When looking for cool people with awesome tales to tell for badass interviews, Sean Pierce was at the forefront of my thinking. Toilet Boys are a great band, Theo & The Skyscrapers also. Marrying a Lunachick, setting venues on fire, starring in Troma movies - why wouldn't anyone want to quiz this guy?!
Pull on your flame proof suit and get ready to be entertained as Sean talks music, movies, art, pyro and pills........
What bands and guitarists made you decide to pick up a guitar for the first time?
I met the Ramones when I was twelve... that was lifechanging! They were playing in Ocean City, Maryland at a little rock bar and my Ma took me. We got there early and the Ramones were across the street at a Go Kart track - I've got a great picture of me and Johnny Ramone! It was such a trip to see lanky ass Joey Ramone sticking out of a Go Kart! They were so weird and really cool to me.... they tried but the club wouldn't let me in. My mom felt bad and bought a ticket for herself and I hung out at the backstage door with the fucking RAMONES ALL NIGHT!!!! Joey gave me a couple beers!!! It was fucking lifechanging. The next week I bought a guitar! So them!!! And Greg Ginn from Black Flag was a big inspiration as well!
There appears to be a lot of false information about the forming of Toilet Boys, with the band being thrown together to support Debbie Harry seeming to be close to the truth...
I wasn't in the band then but I know they got together to open for Debbie Harry - it was really the club Squeezebox that provided the environment to let it all happen. You can see some of this history in the Squeezebox documentary which I actually got to co-direct.
What was it like being amongst a clutch of bands trying to inject some life back into a grunge-addled music scene?
At the time when we were really pushing Nu-metal rap rock bands were all the craze; Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, etc.... it seemed so fucking lame to us, but truthfully we were kind of in our own little NYC East Village gutter. I was more concerned with throwing parties, getting laid, blowing shit up, and playing the kind of music that we loved, than worrying about what was popular... there were other kindred bands at the time and we really embraced them!
Tell us about the infamous London UK date with Nashville Pussy where you set fire to the LA2 venue!
That was fucking amazing! The club made us show them our pyro during the day - they said "when you do the spark shooters - aim them straight up".... so we did! It was our fourth song of the set and I'll never forget firing off my spark rocket straight up and the balloon netting that was hanging on the light rig caught on fire! We kept playing the song and I could see the flame slowly spreading across the whole light rig! I thought it would go out, but NOOOOOOO - that shit just kept burning!
We have it on video - it's amazing no one got hurt 'cause pieces of the netting were falling. I remember Guy screaming "We gotta take a little Rock n Roll break right now and put the FIRE OUT!!!!" They evacuated the place, three firetrucks came and I thought we were getting arrested or deported for like an hour!!! We went outside and all these people were cheering and freaking out! The place had been packed! We got pictures in front of the firetrucks - so much fucking press! I was signing autographs by lighting the paper on fire while I signed it! It was pretty fucking awsome!!!! And thankfully nobody got hurt! Ohhhhh, and they let everybody back in and Nashville Pussy got to play! Funny thing, the only other time we played with them was in NY and they had to evacuate the club there as well 'cause of the pyro setting off fire alarms!
The self-titled, full length Toilet Boys album was released on September 11th 2001 - where were you when the events of that day happened?
Asleep in my apartment. Theo woke me up crying and turned on the tv to see the second building fall - we could see it from our roof! We were supposed to leave for an awsome tour two days later to support the record. Our storage spot was very close to ground zero and we couldn't even get to our equipment at first...
It was supposed to be this big day for us - the release of our first full length and then - BAMMMMM! The crazy thing is seeing some of the ads we had run, with the release date and all kinds of fire and such! Toooo weird!!!
I remember getting a mailout from Toilet Boys HQ in the early hours of September 12th telling all concerned that you guys were ok but friend of the band Johnny Heff, a firefighter who played guitar with The Bullys, was missing......
