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20 Questions with Patrick Francis, 9/21/04


20 Questions with…

Former Tora Tora bassist PATRICK FRANCIS!

We got word that former Tora Tora bass player Patrick Francis wanted to do 20 Questions with us from Arkansas Cracker, our January 2003 Sludgeaholic of the Month. Actually, Cracker’s been bugging us about it for over half a year, but we kept ignoring him like we usually do. Anyhow, it seems that Cracker ran into Patrick during one of his excursions to Memphis (which must be pretty exciting if you live in a place like Arkansas), and Cracker found out that Patrick’s a big Sludgeaholic himself. So we finally gave in to Cracker’s incessant pleading and sent out our special blend of rude and insulting questions to Mr. Francis. We’re actually glad we did that, because Patrick proves he can hang, tells some good stories, and in the end, he really gives us a decent interview. So here it is, this week’s 20 Questions with none other than Tora Tora’s Patrick Francis! Please hold your applause until the end of the interview. Thanks.

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

Well, the most important thing in my life is my new family. I was married (for the FIRST time) to Ashleigh, who is the ultimate Sludgeaholic!!! If you ever see ‘ToraWhora’ (or some equally gay name like that) on your Gossip Board, that would be her! Ultimate rock chick….hell, she lets me hang Iron Maiden posters and guitars in our living room!! And she wore a black wedding dress, for god’s sake…with her big ol’ Motley Crue tattoo just glowin’ in the sunlight!!!

And this past June, we had our precious girl, Shelby, who at 3 months old is already a little headbanger… no lullabies for this girl, she is quieted down by her mom’s Motley Crue, Poison, and Cinderella CDs!! She is the light of my life! (And looks EXACTLY like me, too!!…. which is very cool.)

Right now, I’m working at Guitar Center in Memphis, which is awesome! Hell, I may be a "boring" family man, but at least I still get to do SOMETHING with guitars and rock n roll, which is kick-ass!!! And I’m getting to see alot of my old musician buddies that I haven’t seen in years, which is awesome!

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

Are you fuckin’ kidding me???? I would say, 1 out of every 500 people who reads this may have heard of Tora Tora, but one of every 5 million MAY have heard of Patrick Francis. If all these people knew who I was, I wouldn’t have to be working at Guitar Center, now would I????

3. Rank the following bass players on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a hack, and 10 being a spider-hopping groove master.

Patrick FrancisNikki Sixx = Now, my wife will kick my ASS if I say anything negative about Nikki, so I guess I’ll give him a 5 for bass playing, and an 11 for song writing.
Juan Croucier = RATT was a great band…don’t know much about his playing in particular, but they sound great altogether, so I guess he’s alright!! I’ll say 7.
Jerry Dixon = I really HATE Warrant, so I really don’t know how he plays, cause I haven’t listened to it enough to know!!!
Bobby Dall = Again, one of my wife’s favorite bands (but definitely NOT mine)..I guess a 5 just for the hell of it.
P.J. Farley = Super-nice guy…but not the best bass player (like myself at the time)..so I guess a 6.
Billy Sheehan = One of the All-Time Greats!! Although, I like Steve Harris and Getty Lee better, I’ll give them ALL three 10’s.
Dana Strum = DOUCHEBAG OF THE MILLENNIUM!!!! But as far as his playing goes, he is pretty good, so I guess I’ll give him a 6.
Gene Simmons = Well, KISS was part of my daily worship when I was a kid, so I thought he was a GOD, but I grew up to find out that they were ALL just average players…so I’ll give him a 6.
Josh Weil = oooohhhh..Roxy Blue, our ultimate rivals at the time!! LOL! We’re all really good friends now, and Josh is really a GREAT bass player, I’ll give him an 8..he was A LOT better than I was!!!
Chip Z’Nuff = The ultimate CHEESE!!! I don’t know…a 4?????

