Secret Paper Moon is a DIY lo-fi rock and roll duo from Pittsburgh. You can check out some of their stuff over at their SoundCloud page. I want to thank Richard Magnelli (Drums/Vocals) and Stewart James (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.
The first album you ever bought?
Richard: The first album that I bought with my own money was “KISS – 20th Century Masters”. I always thought that KISS would be like a super, heavy band, but I heard ‘Strutter’ in some Tony Hawk video game and liked the sound. The first album I ever really like received was “Space Ghost’s Musical Barbecue”.
Stew: I always tell people that it was “Never Mind the Bullocks Here’s the Sex Pistols” but it was actually “Americana” by The Offspring.
Your last album bought?
Richard: I bought a bunch of albums all at once recently at Soundcat. I like taking a chance with obscure stuff, especially comps of long forgotten bands. I ended up getting The 1985 “Nerve Eighty”, Lord High Fixers “When the Revolution Comes”, The Molecules “No-Fi”, The Vanishing “Songs for Psychotic Children”, Various Artists “Shielded By Death Vol. 1: Busted at the Lit”, Alan Vega “DujangPrang”, The Wailers “The Fabulous Wailers”, Yoshimi & Yuka “Flower with No Color”.
Stew: “Talk Talk Talk” by the Psychedelic Furs, “The Blow-UP” Television, “New Beginning” Tracy Chapman, “Pristine Smut” by the Murmurs, “I ♥ Mekons and Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “Songs of Love and Hate” by Leonard Cohen, and “Youth is Wasted on the Young” by the Twelve Caesers.
Favorite album of all time?
Richard: That’s hard for me to pick, but it’s something among Sonic Youth’s “Bad Moon Rising or Evol”, “Colossal Youth” by Young Marble Giants, “The Velvet Underground & Nico” or the fourth Messthetics comp.
Stew: It’s really hard say. A lot of it depends on the time of day and what kind of mood I’m in. When I was sixteen I used to turn both stereo speakers at my head and play “Daydream Nation” as loud as it would go – so I always just say it was that album.
Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Richard: The Stooges “The Weirdness”. It was actually the first Stooges record I bought, but over time I really got to hear the off-ness of Iggy’s voice on that record. I also got some really disappointing thrash metal stuff in Eides’ dollar bin once, but that was a total gamble.
Stew: Man, I’d have to think about that for a while. Like there’s a lot of stuff that I remember liking at the time that doesn’t really hold past certain life experiences. I think this question is more of a what record do you remember being really excited for but ended up disliking upon its release but I guess I’ve never really bought ‘new’ albums. I ordered “Sounds of Silver” from the UK when it came out which is record that I still really love. I also paid like 4 bucks for “In Rainbows” when they did that pay whatever you want sort of thing. I like Radiohead. I’m not like, in love with Radiohead but I genuinely believe that “The Bends” is a great record. I can’t really remember buying something that was ‘new’ since then… To actually answer, it’s probably actually “Never Mind the Bullocks”. It’s not that the songs are bad, it’s just that the production on that record makes it nigh unlistenable.
First concert attended?
Richard: The first concert I remember going to was some kind of local bands showcase at the Boyd Community Center when I was 14. The bands weren’t really that good. I didn’t like musick until I was in 8th grade so I never had any Blink-182 phase.
Stew: The Clarks when I was five, and then I went to some sort of 93.7 event when I was like 11 or 12. The first concert I went to when I was actually making choices was probably either a show at the American Music Café in Murrysville or Against Me.
Richard: The last concert I attended was a benefit for Transpride that happened at City Grows on February 7th. I played the show as Satyr/Elfheim, and I was super impressed with Dung Rifle’s set.
Stew: I went to Crucible Sound here in Pittsburgh which is for lack of a better term, experimental music. I mostly go to noise shows around town. I think the last concert I went to was Peter Murphy.
Favorite concert ever?
Richard: That’s a really tough one, but it’d probably have to be one of the shows at Roup House. Probably the show where I took pictures of Hunted Creatures from the roof or the last show where Seth LeDonne knocked a bookcase over, and I got the cops called on us because my amp was so loud. All the shows there were like awesome parties where everyone hung around; I really miss it.
Stew: Either Acid Mothers Temple or the Plastic People of the Universe.
Least favorite concert?
Richard: That’s not as tough as the last one. It’s either the show I played last October at Howlers dressed as a witch or the time I saw SunnO))). The Howlers show got really boring, and I was excited to be at two different parties where I had friends to talk to; it’s one of the only shows that I’ve left early from. The SunnO))) show was super loud, boring, and went on way too long.
Stew: I actually had to leave a White Mice concert once because it was too loud. They had this giant bass drum with the back cut out and saw blades on the cymbal stands. We tried to stick it out but wound up outside smoking still thinking that it was too fucking loud. Being said, it wasn’t altogether a bad experience.
Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Richard: I’ve lived here my whole life. I like being a part of the musick community; I feel like I’m making a difference in the city. I really enjoyed blogging shows that I attended, but it’s a rarity now. It’s nice being on the Mr. Roboto Project’s Board of Directors. To quote The Dykes, “I want Pittsburgh to be fun”.
Stew: I like the geography. Most of my favorite shows are more like informal performances at house parties or get-togethers by the fire. I saw Calvin Johnson here once and it completely changed how I thought about songwriting. Seeing Dinosaur Jr. playing ‘Just Like Heaven’ was also phenomenal.
Thanks, fellas. I’ll say it again, what you guys do is the heart of Pittsburgh music. You are the epitome of the Pittsburgh music scene and I thank you so much for that.