The Sanest Man In The World Today?

By Headley Gritter

RAM, April 4, 1980


Frank Zappa has been the enigmatic paradox of rock ‘n’ roll for the past two decades – a man of apparent contradictions if ever there was one. On the one hand he seems totally outrageous and irreverent – showing respect for nothing institutionalized. But musically, he is as precise and regimented as he is prolific. He condemns all forms of drug-induced unreality, yet the ardour of his fans often has a direct correlation with their own illicit consumption. He dubbed three of his offspring Ahmet Rodan, Dweezil and Moon Unit in the throes of sobriety. His musical personifications are gregarious and agrarious to the extreme, but the man himself rarely ventures out of his basement studio. When you meet him you find yourself speaking to a calm, mild-mannered, yet icily sharp-minded thinker.

Constantly generating outrage, a recent offering, ‘Sheik Yerbouti’ caused a confrontation with the Anti-Defamation League. Now he’s released ‘Joe’s Garage’ – a three-part ‘operatic’ work. One track – ‘Catholic Girls’ – achieved confrontation with papal authorities. But litigation and controversy have become facts of life for Mr. Z. His exit two years ago from the Warner Brothers Record Co was accompanied by an exchange of suits – and not the three piece variety.

Frank Zappa is one of the few true individuals who can confidently be termed a genius in today’s prefabricated musical world. Today’s insights include excursions into Zappa’s rarely talked about home life. Plus – sex, drugs, politics, sociology, the meaning of friendship and human relationships.

RAM: Is there a difference between Frank Zappa the person and Frank Zappa the entertainer?

ZAPPA: Absolutely. You are now talking to Frank Zappa the entertainer. You will never talk to Frank Zappa the person.

How many people do get to talk to Frank Zappa the person?

Just my wife and kids.

It seems that, from the start, you’ve done controversial things and you seem to take delight in people being freaked

When a person takes drugs or uses alcohol, they think they’re giving themselves a license to be an asshole. Because they can always say, “Whoops, I’m sorry, I was so stoned I didn’t know what I was doing,” and suddenly that makes it OK, you break something in somebody’s house, or you’re causing some problem...

ANOTHER VOICE: Your limousine...

Oh, my limousine is here, well, tell him to wait.

FAMILY LIFE

OK, now you’ve just had a kid, congratulations, a girl.

Thank you.

Congratulations on behalf of Australia... Now you announced before if it was a boy it was going to be called Burt Reynolds, and if it was a girl it was going to be Clint Eastwood Zappa...

No, I didn’t mean to put the Zappa on there, it was just a joke. I said if it was a boy it was going to be Burt Reynolds, and if it was a girl it was going to be Clint Eastwood. People believed that?

When you take the name of your previous three kids, it’s not that farfetched.

Oh, is it?

Well, I don’t know, I’ve never heard a name like “Moon Unit”...

Well, first of all, “Moon” in Spanish is “Luna”, and there are very many people named “Luna”. “Moon” has also been used as a first name in the United States. Not necessarily for girls, but, there happens to be a guy that Carter has just nominated for one of the positions in his administration, a guy named “Moon” Landru, you know, which Moon was very distressed to hear about, by the way.

Does she thrive on the uniqueness of it, or...

To them it’s just their name; they’ll always know that her name is Moon and his name is Dweezil, and he is the only Dweezil in the world, and Ahmet’s name is Ahmet and Diva’s name is Diva, and that’s the way it is, you know. Like it or lump it.

How did you meet your wife?

She was a groupie.

Really?

Yeah.

She was at a gig?

Well, she wasn’t at a gig; she was a secretary at the Whiskey A Go-Go; and she was brought to my attention by another girl who was also a secretary at the Whiskey A Go-Go, who was my housekeeper at that time.

And you met her backstage.

No, actually, I met her at the airport, when I came home from my first tour. I had seen her one time before that; she was at a party at the house but I hadn’t talked to her.

Was it instant love?

Well, I don’t know about that. But, you know, we’ve managed to last for 12 years so far: we’re doing OK.

Is she into the same sort of things that you are, musically?

Yeah.

And socially: is she socially introverted like you, too?

No, she’s more gregarious: she has fun things like car pools, and things like that; she has some traffic with the outside world, but usually, I work in the basement, and all that she does is in the upper part of the house, and the neighbours come to visit her, they don’t come to see me; I just stay down there, and that’s fine.

