Don Bolles is the former drummer of The Germs, Vox Pop, .45 Grave and Celebrity Skin (among thousands of other smaller bands), co-author of Feral House's Lexicon Devil: The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash and the Germs, and a major collector of such wonderful musical subgenres as "song-poems," "celebrities at their worst," "corporate musicals" and "vanity pressings." When he agreed to an interview, I had totally forgotten about his weird musical interests (which I share) and found myself wondering, "What the heck am I going to ask the drummer from the Germs?" The stress became so intense that I had to drink two shots of vodka before making the call. But much to my surprise -- he was as interesting and friendly as any human being I've ever cared to meet in my life! As a result, we spoke for 90 minutes. NINETY MINUTES! Granted, I had taken four more shots and was eighteen sheets to the wind by that point (as was my wife, who sat next to me and thus became part of the interview tape), but NINETY MINUTES? Good old alcohol -- the finest social and anal lubricant available. Read on and watch how drunk, interruptive and embarrassing I become through the course of the conversation. My words are in bloodshot black; his are in friendly plain.
Can I speak to Don?
Hey! This is Mark Prindle calling to interview you.
Oh! You're calling to interview me?
Okay. About back in the day?
Yeah! Well, or now - in THIS day!
We can do that too. How long is this gonna be? Do I have to go get something to drink and then come back, or -
Nah, it's really up to you - as long as you wanna chit-chat.
Hold on a second. Let me get rid of our leader on the other line.
(days turn to minutes and minutes to memories)
You say you were talking to our leader?
George W. Bush?
No, not Bushypants. I was talking to Dan Kapelovitz, the producer of our television show The Threee Geniuses. He's the titular head of our -
What's that all about? What is that show about?
You know how Seinfeld said it was a television show about nothing? Our show actually IS a television show about nothing. It's truly non-representational television.
Is it only on in L.A.?
It's hardly even on in L.A.!
Ha! What do you do on there?
Umm, nothing. We don't do anything. And we make a show of it. It's pretty insane. What it is is just one big chaotic psychedelic mess, but unlike all the people making chaotic psychedelic messes that are supposed to be chaotic psychedelic messes, this is not like those.
How long have you been doing it?
We've done 180-something episodes. One of our stars was murdered, so we've sorta not been doing it as much since he was murdered.
Shot point blank in the chest. Instant death.
What was involved?
He was involved with the wrong person, I guess. He got involved with a lady who had a weird birthmark all over her body - she looked like a palamino or an apaloosa, you know what I'm talking about? The one with the spots?
And she was doing methamphetamines and she had an ex-husband who I guess they hadn't quite figured their thing out yet to the degree of where they were cool with everything. So the guy would come around and he'd call the guy on his cellphone and go, "HOW DO YA LIKE SCREWIN' MY WIFE?" It was really fuckin' scary, but the guy didn't take it all that seriously. And I guess my friend was over screwin' the guy's wife, and the guy showed up at her apartment and knocked on the door. The guy opens the door - BLAM, right in the heart. Dead. Then this other guy goes in and shoots the wife in the kitchen and then he shoots himself. It was quick. There was no torturing of them or anything. I guess.
That's not a feel-good story.
No, it's a kind of fucked-up play.
What else are you up to these days?
Well, I do the television show, like I said, and we're also taking it live now and doing it in public in different venues where we can do the thing. We can't just do it anywhere; we gotta have video projectors and all that kinda shit that no one can afford.
Do you have any scripting?
No. There's all sorts of things that we don't have that other shows tend to have. Never a script. There's no plan for what we're gonna do. We don't even talk about it before the show or anything.
(my wife in background to dog attempting to eat Beef Jerky off of living room table: "Henry. Henry! Leave it!")
We have nothing. It's completely improvised from nothing every time.
Is it more like comedy?
No. Well, sometimes it's funny, but it's not comedy. It's just....it's...a...a television show.
Had you been wanting to do a television show for a while?
Well, I've been doing one for a while. I don't think I want to anymore. It's just - there it is. We've been doing it for years. Since probably like '98 or something.
Yeah, 1998 or something. I don't know; it doesn't seem like that's a long tim ago, but it's like six years.
Do you play drums anymore?
Not for the show. I do play drums. I played the other day. I was doing this one band that was really good - we were doing this beautiful shoegazer psychedelic Sonic Youth meets fuckin' And You'll Know Us By The Trail of Dead or something. It was just incredible stuff! Like King Crimson and Neu and fuckin'... insanely beautiful and good.
How many bands have you played in?
I don't even know. A lot?
Okay, how about this - how many bands have you been in that have put out records?
Oh.... Well, now there's more! Because I put out stuff of things that never put out things now, you know? I'm just like everyone who's realized that they're still alive and people have started to think they're cool, and there's all this backlog of great stuff. So it's like, "Dude, if you like THIS, you're gonna love all this crap that you've never heard because it never saw the light of the day because there was no interest other than me and my friends at the time and now you guys are fuckin' drooling for it! It's crazy - here it is!" So I've done a little of that. Unfortunately there's not really a whole lot more unreleased Germs stuff that's anywhere. Stuff like that would bring in a lot of money.
How long were you actually in the Germs for?
From when I joined until there wasn't any Germs. He tried to get Rob Henley to - well, you read my book, right?
Yeah, I did.
It's all in there.
That was such a great book.
It was a good book! You know how people say, "It was just a great little movie," you know? Like when something is on HBO or something and it wasn't big but it was a perennial secret great thing, you know? That's how the book kinda is.
I didn't realize how little I knew about Darby Crash and about all the stuff you guys went through.
You and me both. I learned a lot. I'm still learning a whole lot. There's gonna be another edition that's gonna come out with - well, so far we're planning on releasing the last show at the Starwood with it on a high-quality - I've got the actual master tape. I finally got it back from the guy who recorded it. Well, I recorded it, but -
Got it back from yourself?
Well, I recorded it but my friend had the tape. He did sound that night. He was Johnny Mathis's soundman. But he was a good friend of mine, so we had him do sound for the Germs. And he did sound for like Vox Pop and .45 Grave. Pretty cool guy named Phoenix. Now he goes to Branson, Missouri and does sound for a Hanson dinner theater or something.
How long was .45 Grave around? Because I've heard a lot of great things about them, but then I've only heard one song - from that Hell Comes To Your House compilation.
Well, that's a good song, that "Evil."
Yeah. But I've never actually seen the records. Were there other records?
We had an album, we had singles, we had EPs, we had an interview album, we had a live album, we had an album of oddities and stuff that I unearthed from a bunch of cassettes that were - well, they weren't actually under the earth, but they were uhh.... I unbedroomfloored them. They were just laying around - all this stuff I had laying around. .45 Grave-related stuff. We put that out on Cleopatra; it's called Debasement Tapes.
Was that band one of the first death rock goth-type bands out there?
Yeah it was, even though - that was just kinda part of what we did. I mean we started out as a sort of improvisational sound thing. Sort of like AMM or something, and then the Germs - I don't know - and then we started doing these pop songs, because we were really good musicians. It was me and all my favorite musicians - Paul Cutler and Rob Graves, who was an amazing bass player. And my girlfriend had to sing. Actually there's a whole big thing coming out about .45 Grave -- a DVD with this huge interview. It's really good.
Yeah, it kicks ass. It's a really good live show.
And what was the deal with Vox Pop? Was that the one where you pissed off Darby Crash because you were wearing a dress or something?
It wouldn't have pissed him off except for I was always in drag and stuff, because you know - Well, I still kinda do that. I look fuckin' hot in drag! I have this whole teenage rock star body even though I'm almost 50 years old.
How do you maintain that?
I don't know. I have no idea. I eat a lot of ice cream and pizza and -
You have good metabolism, I guess.
Something like that. I don't know. It's pretty cool though. I always have foxy girlfriends and I can fit into all the skinny rock star clothes that no one else can fit into.
Yeah, it's just one of those things. I don't know. If it took any work, it wouldn't be that way.
Which of these bands do you think really were your vision of what music should be?
Well, like... uhh, I don't know.
I guess you liked all of them; you were in all of them.
