Interview with Jefferson Jackson "J.J." Jammer

By: Jack Anus

How did you get started in music?

Well, my first group was the [JJ]Jammers, with "Little" Dick Beater. This group was formed in the summer of 1983. I played guitar and sang, and he played the drums and keyboards. Strangely enough, neither one of us had ever had a music lesson in our lives, but that didn't stop us from composing music. In fact, I think that helped. We wrote songs that one critic said, "Couldn't have been written by a human being." For example, "Revenge of the Cow People" was basically random noise with occasional passages of what slightly resembled melody. In fact, when I took a music class later on, I was kicked out of it for writing music that "went contrary to the laws of harmony." In composing music, I used what Ted would later call the "Random Chord Technique." This, and an emphasis on Demonaics (demonic sound effects) are what made the Jammers special. Beater had a tape deck that had been altered so you could either speed up or slow down the tape speed. If you recorded yourself talking or screaming while the tape speed was high, when you played it back on a normal tape deck, it sounded low and ominous. We used Demonaics to great effect, especially on our magnum opus, "Soundtrack to Hell."

Explain how the Buttocks came to be.

The Buttocks were possibly the most famous Ted Chain group of all time, and many different versions of how they came to be formed have been told. In fact, band members themselves have given conflicting accounts over the years. I will reveal the true story for the first time here.

Basically, the Buttocks were formed after Ted became possessed with the spirit of a deceased musician. This guy, named Al Buttt [sic], was a musician who committed suicide after he lost his recording contract and his band subsequently broke up. Apparently, he drowned himself in a washing machine. Ted became possessed by him in the Fall of 1983, after he bought Al's guitar at a pawnshop. Of course, I didn't know this at the time it happened. Scott Bath Key was the only one who knew about Ted and Al at the time, and for a long time afterwards. As I understand, Ted was going to be possessed by Al until he recorded all of Al's songs, which ultimately took a long, long time. But as I said, I didn't know this at the time. All I knew is that Ted chose the Jammers to form with him the Buttocks. Al had "listened" to the audition tapes that had been submitted to Ted, and decided the Jammers were who he needed to carry out his vision, along with Ted.

The Butt Festival began, and ended, in chaos. Much of this was due to Ted's playing Al's guitar, which was cursed to be perpetually out of tune, and the problems with Ted's cheap recording equipment, which fed back uncontrollably. This is very evident to anyone listening to the recording of the Festival. Fortunately, for later Buttocks events we eventually figured out how to perform and record with some slight degree of skill.

What other bands were you in around this time?

Well, Ted and I were in another band called Vomit. This group's recordings were not under the influence of Al Buttt, so they are somewhat different from the Buttocks. In fact, the only influence Al had on Ted was when Ted was recording as a "channel" for Al. This would occur when Al had precisely planned what song was going to be recorded. Of course, Al was a perfectionist, and it sometimes took him months or years to prepare for a recording session. But more on that later.

As you remember, Vomit's album, "Adventure in the Dryer" was the subject of a lot of controversy. As a publicity stunt, right before the album was to be released, Ted issued a press release stating he had contracted the rare disease Vomitus Terminus, and was going to die. He then sent the media a videotape of a "press conference" from his hospital bed, with his doctor by his side, stating that after he died the Ted Foundation would be formed, and all proceeds from the sale of "Adventure in the Dryer" would go to this foundation, to support research to cure this rare and deadly disease. Actually, he wasn't in the hospital, and the "doctor" was Scott wearing a lab coat and a stethoscope. The "press members" asking questions were Ted's friends reading from scripts Ted had given them. Well, you know what happened. Sales shot through the roof.

Unbeknownst to the fans, Ted had written into the contract forming the Foundation that if he recovered, the Foundation would be dissolved, and he would keep the money. Well, that's exactly what happened. About six weeks later, he miraculously recovered, the Foundation was dissolved, and Ted kept all the money from the number one selling Ted Chain album of all time, "Adventure in the Dryer." The public was so happy to see him recover that they ignored the fact that it had all been a scam.

What can you tell us about the rest of the Buttocks' recordings?

Well, in my opinion the Buttocks were best as a twosome. Beater's contributions were negligible, as were later session musicians Andy [Piece] on bass and Bryan [Frizzbrain] on drums. Scott did not get heavily involved in the Buttocks because of his obligations to the Bath Key Bangers. I was basically the only support after Beater left. This was not always easy. You see, as Ted has already mentioned, Ted (Al) demanded that everything be played his way. I guess I was the only musician who was either capable enough, or dumb enough, to do this.

I think "Fall on Uranus" and "Orbiting Uranus" were the Buttocks at their best. These sessions were essentially recorded live. Typically, Ted would start a song, either an established song like "Washing Machine," or a new song like "Fall on Uranus," and I would do my best to follow along in his steps, and hopefully contribute something musically appropriate. If I started playing something he didn't like, he'd just turn down my guitar on the mixing board.

