‘Without anxiously departing’: talking with Kevin Junior of the Chamber Strings

interview by Kim Cooper & Margaret Griffis

It’s entirely too rare that the will to rock and a way with jewel-like melody turns up in a single body. Scram is a proud supporter of such anomalies, and also endorses anyone who wears a rooster haircut at century’s end. You may know of Kevin Junior’s work with the Mystery Girls or Rosehips, or backing up Epic Soundtracks towards the end of his life. His Chamber Strings are terrific, brash, tasteful, swaggering, and sweet, and their Gospel Morning record was one of the finest things to come out in the last couple years. Kevin met us before his band’s Los Angeles debut at Spaceland one summer evening, and impressed us very favorably, because even though he was hallucinating, his manners were pristine.

(as we set up the recorder Kevin is telling us about how he was abused by the management for smoking at the club the night before)
MARGARET: So, how was Long Beach, other than that they attacked you?
KEVIN: (chuckling) Terrible! They were just mean to us.
KIM: Was it the audience, or the club?
KEVIN: There was no audience, but if there was maybe they would have been mean, too.
MARGARET: Maybe that’s why they were mean to you.
KEVIN: Yeah. Well, they were mean before there was any proof of an audience. It was really comical. But the three shows before that were good.
KIM: How long have you been touring?
KEVIN: We’ve been to Seattle, Portland and San Francisco.
KIM: Well, tonight will be better; this is a good bill.
MARGARET: There’ll be people here.
KEVIN: I’m looking forward to it.
KIM: Everybody loves the Lazy Cowgirls.
MARGARET: And you can go in there (gesturing to the space-themed airlock room above the main club) and smoke.
KIM: Yeah, you can smoke as much as you want in there, and the smoke just sort of hovers under those… satellite dishes.
KEVIN: That’s real good.
MARGARET: The smokers’ ghetto.
KIM: So, you ran away to England, huh?
KEVIN: Well, I didn’t, I just went over there to do some work, basically. I kept coming back. That was where Epic was. When we were first working together there were European tours to be done, and then it became a problem for him to come over here.
KIM: Did he have convictions?
KEVIN: He just never got work permits. He never made any money either, in These Immortal Souls and things—
KIM: But he played shows?
KEVIN: He just flew into Minneapolis airport and got into a bunch of trouble, ‘cause they’re kind of yokels there. They really don’t have much else to do.
KIM: (in a weak attempt at a Midwestern drawl) ‘That guy looks weird, let’s hassle him.’
MARGARET: (better, but not by much) ‘What are you here for, son?’
KEVIN: Yeah, so they completely interrogated him and caused some problems. He was supposed to be allowed to come back a year later, but they kept turning him down for some reason.
KIM: But you didn’t have any problems going over there?
KEVIN: No, no. I like going over there.
MARGARET: They don’t pick you out of the crowd and…?
KEVIN: I got detained once, but—
KIM: Where, in London?
KEVIN: Yeah.
KIM: Were they mean to you?
KEVIN: A little. (chuckles)
KIM: (hoping for a Midnight Express-type story) What did they do?
KEVIN: Well, they just made me sit there for four or five hours after I’d been on a plane all night. That’s pretty mean.
MARGARET: Watching to see what you did. (what he passed, more likely)
KEVIN: They just didn’t believe why I was in the country, and once I sorted all that out it was fine.
KIM: Did they bring you a cup of tea?
KEVIN: No. But the last time I flew into Berlin, and they didn’t even ask for my passport!
KIM: In Berlin you’re normal looking!
MARGARET: (faux innocent) What trouble could you be up to in Berlin?
KEVIN: Every kind of trouble there is you can get into in Berlin.
KIM: I was in a riot in Berlin. I was over there staying with some friends who were squatting in the mid-eighties, and George Bush flew into town that day, so the police decided that there would probably be trouble. So they actually caused a riot: they blocked off this street where all the kids were hanging out anyway and wouldn’t let anyone leave, and then started beating people up. It was quite a scene. If you stayed inside a cafe you were all right, but if you went outside you were fair game. They were just chasing kids up and down the street.