Yeah, do you mean like what's the ultimate musical thing that I've done that's closest to my personal whatever? I don't know.
Well, you traveled all the way from Arizona to join -
There's too much to be done. And that's why I just keep doing what I can do. I just try to do what sounds cool, and I think I've done that.
Why were you so excited over that Germs single that you moved?
It wasn't like anything else. Now there's a bunch of stuff that's really inept like that, but at the time, it just sounded like a record by people who just do not care about any of it. It seemed really random, more than anything else. And I thought it was great. To me, it was amazing. It just seemed to me that these people did not see things quite the same way that everybody else does. Even everybody else that was being different wasn't like this. It was like a different world. And then I called these guys and they were into Yes and Queen and David Bowie, and they didn't care about any other aggressive stuff. This was like 1977, and that was unheard of. I couldn't believe it. I thought they were just fuckin' with me, you know? And they really were into those things. They were not interested in most of the music that I was interested in. I was mostly into pretty odd shit. I mean, I had just met the Residents, and seen Devo's first show in California. I guess I had some pretty weirdass tastes myself. I was into like Half Japanese. There wasn't much punk - there really wasn't any. Anyone interested in anything had to - you had to be a little eclectic because there wasn't gonna enough punk to get you by. And if you were only into punk, you had better not have been born yet. It was not a good time for that. You would've starved if you were on a strict punk diet, because there was nothing. I had to come to L.A. I had to come to L.A. to get any kind of records.
When punk first came out - you know, punk as we now know it -
The Sex Pistols and all that, right?
Did you foresee that it would be so cherished and at least in some form still alive 25 years later?
I guess the blues cats didn't really think about that either, but it didn't stop it from happening. I think it's precisely that part of the aesthetic that gave it one of its main qualities that has contribued to its longevity -- it was real. It was not contrived. Even though it was contrived, it was totally real. That was what was great about punk. Because punk was made to sell out, yet it was pure. Even as tainted as you could make it, it was generally still pure. But it's funny - just like a lot of 60s stuff.... The music I was listening to in the '60s, a lot of the Pebbles stuff - I don't know. I listen to a lot of stuff now that I wouldn't have listened to then that's FROM then.
Well, you wouldn't have known it was around then.
No, there were so many things that were regional. Now it's not really as much like that, because now you've got the Internet and you can find anything.
Yeah, but there's too much. You can't figure out what to choose!
Yeah, exactly. And it all kinda evens the playing field for a lot of things that are really not equal.
Yeah, exactly. It must be impossible - like hopefully maybe in 20 years, someone will start putting out a series of - you know, like Pebbles is now, putting out singles you've never heard - hopefully someone will dig through all this MP3 shit to find the good stuff.
There must be SOME, you know?
I know! I know, but how are you gonna know? With these bands who never tour -
Yeah. It's like the D.I.Y. thing really kinda got out of control.
Yeah. So there's all these bands who try to sound like their heroes and that's it.
I think everybody kinda has always done that.
Yeah, that's true, but -
Except for the Germs, who at first were just trying to - well, at first they didn't even sound like a band.
Barring that, I think the band was trying to sound like Bowie in a lot of ways.
That's something I wanted to ask you about, actually. The idea that you always hear about, "Oh, the Germs couldn't play their instruments," but the album certainly doesn't sound like you couldn't play your instruments.
Pat was an incredible musician right away. He was really good.
Yeah! So what was -
He never had a lesson or anything, but he sure could figure stuff out. He got really good; he played a lot.
Did people just say that because the early shows were so messy?
No, they really weren't that good. They weren't even trying to be that good. They played to the top of their abilities, but it just wasn't enough to get through a song. They wrote some okay songs, but they really couldn't play them very well. Their first shows, they were just messy. They were messES. Every show was a mess.
Peanut butter and everything?
Literally, they were thrown off the stage! I don't think anyone had ever seen a band thrown off the stage literally. With their equipment and everything.
Wow! Was that when you were in the band? Or before?
That was before, but I've heard all about it.
Who was the original drummer? I remember you mention it in the book -
Donna Rhia. Did you read the liner notes from that reissue of the, uh -
A long time ago.
- Germs Live at the Whiskey?
Oh, I don't know Germs Live at the Whiskey. Is that the one called Rock And Rule?
No, that's the one that Geza X wrote the liner notes for where he lambasted me.
Yeah! He said -
How I got everyone in Hollywood strung out on heroin.
"The little scamp."
The little scamp. Yep! And I think he sort of meant that affectionately, but I was pretty livid about it. It was just so patently untrue, it's ridiculous. It's like (A) Everyone in Hollywood - I mean first you would have to prove that everyone in Hollywood was strung out on heroin, which is unprovable even if it's true. I don't think it's true. And then you'd have to prove that - after you proved that all the people in Hollywood were strung out on heroin - you would have to somehow find a way to prove that it was I that had gotten them all started.
Why did he write that? Did you get like one person strung out on heroin that he knew or something?
Maybe. I think I got one or - Well, you know, when people were wanting to do heroin, I wasn't slow to point out that I could sure go get it for them if they'd give me some. You know?
So basically it could have been anybody.
Sure! I wasn't that into heroin. I enjoyed doing it myself because it was fun. It kinda made the world easier to take.
What's it feel like? I've never done it.
Well, it feels different now. You're in New York, so it's probably similar to how it was. But here in L.A., the heroin's completely changed. I did it again a couple of years ago to see how it was, and boy it was awful!
Oh man. It was too strong and ugly, and now it's like extreme heroin. It just sucks! I never once nodded out back in the days when I was doing it. I mean, it affected me like speed affects people. It was like a mild dose of speed. Kinda like an anti-depressant or something. It just made me feel kind of better. And I didn't hate everything and everyone quite as much. It really helped! And it really got me motivated. It got me to focus a little better. It helped a lot, but the problem with heroin is that it's highly addictive. And so after a while, it's just a maintenance thing and you're doing what amounts to paying rent on your own body. You know what I mean? And if you don't pay the rent, the landlord will make things pretty uncomfortable for you. And in your body, it gets pretty uncomfortable if you don't pay rent. If you're a heroin addict and you don't do heroin, you feel really bad. Because you've used up next week's endorphins today. You're on a deficit of your body's natural painkillers. All heroin does is trick your body into releasing more of your natural painkilling endorphins, so you feel this mild euphoria and you feel no pain. You feel pretty much nothing except kinda good. But when you do that a lot, you have to up your dosage to trick your body even more into releasing endorphins that aren't built up yet. It hasn't built up a supply yet and now you need it to release more of them, so it's a bad way to go. Eventually it takes such ridiculous amounts to get high that you could probably die just getting normal. I never got to that point. The most I had to do to get high was pretty much where a lot of people start out their drug habits now. But back then it was a lot less trendy.
But you did the shooting up and everything?
Yeah. Well, people tried to get me to shoot up when I was a kid in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was the most confusing thing. I was in grade school hanging out with the older kids and they had these eyedroppers that had needles at the end of them - they would call them "Vinkies." And they would try to -
What's it called?
Vinkies. V-I-N-K-I-E-S. It was a vinky! A vinky they would call it. And then they'd just put the needle in the end of the eyedropper, pull up the stuff from the spoon and inject it - they'd just shoot it up with that. And what I was wondering was, "If they can get the needle to put in the eyedropper, why couldn't they get a friggin' syringe?"
Yeah, that's strange. Where did they get the needle from?
I never really got a good answer for that one. But I didn't really care, because I didn't shoot up until I was already in the Germs. I'd been in the Germs for about a year. I was 23.
So it made you feel no pain, you said? Made you more sociable?
Yeah. And I was kind of asthmatic and it helped me breathe better. It helped my endurance.
Yeah, you could fuck for like 12 hours! No problem. And it was like, "What? You're tired already, honey? Aw geeze! Come on! Let's do it some more!" You could really impress the ladies. A lot of people had a different reaction and couldn't get a boner, but it hits people different ways. A lot of people that I knew when they'd do it, they'd get this psychotic whine in their voice and they'd nod out a lot. Probably one of the sounds I remember the most from those days was Rick Wilder, the singer with the Mau Maus. He was the guy with the definitive heroin whine. Him and his girlfriend Charlotte. It'd be like "WWWARRRLETTTTE!" "RIIIICK!" It was like - have you ever seen that movie Fondo And Lis?
