18 May 2011

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE MENTORS!


I wrote this piece for Vancouver's now-defunct Skinny magazine back in August 2010. Our fair city was about to receive a visit from legendary sleaze/rape rockers The Mentors, and it was one of my most anticipated shows of last year. So I was pretty excited when the Skinny's editor, Tanya, set me up to talk to the band in advance of the show. You can read the results below.


But of course, as a handful of dirtbags (myself included) waited slavishly for that night's show at the Brandiz Hotel, the show was sadly not to be. CBSA caught wind of the band's gig in Vancouver, and were allegedly waiting for the Mentors at the line as they made their approach. And as soon as the tour van (yeah, the one with the Mentors license plate and the 'Don't Laugh; Your Daughter May Be Inside!' decal on the back) hit the Peace Arch, the boys in blue denied them access, and sent the Mentors packing, back into the States (mistaking him for the 13-years-dead El Duce, an overzealously offended lady in blue also gave drummer/singer Marc Duce a black eye & a fat lip for his trouble). Needless to say, it's unlikely The Mentors will likely be attempting another border crossing anytime soon. If I ever want to see them, I guess it'll be me crossing a border.


Here, then, is my interview with the Kings of Sleaze, the Mentors.



Summer 1985: I’m ten years old and the US Senate hearings on ‘porn rock’ are all the media’s talking about. Ever the little malcontent, I read every article I can get my hands on, partly because it is my first exposure to 'censorship' and I'm virulently curious. I'm not yet old enough to understand exactly how farcical this whole thing is, but I have a good idea that it's all a sham. But mostly? This way I can figure out exactly what the good shit is. If there’s music out there that's so dangerous, that parents and the government are terrified of it, and they're telling us we shouldn’t have ready access to it – then of COURSE, that’s exactly the stuff *I* wanted to hear.


At one point in the hearing transcripts, the sweaty, anally-clenched, typically-fundamentalist-Christian-therefore-prone-to-hyperbole Reverend Jeff Ling, is speaking to a packed floor of equally-clenched Washington senators and their even-more-tightly-clenched wives. To drive home his point of how current rock and roll has just gone too far, he quotes the following lines from the Mentors 'Golden Showers' to the shocked room:


“Listen, you little slut, do as you are told,

come with daddy for me to pour the gold...

Golden showers.

All through my excrement you shall roam.


Bend up and smell my anal vapor.

Your face is my toilet paper.
On your face I leave a shit tower.

Golden showers.”


As soon as I read that, I HAD to know who this band the Mentors were. Even if they were totally abysmal, any band who dared to write lyrics like that had to be something special. So unwittingly (unwillingly), all the PMRC's hoopla did was to immortalize Seattle’s The Mentors to a 10-year-old fascinated with the prurient and verboten. Though, in those pre-internet, small-town-BC days - it would be a couple years before I actually got to hear what the Mentors sounded like. All I knew was, no matter what, I had to hear them.


Finally, in high school, a friend dubbed me a third- or fourth-generation copy of their classic, 'Rock Bible', and it was then that I really got hooked on the Mentors bawdy, over-the-top, laff-riot "rape-rock". The best part of listening to The Mentors, with their black executioner’s hoods, and juvenile filthy-limerick lyrics, was that absolutely nobody else got the joke, even other metalheads; people actually believed these guys were a bunch of rapey sickos. This, of course, just made it all the funnier to those of us who did get it. Later, there was the whole El Duce/Courtney Love episode, leading to(?) the shocking, untimely death of El Duce in 1997. In 2001, a reconstituted Mentors got back together and began performing and recording again. Finally this year, they’ll hit Vancouver on September 4th at Brandiz Pub. I got to speak with the filth-rock legends as they motored to a gig in Sacramento and this is what they had to say:


Kyle Antivenin: Hello Pope Heathen Scum, how’s it goin’?

Pope Heathen Scum: Pretty good. We’re just on the road, on our way to the next gig in Sacramento.


KA: Have the Mentors proper ever played Vancouver before?

