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20 Questions with Billy McCarthy, 8/17/04

 

20 QUESTIONS WITH…

Former D’Molls drummer Billy McCarthy!

Anyone remember a band called D’Molls? They were one of many, many bands who played the Sunset Strip back in the mid-80s, and one that was fortunate enough to get signed to a major label. For some reason, critics hailed them as "the new Aerosmith," but they were mostly known for their bluesy spin on glam metal and for reputedly unique song arrangements. You may remember their 1990 album Warped or the video for "777" that got played on Headbanger’s Ball here and there. Or maybe you don’t remember them at all, which is understandable.

Nevertheless, today’s 20 Questions is with none other than former D’Molls drummer Billy Dior, who now goes by his real name of Billy McCarthy, and who just published some sort of book. A few weeks ago, Billy’s people inquired about a banner ad with Metal Sludge, and so we took the opportunity to hit him up for 20 Questions. Billy said he was down, so we sent him some questions, and here he is to tell us what he’s been up to! He even manages to talk a little smack along the way, so pay attention and you might learn something.

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

I?m busy doing online, print, radio, and some television media for my debut novel, The Devil of Shakespeare, (a thriller) currently in bookstores everywhere and Amazon.com, which you can find through my Web site at www.billymccarthy.com

Book signings in the works are Los Angeles for October, and New York before Christmas time. Then it?s on to my second novel, Funnyman Jack Smack (if I don?t get assassinated after this interview).


D’Molls back in the day

2. Tell us more about your new book. What’s it about, how many pages are in it, and is it full of dirty words? Give us a reason as to why anyone would want to read your little opus.

It?s available in hardcover only, which is a compliment for first-time fiction. 256 pages. When you buy the novel, you get the single to the novel for free. Of course there?s dirty words. It?s sexual and crass at times, because that?s simply all walks of life from Hollywood to the heartland of America. There?s a piece of everyone in this book, whether to be envious of or grateful for.

The Devil of Shakespeare is about Hollywood mega-star Darian Fable, who is haunted by his childhood years as David Faulkner; forced to live under the oppressive rule of a bitter-jock father and a sexually motivated aunt who is the town whore. Darian?s sudden decision at the peak of his celebrity to bail from Hollywood and live the normal life he never had as a child, set?s off a chain of events that threatens the lives of the most powerful in Hollywood?including his own. However, The Devil of Shakespeare is also a social reminder of how today?s society is so ridiculously obsessed with celebrity.

3. When did you decide to become an author? And how does one go from being a drummer on the L.A. Strip, to hosting your own a radio show, to doing stand up comedy, to developing television shows, to finally writing a novel?

Music and writing have always been to the forefront of my creativeness, since I was younger. The radio show and comedy were basically filler shit, but still, turned out to be fulfilling?but not quite enough for me over the written word. I vowed to tackle writing novels after music, because writing fiction is patience, experiences and observations of others from all walks of life over many years. Readers won?t tolerate fallacy even in fiction, or inconsistent plots, nor will they tolerate a weak payoff on the last page, which is why it took me four years to write, and why I?ve coined The Devil of Shakespeare as ?believable fiction.?

4. Your new book also includes a CD with a song on it called "The Devil of Shakespeare," featuring Jani Lane on vocals, Chip Z’Nuff on bass, Styx’s James Young on guitar, yourself on drums, and some other guy playing the keyboards. Dude. How many books come with their own theme song? Was all that really necessary?

Sure, why not? It?s revolutionary in the literary world, and the synergy of book and music makes sense with my past endeavors. It?s the first time a single has been written to a novel and gotten substantial airplay on rock and even talk radio formats. The response has been overwhelmingly favorable, from obsessive readers to first-time readers of fiction. Songs are released to movies, why not to a novel? I intend to include a CD single to every novel I write. I was fortunate for this cool group of guys to lend their talent and time to me for the song to my project. By the way, that ?other guy? is Ron Flynt, from one of the most influential power-pop bands in the 80?s called 20/20.

Billy, Jani and Chip
Billy with Jani Lane and Chip Z’Nuff, Summer 2003

5. Rank the following drummers on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a no-talent ass clown who can barely twirl sticks, and 10 being a skin-banging demigod:

Steven Sweet = Cool guy. Haven?t heard him in 15 years?7
Rikki Rockett = 7
Vikki Foxx = 7
Steve Riley = still a locomotive?9
Tommy Lee = 9
Steven Adler = is GNR?10
Bobby Blotzer = 8
Frankie Banali = 9
Bun E. Carlos = Sloppy high-hats win?10
Fred Coury = He?s suffered enough?6

5. What the hell kind of a name for a band is "D’Molls?" What, if anything, does it mean, and how long did it take you guys come up with that one?