What's it called?
It's a Jodorowsky film - Fondo And Lis?
Well, Jodorowsky was a really strange director. He did Holy Mountain and El Topo. But anyway - well, there's not much of a point to that if you haven't seen it.
No, but maybe people who read the interview will have seen it! So it's not just me you're talking to - it's everybody!
Yes, I guess you're right. Hi everyone. I didn't see you all there.
Was it hard to get off of that? When you finally said, "Wait a minute."
I've seen people go through some pretty heavy convulsions trying to escape, but I've always found the best way to stop doing something is to just not do it anymore. So that's what I did.
Kind of. Well, I cheated a little bit. This girl I knew who was a meth dealer thought it was a noble thing, me getting off heroin, and she donated a quarter-ounce of meth to me to help me get off heroin.
Well, you're still alive, so I don't think -
Yeah, I was injecting that for like a week and a half, and I was seeing glowing parrots flying around the room and everything was kinda glowing a little bit. Then I finally passed out and went to sleep. When I woke up three days later, I was cured. Everything was still kinda glowing blue, but I was over the convulsions. I didn't even notice them.
What period was that? Like what year was that?
I guess it was like... oh... let's see, I was 21 when I st - I'm 48 now. I turned 48 July 30th so -
Hey! I'm a July birthday too.
Nah, actually I'm a Cancer. Which is a pretty grim astrological sign.
Yeah, it really is. Most Cancers are pretty boring. Real nice though! Real honest.
Yeah. HEY! NOBODY CALLS ME BORING, YOU LOUSY -
I'm mainly just concerned about the, "Hey, I'm a - I've got cancer!"
Heh heh heh! Well, there's always that most fabulous of all punk rock names, Dinah Cancer.
Oh yeah. What band was she in?
Oh, was that your girlfriend?
Yeah, I thought of the name too.
It's a good name. It's a GREAT name!
Yeah, Dinah Cancer. It's a good'un. Alot of people didn't get it either; they'd be like "Diana Cancer."
Kinda missing the point there. Oh hey! My wife wanted me to point out to you that she's wearing a Germs shirt right now.
Yeah, it's got a umm..... It's got a dog on it.
Yeah! It's a patch - a Germs patch - with a dog on it.
We wanted to ask YOU that! Why would a Germs patch have a dog on it? It's cute!
You know, somehow I don't think I'm getting any royalties from that one.
(to my wife): Somehow he doesn't think he's getting any royalties from it.
(my wife): Awww! I'll send him a dollar.
You didn't design the little dog? We also a few years ago had a Germs, umm -
I've designed a few small animals, but no dogs.
Aww. Yeah, we had a Germs lightswitch cover a few years ago.
I have one of those!
Yeah, that was cool! Except one of our friends pointed out that it's in the wrong font.
Yeah it is.
Ha! It's not something I would have noticed, but -
Yeah. I had one like that for a long time. I got it on eBay, I think.
(to my wife): Did we get that on eBay?
(my wife): Yeah.
Yeah, we did too! We did too.
That's where those come from alright.
He's some scumbag. You're not making money off any of this!
I am making money off a couple of things, but not that one. I made a few thousand bucks once off of a -
Are you strumming the guitar while you're on the phone with me?
Yeah, I just learned "Ecstacy To Frenzy" by Rodd Keith.
God I love Rodd Keith. Aww man, Rodd Keith is the best.
Yeah, I did sensitive singer-songwriter thing a -
OH THAT'S RIGHT! YOU DID ONE OF THOSE MSR COMPILATIONS, DIDN'T YOU?
I sure did! I'm one of the main -
Oh my God. That is the greatest music that I've -
Oh, I have tons of it if you ever wanna know about that. I have the album with "Beat Of The Traps" on it - the real one.
Damn! What's it called?
Oh, it's like uhh Variety Fun - it's called The MSR Singers Out Front.
I guess you must know Gregg Turkington then.
Oh yeah, he's a friend of mine. He helped me get into - man, that stuff is so good! You know, I got it just on a whim! I got one of those, and you just can't - once you start, you can't stop!
Right. True! I found my first Rodd Keith singles in a thrift store in Santa Barbara for a nickel. They had a whole stack of 'em.
God. He still finds them cheap places. He found some for like a quarter in Australia. I've NEVER seen one in a store!
Yeah, I've seen tons of them. I have a bunch of acetates that Nervous Norvus did when he was doing song-poem stuff.
Um-hm. Got a stack of those for a quarter each. They're on the Film City label.
The only thing I did - a friend of mine who's really good with MP3s - I had him go onto that ASPMA site that Phil Milstein runs -
Yeah yeah yeah! My writing is all over that site.
- and get me all of that on MP3. And then a guy sent me the single of Norm Burns doing "Vote McGovern." That's a good one.
How did you discover that stuff?
Accident. I guess it wasn't a total accident - there was a guy that I knew who discovered some of that too. And he's the guy that turned me on to "The Saddest Story Ever Told."
That's the best ever.
And Boyd Rice, who's also a good friend of mine - I guess he's gonna be playing at our club next week. We have a club called Club Screwball.
The three of you own it?
It's me and Darcy Leonard, and we do like variety stuff and a weird cabaret kinda thing. Weird performance things and a lot of video - crazy stuff on video, mixing and a total psycho dance party. It's pretty insane. We have underground bands, but the bands only play like 20 minute sets. But Boyd Rice found the lyrics to "The Saddest Story" blowing across a playground when he was a kid.
Yeah. They've been around a long time. And Milstein - if you go onto the ASPMA site, Milstein found another version of it. Apparently there was this sort of racist poet guy who -
Yeah. You know, I've been wondering why there were two versions of that.
Well, he wrote - there were two versions of it, and also there's a -
But why are there two versions with the same exact melody? The racist guy wrote the melody too, I guess?
No. There's other versions of it that are almost the same from a long time ago, but Phil's got a totally different version of it. A lot of the lyrics are different.
So is Boyd the one who got you into those?
No. It was this other guy that got us both into them. We didn't really know what it was, but then we figured it out. So I'd been listening to this stuff anyway and was totally shocked and amazed by it, and then I saw this Tom Ardolino thing later.
Oh, the compilation?
Yeah. And then I found out that there were sort of other people who were into it. And then those people, I guess people had heard that I had a collection of this stuff. And so someone - Phil Milstein, I think - contacted me about it. And then that was it!
Are you into other types of that weirdo music that -
Like Gregg got me into uhh, well what are those - I forget what they're called but the albums where it's like a corporate presentation -
Oh yeah! Yeah, yeah!
- made into a musical?
I have a good friend in New York who's really into that stuff.
I bought on eBay that's just hilarious. What are they called? What do you call those things?
Industrial show tunes.
But which one did you get?
I got one for a company - a Canadian-based company called something like Texas Oil Refinery Corporation? Or something. Something like that? The whole time they'll do these songs and then they'll talk a little and it's apparently for people - they're trying to attract salesmen to come work for them?
And after every song, this woman goes, "But do you have a retirement plan?" And then they'll go on further, talk and sing and then she'll go, "But do you have a retirement plan?" And then finally at the end of the record, they talk about the retirement plan, and the record ends with her going, "Wow! You DO have a retirement plan!"
It's really s-
Yeah, I have a pretty impressive collection of those too.
And I got the, uh - I only know about those because of that CD that I guess Gregg - Did Gregg put that together?
Yeah, he did.
God, that's - And then I got the CD of Recordio discs.
Yeah. I have a lot of those too. Pea Hicks did that, right?
Yeah, that's really good. Vinyl Communications. "Lucas & Friends Discover a World of Sounds"? Is that the one?
Oh, no! I don't know that one! The one I've heard is called -
He did one of those Dish recordings.
The one I've heard is called "One Of One."
Yeah. That's not that good.
Oh really? The other one's better?
Oh cool! What's it called again?
It's called "Lucas & Friends Discover a World of Sounds." It's on Vinyl Communications.
