THEN he formed the punk rock band Vom with Meltzer and music reviewer "Metal" Mike Saunders (so-called because he claims to have invented the term "heavy metal"), recording such disgusting hits as "I'm In Love With Your Mom" and "Electrocute Your Cock." You can hear these classics and others on a recently released Richard Meltzer, Robert Pollard, Smegma, Antler & Vom CD called The Completed Soundtrack For The Tropic Of Nipples.
THEN he helped transform Vom into the legendary L.A. punk band Angry Samoans, whose tiny LP Back From Samoa is one of the greatest hardcore albums ever recorded - a FACT that can be verified at www.markprindle.com. It's got "Gas Chamber," "They Saved Hitler's Cock," "Lights Out," "My Old Man's A Fatso" - it can't be beaten!
In 1991, when Gregg decided that he'd had his fill of the Samoans, he decided to become a math professor! He continues to profess math to this day, as well as record new CDs every once in a while, most recently with his garage-rock band The Blood-Drained Cows.
He was kind enough to let me, Mark Prindle, send him a bunch of questions via email, and his answers are great!!!! Read these!!!! He's really funny and abrasive in all the right places. My questions are in bold print, his answers are in plain text.
What music did you grow up listening to? '60s garage rock? Or was that a later discovery?
I will be truthful. As a 12 year old in the Summer of Love I hadn't made it past Simon 'n' Garfunkel. When i started developing an obsessive-compulsive record collecting habit in the early 70's (there were no 12 step programs for such a thing back then, and Zoloft not yet available) I was forced to consider the 13th Floor Elevators, Mouse and the Traps, The Sonics, Chocolate Watchband, VU, etc ... Fortunately all of the above and many such others were obscure and valuable, otherwise I might not have cared.
How and when did you first become a music critic? What was your review style like?
I first started writing for an out of control fanzine from the LA South Bay called Back Door Man (this is ironically referenced in Brendan Mullen's abysmal piece of shit We Got The Neutron Bomb which pretends to document the LA punk scene - and instead pays homage to all of his cronies and sycophant alcoholic trendmongers who spent time with him in alcoholic stupors in the johns at the Masque . and you can quote me on this!!).
Then I graduated to Creem magazine. I think the first alb review I wrote was a trashing of Ig's Lust For Life (I might've been a bit too harsh!). I reviewed a Ted Nugent album by way of a "Dear Ted" letter and suggested he learn his licks on a Gibson Melody Maker cos those were easy training guitars to figure things out on (shorter necks!). I'm told he asked the editors for my address in LA and threatened to hunt me down like a renegade elk. The guy was as classless and talentless musically back then as he remains today (as well as being relatively equivalent in the asshole sweepstakes as a general human being, but that goes without saying). I reviewed a Black Sabbath alb (post Oz) disguised as a Batman and Robin dialogue (the Riddler stole the hooks)......
Anyway, I always tried to affect something different or at least ridiculous. Despite the fact that back then (70's, 80's) RnR as a cultural medium was dead serious (at least in the ramifications of how it affected people, or how seriously people affect IT), most of the journalism was equally as grim or grim in its seriousness about the music. That nauseated me. Things like Trouser Press and Rolling Stone were the Ipecac syrup of the written representation of the music. I fell more in line with the Meltzer school of thought (tho not pretending to have been anywhere as funny or on the mark as Meltzer) --- which is to say that RnR scripting had an obligation to be just as irreverent and passionate and adolescent as what it was chronicling.
Were you at Creem when Lester Bangs was there, or no? Were he and Meltzer as insane as history makes them out to be, or has the whole thing been blown out of proportion?
Lester was ahead of me. I'd x'd paths with him a couple times, but never worked with him. Can't comment on Lester's insanity per se - my feeling is that he really wasn't that unsane. I mean, he was very wrapped up in what he wanted to say and who he wanted to say it about - you just can't keep swigging that quantity of Romilar and not expect it to catch up to you.
Meltzer WAS insane. But no, he really WASN'T insane, in the sense that his perspective was generally the right one most of the time. He did some crazy shit (notorious at press and rec'd co. band parties etc). He'd find dead squirrels and preserve them in layered colors of jello in big jars, stored in the fridge. He had a bitchen pubic hair collection (Jim Morrison's dog and Patti Smith included) and an even more bitchen poster of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest that he adorned with a string of used tampons along the bottom. But these were just artistic gestures - I think he was a fan of DuChamp.
Do you still do any music writing? I personally am pretty disappointed with my Angry Samoans reviews - you didn't happen to get a chance to read any of my others, did you? :7(
There really isn't anything (musically) to write about. It's all over. I see that Creem has just gone online (www.creemmagazine.com) but there was a reason for a Creem to exist to begin with (way back when). I think RnR has now finally gone the way of the dinosaurs -- you'll have Elton John in senior homes within the decade. I think that being involved with RnR now has to be considered (in its most positive perspective) as, uhm, a vice. And as I say this, at the same time, I plead guilty to involvement in various projects of the garage-rockoid ilk now and over the last ten years (Blood Drained Cows, etc. ). Old (shameless) habits die hard.
As far as writing, I've been compiling an anthology of stories, tentatively entitled: "The Tapeworm Story and Other Gastrointestinal Nightmares" and also I'm working on a play or screenplay (whichever it evolves to) called: "Necromaniacs From Hell" (originally titled: "Hell's Whores"). Not sure when this all will be completed.
Why you disappointed with your Sam's reviews?
Did you see Almost Famous? Any truth to it?