It seems like she’s a very important part of your life if you don’t go anywhere else.

Yeah, of course she ... she’s my wife. My best friend.

That’s important. You have any fights?

Ahh, let’s see. We’ve had a couple, but I can’t remember when the last one was. It’s been years.

How soon is it usually over?

Well, that’s none of your business.

GROSS-OUTS

Fair enough, let’s go onto some of the famous Zappa rumours that may or may not be true. Firstly, the famous stagedare with Captain Beefheart, was it, where you were supposed to have come out and laid a turd on stage?

No, that never happened. First of all, that story has a lot of different versions. There was supposed to be a gross-out contest between me and a member of the audience; there was a gross-out contest between me and the Fugs; now you’re telling me about one between me and Captain Beefheart, and none of these things ever happened. I never went do-do on stage, I’ve never eaten any do-do on stage; there never was any gross-out contest. My stock answer to this question is, the closest I ever came to eating shit, of any description, was at a Holiday Inn buffet in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

So how do these stories get started?

By drug crazed hippies.

Did you hire one for your P.R.?

Absolutely not.

Do the people around you, especially musicians have to be non-drug users too?

Well, you can’t legislate that, all I require is that if somebody is on my payroll, at the time that they’re performing a service for me, like if they’re on the road, that they don’t use drugs, and they don’t have any drugs in their possession. What they do, now I’m on the road six months out of the year, what they do in their spare time with their private life is their business; but once they’re on the road, they’re representing me, and I’m footing the bills for their total lifestyle. I’m providing their hotel, their food, their transportation; I’m paying their salary and doing all these things, and, in exchange, they are supposed to make themselves available, and competent to play concerts for the audience that comes to these places expecting a show. Now, if they get ripped and they can’t play, they’re letting the audience down, and they’re doing it in such a way that the blame goes on me. I use as much force as I can to make sure that if somebody is buying a ticket to one of those shows, the show is going to happen when they get there, and it’s going to be as good as we can make it. And also, if a person is in possession of illegal substances and gets arrested, and suddenly isn’t there, then he’s leaving a hole in the show and that makes other people have to work harder. So that’s the reason for the anti- drug situation in this band, it’s just a practical, business consideration.
What about those guys who think they play better when they’re ripped?
I don’t think that there are such things. I think that that’s psychological.

Could Lowell George be an exception?

In terms of what?

He’d smoke pot before you’d play together.

Did he smoke before he played with me?

Yeah, he did play with the Mothers for some time, didn’t he?

Yeah, he did. And I wasn’t sure that he was using drugs all the time ... well you know, short of having a bloodhound and sending the dogs up and down the halls in the motels, once they finish the concert and go back to their room in their hotels I know that a lot of times guys from the band would go up there, and just to merely defy me they’d huddle together in these groups in these little rooms and smoke the devil weed. And it got to be preposterous, you know, like with Mark and Howard (aka Flo and Eddie. Listen to Live At The Fillmore for reference), they’d be in there getting ripped and they’d be stuffing rags under the door, and they think I don’t know these things, but...

Did they see you as the evil general that they had to hide from?

Yeah, they picture me in a lot of different ways, you know, that’s their business, the way they picture me, it’s not the way I am, and it takes a certain amount of self-discipline to understand what the reasons for making these requests are.

MOTIVATIONS

There seems to be three possible motivations: fame, money or musical satisfaction. In your case: what is the proportion?

Well, there’s only one motivation, and that’s doing art.

You’re not concerned with fame, and you’ve got enough money to last you?

It doesn’t work that way, in other words, need money. I absolutely need money because I’m working in a medium that requires the expenditure of money in order to do the art. If I’m going to make a record, it doesn’t come down out of the sky and land on the turntable. There’s people that have to be paid to play instruments, studios that have to be rented, equipment that has to be purchased, and all this other stuff that has to be done and it’s all expensive. If you have to make a movie, that’s even more expensive. Any kind of endeavour in this type of business is definitely tied to the expenditure of money. And most of what I make goes right back into the purchase of equipment or into salaries.

You’re not rich?

It depends on what you call rich.

Well, enough not to worry about ever being poor.

Oh, I wouldn’t say that, no, absolutely not.

And fame isn’t a consideration at all?

The only thing that is important about being famous is in the industry community, if I have to go and seek financing for a project, if nobody heard my name, I have no chance of getting financing. If they heard about me someplace, the chances are better. So, to that end, being famous is convenient, you know, but I don’t do what I do so that I can be a famous guy.

