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Q&A with Purling Hiss’ Mike Polizze before their Saturday night show at Kung Fu Necktie


A man of few words, Mike Polizze (whose praises we’ve sung before) fired off some responses to some questions we sent over last night. They’ll be performing with support from Shape Breaker and Amanda X at the tight Fishtown space on Saturday night. The doors are at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10. Here’s how it went down:

Hey Mike! Whatchya listenin’ to these days? How do you end up listening to music, primarily? Vinyl? You’re a tape nerd too, aren’t you? Oh, and where’d you grow up?
Hey. I’m from Media, PA. Listen to all formats of music. Nerd all around! Just grabbed lots of new vinyl, most recently a double live Velvet Underground record, Afflicted Man reissue on Permanent Records, and the new-ish Mordecai LP Richie Records put out earlier this year. All good stuff—also got some Drag City stuff, including the new Magik Markers, Royal Trux and Mick Turner.

So PSA and Lounge Lizards are on Spotify. And I decided to just help a brotha out and buy Water on Mars on iTunes (How come it’s $8.91?). Man, it’s great! But wow, so different from the other two. So very much more polished, pretty and chewable. How’d that end up happening?
The difference is that before, I recorded everything at home, and Water on Mars was recorded at Jeff Ziegler’s Uniform Studios in Philly. It was a less cerebral, psyched out record and more representative of the band as a trio, pretty straight forward, cut and dried. Still a loud rock album. New stuff coming later next year will encompass the more classic rock/psych vibe, plus the noise.

We know you’ve got help from Kiel Everett and Mike Sneeringer flanking you out on stage, with bass and drums and what not. But I’ve read that you will just drum out a track for a spell, then lay down bass, and then sing and play guitar over it all. For real? Then you call in your shred army? Is that how it happens?
I’ve been writing and recording for a while. Purling Hiss started out as just a recording project, so I usually operate the same way. It’s a mix between me recording ideas at home and bringing songs to the band mates and fleshing it out there.

A lot of the same bands get tossed about when critics describe you and your sound. They say Dinosaur Jr., Nirvana (especially Bleach), the Stooges, and your dude Kurt! Not bad company, right? Then there are the ones that are a little weirder that I love, like Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty or Grand Funk Railroad. Tell me you’re pumped about the GFR one. I used to listen to “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)” all the damn time.
I like early GFR “Grand Funk.” It’s a good fuzzy one.

The other thing that folks reference when they talk about you is Detroit. What’s that about? I know, I know – Michigan has a rich history of “scuzzy” guitar-heavy garage noise, but, have you been? Do you love the Dirtbombs? Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey is rad!
Yeah—Dirtbombs are cool. My other band, Birds of Maya, played in Detroit a few years ago at PJ’s Lager house with one of the guys from The Gories … maybe Dan Sartain?

What did you do with your life from the age of 18-21?
That’s a perfect non-memorable time for me. Besides going to a lot of shows and playing a lot of guitar.

What kind of show can we expect this weekend? You can hear, in the evolution of Birds of Maya and Purling and Mike, that you’re clearly capable of outright chaotic, ultra-loud and acerbic noise. But that maybe you’ve cleaned up your act just a little bit?
I don’t think my guitar playing or performance is any different. There’s some more refined songs mixed in here and there, but it’s still dirty.

What’s next, man? What are the goals of Mike Polizze and of Purling Hiss, respectively?
You’ll see more releases in 2014, and more tours and shows. Keepin’ on.

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