June Panic

The Exclaim! Questionnaire

My name happens to be June Panic. I am a musician, of sorts. I belong to Fargo, North Dakota.

Current fixations:
Silver, 22, fixations, bells as a symbol and analogy for inexpressible thought, Ludwig Christian Attersee (painter).

Mind-altering work of art:
Sweet Movie, a film by Dusan Makavejev.

Most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
First someone else's, then one of mine: When I was 13, I was pen-pals with Joe Jack Talcum, guitarist for the Dead Milkmen. I went to see them play First Ave. in Minneapolis and, after their show, Joe rushed me next door to see somebody named Jonathan Richman whom I had never heard of before, playing at the tiny 7th St. Entry next door. Until that night, it had never occurred to me that a solo artist was "allowed" to play electric rock (as opposed to acoustic folk) music all alone. I had also never seen someone whose ability to entertain hinged precisely on having no pretence whatsoever.
My own most memorable show was last January at Club 2 in Munich, Germany (which, unfortunately, will soon be closing). Jason Molina (Songs:Ohia), Scout Niblett and I were taking turns playing a few songs each - one consecutive show with no breaks - and every moment seemed to stretch into infinity. The crowd was packed into the small club, people sitting on the stage, so that whoever was playing at the time had only a small circle around them free from bodies and the air was nothing but smoke. Every word and every note seemed like a climax, or some kind of new beginning. Everybody in the room seemed to be falling in love.

What has been your career high and low?
I don't have a career, I have a vocation and vocations don't have highs and lows.

What should everyone shut up about?
The 30 Years War.

I would drop everything to play a benefit for:
Diverting research funds from pharmaceutical companies to philosophical /psychological study of the roots of depression and anxiety in scepticism and/or fanatacism, causing mistrust of the world and other people.

What trait do you like and dislike most about yourself?
I like my smile and dislike my grin.

What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
If you snore, you're out of my band. If you can't keep time, you're out of my bed.

When I think of Canada I think:
...of the people I know from Canada and the times I've played there. Growing up in North Dakota, I spent a lot of time in Manitoba. Chris Cornejo, who took the photo on the cover of Baby's Breadth, and Heidi Gluck, who plays on the album are both Canadian.(And I guess, Secretly, I am too.) My parents and I went to a little Canadian town called Winkler just three weeks ago so that my mom could buy codeine over-the-counter.

What is your vital daily ritual?
I give names to a hundred of my heartbeats.

How do you spoil yourself?
I isolate my head and stay in my safety zone.

What was your most memorable day job?
My favourite day-job was as a night watchman. Since I was always done by 5 pm, I never did see any.

If I wasn't playing music I would be:
June Picnic, gardening mega-star.

What is your greatest fear?
That my desire for the infinite will blind me to my finiteness.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Active forgetting - the ability to radically forget anything that, when remembered, leads to resentment and a sense of isolation from the world.

What makes you want to take it off and get it on?

Music and sex: Is there a difference? Why?
Unlike sex, music is always as good as it sounds.

Strangest brush with celebrity:
My friend's band opened for Ted Nugent. Three of us were in the hallway when the Nuge's daughter approached us and said that "He" was about to emerge and could we please return to our dressing room? Since the hallway was probably big enough for a whole football team to fit through side by side we all just stared at her in astonishment until finally she granted us permission to stay, as long as we promised not to get in His way. Soon, a spandex-clad Nugent came running (literally) out of his dressing room, down the hall, and planted his foot chest-high on the wall two inches away from me, launching into a gum-chewing/leg-stretching routine lasting about three minutes. He seemed completely impervious to my presence the whole time until I began to snicker. He looked at me blankly, started hopping up and down, swung his axe from behind his back to his awaiting hands and ran onto the stage, fingers already blazing.

Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
Ludwig Wittgenstein. I would serve him alphabet soup.

What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
Making grandchildren.
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