An Interview with Mykel Board

Ok, Mykel, you travel a Hell of a lot, don't you? Where have your recent travels taken you? Where are you headed in the future? How did you begin your globetrotting?

Within the last 2 months I've been to Boston, Northern & Southern Ireland, Holland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Future: Australia, New Zealand and, I hope, Papua New Guinea. I started by travelling around the country with my parents, then I did a student exchange to Puerto Rico when I was 15. It was all uphill from there.

I've lived abroad and traveled my fair share of the world, and I've found that there is a rather unique quality that fellow travelers share: a sort of understanding that is very difficult to express to non-travelers. Would you agree? Do you ever find yourself craving the camaraderie of the globetrotting coterie, and has this desire ever led you to just get up and go somewhere?

Nope. When I travel, I do my best to avoid fellow travellers, especially Americans. I like being a stranger among the locals.

You've been writing for Maximumrockandroll and other zines for a really long time now. Have you encountered any difficulties in writing for a scene dominated by younger people as you get older? Or does age not even factor into your writing?

I write a lot about age. My forth-coming (I hope) book, a column collection published by Versus Press in San Francisco, has a whole chapter about age. ARTLESS's first LP, released in 1980 has a song called "When You're My Age, You'll Be Selling Insurance."

The thing is, I've ALWAYS been old. So, my perspective has not changed much over the years. My writing has gone through some ups and downs, and I've moved from just trying to piss people off, to pissing off for a good reason, but other than that, I haven't changed all that much.

It would be an understatement to say that you are outspoken about your views on the world, especially sexual politics. Since your views don't always correspond with the current zeitgeist, have you ever been afraid of the reaction to the things you say or write? Have you ever been threatened or harmed by people you've made feel uncomfortable?

Yes, I've sometimes felt threatened. I even wrote a column about a murder plot against me. In person, there are certain things I will not discuss... unless I'm cleverly drawn into it. But, there are other things that need saying... at least in print... so I say them.

The Marquis de Sade. Great writer, visionary, pervert, insane freak, asshole? All of the above? What do you think?

DeSade has written the only philosophy book you can jerk off too: Juliette. He's a great mind. Like GG Allin, I wouldn't want everybody to be like him, but I'm sure glad he was around.

I asked the bassist for the Varukers this question and I wonder how you would respond: Who is the better Irish writer, Samuel Beckett or James Joyce?

Great question, since I just got back from Ireland, and since neither one of those guys stuck around there for any length of time.

Actually, Joyce is the better Irish writer, because Ireland comes through in some of his books. Beckett is the better writer, or at least the better thinker.

Where do people go when they die?

Into the ground, usually.

Tim Yo. How did you meet him? What is his impact on your life?

This is from the forth-coming book, and was already printed in a slightly different form in 'Threat By Example'

=========================

Flash back to the 1980s. The height of punk rock's second wave. America steals punkrock back from the British who stole it from America in the first place. I've been in a band for a couple years, and consumed fanzines like beer. Six at a time. One of them is Ripper, a newsprint zine from California. There's an interview with this San Francisco DJ, Tim Yohannon.

Q. What do you do when you get a racist or sexist record?

A. I tell people 'I'm not gonna play that thing again.' I explain why. Then I bust it in two.

With all the righteous indignation that comes with being less than middle age, I write a letter to the editor. I call the DJ 'fascist.' I ranted about free speech. I diatribe about access and 'the market place of ideas.' Am I rough! They print the letter in the next issue.

Later that same year, I visit San Francisco. Through circumstances I can't remember, I meet this Tim Yohannon. He's a nice, self-effacing guy.

"That was some letter you wrote about me," he says.

"Well, I was upset. It really wasn't so bad..." I answer.

"You called me a fascist," he says.

"Really? I did that?" I answer.

"You wanna write a column for my fanzine?" he asks.

"You have a fanzine?" I ask.

"Same name as the radio show," he says, "Maximum Rock'n'Roll."

"I'll tell you what," I say, "I'll write, if you print anything I say."

"Deal" he says.

===========================

Tim was a great human, though often wrong. If it weren't for him, you would never have sent me this interview.

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