Other than Cameron Crowe's self-aggrandizement and megalomania, I suppose it was a relatively (in a very general way) believable depiction. Thought the film was watchable -- but not very inviting. Meltzer told me he thought it was a piece of shit and that it painted a goofy caricature of Lester.
As someone who experienced music both before and after punk, what do you remember about that whole musical revolution? Did it seem to come out of nowhere, or had you felt it brewing in the underground for a while, with Iggy and whatnot?
I caught the Stooges in 1972 at the Whisky a Go Go in LA. I was 17 and I'd never seen anything like that in my life. My folks wanted me to go to college and become a lawyer or MD. But after that, there was no way. I had to do something (professionally) psychopathic -- so I chose mathematics.
But to answer your question, looking back I don't think anything from the 60's and 70's "brewed" insofar as inaugurating punk-rock. At least not in the consciousness of listeners of the stuff. If there was any brewing, it took place in the psyches of the fans that created their own punk rock bands. I mean Tom Verlaine knew about "Fire Engine" from the 13th Floor Elevators. The Dictators covered "Search and Destroy." And so forth. I could go on and on. But if you're talking about the initial surge of late-70's p-rock, how many records did the Dead Boys sell? The Weirdos? Black Flag? The Saints? At the same time KISS and Pat Benatar were selling out stadiums. So I think the real question is just how much of a "revolution" it all was. Now Nirvana was a revolution, and to be honest I only like "T Spirit" and one or two other songs, but nonetheless, they were a financial and cultural revolution. The Foo Fighters? Uhm, well, maybe.
But again, in hindsight, looking back from 2002, even these guys and others I could list were "local" revolutions. By this I mean, if we look and see what Rock/roll or p-rock has amounted to at this point in tyme as a fixture or lasting icon that has imbedded itself inside anyone's neurotransmitters (besides a few old folks who care to remember these things) - then talking about a revolution is like asking if a tree falls in the forest and no-one sees/hears it, did it fall??
So you formed Vom in the midst of this punk rock explosion. Was this your first band? How long had you been playing the guitar?
Vom was first. I had never played gtr pre-Vom. Didn't play in Vom as well; Meltzer and I were sort of dual lead vocals (he was lead lead vocal!). I think the Nuns had two lead singers too.
Was Vom intended as a real punk group or as a rock critics' joke band?
For real, as real. Richard and I were watching the Weirdos play at some downtown ballroom in LA. And after a certain point, he got caught up in pogo dancing and kept screaming out: "See, I can do it too!!" I'm paraphrasing -- but that was the incipience of Vom. It was just a matter of the requisite number of planning meetings and then obligatory rehearsals. See, we thought the WHOLE POINT of "New Wave" (it wasn't until a year or so later that "punk rock" became the label) was salient stupidity. Moron music but with a vantage point and an axe to grind. I think that when we performed tunes like "Electrocute Your Cock" and "I'm In Love With Your Mom" -- these came off so blatantly idiotic that the serious sensibilities of the Brendon Mullen's and X 's and alla the others that went to poetry school felt that peer inclusion (ie of VOM) would be dissing their art. We weren't a comedy band per se, just following in the Jimmy Osterberg tradition of who can be the bigger nitwit.
Having said all that, we weren't a very good band. Played outta tune most of the time and were no doubt ugly and horrible to look at.
We opened two shows for the Dickies at the Whisky in 76 (I think). The second show (2nd nite) the PA guy turned off the sound and kicked us off the stage - Meltzer inadvertently bopped someone in the head (softly) with a mike stand. The PA clown screams out: "The only other creep I've ever had to kick off this stage was that asshole Jim Morrison. Now you motherfuckers are gonna go the same direction!"
Mighta been the band's high watermark!
Were you involved in this "Nipples something or other" release that Meltzer just put out with the Vom tracks on it?
I think Richard e-mailed me a while ago looking to get a hold of the masters to facilitate what you're referring to. But I never saw the end product. Is it out? He mentioned that Vom trax would be included with some spoken word stuff he'd had on tape. Is it any good?
When and why did Vom metamorphose into the Angry Samoans?
Meltzer, after two years of Vomming, became exhausted and burnt out, physically and mentally. He actually had the good sense to realize it could've only gotten worse (although we were starting to build a following of sorts).... Saunders was playing drums for most of Vom's tenure. This is a funny story. We had a girl bass player named Lisa. And one day Saunders came in to a rehearsal and demanded that we do this song he'd written called "Beaver Patrol." You can use your imagination about the lyrics, the riff and "tune" was a ZZ Top ripoff. So Lisa refuses to participate in this: "No Beaver PAtrol. No fuckin Beaver Patrol!!!" Saunders has a shit fit because, well because he doesn't like anyone to say no to him for any reason over anything. Not that Vom was by any means his show, or that he was loosely calling the shots. But he went ballistic over being Beaver Patrol-rejected and quit VOM!!! This was somewhere in the year or so planning, pre-fabbing before going live. Then suddenly he comes back x months later, "OK, no Beaver Patrol". And with that he sat down behind the drum kit, and we never heard another word outta him (despite the fact he co-authored the music for several songs).
Anyway, when Meltzer quit, it seemed pointless that Vom could continue w/out him. So I sorta coaxed Saunders into continuing in some sorta morphed apparition.
He didn't want to do it. But I kept after him, and finally we had a gameplan. He was bragging about how his brother back in Little Rock, Arkansas was a secret weapon lead guitarist (like Ross the Boss in the Tators). So we should wait 6 months before recruiting anybody. His bro Kevin, it turned out, was indeed a good player, but more in the vein of ZZ Top, Black Oak Arkansas and Ritchie Blackmore than say James Williamson or Greg Ginn (Black Flag). Finally Kevin flew out to LA, then we scored Toddy and Billy from the classified. I first came up with the name of the band - The Big Fat Ugly Samoans. For brevity's sake, it was pared down to the Angry Samoans (there was also a wrestling tag team called the Wild Samoans).
