New York Times Music Critic Nat Hentoff Interviews Dr. Heathen
Scum of the Mentors, and Church of El Duce
Duce News Network : August 2008
Hentoff : Scum, Music Fans around the world are excited
to hear your new release. Your previous solo albums, El
Magnifico Musicione, Mans Way to Relax, and Top Notch Rock
were pretty good and considered classics. What took you
so long to do another one?
Scum : Well, working with Mentors and the Mantors was a
major distraction from my solo efforts. The last Mentors
album, Over the Top took a long time to write and record,
since we had all kinds of problems, especially with the
studio were started out. In the mddle off the recording
the engineer/owner had a mental breakdown and decided he
couldnt produce Rape Rock and so we had to hire the Mafia
to kill him and get our Pro Tools files back from him.
Also, getting high and fucking were a major distraction.
When you have as much money as I do, every day, you wake
up and say, well what do i want to do today? Fuck, and when
I say fuck I mean serious fucking, really perverted long
sex sessiones. Rough sex.
The other choice is getting high. Fortunately you can get
high and make music. in fact this is a good combination.
But you really cant fuck and make music.
Hentoff : Really? Well at least you have your priorities
thought through. Please tell em about thhe album Ladies
Man and how it came to be recorded, and the songs
Scum : Well, this all started when I hooked up again with
Marc Mad Dog DeLeon from Bakersfield. He is about 15 years
younger than me, and when Duce was alive we played Bakersfield
all the time and hung out with Marc a lot cause his band
Hossbruten opened for us a lot. Marc worshipped Duce and
had even run away from home to find Duce in Hollywood at
the Ivar Theatre. Marc in the years since Duce died was
caught up in the Bakersfield Nu Metal Genre but finally
realized he had to get back to doing Rape Rock for life.
So he formed the Mantors, and band a lot like Mentors.
I heard about them, and emailed them, not knowing this
was my old friend . So next think you know Im driving up
to Bakersfield in the pouring Rain from Riverside and jamming
There is a killer studio there called that is run by this
nice lady who also plays smoking keyboards.
So I holed up in that studio and wrote and recorded the
entire album with the three of us. It took about four months
off and on to do it. Every time I make a record I always
think it is the best one I ever did, so you know only time
will tell really how good it is But right now, I think it
is fucking smoking.
It has some killer tracks, like 5 Years Old, which is about
screwing little girls (which of course I think is wrong,
lets not get the wrong idea here Mentors Fans), and Always
Praising Him, which is a Church hymn to our Lord El Duce,
and a shit pile more.
The big change for me was heavy use of the Hammond Organ.
The lady, that runs the studio has a B3 with a Leslie and
when she fires that thing up it sounds like you are in Heaven.
So I tried to write the songs around that sound.
I got so into it I bought my own hammond for my own studio,
They are really the best keyboard instruments ever made,
but you have to use the old ones. I wish I could live forever,
cause there is a lot of more sounds I want to incorporate,
like horn sections, and Black Chick backup singers, and
stuff like that. Hopefullly Duce willing, I will get to
do that one day also.
Hentoff : Your legacy is the Mentors, a band on par with
Beatles, so all these side projectds are cool, and sound
good, but they are like the Traveling Wilburys, right? In
the final analysis maybe not that important?
Scum : Well yes I can understand that and intellectdualize
it. Furhtermore the other problem you have is the best work,
regardless of fields is usually done by young people. and
Im far from that. I just turned 50. When I listen to our
olde stuff with Duce and Sickie, it just blows me away,
it is so good. I think, how did we do that? But life does
go on, and I still love to get high and play music History
will have to be the judge as to if my later output is as
good as the early. I think especially on this album, I have
some songs on there that was be listened to until the sun
burns out. Givne the test of time, I think maybe except
for this, in temrs of my solo work, Top Notch Rock is the
pinnacle. The songs and emotional feeling captured there
is so intense.
Hentoff : how do you balance the drugs and luxury lifestyle
against he creativity and spirituality required for timeless
Scum : Nat, that is a one hell of a question. If you look
at musiciains like Sly Stone, who wrote absolutely some
of the best music of all time,ever, and then his otuput
droppped to zero, becuase of the drugs. I leanred, stay
away from coke and heroin and stuff like that. It just stops
you dead in your tracks. Rock music, and all music is a
a continium, and very little it completely originallly.
the key is insipiration. You have to be excited by this
music you are making and listening too. Joe Perry said,
when he was straight and a kid, listineing to rock music
gave him hte first hit in the morning feeling. Just listening
stone sober to great rock music, if its Little Richard,
or Chuck Berry, or Muddy Waters, does that for me still.
And im still figuring out new chords and how do to it better.
Im rich yes But my lifestyle hasnt changed at all. I have
a shitty car, whcih I dont hardly drive. most of the time
I drive my bike with a cassette deck on the back to listen
to my tapes. I smoke my week, drink my whiskey and beer
and thats about it it Mabye a valium here and there.
Cuase final analysis, the most high you ever feel is hearing
hte music of the godz in your head. It is really spiratual
and I dont wanna fuck that up with hard drugs and speed
and shit like that.
hentoff : What is your relationship iwht Sickie. You and
he are the sole remaiing members of what is potentionally
the greattest rock band ever.
Heathen : there is a lot of love and respect. When we get
togehter, it is llike we are both 13 years old again and
listening and learning to music together. He was always
the better musician than me. He taught me so much.about
But we found our own paths in life. His songs, the wones
he wrote, are just killer tunes. Very deep msucially. And
I sitll appreciate it. The problem is whenyou get oldler,
and this happens to every band with more than one writer,
the writers become less intrested in colllaboration. Writing
songs is pleasureable and unforuntaly also it is an ego
trip. So you become naturally less tolerant of the other
guys style. You just want to hear your own stuff recorded
nice. We went throught that phase, and it wasnt cause we
werent friends or didnt respect each other. It is just the
way life is. That was what made our band unique in that
we had three guys with a parallel, but not identical musical
vision. So we were like a monster. Each guy was a super
good writer and had a lot of creative input. It made for
just some killer stuff. Most of your bands are really a
solo project with one guy calling all the shots. That narrows
the sound, limits the scope, the expansiveness of the project.
Thats also what made the Beatles so good. Same concept.
He is one of the greatest, if not the greatest electric
guitarist of all time. Maybe only Hendrix is in his league.
I look forward to playing with him in Mentors and making
more records and playing more shows.