Wearing a brown blazer and blue pajama pants, Jason Reiner leans against a white Ford Explorer in front of Radio-Active Records in Fort Lauderdale. Between pulls from a large bottle of Heineken and drags from cigarettes he has bummed off customers leaving the store, Reiner, who records under the name TV and with the bands Childproof, Dumbo, and Doersam, discusses a recent encounter with an equally sartorially challenged rocker.
“We thought he was the garbage man,” Reiner says of the meeting producer Steve Albini, who recorded Childproof’s new CD, Original Copy. “Steve was just wearing this mechanic’s suit with the [Electrical Audio Studios] logo on it.”
Albini has reportedly recorded between 1,500 and 2,000 albums in the past 25 years, including such alt-rock classics as The Pixies Surfer Rosa, The Breeders’ Pod and Nirvana’s In Utero. He has also manned the boards for PJ Harvey, Bush and Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, and performed in the noise-punk outfits Big Black, Rapeman and Shellac. So how did a relatively unknown South Florida musician like Reiner get Albini to record Childproof’s CD?
“I just called him on a whim,” Reiner explains. “We wanted to record with Steve because he has this reputation for recording bands they way they really sound live.”
Soon, he and his bandmates were off to meet Albini at his Chicago studio. “[Albini} gets this reputation as a jerk,” Reiner says, “but he was really pleasant. When he wasn’t recording, he was reading these poker-strategy books”
Reiner says Albini refused to offer his opinion of Childproof’s music, poppy, politically minded garage rock that recalls British invasion bands such as The Kinks. To really with Albini, Reiner says, “You have to program him a little. He’s like DOS 3.2. If you ask, ‘Which take was better?’ he says, ‘I have no opinion.’ But if you rephrase it to, ‘Which performance was conventionally better?’ he’ll answer that.”
Back in South Florida, Reiner is hosting an experimental music night called Avant Garde Improv Workshop Thursdays at Alligator Alley. Until recently, Reiner hosted a similar event called NOBROW at Darius Palace restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, where, in late November, he heard a sound he says “sent me on a trip for a few days.” While onstage, Reiner was jointed by Stivan Widick, who began to play a kangling, an ancient Buddhist trumpet made from a human thighbone and believed to have the power to summon mischievous spirits during tantric ceremonies.
“I set my guitar down on top of an amp and it started making this 2001: A Space Odyssey sound,” Reiner recalls. “I didn’t know at the time, but Stivan was playing the mangling, and that really messed me up.”
*Doersam will perform Thursday at Churchill’s Pub, 5501 N.E. Second Ave., in Miami. Call 305/757/1807. On Dec. 20, Reiner will host The Avant Gaarde Improv Workshop at Alligator Alley, 1321 E. Commercial Blvd., in Oakland Park. Call 954/771-2220.
Note: the article is ‘corrected’ because the writer mistook singer/guitarist JP Marin’s (a/k/a TV) “real name” for “Jason Reiner”, who is a character in childproof’s first album “Wax Matrix.” Mr. V judged getting the interviewee’s name wrong beyond the pale.
Originally published in New Times, Ft. Lauderdale, FL