Alright. I'll have to pick that up.
You have to look up Vinyl Communications. That guy's amazing.
What else have they put out? Because I recognize that name.
They've put out a bunch of stuff. You'd have to look at his site. It's all good.
Okay. Alright. I keep buying a bunch of crap that's put out by that uhh... Computer God -
Yeah, yeah! Well, some of that crap is - that's actually my label.
That's your label!?
Well, yeah. I put out all those "Celebrities At Their Worst" and did all of that shit.
I buy everything I can find on that label.
I don't tell everybody because a lot of that stuff is sort of less than legitimate.
Yeah. You know, I've always hated Van Morrison until I heard that CD.
Yeah, that's a real good one, huh?
Hilarious! And the one - I got one of your religious ones with the devil inside the -
Yeah! You need to get "Crying Demons." That's the good one. "I Am Lucifer" isn't as good as "Crying Demons."
Oh, "I Am Lucifer" is the one I have. Okay.
That's like Volume Two with all the leftovers.
Are you still putting out stuff? I haven't seen any -
Yeah, not really that much right now. Michael Shephard is the main guy now, and he's - I kinda lost interest and I really haven't been doing it that much, so - He's pretty cool. He's kinda like extremely large and he used to smell worse than anybody else ever has smelled. Anyone alive anyway. But I don't know what happened. Maybe he took a bath and he doesn't smell as bad anymore.
That's not very nice to say in print, is it?
Well, I don't know.
I can't get over that damn, uh - that guy who sent the tape to Keith Richards?
Oh, you mean Paul Super-Apple!
Oh my goodness. That's - that's insanity! He's insane.
(sings) They call me Apple, Apple Love!
(sings) They call me Apple Love!
Yeah, he's kinda like is George Harrison was Jerry Lewis. (in Jerry Lewis voice) HEY LADY!
He just sounds so, you know, SICK, as it were.
I think the guy interviewing him is Jim Goad.
Yeah, that's what I read somewhere. Oh actually, maybe the liner notes.
Well, I wrote the liner notes.
Oh, okay. I didn't know that was your - well, obviously I didn't know that was your label.
Yeah, I did a lot of those liner notes. A lot of the "Celebrities -," the ones that weren't done by Nick Bougas, I pretty much did. And then like Volume 2, I guess 3 and whatever. I did the "Radio Anomalies" one; that's a really good one.
Is that the one with Paul Super-Apple on it?
Yeah! Yeah, okay.
There's a lot of really good stuff. I used to have a pirate radio station in Phoenix called KDIL, and a lot of that stuff was stuff that we'd put on.
What was that show called?
It was a station. A local radio station.
It was "K-D-I-L." Named after a book that Freddy, the owner of the house and the transmitter - he found a book, not unlike Boyd found the lyrics to that "Saddest Story" song, Freddy found this book at this rummage sale or something, or at his school -- I can't remember where he got it, but for some reason I guess I thought he found it on the playground or something, but it was called "Dildo Torture."
You know, some sleazy porn paperback?
Yeah, that sounds really nice.
It was written by Arthur Fox - I'm sure his real name. And he didn't know what a dildo was - he was in grade school and thought it was just the most hilarious word he'd ever seen. And then he found out what it meant and he couldn't believe it. So he named his radio station "KDIL."
The other thing that was just incredible - I'm blanking on what the letters were - Something like "J&H Productions"?
Yeah, J&H Productions.
That's another insane man!
"Pertainin' to the shows - " Yeah, he's great. He uses a lot of United Negro College Fund words in that.
"- in the production of J&H Productions for the, uh, pertaining to J&H Productions...."
"Pertaining to the labels - "
That is the - Seriously, congratulations on having one of the best labels in the world. I buy everything I find on that label.
Yeah, it's pretty good.
Judy Garland going crazy.
You know, the Judy Garland stuff - I think that was when I was kinda like - That was at the point where I wasn't as involved anymore and this guy was like letting his gay friends - just getting whatever he can out of his gay friends in San Francisco that have the weird tapes, and just -
It takes forever to get going, but once it does, it's pretty funny.
I also really liked that stream of black racism stuff on -- what was that album?
Oh, the.... Lena Horne?
Yeah. Was it Lena Horne or -
It wasn't Lena Horne.
Was it uhh.. Michelle N'gdacello?
No, I have it right here. Let me pull it out. But yeah, yeah. She really goes off - and continues going off!
My friend came up with the Paul Anka stuff for us, because he had toured with Paul Anka and -- oh wait, I shouldn't talk about that.
He taped that!?
I'd better not give away any secrets where that stuff came from, but it's pretty much all real as far as I know. None of it's fake, as far as I know.
So getting back to - trying to think of uhh -- so what other -- well, forget the other topics. What other types of crazy music may I not have heard of that you're really into? This kinda thing? Like I wouldn't have known about song-poems if -
Well, I'm really into vanity pressings a lot.
Have you found - I've only been buying the - I mean, I bought a couple that were just horrible, so I've mainly been buying the CD reissues of them, like the Keith Higney?
Oh, Kenneth Higney. God! That's amazing!
Yeah, it's great. I have that.
And the uhhh -
I have the original album.
You have the album?
Oh yeah. I have the actual album.
How much did that run ya?
Oh, nothing. I got it free.
My friend Paul Majors gave it to me. He's the guy that does Parallel World, another great label. And the Marlin Wallace and the Corillions thing, I wrote an article for a WFMU thing about Marlin Wallace.
Oh, I haven't heard that!
Yeah, I just did a show the other night, and -
Has it been reissued? Is it available?
It is available I think. It's available from this guy in Springfield, Missouri, because that's where Marlin Wallace is from.
Oh, okay. The other one I was thinking of was Tangela Tricoli. I got that.
Tangela Tricoli's great! Boyd Rice actually turned me on to that.
It's a good CD, and they put a bunch of extra video footage on it too.
Wow. Yeah, Boyd Rice and Steve Thompson turned me on to Tangela Tricoli. Yeah, "Jet Lady."
"Stinky Poodle!" That's the best.
At our club, we play a lot of novelty-type songs. We play a lot of Bollywood stuff.
So you're part owner of a club, you're -
I'm not an owner. We promote it; we do a night at a club.
Oh, gotcha! Okay, gotcha. Gotcha. Where does most of your income come from these days?
Income? What's that?
Oh yeah. I don't really get any money that much anymore. I don't know how I manage; I really don't have any money! I do alright. I've never lived a sort of life of luxury. I'm totally broke, but I can pretty much do exactly what I want, so I guess it's alright. I've really got no disappointment.
Is it true that someone's working on a Germs movie?
They were, until we put a stop to it.
It was HORRIBLE! We read the script - unfuckingbelievable. However, because of the movie, a Germs reunion happened.
Yeah. Yeah, it was really good.
With Lorna and everything?
Who'd you have singing?
This actor named Shane West. We had a whole fake Germs, like Early Germs - all the actors that were going to play The Germs in the movie. And we talked to them; we were working sort of with the people that were doing this. I mean, we knew them. One of them was this girl that Darby used to get rides from all the way time and she thought she was best friends with him.
Was that someone in the book? Like Casey or somebody?
Oh, the one in the movie? "The Decline"?
She was in there. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah, okay. That was another great - that was in your book, right? You mention that they weren't actually - they didn't actually live there or - He just wanted a woman in there so he wouldn't look gay?
She was his beard.
Why was he so afraid to be gay?
It wasn't really cool! Unless you were like in a John Waters movie, you know? I mean even today, our president - our leader Bushypants - isn't into it.
God, isn't he the best?
Well, yeah! You couldn't ask for a better, you know, fascist dictator. You really couldn't. I think Goebbels would be fuckin' taking notes.
Is he worse than Reagan? I was pretty young during Reagan.
Definitely worse than Reagan. Worse than anything. He's worse than anything that anyone that's American could imagine. He's worse than anyone that - he's worse than a lot of people certainly. There's a real lucky thing about him though is that he's not an orator. So we don't have to, you know - that's one thing Hitler had going on that - So be thankful for that, I suppose. It would be worse if that were the case.