As I said, I was not aware that these songs were actually Al's songs, not songs Ted and I were creating. For example, the classic "Washing Machine" was based on Al's suicide. As we played it, a blues shuffle in the key of A, the rhythm sounded like the agitator on a washing machine. This, of course, was the last sound Al heard as he was drowning.

Unfortunately, as time went by I wanted to move in a different direction musically. I was getting into Heavy Metal, and wanted to form a real Metal band and put my Random Chord Technique to use. Also, I was becoming concerned with Ted's increasingly bizarre obsession with buttocks. He was keeping both a written and an audio file of every mention of buttocks, whether it was in the newspaper, in magazines, on TV, in movies, etc.... I much later found out why this was happening, but I'll get to that later.

What really happened to "Little" Dick Beater after his "fake death"?

Well, as Ted stated, Beater wanted to get away from the Ted Chain. As I heard it, he went to work for a scientist in London, England who was doing experiments involving time travel. Apparently, during an experiment in which Beater was transported back to the year 1645, in order to make recordings of musicians playing English Folk Music, he was accidentally sent into the middle of a Witch Hunt, and was immediately burned at the stake.

What did you do after High School?

After High School, I sort of drifted away from the Ted Chain. I enrolled at a small school out in the Southwest, called Trashman U. I chose it because of its unique program, where every student had the same major, and graduated with the same degree. The only degree they conferred was in "Undecided."

I was in and out of a variety of horrendous bands my first few years there. Almost no one there liked Heavy Metal. They liked stuff like the Dead. After being in a few cover bands I met a couple of guys who, like me, liked Metal, and I re-formed the Jammers as a Metal band.

Tell us about the reformed Jammers.

I hired a killer band. I was on guitar and vocals, I had Brain Damaged Bill on bass, Evil Ed on guitar, and Screamin' Semen on drums. Yes, that's right, Screamin' Semen. His real name was William, and his full nickname was "Twelve-inch Creamin', Screamin' Semen." How did he get this nickname? Let's just say he was very poular with the ladies.

This band was formed in the Fall of 1987. We didn't have a lot of places to play, but we practiced and practiced until we smoked. One time, someone actually sprayed us with a fire extinguisher, there was so much smoke. We described ourselves as Doom/Thrash Metal. As I mentioned before, I used my Random Chord Technique [see appendix A] to perfection in this band.

Tragedy struck in the Spring of 1988. Screamin' Semen got caught in bed with the University President's girlfriend.

Did he walk in on them?

No, she did. The University President was a woman. They didn't want a scandal, so he was allowed to withdraw. In a foolish display of brotherhood, the rest of us withdrew also, two days before final exams.

We decided it was the right time to record an album and go on the road. We used whatever money we had saved to record the album, "Jamming All Frequencies." Since we didn't have a recording contract, we had to market it ourselves. We made a deal with an independent record chain to sell our record on an approval basis. This meant if you bought it and liked it, you could keep it. But, if you bought it and didn't like it, you could return it to the store and get your money back.

So what were your net sales?

Our net sales were negative one. The store told us they sold twelve copies of our record, but had thirteen returns. We ended up owing them money.

How could there be thirteen returns if they only sold twelve records?

I don't know. We still haven't figured that one out.

What happened next?

I suffered an injury which changed the course of my music career. Basically, I lost parts of two fingers in a bizarre computer accident. I was working in an office when my tie got caught in the printer. I knew I either had to jam the machine, or be strangled to death. I didn't have anything to jam in it, so I stuck my left hand in. I saved my life, but lost parts of my ring and middle fingers on my hand.

After this, I moved to LA, where I was living in an apartment with three other guys. I went to work in a recording studio. My roommates were Screamin' Semen, who was working as a session drummer; Dr. Malpractis, who was a session keyboardist; and Jose Jr., who was a singer. The three of them formed an Industrial Dance Music group called, "Mr. Happy." I produced their album called, "If You Can't Give Head, Then Give A Hand."

So you were a producer?

No, actually I was the custodian on the night shift. We recorded the album in secret during the midnight to eight AM shift. Fortunately, Jose Jr. gave a copy of this album to his father. His father, who I ended up working for, was called Señor Jose. He owned Mexico City Records. He was a billionaire who owned the record company, and his own studio in Mexico city. It is the largest and best recording studio on the North American Continent. Señor Jose loved American rock music, and I became a talent scout for him. My job was to discover new bands who would record for his label, and make him even more money than he already had.

Did you discover any famous bands?

Well, sort of. I was in this bar in Mexico City, drinking Tequila, and listening to the worst Mariachi band I had ever heard in my life. The guitarist and bassist looked somewhat familiar, so I went over to them after the show. To my surprise, they were actually Ted and Scott, posing as Mexican musicians. Ted was going under the name Manuel, and Scott was going under the name Carlos.

This is when I finally heard the whole story about Al Buttt and Ted. They explained the whole story, and that they needed my help. Ted had one more song he had to record for Al, after which Ted would be released from Al's spirit, and Al would be reincarnated as himself.

Why didn't they record this song at Ted Team Studios?

