If you lived in Miami and were a part of the Miami Local Music Scene throughout the 80s and 90s, you may remember this band, they were punk rock and chaos at it’s best. I bring you the Human Oddities, a 20 year retrospect.
Scott: Who were the members of the Human Oddities ?
Jimmy The Brain: Over the years there were many oddities: other than myself there was, Noah “Big Dick” Masterson, Ian “Mr.Torso” Hussey, Natasha “Fatale” Senf, Janna “Whatshername” Wassernam, Ronnie “Too Young to Die” Quisbert, my brother: The Hippie, Henry “Stink-Ass” Farfan, and a few other miscreants whose terrible hygiene prevents me from remembering.
Noah Vail: Me, James Sevigny, Ian Hussey, Ronnie Quisbert, Natasha Senf, Janna Merkle were the original lineup. Other members were Beatrice Monteavaro, John Sevigny, Shayne Hansen, and Henry Farfan. I think somebody named Ari played bass for a brief time after I left.
Janna Merkle: Jimmy the Brain – vox, Ian – Guitar, Noah – Bass, Ronny Q – Drums, Tasha, Janna vox, dancing, sounds. Later Betty – drums.There were others after, but i was no longer in the band.
John Sevigny: Members were Noah “Vail” Masterson, Jimmy “the Brain” Sevigny, Ian Hussey, myself for a time, Ronnie, and later Betty “bulldozer” Monteavaro.
Scott: What brought the Human Oddities together as a band ?
Jimmy The Brian: Lots of scotch tape. And lots of scotch whiskey.
Noah: James and Ian decided to form a punk band with only the barest of musical ability. They recruited me out of a band called Abuse Farm.
Janna: Hmmm. I believe some of the others were getting together, then recruited Ronny. after hearing that they wanted some girl singers, Ronnie knew exactly who to ask. Tasha and Janna his good buddies who were always singing and being silly.
John: As far as I can remember what brought the group together was a desire to break things and sing songs about serial killers.
Scott: If the Human Oddities weren’t a band, what would you all have been ?
Jimmy The Brain: Productive members of society.
Noah: Cryptozoologists. Videogame designers. Hooligans.
John: If HO wasn’t a band it would have been an urban terrorist organization. But back in the old days, terrorism was legal.
Scott: If the Human Oddities would have made it famous, what would you be doing now ?
Jimmy The Brain: Appearing in a VH1 “Where are they now?” special probably.
Noah: I imagine we would have crashed and burned and all gone our separate ways eventually. We were very young and stupid and would not have handled fame well.
Janna: I’d be riding a camel through Egypt right now, then off to my African Safari next month.
John: If HO had been famous I would be doing the same thing I am now, taking photographs of strange ass shit in the Third World. But I would have a lot more money, better cameras, and perfect dental implants.
Scott: What did the Human Oddities mean to the city of Miami ?
Jimmy The Brain: Two things: dick and dick.
Noah: This was pre-internet, so Miami was quite isolated from pop culture. We were an island within that island.
John: I don’t think the Human Oddities meant much to Miami at all. Miami has always really been about dance music and fashion. There was a time when the group could draw a few hundred people, and that was nice, but really, there was no lasting impact. We couldn’t even get Greg Baker to do an article for New Times, that lazy pothead!
Scott: If the Human Oddities could have toured with any 90’s band, what band would it have been and why ?
Jimmy The Brain: Ace of Base, for sure. We were all huge fans of their abba-inspired swedishness. (they WERE swedes, right?)
Noah: Devo. They were a major source of inspiration.
John: Speaking on behalf of the group, I think HO would have wanted to have toured with Devo or the Ramones. But They Might Be Giants or Stump (from Ireland) might have been more appropriate.
Scott: What made the Human Oddities, the Human Oddities ?
Jimmy The Brain: Mostly it was our vestigial tails.
Noah: Jimmy the Brain made the Human Oddities the Human Oddities. That and youth.
John: Straight jacket escapes. Broken plumbing. Citywide bans. And taunting Marilyn Manson. Apart from that, the songs were fantastic. My brother was a major league songwriter, and in fact, still is. Nobody has ever argued about that fact.
Scott: What do you think of the state of music today, and if the Human Oddities were still together what would you do to improve it or otherwise ?