Knew this was coming. The D? is Italian/Chicago slang for ?The.? It has to do with the 1920?s gangster era of Chicago, so go figure. Let?s just say it stands for Documentary Musicals of Life?s Little Satires, since I pulled that one out of the sky, while loaded on Crown Royal talking to a reporter in ?87. Then I shot him.

Desi Rexx came up with the name, the changes and the confusion he so oddly thrives for. The band was originally called The Chicago Molls. So if you say The D?Molls, you?re really saying The-The Molls. You confused yet?

D'Molls

6. Who’s the most overrated band today and why?

KISS. I mean, ?why?? It?s baffling how Gene and Paul are still crippled to writing a halfway descent song even after hiring dozens of Kiss pensioned ghostwriters and almost 30 years of calling themselves rock legends. But what sucks more is their deceitfulness and manipulation towards Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, not to mention clobbering any chump shelling out cash out for a Kiss show these days. Grateful artists (in it for the music) are hungry to give their fans a new song sooner than later. How long are Gene and Paul?s gifts to their fans going to be smoke bombs and explosives onstage or introducing a new excuse and propaganda as to why Peter and Ace are on another leave-of- absence? I used to be a fan of Kiss many, many, years ago, not obsessively, but I took notice. Why anyone would buy into current Kiss propaganda without the original members is to me, na?ve and desperate.

7. OK, enough bullshit. You used to be in the band Screamin’ Mimi’s with C.C. DeVille, way back in ’84 before C.C. joined Poison. There are bootleg home videos circulating around that essentially prove that you guys wrote and performed the song "Talk Dirty to Me" long before it appeared on Poison’s Look What The Cat Dragged In. Yet you weren’t given any kind of writing credit on that release. Rumor has it that the situation was about to get really ugly, but an out-of-court settlement made it all better, provided that you didn’t speak to the press about the subject. Well, we’re dicks, so we’re going to ask about it anyway. In your own words, what’s the truth, and how was the dispute finally resolved?

Out-of court settlement? Maybe in a John Grisham novel, but not in my world. Normally, I?d sic Sid Greenspan, Darian Fables? attorney on you, but since you ask and I kind of like you ?dicks,? swallow this:

Without getting too Grisham, Poison?s version of ?Talk Dirty to Me? is a Karaoke?d version from the original members of ?Talk Dirty To Me? (TDTM), who are, Screamin? Mimi?s. Poison re-recorded ?Talk Dirty To Me.? No member of Poison ever paid monies to any Screamin? Mimi?s member to teach them their respected parts to TDTM. Just like Thin Lizzy isn?t giving any musician a dime to re-record ?Jailbreak? because the musicians type their name as songwriters on the CD, spend thousands on the recording, or manipulate the tempo of the song. Ironically, the only one from Poison that?s ever mentioned anything about credit to TDTM (on audio tape) is CC Deville, who is sole developer of the bulk of top-ten singles in Poison?s catalogue, yet credits the entire band of Poison as songwriters. That?s because CC conceives a song and Brett, Bobby and Rikki sew it up by lending their twist to it. All I?m saying is, I?m not hearing any original instrumentation or vocal phrasing on TDTM in Poison?s version compared to Mimi?s original in ?84. (I take that back, there was the line, ?CC pick up your guitar, and? talk to me? which was not in the Mimi version.) For one line, quite a fucking door prize.

Screamin' Mimi's
Billy and C.C. in Screamin’ Mimi’s

8. Word on the street also has it that, even to this day, you’re not a big fan of Bret Michaels or Bobby Dall. Care to elaborate on that a bit?

Anger or jealousies aren?t something I put time into. (Nor is cock-blocking.) If I had a score to settle with these cats, I wouldn?t messenger it here or through any word of mouth. We?ve crossed paths several times and it?s always been neutrally pleasant.


D’Molls with Bret and Bobby

9. We also heard that you used to be in Little League baseball with Chip Z’Nuff when you guys were kids. Considering he was probably stoned even way back then, how good of a ball player was he? Could he hold his own, or did the coaches simply stick him way out in left field and let him munch on peanuts while the rest of the team played the game?

Left field certainly wouldn?t be the place for eating peanuts or picking your ass?maybe right field. Chip was probably one of the few from town who could have gone on to a serious shot at pro baseball. He had a wicked curve ball, and always found his way on base, no matter how many pre-game buds he puffed.

