|From The Interview Archive : Piggy D|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Sunday, 11 May 2014 04:00|
There is a wealth of quality rock 'n' roll chatter in the secret pasts of the Über Röck Massive. After rebirthing quality chats with Jo "Dog" Almeida from The Dogs D'Amour and Share Ross of Vixen previously, we thought it was high time to break another vintage interview out of the archive and offer you good people the chance to read it, maybe for the first time.
With the release of Rob Zombie's highly-anticipated first concert DVD/Blu-ray, 'The Zombie Horror Picture Show', on the horizon, we thought we'd dig up an interview that I did for the Glitzine website way back in May 2009 - yes, five whole years ago! - with his bassist Piggy D.
What follows is the interview in its original form, unedited in any way, intro included. This was before Zombie released his 'Halloween' sequel, and before the release of 'Hellbilly Deluxe 2'. Read it, enjoy. See if every thing came true...or happened as it was supposed to. You might even learn a thing or two.....
Piggy D's journey from Houston spoilers The She Demons to Rob Zombie's spookshow international has been littered with band feuds, infamous gigs and a shitload of cool music. Throw in video directing, record producing, art direction, a clothing line, a great solo record and a hurricane and you'll see that we had more than a little meaty material to wax lyrical about.....
That band was quite the experience to say the least. I mean, we kinda knew what we were doing, and yet had no idea at times. I enjoyed the writing and performing. I could really be very obnoxious if I wanted to be! We lasted five years in Houston, which seems to be a feat all to itself, but I was ready to let it go in the end. We made some interesting music and did some pretty groundbreaking things. I just pulled out some of it recently and found it hard to listen to. I guess my song writing/producer hat fits better these days! Well, at least I'd like to think so. Haha!
The Amen band member merry-go-round was new to us UK fans - although hindsight reveals this to be a very different matter - around the time of the entire line-up that toured the debut album being replaced by Casey Chaos. How did you get the gig in Amen?
I was a big fan of that band for years before I joined. I had collected everything I could get my hands on that they put out. I also had two Amen tattoos! I was on tour as a roadie for a summer for the band PRONG. Casey and Rich came out to a gig and I introduced myself. I told them that I would love to help them out if they ever needed anyone. I got home from the tour and got a phone call to move to LA and join the band. And that was that!
You must have experienced some personal highlights during your stint in Amen - there were certainly some awesome and notorious incidents and shows....
Haha! Yes, there were. I always say it was what I imagine being in Guns N' Roses would be like. That is, without the fame, money or chicks. Haha! It was also kinda like being in the boy scouts - if you dropped them off in the middle of the woods with a survival knife. Myself, Rich, Scott, and Luke all really got very close and relied on each other for support. We all lived together, everybody, so that made for a fraternity style home life.
Do you look back on your time with Amen with any kind of bitterness after the way it all ended, or do you view it as a cool stepping stone in your career?
Well, contrary to what's been written about me in the past, I'm actually very grateful for the experience. I got to play some great music, and break lots of guitars! Haha! I also learned 101 things not to do in a band. I also got sober during that time. That alone is the gift that keeps on giving.
Do you keep in contact with any of your former Amen bandmates? Scott Sorry has rejuvinated The Wildhearts since he took over bass duties and The Loyalties, featuring Rich Jones, released a great debut album last year...
Yes I do, Rich, Scott and Luke (Johnson - drums) talk all the time. I also played with Joey Letz (drums - now of Combichrist) for a hot minute. We all came out friends. It's kinda like having old war buddies.
Former Murderdolls guitarist Acey Slade played a number of shows with Amen following the departure of Rich Jones - was it through his connections that you got offered the chance to join Wednesday 13's band?
No, not really. Amen and the Murderdolls played a show together at Donington. I met W13 then. He called me right after I left Amen, the timing was perfect and it got me back on the road.
How was that time spent touring with Wednesday 13? It seemed like the perfect match for you....
I wouldn't call it a perfect match by any means. It was fun to do and kept me working - that's about it.
I saw you tour the UK with Wednesday 13 with UK upstarts Towers Of London as support, although that didn't last very long as they got thrown off the tour - what chain of events lead to that situation?
I don't really remember actually. I think somebody was a jackass to somebody...blah blah...who cares. Are they even still around? Like David Lee Roth said.."Here today, gone later today."
What was the deal with Wednesday 13 deciding that he needed a completely different band around him? Any scandal involved or just a case of....umm....dusting off the cobwebs?!
He wanted a party band, I think - I don't really know. I was in Zombie's band two weeks later anyway. Everybody won in that divorce!
You were living in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. I can't even begin to imagine the kinda shit that was going down at that time. What are your memories of that horrible experience?
I got out just in time. I watched my new neighbors fight for their lives on television. I felt like I should be doing something to help out, but at the time all I could do was sit and wait. It was such a horrible feeling watching people die and not get the help they needed.
In hindsight, what are your views on the way the US government acted in the wake of Hurricane Katrina?
That's a big can of worms. Put it this way, I got handed a tiny FEMA check only to have it stolen from me, then have the government say I didn't deserve it in the first place. Thank you George Bush! The people of New Orleans deserve a massive apology. Thank god for all the volunteers that went down there to help and rebuild.
Your diaries from that time became songs on your solo record 'The Evacuation Plan'. The album showcased a more melodic side to your music.........