KEVIN: Oh my god, how frightening.
KIM: Yeah. And after a couple hours my friends and I were bored, so we took our American passports and walked out and said, ‘We’d like to leave, please. We got here by accident.’ And they cross-examined us, they asked us what high schools we went to! Then they let us leave. (chuckles) So, have you been recording with Jim Dickinson yet?
KEVIN: No, I wish. We haven’t actually been contact with him, but that’s who I want to do the next record. We’re waiting till we figure out when it’s gonna be. Then we’ll get on our hands and knees.
KIM: I saw the Memphis plates on your van, so I thought that’s where you’d come from.
KEVIN: No, just coincidence. We got the van in Chicago.
KIM: Maybe it’s a good omen.
KEVIN: I really wanna do it down there!
MARGARET: Have you been?
KEVIN: Uh-uh. I’ve always had a fascination with Memphis, but I’ve never gone. It’s better, ‘cause I want a reason to go down, instead of just as a tourist. I wanna work. I dunno, even if Jim Dickinson doesn’t do the next record, it’d be interesting to go down there with somebody else. Like Ron Easley’s studio or something.
KIM: Are the songs written? Your record came out quite a while ago.
KEVIN: Mostly, yeah. The longer I have until it’s time to record is probably for the best. If I’ve got twelve songs ready to record and they say ‘You can’t do it for another two months,’ that’s okay ‘cause I might come up with something that’s better than anything we’ve got.
KIM: How many songs do you write in a year?
KEVIN: It depends. The first six months of 1998, I didn’t write one single song. It’s the longest stretch of my life, since I became a musician. But it was just ‘cause I was going through all kinds of really bad personal stuff, and I couldn’t muster it up. Once I got past that, it started flowing.
KIM: You also had a lot to work with.
KEVIN: Yeah, exactly, and it’s hard to write songs in the middle of all that. When you’ve got a perspective’
KIM: You might not ever want to hear those songs again then! (laughter)
KEVIN: Yeah.
MARGARET: Unless it’s the blues.
KIM: Real deep blues.
MARGARET: In Memphis that might be good.
KEVIN: (chuckles) Yeah. It’s like ‘60s Memphis soul is really the stuff I’m most impressed with. I think the next record will incorporate a combination of ‘60s soul and Phil Spector, Brill Building pop production and arrangements.
KIM: You gonna play with an orchestra?
KEVIN: It’s definitely gonna be a string-heavy record, I know that, and brass and piano are gonna be on there quite a bit, too. Sorta the way Gospel Morning was, just a wide range of styles. And I’m just trying with each album to dig deeper into that, just explore as much as I can with all the influences I have. I think it’s possible to make it sound compatible, too, and not like a different band on every song. So if I’m trying to get Phil Spector and a Memphis ‘60s soul sound, maybe it’ll end up sounding like Gamble and Huff or something. (chuckles) I dunno, we’ll see.
KIM: Just don’t be tempted to actually ask Phil Spector to do it.
KEVIN: (laughs) We have the same birthday.
KIM: Really, when’s that?
KEVIN: Day after Christmas.
KIM: We just interviewed Johnny Ramone, and he had a few stories to tell, even after all these years.
KEVIN: Oh, I’ll bet he did!
MARGARET: The man leaves a lot of stories in his wake.
KEVIN: I mean, if someone said ‘Phil Spector’s producing your album’ I don’t know how you could possibly turn it down, even though it might ruin your record or ruin your’
KIM: Life! He’s never actually killed anyone as far as I know.
MARGARET: Just kidnapped them.
KIM: And put strings on their records that they didn’t want. But you wouldn’t mind that. Johnny was really unhappy that there were strings on his record.