It must be nice to be John Kerry, riding in on the coattails of just not being George Bush.
Right! And we'll see all the good it does him too. It won't do him a whole lot of good.
You don't think he'll win?
Nah, I think it doesn't matter who wins, as was demonstrated last election.
Oh, you're - Oh God. You know, I'm worried about that too, especially with all these voting machines.
Oh, you can quit worrying! It's pretty much certain.
What'd you say?
You can quit worrying and start thinking of it as a certainty.
Why can't they do anything?
Because there's no way. Because no one will do what it takes to get him out of there. What it probably takes is not voting, because we saw what happens when people vote against him - nothing. He won, even though he lost.
But the thing is - no one's gonna impeach him and no one's gonna kill him because then Cheney's gonna be in charge.
Right. So we're pretty much - they really worked it all out pretty well, I think. So who knows what's really gonna happen. It's something I'd like to look ahead and see the history books about, you know?
What'd you think when the 9/11 attack happened?
I thought that Stockhausen had something pretty right on to say about it. He kinda got in trouble.
What'd he say?
He said it was one of the most incredible art performances that's ever occurred.
Well, it was effective certainly.
It certainly made a lot of people notice it, and it made a lot of people think a lot of things. It changed a lot of things. It really did. But I don't know - I think of 9/11 as sort of an elaborate Reichstag burning.
You know, that's - Yeah. You think they let it happen?
Let it happen?
Made it happen.
Pretty much, yeah. And if they didn't make it happen, I think that that was the one thing that I think they were extremely opportunistic and they really milked it.
For a long time, I was really hot on the idea that they knew it was gonna happen, they let it happen, they helped it happen, and then I was talking to a friend and he said, "They're not that smart."
They probably just screwed up, because they're not - That doesn't mean they WOULDN'T have let it happen.
They are that evil; they're just not necessarily that together and smart.
Yeah, I'm in New York so I was pretty messed up.
Yeah, yeah. Well, my friends Kim and Thurston from Sonic Youth were right by there when it happened. They were on Houston Street or something. Yeah, pretty weird. I would have liked to have been in New York on Houston Street when Tesla was doing those experiments.
I haven't read about him. I mean, I know he was like the other Edison, but -
No, he was the Edison that wasn't - Edison was kinda, he was great and all, but he hasn't really done - if it wasn't for Tesla, things would be a whole lot different than they are now.
What kinda stuff?
Tesla wanted there to be free electricity for everyone, with these generators that would make electricity just sort of be in the air and let you tap into it. But there was no way to regulate it.
Like the Internet now!
Except without the wires.
Wow. That would have been cool.
The Internet still has -
So now what do we know about Tesla? What do I know? I know the song "Little Suzie."
Yeah, well you have to read about Tesla. There's a good biography about Tesla by his best friend. You might want to read that. I forgot the guy's name. I reviewed it in the Amok publishing catalog. I did a lot of those reviews in there. I've done a lot of writing.
What other stuff do you write for?
I wrote for Ben Is Dead for a long time, 'cuz that girl Darby was a friend of mine.
What's her name?
Her name was Darby.
Oh, okay. You know, I've seen the Ben Is Dead zine. I remember seeing it at a friend's house. I don't remember if I -
I wrote some really great stuff in those. You know Miss Pussycat?
She and I reworked all these riddles - these horrible riddles from Children's Highlights - and replaced all the punch lines. Just traded out all the punch lines with each other and made the riddles totally better.
Somebody emailed me today and I can't figure this out. They wrote -- I have a web site where I review albums and interview people and stuff -- and someone emailed me saying, "When does a superstitious cowboy throw his hat on the bed?" And I wrote back, "I don't know what you're talking about." Then the person said, "It's a fuckin' question! Do you know it or not?" And I said, "Look! I have no idea what you're talking about!" And I still don't know whether it's a riddle or whether they're referring to something. Have you ever heard of that? A superstitious cowboy throwing his hat on the bed?
Me neither. It's gonna torture me for days now.
Hmm. Well, it's probably some kind of dumbass riddle. I don't know. I wish I remembered all the riddles from that Ben Is Dead. It was good.
What do you think about -- going back way to the beginning -- that "Decline" movie?
Well, the first thing I remember is seeing the little butterfly things over my crib.
Mm-hmm? No, you can't remember that far back. Because your brain wasn't developed enough.
Yeah, it was.
You remember the butterfly things over your crib?
Yeah, I remember being born, I think. I might even remember stuff before that too. I remember all that stuff. I mean, not all the time but you know....
You're serious? You remember - you're serious!? I know what my earliest memory is. I was in a crib; I think I was about two or three -
It wasn't even a crib. It was like some fucking stand.
A fuckin' what?
It was the thing that's littler than a crib that you're in, you know?
Oh okay, yeah. What was growing up in Arizona like? What made you -
Well, a little boring and suburban.
It was suburban and boring and weird.
Did you hang out with the Sun City Girls?
No, that was later. That was like right when I moved when they were starting together.
Oh, okay. Did you hang out with John Doe?
But I knew the Sun City Girls. They were my friends. I liked them definitely. John Doe and the X people would pretty much hang out with each other and a few other people. I liked him as a guy, but there was no hanging out to be done with them.
Who'd you hang out with? Did you hang out with -
We were young! Those guys were old. They were like everyone's big brothers and sisters or something. They weren't our age. I was the oldest person in the Germs, and I had just turned 21.
Wow! I didn't know that. Man.
I was the old man of the group.
Were you guys friends as well as a band?
Why did he want to throw you out for Rob Henley? Just because he was -
Well, because he'd go a little nutso. Your guess is as good as mine; I mean, you read the book. I suspect that he felt a little threatened by someone who was - I don't know what you know about Darby Crash, but he hadn't really run into too many people that were -- not to toot my own horn; I'm not the one who figured this out, by the way, but I do think it contains some truth. He hadn't run into too many people that could keep up with him. His thinking could be kinda pedestrian in a lot of ways, but in other ways he was the most brilliant person you could ever meet. In fact, you might not want to meet him, he was so brilliant.
Really? Even when he was like 20?
Oh, he was brilliant all the way through. Sure. He was way too smart for his own good. Some bands you just get a sense of, even if it's horrible horrible music, you just get a sense of "This is fuckin' brilliant, even in its ultimate retardedness." You'd get a sense of that even without them saying - I had no idea what was going on here with The Germs. I had no idea that there was a cult around Darby Crash that was forming. "Forming!" There's that word!
Hey! You know why? Because you were the sex boy!
I guess. Well, the Screamers did that song more than the Germs did.
Yeah. I think the Germs didn't really need that song after that show where it was recorded.
Ha! Did you contribute to the songwriting?
To some degree. Every musician in the band does when you're making stuff up in the garage. Everyone playing contributes to it. The guy sitting there making weird comments in the corner of the garage probably contributes to it. Your mom yelling at you contributes to it, you know? I made up the drum parts, most of 'em. The ones I didn't make up, I didn't play 'em as well. So the ones I totally made up, I played those really well, because they were drum parts that I could play! I wasn't really a drummer. I was just a kinda weird guy. I couldn't play drums all that well. I'd just started playing drums. I had a drum set when I was 14, but that only lasted a couple of weeks before I destroyed it. They bought me another one; I destroyed that. And then... no more drums. I gave up and I didn't look back until later on when this other band in Phoenix - the only punk band I wasn't in - started being a band and really needed a drummer. So I borrowed some drums and tried out.
Even to this day, when you type in the name "Don Bolles" into Yahoo!, it brings up the other guy.
There's another one now too.
Yep, in San Francisco. It's spelled the same way too.
Why'd you take that guy's name?
Oh, it was on the front page. It's funny; I just went through this with someone else today.
Aren't you proud of your given name though?
It's alright. I mean, it was a dumb name.....
I lost you. Are you there?
So do you like remember like when Pat came in and said "Ehh..." and started playing like "Richie Dagger's Crime" for the first time, and - I mean these riffs are just amazing riffs!
Yeah. Yeah, I do.
Were you blown away?
