FAQ


As Negativland’s public relations agent, it is my responsibility to create a toll-free bridge of accessibility between the artists and their fans. While I personally may not fully understand Negativland’s special psychic appeal, they’ve hired me to work my magic in public, and here I am. I guess they like my high-tech brand of internal prying. So I’m starting off my second five or six-year plan with Negativland by issuing the updated and comprehensive FAQ below. It’s your one-stop-shopping resource for all information pertaining to Negativland. This way, you can easily find out what you want to know about the 4 or 5 or 6 Floptops, no matter what it is, without the band having to answer the same individual questions you keep asking, over and over and over and over again.

 


To find out even more about the personal lives of various Negativland members, go to the archived SLIDESHOWS , or read their very informative BIO .




Q: Who are Negativland?

A: The finest group of artists/funnymen I’ve ever come across. According to them, every last member is a brilliant person, the likes of which have not been seen in the arts for decades (and that’s why membership in the Negativland collective is now closed).


Q: What do the guys from Negativland do for a living? It’s simply impossible to think that they survive on the profits from their recording projects.
A: Most of the members of Negativland believe that “Christianity is Stupid and Communism Is Good”, and that “Art Is Not Defined As A Business”. These well known catch-phrases mean that everyone in the group works for the greater good of man and/or woman. But creating jammed-out art is by no means an economically viable form of work. So here’s where their money (which is evenly re-distributed to all members of the band) actually comes from:


  • Don Joyce is an All-Oakland X-champion kick-boxer who has a couple of lucrative endorsement deals for Pump-U-Down muscle relaxants and Co-Co Puffs.
  • Mark Hosler eagerly volunteers for medical experiments at several Asheville, NC area hospitals when he’s not tied up donating blood. He dismantles houses part time, and now has a huge collection of abandoned mantles, some collectable, which he sells online in his off-time.
  • Richard Lyons doesn’t work on principles he won’t explain, but clearly resists the societal need to collect all the material things that wages traditionally allow a person to buy. If you see a guy running around in a 1976 Mercury Monarch selling auto parts out of his trunk, and he’s wearing a SportsTalk T-shirt, that’s probably him.
  • David Wills (The Weatherman) retired from his life-long TCI Cable installer job, and now, when he turns on his TV, instead of basking in positive reception evaluations from the stranger who lives in whatever home he is in, he watches The Playboy Channel all alone. He can no longer help you with basic cable, or upper-tier stuff like HBO, but if you want to see him naked watching television, give him a call.
  • Peter Conheim is the baby of the group and is a professional State Lottery player in both California and New Mexico.  His shoes are coated in the sparkly glow of that grey scratch-off dust. If he doesn’t win, he has taken to putting on rubber gloves, collecting that dust, and sending it to Lottery Headquarters in plain white paper envelopes. During the few days they are closed down under Hasmat quarantine, he enjoys making his own popcorn and watching movies.
  • Satellite member Tim Maloney is a small film making mammal of the order rodentia. Once known simply as “Saucy Hieronymous”, he has adapted to using Final Cut Pro in arid habitats. He is primarily diurnal, though he does exhibit crepuscular behavior. Heavily influenced by the Grand Ole Opry, he once stole a guitar, but turned himself in and chose to be omnivorous.
  • Satellite member Dan Lynch is the last remaining member of a race of nomadic, proud people known as “The Swinging Proteans.”  Their original hunting grounds were situated in the center of a busy intersection in downtown Newark, which they sold to the Regents of New Jersey for $15.  This was in 1609, and the Proteans have regretted it ever since.
  • As for me: my name is Mel Yaminto, and I am Negativland’s webmaster and erstwhile dogsbody.  I am in charge of sweeping out the expansive clubhouse, which I must do every Thursday using only a lemur’s eyelash.  I often do laundry for the group; Mark’s socks are especially hard to get the grime out of.



Q: What kind of equipment does Negativland use?
A: Watches, refrigerators, outdoor grills, toilets and their plungers, shoe stretchers, Booper repair kits, cracked software, car buffers, you know – the same stuff regular non-artists use and get such a kick out of.



Q: Where did the name Negativland come from and why is it spelled that way?
A: Due to the unfortunate influence of a wily Numerologist, the  band has tried many different combinations of the letters N, E, G, A, T, I, V, L, A, N and D to find the one that works best for them in a “cosmic” sense. In the early 80’s they went through a number of different permutations of those letters such as, I’VE TAN GLAND, VANDAL TINGE, and even VAGINAL DENT, a name that led to several injunctions. Plus, it seemed to get them the wrong audience entirely. Exhaustive audience research eventually led to the combination of letters that the band uses nowadays, but other variations they have tried in the past include INVENT AD GAL, NEVADA GLINT, TANG AND EVIL, LIVEN TANG AD, GLAD VAIN NET, and TAN DIVAN LEG. A Swedish heavy metal group had already laid claim to ANAL DIG VENT with much success, but not as much as Negativland had with leaving out the “E” in the middle in the first place.