PHS: You know, funny you ask – Vancouver was one of the first gigs The Mentors ever did. Sickie might remember the name of the club. I remember we were scheduled to play two or three nights in Vancouver, this woulda been like, ‘76 or ’77…? We went up there, and had major hassles getting across the border, even with work permits … as usual … mean, it’s always really difficult to get into your country. But finally we got in, and it was during our first or second scheduled show, I can’t remember which … we started our set in full Mentors gear, the hoods, the whole shtick, and the promoter came out two songs into our set and shut us down. He even paid us in advance for the rest of the shows just so we’d stop.


El Duce had this old Ford truck that him & his Dad built with a wooden canopy built up on the back – and that was what we traveled up to Vancouver in. I remember we took the truck that night and went and slept in the rose garden at Stanley Park, until the cops came by and rousted us so we had to go move somewhere else [laughs]. That trip was a whole comedy of errors. I think there was also some problem with a small amount of marijuana that was in Duce’s van when we were trying to get back into the US. The US border guards found like half of a roach or some ridiculously small amount of pot in the truck, then rousted us for a couple hours then finally let us go home.


KA: Any idea who would have been on the bill with you guys at that Vancouver show?

PHS: I don’t remember, that was too many years ago.


KA: So the last time you were here, would that have been the infamous Kill Allen Wrench show at the Cobalt in 2004?

PHS: Yeah, I played with Kill Allen Wrench at the Cobalt two or three times. That was the show where some guy threw a pint glass at Allen, and he slammed a mic stand into the guy’s head [footage below] – it was a lot of fun.



That night, we actually stayed at the Cobalt Hotel; just totally junkied out. Allen was insistent that everybody stay at this place – staying there was a whole other experience almost as exciting as the show. Is that place still going?


KA: No, it was shut down last year, just in time for the Olympics.

PHS: Oh, bummer.


KA: Going back, I want to ask about the public access show Hot Seat with Wally George, because that show was some of the finest publicity The Mentors got, along with the PMRC hearings. Was the audience of the show in on the joke?

PHS: Well no, not really… The audience knew nothing about it. [Wally] had kind of a set group of audience members that… I don’t want to call them ‘regulars’, but people who would go there and hoot and holler and to that extent it was kind of a kitsch thing. His general shtick would be to get extremely left-wing people on as guests that would do stuff to get the crowd to react.




KA: What’s your favorite Mentors rumour over the years?

PHS: I don’t know -I think all the rumours were pretty much true. Why, do you have a favorite Mentors rumour?


KA: Well, not that it’s a rumour, but I was thinking of the whole Courtney Love thing.

PHS: Oh yeah, Courtney – the elephant in the room, obviously a big one. [Changes subject] Actually, there’s another rumor going around that those tapes of Mel Gibson were actually Sickie Wifebeater and not Mel Gibson. Sickie kinda looks like Mel Gibson, and he’s definitely verbally abusive – I mean, he didn’t get the name ‘Sickie Wifebeater’ for nothing. He’s definitely abusive and can smack his little baby child around while he’s rockin’ and sockin’ his old lady [laughter heard throughout the van]. Of course, that was more of a rumour just within the band.


KA: Well, now I’m going to spread it!

PHS: Yeah that’s been a big source of entertainment for us on the road.


KA: What’s the story with the new album you have coming out, called El Duce: God? What’s going to be on that?

PHS: Oh, it’ll have all kinds of shit on there: Old stuff; stuff that El & I recorded in my garage back in the day. It’ll be out soon. Mentors also have a live album coming out on vinyl too. Out by October, limited release, and we’re calling it Rock ’n’ Roll Bastards Live. [Commotion in the van] Oh, Sickie just informed me he doesn’t like the title.

KA: What about your solo stuff? What’s going on with that?

PHS: I’ve been doing a bit of recording here and there – Actually, was working on a new track just yesterday.


KA: And what can we expect on your current set list? Are you guys playing a lot of stuff from [2009’s] Ducefixion?

PHS: Ah, we do two or three songs from the new one,

but our set is mostly old stuff. [Previous drummer] Moosedick left, so Marc [“Mad Dog”] Duce, who’d been singing, took over drums and vocals, and he’s been a big instigator in us actually rehearsing and relearning our old material that we hadn’t done in a long tim

e. He’s really enthusiastic because he comes at it from a fan’s perspective – so he forced us to learn all the stuff we forgot how to play.


