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National Library Week Event: Cleveland Confidential Book Tour Featuring Cheetah Chrome Of The Dead Boys

Wed, 05/30/2007 - 2:08pm

When: April 12, 2011 at the Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Cleveland Confidential Book Tour features three author-musicians who hail from Cleveland but whose influence is without boundaries. Cheetah Chrome (Rocket From The Tombs, Dead Boys), Mike Hudson (The Pagans) and Bob Pfeifer (Human Switchboard, Tabby Chinos)will read excerpts from their books, answer questions and discuss their careers. A book signing will follow and books will be on sale. Cheetah Chrome is best known as guitarist/founding member of both Rocket From The Tombs and Dead Boys. As a songwriter his work has been covered by artists such as Guns n Roses, Pearl Jam and the Beastie Boys. He still performs and records with Rocket From The Tombs, as well as Batusis (with Sylvain Sylvain). His new book "Cheetah Chrome - A Dead Boy's Tale From The Front Lines Of Punk Rock" is the no-holds-barred autobiography - a tale of success and excess--amazing music, legendary antics, epic drug use, and eventual resurrection--that only a true rock and roller could deliver.Mike Hudson founded the American punk rock group the Pagans in 1977. His work has appeared in Hustler, the Associated Press, Master Detective, Field & Stream and many other publications. He is currently the founding editor and CEO of the Niagara Falls Reporter, a New York tabloid specializing in politics and organized crime. "Diary of A Punk," his autobiography, is a classic rock and roll memoir that dishes the inside dope on the groundbreaking American punk rock movement and many of its top stars.Bob Pfeifer was a founding member and primary songwriter for the critically acclaimed band, Human Switchboard. He went on to be Senior Vice President A&R / Epic Records and President of Hollywood Records (The Walt Disney Company). He is responsible for the sale of 50 Million albums having worked with Alice Cooper, Joe Satriani, Ornette Coleman, The Screaming Trees, Elton John, among many others, and soundtracks like the Crow: City of Angels and Lion King. Bob's novel, "University of Strangers," has as its center a sensational case - that of American student Amanda Knox and the brutal murder of her roommate. A unique blend of fact and fiction, it is a spellbinding account of the violence, corruption and celebrity worship that characterize much of 21st century life.

Transcript

  • [00:00:00.00] [ "STREET WHERE NOBODY LIVES" BY THE PAGANS PLAYING]
  • [00:00:30.81] JENNY HOFFMAN: Our moderator for this evening is Bill Holdship. Bill is the former music editor for Detroit Metro Times and Creem magazine. I'd like to thank all our guests for joining us this evening. We're very happy to have him here. Please help me welcome Bill Holdship.
  • [00:00:46.44] BILL HOLDSHIP: Thank you very much. These guys really don't need much of an introduction. If you're into rock and roll you know these guys already, which is probably one of the reasons you're here. But since they are now also authors I'm going to give you their official introductions.
  • [00:01:03.51] First, to my right here, we have Cheetah Chrome who'll be reading from his autobiography A Dead Boy's Tale: From the Front Lines of Punk Rock. It's a no holds barred autobiography of Cheetah, lead guitarist of the Dead Boys, one of the greatest punk bands ever. It's a tale of success and excess, amazing music, legendary antics, epic drug use, and eventual resurrection-- I read it. It's a lot more than that-- that only a true rock and roller could deliver. As a songwriter, Chrome's work has been covered by artists such as Guns N' Roses, Pearl Jam, and the Beastie Boys.
  • [00:01:33.04] He still performs and records with Rocket Frome the Tombs, and Batusis, with Sylvain Sylvain of the New York Dolls. He lives in Nashville with his wife and sons. It also doesn't mention that I also saw Pearl Jam cover "Sonic Reducer" many times.
  • [00:01:45.37] Mike Hudson, who is at the end here will read from Jetsam and Diary of a Punk. The 32 short pieces that made up Jetsam were written and published between 1977 and 2009. So Mike's the longest running published author here. His leading, unsentimental prose style is apparent in even the earliest entries here. Diary of a Punk is Hudson's autobiography. He's the founder of the seminal American punk rock group The Pagans, formed in 1977. His work has appeared in Hustler, the Associated Press, Nasty, or Detective, Field & Stream and many other publications here and abroad. He is currently the founding editor and CEO of the Niagara Falls Reporter, a New York tabloid specializing in politics and organized crime.
  • [00:02:22.71] University of Strangers is Bob Pfeifer's first novel. A little description of it. In a sensational case that made headlines all over the globe, the American student Amanda Knox was convicted of the murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher, and what Italian authorities describe as a sadistic sexual encounter. Pfeifer's novel details the efforts of a secret society comprised of famous contemporary figures from the worlds of literature, show business, and politics to clear the girl's name. A unique blend of fact and fiction, the book is a spellbinding account of the violence, corruption, and celebrity worship that characterizes much of 21st century life. I read the whole book this morning. It's exceptional. I mean there's just so many layers to this book and what has to say about modern culture and society.
  • [00:03:07.10] Prior to this Pfeifer was Senior Vice President of A&R, Epic, Sony records and President of Hollywood Records. Artists he's worked with include Alice Cooper, who I understand he's still working with, Ornette Coleman, the Screaming Trees, also soundtracks like the The Crow, City of Angels, and Lion King. He is a founding member, songwriter of Human Switchboard, which is how I first knew Bob, and currently Tab, Tabby Chinos, is that how you say it?
  • [00:03:29.39] BOB PFEIFER: Tabby Chinos.
  • [00:03:29.95] BILL HOLDSHIP: Tabby Chinos. OK, there you go. He lives in Los Angeles with his son. OK. Let me ask you. OK, you want to go?
  • [00:03:39.42] MIKE HUDSON: No go ahead. What do you want to ask?
  • [00:03:41.43] BILL HOLDSHIP: What I wanted to ask-- I thought that maybe we'd start off with why Cleveland? I mean people know that Detroit was a great place for bringing great rock and roll music. Why Cleveland?
  • [00:03:51.16] MIKE HUDSON: We talk about this a lot. It was the time, it was-- Cleveland was the first major American city to go into default since the Great Depression. We had a bunch of clownish political figures. The Cleveland Indians were always in last place. We had Ghoulardi. We had--
  • [00:04:20.00] BOB PFEIFER: We had great radio. We had CKOW coming out of Detroit, with WNCR, WMMS early on. I mean people that wern't-- like The Stooges, or the MC5 or the Velvet Underground or the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. These people were popular.
  • [00:04:43.39] CHEETAH CHROME: These people were popular in Cleveland, but not anywhere else.
  • [00:04:46.54] BOB PFEIFER: Yeah, I mean, when I met Bryan Ferry he said we thought we'd take the states by storm. We took San Francisco and Cleveland. There was a woman who wrote there named Jane Scott-- for the Cleveland Plain Dealer-- who was Lou Reed's favorite writer. And she liked everybody. But the point was she'd actually put-- you would have The Stooges on the cover of your Friday morning paper. You'd have the Velvet's there. So we grew up thinking that was normal. You know, right?
  • [00:05:19.42] CHEETAH CHROME: Also, I was born there and kind of stuck there, couldn't get out. I would have been born someplace else but I wanted to be near my mother.
  • [00:05:30.38] BOB PFEIFER: There was nothing to do. There was nothing to do so it was always better to do whatever you were going to do. You know, the band.
  • [00:05:39.90] MIKE HUDSON: We did these bands largely for our own amusement. Because you couldn't go out. You're bringing in the props now.
  • [00:05:49.98] BOB PFEIFER: No, that's the text thing see. That was a text. I forgot something.
  • [00:05:52.93] BILL HOLDSHIP: What you said about the music that came out of there I found really interesting in your book Cheetah. There's a in there about your mother. It's very touching-- but a lot of the reason you got into rock and roll. I mean, I know you got into rock and roll separate from your mother, but she really helped you a lot with the rock and roll. She brought The Stooges's first [UNINTELLIGIBLE]?
  • [00:06:08.51] CHEETAH CHROME: She didn't know-- she didn't look at the name of the band, she'd just looked at how tha cover looked. And I wanted the one by this band, The Illusions, she brought me home The Stooges. Well, I'll go up and listen to it anyway. Needless to say it was pretty damn good, right?
  • [00:06:25.27] BOB PFEIFER: Cheetah, I think, does the best description of anything I've read of the kind of music we were hearing at that moment in time, which probably wasn't-- might not have been different from what you're doing here in this area. But his book--
  • [00:06:38.58] CHEETAH CHROME: I think the fact that we're close to Detoit and we got a lot of the same radio stations. And bands like The Sooges, and the MC5, and Velvets, and all actually played in Cleveland once in a while, kind of had an influence on it. It wasn't just-- Detroit had a whole separate scene going-- had its own scene going, and earlier than Cleveland ever did-- which got a lot of attention at the time. But nobody was, like, why Detroit? Because it was the times. Same thing with Cleveland really.
  • [00:07:10.38] MIKE HUDSON: Alice came-- Alice Cooper came. Iggy opened for him. They played the Chester. Like Hullabaloo, it was like a teen club where they didn't serve alcohol. You could just go and bring your own alcohol.
  • [00:07:27.35] BOB PFEIFER: We had them here. They were called canteens back in the day.