I liked their songs. I knew I had done the right thing. When I called 'em up, they captivated me and they were really fun and funny and strange and brilliant and unlike anyone I knew except them. They were amazing and brilliant and weird, you know? So I knew that I was probably doing the right thing. Then when I came here, I saw them play and I thought they were alright. They were playing with Nicky Beat that night; he was the drummer of the Weirdos. The band didn't have a drummer, which is why I was coming out here to join the band. But I saw them play and I thought it was pretty good. It was at the Elk Lodge Masque Benefit the day I moved here. And then while I was in the elevator, all these other bands tried to - they heard that there was a drummer coming in from Phoenix and there was a total drummer shortage because, well, it's punk rock, you know? You didn't have to be in the background. Even if you didn't even know how to play anything, you could be right there being a star right in front of everyone. You could sing, bang out some chords on the guitar and prance around in your spiky hair and your leather jacket, and you were punk! It was great. Whatever it was. But nobody wanted to be the drummer. I did though. I didn't want to get loogied on.
You didn't wanna get what?
I didn't want to get loogied.
Oh yeah, yeah.
Believe it or not, that was a major concern of mine!
I can believe it. Like I said, aside from the records, the only vision I have of that whole scene was that movie, "The Decline of Western Civilization" and EVERYONE got spit on.
That wasn't like anything.
Oh, was that a bad movie?
Well no, I guess it was an alright movie, but it was pretty contrived and inaccurate in certain ways. Penelope really didn't try to get it right, but - you know, the Germs show obviously because we couldn't play anywhere. So she had to get this place with a soundstage to let us play there. We made a fake show and somehow got everyone there. It didn't take much; it was a Germs show. Everywhere we'd go, the place would be packed. It was the biggest band in L.A., and was the first of the three that I was lucky enough to be in. .45 Grave was big too, but that came along afterwards. And Vox Pop was big in a different way.
Was Vox Pop a, a -- I've never heard Vox Pop.
Vox Pop was a big band in that there were like seven people in it, and one of them was kinda fat. So it was big that way, but really we couldn't pay people to go to our shows. People did not wanna go see someone being like Flipper-meets-Runaways-and-Faust.
It was pretty random. Everyone wanted punk! We were, of course being the rebels that we were, we were all rebelling against our rebellion even. That's all we DID was rebel! We'd rebel against the rebels. We'd rebel against ourselves basically. Whatever, we were rebelling against it.
You remind me of that guy in the movie - "I'm a rebel."
"I rebel against everything."
It was kinda true, except that was reactionary. We weren't reactionary; we were just ahead for some reason, and bored with everything by the time everyone else found out about it. We'd get this reputation of being jaded or contrarian, but I really wasn't concerned about being punk. It was like, "I'm done with that thing that you're just now finding out about. I'm not gonna sit there and wait for you."
Between the years of .45 Grave and writing the book, what were your main pursuits? I know you started the TV show.
Yeah. After .45 Grave, I did a lot of radio.
Oh, okay. The pirate radio station?
I was on a lot of different pirate stations and legitimate stations and Internet stations. I actually had a real radio job in '91, actually run by the guy Freddy, who had the pirate station. The guy who owned KROK sold it for a then record amount of money. A huge amount of money. And he wanted to do another station, and Freddy was at that point a reporter for KROK for this guy, and he was picked to be the program director. And he got me because he knew that I did really weird stuff on KDIL in Phoenix. So he wanted me to do a weird show on Saturday nights. I called it "The All Night Truck Drivers Show," and I played whatever the fuck I wanted on major market commercial radio. It was a good time. Back then what I was really getting into - we were the first station to play techno or industrial. We were also the first to play Nirvana. So we were a little bit too radical for the ability of our signal to get us to enough of Los Angeles to make it work. And we had a sales department that were more interested in selling Gold Bond Medicated Powder and Hooked On Phonics and stuff. And Cadillac dealer ads. Because they worked for the station that the station used to be before the cool people got it. So that sort of sabotaged us, and then they fired the whole programming department a couple years later. We all got locked out.
Huh! So I guess the station sucks now?
Oh, it's been through a million different things. Now it's not that bad. Steve Jones is on it.
Oh really? The Sex Pistols guy?
You know, maybe Steve Jones is a brilliant genius in some way or another, but you sure wouldn't know it from listening to him on the radio. Or to hang out with him.
I never got the impression he was a - I like the songs, but -
He was a really good guitar player though for that Sex Pistols-type stuff. I mean, it was effortless for him. I tell ya, the Sex Pistols album that really kicked everything's ass was what later came out as the bootleg "Spunk."
What's it called?
Hmm! Never heard it. I have -
It was the Sex Pistols album, but with Glen Matlock.
And it's WAY better. You oughta listen to it some time. It kicks ass.
S-P-U-N-K. Get that bootleg disc. It's the way the Sex Pistols' album should have been.
How is it different?
It's just better.
I really like the way it is!
Whatever. You're not gonna like it anymore, so maybe you SHOULDN'T get "Spunk."
No, I would like to hear it. I would like to hear it and I'll tell you why: because of how much I loved that remix, the remaster of "Raw Power."
You know what's funny? Did I mention I just played the other day? Drums. You asked if I'd been playing drums. I'm in this band called The Raw Power Rangers. And we do the "Raw Power" album! Plus "I Got A Right" and "Gimme Some Skin."
Those are so great. Those are like almost hardcore!
Well, they uhh... umm, yeah.
Well, it didn't exist then, until -
They're pretty fast and tough though, even before The Ramones.
Yeah. Yeah, definitely. It was faster and tougher than The Ramones. That was like Germs level fast tough. It really was. "I Got A Right" was probably one of my major inspirations for punk rock. I played that record everyday. You know, up until that record came out - the Siamese version, the single - all I had were the three Stooges albums. I mean, the three albums by The Stooges.
I know what you - ha! That Moe is a card, isn't he?
Ah, he was. Every day when I got up, I'd play all three of those albums before I could leave the house, just so I wouldn't be so pissed off that I'd kick things and hurt myself walking down the street.
God, it must have been pretty cool to live through all this. I wasn't born until '73, so it's all -
Right. You probably missed a lot.
I missed all of it! I mean, it's exciting for me to say, "Oh, I saw Nirvana before da-da-da-da-da," you know?
I saw Black Sabbath on the "Paranoid" tour.
That's the good thing about being old. You got to hear all the hip music and you got to see some pretty great stuff that other people don't get to see because, well, it just doesn't happen very often.
We weren't born.
Although I didn't get to see the "Fun House"-era Stooges! I still haven't gotten to see that, even though that's what's going around now. That's the reason we do the "Raw Power" album; it's because they don't.
It's a great album. But you know, the original mix really did kind of annoy me. It was a little too tinny.
Yeah. We do it pretty good though.
Who else is in the band? Anyone who's -
Dave Arnson from the Insect Surfers does his Iggy. He's the Igster. He's amazing. He's doing something right. He's rolling in broken glass and covering himself with peanut butter, and he out-Iggys pretty much anybody.
So as somebody who's obviously into - you must have a huge record collection, I guess?
Hardly any rock records though.
Okay, but as someone who's obviously into tons of different music and has listened to it forever and followed it forever, how does it feel knowing that you were, in all truthfulness, the drummer on one of the ultimate punk rock records of all time?
I don't know. I feel like I wish it was a better record, even though I know it's -
WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT!?
Well, nothing you'd notice.
I don't hear it anymore, but back then it was a real cringer for me. I mean, think about it. I'd been playing drums for about nine months, you know? I wasn't very good, although my aesthetics were certainly in the right place. It was an Olympian feat playing the Germs shows. I couldn't have done it. I was asthmatic! I was a little asthmatic skinny guy. But I had a lot of energy. And I couldn't have done that, because I was playing all wrong. I did not know how to play, and I expended about three or four times as much energy as anyone ever should. I used to use my entire arms, instead of like - Real drummers use their wrists; I used my whole fuckin' arm. It was like I was doing an Olympic fuckin' decathlon every song. It was just crazy. I'd barf. I wouldn't be on any drugs and frankly couldn't drink alcohol - this was the day of the show so I couldn't drink any alcohol, until I was so addicted to heroin that I had to do heroin in order to just be normal. I couldn't do any drugs. I could sorta do heroin, but the only reason is because I got hooked on it. I could do heroin and I could still play drums, and it was gut pain. Anyone that wasn't me and knew better than everyone else would think I was flawless. Let me get rid of this person who's calling on our only telephone. Call waiting. It's fun.