You don’t worry about a future generation of music lovers...

No. First of all, I don’t think that there has been a generation of music lovers, let alone one that’s going to take place in the future. There are generations of people who consume various types of products, but generations of music lovers, let’s reserve that description for something a little bit more appropriate.

How did Warner Brothers come to sign you in the first place?

At the time they signed me, they were signing what they thought were a variety of underground acts. They also signed a few things that they thought were “artsy”, that would give their label this broad-ranging esteem, to make them look like a well-rounded type of record company, and that’s the reason why we got on their roster.

When did you fall out with them?

I got very pissed off at them when I delivered four albums to them and they didn’t pay me.

When was that?

About two years ago. It was in March. Four completed albums, on tape, reader to master. Four. All done. I have a contract that says, when I give them the tape, they give me a cheque. I gave them tapes for four albums, and they didn’t give me any money, and I had paid out of my pocket to make the four albums, and I was waiting to be reimbursed by them in order to pay off the expenditure that I had put into the thing. They didn’t give me the money, they didn’t have publishing licenses for the material, and they proceeded to, against my wishes, and in breach of the contract, release all four albums, without paying for them, and without getting publishing licenses.

Some people say you just rushed them off to get out the quota of albums you had to do for them.

Absolutely not.

Was it part of your stashed away material?

No, absolutely not. There’s at least one real masterpiece that was delivered in that batch and that’s Greggery Peccary.

‘Greggery Peccary’?

Yeah, the whole side of one of those things. I mean, anyone listens to that and thinks it was rushed out ... there’s a lot of stuff on there that probably has more production values than a lot of the ones that came before it.

POLITICS

What do you do for recreation, do you watch television at all?

I like the news, it’s always funny. I love to see people lie their ass off. That reaffirms my belief that people are basically bad.

Do you think that all people are basically bad?

Yeah. But you can’t hate them for it; that’s the way they’re made. That’s the problem that people run into when they’re trying to adapt to society-at-large; they find out that people do all these bad things; they lie and cheat and steal, and they cause red tape to occur, and they fuck up other people’s life styles, you know, but it’s only because people are basically stupid and incompetent and bad, and once you realise that that’s the way everybody is, then you deal with it. But you can’t go around hating them just because they’re stupid, incompetent or bad; then you cause inner problems.

Do you think politicians are bullshit?

Yeah, basically. I think that the only things that they have an interest in is their own well-being, and feathering their own nest, and the acquisition of more power for their own personal gratification, or they’re caught in a situation where they have to work on behalf of a corporation someplace.

In the United States, or in the world?

In the world! In the whole world, you know, be realistic about it; it’s all commerce, it’s all bound to exchange of goods and money here and food there and nuts and bolts. That’s what it’s about. OK? Take a guy, Carter is an example, but he doesn’t seem to be any worse than the rest of the incompetents that have been in there; the sales pitch is, “I’m a nice guy; vote for me. I’m so nice I couldn’t possibly hurt you,” you know, and people are so scared of the governmental system anyway, they’ll vote for somebody that they think couldn’t possibly hurt them. It’s preposterous. You want to know what the real problem is? Nobody ever says this, I’m going to tell you a big secret. Let’s get close to the microphone.
DEMOCRACY DOESN’T WORK. IT DOESN’T FUCKING WORK. It doesn’t. The only way democracy can work is if everybody is equally educated, equally fed, and is in possession of relatively the same amount of discipline so that they can share the responsibility of governing themselves. You know? How do you expect a guy who’s starving to death to make a rational intellectual evaluation about a candidate and his ultimate worth in terms of dealing with world-wide problems when you have a couple of guys up there and the bottom line pitch is “two chickens in every pot” A guy that says that “I’m going to fix inflation” which automatically translates down to “It’s going to help my food situation”, or “help my material goods situation.”

Is there a solution to this?

There probably is. But I’m a musician, and I’m not going to be a prophet. I’m just telling you that there’s got to be some way, maybe a number of smart people in a number of different fields could think about it, and come up with some suggestions, but most of the suggestions that you hear about are all filtered through a news system that’s controlled by the same people that want things to stay the way they are.

So the message of ‘Joe’s Garage’ is that sameness isn’t a virtue, it’s one of our biggest threats.

It is. People tend to forget it. Look, there’s always this little problem that happens in the back of your mind. You say to yourself. “I’m right, I’m a person, I know what I want, I know what I like, but, I’m a number to the rest of the world; with the exception of the two or three people who are my close friends, I’m nothing.”