  • [00:07:31.11] BILL HOLDSHIP: Yeah, Bob, what you said about the book too it was very interesting to me because I'm just a few years-- a few months younger than you, and the way you described discovering rock and roll, as you discovered it, I can really relate to. You saw some of the greatest bands ever. Even Uriah Heep, the Grateful Dead, if they came to Cleveland. You were there.
  • [00:07:50.00] CHEETAH CHROME: That's the way it was back then. I was a kid, a late '60s kid. I was like 14 or 15, but still all that music, all that was going on. I was able to go to a concert when I was 15 by myself. So, I would.
  • [00:08:01.60] BILL HOLDSHIP: You saw the Beatles first concert in Cleveland.
  • [00:08:04.46] CHEETAH CHROME: Yeah, when I was 11.
  • [00:08:05.67] BILL HOLDSHIP: That must of been incredible.
  • [00:08:06.88] CHEETAH CHROME: That was good but you couldn't hear them very well.
  • [00:08:08.81] BILL HOLDSHIP: One question I'm interested in is yours is not a biography, you write autobiography. I know that you-- yours is a novel but there's autobiographical elements to it certainly. Was this opening-- was it cathartic for you to write about the past, or was it opening up old wounds sometimes?
  • [00:08:24.61] CHEETAH CHROME: I get that one a lot. It doesn't seem to me like it was all cathartic at all. You can't be my age and have a life like I've lived and not go through the stuff in your head periodically. Like I said, Cleveland-- I've had plenty of time in jail cells and rehab hospitals to think about my life. This was just writing it down. There was nothing psychological about it.
  • [00:08:53.18] BOB PFEIFER: The scary part is he remembers the shit. And we were in Boston and the DJ at WFNX says the last time he saw him he was picking him up off the floor at the Rat. And he remembers the entire thing, could give you a complete list of everything. Great memory. I'm glad I don't have one.
  • [00:09:15.46] BILL HOLDSHIP: That's why you write fiction.
  • [00:09:19.75] CHEETAH CHROME: He's kind of like a goose. He has to learn how do everything over again every morning.
  • [00:09:25.11] BILL HOLDSHIP: So since the three of you have written books, are the books the new rock and roll?
  • [00:09:32.65] CHEETAH CHROME: No, no, no, not at all. Not even close.
  • [00:09:37.13] MIKE HUDSON: You know it's a very different process because when you're doing a band you have other people, and everything gets filtered through other people. And you get a quick reaction to-- if the drummer thinks the song sucks, he'll tell you right away. But, you know, when you're writing you're in a room by yourself and you don't even know if what you're doing is any good or how it's going to be reacted to.
  • [00:10:09.23] BILL HOLDSHIP: It's interesting. You've talked about the collaborative effort as opposed to a book. At the beginning of your book you have one of the characters talking about how collaborations were so important in rock and roll. And you mention all the big collaborations that happened, from Lennon and McCartney to Thurston and Kim, the Sonic Youth people. Frank sent me some notes-- Frank, who runs Smogville Records-- and he mentioned that "Sonic Reducer" was a collaborative process and with writing the song. And it's one of the most recognizable underground rock and roll songs of all times. It's right up there with "Search and Destroy" and so forth and so on. How difficult was it? Was it a collaborative effort, and how did you write that song?
  • [00:10:52.08] CHEETAH CHROME: That one was-- I was lucky with Rocket From the Tombs, we were pretty well on the same page. When we first formed we had a really intense six-month period of collaborating. Everybody brought songs to the table and they all ended up better for it between Peter, David, and myself. And everybody pitched in. Like "Ain't It Fun," Peter had the words, I had the music. "What Love Is" is one of me and David. And it was really pretty easy. He would give me a sheet of lyrics and I'd take it home and I'd write music to it. And it took like a day or so.
  • [00:11:31.95] "Sonic Reducer" was the easiest of any of them. He had the lyrics, he told me he wrote a song and were going to call it "Sonic Reducer." I was like, sounds like a great title, like "Rocket Reducer" or something like that. And he had it when I came to rehearsal early the next night, and showed me a piece of paper, and I sat there playing my guitar. Within about five minutes I had that riff, and I just built it from there. And all of a sudden we just pulled the chairs together and it was done in five minutes. The band had it finished by the end of the night.
  • [00:12:08.63] BILL HOLDSHIP: Incredible.
  • [00:12:09.08] MIKE HUDSON: David Thomas, Rocket From the Tombs, Pere Ubu. He read with us last night in Cleveland.
  • [00:12:16.49] BOB PFEIFER: And he told us where he ripped it off from. Hawkwind. He was destroying every illusion last night.
  • [00:12:28.61] BILL HOLDSHIP: Again, these are Frank's notes. On that particular song he wanted me to ask you, lyrically, is it a metaphorical call to arms? Isn't it really a song-- some kid rejecting mom and dad and some bullies?
  • [00:12:42.58] CHEETAH CHROME: David just always told me it was about some Charlie Starkweather kind of guy. I don't ever think it was supposed to be a teen anthem, or a backdrop for labor riots, or anything like that.
  • [00:12:56.35] BILL HOLDSHIP: That's amazing that so many people would read many things into it.
  • [00:13:00.53] CHEETAH CHROME: But now it's in that movie Carlos, I guess, during a gun fight. Who knows? It's finding its place.
  • [00:13:06.50] BILL HOLDSHIP: I'm curious, did Cleveland-- I know that you eventually moved to New York. Were you accepted in Cleveland? Was your music? Or did you have to go outside Cleveland?
  • [00:13:16.34] BOB PFEIFER: No. No, and I'll get into that. We'll get into that. Not really at all. Not really at all.
  • [00:13:18.32] MIKE HUDSON: We're still not.
  • [00:13:22.28] BILL HOLDSHIP: To this day, really?
  • [00:13:23.35] BOB PFEIFER: We're still not, and I'll get into it.
  • [00:13:25.86] BILL HOLDSHIP: OK, OK.
  • [00:13:26.32] CHEETAH CHROME: You know it's-- you know that Dead Boys were never accepted. The sooner we went someplace else the more we were accepted. But Cleveland area attitudes are always well, he can't be any good, I know him. He lives down the street from me, he's got to suck And, you know, John Lennon and Paul McCartney's neighbors didn't have that attitude, I don't think, They were given a chance.
  • [00:13:49.40] MIKE HUDSON: We got reviewed in Rome, Italy, before we got reviewed in Cleveland.
  • [00:13:55.33] CHEETAH CHROME: Yeah.
  • [00:13:55.66] BOB PFEIFER: You had to go to New York to be big in Cleveland.
  • [00:13:59.14] CHEETAH CHROME: If they were told you were good then, OK, maybe I was wrong. You know, he can't be good. Very strange. It's a weird mentality there. I noticed that. We were just there for two days, and I still notice things like that. Cleveland really wants to keep you Cleveland.
  • [00:14:16.33] BILL HOLDSHIP: So even after you went to New York, and were a big success and everything, and you went back to Celveland they just--
  • [00:14:21.91] BOB PFEIFER: We had a crowd then. You had an audience than but you still-- I'm going to go into that in a bit.
  • [00:14:31.09] BILL HOLDSHIP: OK.
  • [00:14:31.74] BOB PFEIFER: I'll give you what I did for those motherfuckers-- for those people.
  • [00:14:36.81] BILL HOLDSHIP: Were they throwing things at you last night?
  • [00:14:39.98] BOB PFEIFER: Oh, no. The people that are behind us are there. We sold out Rock hall in an hour OK? It's just the powers that be.
  • [00:14:49.75] BILL HOLDSHIP: OK, we'll get to it. OK, we'll get to it.
  • [00:14:55.28] BOB PFEIFER: I'll give it to you.
  • [00:14:57.47] BILL HOLDSHIP: I've asked Iggy and James Williamson this in the past, and I'm curious about you guys. Basically, at a point punk rock-- you guys basically changed the world with the way the music scene was. But while you were actively doing it, did you go into it with that intention? Did you know you were changing the world? Did you intend that? Chrissie Hynde has an interesting quote. She says, why be ahead of your time if the people that are on time that are really the important ones? But the people are on time if it wasn't for the people who came before them so those are the important ones.
  • [00:15:24.00] CHEETAH CHROME: At the time we were doing it we just knew what we were doing was good. We never saw it as being something that would change anything except it was making us feel good about ourselves in a place where we didn't usually feel good about ourselves. With Rocket-- if Rocket would have gone on and played New York before the Dead Boys had, it could've been completely different, you know, the whole thing. The Dead Boys, when we went to New York and got attention and did something-- The influence part was something that-- we knew we were influencing people at the time but I never saw it lasting as long as it has. I never thought 30 years later it would be a classic or anything like that.
  • [00:16:12.04] MIKE HUDSON: We'd come up here, The Pagans, to play with Ron and Niagara, and
  • [00:16:21.85] BOB PFEIFER: Destroy All Monsters.
  • [00:16:23.23] MIKE HUDSON: Destroy All Monsters. We'd do the Student Union, and they'd give us some teacher's office to be the dressing room, and the teacher would not want to come back to the office after we-- So we were just drinking, doing drugs, and we like those guys, and they liked us, and it was just something to do.
  • [00:16:44.37] BOB PFEIFER: But there was a sense-- I remember when the Ramones cracked with "Sheena is a Punk Rocker," cracked the top 100. There was a sense that something was going to change maybe.
  • [00:16:55.69] BILL HOLDSHIP: Yeah.
