Saturday, March 02, 2013


Greg Prevost is a man who needs no introduction.

But I'll give him one anyway. A name of much renown on the "underground" rock scene since the seventies, Greg first came to prominence with the arrival of FUTURE, a fanzine which was one of the wildest romps through the world of rock fandom since the days of TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE, CRETINOUS CRETENTIONS and who could forget that obscure favorite NIX ON PIXFUTURE was funny, in bad taste, informative, decorative, offensive, scabrous and best of all jam-packed with record reviews, articles and interviews with some surprisingly big names on the recording scene like Captain Beefheart, Willie Alexander and Ray Davies. In many ways FUTURE was a fanzine that ran against the grain of "acceptable" tastes and values that certainly would not be allowed to exist today and, along with the decline of the original NATIONAL LAMPOON and the scourging I've received due to my own crudzine, only proves just how far we've devolved since those halcyon days when anything goes really meant it (and not only with regards to the easy-to-pick-on targets entertainment liberals loathe anyway)!

Greg is also known for an eighties/nineties-era fanzine entitled OUTASITE which continued on the FUTURE path only with a more sixties collector/garage band focus, as well as for being the frontman for the late, lamented Chesterfield Kings, a group who pretty much spearheaded the big garage band revival trend of the eighties which helped make that decade a bit more passable than it was for high-energy aficionados like ourselves. Yes, Greg is a man who has been around and seen it all, and in case you haven't been awake these past few weeks his own website has been up and running and it's a definite must-see, with loads of rare autobiographical information and hot snaps of the man taken throughout his long and illustrious career that will certainly pop more'n a few eyeballs.

Greg graciously agreed to answer a few questions I zinged to him via the miracle of internet. I tried to cover information that wasn't found on his site and if you ask me I think I did a fairly good job of it back-patting jerkoff that I may be. Nothing that would get me an A+ in journalism true, but more than enough to fill in some of the heretofore uncovered gaps in the vast and glorious story behind this mug, er, man.

So, without further ado...

BLOG TO COMM-From the looks of your site you were heavily into collecting records, guitars and rock & roll mags when you were just ten years old. Were your parents actually supportive of your hobbies or did they berate you about them constantly?

GREG PREVOST-Actually no, not supportive at all. My father hated all the stuff I was into and thought I was a retard. I didn't give a shit about school, teachers, anything really. I was into records, playing guitar, reading magazines on stuff I liked: rock n' roll, cars, monsters, sci-fi, baseball. I was going to be like Mickey Mantle, you know, my hero at the time (early 60's). I played on the KPAA (Kodak Park Athletic Association) baseball team for a few years, and in 1967 our team came into second place in the state and it was a big fucking deal for me and all the guys on my street. I also played golf, and in my teens had the idea that I'd go pro. Football, basketball, tennis, bowling, boxing-I was into all that stuff-I still play when I can-golf I am heavy into and play a lot the past few years. I was also into shooting skeet-I had/have a couple of shotguns and I used to love shooting. Then when the Stones came out in the US in '64, I shifted gears into a different mode. I was always at odds with my parents, teachers, authority. It was a struggle. When I was in 6th grade I absolutely fucking hated my teacher and she liked me as much as I liked her. Told my father I was a fucking moron because I told her all this 6th grade crap would be useless when I was like 30 years old. She didn't know how to deal with that so she told my father that I was defiant. He stated that "He'll never amount to anything except a long-haired creep in a leather jacket". The Hell's Angels were always on the news at the time, and locally, a MC club called the Hackers. Surprisingly I got a guitar and amp for Christmas, 1965. I was on a new road. Eventually music dominated over my sports fixations, but I found time for both. What is comical is that these days I play golf with my father all the time. I look more insane than I ever could back then and he thinks nothing of it. Amazing what 40+ years can do to someone's ideals.

BTC-It's pretty obvious from reading FUTURE and OUTASITE that your favorite years for music were definitely the middle sixties. Are there any interesting and pretty much unknown to us anecdotes about those days that you'd care to relate?

GP-My favorite years for music would be between 1960 and 1974--not to forget blues from the 20's up, 50's jazz, 1976 (punk), early 80's (hardcore punk), mid-80's glam-metal ... I also like stuff like Sinatra, Dean Martin, Mancini, Herb Alpert, Martin Denny ... avant-garde jazz (Sun Ra) ...the 60's for me were like a seemingly endless scene-until it suddenly dawned on me that groups like the Music Machine and Count Five no longer existed. As mentioned in my web pages I was drawn to coffee houses and teen clubs where blues and Rock n' Roll bands played. Things that you plan out in these times-like going to see a band or something-you get tickets and that kind of shit-a big planned out production-back then I once went bowling with my father and the Heard were playing. Just unplanned and totally spontaneous. I used to ride on open boxcars to my cousin's house. It was a real trip. I really liked that-just layin' around in a pile of straw watching houses go by. The railroad was across the street from my house and the train would go by about 10-15 miles an hour and I'd throw my bike in, then jump in; jump out near my cousin's house, then when it got dark, rode my bike home. I used to read 'Creepy' magazine and 'Tales From The Crypt' comics. As you know, those were all about ghouls, monsters and stuff like that. Anyway I'd read this one story in 'Creepy' called 'The Damn Thing'-it was about this thing that could turn invisible and would stalk people, then when it tore them apart, it could be seen. I had this notion that when I was going home in the dark that this thing was in the bushes along the railroad tracks and it sort of freaked me out-I'd imagine I could hear rustling in the weeds and it would jump out in front of me. I also remember seeing this movie called 'The Quartermass Experiment', and that fucked my head up too-I think I was like around 7 or 8 years old when I saw it on 'Chiller Theater'. It was about this guy that slowly mutates into this big ball of mold spores or something. I had this delusion that it was happening to me. Totally messed up my mind. I did get over it. 

