GALLERY OF MITES
Bugs On The Bluefish
Meteor City Records

Our friends in Monster Magnet are at it again. In their time off Tim Cronin and drummer Jon Kleiman immerse themselves in unique side projects that include last years Alt-Country Ribeye Brothers. Gallery Of Mites is their foray into muscle-bound garage rock complete with a big guitar sound, low-fi production and 12 perfectly crafted songs. Inviting a handful of guitar players, friends of the family and Stoner rock legends to sit in on the sessions, GOM is quickly becoming a very hot slab of plastic.

Handling the production, Kleiman brings a traditional late sixties sound to the layered guitars and the drum echo. His ability to keep the sound fresh yet intensely invigorating is an unusual talent and one he uses to full effect. The project took well over a year working in and around other sessions yet the record remains firm to it’s objective and is surprisingly cohesive. Luminaries lending their guitar skills are Ed Mundell (Atomic Bitchwax, Monster Magnet), Phil Caivano (Monster Magnet, Blitzpeer ), Tommy Southard (Solace, Godspeed), Stu Gollin (Halfway to Gone), and Mike Schweigert (Lord Sterling); bassists Joe Calandra (Monster Magnet) and Jim Bagliano (Lord Sterling); and harp player Duane Hutter (Black Nasa). Unida and ex-Kyuss vocalist John Garcia makes a cameo on the records seventh cut “100 Days (Heron)”.

Tim Cronin was kind enough to email us from his headquarters in Red Bank, NJ. The following are his answers to a few of our questions regarding the outstanding “Bugs On The Bluefish.” Enjoy!

The Cutting Edge: My first impression of the Gallery Of Mites “Bugs on the Bluefish” came right after a week of listening to the Flaming Sideburns. I was amazed at how similar the two bands sound. Lets talk about how the project came to be. You and Jon were sitting around getting drunk and…?

Tim Cronin: Jon and I had a bunch of songs that we wrote for the Ribeye Brothers but we figured they were too “rock” for the garage/country/shitrock sound of the Ribeyes. So seeing as we still liked the songs, we decided to develop a band around them and, to get a different vibe we asked a bunch of our friends (well people who still talked to us) to join in. As for the music, Jon and I really like Union Carbide Productions (a really amazing Swedish band from the late 80's), as well as a couple of other Northwestern bands especially Gorilla and Mudhoney, and garage rock and old English stuff like The Creation and Pretty Things, not that our stuff could sound as good as those bands but we like them

TCE: I really dig the Stones meets Stooges aspect especially on “Exploded View” and “Headless Body, Topless Bar” but that organ on “Exploded View” is over the top and gives the song so much presence. The perfect kick off to a great set. How did both songs evolve?

Tim: Well, Jon wrote the music and then I put on some witless caterwauling. I think the guitar stands out also on those songs, Stu Gollin from Halfway To Gone played guitar on “Exploded view”, and I think it was Tommy Southard from Solace and the Robot Dicks who played guitar on "Headless Body”. With regards to the organ stuff, Gorilla used one to great effect.

TCE: Great lyrics on “Topless Bar”. “There’s a time and a place for me to put my fist in your face,” classic! True story?

Tim: Different parts are, but it didn't involve me. I'm old and have lived a boring life but I know interesting people.

TCE: With so many guitar players involved how did you make it sound so cohesive? Cool thing about it is I can’t tell who’s playing on what song.

Tim: Jon lost the track listing for who played on what, and I only remember a couple of the lineups, so your guess is as good as mine. Making it sound cohesive is thanks to Jon.

TCE: I love the garage sound throughout. The playing is top notch and the songs are superbly crafted. How long did you work on the songs and how did you decided who would play on what?

Tim: The whole thing took a couple of months, but this was because everyone involved works real jobs and we had to record when people had off. After we had rough demos of the songs (just me and Jon) we went thru everyone who we knew and figured out what they would sound good playing on.

