The City of Devils, in Conversation with...Mr. Tesco Vee (Part 2: Hallowed Be Thy Pillar of Sodom)

FLASH RECAP - THE MEATMEN will be in the Southland as follows:

City of Devils on 4/14 – literary happening @ Vacation Vinyl, 7 PM; music @ The Airliner, later 

Long Beach on 4/15 - literary happening/record release/Pepino’s pizza party@ TKO Records, 6 PM; music @ Alex’s Bar, later

The Meatboys are on tour, heading our way, so I asked Mr. Vee for the play-by-play so far on the “Happy Fuckin Easter Asshole” Tour.  His Honor responded thusly:

Knocked ‘em dead in Denver, the Hells Angels yuckin it up.  Defied death on icy Wyoming pass.  Sick as a dog.  Bong hit, hack lung already.  But I will prevail.  The Dutch Hercules.  Putting to shame all pussy ass shit masquerading as punk rock.  They all swim in my wake!!  Come all ye weenbags and witness Hellfire Hades fury - double shot of old school in a very dirty glass.  First 50 paid every show – Free blow up Hank Rollins doll.

There you have it.  Lemmy’s 63 on a tour bus, but Tesco can get an AARP discount at Little America, and he’s Ford Econolining it cross country in April.  I almost fuckin died in the snow driving in Wyoming in June. I coulda told him April was suicide, but who am I to school the Man?

Now, back to our interview (Part 1 is here). . . .

I remember seeing you with Tesco Vee’s Hate Police at the Gilman Street in Berkeley.  You took the stage with your cover of  REM’s “Losing My Religion”… a ton of energy…

We opened with that?

That’s what I remember.  Why did you do the Hate Police?

You mean this time, or when we started?

No, when you started

I just did it for… I don’t know… what the fuck?  I wanted to do a band but didn’t want to call it the Meatmen.  Didn’t wanna beat that horse, you know? Some people like that Hate Police record better than any Meatmen record.

I like it.  To me it sounds like a lot of short songs, like you had a bunch of ideas and you wanted to get them out, and not have to write big songs for each one.

I like it too.  In retrospect, you know, Steve Albini was going to fly out to produce it for the price of a plane ticket.  I wish I had done that because the vocal levels are all over the place.  I still have the tapes; it would be good to re-mix it, but who wants to spend money on that?  Once you say that’s a wrap, it’s over.

What about the Hate Police this summer?

Well, that is the same band I have now.  We just wanted a dividing line between the old and the new Meatmen lineup.  We did it up.  The jump suits the whole thing.  We would have made more money as the Meatmen, but I’ve never been a great businessman.  Like the label.  I should have kept 5% of Touch & Go, but I told Corey Rusk, “if you want to run it, it’s yours.”  They treated me nice, sent me royalties, I can’t complain but I’m not a businessman.

You should throw “Pepino – Fuckin the Dough” back in the set.   [A tale of a Latino pizza maker who dumps his demon seed in the pizza dough.]  A lot of people love that song.  I remember when I saw the Hate Police, with my friends, and for days we would say “whaddya know?  He’s fuckin the dough.”  It sort of rolls of the tongue nicely, fits any occasion.

Ya, well that’s a true story.  I think the guy was Hispanic.  But I made up the name Pepino because it’s funny.  A friend worked at a pizza place, and one time they caught this guy -- he was fuckin’ the dough.  “Flour dust flying as he delivered the goods.”  I guess he didn’t want to get in trouble for you know, throwing away pizza dough, so he was fuckin’ the dough.  I guess he liked to watch people eatin’ his tadpoles! 

I like the list of people eating the pizza.  It was class warfare.  “The college pukes…the lesbian coalition…the Farrakhan pricks…”

[laughs]  Well I don’t have anything against anyone.  It’s just funny.  Ya, when I was in “The District” you would see those Farrakhan guys walking around with their bow ties.  I would be thinking, “What’s up with you guys? Hatin’ on whitey like that.”  But whatever.

You also made fun of Wax Trax on that record.  I mean, how many discs did they put out?  In their heyday, it was like a dozen 12 inchers [uncut? – ed.] a week of homosexual performance dance music! 

Ya, all that Revolting Cocks, the Meat Beat Manifesto.

That would be a good record title for you.