KA: Speaking of Marc, what’s the status of his band the Mantors?

PHS: [repeats question to Marc Duce, who replies with a phone-garbled answer] Did you catch that? He said that he’s got a guitar player who was gonna replace Scotty [CH, former Mantors guitarist], some guy who’s playing bass for Mountain … [more garbled answers, laughter] Wait. What?! Now he’s claiming he’s gonna get Bruce Kulick who was the brother of a guy in KISS [*note - Bruce Kulick WAS the guy in KISS, his older brother is Bob Kulick], and he’s gonna be the new guitar player in Mantors. [Laughs] But that may not be true, only time will tell. [in the background, Marc Duce, presumably referring to Bob Kulick, says: “You know, the old Dio guy who’s out of a job right now.”] I’m not sure if Marc has time right now [to talk]. He just did a singing gig with… do you know a band called Adema?


KA: Yeah, sure. They're the nü-metal band with the brother of the singer from Korn.

PHS: Yeah, that’s them. Marc’s good friends with their bass player ‘Big Meat’, and he did a gig in Bakersfield with Adema because Big Meat was wanted by the cops for a vehicular manslaughter incident on 2 illegal aliens. So the cops were gonna come to the show and arrest Big Meat and and put him in the pokey. And so apparently now Adema has some tour scheduled in Canada but of course, Big Meat can’t get into the country – so Marc may have to go play that tour also. So basically, we’ve threatened to boot him out the band and get Moosedick back in if Marc does this because the Mentors don’t approve of him playing ‘crybaby rock’. [He says to Marc:] No just kidding, Marc, just let me get in th ere too – let me come and be a roadie.... [to me] Here, I’m gonna pass the phone over to Marc for a minute...


Marc “Mad Dog” Duce: Hello?


KA: Hey Marc, Pope Scum was just telling me about this Adema thing. Are they a full-time gig for you as well?

MD: No, no, that Adema gig was just a one-time thing. This was because the cops were lookin’ for the bass player from Adema so I just had to sit in. You see, Big Meat from Adema is also the bass player for the Mantors.


KA: So, the Mantors are still going, then?

MD: Well, hopefully we’ll keep going, but we lost our guitar player [the aforementioned Scotty CH]. He started seeing some girl and she wouldn’t let him rock “Mentor rock” anymore. That fool played for Otep and Drowning Pool, but he thought the whole Mantors thing made him look bad. Ah well, his nickname was ‘Cockhound’ anyway, ‘cos he was a male stripper at one time. This guy Scotty, he was the only male stripper dude in Seattle who would take the ‘fag’ calls. So that’s why everybody called him “Cockhound” – you know, as in “Scotty CH”. I mean, he also did the girl calls, but all his stripper friends would trip out because he dug doing all the man calls as well [Laughter throughout the van]. Of course, the Mantors found all this out afterward. I mean, he played great but he’d be over there rubbing on cocks all the time. And sure, he wanted to come back to the Mantors, but we said no way. The guy’s a habitual liar, a total metal ‘claimer’; he tells people he played behind the stage for Mötley Crüe. I mean, fair enough, he was a legit guitar player in Otep, but yeah, he’s a weirdo. Anyway, I’m sure that Shania chick in Otep doesn’t exactly appreciate the association with the Mantors in any way, because she’s a total feminist chick. I mean, she’s cool as hell, I have nothing against her, but people have brought it up [the fact that both bands share a guitar player] to her. We’ve actually done a couple of radio shows where the Mentors played with Otep and with Good Charlotte. It was pretty funny – we were calling Good Charlotte a bunch of fags from the stage, and they had their gay crowd there, and people were really not into our shtick but hey, that’s the way it goes. If people are really punk rock like they say they are, then they oughtta know what to expect from us.


KA: So even in this day and age, there are still a lot of people who don’t get the joke.

