with Kurt Heasley
interview by Thuc Doan Nguyen
Please Note: And and all typos in this piece are the fault of Shoegaze, webmaster of this here page. Instead of typing it out, I scanned it and translated it, leaving a couple of gaps and errors. This will be corrected in the near future, but anyway, PLEASE do not blame the wonderful, wonderful folks at CHERRYBOMB. Ahhh yes, and do yourselves a favor and get on the CHERRYBOMB mailing list. The address is below.
I caught up with Kurt Heasley at his swank hotel in London's
Bayswater three days before the single "A Nanny in
Manhattan" is released in England. Already, there are giant
posters on the
London streets advertising this because the tune is used in the UK television commercials for the Levi's jeans Whitetab line. He's looking debonaire coming down the stairs this evening all
decked out in a full tan ensemble including a jacket and tie, right at 6:00 with me making it through the door two seconds before. We ramble on about our adolescent existances in the
shadow of the political capital, fathers with strange jobs, American regionalism, history trivia, cigarettes, etc. Kurt dispenses advice. (A lot of actual conversation had to be shaved
off here for the sake of space). Curt he's not, gregarious he is. Kurt he is, Wally he is sometimes.
TN: So, how old's Tayt now-a-days?
KH: When we got back from tour last we took her to see James Brown and then we took her to see The Headcoats when she was like negative 40 days, so she's 10 months now. Between James Brown and Billy Childish, we should have a well rounded kid.
TN: Have you made any major life style changes since becoming a dad?
KH: Dating more. Just kidding. You should go up there and take a look at her. She's not afraid of anything. She will not see Peppermint or me being fearful or acting rash.
TN: Getting into drum n' bass here, are you?
KH: Do you know what I was doing between the ages of 18-217 (No, because I was 14)o I was spinning Orbital and Deep Trance at a DC bar. Drum n' bass are innovative to me as fried rice or
having a root canal.
TN: Do you think you would be content being one hit wonders of top 40 or is this just a phase of world domination?
KH: If you can call a one hit wonder in 11 years good. "Ginger" was a staple dance floor hit. They liked the guitars.
TN: Did you ever fancy yourself as a jingle writer?
KH: I write advertisements for the organization I am part of that's what all my music is. I support what supports me. Like in DC Archie and Slumberland wrote music to further the
musical movement we wanted to see prosper. Black Tamborine wrote songs they wanted to hear more of. Same with when Bridget (Unrest) was in Velocity Girl.
TN: Since you grew up in Virginia- do you consider yourself a Southerner?
KH: Hmmm, southern boy. Yeah, the South is where the arts and mysticism definitely come into a conjuncture to make hand over fist money.
TN: Where'd you shoot the video (for "Nanny")?
KH: In the studio in my house in Hartford, Connecticut. We only hired a cinematographer, Peter Gordon, who works for the Bravo channel. He's not a rock video director, so the thing looks more like a documentary. He's like Peter Greenway meets Orson Welles. He's a real sweetheart.
TN: In one of the press releases Sarah wrote up- it said your hobby was designing submarines? Do explain.
KH: I went to Carnegie Mellon for naval engineering and worked at the NRL (Naval Research Lab) for a while. I audited all the classes and played pool and read Zohar. How did you come to London anyway, Thuc?
TN: I was really bored of where I was before.
KH: What part of Omaha, Nebraska was that?
Dazed & Confused for a Levi's thing with a photographer in an 18 wheeler repair with oval windows and a roll up door towering high. It was excellent! After that I did every show and would wake up the next morning and I couldn't feel the left side of my body. Hillary,my old roommate (drummer for Apples in Stereo) threw me in the car and took me to the hospital. She said "he's from Boston" and they said "we could fix him up if he was from here, but.."
TN: You were really making fun of those West Coast people out there in LA.
KH: Oh, yeah I reduced this chick to tears in a strip club out there. She said, "You're the biggest asshole I've ever met in my life!"
TN: How'd you do that?
KH: pleasant conversation
TN: something I need to work on
KH: breaking young ladies down to tears?
TN: no, young men.
KH: ya like boys, do ya? It won't pay. I say go lesbian. You've got 6 months before it becomes too cliche. Oh, yeah, Shalom took it to the gutter! She walked into some dyke bar and some of the real dykes were like "She come into our bar and we'll %[~*e#"
TN: Where the heck did you find this out?
