It all started with a cosmic explosion in the center of the universe. Stellar gasses led way to new and exciting sources of light in the infinite blackness. Gravity pulled cluster systems together in sort of a swirling, toilet bowl motion, and right in the middle of that toilet bowl is a band from Layton, Utah named +maschine fetisch+. But let's back it up a bit first...

In 1990, Jeph was browsing the pawn shops of Salt Lake City with a few friends. "Used items carry a certian personality and energy with them. I feel these things speak to me in a way that their owners never would. Almost like walking through an animal shelter or something. You'll have to excuse me for a moment. I have diarrhea." One of these items happened to be a Roland SH-09 analog keyboard.

"Ahh, I'm back. Sorry bout' the smell, but there was no toilet paper in there. Anyways, we asked the guy behind the counter to plug it in, and the first sound we heard was this really wierd 'pwiIEEEEEWWwwww' sound... Brian (Carlson) shouted, 'THIS IS JEOPARDY!' and we all had a good laugh. I saw a future with with this. It had a feeling like, 'I KNOW you could do better with me than my bastard previous owner.'"

Twenty-something dollars later, Jeph had his first REAL keyboard.

"It only had a polyphony of one note, meaning that no chords could be played, but I think that that's what made me concentrate on more of the FEEL of the specific sound and less on the arrangements."

Consequently, the first few songs really weren't all that great. (Jeph tries to defend them and calls them "ambient" at this point.) He then got the great idea of ping-ponging the hell out of the sounds using an old karaoke recorder. Some good, basic ideas were laid out, with the help of a small Yamaha drum machine. A few months later, he went in with his dad and got a Casio.

"It had a one track sequencer, so I could get chords down on that first before they got wrecked by all of that ping-ponging."

In 1992, a couple of jr. high skateboarding buddies approached Jeph. Their names were Mike Marumoto and Brent Schmidt.

"They knew I didn't do any drugs, so they trusted me enough to be punctual. Also, they knew that I liked Ministry, NIN, Dead Kennedys, etc., so later that week we hooked up at Brent's for a jam, and our band (Outcry) was rolling. That's when I met Dustin Savage, who taught me my first guitar line, and Shawn 'Ferris' Erickson, who had the sweetest keyboard I'd ever seen. It was an Ensoniq EPS with a 4X expander."

After about a month, the practice house moved to Mike's grandma's basement.

"We had the whole house to ourselves because she left for the season, but we mostly just kept to the basement. We made a really big bed in one of the rooms that stretched from wall to wall. We called it 'the really big bed'. We would have slam pits on 'the really big bed' to Ministry and RevCo and we would just freak out on it until the wee hours."

Jeph was soon assigned to bass. Mike and Dustin were on guitars and Brent was on drums. It was there that Mike gave Jeph a very essential guitar lesson on where and what all the notes were and how to tune up and some blues riffs to warm up to. Six months and a car wreck later, the practice shifted to Brent's basement where Shawn and Dustin were both let go. The three still played jams and riffs, but needed someone else to fill some spots.

"We needed a keyboardist and a vocalist, so we went to Dale 'Rees' Bushman. He had a nice keyboard and was in senior accapella with me, so I KNEW he could sing." Soon after that, the tune 'Nothing Like the Dream' was created, Dale was booted, and we were back in need of members. Jeph switched to keyboards. Tony Potter was then inducted into the band to play bass, along with another guy named Wayne on vocals.

"Yeah, I remember Wayne. Mike knew him from school and said that he had a great voice and we decided to let him sing. Within a month, I was singing harmony about Tony McCoy, the good ol' Kentucky boy. That bastard still has my guitar..."

A show had been scheduled at Snow Basin after a few months of practice, but Wayne never showed up to sing.

Another car wreck later, things were just decided to have Jeph sing and play keyboards, and the name 'Picture Book' was agreed on. A few shows were played: Layton Commons Park, Weber State Union Ballroom, Tony's Garage... Then along came the Mormon missions.

Within the two year absence of Mike and Brent, Jeff and Tony didn't do much more than start spelunking and go fishing in Weber State University's goldfish pond. In early 1994, Jeph came across an Ensoniq EPS in a used music store and put it on layaway.