MD: No, they don’t get it. A lot of people don’t. There are fools who think the executioner’s hoods are Klan hoods; and being the total dicks that we are, we kinda perpetuate the myth and make it worse. People get so mad they either want to fight us or they just want to leave. It’s funny to an extent – but sometimes it borders on the violent. People are so ignorant – I mean, they really think we’re out committing rape.


KA: Well, in such a politically–correct time …

MD: Ha, we’re more into ‘politically ERECT’. Look, to me, the Mentors are one of the most important bands in rock’n’roll because of what they stood for. KISS? Okay. Shocking. Alice Cooper? Shocking.

GG Allin? Shittingly shocking! [Sickie overheard in the background rebutting this] ...No, no but for their time, KISS were shocking. But then five years later here come the Mentors!


[Pope Heathen Scum overheard mocking in the background: “Bon Jovi was pretty shocking. Carpenters were pretty shocking. Loverboy were shocking! So was Heart!”]


KA: So let’s talk about the newly-single Tipper Gore. Her old man’s fucked off, and I want to know what the Mentors have to say about it. I mean, back in ’85, she played a pretty big role in making the Mentors a household name.

MD: Well, she’s a drummer – we want her to come and jam with us. Then I can just sing and it’ll lighten my load in so many ways. She can drum and she can lighten my load, and ‘lighten my load’ if ya know what I mean. But as for her husband bailing, well, that’s what she gets – karma’s a bitch. Hang on, I’m gonna pass you back to Pope Heathen Scum now.


[passes phone back to Heathen Scum]


KA: So Pope Scum, what’s your take on this whole Tipper Gore thing, now that she’s single and all?

PHS: Well, apparently, Tipper was drumming on some B52s stuff, or some other ridiculous thing. But anyway, yeah, she’s hot, I’d do her. I’m 52, so she’s definitely in my age group, maybe a little older. Hopefully she’s got a bunch of money from Al in the divorce settlement, so I could just be a rock’n’roll gigolo. I’m sure she’s rethinking a lot of stuff now that her husband’s split. My guess is he probably went for the midlife gay thing. I suspect that he’s been out on the road for so damn long with his global warming thing, that Ol’ Tipper just needs a good hard dick. Now, I don’t wanna comment on the other people in the band [more laughter in the van] but I can deliver the dick, so…


KA: Marc Duce said he thinks you guys should get her in the Mentors!

PHS: Well, she’s supposed to be a pretty good drummer. She’s probably got a Facebook. Hell, we’ll hack that, maybe put up some Mentors porno up on her Facebook and invite her to come dance onstage with us – maybe we’ll fly her up to dance with us in Vancouver! Actually, we’ve got a new dancer travelling with us named Lady Caca. Check out our Facebook and you can see some pics of this phenomenally attractive dancer artiste.


KA: With a name like Lady Caca, I’m half-expecting her to come out and do a GG-Allin-style shit show.

PHS: [Laughs] No, no, she’s a very classy lady, she won’t do anything like that. [Repeats my comment to the rest of the van, more laughter ensues] ...Ha ha, now we’re thinkin’ we need to change her stage name. Sickie suggests “Daisy Dick Dazzler”.


KA: Do you guys still have issues with border crossings into Canada?

PHS: Well that’s gonna be the problem this time, so please don’t advertise the show too much. We don’t want the RCMP looking for us. I mean, I’ve been arrested numerous times for pharmacy burglaries; Marc Duce for statutory rape; Sickie for domestic violence and other, other, other felonies. So what we’re trying to do instead is, there’s a Chinese freighter coming into your ports from Taiwan that’s got a bunch of illegal immigrants on it. We understand the police have already been paid off on that one. So, we’re all getting eye surgery in order to look like these Chinese people, and when the cops come in to get their money from the black marketers, they just let us go in the lifeboat and row to shore. Safe to say we’re looking at various options to gain access into your country. If the Mounties ask, just tell them we’re crossing in Toronto. Otherwise, it could throw a monkey wrench into this upcoming show. And we want to do some whale watching and junkie watching while we’re there.


KA: Well, you’re in the right spot for junkie-watching. Any final words before we see you?

PHS: Look forward to seeing you, Vancouver – don’t get us too fucked up before the show!

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