And people don’t like that feeling.

That’s your perception. That’s not the real reason why things are done.

No motivation to shock at all?

Well, first of all, I’ve said in other interviews and especially in terms of the American public: if they could be shocked, we’d be in a lot better shape; because if they could be shocked, then they could be outraged, and if they were outraged, then they might be able to do something about the way their country is, and the way the other things are around the world. I think it’s almost impossible to shock an American. You can make them twitch, you know. You can give them a little electric cattle prodder, like in a biology class when they hook the electricity up to the dead frog leg, you can get a reaction like that, but they can’t really get shocked and incensed, because they always presume that the government will send them a check later, the whole welt are state mentality.

FRIENDS

Do you have many friends left in the music business?

I don’t think of things like friends, and in the music business nobody really has friends, you know, the same way as any other business. But it’s just the nature of business – it’s not a friendly kind of activity, it’s a business activity. It’s very ruthless and it’s very coldhearted, and it has nothing to do with friendship. And there’s nothing more disgusting than people pretending to be friends while they’re in business. It’s just horrible. It’s against the laws of nature, because you know it’s not sincere, so why should you have to put up with the added insult of this insincerity on top of the way the horribleness of the business is already?

Is that something you’ve realised over the years, or is that something you knew straight off?

I think that I learn more about it every year. It’s one of those kind of lessons that the more you stay in the business, the more disgusting it gets.

You’re getting weary of all the lawsuits, papers and courts?

No, as a matter of fact I’m looking forward to going to court with Warner Brothers and with my former manager and with his brother, the attorney.

They ripped you off?

I would say that would be a gross oversimplification; it was a lot more subtle than that. It was a lot more unpleasant than that.

FIENDS

One of the stranger people you’ve been involved with in the past is Wild Man Fischer; what’s the story with him, where did you find him?

The first time I met Wild Man Fischer was in a restaurant called Canters. He was sitting at a table, and he was introduced to me by a guy from a group called The Leaves. He says, “Have you ever heard of Wild Man Fischer?” and I said, “No,” and he said, “Come here, I’ll introduce you to him,” and he says, “Frank, this is Wild Man Fischer, blah, blah, blah,” and he told me that he sang, and he did all this stuff, and shortly thereafter I heard some of what he did, and I thought he was really good. This was right about the time we were making the Freak Out album in ‘64 or ‘65. So I tried to interest Tom Wilson, the guy that produced that first album, in Wild Man Fischer. I said, “Just listen to him, just listen to him, bring him up to the studio and just hear him once,” So he agreed and I brought Wild Man Fischer into the studio, and he proceeded to run around, and break a bunch of microphones, and knock over music stands, and go totally ape-shit in the studio. And Wilson looked at me like I was crazy, and said he didn’t want to have anything to do with Wild Man Fischer, but I still thought that Wild Man Fischer had some good material, and that there should be something done. So when I had my first label deal, I signed him to a contract and recorded that album. I worked for him three months. I was the producer on the project; I took care of him, he was getting a weekly salary, which he’d immediately go out and spend and lose, he was ultimately found sleeping in the street, his hair was all stuck together with garbage. I was on the road one time, and he came up to my house. My wife was there, this girl named Janet were there, and Wild Man Fischer is standing there outside the fence screaming and ranting that he wants to see me. And they saw him, and they saw that he was all dirty; his hair was all messed up, you know, like he’d been sleeping in the street. And they brought him in, and they gave him a shampoo, and they let him take a shower, and they cleaned him up. And you know what he did? He punched the babysitter, and knocked her down, broke some of the children’s toys, and Gail threw him out, and I said from that point this guy is not welcome in my house, because he can be violent. He attacked his brother with a hammer; his brother was walking across the campus at U.C.L.A. Larry had a ball-peen hammer hidden behind his back, he walks up to him, as soon as he gets this far away, he goes “bonk” and shatters his chest bone, and just keeps right on walking. Wild Man Fischer is interesting, but he’s not very much fun, and he is dangerous.

JOE’S GARAGE

Jumping to the immediate present, what’s the theme of your ‘Joe’s Garage’ series?

