A conversation with Honus Honus

 

    We spoke with Honus Honus about his favorite medieval siege weapon, what he would do with an infinite collection of severed hands, his fictitious memories of being in the womb and the first 10 years he spent on Earth.

    I love how they used to lather up unfortunate souls with butter, sugar, and salt and then catapult them over castle walls.


    We asked Ryan what happened during the first 10 years of his life.

    Age 1

    I was born in Abilene, Texas. There was a freak flash flood on the day I was born and it never rains much in that part of the country. My grandmother claims she caught bronchitis that day and it plagued her until the day she died. I was also born half-blind because the doctor nicked my left eye during the delivery. My vision eventually came back, but it’s not as good in that eye. When I’m really exhausted and struggling through serious bouts of insomnia, it’s really noticeable that I’m a “wild-eyed Texan.” These are all true stories.

    Age 2

    I moved to the Philippines with my family. I was small enough to fit in a bucket when I bathed. I was adorable. Sigh.

    Age 3

    I went to the swimming pool with my neighbors’ family and was dared by another boy to dive to the bottom of the pool. I wanted to impress a girl, so I naturally agreed. It was a baby pool and I ripped open my chin on the concrete bottom and had to get a lot of stitches — still have the scar. Learned several very valuable lessons that day: always appraise the situation, girls like blood, and don’t be an idiot who dives headfirst into shallow water.

    Age 4

    I saw Victor Borge on Sesame Street and began my lifelong — and fruitless — search for piano benches that have a seatbelt built in them. I also discovered that if you bang your head on the keys of a grand piano, it sounds incredible. At this age, I really enjoyed eating ice cream cones (sans ice cream), Felix the Cat and hiding from the lipsticked seamstress who’d make the punishing little sailor outfits and suits my mother loved to torture me with. The seamstress would chase me around the house trying to leave lipstick kisses on me and I’d scream like a banshee to get away. I also apparently saw and had a conversation with a Duende, a goblin that preys on children, in our backyard.

    Age 5

    Moved to South Carolina. On the way home from preschool, a short commute, my dad let me ride in the back of his pick up truck. We stopped at a gas station and he ran inside to get me an Icee. I decided that I wanted to join him inside, so I reached over the hitch to unlock the back of the truck and was immediately thrown headfirst into the pavement. When my dad walked back, Icee in hand, he saw a small crowd gathering around the truck. I had to get more stitches. Valuable lessons learned: don’t lean on the hitch of the truck while you unlock it, and Icees make everything better.

    Age 6

    I wanted tap shoes so I could teach myself to dance and also just so I could make a lot of noise every time I walked anywhere. I didn’t realize that tap dancers took lessons — I figured it was all in the shoes, in the same way that I first thought wearing sunglasses meant you could stare directly at the sun. Instead of buying me tap shoes, though, my mother made me take ballet. I lasted about a month or so. I just wanted the damn tap shoes. I also learned to ride a bike that year, I think. I used the momentum of our sloped driveway to get going, but once I started I couldn’t stop. I needed a hill to start again. Because of this, I was hotdogging in my neighborhood showing off to, you guessed it, some girls and I wasn’t paying attention and I wrapped my bike around a mailbox and had to push my bike all the way home, blood dripping from my chin, since I couldn’t ride from a dead stop. I had to get more stitches on my chin. We also had a family cat but I got my own kitten this year. I named her Leah, after the princess.

    Age 7

    I fell in love with The Goonies. While on a rooster hunt (AKA throwing pebbles at some overly aggressive jerks) with a friend on his family’s massive property, we stumbled across an enormous water/mudlogged hill in the middle of the woods. I decided it was the perfect time to re-enact my favorite scene from The Goonies when they travel down the waterslides towards One-Eyed Willy’s lagoon. My mother and her friend were not very pleased when we showed up covered head to toe in mud and bloody scratches.

    Age 8

    I moved to Germany. During the first few months, we lived in a room on the top floor of a hotel in a tiny German town. It was my first exposure to a German breakfast of Brotchen, which are German rolls, and pate. I used to pretend to eat these, but I’d actually just drop them off our balcony at people walking below us. I remember seeing Police Academy II a few times at the movie theater around the corner. This was also the year I joined choir, not knowing what choir meant. A teacher came into my second grade class and asked who wanted to join choir and most of the girls raised their hands. I did too. When I found out I had to sing in front of people, I was mortified. I spent the next 3 years lip-syncing. Seriously. I never once sang aloud. That’s so crazy to think about now. On a heavier note, my 2nd grade teacher got sick and was replaced mid-year. She ended up passing away and it was my first brush with death.

    Age 9

    I remember sticking a suction cup cat toy on my forehead and playing with Leah. I had to go to school the next day with an enormous suction cup hickey on my forehead. I also lost the qualifying round of my school spelling bee by spelling “beater” with two “e”s.

    Age 10

    The first time I had an awareness of Michael Jordan. A classmate drew a picture of some sneakers and he told me they were Air Jordans. I didn’t know what the hell he meant, but it was so mysterious. I made an ashtray for my dad. He didn’t smoke, so it became a soap dish. We moved to Illinois at the end of the school year and the Midwest became a new petri dish of informative life experiences.


    1

    Morgan Enos

    What is your favorite cut of meat? Can you make a quick diagram of what the choice cuts of meat on your body might be, in case you were going to eaten by a larger predator and wanted them to have the right culinary experience?