KEVIN: Oh, I’d love that. I might be mad if Johnny Ramone played on my record! (laughs) I love the Ramones, but I just can’t see a part for Johnny to play on my next record.
KIM: Maybe triangle?
KEVIN: Yeah, he could do that.
KIM: He doesn’t wanna play anything anymore, he’s completely retired. How did you meet Epic and (brother) Nikki (Sudden, of the Jacobites)?
KEVIN: A mutual friend introduced me to Nikki, and when Epic started coming ‘round for his first record we met up. I just introduced myself. I really liked his first solo album, a lot. We got on really well and started hanging out when he’d come to town. Eventually he called me, when Sleeping Star came out, and said he wanted to have a band play with him, and tour Europe. So we did that and then just kept playing together. It worked out well. And before Epic died I did some stuff with Nikki, on one of his records, and did a few shows here and there. After Epic died we did a couple tours together, and recorded a record called Red Brocade.
KIM: Is that a Nikki record, or the Jacobites?
KEVIN: A Nikki record. It’s basically the Chamber Strings as his band, but it’s not really the same record anymore. When he took it back to England he just remixed the whole thing, wiped the drums off half the tracks ‘ I don’t give a fuck about it now.
KIM: Is it out?
KEVIN: (bored) Mmm-hmm. But, yeah, those days are pretty much over. Me and Nikki still get on, but it just takes too much time away from what I’m doing, and I’d just much rather I was concentrating on the Chamber Strings instead of doing someone else’s thing. But we just did a tour with Nikki in April, May, in Europe for six weeks, so that was a nice way to top it off. I’d never say never, we might do something again, but I can’t see it happening for a while.
KIM: Do you think if Epic hadn’t died that you’d have your own band? Was that something you were working on?
KEVIN: I was working on it in between. My old band had broken up right when I started playing with Epic, and so for the first year I was just writing. Then I started splitting time with the intention that I’d be able to do this band and play with Epic when he needed me. I figured I’d just rearrange my schedule for it.
KIM: This group was in the states?
KEVIN: Yeah. We would have figured it out somehow.
KIM: We have jet flight now, so you can really do anything you want.
KEVIN: What’s that?
KIM: Jet flight ‘ you can go really fast from place to place.
KEVIN: Really? Oh, I hadn’t heard of that.
MARGARET: I heard about it on Art Bell.
KEVIN: I bet it costs loads of money, though.
KIM: That’s true. What’s your favorite conspiracy theory?
KEVIN: (long pause) I don’t know that many conspiracy theories. I know a lot of myths—
KIM: A myth will do.
KEVIN: Well, I guess the one that just came to mind today was that L.A. is such a horrible place —
KIM: Is that what they told you?!
KEVIN: (laughing) That’s the myth in Chicago!
KIM: And we like Chicago!
KEVIN: I’ve really enjoyed myself today, so…
KIM: What did you do?
KEVIN: I was real L.A. today: I went to do an interview outside, and we had smoothies (the Scram staff cracks up) on Ventura Blvd.–
KIM: You were in the Valley?
KEVIN: No, I thought it was — well, maybe it was.
KIM: (as if talking to a child) You were in the Valley.
KEVIN: And it was just really artificial and—
MARGARET: It wasn’t that bad, was it?
KEVIN: Oh, it was great, I loved it! It was like you could breathe out here, ‘cause it’s so humid in Chicago. I was really enjoying just sitting outside and having some ice cream.
KIM: And no one pulled a gun on you, did they?
KEVIN: No, no one pulled a gun on me, and there was lots of trees and plants around, and it was just very enjoyable, actually.
KIM: Well, you can move out here if you want.
KEVIN: Yeah? I just might. I decided when I was in San Francisco a few nights back that I was gonna move there, now I’ll probably tomorrow think that I’m gonna move here.
KIM: (looking at the tour schedule) You’re going to Costa Mesa tomorrow ‘ don’t be swayed by Costa Mesa!
