Steel Pole Bathtub interview: Issue 78, June 1995

Steel Pole Bathtub: “Scars From Montana”


There aren’t many bands doing what Steel Pole Bath Tub is doing, be it popular or not. There aren’t many bands to compare them to. They are however a strange, original group of sound samplers that somehow manage to sound like a three piece band, guitars and all. Impossible? Listen to their new Slash Records release Scars From Falling Down. Meanwhile bassist Dale Flattum explained moving, recording, selling out and his pension for cats.

There aren't many bands doing what Steel Pole Bath Tub is doing, be it popular or not.
There aren’t many bands doing what Steel Pole Bath Tub is doing, be it popular or not. Issue 78, June 1995

SLUG: Dale, this is SLUG magazine, what’s going on?

Dale: Not too much, just playing with the cats. 

SLUG: Just playing with the cats. How many cats?

Dale: Well there was three of them on me just a few seconds ago. I shooed them away.

SLUG: The new album, Scars From Falling Down came out on May 2nd, right? And you guys are going on tour with Faith No More.

Dale: Yeah, we just got back from tour. We did like four weeks. 

SLUG: With who?

Dale: Just us, and then we did a couple of weeks with
Love 666. It was just like we went on a tour and then we have like four or five days off, and then we go with Faith No More which should be interesting. 

SLUG: Are you a Faith No More fan?

Dale: Ah no. 

SLUG: Really.

: No. I mean I don’t…I’ve never…I’ve only heard the hits and stuff and it’s not the type of music I listen to, so. They’re nice people, but, couple of them played on the new
Milk Cult record. You know, I like the stuff they did on that but, I generally don’t listen to music like Faith No More. You know. 

SLUG: What do you generally listen to?

Dale: Oh, I listen to mainly old music. I just buy tapes or records. I’m not really too into much alternative music I guess.
Godflesh is my thing. They’re one of the utmost truly original bands that’s actually out there.

SLUG: You guys are pretty original though.

Dale: Oh, we try, but we’re getting old. We need to be put out to pasture pretty soon I think. 

SLUG: Well you can get rich and famous now that you’re on Slash.

Dale: Yeah, we gotta milk them for some money. 

SLUG: Where did the name Steel Pole Bath Tub come from?

Dale: Some sort of just boring Montana gibberish. There’s no real story. You know, that’s where I was born and it’s cool, I don’t regret growing up there, I’m just glad that I got to leave. I mean it’s just boring as hell. After a while you can only look at the mountains for so long. It’d be like “oh it’s so pretty.” But it forces you to do something. It forces you to make up your own fun and so people I know who grew up in big cities, who constantly need some sort of stimulation where they can’t just amuse themselves. 

SLUG: So you guys have been together for seven years, you were on Boner for quite a while and did a lot of Indy stuff. And then out of nowhere Slash came or how did that go?

Dale: Yeah. We just kind of at the end of a couple of months ago or something. We got done with this tour. Ian was up in Alaska, I was in Los Angeles and they came down and saw the show and really liked it and started talking to me. We didn’t really go … we only really talked to them. There was no big bidding war or attorney thing. 

SLUG: You weren’t shopping for a label or anything?

Dale: Umm … no. We were curious as to what … it was kind of like, well, we want to sell out and get oodles of cash. And we really liked them and they seemed to understand what we were doing. They put out all the records that…the first records that I ever bought. You know so that’s kind of…if that means anything. 

SLUG: Who’s idea was it originally? I mean I know you guys have been doing this movie thing for a long time and the dialogue sampling thing for a long time, but who’s idea was it originally? Was it yours?

Dale: Well I bought the first Dictaphone that we had in the band. I got it at this yard sale. I was showing it to Mike and he was like oh, you know you can hook up a foot switch to that, this one remote jack. And so you know we did that, and so that was the first thing we had was a little reel to reel Dictaphone thing.

SLUG: So is there a true movie freak in the band or is it just all of you?

Dale: Pretty much all of us. Darren probably knows the most about movies. He probably sees the most. Has the most. He can remember the most names I think. Whenever we’re all stuck for names we can always ask him and he’ll know. 

SLUG: So was there any early movie stuff that you guys did that was notable and you know…you thought Jesus, I hope nobody ever finds out about this or…

Dale: It’s
a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World got pretty much exploited pretty hard on The Miracle of Sound and Motion,  I don’t know…two have had just an unreal amount of sampling on them. A lot of that was to cover up kind of shoddy songwriting. 

SLUG: When you did the writing for Scars from Falling Down was it more of a conservative effort because you were, you know, it was your new label and your new release and a different type of thing or was it more like your standard approach?

Dale: Yeah, its kind of like you go well, here’s a chance for people to actually hear this record to make sure that…not that we’ve…you know not to imply that like other records that you didn’t care. You know I think there’s sort of like that…Try not to make the same mistakes again. Like this time it was cool because we got to record a lot more songs. You know weed out the bad ones. Get done at the end of it and go that doesn’t really work. You know and have enough songs written to see how…Good stuff that…But, I don’t know, you know what I mean it’s…I think a lot of it is just that we have been touring a lot and we’re better than we had been on stuff. Maybe like more ready to do it. 

SLUG: Well I’m hoping that you guys stop through. It doesn’t look like you’re going to, but I guess they haven’t made a final decision on that.

Dale: Yeah, it’s weird that we didn’t play there on this last one. Drove right through, but, I don’t know. Hopefully we’ll still be a band when the CD starts to come out. 

SLUG: You’ll still be a band unless you guys get in a fist fight.

Dale: No we don’t. We get along too well. 

SLUG: No, I meant with Faith No More.

Dale: I don’t know…its just weird. I’m all involved in the music industry. But if we can do our part to undermine or bankrupt some sort of record label … take a label down with us when we go.

SLUG: Everyone’s got a job to do.

Dale: Everyone’s you know kind of proud of that there’s one less record label out there. 

SLUG: Draw some satisfaction from sinking another record company weasel?

Dale: I mean you could think of worse things to do.

Read more from the SLUG archives here: 
Interview: Consolidated
Local Band: Honest Engine: August 1994