BTC-Was there a pivotal experience in your life, an epiphany if you will, where you knew that you just had to be a rock & roll singer? If so, could you fill us in on it?

GP- I'd actually have to say there wasn't really an epiphany or anything that sent me in that direction. In 1964, 1965, just like almost every other kid between the age of 10, 11, 12 to 20 or so, when the Beatles and Stones came out, I wanted a guitar. For me it was Brian Jones and Keith Richards. Then as the years closed in on the 70's, music became more diverse. I mean the greatest bands and music came out of the 70's, but there was a larger percentage of lousy music about. 'Horn Rock' like Chicago, Ides Of March et al (I know-the Ides had a great run in the mid-60's-but turned to this mode in the 70's) became popular, Doobie Brothers, etc. Then there was like Genesis, King Crimson, art-rock, prog-rock, not that I don't appreciate and like stuff like that-I was heavy into Fripp and King Crimson, I like early Genesis-all that-but I wanted to do like a Stones-Stooges thing and it would never happen-too many guys on different trips. So I gave up the idea, played guitar by myself, then just decided to be a doctor, or at least take the route of medicine-I was initially into being a surgeon ... anyway, I got into college, I went three semesters-I took Calculus, Physics ...I majored in Chemistry. I was on the Dean's List, you know, I was heavy into that whole trip. In my freshman year in 1973 I saw the Dolls and maybe that was a spark. I commenced with school until I ran short of money and didn't want my father footing the bill by himself as he was paying the majority of my tuition with me working during summer and all that. Anyway, I totally had to work and take off a couple of semesters so I could pay for my part of the tuition. I started working in a music store-House Of Guitars-I sold guitars, records, stuff like that. Then, after being out of the loop for so long, and still not having the proper amount of money to continue my education, I just never was able to return. During that time I met other guys into like the MC5, Stooges, Dolls, Stones, Faces ... then the idea of being in a band, and soon doing a Jagger-Iggy thing came into focus. That was probably in late 1974. I did solo stuff and started a number of bands where I sang and played guitar. The I started the Chesterfield Kings with the Stones as a model-I couldn't find anyone who could sing like Jagger or wanted to do that, so I dropped playing guitar and went that route.

BTC-I've heard stories about Lydia Lunch, sporting overalls, shopping for Sparks records at the House of you remember her?

GP-I remember Lydia. I was working at House Of Guitars as I already mentioned. Lydia and her 2 girlfriends would come in a lot. She was never wearing overalls or anything drab-it was always like a short skirt, lots of makeup, really glammed up. She liked a lot of the same stuff I liked at the time-Sparks, Roxy Music, the Dolls, Stooges. I remember she was once wearing a 'Supertramp' pin and I asked her, 'Why are you wearing that?' and she said something like 'I HATE the band, but LOVE the name.' This is not a quote, its something that I sort of remember her saying from 38 years ago. I think I was at her house once, but I really can't remember. I did go on sort of a 'double-date' with her once if you can fathom the concept. I was with her friend Claire (I think that was her name), and Lydia was with a friend of mine, I don't remember his name, maybe a guy named Keith? Anyway, this was a few months before I met Caroll, who I married and am still with-this was maybe around early 1975 or so. I ran into Lydia a few times over the years either in Rochester or New York. It's been years since I last saw her. 

BTC-I must admit that I really liked those pieces you did on some Rochester-area groups like the Darelycks and Young Tyrants for various fanzines. Were you familiar with these bands when they are playing out at the time?

GP-Honestly, I didn't know the Darelycks at the time of their existence. Young Tyrants I did hear of, but they didn't play around Charlotte where I lived. Being like 10, 11, 12 years old you don't have big options to travel around. I'd take the bus occasionally for 'major' concerts at the Rochester War Memorial, but I generally hung out within the neighborhood. Groups like the Invictas, Heard, Angry Men, Show Stoppers, Trackers, Wee 4 ... these bands were more 'in the mainline', and most had 45's that WSAY played. Hearing the records by these groups also made me aware of them even if they didn't play the Charlotte circuit (The Hi-Tide and Blue Goose teen clubs). The Darelycks I found out about them around 1970 or 1971 when I found their 45 in a used record store, and investigated them later on. Likewise with the Tyrants. I'd only known them as a name until I found their 45 a few years after the fact. Funny thing is, one time I was talking to my friend Marty Duda who was in bands (the Now), a DJ, a good guy (he was the guy who let the C. Kings practice in his father's business warehouse in the late 70's) and he was like "Oh this friend of mine on my softball team, he was the lead singer in the Young Tyrants", that being Louie Grillo who I knew through Marty. The mythical demos the band did that were seemingly 'lost' at the time of the interview I did (I don't remember-70's? 80's?), have since been unearthed. Fantastic stuff. One time the band (C. Kings) were playing in Rochester and I was in the can washing my hands and this guy walked up and said "I like the band. I used to be in this band the Young Tyrants." That was Carl Lundquist, the lead guitar player who wrote their originals. Small world, right?