  • [00:16:56.34] BOB PFEIFER: But we weren't omniscient. But I think your point about being ahead and all that is really good. It took 20 years later for Guns N' Roses to do, Cheetah?
  • [00:17:05.23] CHEETAH CHROME: Yeah.
  • [00:17:08.04] BOB PFEIFER: Right? You know?
  • [00:17:08.78] BILL HOLDSHIP: It was funny, the first time I saw Guns N' Roses I said, oh it looks like sombody stole our luggage.
  • [00:17:14.56] BILL HOLDSHIP: Yeah, I remember the first time I saw Pearl Jam do "Sonic Reducer," and they started that riff. And I was like, whoa, that's really. familiar.
  • [00:17:24.40] BOB PFEIFER: And all those Seattle bands-- because I was up there signing Soundgarden and Screaming Trees-- all those bands, before they were signed we went into their houses, they all had our record. They all had a big Cleveland thing. And Cobain was saying, I wrote the "Stairway to Heaven" of punk. I wasn't sure it that was a joke until-- but you see what I'm saying? And those people-- it was weird. The Seattle thing was very Cleveland. So it wasn't surprising when Pearl Jam was into it.
  • [00:17:52.09] CHEETAH CHROME: Mother Love Bone and Green River covered it.
  • [00:17:53.12] BOB PFEIFER: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
  • [00:17:53.79] BILL HOLDSHIP: [UNINTELLIGIBLE] this Seattle thing, they say that whenever Nirvana finally broke huge that's when punk finally made it, quote, unquote. I don't know if that's true
  • [00:18:03.95] CHEETAH CHROME: It was the year we broke up.
  • [00:18:05.35] BOB PFEIFER: And that's what did it. That was the clear sign.
  • [00:18:08.44] BILL HOLDSHIP: That's the thing you said about the Ramones breaking. But again it still was a cult. The cool people knew what was happening. But I remember like being here in Michigan. I remember like seeing Iggy open for the Stones at Pontiac Silverdome. And Iggy-- in Michigan-- and Iggy got booed almost off the stage. It sure didn't help that he came out in a dress. But people treated you back in those days if you're a punk rock-- even when it became New Wave, quote, unquote-- like you didn't bathe or something. Like you had mentioned Michael Stanley from Cleveland, you should be listening to Michael Stanley, man.
  • [00:18:37.30] BOB PFEIFER: Yeah, we're going to go there.
  • [00:18:40.32] BILL HOLDSHIP: One thing I'm curious, when I was talking about the call to arms-- is that basically what you're trying to with University of Strangers? It's basically an attack, to me, on modern culture and tabloid-- TMZ you mention a lot in your book. It's an excellent book. There's a lot of characters, real characters, in there who are real-life people that--
  • [00:19:01.24] BOB PFEIFER: Including Bill Holdship.
  • [00:19:03.31] BILL HOLDSHIP: That's right. That's right. One of the great honors of my career. I just read this morning that he actually has Barry Manilow mentioning me in an attacking way with a bunch of other people. So I was very, very pleased by that.
  • [00:19:14.23] AUDIENCE: Congratulations.
  • [00:19:15.16] BILL HOLDSHIP: Thank you. Thank you. But was it a call to arms? Would you put it that way?
  • [00:19:20.27] BOB PFEIFER: When you write something-- I went through a very depressed period, and I wrote music and went backwards, and wrote music and wrote fiction, and wrote all this stuff. So I wasn't consciously doing that. But it would be nice if people pursued truth and corruption in the world, right? Actually, one person was asking me if this wasn't like a prediction on Julian Assange, you know?
  • [00:19:43.62] BILL HOLDSHIP: It's incredible. We even like the very first quote in this from Winston Churchill, "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on." And that was in the world before the internet. So imagine how much worse it is today. And speaking of the internet, sometimes I sit back and, considering how my career is going and stuff like that, I think it is as much of a curse as it's been a blessing. And it's kind of like made the value of intellectual property reduced almost to zero. And is it difficult to soldier on in music because of the way everything is now?
  • [00:20:19.49] CHEETAH CHROME: No, I enjoy doing it for the exact same reason as I started doing it, and I still love doing it. People still seem to like us playing, and that's the only reason I like to do it. It's what I do, and It's fun. I do it for myself. I don't care whether anybody else wants to listen to it or not, I'm still going to do it. You just don't quit.
  • [00:20:42.49] BILL HOLDSHIP: Right.
  • [00:20:43.02] CHEETAH CHROME: It'd be like cutting off your leg. You don't just do that. It's part of you and-- what are you going to do now? I'm going to quit music now and become a bus driver.
  • [00:20:53.66] MIKE HUDSON: Well, what else are you going to do.
  • [00:20:55.49] BILL HOLDSHIP: Right, right.
  • [00:20:56.27] MIKE HUDSON: We're of a certain age and we've been doing this since we were children. What else are you going to do?
  • [00:21:04.12] BILL HOLDSHIP: Right.
  • [00:21:04.72] BOB PFEIFER: The economics are different. There's no record industry. There's no print media.
  • [00:21:09.76] CHEETAH CHROME: And even when I do try to quit I keep getting dragged back in.
  • [00:21:12.49] BOB PFEIFER: What?
  • [00:21:13.17] CHEETAH CHROME: Even when I tried to quit I kept getting dragged back in.
  • [00:21:15.70] MIKE HUDSON: It's like being in the mafia.
  • [00:21:17.55] BILL HOLDSHIP: Well, as the longest running published writer up here of the three. Do you find that the internet has made intellectual property worth less?
  • [00:21:27.49] MIKE HUDSON: You have to know a market, and you have to produce something that people want. And yeah it gets ripped off on the internet almost immediately, but sometimes people still want the artifact. Like I don't have a Kindle. My wife has a Kindle. But I like books, you know. So obviously we all make a living doing what we do. The flip side of that coin is that I think since the internet came in we're all-- and including Bill Holdship-- more famous than we were before the internet. I mean, The Pagans, we were kids. They knew us here, they knew us in Chicago, they knew us in Erie, Pennsylvania, Cleveland of course, but that was it. Now it's a worldwide thing.
  • [00:22:44.89] BILL HOLDSHIP: Right.
  • [00:22:45.56] MIKE HUDSON: Just because of the internet.
  • [00:22:46.96] BILL HOLDSHIP: Right.
  • [00:22:47.82] BOB PFEIFER: I'm convinced the first I don't know how many hundred copies of that book sold because of Facebook.
  • [00:22:54.48] BILL HOLDSHIP: Right.
  • [00:22:55.37] MIKE HUDSON: We met on Facebook.
  • [00:22:57.35] BOB PFEIFER: Yeah. This whole thing is Facebook, you know. I mean so there's a good and a bad to it. And what's going to happen is people are going to figure out how to make a living at it. And the other issue really is it's only been recent times, the last 100 years, that artists or creative people made money, OK? I mean there used to be kings that sponsored things, and court jesters were comedians. It's only in recent times that we've kind of come to the point where we assume this. So I don't know which way it's going.
  • [00:23:37.49] MIKE HUDSON: Even newspapers prior to, really, the turn of the 20th century there were no major metropolitan dailies. That came in late 1890s. So all of a sudden you had this whole thing created where guys could go work for a paper and make $700 a week, and begin a union, and have protection for their job. Prior to that, if you worked for a newspaper it was basically like being a bum. You were an itinerant guy, generally, and would go from town to town and write about things, or print if you were a printer. So it's just something else and you have to figure out the paradigm that you're going to make money on it.
  • [00:24:27.69] BILL HOLDSHIP: Speaking of Facebook too-- like I said earlier about the blessing and the curse-- I like Facebook. I think it's a blessing. I get to connect with people and I thought I wouldn't connect with ever again. I get to connect with people that I never thought I would connect with period. One of the things I really enjoy on Facebook is your political diatribes.
  • [00:24:45.47] BOB PFEIFER: You know I'm trying to convince him that that's his next book.
  • [00:24:49.12] BILL HOLDSHIP: I think so. Yeah, yeah, yeah yeah. Better than any of the news talk shows that I see. Even Ed Schultz, who I love. I've quoted you a few times, and I've joked, who would have thought it would come from a Dead Boy? But one thing I'm curious about is-- I've always thought about this-- years ago Bruce Springsteen was talking about rock and roll and how it opened doors for him as a working class kid in New Jersey. You guys-- I don't know about you Mike, I don't know your background, but I know you're a self-educated guy basically, and you are too as well Bob, basically, right?
  • [00:25:20.27] BOB PFEIFER: Self-educated?
  • [00:25:20.53] BILL HOLDSHIP: Did you go to college?
  • [00:25:22.26] BOB PFEIFER: Yeah. I taught philosophy at Ohio State, man.
  • [00:25:26.94] BILL HOLDSHIP: OK. See, and I've known you the longest. I'm sorry about that. But do you think that rock--
  • [00:25:32.28] BOB PFEIFER: [UNINTELLIGIBLE] because I wanted to be a Dead Boy.
  • [00:25:35.46] BILL HOLDSHIP: You just made a comment when we were upstairs having a cigarette about some guy said something to you about education, and so you play it down a little bit I think. No?
  • [00:25:44.31] BOB PFEIFER: I don't remember the comment about--
  • [00:25:46.86] [INTERPOSING VOICES].