TCE: How did John Garcia get involved and will he be appearing on any other of your projects in the near future? Who is Fred and Madisyn whom you dedicate the song “100 days” to?

Tim: John Garcia was going to record with Jon Kleiman, Joe Calandra and Ed Mundell a few years ago it was going to be called “3 Ball Sack”. Nothing ever happened but Ed, Jon and Joe still had “100 days” kicking around. Ed called John Garcia and he was still into doing it so we sent him a tape and he recorded it out West somewhere. John Garcia did those dedications but, I think Fred played in the Earthlings and just passed away.

TCE: The production is nice and thick with a lot of ambiance. Kudos to Jon. He gets the hippy trippy vibe as well as the powerhouse garage echo. Any special tricks to creating that dynamic, cool sound?

Tim: Jon ran the guitars through his ass and I ate a lot of bacon but besides that it was pretty normal.

TCE: You’re a great vocalist. Which is your favorite track to sing on. Is that you on “Chocolate Rabbit”?

Tim: Thanks, but I'm a shitty vocalist. Mark Arm is a great vocalist. My favorite song to sing on was “Exploded View” and “X's For Eyes”. I'm “singing” on everything but “100 days.”

TCE: What’s the story on the title for “X’s For Eyes”.

Tim: Just drunken end of the world bullshit.

TCE: Wasn’t Dave Wyndorf (singer for Monster Magnet) supposed to sing on this record? I thought you had mentioned his involvement.

Tim: Dave was working on a soundtrack for a movie “Torque” and writing the
new monster magnet LP, so he didn't have much time.

TCE: “Inside out” rips your head off fully cranked. The harmonica – the ripping guitar is awesome! If you want to add something about this song, cool. I just wanted to let you know I think it totally rocks!

Tim: That was Duane Hutter from Black Nasa who played harmonica.

TCE: I also dig the cool desert rock of “A Man Called Shit.” Can you explain how this came to being – and that title?

Tim: It was originally entitled "Wolverines vs. The Locusts” or "Dig Dug” I’m not sure which, but Jon and I wanted a song that sounded like something off of the first three Funkadelic records, of course we failed horribly in that regard but we were happy with the results. The final title “A Man Called Shit” came from a fake spaghetti western we wrote, the idea we had was that all the major roles would be played by meerkats.

TCE: “Bugs On The Bluefish” is a masterpiece. You guys out did yourself here. Did you have this song written first before the rest of the record or was it put together along the way? What does it mean – I get these vision of a bad day at the market.

Tim: We stole the title from a line in a scratch acid song.

TCE: Where did the name of the band come from? Great cover!

Tim: (Long pointless boring story) After an early Monster Magnet tour Jon and I were jobless and had no money, we got a job at a day labor company. One of the jobs was working in the stockroom in the shoe department at sears. This lasted three months and we were bored shitless. So to while away the time we started drawing a comic strip called Joe jr. and in it we had a TV show called “Gallery of Mites” it was a variety show for mites. We liked the name and figured we would use it for something someday.

TCE: What are some good resources to find out more about garage rock?

Tim: Ugly Things is a great magazine, and there's a few good labels out there. Right now “In The Red” records has put out a bunch of great records - The Hospitals, The Horrors, Clone Defect. Fellow good musicians. Anything Tim Kerr has to do with is always worth a listen (Jack O'Fire, Poison 13, Now Time Delegation, etc), Greg Cartwright (ex-Oblivions) is a real good producer and most of the stuff he's done is good. Check out the
“Teenage Shutdown” series of 60's garage rock. Just keep an ear out and try stuff, I’ve been burned a lot but by trying stuff. I’ve discovered cool shit like Feedtime, Comets On Fire, and Union Carbide.

TCE: What is the future of the Flying Navigators?

Tim: Actually it is the Briney Navigators and you can see us performing sea shanties every third Tuesday of the month at the Cap'ns Eyepatch in Ditchwater.

Special thanks to our ol’ buddy Tim. Check ‘em out at:
Meteor City.