Q: When will you be touring in the upcoming year?
A: Negativland only tours as a convenient vacation from their FCC and RIAA plagued worlds. But that’s not all – their most recent micro-mini tour was quickly organized to stay ahead of an Islamic Fatwa naming them as electronic anti-monotheist dogs worthy of prompt assassination.


Q: Why Pepsi?
A: Because Coke is not nearly as good by a long shot, and there wasn’t enough celebrity endorsement advertising material for the DisWater project. And did you know they sell more Pepsi than they do water? It’s just true.


Q: Does Negativland enjoy being sued?
A: Well, it only happened once or twice so that’s hardly enough to tell whether it might get better over time, perhaps even reaching eventual enjoyment. Towards this curiosity, Negativland continued to repeat what they got sued for, over and over again, but there have been no more takers since.


Q: Are Pastor Dick Seeland, Dick Goodbody, Dick Vaughn, and Dick Bush related?
A: Typically, people tend to be related by their last names, and not their first, so let’s just take a moment to think about that one.


Q: How long has “Over The Edge” been on the air?
A: If you’re reading this at 1am, PST on Friday, about an hour. Seriously or not though, since 1981 “Over The Edge” has remained a radio show dedicated to the possibility that radio is not dead, and when it does die, OTE would make a most appropriate audio tombstone, being one of the last hold-outs from radio reality clutching its microphone with unpryable cold dead fingers. Sorry, it’s emotional with me.


Q: What’s the deal with the whole U2 thing?
A: The U2 incident was an elaborate hoax on the part of U2 themselves to see how easily manipulated media manipulators like Negativland can be manipulated. It worked like a charm, and everyone’s still laughing about it many years later. Actually, Dick Goodbody is good friends with The Edge’s BMW mechanic!


Q: Does the NewHew SquantView (now seen in the “web archives” section) really work?
A: Yes it does. IT’S NOT A JOKE!


Q: Is Pastor Dick really a legitimate pastor?
A: Yes! He married two members of the band personally. I mean, he himself didn’t marry the members of the band, but he did preside over the ceremonies and…ahh forget it. The married couples did, and both have been annulled by the Federal Tax Board since then. Pastor Dick’s license, while now under review, is still in full effect.


Q: Is the Weatherman a homasexual?
A: No, try again. Say it right. And spell it correctly. That’s “hom-O-sexual.” (Sometimes “coming in through the backdoor,” so to speak, with a sticky question like this, can open our tightly squeezed orifice of emotion and make for a less limited discussion of this overly sensualized subject. But not this time.)


Q: But isn’t the Weatherman a homosexual?
A: Absolutely. The Weatherman is 110% g-a-y. No other man can love another man like he does. There! Are you satisfied?


Q: Who’s the leader of the group?
A: Some say C.Elliot Friday, but no one’s ever seen him, and If you ask me, the Weatherman is the brains behind their asses. But brains aside, Mark reigns over the group like a Saddam Hussein for the new millennium, raising his iron fist of endlessly changing details long enough to drink his soy milk and order everyone else to “produce Negativland albums” for him. These are not so easy to produce, it turns out, so he’s often grumpy over a lack of any results.


Q: What are your influences?
A: Mertz is the only thing responsible for Negativland’s creativity. They only listen to their own music. Heck, an overwhelmingly large percentage of the whole collective hasn’t owned a TV in years. Now, if you want to know some of my influences, a few names that come to mind are Bat Masterson, Millard Fillmore, and Charlie Callas.


Q: Do you do everything on computers?
A: No, you can’t do everything on a computer.


Q: Does Negativland still live in Contra Costa County?
A: No.


Q: Well, where are they now?
A: Why do you care?


Q: I’m just curious.
A: What are you going to use the information for?


Q: What’s your problem?
A: Nothing, you’re just acting kind of weird. I don’t feel comfortable telling you now.


Q: What do you think about mp3s?
A: They sound like crap, and no self-respecting “musician” would allow their work to be so savagely raped above the frequency of 10k and distributed quickly and easily to the masses.  You can find lots of them on this site.


Q: What do you think about the Internet?
A: It all looks like crap, and no self-respecting “artist” would allow their work to be so savagely raped to the tune of 256 colors and distributed quickly and easily to the masses.  You’ll find lots of material at this site worth perusing.