  • [00:25:47.12] BOB PFEIFER: No, I was talking about the archiving bit where they thought-- they wanted to know where I got a degree in archiving to talk to them. And I said, you don't need a degree in archiving to fool the archivists.
  • [00:26:04.07] BILL HOLDSHIP: OK, gotcha, gotcha.
  • [00:26:04.74] BOB PFEIFER: It's just a few terms, that's all.
  • [00:26:06.95] BILL HOLDSHIP: What do you think-- getting back to my original point so I can save face here-- did you think the rock and roll opened doors for you guys? I mean wasn't once upon a time like a thing that brought you an education in some ways. I learned about the Beat poets because of Bob Dylan. I learned about Rimbaud because I got into Bob Dylan and Patti Smith. I may have never know about those people before.
  • [00:26:29.36] CHEETAH CHROME: You do learn things. Patti Smith definitely did a lot more for Rimbaud than anybody else did. Of course he's kind of got forgotten again, hadn't he? He got his 15 minutes from Patti. I always liked to learn. School always bored me but I always loved books, and I always loved learning.
  • [00:26:57.18] BOB PFEIFER: He's the most well-read guy up here.
  • [00:26:59.61] CHEETAH CHROME: Just because you don't like learning in school doesn't mean you're stupid or you don't like to learn. You can keep yourself, you can learn a lot by yourself. And actually you're more inclined to do that because you don't mind studying, you're not told to do it. It's something you do for pleasure.
  • [00:27:15.72] MIKE HUDSON: I would skip out of school and go to the public library because the cops were always looking for truants, and they would never look at public library. So I would sit there in a place like this and just read all day, and then go home in the afternoon and pretend that I had gone to school to my parents. And Cheetah-- I know because we've lived together and known each other for a very long time-- and this guy always had a book, always. No matter what his condition was, or over the years he always had a book in his back pocket and be reading.
  • [00:27:58.11] CHEETAH CHROME: Sometimes it took me a couple of years to finish one because I'd be nodding off all the time, but I would finish it.
  • [00:28:05.07] BILL HOLDSHIP: One thing I find interesting-- back to the political diatribes that you that I just love so much-- In the book, one of the most moving things about it-- a lot of is a tribute to your mom. She was a wonderful woman, and the way she bought you your guitars. Even when you were a bad boy she'd still go buy you the guitar. But the one thing that you do mention, I think the one thing you might have butted heads over is that she was a conservative.
  • [00:28:29.95] CHEETAH CHROME: Oh yeah, big time. She, to her dying day, thought Richard Nixon would never have done anything wrong, and they were picking on him. She was a staunch Republican. It was really fun because of the kind of person she was she wan't a Republican at all. But she just happened to think that-- she liked Eisenhower and she figured if he was probably good, she liked them all. It was much simpler than things are now.
  • [00:29:01.63] And if I tell her, OK, Nixon's just killing people in Cambodia, no they wouldn't do that. The United States wouldn't do a secret war in Cambodia. OK mom, whatever you say. It went and on. right through Reagan. She loved Ronald Reagan. Never knew why. The Iran-Contra things were on the news, and mom, look at this, he's testifying. They just want him out. It's the communists trying to get us, you know.
  • [00:29:34.18] And she really bought into that whole-- My mom's a big product of the depression and WWII. It really affected her. She really was deprived of things because of those two things. You know what I mean? Rationing and stuff like that. So she really bought into it. She was a really good person. She never should have even known a Republican. She deserved a tribute, and I wanted to make sure she got her due in this.
  • [00:30:07.28] BILL HOLDSHIP: I found it very, very moving. It's one of the more moving parts of the book. It's an excellent book but that's just really special.
  • [00:30:13.03] CHEETAH CHROME: We were very close. I'm happy to say we were never closer than at the end, and she was really happy.
  • [00:30:17.45] MIKE HUDSON: A great lady.
  • [00:30:18.76] BILL HOLDSHIP: Yeah, she lived long enough to see you clean up your act.
  • [00:30:21.62] CHEETAH CHROME: Oh, she got to hold her grandson.
  • [00:30:24.36] BILL HOLDSHIP: Yeah, that's incredible, that's incredible. Well, are you a father Mike?
  • [00:30:28.31] MIKE HUDSON: What's that?
  • [00:30:28.86] BILL HOLDSHIP: Are you a father?
  • [00:30:30.36] MIKE HUDSON: Yeah.
  • [00:30:30.59] BILL HOLDSHIP: OK. The three- Are you on Facebook? I'm not going to make you my Facebook friend--
  • [00:30:36.83] MIKE HUDSON: I'm on, let's be Facebook friends, Bill.
  • [00:30:37.72] BILL HOLDSHIP: OK, let's do it so I can learn more about the fact that you do have kids. I know that you two do have kids that you adore.
  • [00:30:42.98] BOB PFEIFER: They talk, they talk. They talk on the phone.
  • [00:30:43.43] BILL HOLDSHIP: Oh do they really?
  • [00:30:44.13] BOB PFEIFER: Star Wars, Legos, man.
  • [00:30:49.15] BILL HOLDSHIP: How do you explain, or how would you explain, when they reach the age, about the things that went on in the punk rock years.
  • [00:30:56.55] BOB PFEIFER: I'll hand them this.
  • [00:31:00.12] MIKE HUDSON: Cheetah's son, [? Rogan, ?] watched the streaming video of us with David last night at the Rock hall. Cheetah told me this morning that he was-- you guys use a lot of bad words.
  • [00:31:15.70] BOB PFEIFER: At UCLA my son came. And, I don't know, the deal around his school is that they get a dollar for every time you say a bad word. He walked out with $27 off these guys. And they were trying to tone it down, I think.
  • [00:31:35.84] CHEETAH CHROME: My son-- He was at a Dead Boys gig when he was two months old. We did a reunion for the Save CB's thing. So that was his first road trip, and he's been at a lot of gigs with me, and he's been in the studio, and we record. He's had his little motorcycle jacket since he was four. And we'd be driving around and say, oh what do you want to hear? Oh, put in "Sister Anne," dad. So I'm raising him right.
  • [00:32:04.19] BILL HOLDSHIP: Definitely "Sister Anne."
  • [00:32:06.84] BILL HOLDSHIP: Oh yeah, he loves the MC5. That's driving music.
  • [00:32:09.82] BILL HOLDSHIP: We haven't used any dirty words here at all.
  • [00:32:12.97] BOB PFEIFER: Just wait. Just wait.
  • [00:32:14.25] CHEETAH CHROME: That's about to start.
  • [00:32:16.97] BILL HOLDSHIP: What point do you guys want to read?
  • [00:32:22.67] CHEETAH CHROME: Whenever. Bob why don't you give Cleveland, give them a little hell.
  • [00:32:26.84] BOB PFEIFER: I'll go tonight because I'll give Cleveland a little hell.
  • [00:32:30.47] MIKE HUDSON: I would [UNINTELLIGIBLE] what he did.
  • [00:32:32.09] BOB PFEIFER: I'm supposed to get up there. See this is the way it works. See, Cheetah is great. He picks up a book with the wrong hand and kind of sticks his finger in it, and Mike's got his thing, and I print up these things all day. I get nervous and I rewrite I'm rewriting stuff all-
  • [00:32:49.19] BILL HOLDSHIP: Backstage, the hotel staff--
  • [00:32:50.25] BOB PFEIFER: Yeah, practicing. I didn't practice today. I welcome you to the Cleveland Confidential bit here. This is like the 22nd city. I think we have one more. We've got to be in LA, the Grammy museum. And thank you for coming out. And thank you to [? Neil ?] [? Haggert ?] for helping put this together and hooking us up with this library. Everbody that's been here has been really nice, and Bill Holdship for coming out.
  • [00:33:24.90] Usually I actually talk about punk and everything, starting this Creem magazine that really was influential to us. [INTERPOSING VOICES] Well at some point we should talk about that.
  • [00:33:38.71] As Bill said, this is a mix of fact-- University of Stangers is a mix of fact and fiction. Oh, and you get a download card in here, so you get music-- members of the Bad Seeds, Contortionists, and Bush Tetras, if you know those bands. They're all people on there.
  • [00:33:56.29] So this is a mix of fact and fiction and it's a about a group of well known artists and musicians, real life, who are known as the Strangers. And they pursue truth in general, and in particular they go to try to solve the Amanda Knox murder trial. Are you aware of that situation? Yeah? All right. So like Amanda Knox, two of the lead Strangers, Juan and Bronco, and up in prison. And it goes something like this. It goes exactly like this.
  • [00:34:31.82] This is the worst place in the world to be. Several hundred-year-old stone walls, floors, paint-chipped bars rusty enough to cut you on the corners, fungus, urine smell. The echoes, metal gates on stone, always chains dragged down halls and stairs. Metal doors needing oil, banged shut. Everything too damp or too cold drowns under smoke and phlegm. Stone dust scratches under skin, and in the corners piles. Overcrowded Italian prison. Virus, flu, pneumonia, or worse in your chest. Foreign languages talk fast, harsh. Sometimes screams invade through the ancient vents and narrow window slats. No place to think. I learned to breathe only after a while.
  • [00:35:17.48] There are no good circumstances here. This is a shit even for the COs- that's the correctional officers. There's no good reason to ever risk being here. Every human right and dignity disappears. Every fear you have can become a reality in this miserable place. In the holding cell the men freeze wearing only oversize white overalls that fit baggy like a clown's outfit, no underwear.