4. We’re sure you’re sick of being asked this question, but we’re going to ask it anyway. Whatever became of Tora Tora’s fabled third album "Revolution Day?" Fans have been anticipating this mythical unreleased work for years. Do you think it will ever see the light of day?

Like EVERYONE else at the time, the grunge scene put us and all our buddies out of business. We recorded "Revolution Day" but it was never released…we were dropped by our label, but they gave us full rights to the album. We shopped other labels, but at the time, you needed to be ugly with a bad singer, and terrible guitar tones to get a deal..and we were ‘cursed’ with a GREAT singer, and GREAT guitar tones, so we were FUCKED!!!! As far as ever being released to the public, Nah, I doubt it…

Tora Tora, feeling blue because they were about to get dropped

5. What ‘rock star’ deserves a smack in the mouth and why?

Dana Strum!!!! Here’s the story: We went to Canada with Slaughter for a one-time show. We had to play with rented gear..I got there, walked on stage, and found my EXACT rig and I went "Hallelujah!!" But then I was approached by Dana’s roadie, and he said "Dana said you can’t play that one..it’s for Dana only. You get THAT one!!" and to my dismay, pointed to this fuckin’ stone-age Green Acres, hunk of shit with cobwebs on it!!! And I was like "Awwww, fuck!!!" The rest of Slaughter was cool, but needless to say I never really "got along" with ol’ Dana!

6. Of all the bands Tora Tora ever toured with, which one was the coolest to work with, and which one was the biggest group of jackasses you’ve ever met?

The L.A. Guns, Dangerous Toys, Tora Tora tour was the ULTIMATE!!!! We were in each other’s dressing rooms, riding each other’s buses… you didn’t know who was in what band!! It’ll always be my favorite tour of all time!

As far as jackasses go… definitely Warrant!! They started the tour with 4 semi-rigs, and a Massive production and within three weeks, were down to one rig, and a ‘mediocre’ production. Us and Lynch mob really got a kick out of this… little did we know that we were laughing at our own fate as well, because grunge was taking over!!

Tora Tora, L.A. Guns, and Dangerous Toys

7. Several years ago, you and Anthony Corder formed a band called "Homemade Flavor" and even attracted some label interest, but then that project disappeared. Whatever happened with that, and are there any "Homemade Flavor" recordings still floating around?

Actually, Anthony Corder and Hal McCormack started Homemade Flavor… I joined a year later. And this is when I realized there was more to playing bass than that ‘twinkle-toe’ shit I did in Tora Tora. And this is when I got down to business and started busting my chops and became a MUCH better bass player. But I hear that those two aren’t even playing together anymore, so I’m guessing that Homemade Flavor has bit the dust. As far as the recordings, there may be some floating around…

8. Of the following, which do you prefer and why:

Tora ToraHoward Stern or Mancow = Definitely Howard Stern..listen every morning!
Black Oak Arkansas or Molly Hatchett = Black Oak definitely, cause Jim Dandy is a great friend, and believe it or not, a living legend.
Poplar’s Lounge or Neil’s on Madison Avenue = They are both TOTAL shitholes, so take your pick!!! The coke was better at the Lounge!!!
Jack Daniels or Jim Beam = Jack, because it’s made in Tennessee, like myself!
Joe Hardy or Paul Ebersold = DAMN!!! Ya’ll are fuckin’ me on this one!! But I’m gonna have to say Paul, because Joe was always pulling his dick out in the studio!!!!
Surprise Attack or Wild America = Neither one made me a millionaire, and I’m proud of both albums…I think Wild America would’ve had a shot, but it just came out too late.
Mama’s Family or Hee Haw = I hate Hee Haw, cause I had to watch it EVERY Saturday night growing up, but I actually went through a Mama’s Family phase and can still tolerate it today.
Brother Cane or Sister Whiskey = Definitely Brother Cane, cause a couple of them are Memphis boys!
"Wasted Love" or "To Rock to Roll" = Wasted Love cause it was the VERY first song we ever wrote, and it will always be special.
Waffle House or Shoney’s = Definitely Waffle House.there’s a Waffle House at every exit, and any place that serves breakfast at all times of the night is perfect for a bunch of drunks!!!

