Music Interview

Mean Little Interview

By Marcus Pan

Mean Little ManI found the time one day to sit down with Chris Eissing, the Mean Little Man himself, over lunch one day. Mean Little Man Productions have been trying to live up to their slogan: "Getting our grubby little hands on everything we can." At current, their web site (http://www.zenweb.com/mlm) is filled with rants and biting comments; not for the faint of heart. But it gives a little bit of insight into the variety of things MLM has stuck their hands in.

The Mean Little Man
Chris Eissing has been working at various production efforts for some time now, even going so far back as his CE Productions Unlimited brainchild in high school. He admits this effort "died quickly," however, and Mean Little Man Productions is another attempt. He began it as a "vehicle to get my own stuff out." While most of his production involvement surrounds music, other ideas bounce around inside his skull that gives the "everything we can" part of the slogan quite a bit of life. From an interesting web site designed well with frames, imagery and a little bit of darkness; to music, writing and even talk of independent movies, Eissing has built up a small tower of Babel that continues to add things to its repertoire (the recent Farm Funk Festival to be yet another column on this tower). Asked if this is a hobby or a life, he says, "I want to do more than live off it. I want to thrive off it." Whether or not one man can hold this dark, lopsided tower up himself remains to be seen. He's doing well with it so far.

He found himself involved in theater at the age of eight and continued to deal with the entertainment industry from then on. In high school, his jazz band made him a lot of connections and he thereafter beefed this up with a production company job in the promotions department which he helped build. In college, he's earned himself a BA in Communications and minored in theater, philosophy and journalism; a good combination for the job of promoting and launching Mean Little Man Productions.

MLMMusic
Currently involved mostly in music and unsigned talent, his roster of bands like Misercordia, Plastic Houses, Right Lane Ends, Bumbalaya Jones & his Halfwit Brother and Salisburry Hill will lead one to believe they're lining up at his door. In actuality, those bands are himself playing on different genres and ideas. Utilizing a recording archive of a decade, Eissing has put together quite a collection with three releases thus far including "Misercordia" (experimental, techno-goth), the "Mean Little Sampler" (made up of cuts from all of his pseudo-names) and "The Coffeehouse Sessions" by No Release's Brian Fallon, his first musical attempt not made up of himself. He also hopes to have "Ten Years," by his Plastic Houses outfit, out by late Summer. All his various pseudo-names carry with them genres of music from techno-goth to grunge to jazz. And all his music seems to cross these barriers in various places. When writing his music, he first says he wishes to "create an environment of sound," after which he then listens to it to decide which name the style of music better fits.

Eissing normally does not court his artists, hoping they would instead come to him. This has happened with Brian Fallon of No Release. They met at the Timestill Café, a coffee house where Eissing occasionally played some of his acoustic music and occasionally controlled the microphone on their open mic nights. This was in August of '95 and Eissing remembers him thusly; "Brian was an angry punk." He also remembers that, "at Timestill, he had a small entourage. Everyone knew him, but he was still separate." Currently, Fallon is Eissing's only other act besides himself, which he seems fine with considering that MLM was to promote himself in the beginning anyway (similar to how Legends Magazine started, actually). And on finding and working with new artists, he says, "I don't want to work with someone I don't like," stressing first the idea of building a base of friendship on which to further build business relations. "How can I put my heart behind somebody I don't like?" he states matter-of-factly.

Web Site
The web site, developed in full by Eissing, is an interesting place; appropriately called the "Mean Little Site." Currently there is a rant about the Farm Funk Festival and it's fall through (see "Where's the Funk?" in this issue). A warning on the front also warns that you shouldn't enter if "you take crap too seriously." Inside, one of his first statements concerns those who don't think the picture shows his real hair. His response is simply: "Bite me." So that should give you a hint as to what else you can find inside, from poetry to prose, web design to music samples (not available at the time of this writing). His goal for the web site is to not only have a little fun, but as a tool to get his name out there. He even has a serial novel in the works that he hopes to display there, so you can see just how diverse MLM has become. Says Eissing: "This site is a showcase. It's fun the way we want to have fun doing things, but its also a call to perspective clients - any creatives - as to 'Don't you want someone working for you that enjoys what they do this much?'"

The above item may have been edited by the author since its first appearance in Legends No. 71.