  • [00:35:42.25] The only other person in the cell besides Juan and Bronco is a babbling drug addict with long, gray hair. Some of his teeth are missing. The rest are stained yellow and broken. He has a cane. It's obvious he doesn't need it to walk, maybe to lean his big belly against. He acts like he needs it when the guards are around.
  • [00:35:59.05] He spits when he talks, and he talks, and he talks about how he's been around, the fights he's been in, the shanking and all the "only ifs." Like only if he got to his shotgun when the police raided. Only if his old lady shut the fuck up. Only if his partner wasn't so dumb.
  • [00:36:12.93] He's someone not to be around. Even Juan and Bronco on their first inside see that he'll attract trouble. His talk comes from insecurity and fear. Bronco keeps quiet nodding his head as if listening, always keeping a distance.
  • [00:36:27.70] Prison, not jail, that's what goes through their minds. Inside indefinitely. Their lawyer tells them, hold on you'll be out soon. I'll get you out. We'll appeal. That's how it works here in Italy. Just like in America, we'll go to more hearings, the judge will get softer, he'll see or another judge will see that you'll not run away, you are not flight risks.
  • [00:36:50.45] Juan looks at him as if he's not listening but like he's saying to the attorney, I'll believe it when I see it, when these cuffs and leg irons are off me, when I walk out the door. Juan says getting bail is like eating a needle in a Haystack. First you have to find it, then if you do you have to get down and get it out to you without bleeding too much or dying, and it always hurts.
  • [00:37:11.36] Juan doesn't know why he even brings that up because you rarely find the needle anyway. And if you do it takes so long that your trial has come and gone, and there is no getting bail. That's the needle because you have been sentenced and they call it time served.
  • [00:37:25.37] That's the end of that bit. The second bit is-- I don't usually do the prison stuff, but when we were in Brooklyn a friend of mine, who I hadn't talked to in about 15 years, and was a pretty big music executive-- and he's in his 60s now, and he's totally straight, and I wouldn't even imagine he'd smoked a joint, you know. He came up and he said, thanks I really like your book, blah, blah, and thanks because the prison stuff really affected me.
  • [00:38:05.80] And I wondered why that would be the case. And he said, well when I was in Yorkshire prison in England-- and I said, what have you been doing in the last 10 years? And he goes, no, when I was a kid I was busted smuggling, and I did time. And that was before the music business. And I changed my name, it was before the internet. And I've never spoken to anybody about it. And the reason is because everybody's image of it is Oz or Prison Break and total bullshit.
  • [00:38:39.66] And when I read your stuff, now I've shown it to my wife. And I talked to her about it, and I've been able to share this stuff. And I said, wow, anything I can do to help somebody that's been in hell, man. And I said, is there something that stands out? And he said, the story of the egg. And so I'll read you the story of the egg, which I'll find. This is told from the point of view of prisoner One Eye, who has one eye, and sometimes he covers it up.
  • [00:39:14.89] I thought these guys were punks. I've known Chief Dennis for like since Spain or some place, Middle East. Been all over 20 years, more-- 30. Not long after I got out of 'Nam The chief was thinking about making a move, like he was sick of them more but-- sick of Bronco and Juan more-- but I called him on that. I told chief what I saw. It was like almost lock down. No it was night, lights out, and there's Bronco in a little kitchen we have-- it's not a kitchen, what do you call it, like shit, a closet? It's got, it's got a thing to wash dishes, a toaster for bread because you don't get pop tarts inside, a sink, microwave, that's it.
  • [00:39:52.20] So Bronco's there toasting, and I see him like with a whole loaf, and he's cracking eggs. I never saw that. Fresh eggs. We don't get eggs. Like when we get eggs we get powder that they make eggs from. Nothing is real here. So he's just cracking the shells and it sounded so beautiful. So he's got the eggs in the shells, but he's with them in the open. I think he's stupid.
  • [00:40:14.22] I said, hey, and he didn't get-- he didn't jump, he didn't move, just asked, said something back you know like, hey, what's up doc? So he doesn't care who-- if a guard, if me, if anybody-- I mean, I see nothing. He's poaching eggs in the microwave. That's not going to be a problem if he does get seen.
  • [00:40:31.08] I say to him, Bronco I thought you're a mother fucking pussy wimp, but I see you got the juice like who the fuck are you? And he says, One Eye, you want some eggs? He didn't turn around, he didn't look, he didn't see me, he didn't care. I could have smacked him and taken the eggs. He's like I'll share but not like he's juiced, just like he doesn't care. A nice guy. So I say, fuck, no thanks because I know that's power more power than that Mexican Juan packs. I mean anybody can kick Bronco's ass on our floor, anybody, any prisoner, anybody. I told the chief, back off I'm not behind you on this, man has eggs in prison. Fuck me.
  • [00:41:06.76] Now I'll do a commentary on Cleveland. or I'm coming home because coming home is kind of weird. It was strange for all of us. Basically I have an uncle there I see, a cousin, some beautiful nephews, and then I go to the cemetery and see my family, right? And you always romanticize home. Or you think about home, and then you get there-- And we were all up for this because they sold out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in an hour with this bill, right? You know, right? Maybe it's cool.
  • [00:41:55.01] And like I see what you're doing with the Ron Asheton memorial and The Stooges shit here now, and that means a lot to people, those people, and when you come home. So I'll go to the bit-- I'll kind of ad-lib, rewriting this as I do it. This is a guy-- you've heard of Barry Manilow? He did "Copa Cabana," "Mandy," you know? --so this is Barry Manilow talking. He's referring to the Strangers and these guys in this book, OK?
  • [00:42:29.91] I'm not going to kid you. It was it was terrifying in New York City at that time. Even now it's got to be scary for someone coming up. This whole bit about being a music stranger, a rock investigator searching for the truth is nutso. The press egged this on. The Village Voice, the Boston Phoenix, the New York Times, Rolling Stone magazine, and a bunch more, Creem., we were behind this.
  • [00:42:53.94] Just read Robert Christgau, or Robert Palmer, John Parelis, he's one of them. There was Kit Rachlis up at the Boston Phoenix, Kurt Loder before he went to MTV, David Fricke, John Rockwell, Cameron Crowe, Billy Altman, Nick Tosches there's Chuck Eddy and Ira Robbins. I forget them all but I have a list somewhere.
  • [00:43:11.95] And of course the most subversive and savage of them all, Lester Bangs. He was actually friends with these people. And they had their children and their children's children spawning writers, let me see, here is. Deborah Ray Kogan Bill mother fucking Holdship, Jim Sullivan, Tom Carson, RJ Smith, Richard Grabel, and it goes on Anthony DeCurtis, Jim DeRogatis Ben Ratliff, blah, blah, blah, and Ira Kaplan, who I kind of respect because he actually went out there and make a living at music with his group Yo La Tengo.
  • [00:43:41.26] So, I have to find the next page. Some place.
  • [00:43:44.88] So he knows what it's like to be abused. I resented these people a little. Maybe I wanted to be rock stranger. I'd play my cabaret numbers and in those days there were only a few people and Clive Davis in the audience. Andy Warhol ruled New York. His entourage would stroll in. Edie Sedgwick in jet black tights and mascara, Gerard Malanga with his whip, Bob Pfeifer's friend Jim Carroll from the Land of Nod, Lou Reed, John Cale, sometimes Neko.
  • [00:44:24.77] They'd make this insufferable droning noise in the back. It would swell up and just overtake my music. They'd drown me out. And they were Strangers, savage. Well screw that. And if it wasn't for the Velvet Underground and the two idiot Stooges, Ron Asheton and Iggy Pop, they'd come. And Iggy would collapse on my piano telling me to turn it up. I'm thinking, turn what up? His pants half off his ass. It sounds sexy but believe me it's not. He was a filthy little whore. He was filthy like a whore.
  • [00:44:55.20] This was the 70s, and later it would be Sonic Youth. But the most dangerous, besides the idea that one might catch some social disease from Iggy, were these subversives from Cleveland, Cheetah Chrome, Mike Hudson, and Bob Pfeifer. Now that was noise and you can't tell me they didn't know it or would do it on purpose. It was brutal. I was terrified of being interrupted when I got on stage. And then they did this stupid, this Cleveland Confidential tour, talking about music, death, drugs, sex, prison, what Cleveland was like, and its many problems.
  • [00:45:24.52] When I went to Cleveland-- so I want to figure this shit out --so I went to Cleveland. And I saw this giant buzzard on the side of a building and on more than a few billboards. I came to understand it was a symbol of a radio station, a mascot if you will. I turned on my radio to 100.7, and driving into town from the airport I heard this terrible, God awful music-- you can believe how they reacted at Rock hall with this --worse than Iggy, or this Velvets, or Pere Ubu or Rocket, or Dead Boys, or Pagans, or Human Switchboard.
  • [00:45:57.35] It was these letters, they reminded me of the stuff they put it Chinese food, monosodium glutanate, MSG, no it was MSB. It stood for the Michael Stanley Band-- who incidentally could draw 20,000 people in Cleveland and not 200 in Columbus.
  • [00:46:15.07] When I got home to New York City and again in Los Angeles I went to see this group and think maybe there's something about them live only to see them get off the stages-- laughed off the stages. I thought this was so strange because I went to see Cheetah, Mike, and Bob who had a few hundred people in all these cities around. And they'd been banished from their hometown. And they were considered freaks. Yet around the country they were accepted, and one guy gets called Bukowski, another's written the greatest punk memoir, and another one's supposed to be brilliant in the New York Times, and this kind of stuff. And yet, in Cleveland they came back to a sold out crowd hoping so much that they were going to relate to their people. And their families would be proud, and they'd be able to show the kids the cover of the paper that called them idiots.