Fucking awful! He was a great friend! Such a bad ass dude! He was meeting us at The Shakedown in Las Vegas and doing some of the West Coast dates of the tour....
The last thing I said to him was "See ya in Vegas!" I think about him a lot - I miss JOHNNY BULLY! And if you've never heard The Bullys you should look em up! They are the real deal!
You bagged a support slot with Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2003, playing arenas - how were these dates?
Fucking amazing!!!!! We were lucky enough to do the 'hot blooded' countries of that tour - the fans I'm sure had no idea who we were but went fucking crazy!!!!! There is nothing like getting 10,000 people to clap in unison - I got to do that every gig during 'Saturday Night' - you can see it on Youtube.
They were so cool - Chad (Smith - RHCP drummer) played 'Deuce' with us each night and there are some amazing afterparty stories from that tour - saving them for the movie! Another highlight was before the Peppers went on one night - I was at the sound booth in the middle of the stadium and all the lights were on - I actually orchestrated a wave by pointing to one end of the stadium and repeatedly making a wave with my hands. It was awesome!!! I got the whole stadium to do a giant wave like four times!
Tell us how using the same pyro as Great White had a major influence on the Toilet Boys splitting up....
We were on the Chili Pepper tour in Europe all sitting in a hotel when it (the Station Nightclub fire) came on CNN. President Bush had made a statement about it! We knew we were fucked!!!! When we got home a friend of ours at a NYC club said that some Federal Agents had stopped by asking about us!!!! We knew that our show could never be the same at the level we were operating at. It was a VERY hard time personally for us as well because the Chili Peppers tour was very stressful from a practical point of view...the Great White fire was the straw that broke the camel's back.
You were, of course, one of the first rock 'n' roll reality stars with your appearance on Taxicab Confessions! What do you remember about that night and how did everyone react to your confessions?
Hhhhhaaaaaa!!! The GOD's HONEST TRUTH - me and the driver set that up!!!!! His name is Todd Phillips - he directed two music videos for my old band Black Light Rainbow (I have to put those vids online!)... he did the GG Allin movie 'Hated' and then went on to do 'Roadtrip', 'Old School', 'Starsky And Hutch' and recently 'The Hangover'! When he got the gig driving the cab he called me and we started laughing "LET'S SET ONE UP!!!" My girlfriend and I waited on the corner of 10st and 1st ave for like half an hour and finally he showed up....we did everything we knew would get on the air!!! We were in the cab for like an hour - we had sex in the cab!!! It was crazy!!! - I hated the way they edited it though! That was the reason I had to move outta Delaware and move to NY - people were stopping me everywhere I went!
How did you get the acting gig in Troma's hilariously outrageous 'Terror Firmer' movie?
I don't know - it seemed like everybody I knew was doing that movie! It was an awsome experience!!! I spent most of the days sleeping in the corner of the set though - I was throwing parties at night so it was truly trippy and surreal.
Although you got a severe knifing from the hermaphrodite murderer in the flick, were you upset that you didn't get to be slaughtered in typical Troma gore-drenched fashion?
I loved my 'death' scene - except the yellow jackets that swarmed around the fake blood for the rest of the day! That shit is stickkkkky!
Although you didn't share any scenes, you have to be pleased that you are credited in a movie alongside the legendary Lemmy and Ron Jeremy?
Funny story - Troma called me at two in the morning the night before Lemmy was supposed to shoot. They said "Can you get a chick to hang out with Lemmy all day and can you get an 8ball of coke for him???" I was like "It's two in the morning and we have to be on set at 11am - I'm connected but that is cutting it too close!!!" So the next day Lemmy is on the set and I see him screaming at one of the production guys - the guy points at ME!!!!! Lemmy comes storming over "Are you the bloke that has my blow" he says!!! I just looked at him confused... and he freaked the fuck out and walked off the set!!!!! They had to shoot him later at a different location. I've met Lemmy a bunch of times and there is always some crazy story attached to it!