BTC-Yeah! Speaking of mentioned on your site that you were doing a FUTURE newsletter a few years before you published the actual fanzine. Were these early attempts at publishing similar to the eventual fanzine?

GP-Sort of ... I knew I wanted to do a 'fanzine' or a magazine of sorts-but knew it would cost money to print-so I'd do these 8 x 11 pages folded over into like a 4-page 'newsletter' with the same sort of stuff I did in the FUTURE magazines; a couple of 'reviews', hype, crude editorial, the usual 21-22 year old kid kinda stuff-or should I say 21-22 year old adult? Ha ha! I know, I got drafted when I was 18 so I guess that made me an adult (I was classified 1-A, #63 in the lottery and passed the physical, which meant I was 'ready to go'. Nixon ended the war shortly after my classification so I didn't get shipped off). I still don't think of myself as an adult. That is really a state of mind, you know. Anyway, I'd go to the library or post office as they has these copiers there and I'd run like 30 or 40 or so copies and send them to guys like Greg Shaw, Robert Hull at Creem, guys I liked or respected or that had similar likes concerning music.

BTC-Yeah FUTURE, one of the all-time great fanzines of all time! But I'm getting ahead of myself a you were working at the House of Guitars for some time by then which I understand was a rather prestigious job if you wanted to work in a music shop in Rochester. What was that like?

GP-Let's just say working there was a really loose situation-you could look or dress the way you wanted, if you were in a band and had to travel for a shows you could take off. I was given a lot of freedom to order any records, imports, 45's whatever. It was cool in the 70's and 80's, but as music rapidly took a downward spiral (my opinion), and you had all this pop and rap stuff, it just wore me down, and I parted or retired. Working at the store is for the younger set just like it was when I was there in the 70's and could relate to the music and culture that I was part of. Stuff that the majority of youth listened to differed extremely from what I was into. I had to move on. On the plus side I met a lot of cool people over the years.

BTC-Let's talk about the days when you had FUTURE up and running as well as a number of groups with the likes of Cole Springer, Michael Ferrara and Carl Mack. I detect a strong BACK DOOR MAN and PUNK MAGAZINE influence in these...would I be correct in assuming so?

GP-That was a cool time-I suppose it was like figuring out where you're going to a point. Cole Springer! Great guy-one of my best friends-he still lives in Rochester and we stay in touch. One of the coolest guys. Mike Ferrera, another good friend-he died a number of years back. He sort of went off the edge. I don't really know what happened, I sort of do, but for respect of his family I won't talk about it. He was a really insane guy-I remember one time I was over his house and he was fighting with his father at the same time he (Mike) was dying his hair-he had brown hair and wanted to die part of it like a lighter color-so he has all this dye on his hair and he's yelling at his parents or something-put on a snow hat  with the bleach still on-then leaves! Next day I saw him he had like chalk white hair! Pretty funny. I didn't see him for several years and then my wife was like "Mike Ferrera is in the obituaries!!" I sort of expected it as he became very reclusive, but the shock of a guy your age dying ... its kinda cryptic. Carl I haven't heard from in decades-I saw him maybe 20 years ago and he said he was living in New Orleans. Yeah, great guys-fun staff of guys writing all this crazy stuff-had some hilarious times back then. Back to FUTURE-yes, you hit it-I loved BACK DOOR MAN and PUNK was a gas. I knew John Holmstrom. A really cool guy. I ran into Legs McNeil at CBGBs a couple of times but I didn't really know him at all. Yes-these magazines had a profound influence on what I did with FUTURE. Greg Shaw as well-where would we be without BOMP!? Mark Shipper's FLASH magazine was also a major influence. I also loved J.D. King's STOP! magazine. I can read all these NOW and still get floored. Timeless stuff.

BTC-On the cover of the first issue there were a lot of names crossed out. Were these for features that somehow didn't get published or just technical errors? Also, there were loads of words crossed out in the magazine...did certain words get edited out for being too vulgar?

Ha ha! I Think I had something set up and it didn't happen...I sort of remember saying fuck or shit or something and thought it might 'offend' people-Ha ha! After awhile I didn't care about that and most guys that read stuff like that don't give a shit either-right? It was pretty sloppy as you know, but for some bizarre reason I didn't care-ha ha! As time went on I actually went from hand-scrawled to a type-writer!

BTC-One of the wildest features in FUTURE was your surrealistic comic strip DAD'S MUG. I've always wondered what the "inspiration" and perhaps even deep philosophical meaning behind those comics was all about with all of those strange quips about his glorious mug!

GP-Ha ha! No deep philosophical thought behind that-this guy 'Dad' was a REAL GUY. I've known him since around the early 70's. I saw him about a year ago at a restaurant when my parents took us all out for their anniversary. Anyway-this guy was a SCREAM. I made up a lot of the scenarios, but all the characters in it: Dad Vol. 2, Old Man Kaddlehopper, Young Generation Klem, Middle-aged Klem, etc...EVERY guy in the comics was a real guy that made me laugh in real life. Me and Mike Ferrera would always laugh about Dad-Ferrera would get in physical fights with him, he'd go "Oh Dad, your mug is GLORIOUS today!" and Dad would be like "Piss off man, I'll kick your ass" and then it would escalate until an outburst took place. I used to hang out a lot with Ferrera back then and we'd laugh about Dad and his HIDEOUS or GLORIOUS mug. Nonsense, but it was funny. Another funny story about Dad-we used to follow the Kinks back then as you may know, we'd see them like as many times as we could-you know, like the Deadhead guys with the Dead to a degree-anyway-one time we all were charging towards the backstage entrance to catch Ray Davies and Caroll, at the time still my girlfriend, saw Dad running and said "Oh Dad!" and he went "Fuck off with the Dad crap man and WIPE MY ASS!" We STILL laugh about that. He was a crude dude!

