INTERVIEW: Ron Stringer & John Dentino
Song list and music here.
On the evening of October 30, 1992, Craig Unkrich, who kept his own Fibs site up for years, conducted an “interview” (which lasted approximately three hours) with John Dentino and Ron Stringer. It began at Ron’s place and ultimately concluded there. At one point they were having dinner in a Korean restaurant near Ron’s apartment. Here’s an excerpt from the talk over food:
R: I got married, I went on vacation, the [L.A.] Weekly had a job; and I was bummed
J: You had written a pop song and you didn’t want to follow through. There are a million reasons why you quit the band and I don’t know all of them I know some of them but I’ve got to say this: I think one of them was that you just didn’t feel comfortable with the role of becoming like a singer/songwriter/popstar. Which wouldn’t necessarily have happened.
R: I remember it though mostly of being a case of personal stuff. Feeling that I had to get out of the band or you and I wouldn’t remain friends. It was looking like that to me. We were real testy, and me probably more than you. I wasn’t creating, I wasn’t producing. I was slipping in and out and not really participating.
J: Was it because of our troubles?
R: It was because I always felt like a .. fake as a musician.
J: We all felt that
R: Heavy stuff huh? (To Interviewer)
J: I know I did. Fibonaccis gigs. I think over half the gigs were disasters, in terms of performance.
R: How many times did we hear tapes of live shows and just sit in the car cringing.
J: Well, not only musically but in terms of rapport with the audience. We could maybe play them well. But I think that one of the mistakes I know I made was I started to think of it as show business rather than as music. And I was acutely aware that we were lacking in the show business department. And I thought that was a disadvantage that we had. And I’d think to myself after a bad show, where I would say something stupid like “The next song is based on Chris Lasch’s “The Culture of Narcissism.”
I: I thought that was great.
J: I know but the thing is it more or less fell flat most of the time.
I: I went out and found the book.
J: I know but the point is at least I felt we were not making contact with an audience. Why be up onstage if you’re not communicating with an audience.
R: We got good toward the end though.
J: Even with Brynn [Drummer who replaced Joe Berardi for several gigs, including the Pacific-Northwest tour in 1988] on the Seattle tour… remember that gig we played in Portland and it was a pretty empty room like a tavern and we just zipped through the stuff; it felt really good.
R: We were having fun. We were really having fun onstage.
J: Well, as much fun as we were capable of having.
J: That’s a great Magie line. I think it actually came from [indiscernable]. Its on one of the tapes where she says “Thank You” at the end of the show: That’s about as spontaneous as we get… Goodbye”.
Int: One of the things I noticed in the earlier shows is the band seemed very nervous, and never spoke onstage. These were shows I went to. It seemed like the band was a lot more nervous and a lot more concerned about the music and not so much about show business, per se.
R: For my part, I was always ready to fall apart. I had to work my ass off. I had to concentrate, I didn’t have any time to be personable onstage. I had no chops at all. I had absolutely no chops. I’d had an electric guitar for six weeks. I had to concentrate like mad. I was trying to play fairly hard stuff [although] I wasn’t playing chords.
J: Really, that’s just typical of a lot of guitarists. You had higher standards but you were probably a better guitarist the vast majority of [indiscernable]
R: I think a lot of what I went through was unnecessary. I’m not getting down on myself…
I: It was rumoured that you had stage fright during some of the early gigs.
J: That’s completely untrue.
R: Utter gossip.
R: There are funny stories about me and stagefright
J: We had to drag him onstage last night. [The Fibonaccis had just play their reunion gig accompanying the release of the retrospective CD, repressed.
R: “I will NOT go down there! I will NOT make a spectacle of myself!”
J: I had to drag him onstage at the Whisky the night we played with Priscilla B. He literally said, “We have no business being on that stage! This is the Whiskey a go go. It has a history. Do you realize what we have to live up to. We don’t deserve to be on that stage!” And then the other time, you claimed that you were leaving at the last minute, only to show up onstage finally for that Priscilla show? Even before the Whisky thing, we did some acting in a show that Priscilla wrote at the Olio, and Ron played a bum. A Bowry bum or something. And we were looking for him it was about 15 mins before we went on and I think I found you hiding
R: I was under the stairs
J: Under the stairs, yeah.
R: You talk about the extremes of self-doubt and grandiosity. The fact is that I hid under the stairs and I said “No, I will not go onstage.” “No, I will not go onstage.” “No. I will not go onstage.”
J: “I have no business being onstage.”
R: I smoked a joint.. and when my cue came, I ran out and I chewed up the scenery: I took over.
J: Everybody thought he was great.
R: I took over, I actually became an extrovert.
J: What happened though was that your dry mouth and pot made it seem even more like you were a Bowry bum. There was something about the way you spoke.. it wasn’t normal, it was like a speech impedement. Plus you probably did some stuttering too, right? So the fact is that he was scared, and at the same time he was going to go through it and he was in perfect character and he was the hit of the afternoon.
I: Can we take a cigarette break?
About this entry
You’re currently reading “INTERVIEW: Ron Stringer & John Dentino,” an entry on shadows+clouds
- 02.02.06 / 7pm
- The Fibonaccis