Well, it’s a pretty complicated story. It’s based on the idea that sometime in the future the government decides that in order to make things work more smoothly, that they’re going to have to have “enforceable sameness”. Now obviously, if everybody’s the same, as the ADL would like to have it be, if everybody’s the same, then there are going to be fewer problems in the world. Now, this is going to be difficult to legislate, because people aren’t the same, they’re all different, see, so some wise guy comes up with the idea of total criminalisation. If you commit a crime, then you’re a crook. But then again so’s the President, and so is the head of this religion over here, and so’s this guy over there, and so we’re all crooks, we’re all the same, and everything is simple. So, he comes up with this idea of total criminalisation. But there are some people who don’t want to be crooks, and they have to be tricked into it. So, that’s where the government comes up with this idea that the easiest thing to do, to get a whole new bunch of crooks, is to make music illegal. And if you like music, then you get to be a crook, and then everyone’s the same. So, the story of Joe’s Garage is being told by this guy who’s the Central Scrutiniser, who has this kind of robot- like voice which you hear talking about music, and how it can corrupt you. It’s like reverse psychology; you can tell them that this is dangerous, and a few people are going to do it and, bingo, crooks. So, the way the album is structured, the Scrutiniser introduces himself, and then announces that he is now going to deliver this story, and explains what can happen to you if you choose a career in music. And the story features a guy named Joe, who starts off in a garage, he has a garage band, he wants to play the guitar, and before you know it, he plays a couple of notes on the guitar and the neighbour complains because it’s too loud, and bingo, he’s in trouble with .the law already. He’s starting his downward slide, from the very first time that he hits a note, you know that the trouble is beginning. And the whole structure of the album traces this series of events that happen to Joe, until he finally sees the light, and takes a day job, at the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen, and now he’s a happy guy. In between he has a lot of stuff happen to him.

How do you get ideas like that, do they lust flash to you one night, or is it something you see in the movies...

No, an idea like that takes about three days.

It comes to you in spurts?

No, you see you get an overall picture and then you start seeing relationships between different units inside of the big structure, and then you develop it, and then you screw down the bolts that hold the structure together.

SEX

Much of your earlier stuff dealt with the subject of groupies, a lot more than now. Do you think the role of the groupie has dwindled in importance in the American music scene?

Absolutely not, as a matter of fact we have a groupie character in Joe’s Garage, Mary, who winds up being a crew slut, and sucks off the entire road crew, goes with the groups, she goes on the bus with them and does their laundry and they fuck her senseless and dump her in Miami, and she has to enter a wet t-shirt contest in order to get home.

Are there fewer groupies today than there have been in the past?

It’s not as glamorous or fashionable a profession as it used to be in the sixties.

Why is that? Women’s liberation?

No. It’s because in the early days of the sexual revolution in the United States, if you announced to the world that you were a groupie, you also announced that you were licensed to go out and strap on anything that moved. It gave you a reason to exist, and an explanation for your behavior, which otherwise certain people might have taken exception at. Now, everybody goes out and straps everybody else on, you know, you don’t need to say that you’re a groupie. You can just go out and do it, it’s not a necessary sort of vocation anymore.

So you say that it isn’t that groupies have disappeared, it’s just that everybody now acts like one?

Well, no, that’s not exactly true either, because a groupie is a specialised type of activity, it’s a person that goes after a person in a group; or a person who straps on the crew, who is normally called a “crew slut”. So there’s different qualifications; there’s girls who follow baseball players and follow football players, and they all have names, you know. One that people like to think of, you know, “the groupie”, as though that were this major sub-culture of millions of girls running around with their tongues hanging out. And you have girls with tongues hanging out for every profession. Doctors down to garbage truck drivers, there’s always somebody that wants to fuck them. And lucky for them.

What’s the most obscene thing you’ve ever seen or heard of being done to a groupie?

As an obscene thing? I don’t think in terms of obscenity.

That would shock people?

I don’t know what would shock most people because, let me make this very clear, a lot of people pretend to be shocked by things they actually go home and do in their spare time. I don’t trust people, because what they say and what they do and who they are, those things never quite seem to mesh together, you know.

Like the song, ‘The Mud Shark’...

The Mud Shark business, you know, the idea of using dead fish to provide erotic gratification for a girl who desires dead fish erotic gratification is not obscene, it’s an act of mercy. If the girl likes to have a shark stuffed up her, and the guy is providing this service, he’s a cool guy.

Is there a definition for obscene? Is there anything that you would say, well, this is obscene; anything within these parameters is obscene?