BTC-Back to FUTURE, I remember that it always would sell out rather quickly to the point that if anybody waited too long to get a copy they'd be out of was sold out! What kind of a press run did it have? Also, what was the reaction to it, as I think some of the things you and your writers said would generally get a few people irritated!

GP-I sort of can't remember how many I pressed-I THINK I did runs of 1000, then #3, 4 & 5 I think I did 2000-I remember folding and stapling 1000's of them myself to save money...Reaction was funny-a lot of guys really liked it and a lot of guys HATED ME and IT. I got lots of threats and one serious one I don't want to bring back into the mainstream again. Looking back, it was pretty crude, self-righteous and opinionated, but I was younger and meaner and nastier than I am now-ha ha!

BTC-In issue two you printed a cover story interview with the Residents detailing your visit to the Cryptic Corporation and meeting with the group personally.

GP-Ha ha! That intro was actually directed by Jay of the Cryptic Corporation. I did the interview all cloak & dagger via US mail. I never actually 'spoke' to any of the Residents--the only guy I ever talked to or corresponded with was Jay-he probably WAS the Residents! I really liked their version of "Talk Talk" and "Hanky Panky" on their 'Third Reich & Roll' album. "Satisfaction" was cool too.

BTC-Wow, you really fooled me! Here I thought you actually went to visit them and were privvy to their innermost circle! Another thing that amazes me about FUTURE was your ability to actually land interviews with big names like Captain Beefheart and Ray were you able to get them to consent to doing interviews anyway?

GP-Yeah-I suppose I was lucky to get any response from the Residents, and I believe the only reason why was because I was into them from day one-and at the store I ordered heaps of their records and hyped them up. But alas, no, I didn't fly out to Frisco and do the cryptic blindfolded interview! As far as getting to interview big names, back in the 70's, unlike today, there were no boundaries. By that I mean now, people are so overprotected and walled in behind some sort of forcefield, be they bodyguards, managers etc. Back then-Like with Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart), I went to see him. I knew the layout of the club and just went back to where the kitchen was (the Red Creek Inn) and there was Don standing around by himself smoking cigarettes. "Hey Don, would you be into doing an interview?" That's how that went-no arranging, setting up. Likewise with Ray Davies, only that was slightly different. As mentioned we used to follow the Kinks like Jerry & Co. had Deadheads following them. Anyway, one time in 1975 I just barged backstage (the 'Schoolboys In Disgrace' tour) and started talking to Ray-nicest guy ever-and gave him some of the Future Newsletters. I think I got his address and sent him Future #1. Then during the next tour I was looking for him and saw his manager Ken Jones, and Ken was like "Ray loves your magazine. He would love to do an interview." Or something like that. And that happened the next night in Buffalo NY, 1977 or 1978 I think. I can't remember exactly-somehow the late 70's get blurry. I think getting interviews back then were just how determined you were to get them.

BTC-Switching gears a released the Distorted Levels single around the time the fourth issue of FUTURE came out. What can you tell us about the recording and the group for that matter?

GP-That would be around Fall, 1977 I think when I recorded that-the band was called the Tar Babies before that (this is before 'political correctness' and all that)-I think this guy Zaph (that is all I remember about him-don't know his real name) played bass and I was jamming with this guy Steve who played guitar and looked like Ron Ashton-like 6 foot 4, biker glasses like Ashton' get the picture. Anyway, guys left, and I was best friends with Mike Ferrera and he played with us as well. Carl Mack also, who I used to hang out with a lot. Anyway, Mike and Carl were in this prog-rock band Zenith Effluveum. The Tar Babies sort of dismantled and I had a couple of songs ready, those being "Hey Mister" and "Red Swirls". The band ended up being myself on lead yelling and some bad guitar riffs, Mike Ferrera on lead guitar and Carl on drums. It was recorded by this cool guy John Fritsch whom I had known for many years-and he was heavy into Todd Rundgren like I was/still am. Anyway, the session took place in Carl Mack's parents basement where we used to practice and where Zenith Effluveum rehearsed and recorded as well. It was recorded on John's 4-track Crown. Carl used a double-kick Sonar kit, Mike used a Strat, as I did also-through Orange amps. Mike also played bass since Zaph flipped out or something. I THINK he used a Fender Jazz bass. It was spontaneous-I think we did one take on 'Red Swirls' and 2 takes on "Hey Mister". "Hey Mister" was inspired by Bo Diddley's "Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut" and "Red Swirls" I think I sort of lifted part of Bowie's "Rebel Rebel" though that is hard to detect from the chaotic recording. I also didn't really know how to sing-ha ha! Prior to that I was doing kind of folk-Dylan-Donovan-Lou Reed kind of monotone stuff-here I was trying to be Roky Erickson or Little Richard and A.) I didn't know how to control my voice or get where I wanted it to go, and B.) Didn't know my limitations. So it sounds like some hick doing hog calls. Mike McDowell, editor of BLITZ! back then reviewed it and compared my vocal to the vocal on the Legendary Stardust Cowboy's "Paralyzed". I guess that's a pretty good summation of what I sounded like. Like I said, I was clueless how to sing like I wanted. After this I figured out that I sound best doing Jagger/Van Morrison/Lou Reed-trying to do Roky, Janis Joplin, Gerry Roslie-that was not within my range.