Patrick Francis9. In the entirety of your music career, what’s the most ‘rock and roll’ thing you ever did?

Definitely playing the Rip party at the Hollywood Palladium… everybody who was anybody at the time was there!! We got on the bill because Lonn Friend was actually a huge Tora Tora fan!

10. What member of Tora Tora was known for banging the most fat chicks?

WHAT??? Fat chicks???? We were 20 years old with big hair and a tour bus… we banged all the fine chicks we wanted to, but the CREW on the other hand, got all the hand-me-downs!! And they were definitely Lane Bryant customers!!!

11. Who’s the most overrated band today?

New Found Glory, Good Charlotte, Sum 41, and all those other tool-shed fuckheads that have the audacity to call themselves "Rock"!!

12. Yes or No, has Patrick Francis ever:

Bought a shotgun at John Patterson’s hunting store = Now let’s get this right, it’s NOT a hunting store, but a Deer checking station, you know after you’ve killed one…and the answer is NO.
Sniffed glue at Keith Douglas’ glue factory = Hell, fucking yes!!!! Every time we rehearsed, we had to sniff that fucking shit!!!! I think that’s what our problem is today!!!!
Stilled a batch of your own moonshine = No, but I DO know people who make it! If your car runs out of gas, it’s always a good substitute!!
Milked a cow = NO, but I’ve shot pigs for slaughter… (and NOT the band)
Shot a horse = No, but Keith makes plenty of glue out of them at the factory!!
Fucked a sheep = Just the blow-up kind..the real ones are too fast!!!
Jacked off in an outhouse = No, but I’ve jacked off in my own house..
Barfed on a scarecrow = Not that I recall..but my grandfather and I had to put them up in his garden every spring…so you never know!!
Molested a blood relative = Why don’t you ask Cracker..he lives in Arkansas, and it’s legal over there!!!
Shit your pants on stage = Yes..My first Arena show!!!! I think we all did!!

Tora Tora in poorer days wearing free t-shirts

13. What Tora Tora song should forever be locked away in a vault called "Songs that Fucking Suck?"

"Guilty"…Our fans LOVED it, but the band HATED it, and we never played it live!!

Tora Tora14. If you could be a tampon for any celebrity, which one would you choose?

Reiko Aylesworth…have you seen this chick????!!!!! My god, my wife’s fuckin’ obsessed with her, cause she loves "24" and Goddamn…that Bitch is FINE AS HELL!!!!!! And from watching her on the show, she seems like the type that would Kick your ass if you fucked up in bed!!!

15. What do you miss most about Tora Tora’s 15 minutes of near-fame?

Definitely the live shows. Playing in a different city every night to a bunch of people you’ve never met who Know Your Shit is the ULTIMATE!!!!

16. Fuck, Kill and Marry: Of the following people, which one would you fuck, which one would you kill, and with which one would you be willing to enter into holy matrimony?

Paris Hilton, Mark Slaughter, Gerri Miller

Kill: Gerri Miller…wait, isn’t she already dead??? She sure as hell looked like it the last time I saw her!!!

Fuck: I guess Paris Hilton..my wife and I saw that video, and she told me that I need to show that little douchebag how it’s really done!!

Marry: MARK!!! Cause he’s prettier than most girls I’ve ever seen!!

17. For what amount was your biggest music-related check, and what did you do with the cash?

I think it was about ten grand that I happened to get right around Christmas, and I think I blew it all on Christmas presents for my family..cause I’d never been able to buy them before, cause I was a broke, bum musician.

