BRIAN CHIPPENDALE doesn't consider his full-time band Lightning Bolt to be "noise music." "We're more like a rock band that's noisy," the drummer says via phone.
He does like the word "spazzy," however, which could be used to describe his longtime side project, the one-man operation Black Pus. Or as Chippendale puts it: "mature spazzy." All My Relations, his latest release as Black Pus, is actually his most accessible to date, recorded in a proper studio instead of at home on a four-track. It's tempered with a poppier sensibility and a bigger sound, although it's still frenetic. "Black Pus is slower than Lightning Bolt," says Chippendale, adding, "but I'm a little too far gone to know how spazzy or manic the music is."
That's probably true. Chippendale has been making a go of it with his longtime Lighting Bolt co-conspirator Brian Gibson for almost two decades. He began doing Black Pus in 2005 as a way to fill his downtime, and to work on music at his own pace. In that time Chippendale has recorded a pile of LPs, CD-Rs, and songs on Bandcamp.
The project seems to line up with his visual art. "It does go more into the realm of art where I just space out," he explains of playing solo. "It's either a go, or it doesn't exist."
Those two worlds came together in an unlikely way recently with the video for the song "1000 Years," in which Chippendale assembled a string of old flipbook illustrations he'd drawn as a kid. I'm not sure which is more impressive—the fact he's held on to these crude drawings of stick-figure ninjas battling dragons for 30 years, or that he sifted through almost 1,000 pages of material to make the video.
The cover art for All My Relations—also done by Chippendale—is a squirrelly blast of pastels. Simply put, it looks just like Black Pus sounds. And Chippendale will be the first to tell you that his music carries over into his artwork. "The music and the art is a way to get me fully immersed in something," he says. "The more extreme, the more I get lost in it."