D'Molls10. Of the following, which do you prefer and why:

Sabian or Zildjian = Zildjian. They were very good to me.
O’Hare Airport or LAX = Midway.
Tommy Gunn or Joker = Proof bad management always loses.
Eric Singer or Peter Criss = Peter Criss. Besides, his sweetheart wife Debra has ?steam.?
The White Sox or the Cubs = White Sox. Hell, I?ll take either. Just give Chicago a damn winner.
Brides of Destruction or Velvet Revolver = VR, cause it?s hard to beat Weiland as a front man. Brides have some great musicians and one kick-ass drummer with Scott Coogan. I haven?t seen Brides live, but it?s hard these days to kick-start anything in music. Although I?m certain the Brides project helped kick-start the rumored Crue tour next year!
Hernia checks or prostate exams = Still searching for a female doctor for the latter.
McHale’s Navy or The Munsters = Munsters. Is author Jackie Collins writing these questions?
Hot dogs or tacos = Jackie Collins.
Dr. Phil or Oprah = I have to bite my tongue to avoid conflict with Oprah and her book club, so I won?t go there. But Dr. Phil is full of shit!

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

I try and live in the present and live it positively. Why reminisce? I have little patience for whiners?and I know a few, who are consumed with the daily feeding of their current misery because of past regret, which in my opinion welcomes destruction. If one constantly relives their joyous past to camouflage the state of their unsure present, darkness will gladly jump aboard the wagon.

Sincerely yours,
Dr. Phil.

Billy McCarthy 200412. What’s up with that floppy-ass fishing hat you’re always wearing? It’s not like you have a hairline like Chip Z’Nuff to hide or anything. What’s the dilly-o there Billy?

It?s to detour the paparazzi that hide in the polluted swamps of glamorous Blue Island, IL. Seriously though, I have little time to fuss over my hair these days. Thus, enters the floppy-hat.

13. D’Molls inked a deal with Atlantic Records on Halloween 1986, and promptly released 2 studio albums in ’88 and ’90, respectively, before D’Molls got dropped and you guys split up. Then in 1997, the album Beyond the Valley of D’Molls was released on an indie label. Was there really a point in doing that? Seriously, even in ’97, did anyone care enough anymore to buy something like that?

First of all, I?m proud to say, D?Molls were never were dropped by Atlantic?they couldn?t have dropped us if they tried, and we should have been dumped because we were the biggest pains-in-the-ass a record company ever saw. Fuck Ozzy biting off bird heads, Atlantic personnel chugged Pepto-Bismol by the cases when we were signed. I mean, bands like Jetboy (who were great) were getting signed and dropped after production of their record. Others were starving to get signed, and here we are breaking up four weeks before pre-production on our first album because our singer wants to fire us and we?re going to fire him. That was na?ve balls and we should have been tossed way early. If anyone at Atlantic did toy with dumping us, during our ?bitch slapping sessions? a live gig would always rescue us, because D?Molls were great politicians, but more so, we were a freight train when we played live. We had impeccable chemistry amongst all four guys, and our shit wasn?t easy to pull off from a musician?s standpoint. It had an Aerosmith, swinging, blues feel to it, with a solid bottom; not an easy 4-4 task. When we did split up, Atlantic didn?t even know it until weeks before the release of Warped, so obviously it was just a formal notice on their part of protected interest.

Beyond the Valley CD was just pure garbage and a bad idea. It was an impulsive decision by a member of D?Molls to put outtakes together in hopes of getting the band to reunite. No one should waste his or hers second thought to buy this shit. It?s not D?Molls or not what we stood for. It?s unlicensed scrap-metal.

D'Molls

14. Former D’Molls guitar player S.S. Priest is still playing around Chicago in his old band Diamond Rexx. Have you gone out to any of those Happenin’ Harry and the Haptones Chicagoland events they always play at and checked out the band lately? Or is the idea of Diamond Rexx playing gigs in 2004 too ridiculous to even consider attending?

I haven?t seen the two bands together, but I?ll support anything SS does because I love him like a brother. I do actually think Nasty Habit from Rexx has a unique presence and style. Haptones are a fun time, and Harry?s pipes are A-okay.

15. Yes or no, has Billy McCarthy ever:

Gone skydiving = Not interested.
Been challenged to a duel = After this interview, I?m sure of it.
Gone more than a week without showering = no.
Seen Jani Lane sober = yep.
Seen Chip Z’Nuff when he wasn’t stoned = Known him for over 30 years, so I?d have to say yes.
Smoked rocks with C.C. DeVille = nope.
Went down on a chick while she was on the rag = ah, no.
Cleaned up a band mate’s vomit = no
Jacked off in a horse-drawn carriage = ?
Touched another man’s penis = nope.

D'Molls

16. For what amount was your biggest music-related check and what did you do with the coin?

It was never a lump sum worth mentioning?except once, before the Warped production. It was basically pissing in the wind money. But looking back at our impulsiveness during those days, it was perhaps for the better. We were taken care of, had our own pads and perks. I?ve actually made more money producing singles into movies from 12 years ago, than I did entirely in D?Molls. Then again, it took D?Molls five fucking years to make two albums, with a measly 60-day tour between recordings. Being on salary, that?s larceny. The bulk of our money was always spent on the usual: supporting Happenin? Harry, Long Island Iced-Teas, and Nexus hair products.