MARGARET: Oh, that’s a different world, as different from here as San Francisco is different.
KEVIN: I just wish I could spend more time in these places, but when you’re on tour you don’t really get more than twelve hours in a place.
KIM: Real snap-shot view.
KEVIN: Some places you don’t really get to see anything at all, but we got to see a lot of San Francisco.
KIM: Where did you play?
KEVIN: The Cocadrie. And we’re actually basing ourselves out of here for the next couple of days, so we’ll get to see more of L.A.
MARGARET: Go to Disneyland.
KEVIN: Oh yeah! I dunno if I’ll have time for that. I just saw the Capitol Records building and thought that was so neat. I only ever tour on the east coast and south and midwest, never have made it out here before. We had a tour booked earlier and it got canceled for whatever reason, but it’s nice to finally get out here.
KIM: What’s one of the most peculiar things to ever happen to you on these tours?
KEVIN: Well, I find it most peculiar that I’m able to stay awake for three, four days at a time.
KIM: Is that normal? Can you do that all the time?
KEVIN: I can’t do it when I’m at home. To me that’s extremely peculiar.
MARGARET: Without taking naps?
KEVIN: Hardly, yeah, just being pretty much up three days straight.
KIM: You do three days on and then you crash, as a cycle?
KEVIN: Mmm, and then when I crash it’s only five hours or something.
KIM: (laughing) Your metabolism is really twisted.
KEVIN: When I come home from tours I’m always just deathly ill.
KIM: How long have you been awake right now?
KEVIN: One week.
KIM: You’ve been awake for a week??!
KEVIN: Oh, awake! Away, I thought you meant. We just started this tour a week ago.
KIM: So are you at the end of a cycle right now?
KEVIN: Uhm, yeah, I don’t even know, I just know that I haven’t slept, like, properly, in a while. Several days.
KIM: Are you hallucinating?
KEVIN: I’m sort of always hallucinating. (everyone cracks up)
KIM: MARGARET had a lucid dream last night.
KEVIN: What was that?
MARGARET: I started flying my truck around in the sky.
KIM: You wanted to fly, but you were driving, so you both flew!
MARGARET: (chuckling) An easy way to handle that problem.
KIM: I liked what you said about it, ‘It had a hundred thousand miles, so it couldn’t go too high!’
MARGARET: I’ll have to get the transmission looked at.
KIM: Your mechanic’s not gonna understand.
MARGARET: ‘Cesar? It didn’t fly high enough.’
KIM: Where are you from, originally?
KEVIN: Akron, Ohio. It’s a strange place to be from.
KIM: What’s it like?
KEVIN: It’s working class, and it breeds a weird group of people, I think. But we always seems to get good musicians there.
KIM: Who’s from there?
KEVIN: A lot of diverse people. There’s bands like the Dead Boys, and then there was the Raspberries’
KIM: They’re from Akron?
KEVIN: Cleveland. Actually, Akron ‘ I went to the same high school as Chrissie Hynde and Mark Mothersbaugh and Rachel Sweet.
MARGARET: (chuckling) At the same time?
KEVIN: (slightly exasperated) No, but they all went to this school.
KIM: Is it a normal public school?
KEVIN: Yeah. Aerosmith played there in 1972!
KIM: In the gym?
KIM: What’s the name of your school?
KEVIN: Firestone.
KIM: Firestone!? Like the tire?
KEVIN: Yeah, that’s where they made ‘em. Akron was the rubber capital of the world, so that just kinda sets a picture for you.
MARGARET: Maybe all that cookin’ rubber has done something to the gene pool?
KEVIN: Yeah, it left something in the air, I think.
KIM: Is rubber an artificial product, or is it made out of latex from rubber trees?
KEVIN: (flabbergasted) Wow…?
KIM: You didn’t learn this is school?!
KEVIN: I didn’t.
MARGARET: It used to be made from trees.
KIM: They used to milk the trees.
