?: What was the origin of your interest in playing music?
Fyodor: Oh, god, god
?: God was your inspiration?
Fyodor: It must have been god. Isn't everything? Call it that or call it It depends on how far back you want to go I ve been fantasizing about being a friggin rock star since I was an adolescent. The origins of Little Fyodor really start kind of after college, cause after high school I got into progressive rock and that s when I stopped thinking about being a musician -- because all those friggin progressive rock musicians are so good in a certain sense. In a certain sense they really suck, but in a certain sense they were so good that it just discouraged me from being a musician because I could never play as gooood as them. I just blew off music for a while. Then I started getting into punk rock in the late 70s. Around then I started getting really depressed and alienated and not really relating to anybody. First, I thought I was going to be a writer; I started writing all these little vignettes, these little half-page short stories that went really zip, zip, bang, and then they were over and would sum up all of existence in my mind. The first one that I wrote, that I still think is my best, right after I wrote it a tree fell in the front yard of our house -- so I thought that was some kind of an omen. I kept doing it and after a while I found I just didn t have enough discipline to write. Then a roommate of mine, who was some kind of drug dealer, put a guitar in my hands. So I started playing the guitar again and realized that I d have to write 50 times as many words for a short story as a song, so it s a lot easier to write songs. So I started getting into that. I wrote I Want an Ugly Girl and Useless Shit both in the same week and that kind of started it.
?: I guess it was a switch to go from dreaming of being a rock star to putting together the stage persona you use now.
Fyodor: Ahh, yeah, this persona kind of came naturally -- at the risk of sounding pretentious or humble. I actually started off with Walls of Genius. That s where it really started. We were one of the kings of the underground cassette network of the mid 80s when it first started hitting all those magazines like OP and stuff. We released a whole shitload of tapes so that kind of helped. Quantity was one of our strong suits. We just got lots of tapes out and they got reviewed. They were all definitely different, so people really noticed them. We would just go ape- shit, that was really our philosophy. We did a lot of silly cover songs, and songs we wrote on the spot and may not remember a week later (but long enough to record them). We didn t play live often, but the very first time we did play live -- for some reason one of the other guys in the band told me to go on stage first. I didn t really know what I was going to do but, suddenly, I really got into it and that was the origin of Little Fyodor in a sense. I thought of myself as Little Fyodor before that because I was writing these songs of alienation and this friend of mine called me Little Fyodor because I had introduced him to Dostoevski and then I started showing him these songs I was writing: Useless Shit, I Want an Ugly Girl, Nobody Loves Me and They Got Good Reason. He could see the connection to Dostoevski and started calling me Little Fyodor. But, hey, that s who I am. Before that I was thinking of being John Leningrad. Which I thought at first was a play on John Denver, I didn t even think of John Lennon. We were about to move to Colorado from New Jersey, so I had John Denver on my mind. The implications of John Leningrad seemed too involved, so Little Fyodor kind of hit home with me. Did I answer the question? Oh... so I got on stage with Walls of Genius and it just pretty much escalated from there. Basically I m writing the songs and I see it as a continuation of what James Brown does when he dances to his music, cause it s just a living out of the music more than a self- conscious acting out of the music (David Byrne type shit).
?: Do you ever have problems with drunks at bars confusing you with the way you act on stage?
Gordon: I remember seeing you at a metal bar, and this bartender I knew was looking at me funny and all kind of strange saying "You like this kind of thing?"
Fyodor: That was the worst night. My favorite memory was I was singing I Don t Know What to Do and this guy kept yelling Suicide, Suicide! And he really seemed sincerely, genuinely, pissed off that I wasn t taking him up on it. Beyond being just a silly, clever, joke -- it really impressed me that he seemed offended that I wasn t taking him up on it.