  • [00:47:07.07] So that's the Cleveland scene. And that's what it's like to come back. And that's what happens. And, you know, Cleveland kills it's sons. Thank you very much. Don't do it yours.
  • [00:47:38.35] MIKE HUDSON: You want [UNINTELLIGIBLE] read now?
  • [00:47:45.06] BOB PFEIFER: Sure. Cheetah, you want to go?
  • [00:47:47.10] CHEETAH CHROME: [UNINTELLIGIBLE] I'll go if you want.
  • [00:47:52.27] BOB PFEIFER: You don't want to follow?
  • [00:47:55.57] CHEETAH CHROME: Good morning gang. I'll regale you with some tales from Ohio. This is about first meeting Devo.
  • [00:48:10.78] The Crypt was a cool space probably twice the size of CBGBs with a bar that had cheap drinks and Thunderbird wine, ice cold. That first night I ordered a bottle and leaned back on the bar with Fuji to watch King Cobra's set. They had some good original material. I was glad to see the possible beginning of the music scene in Northeast Ohio. Fuj and was in a good mood, drinking and talking, making jokes, and getting a little rowdy, but not bad.
  • [00:48:37.51] Warner told us to catch Devo because he thought they were pretty good, very different. He told us they showed films, and used props, and were a bunch of Kent State students but had a pretty good following. Right after King Cobra went off there was a sudden flurry of activity as a crowd a geeky college kids came in all at once. There were maybe 30 of them. They immediately went and stood right in front of the low stage. Me and Fuji looked at each other and then back at the geeks.
  • [00:49:03.09] Warner came up and joined us. See what I mean, they have a good following. These people go everywhere they play. Is it just me or are they all wearing glasses, I asked as he walked away. No, they are all wearing glasses said Fuji. Why don't we have a following like that? We play too late. They'd have to be back in the dorm before we'd even be tuned up. Some of those girls are kind of cute though. Hmm, I don't know Fuji, maybe we could get you some glasses too.
  • [00:49:28.49] The band came out and looked very earnest and serious as they begin playing. They were slightly cooler than our audience, I'll give 'em that. When they later signed with Warner Brothers and were produced by Brian Eno I finally saw what the fuss was about and thought they were great. My first [UNINTELLIGIBLE] they wern't using synthesizers and were a lot sloppier than they would be later.
  • [00:49:46.71] The little following immediately started dancing by sort of hopping like bunny rabbits, not pogoing, hopping. It looked strange and a little cultish. We stayed and watched their set, and I had to admit that I just didn't get it. But these people loved them.
  • [00:50:02.35] A few of the Devo folks stayed for our set but for the most part they had to go back to the dorm. We still have a fair crowd for Akron.
  • [00:50:08.77] We booked another show with the same bill this time on New Year's Eve. We drove, band and girlfriends, down from Cleveland, and checked into an Econo Lodge that was near the club and also had some hookers out in front. We had beers, some whiskey, and some drugs, and we began to party. We went over to the club in time to catch King Cobra set. And Fuji and I did the usual bottle of Tbird each and took up our spots against the bar.
  • [00:50:31.33] This time when Devo's fan club showed up, we made our jokes and we wathced while the band played a few songs. Their fans were particularly frisky this night hopping up and down in time to the music like happy bunny rabbits again. And Fuji and I decided it'd be fun to join them. We told the guys in the band that we were going to go dance to Devo. They all laughed and watched us as we hopped up and down, clowned around just being stupid and having fun.
  • [00:50:53.98] Then Devo went into "Jocko Homo," the long version, which at the time sounded horrible. Mark Mothersbaugh came out in his Booji Boy mask and jockey shorts jumping around and making the crowd go even crazier. It was fun. We were even enoying making asses of ourselves. Then Fuji yelled in my ear, I dare you to pants him. He didn't have to dare me twice.
  • [00:51:16.43] I went over and put my bottle of Bird on the bar and went back to where Fuji was waiting. We hopped up and down doing our best to fit in-- glasses would have helped-- and working our way to the front. There I waited patiently for my moment. Booji Boy began to, "Are we not men, we are Devo" chant, and the fan club was in full bunny rabbit overdrive hopping for all they were worth. Then Eileen Ford pulled Booji Boy's shorts down around his ankles. It was hilarious. At least to me andL Fuji. We were laughing our asses off.
  • [00:51:49.26] Next thing I knew we were being kicked and punched by the entire bunch of bunny hopping nerds who had suddenly turned into vicious, killer wolverine nerds in a split second. They weren't really landing any good punches or kicks but they were clobbering us with little wussy ones.
  • [00:52:06.54] We looked at each other and I yelled, "down." We both dropped to our knees and began crawling out towards the bar getting kicked a couple of times but making a good escape. When we stood up at the bar we realized that they hadn't even noticed were gone, and were still kicking punching each other. I looked over and spotted the other Dead Boys who were in hysterics watching the whole thing. We stood there laughing, watching and listening until all the songs finished and things calmed down.
  • [00:52:29.54] The next song was the only one I liked at the time, "Mongoloid," during which Booji Boy honored me by singing Cheetah is a mongoloid.
  • [00:52:39.37] Next I'm going to tell you about me and Stiv Bators going to Disneyland. When we got to LA we were met by Paul's girlfriend at LAX and driven to the Sunset Marquis where we found Stiv in the hot tub behind the pool with Joan jett and her girlfriend. Stiv told me we were moving from the hotel to the warehouse the next day, but that night we could just hang around Hollywood. Paul hooked me up with some cash, and a large amount of coke, and we were off.
  • [00:53:04.72] The next morning we moved out to the warehouse, which was on a hill above Valley Boulevard near the end of the Long Beach freeway. It was a huge place, a big industrial park. We had two sections, one for the trailers, and one for rehearsing. They had a back line and a PA supplied by SIR, and everything seemed cool. Our trailer was a bit small but it would work for the time being. There were toilet and shower facilities in the warehouse so we didn't need to use the one in the trailer.
  • [00:53:28.02] Thus began one and one half months of wasting time, getting high as a kite, and chasing lizards in the desert next to the warehouse. We got absolutely zilch done. Stiv and I jammed maybe twice. We did throw together a one-off gig at the Mass with the guys from the Rubber City Rebels, which was cool, but we had nothing to show for our time there. Well I had some track marks but that was about it.
  • [00:53:49.21] On my birthday I woke up feeling like crap having been up most of the previous night drinking and doing coke. And when Stiv knocked, I told him to fuck off and come back later. He persisted so [? Gida ?] let him in. It became apparent that they had planned this. And Stiv came over and nudged me awake again this time to holding a mirror with two large lines on it and open beer. I sat up, snorted the lines, guzzled the beer, and gave them and gave them bit a shit for not letting me sleep on my birthday.
  • [00:54:12.76] No time for sleep, Cheetah. Come on, I've got a surprise for you. Get dressed. I felt a bit better but I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything. Stiv kept cutting out rails and putting them in front of me until I got up and dressed, and then he started guiding me towards the door. He and [? Gida ?] managed to get me in a car where he had some girl waiting, and I bitched the whole way. We drove for what seemed like forever until we began to see Disneyland signs. I asked sarcastically if we were going to the Magic Kingdom, to which they both replied, yes.
  • [00:54:40.32] I had to admit something. I hate Walt Disney, I hate Mickey Mouse, and I hate Donald Duck. I especially hate Goofy, and I'd love to kick Huey, Dewey, and Louis's little duck asses. Even with a four-year-old son I still hate them, and he doesn't like the much either. I'm tryng to raise him right. Let me admit something else. I ain't all that crazy about amusement parks. I liked it when I was a kid but I was no kid anymore. The thought of being stuck in one for hours just pissed me off.
  • [00:55:05.86] He should have stuck with the coke and beer. He'd have been on to something there.
  • [00:55:09.67] After standing in line forever to get in, imaging trying to get past a giant Minny Mouse trying to hug me without killing it, we proceeded to go on every ride in the place. And I had to admit something else. I had a fucking great time. The only two bummers were Space Mountain and It's a Small World. Space Mountain was a drag because we had to stand in line for at least an hour for a three-minute ride. And then because the damn things scared the hell out of me-- and I promise this is the last submission to this chapter --but I hate roller coasters.
  • [00:55:34.86] When I recovered from that we went on to the Pirates of the Caribbean, the submarine voyage where I swear to God Stiv farted as soon as we were trapped pissing everyone off on board. And on to the dreaded It's a Small World. It was dark by now and I was tired. And after about five minutes of that damn song I was ready to kill everyone in the place including myself.
  • [00:55:55.82] I fantasized about running amok, kicking little Chinese and Romanian dolls and their little native costumes everywhere, stomping on little Dutch people, tearing the heads off tiny Polynesians and burning their hootches. And then finding wherever that fucking song was coming from and blowing it up real good.
  • [00:56:16.00] After endless verses and many bad jokes that I'm sure scared the parents in the cars behind us we stopped by the gift shop where Stiv bought me a Mickey Mouse spoon to cook up dope in, and then we went home. I heard that goddamn song inside of my head for the next three days. The horror. The horror. Thank you.
