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Artists in their own words: Chelsea Hines, Rex Gregory, and Jonathan Arceneaux


From left to right: Rex Gregory, Chelsea Hines, and Jonathan Arceneaux (Photo: Kelley Crawford)

Who: Chelsea Hines, Rex Gregory, and Jonathan Arceneaux

What: Musicians in the band Toonces

Where: Mid-City

Artists’ chosen location for Interview: Outside of Morning Call–each of us sat on a different tree root while the ducks and other birds surrounded us.


Q: When was the last time you felt like you might vomit?

JA: Probably last year when I was in Canada. Although, I did vomit then. I ate lobster, but I don’t think that’s what got me sick. It’s funny because I have this joke voice where I go [insert staccato barfing sound] and that’s my fake vomit noise. Turns out that when I throw up I make the same sound, and everyone made fun of me.

RG: I think mine was the last time that I drank rum.

CH: I think that was at our house.

RG: Yeah, it was. It was that Kraken Black Rum. I lost count of how many I had. People wanted to go to Pal’s, so I went along, and as soon as I got there I had that feeling of whoooaa. Then I had a little bit of Fernet and felt much better.

CH: Mine was about two days ago. I went to a show that Jon was playing. It was an outdoor show, and they had some chicken fingers there. I was really hungry, so I just started gobbling them down. It got really dry in there, and then a chicken finger got stuck. I was standing there, sweating, unable to fully breath, and I kept wondering if I was going to have to throw it up. The things is, there were only about five of us in the audience, so it would have been really noticeable if I threw up. I kept my cool. I didn’t even drink water.

RG: We all had stories about vomit right away.

JA: We came here ready to talk.

Q: What’s a strange item you have in your house?

RG: There are a lot of things that could be strange. I do have a book that I bought at the bookstore on Frenchmen street. It’s called The Fetish Crowd. It’s an extreme fetish erotic book. It’s purely descriptive. It’s a novel about this author that ends up in this erotic house, and there are all these misadventures. There’s a woman that’s constantly teasing the horse in this sexual manner, and that is about ten pages in. It’s quite the novella.

JA: In Canada I think it’s still legal to have relationships with animals.

RG: I thought you said Kenner, and I thought, ‘no way.’

JA: No, it’s in Canada, but you have to prove that the animal is part of it. There are so many random laws. There are these laws that are there, but they aren’t really enforced.

[This is when a whole bunch of ducks, egrets, and other birds encroached on the tree, which side-tracked our conversation for about ten minutes]

JA: Chelsea and I have a blowdart gun that we use to kill cockroaches.

CH: And we are accurate.

JA: We aren’t even experienced. I picked it up once, and this was at Chelsea’s old house, when we were at a party, and I blew it right at the cockroach. It is surprisingly accurate because I’d never picked up a blowdart gun before in my life, and I nailed the cockroach.

CH: The blowdart gun is so long, so the dart is going to go where you point it. It’s a pretty great party trick.

JA: It’s really the best tool for killing cockroaches if you live in a shotgun house with tall ceilings.

CH: Except for when you miss because then you have to get on a ladder and pull those darts out of the ceiling. Sometimes I just take the cat and put it toward the cockroach, but the cat never gets them.

Q: What game can you not resist?

CH: Mario Party.

JA: That’s not true. You’re the first one to resist that game.

CH: Whoa. Whoa. [Laughing]. That’s only when you are trying to play it in these large group settings. It’s a four-player game, so I think it’s rude to play it when not everyone can play. If we are with a group of four, I’m the first one who wants to play.

RG: Durak.

JA: Yes. That’s a Russian card game we play. It’s a pretty complicated card game. I could explain the rules, but we might be sitting here for an hour only talking about the game.

RG: I think we’d end up playing Durak. It’s somewhere between pinochle and bridge. It’s a more intense game. It’s cut-throat, but you’re also helping people. Alliances are constantly shifting.

JA: It’s a game you sit with the whole night, and it’s perfect for when you’re on tour, you’re drinking, there’s nothing else to do, and you are all together.

CH: It never becomes a mindless game. You are always thinking about who you helped, who you should be helping, what cards are in, how you can screw someone over and help yourself, and the game depends on who is sitting next to you. You learn a lot about a person when you play this game. There’s a lot of strategy.

JA: Yeah, Rex sitting across for me was a situation for awhile. Now Devin’s there.

Who’s Devin?

JA: He’s our bass player.

Is he good at this game?

All three (in unison): No.

RG: He’s new at the game. We’re at about an eight. Devin is on about level seven. Nick, another member of the band, is on six.

CH: The other band member, Chris, doesn’t really like to play. He’ll avoid it, but that works out because it’s a four-person game, and there are six of us.

Q: What’s an easy solution to a big problem?

RG: Blowdart gun. [Laughing]

JA: Not caring. That’s not in a bad way. But when you’re not thinking about something you start thinking clearly. Oh, and what was it that we said the other night?

CH: When we were sitting around the fire.

JA: ‘I don’t want to impose, but I’m not opposed.’

RG: It’s for when you’re in that situation where you want to do something, but it’s a bit of an imposition.

CH: Jon came up with that on tour last week. We were sitting around the fire, and there were sandwiches being made.

RG: It was the issue of having seconds.

JA: They offered me a second sandwhich, and I wanted another one, so that’s how the phrase came out. It’s a good golden rule.

Q: Huh, that’s a good question. What would you say is the golden rule you live by?

JA: Don’t take any wooden nickels.

CH: I don’t have any cool grandpa catch phrases like Jon does.

JA: I really prepared for this interview.

CH: Do it for the kids. That’s mine.

RG: Don’t shit where you eat. I learned that one through experience.

JA: I think living in New Orleans that definitely applies.

RG: Yeah, you can see anyone at anytime in this city. It makes you have to keep your cool and be nice to everybody. You don’t fractionalize as much because you’ll keep seeing that person. You can’t burn bridges or play the field here. That’s a good thing. It keeps everything light.

Toonces, the self-proclaimed retro-glaze band, will be playing on Friday June 24, 2016 at 30/90 on Frenchmen. Be on the lookout for their EP, which will be coming out in September, and you can give their music a listen on their soundcloud page. You can also learn more about them and their upcoming shows on facebook and Instagram.


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