I’ve gotta get back into this blog because I keep getting asked to do things that point back to it. Just this month I’ve done a livestream reading to benefit the Wild Project, Tattoos For Women did a multi-page feature on me, I sat in on a podcast with Inebrination, a radio interview with Heavy Metal Han, answered interview questions for a French book about Motorhead and was just informed by someone at KNAC.com that the Cycle Sluts 30th anniversary is coming up and they want to do a piece on the band. I had no idea we even had an anniversary. Anyway, all great avenues to promote myself, but also pressure to shut down the Xbox and create something to promote.
For whatever reason I was born under a lucky star and attention comes whether I ask for it or not. Much like romance, I’ve spent my life embracing it one minute and then pushing it away the next. And now it centers around this little blog, which has been great for me and happily for some of you, but this extended downtime has shut down any urge to pontificate as well. In the face of too much to say, I haven’t felt the urge to say anything.
In the interest of combatting entropy, I’ve decided that until the muse calls, I’ll post some old stories. I have enough of them already written down, everyone enjoys the tales of yore, and it helps me to have them warehoused somewhere.
But before that, as many of you know, recently my dog went missing. He slipped out of my building while I was distracted and then simply disappeared into the ether. It was a hellish day. A dear friend put up a large reward for his return and while I wandered the streets in tears, taping flyers to lamp posts and looking under cars, I got hammered via text by a tag team of scammers who became increasingly threatening as they tried to extort money prior to “returning the dog”. At the end of the day, as I trudged hopeless and aimless outdoors in order not to have to face down a long night of staring at the ceiling in anguish, I got a call from a lovely woman who had picked him up and taken him home when she saw him frightened and alone in front of my building. She refused all reward and told me he was very well behaved. I was extremely lucky…again.
The lesson for me, beyond to always have ID on every collar and harness is that there are many, many, many lovely people out in the world. With all of the turmoil we’ve been through over the last year and a half, it’s easy to get cynical. I was blown away by all of the shares, messages, texts, emails, and visits to my neighborhood to help out. People showed up and searched without even telling me. My posts about it were shared thousands of times. I was blown away by the outpouring of kindness from friends and strangers. And now that he’s found I get stopped on every walk by strangers who are excited to see that he’s safe.
So I guess the message I’d like to impart today is that there is hope for us as a species, and to not to get bogged down in the negative. There are more people in your corner than you know.
ALICE MAGAZINE INTERVIEW
SAM HARISS/DAVE TIERNEY/JOHNNY EGGZ/RAFF/CHRISTA ELIZABETH:
Okay, pre-pandemic I did an interview for Alice Magazine with Sam Hariss and Dave Tierney of The Sweet Things. And because I’m lazy and I like to eat, I asked our friend Johnny Eggz to make dinner so we could sit around and talk and I’d record it and make that the interview. Johnny plays guitar for Sheer Terror, is an amazing cook and one of the funniest people I know, and his wife Christa is awesome.
The article was published, with photos taken by the Uber-talented Johan Vipper. I can’t find it online so if anyone can, feel free to send me the links and I’ll add them here. Because we talked for so long, a lot of bits had to be cut out. So here’s some of the excerpts that didn’t make the cut.
ME: All right, let’s do this. Where did you guys get together? There was mention of a Hebrew summer camp? Or did I dream that?
DAVE: I think our bio says we met at a bar mitzvah.
SAM: It does. I had known Lorne from around. We had talked about playing together but somehow he got the idea that I was flakey (laughs).
JOHNNY EGGZ: Naaaaah!
ME: That sounds about right.
SAM: Regardless of that he suggested me for a tour that Dave was doing. Joan Jett had just passed on me for playing with her band so I was kind of bummed…
DAVE: And I didn’t have the luxury of being as discerning as Joan.
ME: So Lorne suggested you for The Sharp Lads?
DAVE: Yeah, we were doing a tour back in January of 2015 and I asked Lorne, who couldn’t do it, and then suggested Sam.
SAM: So that happened, and then we were on the road, and Dave and I had kind of clicked musically, we were into the same bands – The Black Crowes and a lot of that kind of shit, whoever ripped off Keith Richards essentially. And I wanted to be in one of them. We were in Baltimore and Dave suggested we start a band; but he had two other bands already, so I told him that I would only do it if it wasn’t a side project and that he had to quit his other bands. I don’t know how I had the balls to say that because I had nothing going on at the time. But he agreed. So he finished out two more tours with The Sharp Lads and then wrote the first two Sweet Things songs in New Orleans. And then we had our first practice and I didn’t go.
DAVE: Well, me and Lorne had been talking about doing this band for a while and then he said, “Get HIM to be our bass player.”
RAFF: Poor Lorne…
DAVE: Yeah, and now we’re in this life sentence…Haha! So I was waiting for them to show up at practice and I worked on a cover of “Cokin” and then wrote “Love to Leave”
RAFF: Which is still one of everybody’s favorite songs.