  • [00:56:34.53] BOB PFEIFER: See he remembered.
  • [00:56:41.90] BILL HOLDSHIP: Cheetah, I think you need to do a book on tape of that book. I read the book--
  • [00:56:48.31] CHEETAH CHROME: No. I'm holding out for Morgan Freeman.
  • [00:56:51.19] BILL HOLDSHIP: OK.
  • [00:56:51.95] MIKE HUDSON: So how do you follow that? One of the weird things about this tour, and we talked about last night when David was with us-- what Cheetah's reading just now, I mean it's amazing Cheetah is here. We've been friends for 35 years. It's amazing I'm still here, it's somewhat amazing that Bob is still here.
  • [00:57:28.93] CHEETAH CHROME: Did I ever die in your house? [INTERPOSING VOICES]
  • [00:57:32.76] MIKE HUDSON: There's a lot of us, and there's people that are close to all of us, that aren't here. And they aren't anywehere. And this is a story about that, and it's called, "All the Wrong People are Dying."
  • [00:57:51.38] There's one thing I can tell you. When they told me my little brother was dead I cried and cried until tears of blood streamed down my cheeks. Later Kathy and Tommy attempted to explain the phenomenon. I say I must've broken some blood vessels in my eyes, but I prefer a more biblical interpretation.
  • [00:58:11.32] Ten days after he was killed we buried him in a small cemetery down the road from my parents' house in Tennessee. Sookie and Danny brought Joey's ashes from California and Kathy, Tommy, and I swung through Cleveland and picked up Paul on the way down. Some legal problem in Minnesota prevented Ricky from leaving that state, but his wife Joanie came.
  • [00:58:34.84] Kathy and I picked Sookie and Danny up at the Nashville airport, and there was some problem with the luggage. While Sookie and Kathy were getting that sorted out I took Danny to the bar for a drink. And sitting there with his three-year-old son, I remembered a couple of months earlier when I had what would be my last drink with Joey. I'd lost my brother but gained a nephew and a sister-in-law. It was like some kind of bizarre cosmic baseball trade with God.
  • [00:59:03.37] I gave the eulogy at the funeral. I rode a drunk the night before and I was worried I wouldn't be able to get through it. But once I got up in front of the people I was in control. It was almost like playing out, and I got through it fine.
  • [00:59:17.53] Joey was killed early on the morning of Saturday, November 16 in a one-vehicle accident in the Hollywood Hills section of Los Angeles. He was driving West when for no apparent reason, the paper said, his car crossed four lanes of traffic, struck a concrete planter, hit two parked cars, and ploughed into the side of a building. He was 33 years old. There are questios you can ask. Why Joey and not me? Was it a heart attack, or a reaction to the medication, or something else? How can he be dead when I talked to him that very morning on the telephone? You can ask all you want but you can't find anybody who could answer you.
  • [01:00:02.45] Death was always funny to me before it was funny all of us. I heard Joey say a thousand times, live fast, die young and leave a pretty corpse. I'm not talking about the death of a beloved grandmother, which is somehow quite different, but the deaths of our friends, musicians, and former colleagues.
  • [01:00:24.16] Stiv Bator's having a cigarette on the sidewalk outside a shop in Paris while his beautiful wife Caroline browsed inside. A Peugeot sedan jumped the curb knocking him down. I'm all right he said, getting back up and dusting himself off. He died in bed that night of a brain hemorrhage.
  • [01:00:43.34] Or Johnny Thunders, no more than six hours after checking into the St. Peter Guest House on Burgundy Street in the French Quarter in new Orleans-- gone there, say those who knew him better than me, to get straight-- dead on the floor of his room, his blood the dream of some rookie toxicologist.
  • [01:01:03.51] Pete [? Asken ?] the sax player, withered away and dead of AIDS in a Harlem tenement. Or Mike [? Antell, ?] who after nursing his mother through a horrible death by cancer, blew his brains out after being diagnosed with the same condition. Bradley Fields dead of who knows what in some filthy Rikers Island cell. Yeah, live fast and die young. He was always like all right Dead Boy this one's for you.
  • [01:01:29.32] I'll see you when I get there motherfucker. Now I'm not even sure there is a there. I only know that I feel more and more disconnected with this world, and that even those of us who are left alive are somehow less real. Jamie Klimek called from New York when he heard. All the wrong people are dying, he said.
  • [01:01:52.11] Joey thought it was really possible to be happy as is in happy all the time. He was always running, looking for that happiness. In New York, Los Angeles, London, Rome. The women, and the drugs, and the money, and booze, his family, his wife and his son. God, he thought you could do something, go to a place, swallow something, love somebody, or believe in something, and that that in itself would make you happy.
  • [01:02:22.88] So in the end he split to a place where I can't even call him on the telephone anymore. And I think about him looking for that happiness and wonder if he found it. Sookie called right before Christmas. She was going nuts. A couple years earlier she bought Joey a copy of It's a Wonderful Life. It was his favorite movie. She said he cried every time he watched it. Now it was on TV three times a day in LA and she couldn't get away from it. George and Harry Bailey, Mary, Bert and Ernie, Clarence, and the affirmation that life is good and worth living.
  • [01:03:05.97] The time will come in this generation when everybody knows somebody dead whose favorite movie was It's a Wonderful Life, and then nobody will be able to watch a fucking thing anymore. Joey isn't any deader than I am, so I get to put up with this shit another year, another five years? So what? At work, 30 people a day tell me what they think is important. But I know now what is important. Nothing. Nothing is important.
  • [01:03:36.12] BILL HOLDSHIP: That was really extremes there from going from comedy to pathos, man. That was something.
  • [01:03:51.08] CHEETAH CHROME: He didn't want to leave us bummed out. Nobody committed suicide.
  • [01:03:56.77] BILL HOLDSHIP: I must also say that Cheetah's book there's some-- what you saw him read there was pretty humorous, but there are some real funny parts in his book, in the other parts of his book as well. And I like-- There's a lot of famous meetings in this book. You talk with John Belushi, you talk about hanging out with Nico you talk about hanging out with The Rolling Stones at one point, which must have been a thrill. And the thing that was really cool is that the Stones, especially Keith, came off as a really cool guy.
  • [01:04:23.62] CHEETAH CHROME: They were. They were very [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. They seemed to go out of their way to make you feel comfortable around them. It weren't like they were unapproachable at all. Mick Jagger would come over and start talking to you. [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
  • [01:04:40.07] BILL HOLDSHIP: Cool, very cool. So all three guys, are you still out doing music? Are you primarily concentrating on writing now, Mike, or are you doing music?
  • [01:04:49.84] MIKE HUDSON: We've played a couple of shows together on this tour. But yeah, I'm pretty much retired.
  • [01:04:54.67] BILL HOLDSHIP: Do you miss it?
  • [01:04:56.20] MIKE HUDSON: No. It was for me-- Cheetah was able to get straight and still go out and do it. To me, the whole thing of being in the bands I was in, it always involved-- it was just about bad sex, and drugs, and people dying.
  • [01:05:23.98] BILL HOLDSHIP: Right. Right.
  • [01:05:25.29] MIKE HUDSON: And so if I go back to it, it's like that again because I become a different person.
  • [01:05:32.56] BILL HOLDSHIP: Gotcha. That's why Lou Reed said he retired that time for five years because he couldn't go on the road anymore because he could invent bad habits. Do you guys think-- I mean like over the years in the rock and roll scene they talk about drugs and creativity. Do you think that drugs have anything to do with creativity at this point in your lives? I don't mean at this point in your lives, but do you think it helped creativity at any point?
  • [01:05:51.52] BOB PFEIFER: Do we think it did? Of course we think it did. It's a great rationalization. Yeah, yeah I'm being creative tonight.
  • [01:06:00.25] CHEETAH CHROME: No you don't need it. I've done plenty since I quit, and I've done better things. I do it faster, it takes a lot less time, a lot less takes.
  • [01:06:11.09] BILL HOLDSHIP: Mike seemed to be stopped it because of that reason. Have you found that touring again-- I know you're touring with Sylvain Sylvain and the Batusis-- do you have a problem?
  • [01:06:20.60] CHEETAH CHROME: No. I've got Les Warner of The Cult and Sean Combs, he used to be in Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. and all these guys have been around for a long-- have been doing it for a while. We're all professionals. Nobody does that.
  • [01:06:33.33] BILL HOLDSHIP: Right.
  • [01:06:33.87] CHEETAH CHROME: The worse thing you see is a few beers before a show or something like that. It's not like-- sometimes there's pot smoking going on, which I don't do. No, it's not necessary and it's a lot easier without it really.
  • [01:06:51.06] BILL HOLDSHIP: It's a lot of baggage to carry around.
  • [01:06:52.01] CHEETAH CHROME: Right, right, right.
  • [01:06:53.34] BILL HOLDSHIP: We're supposed to end at 8:30 right? So we got to save some time for questions. By maybe I'll ask it again since I have three guys here from Cleveland. You want to explain Ghoulardi to us, to a bunch of people from the midwest?
  • [01:07:06.03] CHEETAH CHROME: I could have started at 8:00 and not been able to explain that.
  • [01:07:09.70] BOB PFEIFER: It's a cheesy nighttime show where he introduced films and stuff, and he blew up stuff.
  • [01:07:21.15] CHEETAH CHROME: Yeah, he was like Elvira except he was a guy and wore like a fuzzy hat and sunglasses and a flashlight.