BTC-That is an amazing single. Are there any outtakes or rehearsals which might get released in the future?

GP-I think the only out-take was the first version of "Hey Mister". I don't know where that is-I think John ended up with all the old tapes and I haven't seen or talked to him in over ten or fifteen years. He has the masters to the two 'Mr. Electro' albums as well...and lots of other stuff I did with other bands I was in. I have some of that stuff and it will probably get issued by Mean Disposition. I found an instrumental I wrote called "Condemned To Death Blues"-I played lead and Mike Ferrera played fuzz bass on this. Pretty crude.

BTC-It was around this time that you contributed an interview with I believe Dave Bingham from the Ugly Ducklings that appeared in the second issue of KICKS. How did you get in touch with Billy and Miriam and have you any interesting stories about them you'd care to share?

GP-Wow! That was a long time ago! I've been friends with Billy and Miriam since that time-what 35 years?? Wow... Initially I knew Miriam through her association with Pere Ubu-I was heavy into those early 45's they did and I remember contacting her about getting copies for the store or something like that. I don't think she really 'knew' who I was, but that was the first time I heard her name. She was also in the Cramps and sent me some photos and stuff like that, and we'd correspond. Then I remember seeing the first KICKS (which is about to be reissued by Billy & Miriam/Norton) and was pretty much floored by its content and intensity. I sort of knew Miriam and wanted to contribute to KICKS, so I wrote to her and Billy who I didn't know yet-and we totally connected and have been friends since that time. We have played together-both the Zantees & A-Bones and the C. Kings. We did a show in Berlin with the A-Bones in 1988, the day after I got married (Caroll came with me-it was our 'honeymoon'-ha ha!). We had great times over the years. One event that I will always remember-one that I really liked-was at Tim Warren's wedding and both our bands played at it-and Tim's house was really big and stuff. It was pretty insane. Tim was and is a great guy too that I'm still friends with all these years. Everyone was there-I remember hearing this Jerry Lee Lewis piano playing and Rudi from the Fuzztones was playing was a cool lost time. To re-quote Keith Richards, 'Those were the days!'

BTC-Back to come you folded the magazine after only five issues?

GP-I think I got too involved with the band and we were touring and all that. When I started getting the vibe to do it again I changed the name because I had gotten so many threats and shit. Plus the nucleus of guys I had involved with FUTURE moved on into different directions (Cole Springer moved to NYC-he's in Rochester again now-Mike Ferrera became very reclusive, and Carl Mack moved to New Orleans). So when I started up again I called it OUTASITE.

BTC-I do notice a shift away from "modern" rock towards a more sixties garage band orientation in the last two issues of FUTURE. I take it you were of the opinion that the direction that modern rock was taking just didn't live up to the innovations of the mid-sixties and decided to concentrate more on discovering old classics rather than current trends. Is this true?

GP-Yes ... groups that I really liked like the Clash turned MOR, most of the hip bands like the Pistols, Crime etc all broke up. I was heavy into like Black Flag, really love the DAMAGED album-and SF hardcore bands, also bands like Kraut, Agnostic Front, Red Kross were ALWAYS great-but there were not as many cool bands around so I went back to concentrating on what I always counted on-The Count V, Seeds, Music know the rest. To me, for the most part, the 80's was just shit. Girls all started having those wretched French Poodle perms, music was a load of '80's Rock' crap-all these bands with synthesizers, super-clean guitars, just a lousy time. I liked a lot of 80's RNR-some people think its metal-I don't really care what its called-I liked the mid-to late 80's bands like Izzy Stradlin era Guns n' Roses, the Hangmen, Sea Hags, early L.A. Guns, Dog D'Amour, London Quireboys-bands like these that were into a Stones/Faces slant. I obviously liked and respected and was friends with other bands within the same genre as my own band, bands like the Tell-Tale Hearts (great band), Lyres, Fuzztones ... you know. Other than that, the 80's era was a bummer.

BTC-When did the first Chesterfield Kings single make it out? I believe I first heard about it via the Bomp catalog sometimes early 1981.

GP-I THINK it was as you said. Orest joined the band late '80 and the single was recorded in February and released in April of '81. I wish I could find the tapes of the 5-song EP of the '78 C. Kings with Frank Moll on guitar-I remember really liking it, plus I did 2 originals I wrote.

BTC-Switching back to OUTASITE...I've always marveled at the number of rare singles you have been able to pick up over the years. Were these flea market and garage sale finds? It's so funny, because I've been on the lookout for items the kind you seem to find with ease for years and never once found what you would call a really obscure sixties garage band single or album!