I know that there were personality conflicts within the Angry Samoans. Could you describe the disparate personalities of the different Samoans and some of the most memorable altercations?
This could go on for 50 pages. Here's the deal -- every time I go into such "disparities," I get into trouble. So I'll give you the short version (< 50 pgs) and try to avoid character assassination. At any given moment, any 2 members of the band were ready to kill each other. Bill Vockeroth, the drummer, was constantly at the throat of Metal Mike. Mainly because Saunders lived up in Oakland and we had to fly him down to LA (or wherever) to play shows. Reimbursing him for air fare was a necessary travel expense (a drag to do, but I personally had no issue with it. was the price we had to pay to keep him in the band). But Billy would just go apeshit about this. So that was always a balancing act.
Then there was the time we were offered to play Europe (generous deal, like all expenses plus $5000 net each, ie take-home for just 3 weeks). Saunders nixed this, saying the only way he could do this is if he took the boat ( we soon found out that he meant this literally, not just an expression). But if he "took the boat, " then that would mean 5 weeks there, 5 weeks back, 3 weeks playing. And he has only a few weeks of vacation time!! So the only way he'd agree is if we'd reimburse him for the 10 weeks boat-time that he couldn't work and would come out of his pocket!! Billy thought he was kidding, but when he realized Saunders was serious, he almost tried to kill him, then threatened to quit (this was in the middle-late 80's).
Then, not so much in the beginning, but after say 84, Saunders and I were at each other's throats, mostly surrounding issues of creative control, contributions, etc. And Todd was at everybody's throat at any given time. Not to say there weren't moments, when we could unite. But bad brain biochemistry kept getting in the way.
I read in a previous interview that your Angry Samoans audiences were mostly little kids? (If so), why do you think that was? Was there something childlike about the music?
When punk morphed to hardcore and in particular all ages shows became more popular, the demographics of the audience changed too. And greater numbers of youngsters would show up. But I don't recall our audiences being predominantly "little kids" (some all ages shows that might've been the case). It was a weird mixture.
What was the last straw that made you finally say goodbye to the Angry Samoans forever?
Ironically, the last 3 years of the band (it officially bellied up in Jan of 1991 at the Club Lingerie in Hollywood) - we were a 4-piece (from being a 5-piece over most of the years) and I think we sounded (musically) the best of any of the 13 years we were together. I was getting pretty tired of the thrashy songs that were requisite staples of about 3/4 of the set. Todd was inflexible about this, he was really the legit punk in the band. He would have no part in playing things like "Love Is All Around" (Troggs). Saunders had a sense of irony -- did not or could not understand anything ironic. So it went. And doing this same set list 900 thousand times became predictable and boring and, unlike when we first played these songs, it just wasn't funny anymore. IT was like we HAD to play the same set list, because that's what the punkoids came to see. And god forbid we should risk disappointing or incurring the wrath of these folks. Todd just didn't get it. But Saunders had become pathetically addicted to the attention (ironic, since he used to always joke that the "only thing lower than a heroin junkie is a rock star" --meaning anyone NEEDING to be a "rock star") ...
Anyway, we booted el Todd outta the band in 87. His Jekyll to Hyde had been progressing to an intolerable level. WE had it out one night, and I think he phoned up Saunders and issued the ultimatum: "it's either Turner or me." So after Todd got his walking papers, Saunders and I continued on.
Curiously, Mike was on very good behavior, very easy to talk to and work with and arrange details, etc. Like he was in a honeymoon phase after Todd was released to the cosmos. We recruited a friend of mine, Scott, to play bass. Then he went to Japan and we got his friend Heath to replace him. That was the final lineup -- Mike, me, Billy and Heath. And we play Dictators covers ("Next Big Thing," "Two Tub Man"), a Saints tune, Subhumans ("Slave To My Dick") etc etc.. So it steered away from the stoic hardcore face of songs we'd been saddled with for forever. Then somewhere in 1990, Saunders's honeymoon with good vibes seem to wane and he became worse than Todd to be around. Plus his eccentricities were getting worse --- and the whole thing imploded when after the Lingerie show he got into a car accident (one of many) driving back home to the Bay Area and wanted to be reimbursed for car damages incurred in the wreck - he insisted that there was some "understood" radius of 50 or 100 miles (?? I forget) from the club (IE if an accident occurs within this radius, then it's a band expense). He wouldn't budge on this. Billy went absolutely nuts.
It's funny - throughout the years, in various interviews, Saunders has always accused me of ripping him or ripping the band off. He has these paranoid schemes in his mind that he can't let go of -- believing that, eg, when I released the Inside My Brain 12 inch vinyl in 1981, I never kept an accurate accounting (at least to his satisfaction) and there must have been millions that he never saw!! (more like 20 cents if anything!!). The joke is, is that I was always his advocate in terms of arguing for his reimbursement of all related travel and band expenses -- even within this last 100 mile radius of the Club Lingerie !!! Vockeroth was the one that wanted to take his head off (literally) about all of this. So that was more or less how the end evolved. Saunders resurrected the band name (illegally - I own the dba) in 94 or 95 with a bunch of confederate players behind him, parading every last bad anachronism out for shameless viewing. Oh and he somehow whored Billy into playing drums go figure !).