"I frequented pawn shops. I found a 4-track Tascam recorder and could finally record how I wanted to. I had a lot of time on my hands those days. I started off midi-ing a Kawai drum machine and my EPS together and made 'mecca', which is off of the 'Custom Made Children and the Conservative Monarchy Conspiracy' tape. The whole album took about a month and a half to concieve, and that was WITH a girlfriend!"

The album features songs like 'A Big Joke' and 'The Simpleton' which are both currently available in digital format at Work on the second album, 'Alexander', had already begun.

"I was married and living in a studio apartment during most of this one. I recorded most of the lyrics in a raquetball court. I didn't have a vocal processor with reverb, and the raquetball-- Oh, damn... Awwwggg... I think- Ugggghh, I think I'm gonna be SICK! Hold on... Wait for me!"

Well, uh, the album was completed by the time Brent and Mike returned back. The band started back up in that same basement and continued on through until Tony aquired his own house. This is when Cory Nelson started showing up and helping with mixing and lights. They all set up shop, lights, and P.A. system, and re-named the band 'Denial' They had decided to take a more industrial approach to the music because they just weren't quite cut out to do new romantic.

"Did I miss anything? (*pant*) I'm sorry. (*swallow, pant-pant*) I think it was the brown fried rice *pant* I ate yesterday. (*pant-pant*) You still need to get some- (*pant*) some toilet paper in there. (*pant*)"

After some intense practices, several songs were constructed. Weekly shows took place in the basement of Tony's house, one of which, on a Halloween night...

"Oh, yeah! That one was cool! Tony has all of these crazy ideas that we pulled off. He liked to shock people and give them something to remember. If it wasn't for him, none of us would have learned how to perform. Anyways, on this Halloween, he wanted to stage something with lots of fire. When we pulled down the curtian, the crowd saw blazing torches attatched to the wall, a T.V. set with crazy video stuff in back of us, and we were wearing all this leather and make-up and stuff, just thrashing around like a fish just hoisted above the water. Collectively, we only knew about half of the people out there, and we didn't know HOW the hell they all fit. We opened up with a cover of Joy Division's 'Dead Souls'... There were pits swirling around, people drinking all over the place, people running up and slamming with us while we were playing... Best show ever! Anyways, we didn't tell anybody what was in store. This is how the show ended: Tony wanted me to 'knock him out', so I did. A scary sequence played and I could hear people going, 'Is Tony okay? What's going on???' Tony just layed there, pretending to be knocked out, while Mike and Brent got the wooden altar. We hefted Tony up, covered him with a sheet, and dumped my 'water bottle' (which was really rubbing alcohol) all over it, and set the thing on fire with one of the candles. It blazed up pretty fast, man! By then, the music sequence in back of us was getting louder... and louder... and faster... and FASTER... All of Tony's girlfriends were screaming, and then I see Tony drop out of the trap door and haul ass to the back bedroom. He was glowing. I ran behind him to put him out. He was in this bed trying to smother himself with the sheets, and we finally got him put out. I heard, 'Aaaaahhhhhh......' with the faint sound of people screaming and Brent yelling, 'HEEEEEYYYY!!!! HAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!!!!' Then we pulled the sheet back to take care of what's going on back on stage. 'MY BALLS! OH, NO, MY BALLS!!!' We pulled the sheet back up and put out his hot crotch. He was wearing fishnet stockings, so some of it melted into his skin. Eeee-yowch, huh!?! We ran the other way through a crowd of escaping people and saw this RAGING fire... RIGHT THERE IN TONY'S BASEMENT! Jim (one of Tony's roommates) moseyed over with a fire extinguisher and all we saw was a small puff out of the end. You see, we had tested it before to make sure that it worked. Someone threw a blanket over the celing-high fire and by then, the only people in the basement were the band members, Cory, and maybe a couple other people. Everyone else had fled. We had someone videotape it, but she shut the camera off and ran as soon as she realized she was in danger. With the exception of Tony's burns, nobody was injured. Man, I'll NEVER forget that. Tony definatley gave them something to remember that night."

A couple weeks after that show, Dan had been released for his mission, and C-Dogg took to the guitar. A few months later, Jeph was getting bored of the shows and didn't feel the total release that writing music was supposed to provide anymore.