KEVIN: I don’t know where it comes from. I’m just glad it’s here!
KIM: When did you leave?
KEVIN: I left when I was about sixteen years old. Came to Chicago. And about a year later started a band, called the Mystery Girls, that sounded like T. Rex and the Flamin’ Groovies. And we couldn’t play.
KIM: When was this?
KEVIN: About 1987. We were just such outcasts at the time, ‘cause everyone was either in a punk rock band or a heavy metal band. What we were doing was actually really different.
KIM: Antagonistic, I would think.
KEVIN: Yeah.
KIM: Did you look glammy too?
KEVIN: Yeah.
MARGARET: Did you get beat up?
KEVIN: Uh, we didn’t! People basically either loved or hated us.
KIM: They guarded you.
KEVIN: Yeah. There were plenty of people who thought we were pretty brave and liked it, and other people didn’t get it at all. But you know, anytime Johnny Thunders came to town, guess who go the opening slot?! (laughs)
KIM: How many times did you open for him?
KEVIN: Oh, just once, but if he’d lived I’m sure we would have gotten it the second time around too! (laughter)
KIM: Did he actually play the show?
KEVIN: Yeah, he did.
KIM: I think it was about one out of three towards the end.
KEVIN: That was a good experience, because we were all really young, and we couldn’t play our instruments that well. We were just learning how to write songs.
KIM: Who were the big bands in Chicago at that time?
KEVIN: At that time there weren’t that many at all. Hardly anybody had record deals. I think Material Issue and… boy, they were one of the only ones. The big bands were 11th Dream Day and Friends of Betty, who became Red Red Meat. Just any band that could get a record out, even if it was on an indie label, was considered a big band in Chicago! Like, us and Smashing Pumpkins were playing the same clubs to nobody. One day it all changed, but Chicago had really nothing to offer for a long time.
KIM: What was it that drew you to Chicago? Just the nearest big city?
KEVIN: Yeah, basically. I just wanted more culture in my life, and I knew I wasn’t gonna be able to get that living in Akron, Ohio.
KIM: You must’ve realized that from an early age.
KEVIN: Yeah, I did. The kids I went to school with, I couldn’t get any of ‘em into new wave or punk rock or anything. You couldn’t even get ‘em to listen to an unpopular Stones record! (laughter) They would never put on Goat’s Head Soup or something.
KIM: You must’ve been really lonely.
KEVIN: Yeah, that’s the whole thing, I just couldn’t relate to any of my friends there. And there were very few open-minded people. It’s still that way in Akron. Little groups of outcasts there.
KIM: I guess that you appreciate each other much more when there’s only three people that know what you’re talking about?
KEVIN: Yeah, it’s true.
MARGARET: A secret gang.
KIM: Well, I grew up in Hollywood, and I had a hard time relating to anyone, too. I think it’s like that anywhere.
KEVIN: Grass is always greener.
KIM: Oh, I didn’t think there was anywhere better! High school sucked.
MARGARET: Oh, that must have been really depressing!
KIM: Yeah, I was in the pop culture capital of the world and I couldn’t relate to anyone!
MARGARET: At least when I was growing up I thought perhaps somewhere else was better.
KIM: She grew up in Miami, so… we represent the gamut of America here.
KEVIN: Yeah, we do.
KIM: And we all turned out all right.
KEVIN: We should become president.
MARGARET: All three of us?
KIM: What was that Roman ‘ triumvirate, yeah. Okay, I’m in. (laughter) So after the Mystery Girls then you were with the Rosehips, right?
KEVIN: Yeah, that was an advancement for sure, ‘cause I was really starting to want to be a songwriter foremost. Before, all I wanted to be was a guitar player. And I was forced into singing because the singer in the Mystery Girls quit after a few shows. But by the time the Rosehips came along I was really into songwriting and crafting and arranging things, not just going in with a four-piece band, bashing it out and mixing it in an hour.
