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20 Questions with Punky Mendoza, 1/18/05


Punky Mendoza
ex-Heavy Pettin guitarist PUNKY MENDOZA!

Punky Mendoza is a man who needs no introduction!

Alright, we’re full of shit.

Truth be told, we had no idea who the fuck Punky Mendoza was either, but we heard he wanted to do 20 Questions with us. Now, we won’t do 20 Questions with just anyone… well, OK, that’s not entirely true. Metal Sludge has interviewed some truly obscure individuals over the years ? people like Stefan Adika, Chris Van Dahl, Joey C. Jones… the list goes on. So we checked out this Punky character to see if he was worth bothering with.

It turns out that he was one of the two guitar players in a band from Scotland called "Heavy Pettin." Heavy Pettin put out a few albums in the 80s and toured all over the globe opening for KISS, Whitesnake, Mötley Crüe, and a shitload of others. It seemed like he might have some good stories, so we sent out 20 Questions to Punky, he sent back his answers, and here they are.

1. What are you currently up to? This is your one and only chance to plug whatever it is you want to plug.

Right now I?m in writing/recording mode. I have some ideas I?ll submit to MR records for those guys to hear and criticize. Any hassle from them and I?ll be sending a handful of Sludgers around to make some noise. Business is business. Sometimes it?s not easy. I?m also putting together the final touches to my website (www.punkymendoza.com) which will include music, computer art, photography, and some anecdotes from my years on the road with Heavy Pettin, and the Criminal Minds. I?m also writing music for a reality TV show I?m working on called ?Silly People?, as well as working on a graphic novel called ?Blowing My Brains Out With A Blunderbuss: The Incredible Adventures of Picasso Angelus.? Other than that I?m doing nothing.

2. Do you think anyone reading this actually has any idea who you are?

Punky MendozaAbsobloodylutely. However, just in case there are any Sludgeaholics out there in Sludgeland who need to acquaint themselves with who I aint, then here we go. I?m the guy who was asked to leave Trader Vic?s (the legendary cocktail bar and restaurant for tropically minded urbanites) in London with Ozzy Osbourne because we were creating too much havoc. On the way out Ozzy and I stumbled up a flight of stairs. He stopped and said to me ?the last time I walked up these stairs was with Randy Rhodes?. This happened way back in the early 1980s when most Sludgers? parents were peeing in their diapers and I was running around the same stage as KISS, OZZY, MOTLEY CRUE, and WHITESNAKE. I?m the guy who was accused by Air Studios in London for stealing the Dire Straits master tape for ?Brothers in Arms?. Honest Guv, had nufink to do wiv me. I?m the guy who went over the top at an after gig party in Beverly Hills, held by the SCORPIONS subsequent to the band?s gig at the LA FORUM with BON JOVI as support: Incidentally, Jon wore sunglasses all night at the party. When asked why, he responded with ?When you?re cool the sun always shines.? Lucky for him I didn?t kick his ass and send him home to his hairdresser. I?m the guy who stayed completely sober during my band?s tour with KISS. I had so much respect for Stanley and Simmons that I even went out of my way not to absorb nectar poisoning. As soon as the tour finished I got plastered and fought with my manager because he said Gene Simmons looked like something out of the Munsters. I?m the guy who was partly responsible for the late release of the Tears For Fears album ?The Seeds Of Love?. I was invited into their recording studio in a drunken state and managed to run riot with the recording equipment. When you?re drunk it?s difficult to say which button is play and which button is record. I hit the red button by mistake. I?m the guy who had to climb out of my hotel room window to call in my band?s drummer who was standing at the corner of the hotel roof looking down on night traffic at about 11:30 pm. I guess he was contemplating what life would be like on the other side of madness. Or perhaps he thought it was the quickest way down to McDonald?s for a cheeseburger and coke. I?m the guy who punched my fellow band mate a cracker when he took a phone away from me because he didn?t want me to give dog?s abuse to one of our producers at two in the morning. I?m the guy who always looked the best in group photographs. I?m the guy who wore a serial killer?s mask during a guitar solo I gave at the ROXY THEATRE on Sunset Blvd. AL KOOPER (Pettin?s A&R man at Polygram ? now part of Universal Music) said that I should wear the mask up until my guitar solo then take it off. You gotta listen to wise men. I?m the guy who knocked on a member of MANOWAR?s hotel room door at 3am. When he opened his door I said ?Good evening sir. Is there anything you require?? The guy from MANOWAR said ?sleep.? I said ?You can?t have that. I?m in the room next door!? I?m the guy who got lost in the streets and avenues of New York?s Manhattan: streets and avenues that were designed by architectural genius with the purpose that even someone with no navigational system hardwired into his or her brain would find it difficult to get lost within. I?m the guy whose meaningless meanderings through Manhattan?s streets and avenues found himself looking up at a sign from rock heaven that read: LIVE TONIGHT 7.30PM VAN HALEN MADISON SQUARE GARDEN. That coming together of building and lost boy happened at about 4:30pm on the thirtieth day of March 1984 (I know this because I have kept my diaries from day one and I intend to place them on my website at www.punkymendoza.com). I?m the guy who is partly responsible for BRIAN MAY releasing STARFLEET on vinyl. I?ve even got the man?s signature to prove it. I?m the guy who asked a pilot during flying lessons whether the brakes would work in flight. I?m the guy they call Punky Mendoza because that?s the name I decided to use as my alter ego. I?m the guy trying hard to answer these questions for a highly entertaining site that I frequently visit whenever I feel slightly under the weather. So, I guess that?s enough about me for those Sludgeaholics who at first did not know who I aint.