Jimmy The Brain: The state of music today is the same as it’s always been: crap. If we were still together we would kidnap lady gaga, justin beiber, and kanye west and force them to teach us how to play our instruments. (I’m convinced kanye can play the banjo)
Noah: We’re all around 40 now. Any attempts to improve the music of today would be laughable, although certainly worth trying.
John: Music is fucked today. If the Oddities were still around, like any other group they’d be selling zero CDs and touring like hell to make money to pay the rent. If I had my way the group would be putting together projects with Tom Jones and maybe Evander Holyfield (as a singer, not a boxer).
Scott: Do you keep in touch with the rest of the Oddities ?
JTB: Sometimes my brother sleeps on my couch. Well, on my girlfriend’s couch. I don’t have a couch, I sponge off my girlfriend’s couch.
Noah: We’re mostly in touch via Facebook. (James, gimme a call!)
John: Noah recently set up a photo exhibition for me in Austin, which was very kind of him. I chatted with Betty online a few months ago. James has been in touch with Ian. Noah has commented that he’s sold out or given up on all his youthful ideals or something. I don’t think he’s being fair to himself. Like anyone else, he’s raising a family, and he has every reason to be proud of that, and of the decisions he’s made.
Scott: Is it true that Hasbro was interested in putting together a line of Human Oddities action figures which would have been intergrated into the G.I.Joe line of toys ?
JTB: Yes. That’s a funny story, actually.
Noah: Yes, that is 100% true.
John: Ummm. That would be funny.
Scott: What is your best memory of being a part of the Human Oddities ?
JTB: Most of my memories of that period were obliterated by massive quantities of quaaludes and gin, so i guess my best memory is of all the quaaludes and gin!
Noah: The camaraderie we felt in the early days, like we were part of something bigger than ourselves, making our own scene.
John: Best memory: fucking with Marilyn Manson. Insulting John Tovar. Scaring people. Pissing off the “real punks”, Chuck Loose, Iggy Scam and the rest, who accused us of selling out before going on to make a hell of a lot more money than we ever did.
Scott: As of 2011, what are the members of the Human Oddities up to ?
JTB: About 40 years old.
Noah: I sold my soul and do web strategy for finance companies. I have a wife and two kids and live in Austin. John is touring the world as a visiting lecturer/photographer/writer. Beatriz is a successful visual artist and musician. James/Jimmy is in NYC but no one knows what he does there, except play banjo. Shayne is in Portland. Not so sure about the others.
John: I am taking pictures. Noah is a consultant. Jimmy is studying veterinary science, playing the banjo and declining to talk about the Human Oddities. Betty is an accomplished Miami artist.
Scott: Do you ever wish you were crimefighting superheroes ? If so what would your codenames be, and what kind of powers would you have ?
JTB: I can’t speak for the rest of those losers, but I always wanted to be Jimmy Olsen, not regular old Jimmy Olsen, but the Jimmy Olsen that switched minds with a gorilla. So I guess I wanted to have Jimmy Olsens body but with the gorillas brain. What can I say, I like the bow-tie.
Noah: We could be super-villains instead with carnival-themed nicknames like “two-headed snake” and “lobster boy.”
John: I would be the Raper Slayer, killing rapists with their own sexual organs. I can’t speak for anyone else.
Scott: What does the future hold ? Can the world look forward to a Human Oddities reunion ? Will it be aired on MTV2, because I only have VH1, or will you just invite me to the show ?
JTB: We have just announced a series of TEN comeback concerts to be held in London’s fabulous O2 arena. It will be a grueling schedule, but I’ve hired a WONDERFUL doctor to make sure I get all the beauty sleep I need!
Noah: We would all be willing to reunite for the right corporate sponsor.
John: I was up late recently in a colonial house in Mexico playing a guitar and drinking music. I played some HO songs and sang them to the walls. I thought about doing something at Churchill’s. When I woke up it didn’t seem like such a great idea. I don;t see a reunion in the future and none of us can afford cable. It would have to be on one of those UHF stations that require rabbit ear antennas. But I’ll ask Jimmy what he thinks of the idea.
Scott: Do you have any last words of wisdom ?
JTB: “Here I sit, broken-hearted…”
Noah: Every band I’ve been in (and there have been a lot) had a chance of making it if we had only stopped arguing and practiced more.
John: To quote Jimmy, you’re never too old to rock and roll. To quote me quoting rap music, fuck the police.