In early April I was staying at the Motel 6 in Roy, New Mexico when the front desk rang my bedside phone and began telling me the craziest things about chickens and insisting that he was not a police officer. In the end, after a 2 hour standoff, I finally realized that the man was actually a prank caller who calls himself “dragonmere.” I told him to cut the shit and answer a few of my questions.
Stevedave: You know the front desk clerk called the police an hour ago so you should get ready for a visit from them real soon.
dragonmere: I remember being like ten, eleven years old, going to the mall with my older brother and buying the new Jerky Boys 2 album from Camelot music. We rolled around town in his beat up Tercel and listened to the entire album. I’ve been a fan or participant of prank calling to some degree ever since. I also used to be in charge of handling incoming telemarketing calls at my parents house. I more or less missed out on all the earlier PLA and other internet prank stuff. Somewhere around 2016 I started getting really interested again and one of my buddies, community member and proficient lurker RubberRager, turned me on to PLA.
Stevedave: I have to get up at 6 in the morning to catch a flight, but instead of sleeping I’ve been dealing with your nonsense for the past two hours and you probably don’t even care.
dragonmere: I grew up just before caller ID was a thing, so at a very young age I used to dial 666-7734 (HELL) and accuse whoever picked up of being the devil. When I was a teenager I had a girlfriend who moved across the country so I became very well versed in the emerging VoIP technology, and I used to make a lot of calls with the now defunct DialPad. The first successful original premise I can remember was probably around ’99, calling random numbers and telling the person that I somehow ended up with their pants, and asking if they had mine. The oldest “current” call I have recorded is 1/28/2018, where I call a TJ Maxx because I can’t figure out the spare buttons on the inside of my shirt seam.
Stevedave: What I want to know is why did you single me out for this prank? Out of the hundred people staying in this motel, why did you call my room?
dragonmere: My very first interaction with Phone Losers of America was setting my username in Splattoon 2 on Nintendo Switch to the Prank Line call in number and successfully getting someone to call, in December of 2017. In early 2018, I joined the PLA(WoPC) and now defunct Hijinks discords, started attending Mixlr live shows and giving premise suggestions to the hosts. Whenever possible I would join other peoples shows. I got connected with a host named PussySlap and we made calls together starting in March for a few months, before he disappeared. I then stumbled across wastedmemory, who was happy to let me join in on his live show, and I just kind of kept showing up until I was a co-host. I still host with him every Tuesday at 7PM ET. In mid-2019 the operator of the Hijinks discord encouraged me to do a weekly live show, which eventually evolved into The CORNDOWN in April of 2020, which is still going every Friday night at 7PM ET on prankcast.com.
Stevedave: You know, if you were standing right here in front of me you wouldn’t be talking to me like that.
dragonmere: I definitely listened for a couple years before I began making any pranks myself. A Phone Losers of America community lurker RubberRager introduced me to the expanded PLA universe late 2016. I listened passively to mainly just old Snow Plow Shows on lunch breaks or while playing videogames for a year or so before branching out to other shows. By 2017 I discovered Calls of Mass Confusion and decided you guys were having way too much fun together and I needed to be involved. I started joining live show chatrooms as a listener only and giving hosts suggestions. I think Party Time or Super Phone Bros was the first show that invited me on air. Shortly after that, at the constant urging of RubberRager, I started making my own calls in 2018, met up with PussySlap then wastedmemory, and started doing live shows of my own. I haven’t been able to stop since.
Stevedave: By this time tomorrow you’re going to be in jail, thinking long and hard about who you messed with. You better hope you have an attorney because you’re going to need one.
dragonmere: Favorite prank callers? Jerky Boys, obviously. For the longest time I wasn’t really aware of any other good prank calls other than the Jerky Boys albums. In highschool, I found the small handful of prank calls on the Group X albums, who you may remember from the early internet Flash video “Mario Twins”. If you never heard them, I strongly urge you to check them out. Although not at all prank calls, I am also greatly influenced by the stoner comedy albums of Firesign Theater, in particular 1970’s “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers.” And I love EVERYONE doing live shows over at Prankcast.com.