GP-I used to get stuff all over the place. In the 60's when records were actually NEW, stuff like the Magic Mushrooms, Heard, Blue Things etc, you know, non-top 100 bands-I'd get them at this place called Jay's Record Ranch or Music Lover's Shop at Northgate Plaza. I used to get a lot of albums at House Of Guitars as well in both the 60's, 70's and 80's. They didn't carry 45's back in the 60's. Jay at Jay's would 'special order' 45's-which is where I got "You're Gonna Miss Me" by the Elevators which I'd heard when they were on 'Where The Action Is'. As far as mega-scarce/rare garage-punk-psych 45's/albums-I just got hooked on that stuff when I was a kid and it escalated as I got older. I knew guys at radio stations, got stuff from places like that, I'd rummage through junk they would throw out and get reel to reel tapes, 45's, albums-stuff they didn't play or want any more. I also hit every junk shop, garage sale, used record store, flea markets and go through auction/set sale lists-like Goldmine and Trouser Press or magazines of that sort. Back in the 70's and early to mid-80's no one really gave a shit about the Chocolate Watchband or Mourning Reign and groups like that, so you could find stuff like that without anyone competing for it. There were other geeks like me who were as obsessed as I was, but that 'mania' if you will, didn't really go into full gear until all the Pebbles and Boulders and later Back From The Grave comps turned guys onto amazingly great and obscure regional bands. I mean like the Chob 'We're Pretty Quick'-you could find something like that for like two or three dollars back in the early 70's, and the same record on Ebay now is like $2000. One amazing thing I remember was when WSAY-the most KILLER radio station went under in the early 80's and I knew a DJ there and he gave me boxes of stuff they were dumping-then all the records were suddenly 'sold off'-I found out who bought them and my wife and I offered to 'help sort' the records in exchange for buying whatever I wanted and it was really like a dream come true for geeks. For instance, Caroll would find some dusty box marked '1966' and it was TAPED SHUT since 1966. I don't even have to tell you my head was spinning. Really a memorable thing for me. That's the kind of stuff me and Caroll did before we got married-ha ha!!

BTC-OK, this may be tough, but could you tell me about how many records (albums and singles) you own? I get the feeling your place must look like a record shop!

GP-A tough question! I had thousand and thousands of singles and albums, but over the years traded stuff, sold stuff off as most of us do. To pinpoint? Maybe a couple of thousand singles, likewise with albums-not as ridiculous as it once was--I have no idea. I have a lot of magazines from the eras I liked (1960 through the 70's, and with obvious great things like UGLY THINGS, SHINDIG! ... you know I have every Football Digest from the late 70's up to their demise, tons of Golf Magazines-ha ha!)... My other hang-up is TV shows from the 50's, 60's, 70's & up-I have like 40,000 hours of TV, Rock N' Roll, films. That was a real problem when the format was video-I transferred my entire collection to digital over the years-much less space, but still 40,000 hours is a lot of anything no matter how digitized it is!

BTC-What do you attribute to the Chesterfield Kings being such a popular act over the years. I mean, there were other "garage band revival" groups and the like, but few attained such popularity as the Kings to the point where you guys were getting mentioned in mainstream publications.

GP-We were popular? Ha ha! I don't know if I'd go that far. I suppose because we were one of the first and were around a long time...we worked with a lot of cool guys like Dee Dee Ramone, Johnny Thunders, Mark Lindsay, Jorma Kaukonen, and other cool guys...maybe that opened the door to other people that may not have known us? Little Steven, as I said, literally took the band out of the gutter and catapulted us into Mainstream America. He is the reason I stayed in the band the last 10 or 12 years we existed. He revitalized my interest in the band. He has done some amazing stuff for Rock n' Roll. I think everyone knows that.

BTC-Well, you were popular enough to get a major feature in THE NEW YORK ROCKER! I've always wondered about your association with Mark Lindsay. How did you two meet up anyway, and do you have any interesting stories you can tell about him?

GP-Well, I guess. New York Rocker wasn't exactly the New Yorker Magazine-ha ha! Mark-Love this guy! One of my all-time favorite singers, know that. First time I met Mark was at Hilton High School, in the Rochester area-he was doing one of those 'oldies' things-this was in the late 80's... then some time/years went by and we re-connected-I think it was because we were both on Bob Irwin's Sundazed label at the same time-and somehow Bob or Tim Livingston of Sundazed hooked us back up-and he remembered us from the Hilton High hop years back. Then we just locked in and became good friends. One of my favorite memories with Mark was when one of the times my wife Caroll and I went to Hawaii (Honolulu-we used to go to the NFL Pro Bowl every/every other year back from the mid-90's up to the early 2000's)-and Mark and his wife Deb lived there on Maui, the next island over. We called him from Honolulu, "Marcus! We're in Honolulu!", and he was like "We'll be RIGHT over!". He and Deb flew over, he rented some boss convertible and we hung out the whole day, had lunch, went to the beach. All the time he had on his Raiders 3-cornered hat-while he was driving-at the beach-all over-and his wife was like "Mark! People are staring because you have that hat on!", and Mark was like, "Who cares! Were in Hawaii!". He is so funny, and a really great guy. I just talked to him about a month ago-he is still playing. Still a powerful singer and solid entertainer. Still one of my heroes, man.

BTC-Y'know, I never figured you to be a fan of the San Francisco scene and the Airplane! I'll bet Billy Miller and Miriam Linna give you grief for this!!! Anyway, what can you tell me about Jorma Kaukonen that the readers of this blog would be interested in hearing about (I think!).