DAVE: Yeah, it’s still like maybe our best song!
RAFF: So, your new album “In Borrowed Shoes On Borrowed Time” is veering into country territory, which people probably aren’t expecting.
SAM: Well, we really like cowboy shirts! And we all kind of privately really like country and realized that everyone else in the band knew what good country was and had a knack for it. And you get bored listening to the same three rock and roll albums so it was something new and isn’t being done well by many people we know right now. So it’s kind of a cool little niche to mix with what we’re already doing.
DAVE: We’re not doing it too consciously; we’re just following the muse. But you tend to find more good songwriters in the country genre. Or for me maybe it’s just ones I didn’t know because I didn’t listen to it growing up. I thought it was an obscure type of ethnic music and I didn’t know anyone who listened to it. I probably listened to some stuff that I didn’t know was country? Like my parents had Neil Young albums, which some of that kind of stuff could fall under the category.
RAFF: Yeah, but growing up we didn’t think that was country. Or I didn’t.
DAVE: Yeah, it doesn’t make it onto that rack in the record store but it’s really not that different.
SAM: I got into it first and foremost because of Keith. I liked Faraway Eyes and that was the gateway.
RAFF (joking): So you like Keith Richards, do ya?
DAVE: I think once, a long time ago, I meant to download a Flamin’ Groovies record and I accidentally got the Flying Burrito Brothers instead. And I loved it.
SAM: Yeah, and then it went from Keith to Gram Parsons. Who, side note, just couldn’t hold his heroin.
RAFF: So let’s talk about the drumming situation. It’s just the three of you right now with fill ins because you lost Darren Fried?
SAM: We had a great replacement for a day but he’s French and couldn’t stay in the country. Darren was great for us. He had a good mixture of two things that he always says…
DAVE: He can play rock music and he’s a hard hitter but he can find the groove. He can put the tiniest bit of swing in it that makes you want to move.
SAM: And he can fill out a pair of denim shorts like nobody else.
WIVES HATING BANDS:
JOHNNY EGGZ: If you’re married to some kinda broad who makes you quit your band, it’s not gonna last.
RAFF: But a lot of guys that we know have this happen. I know so many men who married women who thought it was cute in the beginning and then not so much once they’re married.
JOHNNY EGGZ: They aaaaall do.
RAFF: I don’t! I would never! I feel like it’s the same thing as marrying a painter and then telling them they can never create art again. Why would you want to take something that big away from someone if it made them happy?
JOHNNY EGGZ: But you’re not a civilian. When I met my wife I realized she’s not a civilian. She’s an actress, she wrote movies, she sings in bands. She understands. Who else is gonna say, “Oh, you’re gonna be in France for my birthday, you’re not gonna be home for Christmas? Okay, have a good time!” Doesn’t happen. You did it, you were in the Cycle Sluts, that’s why you get it.
SAM (joking, to Raff): Luckily that hasn’t happened to us!
RAFF: Haha! I hated it all from the get. Okay, what’s the plan for this year?
DAVE: The new record is coming out May 24th (2019), music video coming out after that, touring after that.
JOHNNY EGGZ: Who’s putting the record out?
DAVE: Spaghetty Town Records out of Georgia. They have some really cool bands on their label.
RAFF: Funded by Wendigo Productions. Put that in there.
SAM: Well, you’re going to be writing this! Just put down your internal monologue!
RAFF: No one needs to hear that. But yes, I’m gonna paraphrase the hell out of all of this.
DAVE: Eight days in the UK in early June…
SAM: Tentative talk about maybe making it over to France.
JOHNNY EGGZ: So where’d you record? How’d you do your deal?
DAVE: We did our album with Matt Chiaravalle, we started in July 2018.
SAM: Yeah, seven months.
JOHNNY EGGZ: Seven months??!!
DAVE: Yeah, at Flux Studios and then a ton of overdubs at Mercy Sound where we brought in a lot of guests.
RAFF: Let’s talk about that.
SAM: We got Alejandro Escovedo on the record. It’s funny, because I think of him as an Americana/country kind of artist, and a lot of these guys that we’ve become cool with like that, we like because that’s what they do. And they like us because they like punk. So I could tell when he came in that he was thinking that he was going to be able to do something where he could do a bit of yelling and we made him do his usual thing. So we got him on a second song that was still not yelling, but more of a ballad. And you know, he was in The Nuns, so I told him we should cover that Nuns song, what’s it called?
DAVE: Neurotic Jew?
SAM: No, it’s even worse, like Cheap Jew or something like that?
DAVE: Uptight Jew? The singer, I think, was Jewish?