(to my wife): This guy's so nice! He's just...friendly.
(my wife): Yeah, that's nice.
(to my wife): What time is it?
(my wife): 9-1-1.
(to my wife): HUUUUUUU! Awwwww.
That's the lady who's repairing our watches. Isn't that exciting.
Yeah. I have a watch someone gave me that was this amazing '70s gold man's watch that's this insanely expensive watch, but apparently it's not fixable. Too bad. So anyway, you were saying?
I think you were saying something. I'll be darned if I can remember what it was.
You could always press rewind.
Ah, no time for that.
Ha! I'm sure it was something brilliant.
You know, you're a really good interviewee. You're a really nice guy!
I wasn't sure what to expect.
Don't tell anyone.
Okay. I'll tell them, "This guy was such an asshole!"
Yeah yeah, there you go.
Where did you hunt down Lorna Doom? What was she doing?
Pat got ahold of her somehow.
Oh okay. What did you think about his Foo Fighters experience?
Well, I was hanging out with him when he was in Nirvana. I went and saw them at the Forum.
How were they?
They were great. I thought it was the perfect melding of The Melvins, The Germs and The Beatles.
What did you see of The Germs in them? I see The Melvins and Beatles, but - just the melodies?
- totally in there.
The Germs were totally in there. In fact, until I thought about it and thought it was The Melvins, I thought it was The Germs at first. The Germs and The Beatles.
Yeah. That's where I thought he totally got it.
Hmm. What? What, what, what in - what's your - because I know he loved The Germs and I know he would agree - by he, I mean Kurt Cobain -
Yeah, he did. That was like his favorite thing.
But when I think of The Germs, I think of Pat's really trebly guitar.
No, but our songs - they were good songs.
They were great songs.
They were melodic. They kicked ass. They were glitter rock. They were anarchy glitter rock! You know? Totally hardcore glitter is what we did. We took glitter and fuckin' made it undeniable. Ha! We made it into some other thing that was undeniable. Whatever it ended up being, I guess it's done. But it sounds kinda like Bowie's "Spiders From Mars" and the Runaways to me.
The Germs record doesn't sound like any other punk record, except for the speed.
No. No, it doesn't. To me, it sounds a lot like - well, the drummers I, in case anyone cares about my nerdy drum influences -
I would say what I was going for was - well, they were bands you might not have heard of but I'll say them anyway, Van Der Graaf Generator being the main one.
Wait! Are you a fan of Van Der Graaf Generator?
Fan? Yeah! Heh heh.
Are you involved with - have you been in touch with the guy who's writing a book about them?
No, but I'd love to be.
OH! See, this is - this is what - this is what the world's all about. A guy emailed me the other day because I interviewed one of the Dead Milkmen.
Did you read the thing in Mojo about Van Der Graaf Generator?
Really good. Really good. Look for that issue.
Okay. But this guy emailed me saying -
The Dead Milkmen guy.
Aww, I gotta remember to - yeah! And he emails me and says, "Hey! I saw in your interview that this guy is a Van Der Graaf Generator fan. Do you know anyone else that I could spe - I heard that uh, I heard that Mark E. Smith is a big Van Der Graaf Generator fan -"
You know what's really funny? This is really funny too!
I'm gonna give him - Can I give him your phone number?
Give him my number, yeah. But two of my favorite drummers at that time were the guy in Van Der Graaf Generator, the guy from Yes, Bill Bruford -
Aw, I love Yes.
- the guy from King Crimson, McDonald -
(my wife): Ha ha ha!
(to my wife): Don't laugh!
My wife's laughing about you saying Yes.
- so those three guys: Bill Bruford, who was later a King Crimson drummer, I loved Bill Bruford, I loved the guy from Van Der Graaf Generator, and I loved the - whatsisname McDonald. Michael McDonald? And I loved the guy from the first Fall album. That was the other guy. And Aynsley Dunbar was the other guy. He was on Lou Reed's "Berlin" and then he was on "Diamond Dogs" from Bowie, and he was on "Mothers Live at the Fillmore East." He's a fuckin' great drummer. He was on a lot of the Zappa stuff. He was fast as lightning and could do incredible sycopation - surprising syncopated fills that were just unfuckingbelievable - out of nowhere these things would come and they'd kick your ass. I just loved it. He was so powerful and great. Those were my main guys. I liked the guy from Faust too. He was really good.
What'd you say before the guy from The Fall? Because I wanted to ask -
That McDonald guy from King Crimson.
Oh! Okay, okay. 'Cuz you said Michael McDonald and I was like, "The Doobie Brothers?"
Okay. Well, those are all great bands.
The guy from The Tubes was good too.
I don't, I, you know, I remember "She's A Beauty" and I've heard the first record, but - yeah, the other ones you named, def - I mean, I don't know much about drummers, but I know enough about drummers to know that those guys did some amazing stuff.
Yeah, well that was quality shit. That was the stuff I was into. And Peter Gabriel, believe it or not! No, not Peter Gabriel; Phil Collins.
He used to be good?
When he was in Genesis, he was amazing. When he was the drummer. Yeah, he was incredible. You had to kinda see him to tell.
He's not a very good singer.
He's not a very good singer.
Nobody here sounded like r - like I remember that I was just shocked when Peter Gabriel had left Genesis and then that "Tricks Of The Tail" album comes out and it's like, "That's Peter Gabriel singing, right?" "No, it's Phil Collins." "WHOA!" He was back there watching the guy's butt and learning how to sing!
Yep. God, he's corned out so bad though.
Yep, he sure did.
So who'd you say are the ones you listened to as a kid that you still really love? You'd probably have to say The Beatles, I suppose.
Well yeah, that was the other favorite drummer. Ringo Starr.
I'm not sure if I loved Ringo Starr more or George Martin. You know what I mean? Who knows whether Ringo Starr's drumming sounded great because of Ringo Starr or because of George Martin making him do stuff?
Well, I suppose you probably wanna go get that drink that you should've gotten an hour ago.
I don't really drink alcohol that much. It's not for me. I don't know; I'm kinda - I don't know. I used to be into free drugs, now I'm a little more into the drug-free.
That's probably smart, considering.
Well, I did it all, and I love psychedelics. Any psychedelic thing is cool with me. If you wanna read a good interview with me, there's a magazine that you can probably get from a guy online. It's called "Arcane Candy." "A-R-C-A-N-E Candy." He did this insane interview. It's 22 pages. It's really amazing. It's almost the whole thing. It's really good.
About psychedelic music, psychedelic things. I do some pretty psychedelic things, you know.
For one, my radio shows are intensely psychedelic and surreal, and I'm good at it because I've been doing it since I was a kid. So I know what I'm doing. I may be a worthless piece of shit in a million ways, but I put together one hell of a radio show.
Ha ha! What a nice thing you just said about yourself.
Ha ha! Hold on a second.
Ha ha! Sure.
(to my wife): He's like, "Why is there a dog on my -" Ha!
(my wife): Ha ha ha ha ha ha!
(to my wife): Yep.
(my wife): "I don't know a dog in -"
Just one more second. (to somebody else): Hey! Darcy wanted me to tell you that you did a great job last night!
(my wife): There's a dog on it! A German Shepherd too. (to my dog): HEEEEENRYYYYY! (in a very high voice, to my dog): GOOOD HENRY HENRY HENRY!
(to my wife): Hey, hey. Oh wait. Wait wait - leave it there!
(my wife, to my dog): Hello.
Hey! Who was that you were talking to? Darcy?
Oh, I was talking to Dame Darcy on the other line.
Dame Darcy was on the other line?
(my wife): That bi-
(to my wife): Don't say that!
I'm, I'm really good friends with an ex-ex-boyfriend of hers.
Yeah! I'm really good friends with him too. Where is that motherfucker?
He moved back to - he's somewhere in California.
Yeah? You don't have his number?