    Ryan Kattner

    Cheek. I have healthy cheeks so I know I’d be delicious. Honestly, I don’t think a larger predator would be very picky when it came to eating me or anyone else. It’s not like they cook, right? If they did have the ability to prepare food, then that’s really what we all should be worried about or capitalizing on. Think about the second market for spices, animal cooking utensils, bespoke aprons and chief hats, etc.

    2

    What’s your favorite primitive or siege weapon? If you could design your own in order to conquer a nearby kingdom, what would it be? How would it work?

    The human cannonball. I love how they used to lather up unfortunate souls with butter, sugar, and salt and then catapult them over castle walls. The ones who managed to travel over the walls would rarely survive the excursion, but the occupants of the beleaguered fortress would be so delighted at the “manna” from heaven (overlooking the crushed body it came in with) that they’d stuff their mouths full of the stuff.

    The eventual dysentery would thin the ranks from the inside out and make any survivors rue the day they ate sweet and savory butter from off a dead man’s corpse. I think The Breeders’ song “Cannonball” has a couple of lines that elude to this primitive weapon. I don’t know if you can design a better weapon that this one.

    3

    Can you tell us your ten favorite songs you’ve ever written – and describe them as if they were ten living people you’re friends with?

    I like all the songs I’ve written, so you’re a real SOB for making me have to choose only ten.


    Melancholy but poetic friend who you wanna help but can’t.


    Hopeless romantic buddy who is constantly in a state of flux but always open to trying again and again. Also, has an endless supply of fireworks hidden somewhere throughout the house.


    Welsh roommate with a twinkle in his eye and a loaded gun under his pillow.


    Only listens to doo wop and will someday swim into the ocean and never return to shore.


    Right as you’re falling asleep, he comes home naked and wakes everyone up.


    Smooth operator with Michael McDonald hair and peak John Oates mustache. Only wears tight dad jeans with a button down denim shirt of the same color. Definitely one earring, a tiny 24 carat hoop. You’ll go to your best friend’s wedding and wake up with him making coffee and toast for you and wearing a bathrobe you never knew you owned.


    She’s beautiful, haunted, and out of your league. Look away.


    Used to be very gregarious and free, now doesn’t leave their bedroom. It’ll pass.


    Enjoys crafting birdhouses out of bones.


    Extremely short, crazy triplets who eat all your food, smash all your kitchenware and park their small minibikes in the living room.

    4

    Lately, I’ve been interested in Otzi, the remarkably well-preserved “Iceman” who lived around 3,300 BCE. He had remarkably sophisticated weapons and clothing, had an arrowhead lodged in his shoulder, and still had herb bread and deer meat left in his digestive system. If you became a natural mummy right now, what would future archaeologists find out about your body? What would they say?

    Dude drank too much tequila.

    5

    Do you remember the first time in your life that you experienced a broken heart?

    Of course. You can listen to it throughout my first album, The Man In A Blue Turban With A Face.

    The most likely scenario is that would I scatter severed hands throughout my house because I think they’re funny.

    6

    Speaking of Otzi — some believe there was a curse associated with him, where those who exhumed and examined him died under mysterious circumstances. What curse would you like to be associated with the unearthing of your body?

    An inexplicable urge to consume tequila and force the music of Man Man, Honus Honus, Mister Heavenly, and Ryan Kattner on people til the day you die.

    7

    Along with sponges, sea cucumbers and spiders, lizards are one of the only animals that can regrow a missing body part – namely, their tail. If you were able to sever your hands an indefinite amount of times and have them regenerate, what would you do with your collection of severed hands?

    Bronze them and make a crib for my never-baby. That sounds like a terrible lyric. Or I’d build a house. A clearly very creepy house that probably won’t go over well with the neighbors but will draw in outsiders like goths to a flame. The most likely scenario is that I scatter them throughout my house because I think they’re funny, forget they’re there because I’ve become so accustomed to seeing them around the house, and they inevitably scare off and terrify any housecleaners that come over.

    8

    Can you describe how the historical domestication of the dog occurred, strictly using your own imagination?

    Dog likes food, man fed dog, dog sticks around. Man spends billions of dollars a year on dogkind. Cats plot revenge.

    9

    Lastly, what is your very first childhood memory? Please describe it for us in as much detail as possible.

    Hearing piano music through the womb. It was very dark and warm in there but was also constantly bathed in a sort of comforting glow. This is a lie.

    Thank you.

    Data


    Conversation: 95
    Curated by:
     Morgan Enos
    Conducted by: Email
    Published: December 22, 2017
    Total questions: 10 + 9
    Word count: 2029
    Reading time: Seven minutes
    Hyperlinks: 14

    Metadata


    Cannonball: Human
    Blindness: 1/2
    Manna: Facile
    Revenge: Cats
    Birdhouse: Bones
    Mania: Accessible
    Housecleaner: Terrified

    Relation


    About the subject


    Ryan Kattner has written, recorded and performed music in or as Honus Honus, Man Man, Mister Heavenly and under his own name. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

    About the curator


    Morgan Enos is a songwriter and journalist originally from California. His curatorial work for North of the Internet aims to strike a deeper place in his conversation subjects — the dreamy subtext to the linear everyday. Morgan also frequently writes power pop records as Other Houses about joy, outer space, frustration, chess and spiritual light. He resides in New York, where he continues to creatively fire on all cylinders.


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