House with his current band Counter Intuits
When listening to Ron House’s new band Counter Intuits, (with Times New Viking’s Jared Phillips) one can see the how the Columbus icon rolls with a similar clever and cynical take on punk culture that he had in his 80s days in the seminal Columbus band Great Plains. It is easy to tell the guy who asked, “Why do punk rock guys/go out with New Wave Girls” in 1986 is the same guy on who wrote Counter Intuits “Anarchy on Your Face,” off the band's 2013 album released on House’s own Pyramid Scheme imprint. “It’s a mild joke song. One of my favorite lines: ‘crusty punks are very smelly but the odor is fortune telling.’” Ron explains that particular musical composition’s satire from the porch of his North Campus home of 22 years while we both somewhat ignore a rowdy, mid-afternoon game of beer-pong that his next-door neighbors are partaking in. I ask the 59 Year-old House if the college kids ever irritate his townie life, now complete with a wife and a kid. House observes that the generational diversity of North Campus isn’t so bad, “I think that students are more mellow than they were before because they have to be more serious in school. There are still a decent amount of families. We know a lot of people in the neighborhood.” Granted this is a man who hasn’t had a boring moment in some time. Whether it’s the Twisted Shouts in the late 70s; Great Plains in the 80s; Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments in the 90s, his contribution to Ego Summit, solo work and the recent Columbus Discount band Psandwhich, House hasn’t seen a boring decade since Nixon was president. I parley the conversation into a query of Columbus punk house history. House riffs about living at a place called the “Dyke House” which is in the same location as Columbus Straight Edge home base, the Legion of Doom. When Ron lived there in 1979 and 1982 and practiced with Great Plains, the South Campus house was not the symbol of drug-free punk living that it is today, “Nick Cave shot up there.” Ron offers. House lived in another punk house called “the Fort,” on North Fourth Street from 1984 to 1987, which also had some interesting visitors. “This was during the hardcore years. 7 Seconds hung out there. Black Flag hung out there.” I gathered the place was pretty debaucherous. Ron mentions someone named Nazi Jim resided there and eventually went to jail for bank robbery. “The Fort” had a half-pipe in the back which brought a notable visitor, recalls House, “Flea skateboarded in our backyard. Red Hot Chili Peppers were playing (at Staches). They asked where there was a half-pipe. So they hung out in our backyard.” While Flea liked “the Fort,” Steve Albini did not, says House, “Big Black came by. Albini came in, looked around and said. ‘We aren’t staying here.’” Ron quipped at “the Fort” being too raw for Albini, “He writes about child abuse and all sorts of horrors. But our house was too much for him.” After humoring my query into punk houses of yesterday, House also entertains my Hip Hop related questions. I ask him about Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments being featured in a 1995 Issue of Ego Trip Magazine that had KRS-One on the cover. Ron doesn’t recall that one. But he does clear up for me my curiosity about TJSA’s 1995 album “Bait & Switch” being released on Rick Rubin’s Onion/American imprint. When asked if he ever met Rick Rubin,who co-founded Def Jam and is still in the Hip Hop production limelight for recent work with Kanye West and Eminem, House said, “I didn’t. Mike Repp did. He went out to produce it in L.A. I never talked to the dude. They rejected the second album but they gave us 6,000 bucks.” Longtime Matador Johan Kugalberg signed TJSA during the Post-Nirvana hysteria while working for Rubin. ( named “Bait & Switch” one of “The 40 Weirdest Post-”Nevermind” Major Label Albums,” in an article penned by notable rock scribe Andrew Earles in Janaury of 2013.) The cool thing about Ron House is that while he is an open-book of music history, the man is not stuck in the past. Ron is extremely excited about his Counter Intuits. House describes the music Jared Phillips gave him for Counter Intuits as, “kind of cagey, kind of modernist art tinge that goes into more the DIY thing in England.” Counter Intuits are playing the Fifth installment of “the Less Than Music Fest” on October 26th at the Cafe Bourbon Street/the Summit located at 2210 Summit Street.