Have you heard the Accused's cover of "Lights Out"? Have any other Samoans songs been covered to your knowledge?
I've heard the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' version of "Lights Out." I think the Accused's came out way earlier if I'm thinking of the right rendition. ("Lights Out" was also used on JackAss/MTV last year) Foo Fighters did "Gas Chamber." A couple Spanish bands did a tribute EP!! I think there's a few more - can't recall right now.
How long have you been a math professor? Why does math appeal to you so much? Did your math obsession ever make its way into the songs you wrote? Or was music an escape from math, and vice-versa?
I finished my Ph.D. in 1991. Did a post -doc at UCLA for 2 years, then moved to Santa Fe in 93. Have been an assistant math prof since then (not at the same schools tho). On the new BDC's cd "13," I wrote one called "A New Theorem"!! Did I send you this? I've been quite scrambled lately with mailouts. If I didn't get that out to you yet, will send, lemme know.
I've just been good at math. If anything, music and music writing sidetracked me from prob being more successful professionally (in terms of articles published, etc).
You can only divide your attention into so many directions at one time. Sometimes I wish I never saw the Stooges play and had evolved into a singular math dweeb period.
Have you read or seen "A Beautiful Mind"? If so, did you identify with that fellow at all?
You callin me schizophrenic ?? !!! Nassar's biography is a lot better and more of an authentic depiction of Nash's life than Ron Howard's movie. In fact, I really didn't like Russell Crowe at all as Nash, mumbling his way throughout. Nash was a lot more gregarious and officious and in your face (in his Princeton days) than the movie alludes to. Also, his mental illness started to manifest AFTER he finished his doctorate at Princeton (the movie would have you believe the genesis of his insanity started and progressed in his graduate studies). I think as a compelling story, the book, not the movie at all, paints a more dynamic and interesting picture. Ron Howard tends to always oversimplify to a fault.
Nice crackly vinyl noise on The Blood Drained Cows' CD -- is the intent to make it sound like a bunch of 45's? Because it works! It COMPLETELY takes me back to my childhood, listening to all of my Dad's amazing old '45s.
Well then you and I are the only ones who apparently found it funny or amusing! Even my other two Cows still aren't sure about it. If I had my way, I'd have the pops and scratches be even way more invasive and then duel it out with the music track for the listener's attention. On the new CD we just recorded, "13," our producer, Andy Shernoff from the Dictators, wasn't too keen on the scratches as well (I tried !). Hey check out: www.blooddrainedcows.com
What do you think of Metal Mike's current Angry Samoans?
You've heard of the expression, "beating a dead horse?" Try one with hoof and mouth disease.
I forwarded you the reader comment I got from Mike, right? Where he paranoically wrote this huge paragraph about how he was one of the most well-known music critics of all time, and how he had invented the term heavy metal and all this, and I'm sitting here going, "Jeez, I'm just doing this as a hobby. You don't have to prove yourself to ME, for Chrissake!" What were your thoughts when you saw that?
It didn't surprise me, really. Well, that he took the time to respond in that manner sorta surprised me. How he vented his bile didn't - I've seen it played out many many times. I mean, you have to understand, the guy has nothing else in his life better to do than to swat down the flies he can't ignore (I'm not calling you a fly! But you get my drift). It's the same reason he can't let go of that dumb band with its 22 year old worn-out songs. What can I say?
I found this line in a Metal Mike interview -- "The only ex-Samoan who is persona non grata with EVERYONE is Gregg Turner, who vanished from the state of California sometime around 1992 or 1993." Response?
Uhh, it was in 1993. That's when I left the state of California.
Could you briefly describe your feelings about the individual Samoans albums at this point, plus the Misunderstood and Blood Drained Cows?
It's the Mistaken (recorded in 92, released on XXX) . That was my Jonathan Richman move! Rather than evaluate each of the above, I'll save it for anyone curious enough to hear themselves.
What is the deal with The Tapeworm Story (http://www.maniaman.com/tapeworm.html)?
It's a true story that a friend told me over fifteen years ago. I'm famous among friends re: my T-worm story. If you like I can send you the written version of this.
If Mike were to call you up tonight and ask you to join an Angry Samoans reunion tour, what would your exact response be?
I know you're expecting my answer to be "blow me" or reasonable facsimile, but in truth, if there was enough $$ involved (not that there ever would or could be), if Saunders assured me he was on Effexor and lithium and had miraculously evolved into a humanoid, if Todd and Billy were included and Todd was on Effexor and lithium (and some medication that makes you puke your guts out if you drink), I might consider it if "it" was of short duration (like 4 days !!)..... !
Looking back on your entire life to date, what one accomplishment are you most proud of?
Most proud of : trespassing on private ranch land in western New Mexico and digging up a flawless 70 lb specimen of Arizona petrified wood (then "rolling" it back to my car 4 miles away !). I'm an out of control obsessive-compulsive rockhound.
Most ashamed of: Becoming suddenly and permanently autistic (frozen) when meeting Ray Davies to conduct an interview. He did manage to autograph my "Waterloo Sunset" picture sleeve.... I have nightmares about this still.
(1) Mr. "Kirshner" muses how "envious I must be" that his alter ego "Metal Mike" lives up in the East Bay. Let's set the record straight - Metal Mike Kirshner lives in HAYWARD - not Berkeley or Oakland. Hayward, for those unaware and not a California residents, is effortlessly regarded by the indigenous folks of Oakland and Berkeley as the hemorrhoid of the East Bay! (as opposed to the "bumpkin land" of Santa Fe, NM - does he even know what he's talking about? Yeah, Mr. Kirshner- Saunders, I know lots of folks who'd rather dwell in the smelly industrial sewage of HAYWARD as opposed to Santa Fe -- is there a mental screw missing here - or am I blinded by the famous Hayward Railroad Tracks ??) Apparently the glamor of HAyward is even lost on the resident -- he hides behind the skirts of Oakland and Berkeley (claiming that "Metal Mike"'s been living there for 20 years. HE had a job in Oakland, but he had always LIVED in HAYWARD !!)