3. Being from Scotland, do you think Heavy Pettin would have achieved greater success if people in other English-speaking countries could have actually understood what the fuck you guys were saying?

Listen up nincompoop. Under what influence dare you question the linguistic competence of the people of my nation? Let?s get this straight buffoon head and stop all this xenoglossophobic nonsense. Heavy Pettin?s lack of major success was not due to our verbal inability to communicate with other people in other English speaking countries: it was due to our twerp-like nature as a group of incompetent young upstarts who revelled in unapologetic materialism and had no idea what the ?business? part of Music Business actually meant. However, the women in all those other English-speaking countries you refer to had no problem whatsoever communicating with us. When it came to access-all-areas business, we knew exactly what the ?business? part of those transactions involved. Stuff that in your pipe and smoke it for a week weird ass.

Heavy Pettin4. Rank the following guitarists on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a broken-fingered hack, and 10 being a master of the fretboard.

Joe Perry = 10
Mick Mars = No Response
Jake E. Lee = 10
Phil Collen = 10
Ace Frehley = 10
Dan Hawkins = No Response
Fast Eddie Clarke = 10
Michael Schenker = 10
Gordon Bonnar = 1
C.C. DeVille = No Response

5. The video for ?Rock Ain?t Dead? still gets a fair amount of airplay on VH1 Classics in the USA. Have you noticed any renewed interest in Heavy Pettin lately? Or do you think, for the most part, that people just don?t care anymore?

To be honest, there continues to be an attraction to Heavy Pettin?s music as well as a hope that the band will reunite. The music, I suppose has had some kind of longevity. It still sells. Majestic Rock, the record company that has released the first two albums Lettin Loose and Rock Aint Dead, proved that there is still an interest in Heavy Pettin?s music. However, who knows how long this will last. For the most part, I think those people who enjoyed what Pettin was trying to do still listen out for the band. Some of them would expect or hope for some kind of reunion. Others will just pass.

Punky Mendoza 19906. What ?rock star? deserves a smack in the mouth and why?

All ?rock stars? deserve a smack in the mouth at least once a year. And I?m the man to mete out the punishment. As we all know, all rock stars are Crispin Wimpertons. They are untruths. They live in imagined communities, and believe that they are truly and without question Lords of this world. They prance, they tell fibs, and they tell us things they want us to hear, not what we already know about them. All rock stars deserve a smack in the mouth. Absolutely and definitely.

7. What do you remember most about writing or recording the following songs:

In and Out of Love = Brian May organizing the backing vocals.
Hell Is Beautiful = Reading the lyric and asking myself ?what?s this song about?
Love Times Love = Brian May showing me a technique for recording guitar using a Marshall amp, a flat sheet of glass and an SM58 microphone, and me with my guitar thinking ?this guy knows what he?s talking about? respect.?
Rock Ain?t Dead = The drummer of Pettin arguing with our manager in the studio. Our manager wanted to produce the album himself. The drummer wanted to kill him. I watched and listened to In and Out of Love.
Heart Attack = The sound of my Marshall amp on full throttle.
Born to Burn = My solo. I tripped over my guitar lead and triggered an effect. That?s what you hear at the start of the solo.
Madonna On the Radio! = Puking up after having to play guitar on the track. This song was written by a Swedish guy who sold it for a few quid to Pettin?s Manager. I guess he thought Pettin was a vehicle for his music rather than our own.
Heaven Scent = Nothing.
No Substitute = Don?t know anything about this track.
Shake = Don?t know anything about this track.

8. Speaking of Heavy Pettin songs, what the hell was up with that sappy ?Romeo? tune you guys recorded as the British entry in the 1987 Eurovision song contest? You guys took a lot of flak about that in the press, and a lot of people seem to think that was the beginning of the end for Heavy Pettin. What are your thoughts about that?

