"Antman"

By Jim Powell

For the past year or so I have tried to tell you about groups that have performed in this area that, by and large, you may not have been familiar with. These groups are for the most part called alternative groups. Now I would like to tell you about a group that defies that label. I want to tell you about a group that is unlike any other band that I have ever heard in this area. The group is Antman.

The type of music that Antman plays can best be described as being: What punk wanted to be and "art rock" aspires to be. Recently I posed a series of questions to a few members of Antman that dealt with the basic information that readers and writers are concerned with. The questions centered around the band's formation, influences, decision-making, direction, audience interaction, and goals for the band. A few days later I received the responses in the following form. It reveals more about Antman than my efforts ever could:

"Antman was formed in 1989 as the first project of a cabal to which three members of Antman belong. The main organizers of the band ultimately must be identified as the Holy Trinity, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost to whom we may ascribe responsibility for nearly all temporal phenomenon.

"Personnel changes have been rampant through the intercession of various holy martyrs, first and foremost that guy with all the arrows in him. Our first line-up at the farm produced barely four Ants: Tari Barr (vocals and lyrics), Bob Hunter (drums and backing vocals), John Timmons (bass), and Michael O'Bannon (guitar and music). Since then another Ant was added on bass with Mr. Timmons turning to his first love, the electric guitar. Debbie Barber, now of 'Snag' notoriety, provided the bottom. Leaving of her own volition, she was replaced by Robert Jones who currently is providing the bottom.

"We do not admit to being influenced by any musical performers. We prefer to be judged by our own merits or deficiencies and not measured against the artificial standard of our own divergent preferences. The composers are for the most part responsible for musical genre with the other members making suggestions for the arrangements. Lyrics are provided by Tari, while the music is written by Michael -- with an occasional boost from Roky Erickson, Alice Cooper, or Cream. Ninety percent of the music is original. We feel our music is onanistic.

"The band is moving towards a faster, harder sound while still retaining a degree of psychedelia. Dissonance often plays an important part. The band is moving towards ugly sex and then death. The band is moving towards Chicago. The band is moving toward rage/pomposity."

Robert: I have no fear with this band, other than my glasses falling off while I play. I try to provide a vocal counterpoint to Tari's performance, but as far as interaction, the most I do is get down on the dance floor from time to time while I'm playing and attempt to entice people to dance. My reaction to an indifferent audience -- I ignore them. After all, I'm just a bass player and since I don't sing or anything it doesn't matter. If they don't like us, that's the audience's problem, not mine. Now if they're into us, then I do get more of a charge out of it naturally, and will attempt to be more entertaining if only by moving more frenetically on stage.

Michael: I do not interact with the audience in the least. I am only vaguely aware of them. My reaction to an indifferent audience is largely the same as my reaction to a receptive audience, except that I may ultimately feel challenged.

Tari: I am acutely aware of the audience. If they are reacting it makes my performance better. To an indifferent audience, my reaction used to be fear. Now it's defiance.

If you understand the Antman story, then no explanation is necessary; if you don't, then none would suffice. This is not a band for everyone. You decide for yourself. I have decided only for myself and I like them. But then I like car wrecks when nobody gets hurt.