(2) For the record, I did a post doc at UCLA and have had various opportunities over the years to "land jobs" back in California. Why would I want to return to a state doomed with inheriting Arnold Schwarzaneggar (sp?) . Hey if Joey Saunders or Metal Mike Kirshner wants to live in the feces of this personal prairie dog mound (garbage pit?) -- he's welcome to it.
(3) RE: witnesses (1?) for the "nutty stories" about Todd et al. Anytime he wants to participate in a forum to air "witnesses" - he'll be sorry he opened this can of worms . Eg "Foot Fetish" story (we won't identify the fetisher) I can produce 3 witnesses, perhaps 4. In corroboration of the band member who is "mentally ill." I'm pretty sure I can scare up five or 6 friends to testify in any one of 15 tales about said mental person's peculiarities and let's just say "less than normal" overall antisocial behavior , coupled with drastic hygiene issues (many many witnesses on this easily ) as well. If you have access to an abnormal psych textbook, look up borderline personality disorder. Hey, no accusatons, no names mentioned (certainly not naming you Mr. Kirshner), just my opinion ! [I received an e-mail not long ago -- was it from mr. kirshner or maybe someone else ?-- threatening retaliation of stories spread re: his behavioral quirks etc kirshner complained that these "falsehoods" could potentially damage his professional career, so if I did not cease and desist, he would begin to spread internet (or otherwise?) rumors that I was a "child molester " quote/unquote ! he figured (so he said in this e-mail) that this would be the stuff to derail someone's teaching career (ie then sufficiently retaliatory) !! (maybe he thinks I teach kindergarten ?) .... give the guy credit, he must have spent some quality time mulling over what could possibly be heinous enough to get my attention. I think he shoulda pursued the goat and cattle ritual sacrifice charges myself -- would carry more weight out in this neck of the woods !!)
I have no reason to get into Todd -- just Mr. Kirshner, since he (or alter id?) bothered to author this letter. Never had anything against drummer Vockeroth, for the record.
finally, i think the last line of this "letter" is most revealing - "having met a couple of those samoans I can assure they are not mentally ill, quite the contrary." How interesting. Lemme get this straight -- uhm, "mr. kirshner" has met a couple of the samoans, presumably mr. saunders as well? And Mr. Kirshner wants to let us know that "they are not mentally ill." hmmmm. I'll leave with the musings of the author - "sounds pretty freudian to me" ! Actually I think his issues reside more with Jung.
-- Mia Farrow
This idiot lives a self made sea of bullshit. I left the band in the summer of '88 wanting more of a psychedelic direction. (notice how those Samoans recocords were changing in that way!) So when he say's; "Todd just didn't get it.. he wanted more punk rock" in '91, I had been out of the band and not spoken to any of the others in 3 years! When I left Thae Samoans in '88, I had wished that Mike might go along with me on a coo to oust Turner and replace him with Larry Robinson , whom I then started releasing Mooseheart Faith
"I left the band in the summer of '88"
Todd was KICKED OUT of the band in 1988. No-one (even including Saunders) could stand being around the guy anymore. I believe I was trying to be delicate in not emphasizing that Todd was, in general, a from-hell asshole, who also happened to be a pretty bad alcoholic. He was generally very sensitive about the fact that he was a moron as well. Of course, put all these together and you get a fairly descriptive mosaic of someone whom you'd resist hanging around. Imagine if you had no choice.
"So when he say's; "Todd just didn't get it.. he wanted more punk rock" in '91"
check the record, but I recall saying that he was booted out in 88. 91 was the end of the band, so I have no clue what he's yapping about here.
"When I left Thae Samoans in '88, I had wished that Mike might go along with me on a coo"
I think he means "coup" instead of "coo" (see previous comment about "moron" ) . Then again maybe I'M wrong - perhaps he and Saunders went on many "coos" together and I had no inkling. But judging from the times they'd try to sing /coo (w/out killing each other) there was little "cooing" going down..
"With all his pipe-dream connections that had fallen through."
"pipe dream connections" ? sounds like he's still drinking.
"He had embezzled thousands from the group in the previous 10 years."
let's go for HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS ! this is an oft repeated accusation of Saunders as well. Despite neither Mike nor Todd ever substantiating this, one would imagine that if I did indeed abscond, excuse "embezzle" , "thousands from the group" over 10 years, you might conclude the following: (1) "thousands" over a ten year period, comes to "hundreds" per year. I guess if I was a bag person off the street, that might be a career worth pursuing, no? Certainly not enough to deduct from taxes ! (2) I did issue and release the first Sam's EP, Inside My Brain. It was no money maker, believe me ! In fact, I probably LOST "thousands" over a ten year period. (3) Saunders was (is?) an accountant, I mean an in-life real accountant. With being accountant, comes (to most folks in this line of work) a more or less obsessive compulsive , book-ledger anal, obtrusive to the point of obnoxious compulsion for monitoring and adding up financial transactions to the tenths of cents. - even if it's not their project or financial realm for which they're responsible. Saunders bore easily all of these personality traits --- > imagine, then, tyring to "abscond" with "thousands" over a "10-year period." I mean, really, IMAGINE !!!!! Plus, why these guys are whining in they're beer (or in Todd's case, cases of beer) about being ripped off by me -- when PVC/JEM declared Chapter 11, we lost all product and monies owed. This must have amounted to close to 50 or 60,000 dollars in lost (unreturned) product and cash. That's not to mention the travesty of when Faulty Rec'ds distribution converged on the same fate, and we lost close to $75,000 (I'v heard Alternative Tentacle lost even more).
