Barbara Manning - the SF SEAL

Barbara and I met up for beers on June 27th. As you'll read, things didn't go very well.

CB: How long were the Seals together?

Barbara: The beginning of the Seals was driving over the bridge with Mad V. Dog and him saying "I've got a good name for a new band, the SF Seals!" and I said "Yeah! That's it! And that was in 1992."

CB: And you were in his band at that time, right?

Barbara: Merchants of the New Bizarre. I was a washboard player extraordinare.

CB: Was Mad V. Dog ever in the Seals?

Barbara: No, we recorded together though for a Conflict CD. Soluble Fish.

CB: Wow, I never saw that.

Barbara: Yeah, Mike McGonigal had a lot to do with it. He put it together.

CB: Oh, so it was kind of a Chemical Imbalance thing.

Barbara: Oh yeah, not Conflict, Chemical Imbalance. I'm glad you got that straight.

CB: Is it on the one that just came out?

Barbara: No, it came out a long time ago. Right when Mad Dog and I broke up in 1993.

CB: So you've been in a lot of bands, and your role has changed from band to band.

Barbara: 28th Day, World of Pooh, Tablespoons, SF Seals, Stuart Moxham's thing, Glands of External Secretion. I've played with lots of different people and we didn't necessarily have a band name.

CB: So would you say you're the kind of musician who will jam with anyone, just because you love to play?

Barbara: No way! I have to feel inspired. I'm not the kind of person who will join in just because someone else is playing a guitar and I have one with me. If I'm playing up on stage, I don't want someone from the audience to just jump up and play with me.

CB: Well, no, I meant more like in party situations.

Barbara: I usually just like to watch those things or run away from them, one or the other. With the Stuart Moxham record, I didn't know what the songs were going to be like, each day. Every day it was two new songs that I'd never heard before. You're not familiar with that album are you?

CB: No, I--

Barbara: <interrupting> And you're not familiar with 28th Day or World of Pooh, you don't know anything about that? You're the type of person I normally don't give interviews to then.

CB: Really?

Barbara: I'm really hard on people who don't know anything about me. Because if they're interviewing me, they're only doing it because I have a name and they'll sell magazines.

CB: Well no, I'm interviewing you because I think you are interesting--

Barbara: <interupting> Well then, you shouldn't ask me questions like these. These are what you should do your background history on. If you think I'm an interesting person, why do you want to ask me questions that you could easily go back three issues of a magazine and find all that out? You should know me better than that.

CB: Well, I don't think everyone reading an interview printed in my magazine is necessarily going to be familiar with you, or have read previous interviews with you.

Barbara: I disagree. If you want the stock interview, with stock answers that's what you're going to get.

CB: Well no, that's not what I'm looking for.

Barbara: You're lucky, because normally I would have ended the interview right there. Anybody who doesn't know anything about what I've done, I don't have time for them. You've had ways of getting ahold of the music I've made, and listening to all of it. Before doing an interview you need to do your homework on the person.

CB: I agree, I'm sorry I'm not familiar with all your material. Maybe we should take a break.

I turned off the tape recorder at this point, and Barbara decided that the interview was over. I asked her a few weeks later if she still wanted to record a song for the record in this issue and she said she didn't see the point. Oh well.