"Sure, the shows were funner than hell, but I needed something more, emotionally. I needed to cry when I sang about something deeply personal, you know? I needed to put it all out on the line. I wasn't doing it for the girls. I was doing it for me, as a form of therapy and expression."

Jeph ended up quitting Denial in early 1997 to pursue his writing in a more focused direction.

"Nothing's more focused than solo work. I talked to the guys and told them I wasn't happy, and that I wasn't getting the fulfillment that I felt I needed. Most of the guys were okay, but Brent turned out pretty violent, saying that I could be replaced, no problem. He had always threatened that before, and maybe he felt that he could hang onto me by saying it again, but it was over. I was offended by Brent's anger and lack of support and felt I had been used for the longest time. I felt that he was only keeping me as a tool to get what he wanted instead of having a friend."

Jeph steared clear of Denial for almost a year until one day he and Cory started e mailing back and forth a bit. At first, a little spiteful, but neither one knew exactly why. They decided that it was stupid and to let by-gones be by-gones.

"My car broke down about 2 or 3 miles from Tony's one day, and I decided to put it to the test. I walked to his house, not knowing if I was gonna get my ass kicked or what. We were all happy to see each other, really, except for Brent. I had come over for a practice, just to hang out with them, and Brent was like, 'Get out of here. We're having practice. Go home. You're not invited.' Uhh, okay... Anyways, as of this day, Brent is still pissed off about it, or something else. Denial broke up later that year, and I think Mike and Brent are still doing something musically with some other people."

Jeph wrote 'Opinions' about the whole Denial break-up, and that started a new writing style that sticks with him to this day. The music style is usually aggressive or hopeless in feeling, depending on what inspires him. (Compare 'Dirty Now' lyrical content, written in August, 1999 to 'Oragel on a Cat's Nose' lyrical content, written in June, 2000.)

"Yeah, I guess when I'm not pissed off or lonely or sad, I just feed off of my boredom and creativly waste other peoples' time without them even knowing. Not that the music's BAD, of course, but just for the fact that you probably won't LEARN much from it. You just relax and enjoy listening instead of try to spend all this time and decipher the lyrics. I actually had someone say to me, 'I read the lyrics to A Big Joke. Man, you must have been ON something or REALLY pissed off!' What?!? No, man, I was just BORED and didn't want this song to turn out like all the rest. Same thing with OraGel, but THOSE lyrics are a true story."

"Solo shows are based on fun and keeping peoples' attention, and keeping as low of a stress level as possible for the members contributing. A few shows had been played as Custom Made Children (or c_m_c_) with the help of Mason Wybrow and Brian Carlson. Music colaberations so far have included Troy Stark from 'Introspection' and 'Seclusion' and Dave Andrus of 'Dreamscape Unlimited'/'extropy'.

"More shows are in the making with C-Dogg on guitar and me singing and maybe doing something else. It's under the name, the '...and the Horse You Rode In On tour'. Everything's still open and shifting, but that's the way I like it. If I like something, I'll capture it and hang on to it until it doesn't do anything for me anymore. If it works... Aaahhhh, man, I'm sorry! I've gotta go again. Go on and finish this one without me. I have a feeling this is gonna take a while."

(j.d. syntax enters the room.)

Well, syntax? You want to take over from your perspective?

"i program, perc, and synth for +maschine fetisch+ as of january, 2001, and make sure everything is quantized to my specifications- digital.

"i noticed "c_m_c_" in 1998 through and concluded that i could not let jeph embarrass himself like that anymore, so i left my project, alien_syntax, ( in berlin and moved to the u.s. in search of him.

"i found him in his sleep in august 1999 and did not manifest my face until april 2001. i am proof that what is on the outside does not necissarily relate to what is on the inside. jeph slowly assimilated into my matrix and seems to feel at peace here. the sessions are frequent, dark, and intense. MY earliest data? i am in the building where they make us grow, but i am not frightened by the liquid engineers, like you. i feel nothing, yet i feel safest of all. i do not need opinions and rumours. i am 80% machine, 20% plastique-C4 time is all around me. i am electric. i am the machman. i could be your assassin. my mission is just starting. the arrangements will never slow."

(Jeph) "(*pant*) I need... to get to the... (*swallow, pant*) hospital or something... I think... I need a- (*pant*) Uuuuuugghh!!! -an I... V........"

(syntax) "interview terminated."