KH: This was actually in the papers that Che used to wrap up the 7"s they sent us. It was called "Lip Stick Lesbians Unpopular by Homosexual Community" and it had this picture of two girls kissing each other and they were like "we're too beautiful to kiss boys".
TN: Ever thought of transgenderification?
KH: Transgenderification, huh? When I lived in DC, I lived in Shaa and the transvestites around there were really into my stylishly dressed 15 year old arse.
TN: How do you know Roman Coppola?
KH: Roman and I had dinner in New York in '93, was it?
TN: Who gets to call you Wally?
KH: Kids used to come to the shows and ask "Will you sign my record and they'd get it back and see Kurt and thought 'huh?'
TN: They tossed them out, thinking this is worthless! Hey, let's
do a shot.
We sweep around the bar and into the dining room. An off duty maitre'd says to Kurt "You are very lucky, you know that?"
KH to me: Hey, get yourself away from those. someone's dessert.
Aww, but...They're for
Aaron Sperke and Torben Pastore wander around the lobby.
I walk with Torben out to the underground station later and he
says that having a baby has actually done Kurt a world of good,
gotten him more grounded.
Kurt is posing with his pint of lager.
TN: This is like a beer ad! All you need now is the Swedish bikini team behind you. Are you picking up any British lingo while you're over?
TN: Yeah, I guess that's where chick might have delineated from.
KH: They do both pick up a lot of nasty worms.
TN: Seen any dopplegangers lately?
KH: One. He's from Sheffield and speaks really funny and his band sounds like a Duran Duran clap. They're called Pup, Pulp.
TN: What, Jarvis Cocker?
KH: in the bathroom.
KH: on the other side of town.
TN: What have you been listening to?
KH: Bedlam String Ensembles. See, I'm so deep down obscure I scratch the surface of Muswell Hill.
TN: You stumped me- I haven't heard of them.
KH: You gotta quit being so slack. Who's going to be making you loadsof money in the next two years? You can't go on living on puritanical things like air and looks.
TN: make who money? Me?
KH: yes, you! Why didn't you come and five and you could've played with monkey (Tayt) and heard me in the shower- The HMS Pinafore live! (re-rendition here). Come to the midnight engagement. The nine o'clock show's for all the press. C'mon who shaved pour vou?
TN: Is that a nick on your face?
KH: No, I've been leaning on my hand. Levi's for so long.
You can only talk
TN: Did they revamp your wardrobe for you?
KH: They tried, but nothing fit. pants. I was dancing around in my
TN: been clubbing then?
KH: I went to the Wag. in London. It could not exist anywhere else but
TN: How many times have you been over here anyway?
KH: 20-25 maybe, waiting for my $89 return from Martin Air ticket to set in. That's what you do when you have no life except sleeping in Rock Creek Park. Actually not having cash, and then having cash and no ID and having a car that's not yours, but your ex-girlfriend's
TN: ah, a life of adventure.
KH: no, getting a tooth kicked in at the Drunk Tank in Dallas doing a little assignment that made me $600, while it made my friend $12,000. Remember- don't get high on your own supply.
TN: that's where the money for those first singles came from. Gotta have the capital.
KH: that's right. You should see how I'm making money now, but you'llhear about it later.
TN: From whom?
KH: the erotica watching communitites of the world. C'mon, ask me an embarrassing question about sex or something. What do you think I'm here for? Also- it's better to regret not doing something you might have gotten herpes from than to regret doing
something from which you did.
TN: Hey, Kurt, do you think you could convince the guys to all change their last names to LILY like the Ramones did? Then you could go by Kurt Tiger Lily. It worked for John Cougar Mellancamp for a while!
Kurt's press agent comes in and says time's up for our little chat
and someone else is waiting to talk to him- the eager media.
KH: I get on the phone for 3-4 hours a day and she throws me a
croissant and says "Good, Wally".
TN: We'll save the sex questions for next time.
KH: If it involves men and women, or women and women, or men and men, it's probably true. So, use your imagination!
See you Tuesday.
Say, did you ever hear the one about Madonna, the Pope, and Wally?
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