Well, I think that the matter of obscenity is a legal determination, and it’s very vaguely determined by the legal profession. But I’ll give you an example that’s been told to me, that one of the most disgusting things you can do in certain societies is show somebody the bottom of your feet. I think in Bali or places like that. But if you’re barefooted and somebody’s sitting across the room from you and you’re talking, and you sit in such a way that they are forced to view the bottom of your feet, you are a very disgusting person; you have committed something that is just totally reprehensible in that community. Whereas in Southern California you can see that it isn’t that way. So it’s a matter of community standards.

DRUGS

So it’s any society’s current thinking at any particular time, Now, on to the question of drugs; you’ve always been an advocate of non-drugs, yet your following is probably mostly composed of people who do indulge in drugs..,

Well, first of all you have to show me some statistics to prove this.

Well, I can only go by what I know from people I know, and the more into Frank Zappa music a person is, usually the higher their drug intake.

Well, I think this is a very unfair statement, and my knowledge of Australian consumers and what they stick into their bodies in order to alter themselves is limited, but my knowledge of what happens now in the States is probably not so limited, and I would say this, that drug use in the United States cuts across all stratas of society. There’s plenty of drug using doctors and lawyers and government officials, and just because my record happens to be on the turntable while they’re getting ripped doesn’t mean that in any way they’re getting influenced by me to indulge...

Well, I’m just wondering how you were able to relate so well to that certain drug-taking Zappa-enthusiast section of the community.

I don’t relate to them at all. I don’t hang out with them.

How come they relate so keenly to you?

That’s a mystery to me.

Have you ever tried to work that out?

No.

But it’s a large part of your following...

You’re wrong. Because you don’t read my mail. And I don’t think that it comes from dope fiends. I would say that we have a very respectable percentage of people who are not chemically altered, and who are actually intelligent; and not just flakes who bomb it on each other and need to be carried home. It’s not like that.

Well, what does your mail say; when people write to you, what do they say?

A lot of weird things, you know, but I wouldn’t analyse the mail as coming from a great preponderance of dope fiends, you know.

Were you once into drugs in the sixties?

No.

Never?

No.

Not smoking pot?

No.

What turned you off?

Well, I was never really that interested in it. First of all, at the time when it became totally fashionable, all you had to do was walk down the street and see how people were, and why anybody would want to be that way is amazing, you know, you don’t like to carry these people home; I don’t like to see them driving on the street, where they can do damage with a large piece of equipment.

You’re talking about a lot of drugs; I’m talking about just getting stoned on some grass.

I’m talking about anything that alters your perception to the point where you think you’re something other than what you really are, and you start behaving accordingly. And, in Los Angeles, during the height of the drug frenzy, we had people who thought they could fly. People who thought they could walk through walls, and all the rest of the stuff. People who were in communication with the larger portions of the cosmos, because the LSD had convinced them of this.

That’s LSD, that’s still not grass; the worst thing to do is put all drugs in the same category...

Well, if you want to be clinical about it, you can take each of the drugs, you can analyse what they do to your body, and you can analyse what they’ve done to the different parts of society that have used them, and depending on what your values are and how much you appreciate the performance of a person in the society who is not drug-altered, you’ll be doing these things in different ways. In other words, I think LSD was bad because it confused a lot of people and probably caused brain damage. I mean there are people that I knew then that I see now who used a lot of LSD who are just wasted; they can hardly tie their own shoes, you know, they’re gone.

There I agree with you...

Then, you have people who’ve smoked an awful lot of marijuana because it was really groovy, and it was just for relaxing. And their memories are fucked. They can’t remember things; one musician I know lost his sense of rhythm, you know, and they lose equilibrium. But they’re very groovy, and they’re very laid back and mellow and having a wonderful time, but something was taken out of them, you know, that should have been there in order to make them function better in the society. And the same thing with downers, you know, people just want to take a few downers so that they can feel good; well, they’ve taken a few downers; they’ve fallen down and injured themselves and done a bunch of other stupid things. And then there are people who just plain died from it.

What about alcohol?

Same thing. Look, I stay home. Unless I’m on the road I stay home. I’m not much for being gregarious, I don’t like chit-chat, I don’t like social intercourse. I don’t like to be put in a position where I have to deal with other people’s emotional freight, and these problems are boiled to the surface of their personality by chemical preparations.


Full version of this interview is published in Headley Gritter's book Rock 'N' Roll Asylum.

Another edit of this article was published in Music Pulse as "Madman Or Genius"

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