Interview: Arab On Radar’s Mr. Pottymouth
In the years since its 2002 breakup, Arab On Radar remains one of the weirdest, creepiest, and best bands to have emerged from the noise rock scene in Providence, Rhode Island. Over an eight year run, the band–composed of four guys nicknamed Mr. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mr. Type A, Mr. Clinical Depression, and Mr. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder–crafted a brash, hypnotic sound defined by an angular guitar assault, nasally vocals and a twisted sense of humor that shows through in song titles like “God is Dad” and “Spit Shine My Asshole.”
Last Spring, news broke that the band was planning to reunite and go on a U.S. tour. But on Tuesday, Justin Pearson, head of Three One G–a label that’s put out two excellent Arab On Radar comps and a DVD–told me that the band is cancelling its tour and breaking up once again. Eric Paul (aka Mr. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) hasn’t confirmed the break up to me yet–and I don’t really expect him to–but a bookie at the Che Cafe confirmed this week that the band has cancelled its Sept. 4 show with XBXRX and All Leather.
Here’s an e-mail interview I did recently with Paul, who also goes by Mr. Pottymouth, for a feature that would’ve run in CityBeat had the band not cancelled its show. The confounding exchange doesn’t offer much by way of factual information, but it does afford you a clear view of the band’s distinctly warped perspective.
Why did you guys decide to get back together?
Due to legal reasons, certain band members have not been allowed within 150 feet of each other, making it difficult to perform. These legal issues have since been resolved.
Is this a reunion show or a more permanent thing?
Are you working on a new album?
If so, is there any theme or idea behind the album? Anything we might expect?
I believe that Mr. Type A said it best in an interview with Ghettoblaster Magazine. He called the new material an Evolutionary Mutation.
San Diego seems like a place where you guys have gotten a lot of love. Is that right? Is there anything you’re looking forward to when you get back here?
San Diego has always been a great place for us to play I believe it has a lot to do with 31G putting out a few of our records. What am I looking forward to when I get back there? I am looking forward to my yearly visit to the Heaven’s Gate house to pay homage to my dearly departed family and friends. It should have been me. I can’t believe I overslept.
How did you come up with the name Arab on Radar?
We were scared of getting drafted into the Gulf War.
One thing I always couldn’t wrap my head around was whether you guys were making weird, sick jokes or if your perverted, often disturbing lyrics were sincere. Do you consider it a joke? Or something more sincere? Or maybe a mix of the two?
I have always viewed the lyrics as a very important Public Service Announcement for the mentally ill.
You’ve been playing for a while in Chinese Stars, right? Which of you guys were in Chinese Stars? Were you in any other projects in the years after Arab on Radar broke up?
Me and Mr. O.C.D. were in Chinese Stars. Mr. Type A was in Athletic Automaton, and Mr. Clinical Depression was in Made In Mexico.
You broke up around 2002 right? Why did you break up?
See answer 1.
How has the whole noise scene–revolving around records like Load, Skin Graft and Three One G–changed over the years, in your opinion?
I feel that the only thing that has changed is the increase in theft. Not just illegal downloading but theft on many other levels.
How do you think the band will be different from what it was back in the late 90s and early 00s? Have you made any changes to the lineup? Is there a different sound you’re going for?
We are picking up where we left off. Same line-up. Same issues. Same sound. I think the only difference is that we are wearing blue uniforms now.
How have people reacted to your reuniting? Is anybody excited, or surprised, or worried?
I think you hit the nail on the head. I think people’s reactions have been a mix of all three. But we are used to it. That is how we have always been received.
What are you most looking forward to on the tour?
The bad people and the good people.