Somebody put on Wikipedia our new record will be called “Redneck Dinner Party.”  How stupid is that?  I hope to be more clever than that.  I don’t know who did it.  It was probably you!  

No, I don’t have time for that.  My clients have problems with the Internet though.  Things get said and last forever.   Usually the only person who cares is the person it’s about, so I wouldn’t worry about it.  But the Meatmen picked up on the redneck thing.  If there’s one thing this country has plenty of, it’s idiot white people!

Ya, there’s no shortage of that.  20 minutes outside of DC, it’s jacked up trucks, Confederate flags.  Go out of any metropolitan area and you are in WT land.

You’ll be driving those wastelands soon…

It’s gonna be really busy.  My voice will be toast.  I can’t go ape.  If I don’t hear myself in the monitors I oversing and trash my voice.  It’s bad after four or five shows then I break through.

I need a t shirt that says “don’t fuckin’ talk to me when the other bands are playing.”  I hate it when I’m standing by the merch booth, watching the band and someone comes up to talk to me.  It’s super loud, they are yelling in my ear.  I have to blow out my voice yelling back or give them the “talk to me later dude” look.  I appreciate my fans, but talk to me after the show, don’t yell in my ear about something that happened in New York in 1985 that I don’t remember.  Or people say “when are you coming back,” it’s like “I’m in your shitty town NOW.” 

Speaking of annoying stories about old shows, I was at one of your notorious shows at the Local 187 in Boston when a big fight broke out.

You were THERE?

Ya, it was weird. I was in school when the Meatmen were playing regularly and came through.  That night I had ear plugs in. You know how that kinda puts you in your own world?  All of a sudden, there was a fight, and then guys on the stage.  Then the band left, and stuff was flying over the bar.  I was just kinda watching this unfold, and I thought “Wow, this isn’t just a movie, I’d better get out of here” and I called my wife and she picked me up.  It was a weird night.

Ya, that was the last music show they had there.  It was like one of those Westerns where people throw chairs over the bar, and liquor bottles are breaking.  There were people in piles fighting and guys jumping off the bar onto the piles.  Like they didn’t even know which side to fight for.  Just fighting. Al Barile from SS Decontrol was there.  He used to always come see us.  He still feels bad that he had to get his wife out of there and didn’t stick around to help us out.  He’s a great guy.  I sure didn’t expect him to put himself in harm’s way for us!  That shit happens in punk rock. 

I remember it got crazy in this room, and then I left, and it was just another night.  I was just another tourist student in Boston … I got the sense of a long-term underground music scene there, but it went deeper and older than I could get into, but I respected it.

There’s always that barrier between band and audience.  Sometimes it breaks down.  The worst example of course was Dime Bag Darrell getting shot on stage.  Actually surprising it hasn’t happened more.

One thing about punk was to break that down. 

Ya, but I don’t like people up on stage too long.

The early Meatmen had a funny crowd.   I remember in college a guy from Boston who would always blast out his window the gay “sex rap” in the beginning of “Tooling for Anus.” It was like if you were macho but were obsessed with gay stuff, you could blast the Meatmen!

Ya I don’t know...  We were huge in Boston though.  I remember when Boston Rock had the top records of the year, and it was something arty like  Mission of Burma, an REM record . . . . and the Blood Sausage EP by the Meatmen!  We were huge in Boston!  I never understood  it.  Like how J. Geils is big in Detroit!  The Meatmen could pack 800 – 900 people in the Channel back in the day….

[The interview then degrades into boring end of conversation shit with thank yous all around.  The moral of the story is: See you at Vacation Vinyl / Airliner / TKO / Alex’s.  The Southland will be a different place next week.  Greil Marcus could write a book about it, but he’s not smart enough.]

 * * *

FYI, here’s a pre-interview email bonus question. I asked Tesco what the song “Pain Principal” on War of the Superbikes is about. It was a serious and seriously scary tune, a la:  “Daughter smacked out, checked out / He made sure of it -- never found the kids / Mom tied up and week ripe, cell side, dead bride / Profound ugliness surrounds his persona. . .”

That’s effective imagery -- Back to the medical dictionary death metallers!

Anyway, Tesco’s answer:

True story about my high school principal JC Smith in King Of Prussia PA..Joseph Wambaugh wrote a book about him called ‘Echoes In The Darkness’.  He killed at least 5 people including a teacher, her 2 kids, his own daughter and her husband.