MANDIE (GLAMOUR PUNKS) INTERVIEW:
February 15, 2010
Interviewer: Grant W.
Those who know their ‘Sunset Strip’ bands will be more than familiar with the Glamour Punks, probably one of the most significant unsigned acts of that era. The Glamour Punks, self dubbed the ‘One Sick Posse’, were essentially a punk band with a ‘fuck everybody and everything’ attitude. However they looked and sounded more reminiscent of the sleaze/glam movement that was, unfortunately, just about to experience the force of a grunge explosion. Despite never securing a record deal when they were together, they have a place in the ‘Sunset Strip family tree’ with connections to other underground cult bands such as Juicy Miss Lucy, Press Darlings, Tommy and the Love Tribe and Bad Blood. So, finally, 20 years on from the origins of one of the most underrated bands of that time, the Glamour Punks get their reward with the release Can’t Fake the Punk! Sleaze Roxx’s Grant W. catches up with the vocalist Mandie to talk about the new CD and the history of the Glamour Punks.
Sleaze Roxx: Mandie, nearly five years ago we were talking about this very day, the day when a Glamour Punks CD would finally come to light. Thankfully we’re there now but tell me, what the fuck took so long?
Mandie: Really it was so long after we were actually a band that I just never put any time or effort into making it happen. I got some art work together and re-mastered some material back in 2006 thinking that I would make it happen myself and it just never materialized. Then I was contacted by Demon Doll records and those guys were just so excited and accommodating that I knew it was the right situation — much love to Demon Doll!
Sleaze Roxx: I noticed that some of the songs on the CD have slightly different names to the ones that collectors have listed in the 20 or so demos that float around the internet, and there are also some songs on the CD which I’d never even heard before. How many times did Glamour Punks officially enter the studio to record and how many tracks did you guys actually write cos I’m hoping there is still some unheard material to surface that fans don’t know about?
Mandie: I’m not sure what any of the different song names are, but trust me, the ones on this CD are correct as I composed the track list myself. As far as recording sessions go we entered the studio four separate times, recording 23 different songs I believe, and that was with three different line ups.
Sleaze Roxx: Some of the feedback I’ve seen on various boards is that fans are delighted that finally there is an official release but they also want to hear the later stuff that the band recorded. I know it’s premature as you’ve only just got this CD out, but is there a chance that we’ll see another CD (or two) if this one is a success?
Mandie: Yes, we are absolutely releasing another disc, hopefully early this summer and it will include the material you are talking about. I know people want to hear Home is Where You Hang your Attitude, Video Nasty, Anti Social Child, Bad Attitudes and all the others. Rest assured we will give the people what they want.
Sleaze Roxx: What’s the chance of anything in the future being packaged with some concert footage of the band on DVD or the likelihood of some Glamour Punks merchandise such as T-shirts?
Mandie: I am currently gathering footage for a DVD that I will package along with the next CD release. I have also been in contact with Skitzo and we are planning to do a couple of reunion shows where T-shirts and other merchandise will be available, then it will be released online.
Sleaze Roxx: All the tracks on the CD have been re-mastered and it sounds great. Do you have all the master copies of what you guys recorded so that anything released in future is also up to this quality?
Mandie: It’s really funny, all the stuff that is on the current record is older stuff that we recorded on super cheap 4 or 8 track machines. It just goes to show there is no replacing true talent when it comes to engineers (some of the songs were produced by Jon E Luv from Love/Hate), because the later stuff that was done at high end 24 track studios sounds like shit!! After talking with Skitz I believe we may re-record a lot of that stuff, he and Spazz have already been rehearsing!!
Sleaze Roxx: I was listening to a few of the songs on my iPod the other day and I’d never really given much thought to the lyrics but it dawned on me that a couple of the songs such as Roach Motel and Trauma in 208, could actually be drawn from the band’s experience of actual events. Can you elaborate on any of these?
Mandie: When it comes to writing lyrics I almost always draw from personal experience. Roach Motel was the name of the first apartment I shared in Hollywood with Fly T. Hooker and Mickey Lord, it was disgusting. If you turned the lights on in the middle of the night you would see literally hundreds of roaches scatter, I often awakened with them crawling on my face!! Mickey once pissed on the wall and there was garbage piled knee high everywhere. Alex and his parents were the three roaches we named that lived in our bathroom, they never seemed to leave the corner above the shower. Shortly before we were kicked out one of our neighbours, who was a photography student at UCLA, did a project on our living conditions. He couldn’t believe that anybody lived like that! As for Trauma 208 that was about one particular drunken and violent night that Punk Rock Dave and I got into it. We were friends again the next day of course, that kind of shit happened all the time.