KIM: You changed the name ‘cause you felt like it was a misrepresentation?
KEVIN: Yeah, we just wanted to start fresh and leave all that behind, instead of breaking up and starting a new band to do that.
KIM: It was all the same people?
KEVIN: Mmm-hmm. That was really good for me, and I like the Rosehips’ record. But it did its time, ‘cause we had been together for so long before that that we were all just frustrated. And I was starting to talk about Brian Wilson and all these other kinda different things that we’d never really incorporated in our music, and I think everyone was just kinda like, ‘What?!’
MARGARET: Back in Akron again.
KEVIN: ‘Not Rod Stewart? Not Steve Marriott?’
KIM: ‘Why would we wanna do that? No, that’s not right!’ (laughter)
KEVIN: The main influences for the Rosehips, we were really into the Stones and Faces and Humble Pie, Bob Dylan and the Only Ones, Ike and Tina Turner.
KIM: Those are great influences, but it’s kinda one-sided. It’s really aggressive.
KEVIN: That’s what I said. I’ve got so many other things in me. That’s not even one quarter of my record collection at home. I just knew if I got away from them I could do what I wanted and not have to answer to anybody. I could just play it myself if I had to.
KIM: Was it hard to make that break after such a long time?
KEVIN: It really wasn’t at all. It was just like a huge weight off my shoulders, and I was happy to do it.
KIM: And they were probably happy not to be hassled about Brian Wilson anymore.
KEVIN: Yeah (chuckling), maybe!
KIM: Are they still playing Faces music, or what?
KEVIN: No, actually. Two of the guys aren’t really playing at all, and the drummer’s playing in Cash Money, which is a Blues Explosion sort of band. (as if on cue, thunderous drumming erupts from Spaceland’s tiny stage, as the Flesheaters’ drummer embarks on a ridiculously ‘professional’ soundcheck.) Uh-oh!
KIM: (Explaining for the out-of-towner) Hey, that’s Chris D., L.A. punk rock royalty. You know I heard he was fired from being a substitute teacher for being too cruel? (MARGARET cracks up)
KEVIN: But now I can say to somebody in the band, ‘Do you know this arrangement on this Dionne Warwick song?’ and nobody blinks an eye. It’s not kitschy—
KIM: You can translate what you’re hearing
KEVIN: —to them and it’s not out of reach. So that’s what I want.
KIM: I love the record, by the way.
KEVIN: Oh, thank you.
KIM: We do very few interviews, so you should feel flattered! Mostly we do historical stuff.
KEVIN: Oh, I do! I could tell from looking at the bands on the cover, it looks like you have really good taste in what you do. (Scram blushes) I wouldn’t interview very many new bands either. I wouldn’t know who to interview.
KIM: Would you like to give any fashion or etiquette advice to our readers?
KEVIN: (usually this question stymies people, but KEVIN pipes up without pausing to think) Yes! If you’re in a band, don’t wear shorts onstage (laughter)–
KIM: What about hot pants, are those okay?
KEVIN: Yeah, sure, you can wear hot pants, I suppose. Don’t wear baseball caps onstage—
KIM: Or anywhere.
KEVIN: Yeah. (beginning to sound immensely jaded, so you just know he’s had to chastise bandmates for all of these sartorial offenses) Don’t wear a shirt with your own band’s name on it.
MARGARET: Onstage or at all?
KEVIN: At all!
KIM: That’s pretty bad. Okay, but what about if your band’s broken up and it’s your old band?
KEVIN: Maybe, it depends.
KIM: After five years or so.
KEVIN: We’ve got these t-shirts now, I’m so tempted to put one on, but…
KIM: You can wear it inside out!
MARGARET: What if you’re being ‘ironic’?
KIM: Ironic’s bad.
MARGARET: It’s bad?
KIM: Real bad.
KEVIN: It’s hard to see irony. But that would be probably the most ridiculous thing I could do, to wear one of the shirts with a picture of me!