Stevedave: (pretending to talk to a police officer) How much longer do I need to keep him on the line for you to complete the trace? Just a couple more minutes? Yes sir, I can do that.
dragonmere: Way back in the day, when *69 was just released, I think I had someone call my parent’s landline back and I got told not to play with the phone anymore. But then I discovered VoIP so it wasn’t a big deal. More recently, I’ve had police officers on the line with me insisting I was in trouble, but as far as I’m aware, I’ve never actually done anything illegal, so there’s nothing I could ever be in trouble for. Free speech, motherfucker. However, I don’t have an active call-back number, so I have no idea how many people try to call me back, or make a complaint against my Tommy TuTone 8675309 phone number. It’s probably a lot.
Stevedave: Let me tell you this, buddy. I know people who can track you down. Don’t be surprised if you hear a knock at the door first thing in the morning.
dragonmere: My prank call setup is physical analogue mixer based with as little software as possible. I somewhat by chance ended up with a setup very similar to the old Snow Plow Show setup. I have a Behringer 1204USB, a CAD CXL2200, and two Behringer U-phoria UM2 interfaces. I got the mixer because PussySlap was setting up his own a physical mixer-based setup, but was having a lot of trouble getting things working, so he bought be the same one he had, and we played around on skype for several weeks figuring out which inputs outputs and knobs to use.
I got the CAD CXL2200 because it was $30 used and beat to crap at GuitarCenter, and it ended up being the same model being used by SPS at the time. I was using crap USB soundcards for several years as interfaces before picking up the UM2’s in the last year or so. Background and intro music are played on old tablets and phones. Software side I only use MicroSIP ver. 3.19.25 to make calls, butt for broadcasting, and do all audio editing with Audacity Ver. 2.4.2. I use old versions because the current ones suck.
Stevedave: How would you feel if your mother were getting prank called like this and they were saying the same things to her as you’re saying to me?
dragonmere: One time I was calling numbers of people who’s 21sth birthday it was, and inviting them out for drinks. I apparently called the cell of a guy who was recently admitted to in-patient rehab, and the nurse who answered his phone didn’t believe it was a prank at all. I did fully abort that one. I also did one where I called a diner and described a generic old man, who they ‘recognized’ as Carl, and I then told them Carl died. Everyone was crying. It was pretty hilarious. I called them back and told them it was a prank. I very much don’t intentionally cause panic, make threats, or cause property damage. I also never repeatedly call residential numbers, and I always leave people alone when they explicitly ask me to. Other than that I really don’t back down or let people directly know it is a prank. Pretty much never.
Stevedave: Yeah you’re laughing now, but you won’t be laughing when you’re sitting in jail for the rest of your life and wishing you’d never decided to prank call me. My neighbor 3 doors down is a Judge!
dragonmere: I VERY MUCH don’t recommend ever directly calling the police, or encouraging someone else to get the police involved. However, every once in a while there’s a cop already in the gas station, or grocery store, or someone calls the cops on their own immediately for little-to-no reason, and they actually get on the phone. I had one where I was trying to get my son arrested for no reason to teach him a lesson, trying to get an officer to give me a ride home, and a few related to hotels. I think the majority of hosts would be hesitant to talk to the police, and I don’t blame them at all, but any time I’ve been in a shouting match with a police officer over some bizarre premise is pretty epic.
Stevedave: If I ever figure out who you are or what your website is, your days of harassing people is over.
You can listen to dragonmere do a live show of prank calls every Friday night on his show called The Corndown. It airs on RogueServer.com and PrankCast.com at 7pm Pacific / 10pm Eastern on Friday nights. Dragonmere is also a regular guest on The Wasted Memory Show, which airs Tuesday nights on RogueServer.com at 7pm Pacific / 10pm Eastern.
You can access dragonmere’s Corndown archives and an RSS podcast feed at corndown.com
You can support dragonmere’s show at patreon.com/dragonmere
Listen to dragonmere’s best calls on his YouTube at youtube.com/dragonmere
dragonmere often participates in the group prank project known as RSPC, which you can find at youtube.com/jesusinadumptruck
dragonmere plans to be at the prank call meetup happening on September 9th and 10th in Elmhurst, Illinois. It is disguised as the Vintage Computer Festival.