Sub Pop 30: The Rise and Fall of Full Toilet with Kurt Bloch

Interviews, Sub Pop 30
Matthew Howland
photo by Brady Harvey
"I can't promise you anything about Full Toilet, but I can threaten." — Kurt Bloch

Full Toilet is many things: a call to arms, a new world order, an utter mistake. After years of marinating in the bowels of Seattle rock, Kurt Bloch re-emerged with the Full Toilet 7" single, released in 2011 on Sub Pop Records. As preparation for Sub Pop's 30th Anniversary, KEXP decided to re-engage with the oeuvre of Full Toilet, speaking to Mr. Bloch about his creation of the Full Toilet mythology and unearthed the much-loathed Full Toilet in-studio, originally aired on KEXP's punk show Sonic Reducer. While Bloch refused to apologize for the mistakes of Full Toilet or his alter ego Don Sheets, the interview was a view into the madness that inspired the project. 

KEXP: The Full Toilet 7" was released in 2011 on Sub Pop Records. How did Full Toilet first cheat their way onto Sub Pop?

Kurt Bloch: Holy moly. I think I made that record and I must have given a few of the songs to someone… I don't even know if I even intended to make a Full Toilet record. It was just something, but there was no intent for it to be released. Drew Church —  who was one of the spearheaders of the [Give The People What We Want: Songs of the Kinks] comp ten years earlier — thought it was really funny and ended up being in the Full Toilet band. It was everybody else's idea to actually make a band out of it.

I believe it was Dean Whitmore at Sub Pop, a buddy of mine, who said let's see if Sub Pop wants to put it out. I was like, yeah right, but then he said they actually did. I think at some point I had the album all ready to go, and I was going to send it off and make 500 copies of the 45 myself. Maybe Sub Pop would distribute it or something, but then they actually offered to put it out.

We made up some great stories of how we were kicked off Sub Pop before our next record. Like how the Full Toilet record was intended to be a 12" because it was 13 songs. But when it finally came out, it was on a little record, and we told them this isn't what we wanted, we recorded 13 songs so we wanted it to be a full album. So we had got in a fight and gotten kicked out and were told never to return to Sub Pop again. All the copies of the record were destroyed. 

photo by Brady Harvey


Did writing Full Toilet material feel different than making music in the past? 

That's a pretty hard question to answer because that first Full Toilet single was never intended to be released in any way. I think I just had a drum set in an office at my house, there was a little recording situation there… and I couldn’t come up with any songs that would be right for traditional bands, but I could come up with these. You just want to keep doing something, and this is the music that came out. I didn’t have any proper pop songs or any regular rock songs, but these ones are ready to come out, so let's just do that. 

The 7" does remain one the most anti-social releases on Sub Pop, which is an impressive feat. 

Yeah, that’s gotta be pretty impressive. How many years down the line… 23 years from the beginning of the label, to make an anti-authoritarian, anti-social record? That’s a good achievement.

Let's look forward to Full Toilet hopefully making an appearance at Sub Pop’s 30th Anniversary concert. 

Well, let's just see about that. The Full Toilet band is oscillating around the greater Seattle area just waiting for the atoms and the neutrons and the protons to collide in the same space at the same time… it could happen. 

That comes off like a threat. 

That’s not a threat, that’s a promise. I can't promise you anything about Full Toilet, but I can threaten. I can lay down that threat.

Full Toilet's 2014 in-studio, as featured on Sonic Reducer, can be re-lived here on the KEXP website. It remains the sole opportunity the band has had to debase the KEXP airwaves thus far. Mr. Bloch and Fastbacks will reunite for the Sub Pop 30th Anniversary Celebration on August 11th at Alki Beach.

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