So, 10 days into Lollapalooza, how are the kids reacting to you?
How have the other bands reacted?
Let's just say that the three bands that have really bonded are ourselves, Rancid and the Ramones -- which is probably a natural thing. It's weird: You put a bunch of men in competition with each other and the testosterone starts flying. It's like, who can have the biggest attitude? It's not about that for us. We'd rather be one big white-trash family than sit around and play power-trip games. If the fans knew how some of the bands act, they would be mortified. Yuppies posing as metalheads. It freaks me out every day.
Most people may not know this, but you toured with Lollapalooza before, as a sort of MC for the third stage, in your drag persona, Torment. Who is closer to Patrick Briggs, Torment or the Psychotica singer?
Neither. I'm very corny in my day-to-day life. I live very secluded in the mountains, in a town called Warwick in upstate New York. I have no neighbors, nothing. I'm very, very private, very sedate.
Where did you grow up?
L.A. I grew up mostly on the streets. I've been on the streets for almost 25 years, since I was 12 years old. I sold dope, did whatever I had to do. I got clean when I was almost 18, and moved to New York. My first job was dancing on the bar at a club. It kind of set the pace for what I'm doing now. Things haven't really changed; I'm just doing it in front of a lot more people now.
What are the risks of doing it for larger audiences?
In previous years on Lollapalooza, it's been eight solid hours a day with almost no break. So as a performer I learned how to interact with the kids, and there's always some tough nuts to crack -- for instance, dealing with some 250-pound bodybuilding freak from Long Island and having to crack him, and I have. I've built up my tolerance. As a performer, you have to really learn how to read an individual. You've got to let go of preconceived ideas of how people look. Just like they have to. If you expect it from them, then you've got to do it, too. If you see a kid like that, a 250-pound gorilla, he may not be the a--hole you think he is, just because he looks like one. It may be that kid who weighs 90 pounds who's a psycho. After the first year on Lollapalooza, I came back with a different outlook on the world. I realized that those kids in the world were not all out to get me, that a lot of them were in the same position I was. They were vulnerable in the same places, needed the same kind of attention.
|Photo credits (top to bottom): courtesy American Recordings (1); Cheryl Dunn/Ventrue Entertainment (2, 3, 7, 8); Melanie Edwards/Retna (4,5); Dennis Kleiman/Retna (6); background image Cheryl Dunn/Ventrue Entertainment|