[Ed. note – Google tells us it’s “Decadent Jew”]
SAM: We’re all Jews, and nobody dislikes Jewish people as much as Jewish people, because we had to grow up with each other. Anyway, so yes, we had Alejandro, and the Uptown Horns, who have played with everybody from the Stones to James Brown to Billy Joel…
DAVE: Plus our good friend Liza Colby who has been singing with us for a long time, Brian Hurd from Daddy Long Legs on the tin sandwich, and Rob Clores on keyboards.
SAM: Yes, he played with The Black Crowes and Tom Jones. Oh, and shout out to the guy in the comments section on the article about us in Metal Sucks who said we were “slightly less metal than the Blues Travelers”,– Rob also played with The Blues Travelers. So full circle there!
DAVE: Rob is like our secret weapon. We asked him to play piano and organ and he came in with a clavinet.
JOHNNY EGGZ: I was almost on that show.
RAFF: Really? What happened?
JOHNNY EGGZ: So I’m on the fuckin’ Staten Island Ferry talking to this guy Doc on the phone about how he had moved to 168th Street. And I was saying, “168th Street? Motherfucker you moved UPSTATE. Jesus Christ, what the fuck!” On and on, whatever I’m saying and there’s this woman across from me reading a book and going like this for the whole half hour ride. (Motions looking over the top of the book)
And then finally I get off the phone and she closes the book and puts it on her lap and goes, “Are you an actor?”
I said, “Nah! I’m a guitar player.” And she said, “Do you wanna be?”
And I’m like, “All right. The broad wants to fuck me. I’ll bite.” She gives me her card and says be in her office at 10 am the next day. I still don’t think it’s real but I thought, eh, what the hell. This is gonna be fun.
Next day I go to the office and I walk in and I get into the lobby and say, “Rita Powers?” and they send me in the elevator and it goes up and opens and the sign says, “Powers Management”. So I think, “Shit, this is fucking real!”
She sits me down and she tells me she’s going to get me the Sopranos. And I tell her I don’t know how to act. She says, “You just be you. But we have to build you a little and get you in front of the camera so you get to know what the hell is going on. They’re not gonna put up with someone who doesn’t know so you’re gonna have to do some things before that.”
So I’m like, “Cool!” I signed the contract, now she’s my agent. The first thing she has for me is a Nokia commercial. So I show up in Times Square, outside, for this commercial, looking like the Fonz. She’s not there, so I’m walking around like a fuckin’ asshole that doesn’t know anything. I’m like fucking Crocodile Dundee being friendly to all the other actors because I don’t know that actors and actresses are fuckin’ assholes. And they fuckin’ hated me. I’m walking around saying, “How ya doin’? How ya doin’?” And they’re just miserable people.
So they realize that I don’t belong and they’re like, “How did you get this?” So I tell them, well, I was sitting on the ferry and blah, blah… And NOW they really hate my fuckin’ guts. Because these people have been working their whole lives to get this and I’m just some jabroni that wandered in off a boat and said, “Hey, I’m an actor now!”
So they’re looking at me and I’ve got the black pompadour and my whole deal, like a heroin addicted fuckin’ Dean Martin. And they say, “This isn’t gonna work.” And I’m like, whaddya mean, this is me! But they pound my hair down and they put me in a hoodie that says Nokia on it and they give me fuckin’ pom poms.
Finally Rita shows up and I’m like, “What the fuck is this?? Look at me, I’m holding fuckin’ POM POMS!”
She’s like, “It’s acting!” And I say, “I’m a guitar player! This isn’t me!” And she looks at me and says, “Well what fuckin’ label are you signed to right now? None? Okay, you’re an actor. Go act!” And I fuckin’ did it. A fuckin’ Nokia commercial!
BANDS SWEET THINGS WANT TO PLAY WITH…
RAFF: Okay, back to music…Sweet Things, give me a list of bands you’d like to play with. Let’s put it out into the universe.
SAM: The Rolling Stones.
DAVE: I wanna play with Ryan Bingham. He’s my favorite kind of songwriter these days. And I like the new Jenny Lewis album.
JOHNNY EGGZ: Jerry Lewis??
DAVE: Jenny or Jerry Lewis. We’ll take either. Old 97’s…
SAM: Blackberry Smoke, Chris Robinson’s band As the Crow Flies…
DAVE: When I was younger people always told me I looked like Chris Robinson. I don’t get it anymore but like 10 years ago. When you have long hair you always get comparisons to whoever. Dumb shit, like Kurt Cobain.
SAM: I get Slash all the time and I look nothing like him. It’s just the hair and hats.
JOHNNY EGGZ: I hate Led Zeppelin. Hate ‘em.
RAFF: Really? Well, you’re a real punk, so it makes sense.
JOHNNY EGGZ: I hate all of it. I hate Led Zeppelin. I hate Pink Floyd. I hate Journey.
