Rev. Ivan Stang, founder of the Church of the SubGenius (the funniest and
indeed most frightening of all the one true religions), has been brilliantly
mish-mashing theology and modern society for years with the absent minded
"help" of guru and master Tibetan brain masseuse J.R. "BOB" Dobbs, and has
been co-working with some of the most creative and subversive minds of our
day. After a lengthy period of silence and diligent work, the Reverend has
returned with the next chapter in the ongoing documentation of the war
against the conspiracy, malevolent aliens and weird shambling faceless men
in black. It has been christened Revelation X: the Bobapocraphon and has
"Bobbies" and even enemies of the church drooling alike in anticipation.
After lengthy and grueling pursuit, I managed to catch Stang on a lunch
break, and chatted with him about the new book, life, and the twisted ways
of the conspiracy.
Weevil: Hey, It's Wiley...
S: Oh, hey, I was just talking to Mavrides--couldn't get off cause we kept
bitching... He saw some letter in a comics journal where someone was saying
"It's just terrible that these old guard guys like Jack Kirby, R. Crumb, and
Paul Mavrides can make a lot of money and I'm having so much trouble
breaking into the cartoon business." And It's like Mavrides, last time I
talked to him, he had $1.89 in the bank.
W: Hah! My father knew Crumb. Once in a bar Crumb went over to this hardcore
feminist woman, looked at her for a second and yanked off her false
eyelashes. Dad just barely stopped her biker friends from throwing him
through a window.
S: No kidding!
W: Yeah, my parents were all mixed up in the Rip Off Press. I'm probably one
of the first kids to be brought up in the Church of the SubGenius.
S: Yeah, some people consider the church to be like an institution. It's
like: "Oh, those old fogies, damn them, I bet they're really cleaning up." I
wish it were true! We could become like the Disney of weird behavior--hmmm,
W: There you go, there really is no large protective entity for
counterculture. Everyone who caters to us isn't to be trusted.
S: Well, that's because when anyone gets even slightly big, the Conspiracy
offers money to buy them up, and since they're usually living in cardboard
boxes by that point, they go for it.
S: Hell, we've been trying to sell out for fifteen years! They won't have it
man, they don't want any of it!
W: Well gee, then are all the rumors of the Church's great wealth, of the
giant HQ in Dallas false?
S: Huh? I'm in the 20th floor office right now, the parking lot's full.
S: Women waiting on us hand and foot...
W: Well, I don't know if you've read any of the media blitz about Dazed and
Confused, I've been doing all this nutty crap, a fucking Sassy magazine
interview and other miscellaneous funny stuff, and in every damn one I've
tried to sneak in a word or two about the Church. I told the Austin American
Statesman about the support given to me by my mysterious friend "Bob" and
nothing ever appeared.
W: For the Sassy shoot, I was all decked out in a "Bob" pin, a Church of
Dischord pin, and a psychic cross... They politely asked me to remove it
all, of course. Couldn't be coppin' any sort of philosophy, just had to look
S: (laughing) They never try to make me look cute, but then I've never been
interviewed by Sassy. As far as I ever got was a stroke book. But those are
great because when you get your picture in a stroke book, like a newsstand
porno book, they always put it opposite some beautiful model. So every time
that magazine is closed there's like this magic--
W: Jolt> So let's talk about the new book.
S: Well the new book, the title of it is Revelation X: the Bobapocraphon, as
you can imagine, a lot of it deals with X-Day.
W: Has the date changed? (7-5-1998 7am)
S: Oh no! That's etched in stone!
W: I didn't think anything was etched in stone.
S: Well, there's always a slight possibility that Dobbs might swing a better
deal, maybe put 'em off so they'd come back a year later.
W: That would be nice.
S: We'll just have to have another big X-Day party the year after in '99.
Actually in some ways we don't necessarily want X-Day to happen immediately,
the reasons for that are of course detailed in the new book. It has to do
with how many souls Dobbs can offer to the Xists.
W: As opposed to the Conspiracy's pink souls.
S: Well the quality of the souls is important. It's really kind of an
economic thing. As with the rest of the Church, it's a bit difficult to
explain. The book itself, if you look at the original book as the old
testament, this is similar to the new testament, in that it has gospels and
epistles and acts and revelations towards the end.
W: New testament--so what, is Jehova1 a lot nicer now?
S: Well Jehova1 never was a major player in the whole thing. He's an easy
one to get a handle on, but he's just a minor deity among the Elder Gods.
And that's who we're really having to placate, or, not so much placate as
wheel-and-deal with, in order to wheedle a bit of extra slack.
W: Kind of a business connection...
S: Yeah, and that of course will take a great deal of money, membership is
going to have to go up after the publication of the new book.
W: Good lord, we better get our checks in.
S: Well, you've got a whole year. It shouldn't really be out until fall of
'94, but we have to have it finished in a month and a half! I've only had
W: Hell! The christians got centuries to work on their stuff!
S: And they didn't even write most of it.
W: So are you online at all?
S: Not personally, however we do have someone in the office who monitors
W: Have you seen the SubGenius email list?
S: Yes, I wasn't particularly pleased with it, they seemed to be spending
too much time bitching about Barney, Good lord, even the pinks hate Barney,
he's no threat.
W: Barney is an otherdimensional incursion of corporate evil who is now
amassing a great army of zombie shock troopers to fight in World War 42.
S: Hmmm... We left a message detailing our dissatisfaction.
S: I'm fixing to chow down on a good old fashioned hamburger about now. My
wife is big into health food, and I usually don't eat so well. This will be
a big break.
W: Is it the PERFECT hamburger?
S: Not EVEN, it's a greasy Jack-In-The-Box burger.
W: Eww... an E-coli burger...
S: Heh, we'll all be eatin' roach shit in twenty years.
Check for Weevil in his new zine called Happy! and keep a lookout for his
starring role in the film Free Wiley, about a teen slacker from Seattle in
the mid-70s who falls in with an Orca and saves its life by hacking into
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