"has any one heard about that one student in the early nineties who was about to levy statutory rape charges against him before he agreed to transfer to another school?"
I'd be interested in hearing about his one TOddy - it's a new one on me. "student in the nineties" where was this? I completed my doctorate in grad school in 91. During my post-doc at UCLA (that was until 93)? Maybe when I moved to New MExico in 93 and worked at the College of Santa Fe? uhhh, I "agreed to 'transfer' to another school" ? I'm not sure what you know about colleges and academia Mr. Todd but one does not "transfer" to another school, or "agree" to do such to flee from your described felonious charges. Of course, I wouldn't expect you to know this -- your education probably ceased before 11th grade !! God, this guy's brain dementia has progressed more than I would have expected. Can you play out the scenario. Let's see application to (say) Brown University. I'm contacted for the position: "Dr. Turner, we're quite interested in your candidacy for this tenure track opening, we just want to get this straight. Let's see, your former institution was about to "levy" (huh?? like an import tax, Todd ? !!!!) "statutory rape" charges against you, but , uhm, it seems that your intent to "transfer" to this university may preclude you from any further trouble. Well then, welcome to Brown U."
The antipathy you guys have for each other is unmatched in the annals of rock'n'roll. Syd Barret and David Gilmour, Jerry Only and Glenn Danzig, Ozzy and Dio, John Fogarty and Those Two Other Guys- they all managed, more or less, to put their disagreements aside and bury the hatchet in their autumn years. But not you guys. It's incredible! Middle aged men (who are now professors/accountants/etc.) calling each other names over a dispute about a band with songs like "Tuna Taco." You're officially the angriest, most spiteful guys in rock music! You've made your mark! Congratulations!
Also, congratulations on writing some real good songs.
I've known the man (and as a result the band members) since 1978 (ouch!), when he and I became friends. I proceeded to witness the mayhem that The Angry Samoans wrought, from Gregg's parents' garage forward.
I can confirm many an incident where Mike Saunders behaved strangely (aka unstably); I can also confirm the "foot fetishist" incident, since it took place in my home at a private performance by The Samoans on my 19th birthday (I think this was also their first performance outside of the garage?); I can also confirm the acts of violence by various members against other members.
The accusation that Gregg is a child molester by the unnamed e-mail sender is funny, since I believe Mike married an underage girl at one point (with her parents' permission)!! Todd's blathering is typical of the "nanur-nanur-nanur!" nature of his level of communication, then and apparently still recently.
I'd be happy to speak with you about any stuff you want to know re: them or Gregg.
This discussion is possibly more entertaining than all 18 minutes of "Back From Samoa" combined. I'm now, officially, a fan.
I'm Bonze Saunders (a/k/a Kevin Eric Saunders), one of the founding members of the Angry Samoans. I played guitar on tracks 7-11 of the second release of "Inside My Brain" and "Live at Rhino Records" (which I note you neglected to review!).
I can understand the invective as a result of bad blood between the band members--I only spent a year with them, while Gregg spent 13 whole years at this gig! I don't know whether you can expect a different outcome from a group of professional character assassins--it's hard to believe but nevertheless true that in the beginning we actually did a cover of the Yardbird's "Mister You're a Better Man Than I"! In fact that was the only song I ever got on the set list, and it didn't last for long--pretty quickly the guiding theme of the band became more along the lines of "Mister You Suck *%#*$!". "Get Off the Air" was definitely a catalyst for this theme... somehow it was outrageous fun indulging in this low-brow character assault on Rodney even if it was (unknowingly perhaps, didn't we naively/boorishly expect that Rodney might display a sense of humor?) a form of commercial suicide.
But what I find really hard to comprehend is Gregg's attitude towards the Samoan's impressive catalog of great songs--I'm unbiased here, I didn't write any of 'em--calling them "worn-out songs" with the implication they basically suck. "Back From Samoa" is IMHO a genuine classic, and there's plenty of good material on the other albums, mostly executed pretty competently. Describing the current incarnation of the Samoans "parading every last bad anachronism out for shameless viewing" makes him sound a little like a St. Augustine of punk, bemoaning his youthful indiscretions! It seems as if Gregg is embarrassed by his whole association with the Samoans and the products thereof and wishes the memories would just evaporate--except that he tends to roll them all out whenever he has the opportunity to be interviewed on the topic!
Whatever, I'm still proud of my association with the band, and think that in this case at least Bad Taste Is Timeless. I even hold out hope that eventually a decent version of "Live at Rhino Records" will be re-released with decent EQ to vindicate the sound of the band's early appearances--the original tape really rocked but the guitars were all washed out when it was mastered so the sound is pathetic on this CD. (Interestingly the sound is OK on the two live tracks that were retroactively included on "Inside My Brain".)
put Homer, Vockeroth, Saunders, and Saunders all together in a room sometime (i.e. the four other original angry samoans of 1978-79). every. word. is. a lie. from mr. turner.
yes, of course i fucking kept complete "accounting records" (duhr, i only spent 20+ years full-time as a degree professional in accounting/finance) of (1) Bad Trip/Back From Samoa (which i paid for/completely financed).