RAFF: Well, I tried to explain to Sam that when we were kids you had to align with one or the other. So I liked Led Zeppelin but I couldn’t admit it to the people I was hanging out with because that wasn’t our identity. We were punks.
DAVE: My stock answer when I was in high school was “I like punk and Led Zeppelin”.
JOHNNY EGGZ: I think I hated them more because I hated their fans.
RAFF: Well, there was such a divide at that time. Way more for Johnny and my generation than for yours. You were either a stoner kid that listened to Zeppelin or you were a punk that got shit in the school hallways.
JOHNNY EGGZ: It was fucking HARD. Being 14 or 15 years old and being a punk rocker, a hardcore kid. I got my ass kicked for having blue hair. “Freak! Fag!”
DAVE: Yeah, when I was really little Green Day was the thing. So we thought we were punk rock.
RAFF: And to me, I just thought, great, now we’re rehashing and watering down this shit? I love them as people. Billie Joe in particular is, in my mind, one of the loveliest humans to grace this planet, but it was for kids and I wasn’t a kid by then. Although now when I hear their songs I think I was too hard on them, they’re great writers.
JOHNNY EGGZ: I’m sure they’re great guys! But my God, don’t make this music. Unless they want us on the tour! Then I’m all over it.
RAFF: Well, D Generation toured with them and I traveled on a few of the dates as a girlfriend, which is so annoying to bandmates but somehow it happened. So I was in France and England for a short while and they were awesome. So generous, so fun, so cool. They would hold up a show if the audience wasn’t there yet to make sure that D Gen got to play to the crowd, which was all little kids with green hair.
JOHNNY EGGZ Lemme tell ya. D Gen is the best band out of New York that didn’t get over the hump. Best band that never made it, period. They should have been the biggest band in the world. They were great in the cities, you just couldn’t put them over in Wisconsin. They were too smart for the room in the smaller towns. The resurgence of punk was right there. Every asshole band was huge and D Gen was better than them all but they didn’t dumb themselves down enough for mass consumption.
RAFF: Well, hardcore has never been the most glamorous of genres.
JOHNNY EGGZ: No. But other bands get broads coming to their show–Madball, and Ignostic Front, Jimmy [of Murphy’s Law] gets the girls. It’s not Sheer Terror though. Look at us! (points to a poster of the band on the wall).
SAM: Well, your logo is a bulldog.
JOHNNY EGGZ: No, I’m talking about the picture of us. You know what I mean? We’re just not, know …
CHRISTA: Underwritten by Bausch and Lomb.
JOHNNY EGGZ: Yeah. Paul’s onstage [frontman Paul Bearer]. He looks at us, and just goes, “We got an endorsement from Pearl Vision Center.”
RAFF: Haha! I like Paul. He’s funny.
JOHNNY EGGZ : He’s probably one of the funniest people I know.
RAFF: But in this very dry kind of way that I find entertaining.
JOHNNY EGGZ: In a weird kinda way. He comes up with the weirdest shit, just … goes on, and on, and on with it. Like, we’re in a van. We’re driving fucking nine hours to the next town. Jason, the guy with the glasses standing next to me [on the poster], he’s heavy. He’s 350 pounds. You see Anthony, all the way on the other end? He’s young. He’s only 30 years old, and he’s little, very little. He’s, like, standing on his tippy toes to look like that in the picture. Paul will be like, “Jay,” that’s the heavy guy, “If we were caught in a plane crash, and we were stranded on an island, and Anthony was very sick and too weak, would you let him suckle from your breast, if that meant he would live?”
(Everyone erupts in laughter)
Then, Jay is like, “NO. The fuck you talking about?” Then, Paul would be like, “You hear that, Anthony? He’d let you die.”
And we’re all laughing and you think it’s over, but he just keeps going. “Now, you mean to say, if that was the ONLY way he could survive, you wouldn’t let him–”
SAM: Suckle from your breast?
JOHNNY EGGZ: Jay says, “I’m a guy! I don’t lactate!” “Okay, let’s say you DID lactate, you COULD lactate, would you give sustenance?” It just goes on and on. Then, Jay’ll put the headphones so now he doesn’t even hear it. Now, Jay’s out of it. And Paul’s just going on, and on, and on, and on, and on. Then Jay’ll take the headphones off an hour later, and he’ll hear what Paul is saying, and he’ll be like, “This is still fucking going on?”
JOHNNY EGGZ: I’m the naked guy. I’m always naked. It cuts the tension when the band is bickering.
RAFF: Just to get naked?
JOHNNY EGGZ: Just get naked, and just walk in. You can’t sell it. You walk in the room, and be like, “What’s up, guys? What’s up? I heard some yelling. What’s everybody yelling about? Anybody got any potato chips?”
RAFF: Dave could probably get naked, but Sam never would.
DAVE: Yeah, I’d get naked. That can be my job.