17. For a tax-free $10,000 in unmarked bills, which of the following would you do (and you have to pick one):
a) Eat a hot dog covered in live maggots (with your choice of condiments, of course).
b) Cut off the tip of your pinky finger with a Sawzall.
c) Stand barefoot on red-hot coals for a full 20 seconds. No hopping foot-to-foot either.

I?ve been on hot coals for 20 years, why start hopping now.

18. Here’s your chance to ask yourself your own question! Come up with any question you want and then answer it. Have at it!

?Care to share a memorable musician moment of yours??

Growing up in Chicago, I would get in scraps with guys in my hood because although I dug Rush, UFO, Montrose, and all the heavies, (even Y&T), I would constantly defend Cheap Trick, because I dug their music so much. Big mistake, because in my hood, Cheap Trick were just a bunch of ?Popster fags.?

So around 19-years old, I was wasted and tried to meet Robin Zander after CT sold out the Amphitheatre in Chicago. Zander had a bodyguard with him and he gave me like 30 seconds to say hello before ordering me to ?beat it.?

On the way out, I told that bodyguard, ?one day I?ll have a bodyguard and he?s gonna kick your ass!? Anyway, many years later during D?Molls I went to an after-party at the NAMM convention in Chicago where rumor had it, Cheap Trick was playing. I get there and see a guy from Hammer guitars and say, ?can I go back and say hello to Robin Zander before he goes on?? He gladly escorts back, and when I see Robin the first thing he says is ?Bun E. didn?t show up, can you fill in?? I said, ?Fuck yeah, let?s do it!? So it?s me, Robin and Tom Peterson, and we start with Surrender and after two hours into it, I had played every favorite CT song there was. It was one of the biggest highs in my life. I mean, how many guys get to jam with their musical influences to a packed house for two hours and play all the greats? As homage to CT, Aunt Judy the whore in my novel also digs CT.

Billy Dior and Desi Rexx
Billy McCarthy (Billy Dior) and Lizzy Valentine

19. The Last of Billy McCarthy:

Last movie you saw in the theatre = Seabiscut.
Last athletics event you attended = White Sox Game
Last concert you watched from the audience = The Bad Boys of Metal Tour.
Last book you purchased, other than your own = East of Eden/John Steinbeck.
Last band you sat in with = Jani Lane?s band; in Chicago a few weeks ago.
Last time you talked to Desi Rexx = April 2nd, this year.
Last time you bounced a check = Believe it or not, I?ve never bounced a check. Maybe ordered a few stopped payments.
Last time you got into a fistfight = A couple years ago. You don?t read the Blue Island Forum?
Last time you wore eyeliner = Many, many years ago.
Last time you shit yourself = DUDE.

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

Donnie Vie = Nice flavor to his voice. To me, it?s little about vibrato and always about flavor in a lead vocalist.
Kevin DuBrow = Perhaps misunderstood. I know I almost came to blows with him in ?89. I believe Kevin tries to ?say it,? just fucks it all up if it?s not coming through a microphone.
Lizzy Valentine = A riff-master, rare for a bassist. Responsible for the majority of the cool guitar riffs you hear on any D?Molls record.
Kevin Beamish = One down-to-earth guy. He lets the musician create.
Janine Lindemulder = From the Vince Neil tape, it looks like she finally took some tumbling lessons.
Axl Rose = One angry motherfucker, but understandably so. Most geniuses are.
Nikki Sixx = He?s a pleasant guy.
Ted Nugent = A crooked-shot-asshole who guns down the slowest and most obese innocent animals. If Ted?s so fucking patriotic as he brags while dry humping his shotgun at his Buffalo jerky factory, then hop a plane jack-ass and bring us back the head of Bin Laden.
David Faulkner = Something?s not right with this kid.
Gene Simmons = For my scolding of you, I?d like to present one FREE autographed copy of The Devil of Shakespeare to your hot, beautiful wife Shannon Tweed. Just send her on over to pick it up.


Billy McCarthy today

So there you go. Billy made it through all our rude and insulting questions and he came out relatively unscathed, plus he didn’t really beat around the bush about that whole "Talk Dirty To Me" thing. For that, he’s earned our respect. (At least until the end of the month, when we stop running his banner ad.)

We just might see Billy again in a few years for a Metal Sludge Rewind, provided that he finishes that Funnyman Jack Smack book he keeps threatening to write.

For more information on Billy and his latest novel The Devil of Shakespeare, you can visit his Web site at www.billymccarthy.com

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