Well, this was going to be a long, grueling, expensive recording session. This one song Ted estimated would clock in at about seventy-five minutes. Ted didn't have the equipment, money, or expertise to handle this one on his own. He knew I worked for Señor Jose, and the Mexico City Studios would be perfect for the job.

Unfortunately, we knew Señor Jose would never let us record something as non-marketable as this, so we decided to trick him. We recorded a demo of ourselves as a generic American rock band, called "Kapital Punishment," which we gave to Señor Jose. He thought it sounded great, and saw lots of pesos coming in for himself if we recorded and released this group's album, which was tentatively titled, "Lethal Injektion." In actuality, this group sounded like ZZ Top with their fingers glued together, but it was American rock, which is what Señor Jose wanted.

So, we put together a group consisting of Ted on guitar and vocals, Scott on bass, myself on rhythm guitar (since I still had my pinky and index finger on my left hand, along with my thumb, I could still play rhythm guitar), and since we didn't have a drummer or keyboardist we could trust, we flew in Screamin' Semen and Dr. Malpractis for the sessions. The real band was to be called, "Uranus Rising" and the song/album was called, "To Be A Butt."

As I said, it was going to be a magnum opus style song. It was unbelievable. It was a comprehensive examination of the buttocks in western culture. Ted used the audio/written buttocks file he had been saving for almost ten years. The song ended up having about 260 sound bytes/quotes of stuff from his file. We started it off in the key of "E" and progressively modulated upwards until we were playing so high that only the dogs who hung around the studio could hear the noise. It took six months to record, between Spring and Fall 1995, and ended up clocking in at 77:31.

How did you fool Señor Jose for so long?

Well, what we did was record two albums simultaneously. In a typical eight hour day, we would spend seven and a half hours on the Uranus Rising album, and about a half hour on the Kapital Punishment album. By the time we finished the Uranus Rising album, we had also finished the Kapital Punishment album.

What we were going to do was give Señor Jose the album he was expecting, and sneak the other one out of the country, and release it on the Ted Chain label. Unfortunately, Jose Jr. showed up unexpectedly one day during the mixing process, and found out what we were doing. I thought he would be loyal to his friends, but he was loyal to his father. He went and told him what we had done.

The next thing you know, we all were in a cell awaiting our appointment with a firing squad at six AM. Señor Jose told us, "You think you can fool Señor Jose? No one can fool me. You will pay for your crimes with your lives!"

We thought we were doomed. However, Ted told us that since we had completed recording the song, Al's spirit was released. The next morning as we were being marched out, Al came flying in in a helicopter, spraying the ground with Uzi fire. The guards ran in panic, and we all jumped in. We escaped back to the USA.

Unfortunately, we didn't get the master tape of "To Be A Butt." To add insult to injury, Señor Jose released the Kapital Punishment album, which went to number one on the Mexican charts. We, of course, never got a penny from this album.

Tell us how the Battle of the Buttocks came to be.

Well, in thanks, Al decided to sponsor the Battle of the Buttocks. It was held December 23, 1995, the twelfth anniversary of the Butt Festival. This was to be the biggest, and final event in Ted Chain history. It would consist of a concert by two all-star groups, followed by a massive jam featuring as many Ted Chain musicians as we could fit on a stage.

The two all-star groups were Ted's Buttocks, and J.J.'s Buttocks. Ted's group consisted of Ted on guitar and keyboards, Al on guitar, Scott on bass, and you [Jack Anus] on drums. My group consisted of me on rhythm guitar, Screamin' Semen on drums, Dr. Malpractis on keyboards, M.Y.Hemmorhoids on bass, and my old friend Mr. ? of the "Name Not Released Band" on guitar.

Each group was on a different stage, and took turns playing their interpretations of Buttocks classics like, "Fall on Uranus," "Tribute to Indian," etc.... The final jam was to be a massive version of "Washing Machine." [see Appendix B for the list of participants]

We ended up having six drummers, eleven bassists, seventeen keyboardists, and twenty-three guitarists. Unfortunately, there were so many TFA stacks going that structural damage to the roof of the arena started to occur. During Scott's bass solo in "Washing Machine," the ceiling started to crack, then to crumble, then to fall in. A guy out in the crowd with a decibel meter said we were pushing 140 decibels. Anyway, as the roof started to fall in, Ted dropped his guitar and ran from the stage screaming, "It's every man for himself!" Unfortunately, he tripped on his guitar cord and fell down, and one of his TFA stacks fell on him, pinning him and his guitar to the stage. He later said it was the most incredible feedback he had ever heard, even worse than at the Butt Festival 1983.

Everyone ran in chaos, the musicians and the crowd. Everyone that is, except for Scott and the Bangers, who were all on the stage. They stayed on the stage and finished the song, even after the roof had collapsed and all the crowd and musicians had fled. When they emerged from the rubble, the survivors gave them a standing ovation.

So that was the last event in Ted Chain history?

Yes. You could say it ended not with a whimper, but with the Bangers.


Appendix A

An analysis of the "Random Chord Technique" by J.J. Jammer.

Appendix B

Participants in the Battle of the Buttocks.

Copyright ©1996, The Ted Chain