Sleaze Roxx: I noticed there are a few ‘fuck you’s’ in the credits on the inner CD sleeve, one in particular to Pretty Boy Floyd. Is there some history there?
Mandie: Pretty Boy Floyd fuckin’ sucks balls, they made such pussy ass music and they were terrible live! We hated them and they hated us, is that history?
Sleaze Roxx: I assume that back then, the band members weren’t in what we would call steady employment. How difficult was it day in day out to survive, afford decent food and pay for rehearsal and studio time?
Mandie: You assume correctly my friend, and I would call it total unemployment. We were lucky I guess, like a lot of bands there were always an abundance of females around to look out for us, but even so I can remember many nights on the streets, sleeping in parks etc. We just did what we had to do, I didn’t even think of it as a bad thing, it was fun.
Sleaze Roxx: When you look back at the days when Sunset Strip was at its peak for music and was the place to be, do you consider yourself lucky to have been part of something special, akin to say something like the peace movement in the 60’s that will never happen again?
Mandie: I do feel fortunate to have been such a big part of those amazing times. That certainly will not happen again. Things that I saw and participated in back then are inconceivable to people now. The pure energy, decadence and outrageous extremes are long gone from the Hollywood scene, but those memories are still a very primal part of who I am today. My life is so vastly different now that those days are almost like a crazy dream (I’m sure the excessive lifestyle has something to do with this phenomenon), but as I was gathering material for the release of this CD, and reconnecting with people I haven’t talked to in years, I realize how many lives we touched and it’s an awesome feeling. Not to mention the fact that there is a whole new generation of Glam Punks that I know of, and acknowledge us as pioneers in a sense, which is also super fuckin’ cool.
Sleaze Roxx: Talking about survival, we all know that one of the band’s most colourful characters was none other than bassist Eric ‘Dizzy Damage’ Boyles. Sadly Dizzy passed away in 1995 and I’ve seen a few people have asking questions about how he died – would it be safe to say that it was as a result of an excessive lifestyle?
Mandie: Excessive would be an understatement. The technical jist of it was this. He had a weakened liver which was a hereditary problem. Mass amounts of alcohol caused his pancreas to fail he was told by doctors that if he didn’t stop drinking he would die. He didn’t. The saddest part was that when I saw him two days before his death he so badly wanted to live and realized the decisions he had made were not cool, but instead very stupid. Even so I love and miss him dearly, as many others do.
Sleaze Roxx: I know you thought a lot of Dizzy as a person and a friend, what are your favourite memories of him?
Mandie: I always think fondly of Dizzy. Although we had our fights, we loved one another deeply. His child like excitement was always an endearing quality to me and his uncanny knack for doing outrageous things in public without fear of consequence was always entertaining also. I’ve seen him swim in the ponds of miniature golf courses, continually run up the down escalator, then down the up at a crowded mall, he was just so genuinely care free and wild it was great. At the same time he could be so deep and loving we would often sit up all night drinking and talking about our deepest thoughts and secrets, I really miss those nights. Also the night my mother died he comforted me in a way no one else could have at that time, and in the early hours of that morning he went out and spray painted Irene, which was my mother’s name, up and down the sidewalk outside the apartment where we stayed so that I would see her name whenever I left. He was my best friend and I will always love and miss him.
Sleaze Roxx: I know we’ve spoken about this in the past but to clear up another one of those Glamour Punks mysteries, can you clear up where you were born? Ever think about re-tracing your roots back to over here?
Mandie: I was born in London and lived there til I was 10 years old, I am still a citizen of Great Britain and always will be because I am proud of my heritage and there are way more advantages to European citizenship than American. With that being said I have just passed my 20th anniversary in southern California and it’s the best place on earth. I’m not going anywhere, I am proud to be a British Californian!!!
Sleaze Roxx: Finally, it’s a new year, what’s on the cards for you in 2010 in terms of music and did you make New Year’s resolutions?
Mandie: Unfortunately I really don’t spend any time on music projects these days. I am so busy with my family and working as an audio mixer for television that it’s just not on the cards I’m afraid. The only project for me on the horizon is the release of the second Glamour Punks CD and maybe a couple of shows. As for resolutions, I quit smoking weed and I am being a more positive person, but the weed part was tough!
The Glamour Punks’ ‘Can’t Fake the Punk’ is now available at Demon Doll Records (demondollrecords.com/Glamour_Punks_-_Cant_Fake_The_Punk!.html), so grab yourself a copy and see what all the fuss is about, or check out some vintage rare Glamour Punks live footage that shows the band at their very best at www.youtube.com/watch?v=FR4VRbBjHfM.