That was me locked away after the hurricane and a bad relationship with a 4-track, writing for about five months. I finally had an opportunity to say everything I wanted to say. As honest as it was, I think I was too nice in some places. The next one won't be so safe! Part of me is still very pissed. In the most creative and constructive way, of course.
What were the circumstances behind your recruitment into Rob Zombie's band?
I knew Blasko (former RZ bassist) for a while, and had met RZ several times through him and some friends over at Halloweentown where I used to work. We stayed in touch, and Blasko decided to move on with Ozzy. RZ called me, and in three minutes I was in the band. My only requirement was that I liked Family Guy.
And what a debut performance! Performing 'American Witch' on Late Night With Letterman!
Yeah, talk about trial by fire! I'll never forget Paul Schaffer watching us like we were going to destroy the place. It was awesome to bring out the fire and robots on my first gig.
The switch from guitar to bass couldn't be as easy as it seems though?
It wasn't easy at all. I had to find my instrument that I felt comfortable with. That was a Fender P bass. Once I had that I was good.
How do you find working and touring with Rob Zombie? Every day must be a blast?!
It's really the most rewarding experience I've ever had. Everybody gets along great, and we do have a blast. I hope it never ends.
And there was a Grammy nomination too, with 'Lords Of Salem' from the live album being nominated in the Best Hard Rock Performance category!
That was just insane. I was so shocked, as was everybody. "Salem" is like our theme song too. I was psyched that was the track that got picked. Such an honor.
The cover photo for that live album - 'Zombie Live' - being the work of Gabrielle Geiselman, Mrs D to the uninitiated!
Correction - the former Mrs. D. She took some great shots. They really helped capture the feeling of that night.
Gabrielle photographed iconic horror host Vampira - real name Maila Nurmi - who sadly passed away early last year. You both created the 'Maila Nurmi Memorial Fund' in the hope of seeing TV's original "glamour ghoul" interred at the Hollywood Forever Cemetary. This, happily, came to be. What effect did meeting Maila have on you?
I met Maila several years ago and kinda became a part time care-taker along with my pal Dana. We actually grew quite close and when she passed the world lost an amazing person - and a true icon. She is sorely missed.
You gave Maila her final onscreen appearance in a video that you directed for Zombie guitarist John 5, 'The Devil Knows My Name'.....
Who would have thought that would be the last. I was so blessed to have the opportunity to do that. She was absolutely amazing in it, and such a pro. She studied her lines all day. I miss her a lot. Maila was the closet thing I had to a grandmother in recent years.
The April 2008 issue of essential Canadian horror magazine Rue Morgue must have been a proud moment for you - a Vampira cover and huge feature, editor-in-chief Jovanka Vuckovic dedicating her editorial to Maila Nurmi's memorial service, 'The Evacuation Plan' getting a cool review and actor Bill Moseley writing a piece on the Hollywood Forever Cemetary in the magazine's regular "Travelogue Of Terror" section.
That was a special issue for us. I was very grateful our friends over there did that. The review was just icing on the cake.
After kicking every object in the room when a 'Halloween' (one of my all time favourite movies) remake was announced, I calmed down when Rob Zombie was named as director as I felt that a full-on horror fan would do a better job than the music video directors who usually get these remake jobs! The resulting movie split the horror community - it did good business but upset the purists. I, personally, have grown to like it a helluva lot more than on first viewing. Being a horror fan yourself, how did you find Rob's version?
I actually have a hard time watching the original now, and RZ calls me the Halloween nerd of the band. His version gave fans everything they ever wanted and more. I can't wait for the next one!
You did art direction and design on Alice Cooper's latest album 'Along Came A Spider', while Gabrielle did the photography - how did this collaboration take shape?
Alice is an old friend. I'm also a huge fan, and have been since I was a kid. I jumped at the chance to re-interpret him a bit. There are lots of things I wanted to see him do photo wise, as well as in the videos we did. I got my wish!
Alice's daughter Calico Cooper contributed backing vocals to 'The Evacuation Plan' and also filmed a (later deleted) scene in the Halloween remake - you guys certainly like to work within the same circle of friends, right?!
It's actually a very small town in Los Angeles. Everybody knows everybody.
You recently remixed some material for former bandmate Acey Slade.....
Acey is one of my best friends, I'd do anything to help him out - plus, it was a lot of fun. I heard some things differently than he did, and that always produces an interesting outcome.
What is the current status of your solo material? Are we gonna see a new Piggy D album in the near future?
There is another album in the works, and a full band that is gearing up to play some shows as well. I've now adopted the idea that releasing a few songs at a time is the best method for me. It seems albums are no longer collectable for people, they only want "that one song"....so I'll give them "that one song"....one song at a time. hahaha! There is also nothing more disheartening than pouring tons of emotions, heart and money into a piece of plastic, or a wave file that some prick thinks is theirs to steal and pass around to their friends like a slut. I'd rather not give those assholes any more reason to steal music than they already have. I also seem to have stumped all the fans out there of my previous bands. This music is actually what I sound like by myself. Love it, or leave it.
Finally, a new Rob Zombie album was completed late last year but has been put on hold while he finishes the Halloween sequel 'H2' - how was the recording and how excited are you about the finished article?
The new album rules!!! It sounds as close to a band as he has ever sounded, I think. There are some fantastic songs on there. I can't wait to see it come out!
[Piggy D interviewed by Gaz E. May 2009]