Fred Armisen Reveals Why He Quit Trenchmouth


On Monday night, director Lance Bangs debuted his new Slint documentary Breadcrumb Trail at Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg. Fans of the band will find lots to like about the very in-depth look at the four weirdo Louisville, KY, youngsters who wrote two incredibly mind-blowing albums before deciding to hang it up for good as a band very early on. Those unfamiliar with the band might get lost in the myraid details, but will still get to hear Steve Albini, Ian MacKaye, James Murphy, Corey Rusk, and David Yow say some very insightful things about Slint and music in general, which is always a treat.

The New York premiere was part of Nitehawk’s Music Driven series (sponsored by Absolut), and included Portlandia/SNL alum/Late Night with Seth Myers bandleader Fred Armisen joining Slint guitarist David Pajo and composer/guitarist/pianist/vocalist David Grubbs in a pre-show two song performance. After the screening, Armisen lead a Q&A with Bangs, Pajo and Grubbs. But it was a question Bangs asked Armisen that capped a pretty cool evening.

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Before his days at SNL, Armisen played drums in a band called Trenchmouth, a Chicago post-hardcore band that never quite got the props it deserved when it was active in the ’90s. It turns out, that’s precisely why they decided to disband.

As the Q&A was wrapping up, Bangs asked Armisen point blank why he quit Trenchmouth.

“It just felt like other bands kept passing us by,” he answered. Early on, Armisen said it was easy to convince himself some of those bands were more pop, and had a broader appeal. But as weirder and weirder bands started passing Trenchmouth by, he started to see the writing on the wall.

“Tortoise had 20 minute songs with no vocals and they were huge,” Armisen said of one of Pajo’s post-Slint projects.

“So…” Pajo said sheepishly. “Tortoise killed Trenchmouth?”

“Yes,” Armisen answered back.

“Man. Sorry,” said Pajo.

You can watch that post-screening Q&A and the pre-show performance on Nighthawk Cinema’s Vimeo page.

Breadcrumb Trail trailer:

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