Put a small farm mouse into a recording studio with a bunch of unhappy musicians determined to off themselves and what do you get? Go Farm the Larry is about as obtuse you can get as far as band concepts go. Formed accidentally in 1995, the band's popularity has far exceeded everyone's expectations.
The only constant member of the band is Larry, who was brought up on a farm in Southern Illinois in the seventies. From looking at him, you might think that Larry is just another mouse trying to find a piece of cheese. But nothing could be further from the truth. Larry's wisdom and insight far surpass his years and his species. We were fortunate enough to be able to speak with Larry in person about his views on his music and the world.
So Larry...how did the band actually get started?
It was all an accident, really. I had just graduated from high school and I didn't know what I was going to do with my life, so I'd spend most of my time hanging out on top of a newspaper box at this weird intersection in town. There were always a lot of car accidents happening at this particular intersection, and I'd just sit there and watch them happen. It didn't even occur to me to transform the idea into a band until several years later.
Do you have any formal musical training?
Ha! Are you kidding? I don't know how to play ANYTHING. After all, how could I? They don't make musical instruments my size. And even if they did I doubt I'd have any interest in learning how to play 'em. I consider myself more of a ringleader or a director of activities. If I can tell other people what to do, why should I myself have to do anything at all? I'm really rather lazy if you want to know the truth.
To be a lazy mouse, you've certainly achieved a great deal of success and fame.
Yeah, well, it's not something that was really planned out, you know. I've never sent a demo tape off to anyone in my entire life. Never wanted to.
So how did you land a recording contract with a major label?
That's just something I worked my way into. After a few years of living on the street, I started to get really dragged down so naturally I had to find a place to live. The closest hole in the wall I could find just happened to be in a big record executive's house. When he first realized I was living in his house, he set a trap for me. I had heard all about these traps from my relatives, so instead of falling for it I just stuck a note on the thing that said, "Why kill me when I have the potential to earn MILLIONS of dollars?" I think that must've struck a chord with him, because ever since we've been the best of friends.
But how did you convince him of your worth? Didn't he want to hear songs you had recorded? Didn't he want to see some track record of what you had done?
No, not really. He just looked me in the eye and told me I was gonna be BIG. And you know that's always been a dream of mine...to be big, and all. You wouldn't believe how difficult it is being only about four inches tall.
So let's talk about your new CD. How long did it take to record it?
About three days total. I had the choice of using a moderate studio for a month or a top-of-the-line studio for a week, so I chose the latter. If you've got enough gadgets, you can make ANYTHING sound good. Recording the thing was easy. The hard part was finding the other members of the band. You'd think that it would be easy to find people willing to kill themselves on tape, but it isn't. There's all this weird shyness that goes along with suicide. Folks want to off themselves in private for some strange reason. I finally went to a juvenile detention center and that's where I found the majority of the other folks who would become the core of that recording project.
Did you have to get any special licenses in order to do this?
I've never paid much attention to licenses or even laws, for that matter. I just do what I feel like doing and if someone catches me, then I just lie. I'd like to see someone try to prove that anyone actually died during the recording of that disc. My mother taught me when I was very young to cover my tracks, and that's something that's been invaluable to me...
Can you explain how tap dancing entered into the picture?
Yeah, that's kinda funny actually. I was milling through some garbage and I just came across these little tap shoes... I guess they were for a doll or something like that... Anyway, I put them on just as a joke and to my surprise the damn things fit! I stood up on my hind legs and before I knew it I was just dancing up a storm. Layering a track of tap dancing over the top of the mix in the studio was a last minute thought that the producer came up with. It's so odd because now that's what most people want now, to see the tap dancing mouse, you know.
Does it make you feel stupid?
Kind of, but I feel rather stupid most of the time anyway. And if all I have to do to make millions of dollars is to look stupid, I don't mind that at all. In the end, I win. But then that's how it's always been. Whenever I compete with anyone, I always win. That's why my mother named me Larry. Because I always win.
What happened to your front paw?
I'd rather not talk about that.
Do you want me to continue with this interview or not?
All right, forget it. Are there any bands or artists that you would say have influenced you?
I've been influenced by lots of things. Beer influences me. Cars influence me. Violence, cigars, mud, ping pong... I'd say that everything that I come into contact is a direct influence.
Do you get nervous right before you perform?
Gnaw, not particularly. I have these pills that my psychiatrist gives me. I take a couple an hour before shows and they just calm me right down. If I'm feeling especially anxious I'll chase 'em with a couple of shots of vodka. People are so easily entertained. It's not like I go around wondering whether or not they're going to like the show or not...
Do you think that's fair to your audience? Performing under the influence?
Oh sure. Why not? Everybody else does it...
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
If things work out, I'd like to retire long before then. I think I'm going to be one of those stars that peaks early in my career. Plus, I don't think I could withstand this kind of pressure for more than a few years max. This is fun and amusing right now, but eventually I'd like to just retire and lounge around on some shredded up newspaper. Sooner or later all the attention and fame is going to become intrusive...and when that happens, I'll have to make some major changes.
I meant to ask you earlier... Where in the world did the band name come from?
In the seventies, before I was an animal, I was a large tract of land. Not just any land, but a tract of very fertile land. Hundreds of explicit farmers came from far and wide to sow seeds into me and extract some of the most irresistible vegetables you've ever tasted. When rural farmers were overcome with financial burdens, they would often try to offer to support to one another by saying, "Go Farm the Larry" which, of course, meant to head off to the promised land where they could grow some real food that people would pay real money for. That's it, pure and simple. You wouldn't believe some of the wild stories people come up with to try and explain the name, though. I've heard some real whoppers...
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