It was the end of the band. It is a sappy song. It turned Heavy Pettin into The Liberace Blouses overnight.

Heavy Pettin9. Yes or No, has Punky Mendoza ever:

Worn a kilt = No
Sheared a sheep = No
Blown a bagpipe = No
Harpooned a whale = Yes
Seen the Loch Ness Monster = Yes
Shared a hot toddy with Paul Stanley = Yes
Had a wank in Stirling Castle = No Response due to legal inevitabilities.
Been challenged to a duel = Yes
Spent the night in jail = Yes
Touched another man?s penis = No

10. Brian May of Queen produced Heavy Pettin?s 1983 album ?Lettin Loose,? and at one point, he even brought in Queen?s drummer Roger Taylor to watch the sessions. However, you seemed to have a problem recording your tracks with Roger hanging out in the studio, and you asked him to leave. How did Roger take your request? Was he understanding, or did it piss him off? Did you ever speak to the man again after that incident?

Roger was in London and dropped into the studio to see Brian. At the time I just happened to be getting myself ready to record a guitar solo. Roger was in no way intimidating, but his presence put me off playing guitar. I?m not sure if I pissed him off, but I don?t think I did. I know when he left the control room he talked about it with others in the band. I don?t know why I felt I had to ask him to leave, but I did. No, I have never spoken with Roger Taylor since. But that?s due to life being the way life is rather than because of that one incident.

Punky Mendoza 199011. Whatever happened to that band ?Wild? you formed in 1990 after Heavy Pettin split? Did you guys actually record anything, or did that project fade into obscurity as quickly as it began?

That band WILD was a pile of dinosaur shit. It stunk to high heavens. I must have been wearing my Liberace blouse when I put that piece of junk together. I can only feel for those unfortunate musicians that joined me in that bad dream. I suppose, looking back now on that paragraph in my life, it?s no wonder Warner Chappell and Polydor turned their backs on me. I must have been on some weird intoxicating concoction of sorts. Yet as far as I remember, when I really think about it, I was completely and utterly sober during that whole episode! Now there lies the problem.

12. Heavy Pettin got back together in 1998 to record a bunch of demos, which were released the following year with the very creative title, ?Demos ?98.? Why did you guys only record 5 songs? Why didn?t you record a few more, or mix in a few live tracks and make it a full-length album?

The creatively titled release had nothing at all to do with me. As far as I?m aware, it had nothing to do with any of the old chaps except Hamie, Heavy Pettin?s lead vocalist extraordinaire. I heard the demos. I thought the sleeve was fine from what I see on the internet. But the songs I?ve yet to hear.

13. Of the following, which do you prefer and why?

Aberdeen or Edinburgh = Edinburgh because it has the best building in the world.
Punky Meadows or Punky Brewster = Punky Meadows because the producer of Punky Brewster stole my name.
Punky MendozaThe Glasgow Apollo or the Burns Howff = The Glasgow Apollo because I used to break into the theatre with buddies when it was not in use. I would play piano on stage while a mate shone a spotlight on me (bloody ?ell ? now I know where the Liberace influence began). We used to spit fire from the stage and Gaffe Tape silver KISS logos on the black velvet curtains. We used to trek into the kitchen as if it were our own, and help ourselves to all kinds of food stuffs. We got up to all sorts of memory making events in that old building. That all came to an end one night after the local constabulary gatecrashed one of our frolicking events and locked us up in the tin pail for the rest of the evening and all of the next morning. Nevertheless, we continued to gain free access to some of the best gigs I?ve ever been to in my life. But that?s another story.
The Criminal Minds or Zero Trap = Criminal Minds because Zero Trap was crap.
Phil Lewis or Phil Mogg = Phil Mogg because he was in UFO.
Scotch Whisky or Scotch Tape = None. I prefer DRAMBUIE because it kicks ass.
The Black Adder or Mr. Bean = None. I prefer Still Game because? I don?t know.
Rikki Fulton or Rikki Rockett = Rikki Fulton because? I don?t know.
AntiProduct or the Wildhearts = The Wildhearts because the music is good.
Bannocks or haggis = Haggis because they are very unfortunate creatures.

14. Out of all the bands Heavy Pettin? toured or shared the stage with, which ones were the coolest to work with, and which ones were the biggest bunch of jackasses you?ve ever met?

Wow? hold on dude? I can?t be read as saying Saxon were a bunch of ******* or that Ozzy was a **** or that Whitesnake smelled of **** or that Motley Crue were ******* **** or that KISS was like **** or that RATT ****** or that Magnum ****** ** ***. If I had to honestly ask myself which band was the coolest I?d have to say Motley Crue. Those guys knew how to live life to an extent that mere mortals cannot comprehend. The biggest bunch of jackasses would have to be ***** because the guys in that band did not know how to live life to the full and their music was total skunk rock.