Tora Tora on the set of the "Phantom Rider" video shoot

18. For $100,000 in unmarked bills: A mob hitman grabs you off the street and says he has the body of someone he just whacked in the trunk of his car. He wants you to take the body home, dismember it with a handsaw, and dissolve the body parts in your bathtub with hydrofluoric acid, of which he will gladly provide you with an ample supply. When the body parts liquefy and go down the drain, he wants you to take the bones and remaining carrion, crush them into little bits with a sledgehammer, then spread the bone fragments throughout a sparsely populated wooded area several miles away from your residence. You are guaranteed to never get caught and your bathtub won’t be damaged either. Plus, he’ll be giving you enough cash to have your entire bathroom remodeled anyhow. What do you say, Patrick? Would you do it?

First of all, I’d have to have the money up front. And if you would’ve caught me in my coked-up drunk days, I would’ve definitely gone for it!!!

19. The Last of Patrick Francis:

Last book you read = The Guitar Center sales manual!!
Last DVD you watched = Iron Maiden Live DVD
Last movie you saw in the theatre = The Lord of the Rings
Last concert you actually paid to get into = Iron Maiden in Dallas last year..and it was the SHIT!!!!
Last "rock star" you shook hands with = Does John Patterson count??
Last time you got a speeding ticket = When I was 17!! I got three that same year, and figured I needed to slow the fuck down!!!
Last time someone asked you about reuniting with Tora Tora = EVERYDAY!!! I work in a guitar shop IN MEMPHIS, and people know Tora Tora in this town!! We’d love to do a reunion one day…maybe that little Ahmer fucker will show up at my door one day!!…..very doubtful!
Last time you talked to John Patterson = Strangely enough, we both moved to the same small town, right outside of Memphis, and he literally lives right around the corner…and we’re only about 10 minutes away from his deer-checking station!!!
Last time you shit yourself = 4 years ago…the last time I did coke.
Last time you got drunk = 4 years ago…the last time I did coke…

Patrick on his wedding day with his best man, none other than Roxy Blue’s Todd Poole!

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

Neil Zlozower = The ULTIMATE!!!! For some reason, he loved us, invited us to his home EVERYTIME we were in town. He had the BEST dank, and Mickey’s Big Mouth Beer.
Tracii Guns = When we arrived in Austin for the first show of the tour, there was Tracii in the lobby waiting on us. And he said, "I am so happy that we’re touring together, because it’s gonna take all three bands to make this tour successful." Hell of a fucking guy!!! He was cool as shit!
Todd Poole = Went from the ultimate rival to the best man at my wedding!!!
Vince Neil = Needs to lay off the Vodka and Beenie-Weenies!!
Rick Ruhl = Very cool guy..haven’t seen much of him lately.
Jason Bonham = I’ve never seen a Corona bottle prosthetic before.
Sir Arthur Payson = He produced our second record..when John Patterson found out that he wore a hairpiece, he strategically placed tape over every door hanging down to try to pull it off!!! But it never worked
Paul Stanley = Again, KISS was my entire life when I was a kid…but I emphasize KID..Paul, please put down the guitar, step away from the mic, and enjoy your millions!!!
Anthony Corder = One of my all-time best friends and one the nicest guys you will ever meet in your life!!!
Dana Strum = Wow!!! You sure know how to end with a bang!!! Well, I was just taking a shit five minutes ago and he was what was on my mind… and in the bowl!!!!

There you go! The few dozen or so Tora Tora fans still out there may now feel free to hoot and holler all they want. Thanks to Patrick for answering all our questions and showing us he can hang with the Sludge, and thanks as well to Mrs. Francis for scanning in and sending us all those photos so we didn’t have to hunt for any. Really, who has time to go out and look for Tora Tora pictures?

We suppose we should also thank Arkansas Cracker for hooking us up, but he’s probably running around his yard shooting a pistol into the air right now, so we won’t even bother.

Patrick Francis doesn’t seem to have a Web site of his own, so you’re shit out of luck. But you can always drop by the Guitar Center in Memphis and buy some picks from Patrick. Tell him Sludge sent you.

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