How Casket Huffer Escaped Telemarketing Hell to Pen the ‘Gospel of Scum’
Work sucks / we know. We prefer / your show. That's why we ask hard-working bands to recount their worst day-job experiences in Trials of Job. Today, we chat with Than Wilson (pictured left in the photo above), guitarist and lead vocalist for Wyoming blackened death metal outfit Casket Huffer. Before fronting one of the Badlands' most badass bands, Wilson briefly worked as a telemarketer for a local supply company, where his bosses made him do some messed-up shit (gotta love capitalism). Ahead of Casket Huffer's new album, Gospels of Scum (which hits shelves April 21 via Hibernation), we caught up with Wilson for a trip down memory lane, in all its cringe-worthy glory.
What was the worst day job you ever had?
My worst work experience was probably a telemarketing job I had for a month when I was 19.
How did you get the job?
I saw an ad in the paper. I went in to apply [and] saw what turned out to be a 50-year-old supervisor hitting on one of the underage employees. He said he liked my tattoos and asked when I could start.
What were your primary responsibilities?
My primary responsibilities was to sell random shit to unfortunate people: pencils, pens, light bulbs, fucking washcloths — literally random shit.
What made it so shitty?
What made this job fucked wasn't that it was hard — as a matter of fact, I was always good at phone sales. However, this was a "handicapped" soliciting center, meaning everyone employed was supposed to be handicapped of sorts. My handicap was that I couldn't get a job due to my amount of tattoos. I had full sleeves and a hand tattoo, and in that age, tattoos were still for society's dregs, and I was okay with that. The kid who worked next to me had the handicap of being 15 and basically had to get a permit to work that young. So, not real handicaps, as we were encouraged to lead people on for sympathy sales.
Describe your worst moment at the job.
My worst day on the job had to be when the supervisor explained to us that if people question our handicap, to basically sell things using a "retarded" voice. Encouraging us to act barely functioning to play off of old folks and the gullible, and I went along with it. My first call was to an unfortunate old lady whose husband was recently deceased. She was miserable, lonely and by no means needed to be guilted into buying shit from a fake mentally handicapped person, but she did. A lot of shit. She swapped her misery to focus on helping someone she deemed more unfortunate. What a fucking asshole I was for that.
What were your co-workers and supervisors like?
As far as the supervisor goes, he was the kind of guy to hit on way underage girls, and encouraged teenagers and young adults to act mentally handicapped to sell pure trash. So, he was probably a champion to the Anal Cunt crowd. The co-workers were young, and we shared a small concrete sweat box, so it always stunk and was full of people that didn't want a real job. I had my own friends, so I stuck to myself, mostly.
Were you playing music at the time? Did your co-workers ever discover your music?
I was playing music. I really didn't talk with my coworkers about it, as death metal in Cheyenne, Wyo., wasn't really a popular thing — not to mention I was only a keyboardist at the time. Kind of hard to brag on your band when your sole job is to accent notes and try to not look wimpy.
Do you think your skills in the workplace have translated to your music?
In my current job / career choice, I get to be creative. I believe it definitely helps me stay that way, and it also allows me to continue to play music by paying my bills. As far as past jobs, I don't think it translated, as I hadn't developed a sense of pride in anything at that point. It wasn't until I bought my own gear with my own paychecks from my career that I realized it's not cheap and/or easy. I suppose it could have aided in my general hatred for society, which I use for fuel in Casket Huffer.
Did you get fired or did you quit?
I ended up not returning one afternoon. I'm sure at 19 I had much better things going on than pestering old folks out of their retirement.