Heavy Pettin - Lettin Loose15. What do you think about Motley Crue recording new songs and reuniting to go on tour next month? Do you think this is a last mad grab for cash and to milk the Motley name for all its worth, or do you think this will give hard rock/heavy metal a sorely needed kick in the ass, opening the door for both classic and younger hard rock bands to follow suit?

I think this is Motley reliving what they missed and what it was all about. I see Nikki Sixx is furnishing himself with a Liberace Long Coat for this tour. He?s really mellowed out. But saying that, he still looks like a million dollars and he looks fit for the fight.

16. What?s the big deal about the Darkness? Are they the real deal, bringing 70?s style arena rock back to the masses, or are they merely a flash in the pan whose day has already come and gone?

The Darkness are out there to enlighten their souls. Unfortunately, that won?t happen. Bunch of pansy potters in Steven Tyler clothes.

17. If you could go back in time and re-live any one year of your life, which year would it be and why?

I would go back to the year I first won first prize in an art competition. I would like to do this because I distinctly remember the judge had a bottle of Drambuie under his desk and I?m sure it?d taste even better today pouring down my gullet.

Punky Mendoza 2005
Punky Mendoza in 2005. Damn, that Drambuie must be some strong shit!

18. A hypothetical question. For a tax-free ?1,000,000, there is a red button in front of you. If you press it, former Heavy Pettin bassist Brian Waugh will be arrested, tried and convicted for a murder he did not commit. He?ll be locked away and brutally sodomized regularly while in prison. After several years, he will manage to escape by tunneling through an overlooked opening in the prison?s sewer system, crawling through a kilometer?s worth of excrement and fecal matter. Upon reaching freedom well beyond the boundaries of the prison grounds, he?ll wander about for days in the wilderness until he mistakenly happens upon a den of wolves, who, in defense of their lair, chase him for hours until he collapses from fatigue, only to be eaten alive by the angry lupi. You, however, get to keep all that cash. Would you do it?

Keep the cash. Let the bugger suffer in horrific circumstances. I?d do it for a quid.

The Astropunks!
Another one of Punky’s wacky pics. Don’t ask us! We don’t know what the hell this is all about, but Punky included it with his 20 Questions, so here it is.

19. The Last of Punky Mendoza:

Last book you read = Multiple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice by Howard Gardner.
Last CD you purchased = Todd Rundgren?s Liars
Last film you saw in the theatre = I, Robot
Last sporting event you attended = Celtic v Barcelona
Last concert you watched from the audience = The Tubes at Manchester Academy.
Last time someone asked you for your autograph = Last month. Urban at Rockunited.com
Last time you talked to Hamie Hayman = Sixteen years ago. (Update: I called Hamie yesterday ? 01.11.05 ? partly due to Metal Sludge rejuvenating my better senses)
Last time you visited the USA = Two minutes ago on Earthcam.com
Last time you wore spandex = Wearing them now.
Last time you got piss drunk = About six months ago.

Punky Mendoza and Haymie Hayman
Punky and Hamie Hayman
bastard boy floyd noticed that if you turn this picture on its side, it kind of looks like they’re getting eaten by a giant fish! Weird.

20. Time for Metal Sludge?s Word Association. We mention a name, and you give us your thoughts.

Gary Moat = Great drummer.
Elias Cannetti = Bulgarian-born German novelist, essayist, sociologist, and playwright, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981.
Gene Simmons = Engelebert Humperdink.
Terry Wogan = No response.
Fee Waybill = Great vocals, great frontman.
Dan McCafferty = Old days at the Glasgow Apollo.
Lemmy Kilmister = San Moritz, beer pit in London drinking beer and shoveling silver coins into a fruit machine.
Bruce Dickinson = Pilot.
Sharon Osbourne = Don Arden and David Arden
Brian May = Ambassador for British Rock Music.

Well that was different.

Is it just us, or does Punky Mendoza seem like the Scottish version of Jamie Hunting? And we have NO idea what those pics of Punky in KISS-like makeup were all about. He included them when he sent in his answers, so that’s why they’re there. They probably have something to do with his ill-fated project "Wild," but who knows. Guess we’ll ask him about all that in his Rewind a few years from now.

Anyhow, thanks to Punky for taking the questions somewhat seriously and putting a lot of time into his answers. Plus, his response to #2 was probably the longest answer we’ve ever gotten for that question! That has to count for something.

Extra thanks to some guy named Eddie over at MetalVideos.net for hooking us up.

For an even stranger peek into the mind of Punky Mendoza, he invites you to visit his Web site at www.punkymendoza.com.

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