Item #1 = in early 1982, where money "disappeared" from Bad Trip/Back From Samoa that was last in turner's hands, ie recording funds. the motherfucker REFUSED to furnish any information whatsoever about the (substantial) monies he had been put in joint charge of (a joint checking account down in LA for Back From Samoa, with no checks written during its brief 60 day period before i had to shut it down, since only cash withdrawals had been made (by co-signer turner, with no documentation received or furnished latery him) nor explanaton (ever) of why/how X amount ($800-$900 at the time, 1982) had disappeared in the course of his cash-only withdrawals. "oh, todd did it, he took the money." pffffsht, riight.
(2) no one else in the band ever saw the Jem/PVC contract that turner engineered behind the band's backs in 1986 (not until later after he had signed, executed it, and sent it off as a legally binding contract, and a BAD one), and, no surprise, a portion of the substantial "recording advance" (for two old albums, and the new one turned in per contract) disappeared. no documentation ever furnished by mr. Math Retard of where the monies disappeared to that he received (that he had refused to explain). let me underscore that word "refused." yes, they (the monies) were eventually "recouped" ten years later (from Triple X royalties, which ran through me, prior lessons learned).
Item #3 shortly preceding that (by one year i believe, ie early 1985 when substantial German publishing on Back From Samoa started to show up, for over 5 years it turned out), our BAND PUBLISHING intitially disappeared down this motherfucking lying son of a dogturd's asshole. i.e, Haizman Music. this was quickly corrected (via a midnight phone from todd -- with me as witness -- cutting Mr. Math Doofus a new asshole). (not the publishing mess, just the disappearance of monies that were to start showing up bi-yearly). again, it took 10 years to recoup the monies "allegedly" lifted. I HAVE THE FUCKING PUBLISHING STATEMENT where 1/2 of it disappeared/was deposited into turner's "haizman music," i.e. a regularpersonal bank account.
(3a, and this is the one that crosses every line in the sand by five miles) = per writing credits on the records, the songwriting split (which is the 1/2 of publishing royalties paid directly to the writers, and bypasses your "publishing company") was 60/20/20, ie 60 per cent m.saunders, 20 per cent Todd, 20 per cent turner. TO THIS DATE -- 20+ years later -- i have never been given one single "publishing license" (it's a one sheet of paper, one per song) to legally publish even ONE SONG, much less my (share of the samoans) portion of the entire catalog/songs (see above -- 3/5ths of the whole catalog).
i.e., the Alan Price of our band (see any Animals' history, which i guess makes me either chas chandler or eric burdon to the thievin' publishing-lifting pricey, who took the first big House of the Rising Sun check in 1965 and ran for the hills) tried (and briefly succeeded) at heisting everyone's "band publishing" share from ground zero. repeat, not ONE SINGLE TUNE i ever wrote or co-wrote HAS BEEN LEGALLY PUBLISHED. although turner's cock-up with Bug has collected and dispersed publishing royalties for close to 25 years. oh, and it got even 10 times screwier (between him and Bug) by the time some "agrement" was reached in the mid-90's (after all publishing had been held by our label for five entire years, pending "resolution of your publishing problems." did i ever see one single piece of paper? no. receive one piece of information from Toiner as to what the fuck was going down between him and Bug to halfway-fix the mess he created in the first place? NO. did i wind up getting "ripped off" for uh, maybe $10,000+ over the years since that should have -- per that 60/20/20 writers split -- gone to me? YES).
(todd probably has an entire different recounting of the Bug/Turner/Todd episodes, which i am sure has far more relation to what happened than any lie Turner will word-vomit out as a counter-evasive move.
i repeat --
ask anyone in the band, this guy is a veritiable Richard Nixon "i am NOT a crook!" textbook case. his response/deflection to any negative comment for almost 15 years now, has been to spew complete lies and libel about everyone else that ever played in the band. every. story. he. tells. is. a. fucking. lie. hope he has fun getting buttfucked in hell for the next 900 years by Dicky Trick himself, because that's where people who (succeed in, or just seriously try to) steal your publishing go to. C R O O K.
jesus christ, of course we/I have complete, accounting-level records. stop by gayward/Hayward and i can dig them out of the catacombs no problem! (i had to furnish old-school Lotus 1-2-3 worksheets in the mid-90's when recoupment was set in motion and executed, via Triple X's royalties received that i have/had custodial reponsibility of -- to properly record and disperse, to this day).
his obsfucation re the missing portion of the "Jem/PVC contract" record advance money took 10 years to untangle. "how much did the 500 t-shirts cost to get screened (which were paid for by turner out of the advance money), gregg?" "i don't know, you'll have to ask my brother Ron." (of course Ron didn't know what the fuck the matter at hand even was). ha. turned out (ages later) THEY COST NOTHING. yep, the missing piece of how much money exactly, took an entire decade to surface.
i repeat (with the apparent exception of the foot-fetish dispute, re another band member), every. story. is. a lie. about vockeroth (tried to kill me? was turner on acid? in 13 years of VERY edgy band-member interaction, we never once laid a finger on each other physically), about todd, about me.
hell is too good a place for scumbags who intentionally and willfully tell libelous stories, to deflect THEIR alleged (and documented) misdemeanors.