Also in 'Terror Firmer' was former Lunachick singer Theo Kogan who ended up being Mrs Sean Pierce - were you guys already an item at that point?
We had banged around a little here and there... but that movie actually sealed the deal for us! That was a VERY horny set and atmosphere!!!!!! Seriously!! In the midst of all the horniness we just clicked for good!
When you formed Theo & The Skyscrapers what sound were you looking for?
Weren't really looking for a sound - it just kinda happened!
How did the Toilet Boys and Lunachicks fans react to the TATS sound?
Not so sure....I honestly don't care so much! TATS happens because it is what we do...in one form or another! We originally made an album called THEO that was all on a 4 track tape machine in the apartment. Making music is part of our lives so it just kinda happens around here in one form or another!
What can you tell us about the 'Squeezebox! Movie', dedicated to the infamous club of the same name?
I co-directed, edited, and scored it... it's been an awsome run - from Tribecca film fest to, it seems like, every film fest in the world! Hopefully the producers can get the biz stuff figured out so it can get the proper distro. Should all be happening soon - but check out the website for updates - squeezeboxthemovie.com - it will hopefully be coming out for the public sooner than later!
How did the Toilet Boys reunion, and 'Sex Music' album, come about?
Dead City Records offered us a deal to put 'ANYTHING' out... most of those songs were written just before we stopped playing. We were doing most of them on the Chili Peppers tour - they were demoed, etc, but the demos were kinda shitty. Since I have a home studio we just figured why not re-record 'em, and then we busted out a new riff and song called 'Drug Of Choice' - that I like a lot! I think Dead City went outta biz or something - but i'm just glad that those songs actually got recorded and released.
How important is your art to you right now, in comparison with the music?
It's all important to me - I'm very involved in making movies/videos right now! It all works hand in hand!
What one song would you pick to represent the Toilet Boys legacy?
Probably 'Another Day In The Life' - it's simple, no nonsense, and lyrically personifies what we were all about. I remember countless times of walking into clubs around the world and hearing it come on the PA system and watching people dance their asses off to it.Plus it's probably made us the most $ - which is also what we were all about!
Finally, the ÜBER RÖCK 'N' ROLL Test - a trashy series of questions that'll show just how cool you are!
Johnny Thunders or Johnny Ramone?
I would want to BE the perfect mix of both.
Toxic Avenger or Sgt Kabukiman NYPD?
Toxic Avenger, cause he stayed at my place and did naked yoga in my kitchen while we were filming 'Terror Firmer' - at least the guy playing him did!
Ace Frehley or Tommy Thayer?
ACE - I almost got the gig in his new band!!!!! Ended up designing his t-shirt!
Law And Order or Taxicab Confessions?
Law And Order paid better!!! But I was on acid and had sex when we filmed Taxicab Confessions!!!
Clash or Pistols?
Pistols - Steve Jones almost produced our record and I got to talk to him some around that time...he was a TRIP!
Kane Roberts' machine gun guitar or Blackie Lawless' exploding codpiece?
Blackie Lawless - I got to see him and Lemmy square off before a gig at Irving Plaza! Motorhead left the tour the next day!!
Porno or Pyro?
Porno! I've had MORE than my share of pyro!
John Waters or Russ Meyer?
John Waters - got to go to a Xmas party at his house in Baltimore. HE FUCKING RULES!!
Dee Dee Ramone or Gene Simmons?
DEE DEEEEEEE!!! I cherish the times I've got to hang with him - he is THE BEST CHARACTER I'VE EVER MET! And very sweet to me. He would have me over to his apartment in LA and share his "STUFF" with me! Gene was a dick the few times I've met him!
Paul Stanley's artwork or a 10 year old kid's school art project?
Paul Stanley was a dick too!
SEAN PIERCE scores 666% on the test and is forever a friend of ÜBER RÖCK!!!!!