I don't often see T. Glitter like this: bespectacled, talking about Kinkos, drinking Irish breakfast tea in broad daylight outside a Squirrel Hill coffee shop. Normally, the night's crawling toward a bleary-eyed finish, and he's busy throwing his soul into fronting the Dirty Faces, or White Guilt, or the project we're currently discussing, Raw Blow.
"If we wanted, we could produce solely sample-based music. But we want to be a band," Glitter says. Even though Raw Blow is guitar-less, the band is releasing a 7-inch of classic-sounding rock 'n' roll, thanks to some pretty sweet guitar riffs, many sampled from obscure garage bands. Glitter's long-time collaborator Chris Cannon adjusts and distorts the samples almost beyond recognition, while still retaining their old-time Top 40 quality.
"Everyone is referencing someone," Glitter says. "We just try to be a little more upfront about it." To him, the history of music is a long series of rehashing, remixing and straight ripping-off. As if to illustrate his point, a wild-haired street keyboardist plays his own re-imagined version of "Flushed from the Bathroom of Your Heart," a few yards from where we sit.
Of course, being upfront isn't so hard when you've got nothing to hide. For T. Glitter -- or Terrence Carroll, as (I assume) his mother calls him -- sampling's just another medium, like a live band, e-mail or pen-and-paper, a vehicle for his dizzy, stream-of-consciousness creativity.
As far as making sweet sample-based music, he gives the credit to the rest of Raw Blow -- Eric Yeschke, Adam Frew and Cannon.
"Eric is just a master, he's been doing [sampling] longer than anyone in Pittsburgh, I dare say," Glitter says. Cannon also started early, using a sequencer to make music in the late '80s, using an early prototype from his dad's computer store. Glitter and Cannon collaborated in a sequencer-based group from 1991-95, called Step Leftfoot. ("Who the fuck was using samplers in a noisy psychedelic post-punk rock-'n'-roll band in 1991? No one I know of," Glitter says.)
Raw Blow's new 7-inch, "Purple Haze," comes pressed on purple vinyl; though Carroll is conceptually influenced by the copious amounts of hip hop he listens to, the record sounds like it belongs at a really wild sock-hop. The A-side is "Purple Haze" ("Since we're already stealing content, we like to keep that going," Glitter jokes), while the B-side tells of two characters, Humpty Bump and Random Scripture, distantly inspired by rapper Jim Jones and David Simon's book The Corner.
"Purple Haze" was pre-released at the band's annual holiday celebration, Thanks for Nothing Day, but will be officially released Thu., Dec. 30 at the Shadow Lounge.