KIM: That’s a nice shirt you have on (a tapered Western number in red and black); where did you get that?
KEVIN: Oh, thanks. I think I just got it at a vintage store.
KIM: Unfortunately Nudies’ is closed now so you can’t go there.
KEVIN: Yeah, I know. Actually I asked somebody right before I came out, being a big Gram Parsons fan, I thought maybe Nudies’ — I knew he died, but…
KIM: The wife kept it open for a couple years, but they didn’t seem to be adding to the stock, it was just getting sort of thin toward the end. And it smelled really bad in there! It smelled like some kind of cleaning solution.
MARGARET: But they did have the pictures on the wall.
KIM: I never found the Burritos’ picture though; I looked.
KIM: Did you?
MARGARET: I think it was low, and on the…
KIM: I was in there with my mom, and she wasn’t that into it.
KEVIN: Have you seen the new Gram tribute record?
KIM: Seen it but haven’t heard it — how is it?
KEVIN: Well, it’s not very good. But there’s a couple pictures I’d never seen inside with him and Nudie. One of them they’re sitting on his car, and the other it looks like they’re inside the shop.
KIM: Is he wearing the (notorious marijuana-leaf) suit?
KEVIN: Yeah! It’s not that suit, it’s a different suit.
KIM: Wonder whatever happened to those suits?
KEVIN: They’ve got pieces of it, on the cover. They thank someone for letting them use it. I dunno who. (the drumming gets obtrusive again, and we briefly pause the tape)
MARGARET: — damn, that’s loud!
KIM: That’s really loud!
KIM: KEVIN, how do you get your hair to do that? (referring to his Keith ‘do)
KEVIN: Just get it cut a certain way. I don’t have to do anything else.
KIM: You don’t put anything in it?!
KEVIN: No, just take a hairdryer’
MARGARET: Dry it upside down.
KIM: Can I touch it? (does, to much giggling)
KEVIN: It’s too long, though. (more drums!)
MARGARET: (groans)
KEVIN: (whispering) Stop it!
KIM: It’s not a stadium. What’s the worst band you’ve ever played with?
KEVIN: God, two nights ago, I think.
KIM: That’s just fresh in your mind. It can’t be the worst ever.
KEVIN: No really, it might have been this band. They’re called Vain. They opened up for us in San Francisco, a horrible heavy metal band. Two nights before that some horrible hippie band, a kind of Grateful Dead band. Oh god, I’ve played with some bad bands before!
KIM: So, we got your fashion tips; do you have any etiquette advice?
KEVIN: Yeah, I think you should definitely try to be less American at restaurants and follow some tips from the Europeans. Just have a more pleasurable dining experience.
KIM: You mean sit there for a very long time without anxiously departing?
KEVIN: Well, everyone’s just so quick to do things here. They want to get it all done and over with, and I think that it’s so much nicer to spend some time having a meal, and have red wine with it, make it sort of an event. In America, people just don’t care. They eat ‘cause they have to!
KIM: You think they should take more pleasure in the small pleasures.
KEVIN: Yes! And I think that men should stop being rude to women.
MARGARET: You think they’re less rude in Europe?
KEVIN: Oh, I don’t know about that! Just in general. I’ve just been hanging out with some people lately who are extremely rude.
KIM: You’re just living with guys, right?
KEVIN: Yeah.
KIM: How many of you are there on the tour?
KEVIN: There’s five of us.
KIM: That must be a real scene.
KEVIN: It’s okay. They’re a good bunch of guys. They’re not too rude.
KIM: So that’s not who you were talking about, your bandmates?
KEVIN: (laughing) Oh, no! For goodness sake!
KIM: Here in L.A.?
KEVIN: Yeah.
KIM: (laughing) Who are you staying with?
KEVIN: I’m staying with a really good friend, but some of his friends are completely pigs, y’know!
MARGARET: Do they wear shorts and baseball caps?