I need to get in touch with that guy. I'd love to - you know what you can do? You can give him my number.
Okay, I'll do that! Yeah, he's -
How is that guy? I haven't talked to him in years.
Okay, yeah! I'll definitely give him your number.
I don't have his phone number in front of me. I email him a lot though.
I don't want to bother him out of nowhere. I'll let him phone me.
What's Dame Darcy up to? I saw her "Greatest Hits" CD.
She's doing some pretty cool things. She just did a thing called "Gasoline." She does stuff for our club sometimes. Everyone does, though. Boyd Rice is gonna come play our club, I think.
I've only read negative things about him.
Well, that's because he does a thing called Non, and he's a high priest in the Church of Satan, and he goes around espousing a sort of vaguely Naziistic philosophy.
Oh, okay! That might be why!
Everybody reads lots of negative things about him, and I guess it's okay with him too, huh? Heh heh heh!
Jeez. But he's, he's uhh...
He likes being a little bit controversial, that sort of thing. He's a really nice guy. He's one of the nicest people you could ever meet, and one of the smartest. One of the most original thinkers too.
Oh yeah. Yeah, he's amazing. I would hope that if Armageddon occurs and there are only like five people left, that Boyd is one of them.
Were you ever involved with Anton Lavey or any of those people?
No, but I have done stuff with Boyd Rice - Non.
Oh, you've worked with Non?
Yeah, I recorded some of Boyd's records back in the old days. Actually, we had a group of people called the Associated Skull bands, which included Non, .45 Grave, Monitor - who were amazing. A very underappreciated, wonderful thing. They were also a publishing empire, with collage books that were fucking incredible. Less elaborate than whatsisname umm...
Say again? More elaborate than who?
Who was that guy, Winston -
Oh, Winston Smith.
Yeah, it was more elaborate than his stuff.
Uh-huh. More elaborate than his, I mean less elaborate than his stuff, but just as good and with no political agenda.
You a big fan of Jello Biafra? Be honest now!
He's got a great record collection. And he's really funny.
Yeah. You know what he did though? You know what he did to me?
He refused to let me interview him.
Because he'd seen my interviews with Klaus Flouride and East Bay Ray where I took their side.
Oh, right. Yeah, well?
I WROTE THIS LONG APOLOGY THOUGH!
Uhh, well. Apologizing - you know how that goes. Maybe -
I shouldn't have taken their side.
Well, maybe you should have, and you shouldn't have apologized. Heh heh!
I've heard bad things about him.
Well, he never did anything bad to me, so I don't know. But I'll tell you -
I'm a huge fan of his work! I just have heard bad things about him.
I'm a fan of his work in certain ways. I'll tell you - I'm glad he's there. Because there's a lot of people who really need him. They need him to tell 'em what's going on! And for that I'm totally glad.
He changed MY life when I was a teenager!
I'm sure he did. You know, if I wasn't already past all the college dude politics by then, I would have been really worshipping his ass. Compared to The Germs, it was a different world. And San Francisco was not where The Germs did well, because we proudly espoused these weird, crypto-fascist doctrines. Really cryptic. I mean, racism and all that - no one was about that. We all loved off-color humor, and sometimes off-color humor involved colored people. And of course, anything that was wrong was much more funny than things that weren't! We just saw it that way; I'm sorry.
It is true. I agree with that.
I mean, it's like how many great, hilarious Christian comedians have there ever been?
Very good point.
So it's pretty much - we were having fun and we really didn't give a fuck what anyone thought about the fun we were having. You know? They could have their fun if they wanted it.
Sounds like you're still having fun.
I'm having a blast.
Sounds like you've had a good life.
Well, hopefully it's not over yet.
No no, I mean so far.
So far, it's been great. And it's been the best the last year or so. It's been really incredible.
What's been going on?
It just keeps getting better. I don't know. I finally learned how to play drums and bass, and now I'm learning how to play guitar.
Playing "Ecstacy To Frenzy"!
Yeah! I learned that. For my birthday, I put together this band and we played ELO's "10538 Overture" with a string section and French horns.
It was incredible. Just seeing that live in a small club by people that you would not expect to do that? And then having it be fuckin' picture perfect and loud and majestic?
Can you imagine how much all those skinhead Germs fans would love to see that?
I hope there aren't any skinhead Germs fans. You know what? Skinheads look good on some people. As a style, I think it's interesting in a way, and I've written about the skinhead style, and I understand skinheads. Even though I never did before, I understand them now and I think that that is an interesting aberration that you can sympathize with the people who've fallen into it as being people who really desperately want to be part of something heroic. And I can really relate to - well, I don't know if I can relate to being part of something. Ha! It's more fun to be something that everyone will then maybe try to be part of than to try to fit yourself into something that's almost like -
It's a tough world for individuals.
It is, especially when you're young, where a lot of these people - when you're young, you really need people to hang out with.
The Germs were awesome. It was an incredible time. The time was defined, but The Germs was an experience. Anyone that was touched by it or even came close to it, it affected them very, very much. It was like you could transcend reality for five bucks.
Did you think that he really was gonna kill himself?
Pretty much. And then I stopped thinking that when it had been a couple of years and he hadn't. But he did say, you know - it's all in the book, you know, all that stuff. That's kinda why I wrote the book - so I would never have to go through all this again.
It's a great book. It's definitely -
It's a good book. And the second edition will hopefully be better. The thing that might not be that great about it and that might be a little bit misleading is the Darby quotes. Because a lot of the Darby quotes are from one interview that was done by Search And Destroy magazine in San Francisco. But they didn't run it because it talked about fascism in a positive way. And it wasn't anything that - I don't know. I don't need to get into it I'm sure, but I don't know - we didn't have time to be racists or fascists, because we were.... Yeah, we were racist; we were against the HUMAN race.
He really liked feeling the power though. I mean, anyone would. He had the power over certain -
He had that, but it wasn't - He had that early on and he cultivated it, and he tested it, but I think he didn't have to want it to use it. He was IT. He had IT - what they call IT. He had total charisma like a Jesus or a demagogue, but he was like an infant with a swastika armband.
Did you ever get a Germs burn?
No, I didn't. I have given one though. I questioned my authority to do that, but Pat Smear cleared it up. He said, "You were in The Germs, right?" "Yeah." "Then you can give Germs burns." Ha! The first one I gave was to a 17-year-old girl.
Good, good. Keep 'em up.
Yeah! She was excited. She just sat there, and I was like, "I feel weird doing this!"
Ah, my 90-minute tape is up.
Well, if you wanna call back, give me a little while to do stuff. I gave you an edited version of my life, but you can call back if you want to.
That's alright. What I'll do is - I'll type it all up, then I'll send it to ya. Wait, do you have a - you must have an email address, I guess.
What's that? I won't put it in here.
It's sparkle666 - Sparkle is the thing I do now - the main thing. And it's incredible - it's radio, film and strobe light, and big big wattage. I'm very happy with it. And a big PA. It's great for late night people who like psychedelic trips.
Yeah, it's totally mindblowing. Sonic Boom from the Spacemen Three told me it was "psychedelic torture."
He saw you?
Yep. You can get a record actually of a radio show that I did. It's available on the Internet.
Oh, it is?
Yeah, it's good. It's called -
Unless yer a total completist I wouldn't bother with it though (how many version of their songs do you need??)
Disc: 1 (bollocks)
1. Holidays in the Sun
3. No Feelings
5. God Save the Queen
8. Anarchy in the U.K.
10. Pretty Vacant
11. New York
12. EMI/Unlimited Edition
Disc: 2 (spunk)
4. Just Me
8. Lots of Fun
10. Who Was It?
11. New York [Looking for a Kiss]
13. No Feelings
14. Pretty Vacant
16. No Feelings
20. Anarchy in the U.K.
I was at that last Germs show at the Starwood, by the way, and I keep reading that Darby told the crowd he would see them at Oki-Dog later, but as far as I knew, he never showed up. If he did, it must have been hours and hours later because my friend Sylvia and I WERE THERE.
Thanks for putting up the interview. It was fun.
That said, good interview.
Get on the horse to Prindle Ranch!