.
Let's assume that God is a DJ. What's on his playlist right now?
Jon Lukens: I don't believe in god.
Who was your favourite teacher in high school? Why?
Jon Lukens: My AP US History teacher, Mrs. Battle. She taught me to express my point in writing in spite of my not having much of a point to make.
What is your favorite Meg Ryan movie?
Jon Lukens: I remember D.O.A. being tolerable, but I don't think I watched the entire movie.
Tell us about the least likely place you ever sent a CD/demo. Why did you send it? What happened?
Jon Lukens: (Insert name from list of hundreds here), not much.
What essential item are you most likely to leave at home when you're heading out on tour? What do you do about it?
Jon Lukens: Enough socks. Suffer discomfort.
Aliens have just landed, and you get to select the Earth's goodwill ambassador. Who do you pick, and why?
Jon Lukens: I'm sure there is an appropriate expert somewhere. The only people I can think of off of the top of my head are Stanislaw Lem and Desmond Morris.
You wake up one morning and discover that you have dolphin telepathy. What do you do with it?
Jon Lukens: Whatever those insidious cetacean overlords tell me to.
You've just been hit in the face with a large chocolate cream pie. How do you react?
Jon Lukens: Bomb their country.
Assuming that you must choose one, which would you rather listen to for an hour: Christian rock, mainstream country or Jessica Simpson?
Jon Lukens: Christian rock seems like it would be the most amusing and most offensive.
What's the deal with those damn raccoons?
Jon Lukens: They are here to remind us that cats and monkeys shouldn't procreate.
What is the most awkward moment in which you have caught a person adjusting, scratching, or otherwise handling his or her own genitals?
Jon Lukens: I cant really think of any, but when I was in high school, this kid I knew was in the bathroom combing his hair when he heard a bellowing voice coming from behind him. "Look at me! Look at me," it commanded. He turned around and this retarded kid with really bad acne was standing there with his pants and underwear down around his ankles.
Where do you think Osama Bin Laden is hiding and what would it take to get him to come out?
Jon Lukens: I think he's hiding in Peshawar. The best way to get him out of hiding would be to create a convincing illusion that there was no longer any need to hide.
You're sitting in a pub when an errant dart from the games area strikes you in the leg. With the dart pointing out of your body, do you pull it out, shout for help or attack the jackass who hit you?
Jon Lukens: Pull it out and see how many free pints I could guilt trip out of the dart thrower.
What would you consider to be the worst fate imaginable for your music, and which contemporary artist would you most wish this terrible end upon?
Jon Lukens: They'd use one of my songs in a commercial for a medicine claiming to treat some newly concocted alleged mental defect in children. I wouldn't wish this on anyone, though.
What is sexy?
Jon Lukens: Lose/lose conversations, win/win conversations, fearlessness, mysteriousness.
Which reality TV game show could you see yourself as a winning contestant on? Explain.
Jon Lukens: I am not familiar with any reality shows that I would have the slightest chance of winning. Maybe I could be the water boy for one of the teams on Rough Science.
What is the strangest thing you've ever had for breakfast?
Jon Lukens: I like toast with butter and peanut butter and applesauce on top.
Describe the skankiest, sketchiest place -- whether it's someone's home or a hotel/motel room -- that you've stayed in while on tour.
Jon Lukens: After having several pints of drink spilled upon me in a Stockholm bar (at least four, enough that I had to take my beer-soaked socks off because beer was squirting out of my shoe when I walked down the street), I slept in my same beer soaked pants -- without bedding of any sort -- on top of a metal scaffolding that held up the club's PA mixer. The skankiness was more mine than the location's, however.
If you had an army of super-intelligent lab mice to do your bidding, what evil deeds would you have them do?
Jon Lukens: Multi-level marketing; synergistic, value-added approaches to e-business; writing headlines for the NY Post.
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Borrowed from the Web site bio, which is longer: People have described Retconned as: alienating, sounding foreign, "like walking in on your parents while they are having sex", "like putting a drill to your head", and sounding like a distorted version of the song "She Bop" by Cyndi Lauper. This is all bullshit. Retconned writes pop songs.
-- George Zahora