KEVIN: No. I like ‘em, but they’re completely rude. It’s appalling for me to hear women referred to as certain names, y’know?
KIM: What are those names?
KEVIN: It’s not good etiquette!
KIM: Perhaps you could tell us what names not to call women by?
KEVIN: Um, don’t refer to them in body parts, I think that’s not really nice.
MARGARET: Is it okay for us to refer to other women like that?
KIM: I don’t think that’s all right. It’s crass.
KEVIN: I dunno. Guys think ‘ when some people just assume that just ‘cause they’re a fucking fat pig that you are too! They assume that you wanna sit around and hear this kinda stuff come out of their mouths!
KIM: Well you have to speak up.
KEVIN: I just prefer to ignore it.
MARGARET: Then you’d be the target of their wrath.
KIM: They’d call you a girlie man.
KEVIN: Right.
KIM: But the girls’ll like you.
KEVIN: So those are my etiquette tips. Quit being rude and enjoy your food.
MARGARET: What kind of food do you like?
KEVIN: I like things that have been cooked by a person, basically. I’m just so sick of fast food. Thai food’s really good.
KIM: Have you had any good Mexican food since you’ve been in the Southland?
KEVIN: No, we haven’t ‘ yeah! we had Del Taco! (hysterics)
KIM: No no no no no no no ‘ you have to have proper Mexican food!
KEVIN: Oh, I live in a predominantly Mexican neighborhood, so I haven’t been craving it.
MARGARET: They have very good Mexican food in Chicago.
KEVIN: Yeah, they do, especially where I live.
MARGARET: They don’t even speak English.
KEVIN: Yeah, a lot of ‘em don’t.
KIM: When did they come into Illinois?
KEVIN: I dunno. I think Chicago’s always had a heavy Hispanic population.
KIM: I know they’re in Detroit too. ? and the Mysterians are Mexican guys.
MARGARET: I always wondered how they got up there.
KIM: I think they started picking, seasonal fruit picking. KEVIN, I think we’ve bothered you enough, perhaps. Is there anything you’d like to make known to the world?
MARGARET: Something you’ve wanted to tell all those people?
KEVIN: (nervously) Which people?
KEVIN: I hate you! Get out of my way! Please leave me alone!! (laughter) Oh, I dunno, I’ve got lots of philosophies, but it’s just, I’m bad under pressure.
KIM: Do you have a favorite joke?
KEVIN: At the moment I have a couple, but they are so rude that I am not gonna repeat them and have ‘em in print! I’m not gonna have that live with me the rest of my life. Let me think of an innocent one.
KIM: You’d rather be remembered as being nicer than you actually are.
KEVIN: Yeah, I would actually. Oh, they’re all so rude! I like rude jokes that are so over-the-top rude, they’re just so offensive, but people who say that stuff — (a visit from a little tour fairy interrupts) What’s this?
KIM*/*MARGARET: Drink tickets!!
KEVIN: (suddenly distracted) I’ll tell you later, when the tape’s not on.
KIM: You’ve got drink tickets, there’s no point in going on.
KEVIN: Yeah, maybe I will start drinking now. I’ve felt miserable all day. I drank about a gallon of red wine last night.
KIM: Oh! Did it come out of a box or out of a bottle?
KEVIN: No, out of a bottle. It was a good bottle of wine, but, yeah… I’m just irresponsible.
KIM: No you’re not; you’re on tour.
KEVIN: I take that excuse too much. (we flip the tape as KEVIN is saying something about staying with people while on tour) I don’t care if you have to go to work tomorrow! Stay up with me! I’m not tired!
MARGARET: You’re a mischief-maker.
KEVIN: I guess so. I’ve got a big devil here (points to one shoulder, then the other), and one right over here.
KIM: (laughing) Two devils? C’mon! He doesn’t have any competition!
KEVIN: But they’re both really nice guys.
KIM: They’d like to be remembered as being nicer than they are.