White: Jon Skuldt’s Rotating Cast of Noise-Makers

June 17th, 1997 | Category: Essays, Interviews

If K.K. Downing and K.K. Null would get together, they could be the supergroup of the new millennium. — Jon Skuldt

Sitting on the fence between genres sets an outfit up for problems from all sides. No one, from fans, to labels, to writers, knows what to do with you. Sitting decidedly on the firm line between rock and noise, Pittsburgh-via-Chicago-via-Madison’s White represents an enigma well-worth figuring out.

White“Many years back,” wunderkind mastermind Jon Skuldt explains. “A friend of mine, who now works as a programmer and a Billy Graham puppet, told me that he was still clinging to the childhood notion that he could be a sports pro or a rock musician, even though he wasn’t particularly good at either option. I liked the sound of that, but I crossed out ‘sports pro.’ Anyway, tooling around the country like the Minutemen always sounded like fun. Of course, there are grander notions that came into play, you know, high art and all that garbage which we really believed in, but I think mostly when it started out we wanted to travel and look cool.”

Jon is the only real member of White. “The current line-up is interchangeable, ” he explains. “I assemble people to record a song or two at a time. I’ll put together something to tour when the time is right. It would be nice in some aspects to have a working band, to tighten up material and play out once in a while so that I can get some more exercise, but that requires an awful lot of commitment and flexibility from a number of people, and I’m not at a stage where I feel like this is possible or even desirable. I’m awfully pushy, but lately I don’t feel like forcing people to do things like get out of bed and come to practice and get off of work so that they can play shows. I don’t feel like listening to people complain.” This leaves the “group” aspect of White in Jon’s hands, and he likes it this way. It also makes it hard to find material by them, because he all but refuses to do full-length projects.

“I’m not sure I want to do a full-length right now, maybe an EP or something, but why subject people to 40 minutes of OK songs when you can give them a few really good ones instead? Also, I make an effort to ensure that every White record sounds markedly different from the others, and I don’t know that I want to work with the full-length format in that capacity… I am looking for someone to release my Sealed Matchstick with Varnish and CDEP. CDEP, which, ideally, I’d like to make available to the public for free — although that’s open for discussion.”

With White as such a nebulous project, and with Jon delving into many others (he’s currently working on his Masters degree and running his label, Coat-Tail Records), he has the following advice for other musicians out there: “At this point I’ve been in contact with a large number of musicians in various stages of their careers, in one capacity or another, and I would like to offer the following piece of advice to anyone that this applies to: Just because you believe in what you’re doing doesn’t mean you have to be a dickhead. Amazing how many people don’t realize that.”

Recent Releases:

The Dictaphone Report 8″ (Heavy Liquid, New Zealand/Japan). Twenty minutes of solo guitar pieces, packaged against ceramic tile.

Excerpts From The Dream Is Dead 9″ (Oblivion, Hadley, MA) contains live and studio material from 1993-1997. The B-side is a duet between Skuldt and Pat Samson (U.S. Maple) on drums. Window screen cover.

This is a Black-Owned Business. This is a Black-Owned Business 7″ (Behemoth, Las Vegas) Recorded with Steve Coombs (Xerobot) on drums and Elijah Pritchett (Jackwacker) on guitar. Abrasive and unintelligible, which is roughly equivalent to cool. Elaborate social-unrest-themed packaging.

White / Mania Organ split 7″ (Rubber Legs, Osaka). “International Gasoline Day” & “International Media Event.” Chris Cochrane (No Safety) on guitar, recorded live on stage in November, 1996.

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