  • [01:07:26.91] BOB PFEIFER: Cleveland's Elvira.
  • [01:07:28.39] CHEETAH CHROME: Yeah
  • [01:07:29.31] MIKE HUDSON: But he showed the great horror movies.
  • [01:07:32.06] CHEETAH CHROME: Yeah, he did show good movies.
  • [01:07:34.37] BOB PFEIFER: He showed you how to light firecrackers.
  • [01:07:36.32] CHEETAH CHROME: He showed that too.
  • [01:07:37.00] BOB PFEIFER: All the stuff you're not supposed to do.
  • [01:07:38.91] MIKE HUDSON: He did a lot of double entendres, sex stuff, which had the PTAs in Cleveland wanting to take him off the air. But the music he played during his--
  • [01:07:49.81] BOB PFEIFER: Desert Rat, Duane Eddy, Papa Ooh-Mau-Mau and Surfin Bird
  • [01:07:55.26] CHEETAH CHROME: He was a very unique guy He was very cool. He had Parma Place, the soap opera. Parma, which I don't know if you people are aware, is a suburb of Cleveland, mostly Polish and ethnic. He told bad Polish jokes and things like that. It was--
  • [01:08:14.81] BOB PFEIFER: And he's Ernie Anderson, who became the first and biggest voice over guy, like "Here's Johnny," and stuff like that. And his son has made some great films.
  • [01:08:26.49] MIKE HUDSON: it was completely irreverent and disrespectful. And it was on during a time when all of us were growing up. We were at a very impressionable age.
  • [01:08:38.76] CHEETAH CHROME: It was on Friday night at 11:30 when none of us should have been up but we were.
  • [01:08:43.31] BILL HOLDSHIP: So it was a big rock and roll influence I take it.
  • [01:08:46.47] CHEETAH CHROME: Absolutely.
  • [01:08:47.34] MIKE HUDSON: Cramps
  • [01:08:48.15] BILL HOLDSHIP: I remember The Cramps talking about him a lot, absolutely. So we're going to open up now. Hopefully you have some questions for these guys.
  • [01:08:56.20] JENNY HOFFMAN: I have a microphone. Anybody? Here you go.
  • [01:08:58.91] SPEAKER 1: First, Cheetah thank you for the book. I never knew it was "dull machine." I always thought the lyric in "Sonic Reducer" was "time machine."
  • [01:09:09.46] CHEETAH CHROME: In Cleveland, the Plain Dealer thought it was the "devil machine."
  • [01:09:12.96] SPEAKER 1: Ah, yeah, I remember reading that.
  • [01:09:14.54] CHEETAH CHROME: I told them three times.
  • [01:09:15.82] SPEAKER 1: I remember reading that on the internet but thought that was kind of weird. I have two quick ones. When you wrote-- or not you, Peter Laughner wrote-- "Ain't it Fun" did you kind of view it as an anti-drug song kind of going against what was normally going on in punk with "Chinese Rock" and all that, or did you think that?
  • [01:09:32.13] CHEETAH CHROME: Well certainly at the time it wasn't written that way because every single word of that came true for Peter, that whole song. He lived every word of it after he wrote it. Anne and I talk about Peter at all. No, it is what it is what is. It's a statement about somebody's life.
  • [01:09:53.56] SPEAKER 1: And then for Mike Hudson, a real quick question. Tesco once said-- I know you guys don't have the best-- I read somewhere you guys don't really get along-- but he said something like that you started the whole midwest hard core scene. Do you have any comments about that?
  • [01:10:08.35] MIKE HUDSON: You know Tesco and I have reconciled. We had a bad episode in New York 15 years ago. In fact, in his new book there's a short story of mine in that book. And he just made a new recording of "Six and Change," which is a record I did years ago. That aside, those guys-- the Meatmen, the guys who were later in the Meatmen, the guys who were later in the Necros-- they would hitchhike to Cleveland to come and see The Pagans. And they were just little kids but they were cool. So we would get them in and it was almost like we babysat those guys. So I think that's what he's talking about because he was really responsible for the hard core scene. I think that's what he was talking about.
  • [01:11:10.57] JENNY HOFFMAN: Questions?
  • [01:11:14.58] SPEAKER 2: Thank you. Sort of an addendum to something you mentioned about drugs and creativity. I think one thing, particularly, I think when you look at the history of the punk scene back then-- I mean if you read Please Kill Me, practically everybody in it seems to be really fascinating, a little bit crazy. Do you think that that plays in at all, that creative people tend to be maybe a little at best neurotic or that creativity somehow comes out of having problems?
  • [01:12:02.82] BOB PFEIFER: What is this whole bit about us not being normal always? We're different.
  • [01:12:06.93] SPEAKER 2: Not a value judgment just simply an observation.
  • [01:12:11.85] BOB PFEIFER: I'm just goofing man.
  • [01:12:14.82] CHEETAH CHROME: Creative people area just as susceptible as anybody else. I don't think it's really a--
  • [01:12:23.40] MIKE HUDSON: I've seen cops who were coke addicts, you know what I mean.
  • [01:12:26.98] CHEETAH CHROME: There are plenty of guys who aren't creative who are coke heads. And, you know, most of them.
  • [01:12:33.77] SPEAKER 2: I don't really know many people that I think are really worthwhile artists as [UNINTELLIGIBLE] to people I've known in my life that aren't a little bit crazy. There seems to be an unfortunate link. I've never in my life met a whole lot of people [INTERPOSING VOICES].
  • [01:12:54.46] MIKE HUDSON: Crazy is different than being a drug addict or an alcoholic or like that. Obviously to be an artist you have to look at the world in ways that normal people don't look at the world, you know what I mean? So that's the whole point. So you could construe that as crazy. but that's totally different than being an addict.
  • [01:13:21.20] SPEAKER 2: Right. Thank you.
  • [01:13:24.28] CHEETAH CHROME: I just did it becasue it was fun.
  • [01:13:26.52] JENNY HOFFMAN: We have time for one more question. It's over here and then we'll start the book signing if that's OK?
  • [01:13:33.25] BOB PFEIFER: Yeah. Please buy the books.
  • [01:13:35.20] JENNY HOFFMAN: And there are books for sale right now.
  • [01:13:36.89] BOB PFEIFER: [UNINTELLIGIBLE] intellectual property thing.
  • [01:13:38.82] SPEAKER 3: Just as far as you wondering why people are saying you're not normal, Mike Hudson is the one who is saying us and all our friends are so messed up.
  • [01:13:49.65] MIKE HUDSON: I had a record called that, yes.
  • [01:13:51.30] SPEAKER 3: I guess this is kind of the most cliche asked question to ask but what music are you guys listening to these days? Particularly if there's any new bands 'cause I keep listening to all the old bands and I want to find newer stuff.
  • [01:14:09.66] CHEETAH CHROME: That's what we were doing today. We were listening to the whole ride up here was the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. Somebody in Cleveland turned me on to-- brought me four cds and we just kept putting those in all the way up here.
  • [01:14:23.56] MIKE HUDSON: We listened to the Elvis radio station on Sirius a little bit as well. It just plays all Elvis 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • [01:14:32.53] BOB PFEIFER: Live from Graceland.
  • [01:14:33.27] BILL HOLDSHIP: Do you guys think that the rock and roll that we knew and loved growing up, do you think it's pretty much gone now? It had a great run.
  • [01:14:38.80] CHEETAH CHROME: Around my house it isn't.
  • [01:14:40.05] BILL HOLDSHIP: But I mean the old stuff. But do you think there's anything new that's going to be coming up that compares.
  • [01:14:44.94] CHEETAH CHROME: I hear bands on the radio, college radio and stuff that are pretty good. But I never knew who they are. But there's a lot of shit out there. It takes a lot of work to get through and find something worthwhile.
  • [01:14:55.51] MIKE HUDSON: I listen to a lot of music that I missed growing up in rock and roll. I listen to Louis Prima, and Frank Sinatra, and stuff like that that I never really listened to. It was never around the house.
  • [01:15:10.23] JENNY HOFFMAN: OK. I have one more right here and then we'll start.
  • [01:15:17.18] SPEAKER 4: Yeah, I just wanted to thank you for coming. You opened the talk with a mention of Cleveland. And I remember I was a nowhere kid of 14, I don't know. Myers used to have $1 bin, and that's where I discovered T. Rex, The Dolls, and so on. And say what you will about some of the media back then, Creem and Circus, but that's where I learned about a lot of this stuff.
  • [01:15:46.45] I remember one of the records I picked out of the bin was the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. And much later, years later I was reading-- I can't remember where-- but I was reading some old interviews and Alex himself said that Cleveland was the one thing that made crossing the Atlantic worth their time. Cleveland.
  • [01:16:05.74] BILL HOLDSHIP: Before you stop-- One thing I forgot to mention when I asked about the new music, Bob is still making music. If you buy his book you get a five-song download that he did with No Wave Icons, the Bush Tetras, Cynthia Sley, and Don Fleming as well.
  • [01:16:21.08] BOB PFEIFER: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
  • [01:16:21.66] BILL HOLDSHIP: And so the books are for sale out there. And it was great these guys came and talked for free but that's what's paying the bills, and they're really worthwhile. So please buy some books, Thank you very much.
  • [01:16:31.19] JENNY HOFFMAN: Thank you.
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April 12, 2011 at the Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

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