20 Questions with Dusty Watson (Part 1)

Professor Bunkum Reports In From His Time Machine:

Alright rivetheads (that's how old I am), I'm out here overlooking the 210 in Pasadena, avoiding work and wondering about the bass line to "The Trooper" and why Def Leppard's "High and Dry"wasn't their best seller. We have a treat today with a brief Q n A from Dusty Watson, the greatest drummer you should have heard of. Dusty has been around the LA music scene since Vince Neil was too young to fall in love--even in Alabama. And the man can play. Watching Dusty play drums will put you in a trance. Every 2 and 4 on the snare is like a metronome, even though the barage of fills in between would make you swear on your grandpa Dio's Bible that the guy just HAS TO go out of time on this one. I've seen him play punk, metal, surf, blues -- even dub-style reggae (no echo needed b/c he does his own), and he nails them all.

Dusty's perfect timing on the drums is matched only by his perfect bad timing on musical trends, but he's not complaining. Bands he has been (or almost been) involved with include: Panic (a little combo later known as Black Flag); Concrete Blonde (just before they got huge); Agent Orange; Lita Ford (just before getting famous -- see the video for "Out For Blood" below); CH3; The Queers; Supersuckers; Boo Yaa Tribe; Legs Diamond; Dick Dale; Slacktone; Jon and Nightriders; Becky Barksdale; Bloodhook; Sugartooth; the Surfaris; Rhino Bucket and a bunch of one offs. For our purposes, Dusty was here for the whole metal thing in the 80's and has some good stories. Unfortunately, he was in Legs Diamond, which meant he went Foreigner when he should have gone Sweet, but he was still a fly on the wall:

1. Did you really date Lita Ford? Is she crazy? A nymphomaniac? Did she marry the guy from WASP? Did Joan Jett ever take her down? How many heterosexuals were in the Runaways?

I never 'dated' Lita anymore than anyone else did. Lita and me hung out a lot doing drugs and drinking and playing music. And that lifestyle led us to all kinds of places which included fucking and sucking and puking and passing out. I was the one puking and passing out usually. Joan never came around when I was with Lita. Her and Lita had differences of opinion and that is what broke up the Runaways. The others came around a lot. I was pretty good friends with Sandy West. I liked Vikki Blue. Hey I really liked Lita too but I was too young and fucked up to know how to express it in any productive way.

2. Tell us about your infamous "confrontation" with Nikki Sixx regarding Lita Ford.

Me and Lita were hanging out at the bar in front of The Troubadour and Nikki was there. He was all pissy one night cuz I had left a note for him on Lita's car in the parking lot at the NAMM show. I don't remember what it said, something like 'Roses are red violets are blue no one sucks more than Motely Crue' or some stupid shit like that. Nikki got his little heart broken and wanted to get tough with me. I pushed him into the corner and told him to go back to the sandbox and fuck himself. He kept putting out his hand and I wouldn't shake it. I ended up punching him in the face I don't even know why, and he got pretty upset. Now that I think about it I was really an asshole and I don't think Nikki did or said anything to deserve that. Hmmm. Oh well.

3. Did Lita Ford write any songs on the first Motley Crue album?

I really don't know. I do know I liked their first record. The rest of them were pretty much shit tho. I do remember when Lita and Nikki were living together I was over doing blow sometimes and they were writing songs but Motely Crue's first record was already out by this time I am pretty sure.

4. Tell us about your audition for Ozzy.

I heard through some friends that Ozzy was hiring a new drummer and wanted the drummer from Lita Ford's first album. So I made some calls and talked to Sharon and her assistant several times we have good conversations and everything sounds good. I get a new kit from Ludwig and practice up on my double bass. I had switched back over to a single bass drum a while before this. I get to the audition and it's a fucking cattle call. Several guys pacing around outside. Dumb asses mostly. Jake Lee comes outside for a smoke in between drummers and we talk for a few minutes then I go in with him. Its none other than Bob Daisley on bass. Monster. Ozzy is sitting in the back but I dont talk with him. They had a house kit and I set it up for double bass (the previous guy had unhooked the slave pedal) and I did a once around to make sure everything was in place. Maybe I played a short blast that lasted 10 or 15 seconds. Ozzy stood up and muttered 'ahhh fuckin shit double bass fuckin gawd awful fuckin shit.....' and stumbled out the door. We looked at each other and played one of his songs I forget which one, then that was it, never to hear from them again. Turns out he DOES hire one of Lita's drummers but its Randy Castillo the guy who replaced me when I left in 84. And he plays a single kick, exactly what Ozzy was looking for at the time. Who knew?

5. Did you make a conscious decision to go AOR instead of glam in the 80's and do you regret that decision?

I really wasn't doing much of anything when I joined Legs Diamond in 84. I had left Lita, went on a long motorcycle ride (a couple of months around the country sleeping in a tent). I was kinda doing nothing. A friend of mine, Joel Brandes (who manages WAR and Sly Stone amongst others) called and asked if I would go check them out. They were local and so I did and we hit if off. I ended up staying with them for 10 years off and on, recorded a bunch of records and did some tours. They were good guys but yeah a little on the easy side but it was cool.

6. Who is the best rock drummer you know who went unheralded (aside from you)?

Rob Oswald from Nebula. Fuckin guy rocks.

7. Do you give a fuck about anyting connected to the phrase "Neil Peart"?

I saw Neil Peart open for Ted Nugent in '76 or '77. He was a blistering drummer but it kind of freaked me out that he played the same exact solo live as he did on the live record that was just released. That meant to me that he had worked every note out and played the same fucking solo every goddamn night. I didn't want to see him anymore after that. Turns out I was involved with Rush receiving a plaque for their contributions to vetarans of war about 20 years later and believe it or not the motherfucker did another copy of that same solo. Fuck that. But I have to admit he is quite a technician. I'm just not into that kind of thing.

8. How many years from the 80's can you actually remember?

HAAAAAAAAA! Well think of it like a really good dream. When you wake up the next morning there are all kinds of flashes and images and feelings attached to it, but you wouldn't bet your life on any of it.

9. Was Brian Forsythe from Rhino Bucket the secret weapon of Kix?

Brian is a fucking rock star. Greatest feel and sound of any rock guitarist around that dude makes you FEEL good when he plays. I wish I had more time to play with those guys if for no other reason than to just hear Brian wail.

10. I like the Dictators. Discuss.

RESPECT THE ROCK! Dictators kick ass. I couldnt believe it when that record came out when was that? 2002 I think I don't know, anyway I was really blown away that they could write those great songs. I mean, c'mon does anyone over 40 have a fucking worthy thing to say? I don't know. I'm over 40 and I know to keep my fucking mouth SHUT cuz if I try to come off like I know what's going on on the street or in your parent's house or what's happening in school well that's just a load of shit. I can hang with anyone and I actually relate to 20 somethings a helluva lot easier than my age group, but I just think Handsome Dick knows how to write a great rock song that is what I'm trying to say.