Currents, an Interview Series with Brian Alan Ellis (Episode 8: Jeff Schneider)

JEFF SCHNEIDER was the guitarist for the noise-rock groups Arab On Radar and Made in Mexico, and is the author of Psychiatric Tissues (The Arab On Radar Book), a memoir, and Gallons Per Minute, a collection of short stories. He runs the underground press Pig Roast Publishing, LLC. 

My current favorite book is: Hob Broun’s Inner Tube.  He had been writing in this new fashion after having surgery performed on his spine to remove a few problematic tumors.  He awoke paralyzed from the neck down, and he had this machine that when he blew into it, the thing did the typing. Imagine blowing a novel? The guy had to live on a respirator, and it stopped working and he died from asphyxiation. I think it was a power outage.

My current favorite film is: Burn—starring Marlon Brando, directed by Gillo Pontecorvo. Pontecorvo solves both the far left’s problems and the far right’s problems. It is a blueprint.  If you want to understand the mafia-like structure of the world, watch Burn

My current favorite television show is: The Sopranos, and occasionally this series on The History Channel called The Butcher, which is about the art of chopping up animals. Finding the tenderloin and the location of steaks on the cow is interesting. (That sounds so bad.) I don’t enjoy television much. 

My current favorite band is: Folk och Rackare, a Swedish folk-rock band from Gothenburg that I discovered back in the seventies. Their album, Rackarspel, is doing it for me lately. The song “Aggavisan” is quite a favorite of mine. I prance around the kitchen doing a sailor’s jig. It is great fun.

My current state of mind is: normal. I am reacting to the global decline into neo-liberal schizophrenia. I am grounded, but sometimes cope with slight depression (this is cured with coffee or exercise). I am high in neuroticism, empathy and openness; low in agreeableness and extroversion; and mid-range in conscientiousness.  No addictions at the moment. Affect: calm. Mood: depression in partial remission. 

My current chemical romance involves: …I got hooked and learned all the complicated things about pipe tobacco one must learn, i.e. what are Aromatics, Orientals, English blends, Burley blends, Perique blends Virginias—all this stuff—bowl sizes, good pipes, how to gently tamp etc.  I associate with a lovely group of old codgers who discuss, rate, and bullshit about tobacco and pipes. I am addicted to a degree because Burley is the basic nic hit leaf. Cigarettes are made of Burley; they are just sprayed with chemicals and shit but that is what people are smoking. 

My current favorite quote is:  “Few people love with the violence they hate.”—Norm MacDonald

My current mode of transportation is: my “cah” in Rhode Island.

My current favorite fast food item is: Chicken McNuggets with the hot mustard sauce. They just altered their fries. They taste different over the last few months. Must be Chinese potatoes rather than the usual Russian potato mash they were using. 

My current workout routine consists of: …my plan is to start working out in the spring, a couple months before the warm weather comes, but right now I don’t give a flying fuck about working out because we are in the middle of a pandemic. 

My current regrettable decision involves: my ’03 Silverado. Driving down the driveway, I pushed the brake pedal to the floor and nothing happened. So, I towed it to my trusty mechanic. He tells me fixing it would cost more than the truck’s worth. I had him scrap it. Weeks later, a neighbor that flies a Dixie flag in goddamn Rhode Island (which had some of the most ferocious fighters in the Union, mind you) has my truck in the front yard, all Bondo-ed up. Next to my “Yahweh Or The Highway” and “Pipe Nook” bumper stickers it said, “$5000 OBO.” 

My current hopes and dreams are: to be like Spalding Gray. Have a beautiful white mane of hair, a silver boomer mullet hanging down my upper back, and a Netflix special where I go out on to a stage to adoring fans who will cheer at my drôle and jaded monologues. I’d live in Manhattan and go to parties like the ones in Annie Hall. I’d enter the KGB Bar and people would stare! But then I think of Noah Van Scriver’s Fante Bukowski and all goes to shit with that dream entirely. 

My current projects/hobbies include:  restoring/maintaining a wooden sailboat. I have a 1929 Herreshoff 12.5 that I work on during the winter—sanding, painting, varnishing, and other miscellaneous repairs. I hope I can work on her this winter and sail next summer.  


Jeff Schneider is online at

Brian Alan Ellis runs House of Vlad Press, and is the author of several books, including Sad Laughter (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2018). His writing has appeared at Juked, Hobart, Fanzine, Monkeybicycle, Electric Literature, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Funhouse, Heavy Feather Review, and Yes Poetry, among other places. He lives in Florida.

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