GP-Ha ha! I just LOVE That whole trip-the Airplane, Quicksilver, Big Brother, the Dead-I am heavy into the early Dead-the first bunch of albums-Jerry's riffs are just incredible. I know-some people will laugh-ha ha! Blue Cheer-one of my favorite bands of all time-Sons Of Adam, Randy Holden, Other Half, Stained Glass, Country Joe ... the list goes on. Let's see-Jorma-I don't know-I interviewed him and all the stuff I can think of that was unknown was publicized one way or another. I think he is one of the greatest guitar players ever, and as a guitar player I am totally influenced by what he did. In case people didn't read the interview I did, he told me he was really floored by Zal Yanovsky's Standel amp when he saw the Spoonful early on and went out and got one as a result.

BTC-I'm sure this revelation will come as a surprise to some of your fans! Back to the Chesterfield Kings, if you had to pinpoint a favorite album which one would it be?

GP-I don't know-most guys know I am a heavy Airplane guy-I now do a version of the Dead's "Casey Jones" that sounds like a cross between the Stones "Parachute Woman" and the Heartbreakers (Thunders band) "One Track Mind"... Fave C kings album? "Let's Go Get Stoned"-the band was like on the same wavelength-by that I mean we were all into the same thing-wanted the same thing-no one hated each other-the recording went great-the studio engineer was a great guy and a friend-everything worked the way it should have-I have good memories from that era. I STILL like this album a lot-it stands up to any current stuff in my opinion, yet still has the '67-'72 Stones vibe.

BTC-Back to OUTASITE...After a couple issues you took a hiatus, then you came back with some fantastic looking high-quality magazines. Any reason for the long gap between issues, and how did you manage to put out such a top-gloss fanzine like you did with color covers and big name interviews?

GP-I think I got bogged down with work and touring and all that sort of crap. As you can attest to, having done your own magazine, you know doing a layout, writing, researching etc takes a long time to do it properly (editor's note-I obviously never got the hang of it!), and I think I sort of got tired of trying to keep ahead of things-plus as I mentioned- I was working back then which sucked as I hated working like anyone else, but had to at the time. Reason it looks so nice and slick with color covers is because Bob Irwin at Sundazed backed it and financed it, otherwise they would have been plain issues like the first two. As far as the interviews, I just sort of connected with a lot of people, I was and am totally into film/TV stuff and got to be friends with guys I idolized like Robert Stack, Charlton Heston, Peter Graves, Paul Burke and so on (shit-these guys are all dead now) know-guys that were like the coolest guys on films and television that I really respected and had a lot to do with my way of thinking. I mean watching Robert Stack beat the shit out of some guy and then throw him down a stairway on the UNTOUCHABLES, seeing that when you're like a 6 or 7 year old kid, that sticks in your mind. Anyway, I was in touch with a lot of people like this and I was doing a magazine and it seemed logical to get interviews with them.

BTC-One thing I learned from reading OUTASITE is that you are a Fabian fan! Do you get any hassles from fifties types for admitting to liking his music? (Personally I gotta say that I get a kick outta him, though I never did see his wild performance as that crazy killer on BUS STOP!)

GP-Ha ha! No-no hassles-in fact a couple of guys were like 'You like Fabian? Too cool.' I like his stuff-I know-its teen-idol mode, but his vocal is guttural and rather 'punk' compared to say Frankie Avalon or Bobby Rydel. Yeah, he was pretty badazz in BUS STOP. Really a powerful performance. I'm glad you like him too-ha ha!! One thing about him was that he was one of the MOST DIFFICULT guys to interview. I mean his history on both record and screen is pretty intense. Like I'd say "You worked with John Wayne. You did this with him, etc...what was it like, etc." you know, a BIG long question-and his response would be, "Oh, he was a really nice guy." period. I'm on the phone...dead air...more dead, "Uhhh...anything else?" , he'd respond, "No, he was a nice guy." Next question-same thing-sometimes I had to get pushy to make him say more, he just wasn't a man of many words. Very nice guy though.

BTC-How about Connie Stevens...what was it like interviewing her?

GP- She was just a riot to talk to. My idea of a 'hot babe'. I like all her records too-I know-hard to imagine listening to the MC5 and Connie Stevens isn't it? Ha ha! Yeah, I loved her in 'Hawaiian Eye'. Over the years, during all the times I've been to Honolulu my wife and I found all the places where they filmed the show (Hawaii 5-0 too, obviously).

BTC-Going back a bit to the garage band revival of the eighties, what was your impressions of the whole scene, with groups like the Fuzztones and Greg Shaw's Cavern Club.

GP-Being a part of that whole trip was really a gas. Places like NYC, Toronto, LA-it was like a real 'community', you know. You could walk around the Village in NY and go to all these happening stores like Venus Records or Midnight Records. You'd run into all the guys you knew, were friends with. One day you could walk into Venus Records and obviously you'd see Scott Curran, Bruce Planty, major collectors who ran the store, then Billy Miller, Miriam, Todd Abramson of Satan Records, Tim Warren, Rudi from the Fuzztones, Jon from the Vipers, Peter Zaremba, Ognir who was always on the scene ... you know. It was like "Hey man, how are things??" It was a really cool thing while it lasted. Did I like everything from the time? Obviously no, but the positives heavily outweighed the negatives. Greg Shaw-like I said, where would we be without Greg kickstarting Rock n' Roll when it was beginning to fade out. Not to mention-on the West Coast-San Diego's Tell-Tale Hearts. Man I loved these guys. Have been friends with Mike Stax since that time-actually before as we were both on the 'Zine Scene'. Yeah ...where have all the good times gone as Ray Davies put it.

