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Interview w/ Cash Audio
By Holly Day
(more articles from this author)
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Cash Audio (formerly Cash Money) is John Humphrey (guitar) and Scott Giampino (drums). Cash Audio is also responsible for some of the grittiest swamp rock this side of Louisiana, which is pretty damned high praise considering that the other side of Louisiana is the ocean. The dynamic duos' newest release, Green Bullet (Touch and Go), combines the gut-wrenching power of delta blues with the rawness of punk rock, giving it an authenticism that the modern versions of both genres often lack.

Ironically, the band may become more famous for their recent legal hassles and their stage gimmicks than their actual music right now. Stage gimmick: Scotty sometimes fries up pork products (usually bacon) in the frying pan attached to his drum kit while performing. Legal hassles: a recent article in Rolling Stone ran a dual, side-by-side interview with Cash Money Records and the then-Cash Money band, and the label came off looking really bad. pulse spoke to John Humphrey about the above topics.

[H] How did Cash Audio get started?

[J] Cash Money/Audio got started by Scotty and me after my last band, God and Texas (formerly signed to Restless) split up in '94. I started this other project with, like, six people, Scotty being one of them, called the Late Great Danes. We played around Chicago for a while, and it was kind of cool, but we were having a hard time getting all the people in the band to show up, and setting up equipment before gigs was a nightmare, and then some of the other guys started doing other projects and the Late Great Danes just stopped. Scotty and I kept playing together, and it sounded really cool with just the two of us, so we decided to start a new band that was just us. And that was the start of Cash Money.

[H] How did you find out you were being sued?

[J] A bunch of envelopes started showing up in the mail from the Cash Money Records attorneys in New York. Actually, the writing was on the wall, because when that stupid thing in Rolling Stone came out that prompted this whole thing—well, it made the guys running the label look like morons. Which they are. But we knew something was going to happen, it was just a matter of time. Almost six months went by before they started harassing us, though, and we thought we would have heard about it right away, but they managed to smack us with the lawsuit right before we were getting ready to release the new record on Touch & Go, so that set us back a bit.

Really, the main problem is that these people just have too much time on their hands. I mean, what're the sales figures of Cash Money Records compared to Cash Money, the band? They're selling millions and millions of records to people who, even if they wanted to find a record by us, they probably wouldn't be able to buy us at a regular record store. Our record sales are not going to cause "consumer confusion," or any of the other bullshit they laid on us. It's pretty sad, but unfortunately, we're under the financial gun there, because even though it's possible we could actually win the lawsuit, we can't afford the lawsuit expenses. So we just said screw it and changed our name.

[H] Do you do the bacon-frying act at every show?

[J] No. That's Scotty's gag, and we used to do it a lot when we first started out, because it was just so absurd. Now, of course, that's all anyone ever wants to talk about, is how weird we are because our drummer cooks bacon on stage. So we don't do it that much anymore, because most of the places we played were pretty packed and there was a lot of lawsuit potential. We kind of only do it at new places now, places we've never played before, or if we're playing somewhere where it's guaranteed to inflame a lot of people—then, we'll definitely do it. Like in Berkeley, we definitely fire up the pork products, or in New York, where people cry if you even look at them the wrong way, we do it there.

[H] So is there any chance you and Scott'll work the bacon frying gag into a boy band dance routine for your shows?

[J] No, I'm too old at this point, I think. I think we'll have to settle for being a man band. We need more man bands.

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