Q: Can you guys actually play instruments?
A: Funny you should know about that. As far as games go, only the Weatherman and I are familiar with the Milton Bradley game “Instruments,” and since you need three or more people to play, we hardly ever get to play. “Twister”, on the other hand, helped everyone get through the tedious “Free” sessions quite nicely.


Q: One wonders, since Dick Vaughn (the now deceased long-time Negativland associate and radio personality) recorded all those tapes to be played in the event of his death, a different tape for each possible demise– well, where are those many tapes now, and what were they like? I’m morbidly curious to know what his final message would have been like if he’d died in a fire, or an auto accident, or in some prison riot, or of anthrax exposure…
A: Yes, Dick’s extensive and well catalogued “death tapes” fell into our hands and, believe me, they are some bunch of moribund listening! The “Falls Down Stairs” tape is extremely insightful on both balance and footwear. The “Overcome By Sewer Gas” tape is an indignant rant on the tragedy of odor related death. The “Shot By The Weatherman” tape exhibits his typical paranoia about all those who surrounded him. The “Radio Falling Into The Bathtub” is a lesson for all who combine cleanliness and music. Well, there’s over a thousand more, but unfortunately, being the stickler for accuracy he was, Mr. Vaughn’s last will stipulates that only the tape relating to the true cause of his death could ever be released. Sorry, folks, I’m afraid the rest remain only as entertainment for Negativland in-house parties.


Q: I recently purchased your 1997 release “Dispepsi” and read about FriRite Naive Novelties. Does it, or the Howland Mall, really exist? I just moved to Pensacola and I’m having a hard time finding work. I couldn’t find it in the phonebook and was wondering if they needed any new employees. I would be willing to do any job they have to offer and take minimum wage for it.
A: We’re sorry to inform you that FriRite Naive Novelties Inc. is no longer operating in Pensacola. They recently moved off shore to get a bigger tax break on the millions of disposable doohickeys they manufacture. Negativland doesn’t know where they now actually make those doohickeys, but Buzz Burpy, FriRite’s President and CEO, is now serving a 13 year term in federal prison for cooking the FriRite books and littering Howland Mall with doohicky wrappers. And Howland Mall went out of business too, and has since been revamped into a fenceless baby alligator farm for tots. There is no explaining any of this, it’s just Florida!


Q: Not that I am interested, but are you married?
A: Me? Well, that’s a personal matter, but I put this delicate question to Mark and here is his thoughtful reply-


Dear Inquiring Female Negativland fan:


Is this for the new “Negativteen” magazine we’ve been hearing about? I hope the answer is no, as I keep having to change my phone number, and Richard has had to turn down the Marsha Turnblatt Hot Stove lipstick endorsement offer more times than I can tell you.


Now, about your question – as you may know, before the group would accept me as a full-time member, part of the Negativland code of collaged behavior that I had to agree to was that none of us could ever be in a successful long term relationship or ever get married. One member failed at this and, after his wedding, he was immediately kicked out of the band. I came close to being kicked out last year, but luckily she dumped me. So now I have plenty of time to drink rice milk (not soy like Dr. Land tells you) and make more long playing Negativland records for you to enjoy.


Of course we once all tried to be gay like The Weatherman, but that was a big 4 or 5 Floptops flop. Not even heavy doses of Viagra could make any difference for us there (though it did give one older nitrates-abusing member of our group a mild heart attack and he has been making all his tape loops from a hospital bed ever since).


On the plus side, Negativland house logo rules means that we are all forced to sleep together in one giant bed. It’s not really that great (the bed is a bit too small and Don tends to be really sweaty), but it saves us a lot on heating bills in the winter.


I hope this helps clear things up!


– Mark




Q: Ever since Negativland’s 1997 release of “Dispepsi,” I’ve been searching for a copy of “Intelligence is Temporary,” published in 1984 by Howland Books. I haven’t been able to find one scrap of evidence as to its existence including an ISBN number, or even information about the apparent publisher, even though you do list it in your CDs liner notes. Would you mind bringing me up to speed on this work, i.e. whether it actually exists or not? It would be greatly appreciated.
A: I think this classic might be out of print! But let’s ask Negativland’s Don Joyce on this, as he might know more about the book’s author than I do.


Dear Inquiring Male Negativland fan:


Your inquiry was passed along to me.


