We’ve already spoken a couple times about the thrilling kitchen-sink noise-pop of L.A.-based Band To Watch HEALTH. So far, though, no real word on the guys’ current employment status. Turns out affixing a job to each member’s a bit easier than explaining exactly what the four do in the forever-shifting lineup/live show: Jake Duzsik, a medical historian, handles main voice (on the record), guitar, bass, effects; John Famiglietti, a document specialist at Ernst and Young, takes care of voice, guitar, bass, effects; Jupiter Keyes, the ESL teacher, tackles voice, guitar, bass, effects; and the one dude who specializes, BJ Miller, an antique store clerk, plays drums.
During CMJ week, HEALTH passed along the previously unreleased, dance floor-ready Narctrax remix of the excellent album opener “Heaven.” A week later, they’re kind enough to pass along yet another new remix, this one by L.A. electro-musician/producer Jason Chung aka Nosaj Thing. You can hear the frostily hollowed-out glitch-clapper after my discussion with HEALTH about spreadsheets, antiques, and robot arms.
John Famiglietti, document specialist
STEREOGUM: How does one become a document specialist?
JOHN FAMIGLIETTI: I don’t know, its a position they created out of necessity mostly cuz Microsoft makes shit-ass software. I got the job through a temp agency, highly recommended to dudes in bands, way more money than your “cool” job and less work … unless you’re a document specialist.
STEREOGUM:How long you been doing it?
JF: Four months.
STEREOGUM: What kind of spreadsheets are you making?
JF: Really really long ones of corporate stuff. I don’t pay attention to content. It’s not all spreadsheets — its also reports and like breakdowns of procedures and stuff. Mostly corporate mergers for giant Satan related shit like DubaiWorld. Everything is formatting of stuff. Formatting reports, spreadsheets, proofreading letters. Boring shit.
STEREOGUM: What’s the office culture like?
JF: Weird. The office is dead quiet, tons of employees but no one knows each other or talks ever. However, it’s pretty cool, cuz it’s surprisingly not very corporate, lots of people working in this accountant atmosphere have side-lives making indie films and shit, so they’re stoked I’m in a band. Everyone kisses my ass cuz the whole team depends on getting the formatting done in time.
STEREOGUM: Any other document specialists?
JF: One other in the building, a handful across the country. She’s the top dog. The workload is insane, so she demanded they hire another … me.
STEREOGUM: What other sorts of “specialists” work at Ernst and Young?
JF: Fuck if I know.
STEREOGUM: Do you have a dress code?
JF: Dress shirt, dress shoes, but no tie. I keep forgetting the shoes but no one says anything when I do.
STEREOGUM: Are your co-workers into HEALTH?
JF: Everyone is interested. I get a lot of questions, but most of ‘em haven’t listened to the music. Only the admin girls are fans: they check the Myspace and ratted me out when we posted the US tour.
BJ Miller, antique store clerk
STEREOGUM: How long have you been at the store?
BJ MILLER: I have worked there for two years or so.
STEREOGUM: What sort of stuff does the place sell?
BJM: Anything from craftsman furniture and Victorian stuff to costume jewelry, lot’s of California pottery, pinball machines, and Mica Shades.
STEREOGUM: You do any restoration?
BJM: Currently I am trying to restore my brain cells. Tour is rough.
STEREOGUM: Do you have a background in antiques? Own any?
BJM: I don’t have the money to own most of the shit we sell, but I am sentimental, and usually hang on to things for way too long.
STEREOGUM: How are the customers?
BJM: The weirdest people come in to antique shops, plus some really cool people, so it’s a trade off. Lot of celebrities. So far I have seen Charlie Sheen, Scott Bakula, Kirkwood Smith, Jerry Cantrell, yada yada. The best times are between you and your coworkers, and the good people who do come in. There is a customer named Keith who reminded me the joys of the Bubble Puppy. And dealers Bob Anderson, from Seattle, and his son Ryan, who dives off of antenna’s with a parachute. Israel, the custodian, he plays at Il Paraiso, which is on 3rd Street at one end of the alley leading to the Smell. He plays Cumbia Friday through Sunday, from 8pm to 2am, for a few bucks. My manager Lou is one of the best people I have ever known. I have nothing but respect for him. And there are two women constantly dressing me. It’s great.
STEREOGUM: Does your boss know about HEALTH?
BJM: Absolutely. I told him about us in the interview. He is actually Jim from the Smell’s Cousin, so they say. He is a dedicated HEALTH fan. And is convinced I will be picked up by an international-super-stadium-rock band. So I’d say he knows about it, but I don’t know about that! He has also taken me back after several extended tours with the band, and that alone demonstrates his support.
Jupiter Keyes, ESL instructor
STEREOGUM: Where do you teach?
JUPITER KEYES: I hate my job.
STEREOGUM: How many students?
JK: I want to quit my job.
STEREOGUM: Or is it one-on-one?
JK: I hate my job.
STEREOGUM: It’s an ESL class?
JK: And kill myself.
STEREOGUM: All set.
Jake Duzsik, medical historian
STEREOGUM: Does the band take it’s name from your job as a medical historian?
JAKE DUZSIK: Well, I guess I was working there when were trying to come up with names, so kind of. But it’s not inspired by my love for my job.
STEREOGUM: How’d you get into this?
JD: I needed a job after I finished college
STEREOGUM: Did you go to school for it?
JD: Nope, English and World Literature.
STEREOGUM: Um, what do you do exactly?
JD: It’s not what it sounds like. I work in an orthopaedic surgeon’s office. A patient comes in, I review their medical records before seeing them, entailing MRI reports, EMG/NCV nerve diagnostics, Operative reports, etc. They have everything in there, even psychiatric reports, where people divulge shit that even their spouses don’t know. I do this in order to assemble a workable chronology of their “history” of treatment. These are all people who were injured at work, the doctor I work for is a medical arbiter, due the fact that a judge lacks the expertise to make decisions on medical necessity. So we have no association with lawyers or insurance companies or any shit bags like that.
Anyway, I then interview the patient. Example: Some guy tells me some depressing-ass story about lifting a water jug or some shit. He fucks up his neck, gets spinal fusion surgery, develops chronic laryngitis due to screws abutting his esophagus, then dudes wife leaves him cuz he sounds like Darth Vader when he sleeps and he can’t play catch with his kid anymore … then he gets addicted to Percocet and his house gets foreclosed on, etc. So it can be a bit of a downer, but sometimes it is really fascinating.
I’m bilingual so I do about 40% of the interviews in Spanish. Then I write narrative medical legal reports that go to law firms and the state. Yeah, totally punk rock.
STEREOGUM: You get to do any interesting outside, but related research?
JD: Sometimes there is research into certain disorders that might fall with orthopaedic, neurologic, or rheumatologic fields.
STEREOGUM: Do you find a particular area of sickness most interesting?
JD: The neurological and psychosomatic pain disorders are the most interesting…
STEREOGUM: You must’ve picked up some level of medical knowledge from this. Can you tell us about some medical trends we should anticipate in coming years?
JD: Robot arms.
STEREOGUM: Will there ever be a cure for the common cold?
JD: Dude, you’re gonna have robot arms, don’t worry about it.
[John (top left), Jupiter (front left), Jake (front right), BJ (top right)]
HEALTH is out on Lovepump United.