The notoriously unhinged frontman of Jesus Lizard and Scratch Acid has emerged from semi-retirement to holler and howl with Qui, who present the delightfully deranged songs from their bold new Love's Miracle (Ipecac) disc tonight (Thursday, October 4) at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West). $10.50.
What recording changed your life?
There are too many to even try narrowing it down. More than any one record, what really made me who I am were the punk rock bands I saw playing in Austin, like the Dicks, Butthole Surfers, Terminal Mind, Sharon Tate's Baby and the Huns. They were my inspiration.
When did it occur to you that performing without clothes was a good idea?
At a Scratch Acid show in Seattle sometime in 1986. In the middle of a song, some dude snuck up from behind and pantsed me. Rather than show any sign of embarrassment, I just continued singing with my trousers around my ankles, as if nothing had happened. From the way the crowd reacted, it seemed to go over well.
How did you hook up with Qui?
They'd heard some of the crap I'd done and got in touch with me through a mutual friend because they wanted me to sing the Frank Zappa song Willie The Pimp with them at a show. I did that, and things sort of spontaneously combusted. After Jesus Lizard ended, I didn't ever want to be in a band again - my photo retouching job was going great - but I had such a good time with Qui that when they asked me to join, I couldn't say no.
Can you still be as confrontational with Qui as you once were?
I never thought of what I do onstage as being confrontational, although I can understand why people might think that. I'd say the performances are manic, but I don't do much crowd-surfing any more. I'm tired of getting hurt. I'd come home from tours with Jesus Lizard just covered in cuts and bruises and aching all over. I'm too old for that kinda shit.
You've been doing some acting recently. Is this a new career?
Right before we started this tour, I got a call from this filmmaker friend of mine, Dennis Hauk, who asked me to be in a spaghetti western thing he was shooting with Dean Stockwell in Arizona. I play a con man masquerading as a preacher who tortures some guy in front of his tied-up fiancée, which turns into a big bloody mess. The whole 12-day shoot was a blast and one of the best experiences of my life. Music is still my first priority, but I'd definitely be interested in more film work.