Yes, the book “Intelligence Is Temporary” by Dr. Oslow Norway has been withdrawn since 1951 due to lack of sales, which is a shame because it so elegantly summarized one of the greatest unstated delusions modern humanity suffers from, namely that intelligence is a cumulative, constantly improving phenomenon in human affairs, while, in actuality, our conclusions on almost anything can only be called “intelligent” for relatively short periods of human history (which is still going on by the way), and then it disappears into the “stupidity bin” of history forever. In other words, the only thing we now know to be constant in human thinking is the apparently inevitable fact that we are bound to be stupid a lot of the time, and this goes for anytime. During all those historical periods of time in which we were absolutely wrong about something, everyone thought they were perfectly right, just as we do now about virtually everything.


Eventually in any given area of thought, we apparently do come around to being right – the earth apparently DOES go around the sun for instance – but the prevailing intelligence that said it didn’t for so long was just as “right” then as we think we are now about other things. So intelligence is a tricky business at any given point in time and cannot be trusted completely if we care to learn anything from the past.


Well, that’s sort of the gist of the book as I remember it, but I could be wrong because I wasn’t able to finish it, and during the period of time I was using it for bedtime reading I was also using what I eventually learned was a dangerous nightly dosage of sleeping medication and would get quite groggy while attempting to read it, often having to slap myself practically silly to stay awake for just one more page. Around that time I also stupidly set my own bedroom on fire, which resulted in destroying my own copy, so I’m not even able to pass that along to you.


By the way, Dr. Norway was heartbroken that nobody bought his book and has given up writing for the public. As you may have noticed, he is now President of One World Advertising and devoting his remaining years to promoting more intelligence in advertising.


Hope this helps. If you’d like a full catalog listing of all of our out-of-print books and CDs, just let us know.


– Don.


Q:Too bad about the book being withdrawn. It sounds like an interesting read. Its primary thesis also sounds strikingly familiar to that of the conflict between reality (what we observe) and deep theory (what apparently explains it, such as the existence of God, subatomic particles, etc.). I’d like to believe in realism, but it is indeed a bit tricky when one considers man’s previous attempts at explaining the nature of reality, i.e. who’s correct ?  A dead Navajo describing the world in terms of spirits and gods, or Schrodinger, his cat and his famous wave equation? Maybe both. Such philosophical issues could be narrated upon for hours, so I’ll set this one aside for now and get back to the original purpose of my inquiry. If Dr. Norway is still alive and well, which I trust he is, might he have a copy left? If so, he would probably be delighted to hear that he has a potential buyer for his work. Please pass this along to him if it wouldn’t be too much trouble. In addition, I am interested in a full catalog listing of all your out-of-print books. I’ve been known to spend significant increments of time standing over a copying machine reproducing out-of-print works, so I wonder if it would be too much trouble if a spare copy were to be located and a loan system arranged?
A: Yes, it’s a shame when such valuable and timeless insights into the nature of reality are forced into the “mistake” box just because of the whims of a “quick fix” commercial market ruled by cheap sensationalism. You are quite right that his thesis reverberates in sympathy with many of the unsuspected anomalies at the quantum foundation of reality, which itself is one of the best examples of how, to quote a bunch of comedians, everything you know is wrong.


Dr. Norway informs me that after his treatise went out of print he was so disgusted with the American reading public that he destroyed all his own copies because they caused him such pain and resentment to look at. And Don Joyce informs me that he was a bit hasty in his offer and had forgotten (probably the medication again) that the Howland Press Out Of Print list went out-of-print in 1972.


At any rate, it seems we have a situation where all existing copies of “Intelligence Is Temporary” that we know of are (ironically or not) all gone. You might try used book stores or science flea markets, but frankly, I don’t hold out much hope since only six copies were ever sold, and those were mostly in South and Central America where Dr. Norway is better known because of his famed “whole parrot” recipes, as well as the big lawsuit against him over infested feather food poisoning which made all the papers down there.


If there’s any other way we can be of more help, please don’t hesitate to let us know.




Q: Although pride of ownership can be a fine thing, I recently didn’t purchase a physical copy of your book/CD/whoopee cushion project “No Business.” Instead, I opted for the free version offered by a file sharing network in mp3 format. Long story short: I missed out on the artwork and fancy packaging and I wonder if you offered any further suggested reading in the liner notes?

A: Nice to hear from you again. Our book/CD, “No Business,” like many of Negativland’s other releases, contains extensive added value elements such as artwork, a copyright whoopee cushion, and an engrossing short essay on reproduction law that would make any pre-schooler proud (although it was actually reproduced by an adult). “No Business” also contained a free coupon to get one of our many overstocked copies of Dr. Oslo Norway’s book, “Intelligence Is Temporary,” completely free of charge. That’s all I can think of that you might have missed by going for the lesser quality audio of a download.

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