THE BIGGEST LIE OF ALL = todd homer QUIT our band, shortly after the Dec 1988 gig at 924 Gilman St. "kick turner out, or i quit" was the 2nd hand ultimatum i received. and this came from the mouth of turner himself! good lord this guy is the worst compulsive liar in the history of the universe; he CAN'T EVEN keep his lies straight. "we had to kick Todd out" what bullshit. go fuck yourself 50 times, then let Richard Nixon show you the real party dildo for eternity in hell, fucking scumbag.
there's a "back story" as to exactly when Turner went beserko forever (on everyone else in the band, post-humously) and i documented it on a journa/blog somewhere in myspace land (easily found). it involved 1) the sons of mellencamp master tape, and 2) (in particular) the original (1987) 1/4" master tape to The Mistaken 7 song 12 inch. yes, i have an insane incoherent typed letter (from Toiner) threatening legal action if I DON'T GIVE HIM THE TAPE FOR FREE (it cost 2000 thousand dollars, recording costs from my pocket). what a fucking jackass = i had counter-offered (in a phone conversation preceding the quais-legal-threat letter, later received) to sell it outright to him for 1/2 price, ie 1000 dollars and be done with it. yes, he was holding $2,500 in his hand at that very moment as "label advance" to cut a 12 song album (which he did). what a fucking jackass.
i repeat, why did Brian Izen's letter (of substantial length and content) disappear? i'm just killing time right now (while typing this) watching NFL football preview shows to avoid the merch-work duty of unloading, sorting, and FOLDING 300 t-shirts. wouldn't have even thrown your page up if there wasn't a odd (disappearance of the) Izen letter that one of our record collector friends noticed (who knows brian personally). was is because Brian inferred (and cleverly at that) that Turner is a liar? duhr!
i can be reached by anyone/everyone at the same place in internet-public as always (since november 2003), www.myspace.com/192503angrysamoans
Sheesh, what a lame diagnosis. "In My Humble Opinion": That's rich! There are 9 criteria for a BPD diagnosis: Mike is 0 for 9.
Mike says Gregg misappropriated funds. Gregg's response is: Mike's CRAZEEE! Personally, I'd rely on Mike's professional accounting experience (with integers) over Gregg's professional mathematical experience (with imaginary numbers) any day.
Here's a typical experience with Gregg and a Gregg interview: When the Samoans played in Boston in the summer of 1987 my wife and I went down to see them. We had lunch with Gregg, who told us that "whenever I do an interview, I always credit you with telling me I should use a heavy guitar pick!" So my wife and I return to Krazee Ken Highland's apartment where we're crashing with Mike. Mike greets me by saying, "So, wanna see what your buddy Gregg says when you're not around?", and shows me a magazine with a Turner interview featuring a standout line regarding yours truly: "Kevin moved to Ithaca where he's rolling in the snow and eating pizzas he's supposed to deliver."
I only saw it once, but it's an unforgettable line. "Factually challenged" perhaps, but hey, who cares? Not Gregg!
The strange thing about this is that Gregg and I got along fine when I was in the band. The insults--in print--only starting coming years afterwards. Why is that? And why is Gregg complaining about "bile" and "vitriol"? This is the guy ultimately responsible for the "factually challenged" liner notes (under his name) for the reissue of "Inside My Brain" which referred to my tenure in the band thusly: "Hair was a problem"... and inviting readers to consider whether I should be put "ten feet under the ground" for the offense of being a longhair. ?????? (Hair was such a problem that 1) it was never once brought up at the time and 2) we received three verbal demo offers--all of which were declined. Gee, maybe I was confused; I was thinking the official punk-rock dress-code standards had been set by the Ramones!)
But... hold on a minute: the plot is even more confusing! Mike was in fact the one who wrote the first draft of the liner notes containing the obnoxious "hair" comments. Gregg used almost all of Mike's draft without crediting him... telling me in Boston that he was aware of this draft (which I did not see until much later, thanks to Mike and his honesty in sending me a xerox of the thing) and that it was not complimentary, but that he would "take care of it and make sure it came out OK". So he fixed Mike's mistakes! For example, Mike referred to me as a "lead six-string prodigy." This needed editing; just a touch; a slight emendation by a seasoned professional writer... something... something like: "self-proclaimed lead six-string prodigy." Gee thanks Gregg!
At least Gregg mentions in this interview that I was a "good player." But... that's the only positive reference to me that I've ever seen from Gregg in print.
As for scamming: Gregg: "Saunders resurrected the band name (illegally - I own the dba)". Gregg here tries to lay claim to the band name (chosen by unanimous consent of all five founding band members at a group meeting from a long list of contenders after a fair amount of contention) because he filed a d/b/a--in his own name. A sign of scamolas to come? NOooo... Mike's BREAKIN' THE LAW! "Oh and he somehow whored Billy into playing drums go figure!" Yeah, Bill Vockeroth is one of the founding members who chose the name, played on every Samoans record, played almost every Samoans gig, Black Flag tried to recruit him but he declined... MIKE'S HIS PIMP! WTF?????? (For those not In The Know, recruiting a good drummer is possibly the hardest part of staffing a band, and Billy is very good.)
But, woe be Gregg when it comes to profit: how could he possibly be a scammer? Quoth he: "I did issue and release the first Sam's EP, Inside My Brain. It was no money maker, believe me ! In fact, I probably LOST 'thousands' over a ten year period."
Well, let's see... "probably"... hmmm... precise calculation in these matters of money... involves "addition" of receipts and "subtraction" of expenses... but that's so... one dimensional... can we expect a future tenured Professor of Mathematics to perform such mundane operations? NAY! That would be "more or less obsessive compulsive , book-ledger anal, obtrusive to the point of obnoxious compulsion for monitoring and adding up financial transactions to the tenths of cents."
When Gregg speaks he swiftly speeds into a zone of zero credibility. Examples abound, listing them becomes both tedious and unpleasant.
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