BTC-If you had to list say, five or so favorite groups on the eighties garage band scene who would they be? (You can include your own group as well!)


BTC-Switching gears one of the issues of KICKS, I believe number four, you mentioned how you thought Shemp Howard made for a better Stooge than Curly. Other than me, did you get hassled forhaving that particular point of view?

GP-Yeah-I used to get a lot of slack from that-especially from Jeff Tamarkin who at the time wrote for GOLDMINE. Totally on a funny basis of course-Like he'd see me and go "Hey Shemp ... Curly is the best ... " Some people agreed-keep in mind Shemp STARTED the Stooges-he was the first and oldest brother and LEFT the Stooges to pursue a solo acting career-then when Jerome (Curley) had a stroke and couldn't take the stress of acting (with exception of the occasional cameo) Shemp made a return with many people believing he was merely a weak replacement for Curley. I love Curley too. I even like Joe Besser! I used to send him Christmas Cards!

BTC-Now about the feature film that was promised I believe back in the nineties? What ever happened to that?

GP-The movie "Where Is The Chesterfield King?" was finished in the year 2000. I wrote, directed, scripted and acted in it-it was real low budget trash, really, but it was fun and I am, and was, totally satisfied with the outcome. We actually got it on the big screen at its Premiere at the Eastman House in Rochester. Mark Lindsay did a cameo in it also. Tim Livingston of Sundazed was in the film too. He is a riot in it-he did one of the best things in the movie. Anyway-MVD released it in 2001 (Music Video Distributors, PA), they put out a lot of other cool stuff too like the Dead Boys, Dolls, cool stuff like that. I am not sure but I think its still available.

BTC-Let's talk about your new blues album MISSISSIPPI MURDERER. What inspired you to do a blues album such as this?

GP-Its weird ... the band played its last show in December of 2009. It was pretty terrible in my opinion. The thrill was gone. I was just going through the moves. Boring. 'Oh on this song I throw the mic stand off the stage... next song I jump on the song I kick a hole in the wall. Just bullshit. Anyway, months went by. Almost two years. It was early 2011 and no one spoke or saw each other. I started the band, I figured it was over, it just fizzled out and I officially split by mid 2011. I'd grown to hate playing music to the point that I ONLY played golf. I used to play delta blues in the early 70's, and in the midst of my golf mode, I began playing guitar again. I was always hung up on Robert Johnson, Son House, Bukka White, you know. An endless list. So I REALLY got into playing guitar and singing on my own. A perfect set up. I was doing what I wanted without whining, arguing, compromising, doing fuck-ass shows, etc. I just decided to learn about 60 or 70 songs by guys I was into-the aforementioned as well as like Muddy Waters, Lightnin' Hopkins, Reverend Robert Wilkins, Sister O.M. Terrell, you know. I got it together. I started using fingerpicks and used capos, alternate tunings, you know, Open D, Open G (with the 6th string dropped), Open E, as well as riffing in standard tuning. I got really into this whole trip. I recorded some songs very crudely on a 70's Philips recorder and sent some stuff to my friend Enric Bosser at Penniman Records in Barcelona as I loved his label and all the releases on it. He is/was in this great band the Meows with whom we did shows with in Barcelona in the 80's and 90's. I was friends with him immediately. Anyway, I sent him a bunch of songs I'd recorded like crude 30's delta blues style. He liked what he heard and released the 45 "Mr. Charlie" b/w "Rolling Stone". It did well. Enric said it reminded him of demos off of like 'Exile On Main Street' and could only imagine if there were electric guitars (I used a semi-acoustic Harmony Meteor on the 45), then it would REALLY sound like Exile On Main Street. This stuck in my mind. I started writing again, inspired by the likes of Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, and countless others. I took heed in what Enric said, I electrified the guitars and the stuff I was playing acoustically suddenly sounded like late-60's-early 70's Keith Richards crunch, Johnny Thunders, Ron Wood...I hooked up with my friend Zach Koch to play drums on the songs, and this led me to Alex Patrick, the engineer who also co-produced the album with me and also played bass on it. I was originally going to attempt the bass parts but my technique was too close to the way I play guitar. In any case, the music is all rooted in crude blues. I played a lot of electrics but still played acoustics and National steel as well.

BTC-How is the record doing? I get the feeling that a large portion of the Chesterfield Kings fans would love it to death.

GP-Enric said the album doing great. Honestly, this is the first album I've done where I am totally into what I did on the record. I felt the old band or some 'element' of the band tried to keep a 'safe' sound. I wanted this album to be threatening and on the edge-you can hear feedback and over the top volume on the guitars-this was always controlled to a degree on the band's albums.

BTC-Any chance you'll be doing a followup any time soon?

GP-Yes! I plan on doing a LOT of stuff-I have enough material to do another album right now-80% originals and some other favorites that I like playing. Enric is also going to (down the line) do a comp of my early stuff-pre-C. Kings stuff...I'd like to do other stuff like an EP or something like a 'Rolling Stones Songbook', do four or five Stones songs...I know, in a sense I am doomed in that respect. I'll just play songs, riffs, then just fall into playing the Stones. I guess it just happens. Its almost like ingrained in my DNA!

BTC-Any other surprises for us in store?

GP-Like you never know! You may see me on the 'Golf Channel'-ha ha!

1 comment:

diskojoe said...

Great interview Chris & I dug Greg's articles on the Kinks & Byrds in Ugly Things