LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE FABULOUS STAINS: DROOLING OUT OF OUR MINDS

September 7th, 2008 | Interviews


luke mcgarry

When was the last time you watched the movie?
Fee Waybill (of the Tubes, appearing as ‘Lou Corpse’): It’s been a while. They sent me a DVD and I’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to sit down and watch it. I thought it was a really great movie! I’d never really did a big part in a real movie, and I was so over the top—I was ready to get an agent after we finished! It was gonna be me and Tom Cruise!
Did Fabulous Stains really ruin Lou Adler’s directing career?
It didn’t help! He’d done Cheech and Chong and was riding high, and then the people at Paramount said ‘too many fucks.’ Steve [Jones] and Paul [Cook], every other word is ‘fuck.’ But Diane [Lane]’s gone on to ridiculous heights, and Laura [Dern] is a huge star, and Christine Lahti, and Ray [Winstone]. The other girl Marin Kanter was the girl I got closest too. When we were there, everyone was hitting on the women.
Wasn’t Diane Lane like fifteen?
Sixteen and on her own. She was gorgeous. No chaperone. And half the time she had that see-thru top. So her fucking tits were hanging out. Everybody on the set was after her! Everybody! And Laura was even younger. But Marin was older—18 or 19—kind of the only legal girl that people could hit on. So I hooked up with her. The girls also needed to know how to pretend to be playing when they first began their band, so I used to rehearse with them every day to show them how to fake playing. Marin was guitar and Laura was bass and I’d show them chord positions with their hands so it looked like they had some clue. How to stand, how to have the guitar hanging low, do some fingering.
Where were Steve and Paul and Paul?
They were hung over! They got hammered every night! Are you kidding me? We were in Vancouver for about a month and there was just nothing to do. Winter. We actually went skiing a few times—a little day-skiing mountain. At night, we’d go to bars in town—me, Steve and Paul—and we almost got our butt kicked! No one knew me, but they knew the Sex Pistols by sight. The chicks went nuts! We’d go to a bar and they’d start hitting on the local women because we weren’t getting any on set, and the girls went nuts for the guys—young good-looking Sex Pistols? Gimme a break! They were huge stars! Girls would hang on ‘em and buy them drinks and their Canadian punk boyfriend hockey players would get more and more pissed off. Twice I dragged them out of the club—drunk out of their minds—into taxi cabs like, ‘Go go go!’ And eight guys with Canucks jerseys come after us ready to pound us into crushed ice!
Who wrote the Stains songs?
Those were Steve and Paul and Paul. Those weren’t done when I was there, but they did them later on—‘I won’t put out,’ right? We’d done the Metal Corpses song before. I came with the tape.
How much of the dialogue was made up on the spot?
A lot was ad-libbed—not quite written when we got there. Like the scene where we score coke in the club. I remember the line: ‘How much is it? $250 a gram? Could I get an eighth?’ So big time! They were using anocetol—baby laxative—that’s what coke dealers use to cut coke! We used all kinds of shit to cut coke with, but baby laxative had no taste. I was very anti-coke at the time—I hated it and hated to have friends do it and I hadn’t snorted for probably six or seven years. So I knew I was gonna do the scene and I went to some friend in San Francisco. ‘I need to snort coke—I don’t know what to act like when I’m on coke.’ So I literally snorted coke and sat down with a paper and pencil and wrote down all the reactions.
What did that piece of paper look like?
Really small print and you couldn’t read it and it went on for three whole pages. I wrote down all the symptoms: ‘Itchy and your nose runs and your jaw goes back and forth and you sigh and grind your teeth…’ So I take it to Vancouver and the day before I’m looking through my notes. And they hand us the bindle—a little folded-up piece of paper. The guy who played the dealer was a Canadian guy—some union thing where the production has to have 30% Canadians involved. They hired the guy on the spot. We rehearse a couple times and I snort this baby laxative and pretend to be on coke, and we figure out the dialogue. We do two or three hits—this camera angle, and then an angle from behind, and this from the side, and a master shot. By this time we’ve snorted half the laxative and we’re all standing there having to take a shit! The guy playing the dealer says, ‘Boy, I’m sick of this fucking shit—fuck this!’ So he puts the baby laxative in one pocket and out of the other pulls a bindle of real cocaine! So they roll camera and we do the scene and we’re snorting real cocaine. Oh my God. One angle—‘Ok, cut!’ Move the camera. We’re fucking racing and grinding teeth—throw my nose away now, Jesus Christ! Another camera, another angle, another—we must have done six scene angles, and each time the prop guy would hand us another bindle of laxative, and the guy would put it in his pocket and take out real coke. He was really a coke dealer! Method acting! We were drooling out of our minds. After the scene was done, I’m going berserk—I go to Lou, ‘Oh my God, we were snorting real coke!’ And Lou goes, ‘No shit.’ Another quick story—we were in the bus for the scene when I’m giving shit to Ray, like ‘I was wearing leathers before you were,’ and he comes back and punches me. Another scene where we ad-libbed. And everything’s great—say the lines, Ray gets mad, and he comes to the back of the bus and fucking hit me full blast! As hard as he could hit me!
Wasn’t he a former boxer?
I think like Golden Gloves as a kid. He was so excited and so method he forgot to pretend. I just reel back—‘Oh my God!’ I look up all dazed and Lou is like spinning his fingers—‘Keep rolling, keep rolling—say the lines!’ By the end of the scene my eye was completely swollen shut. Another scene that was one take. Can’t do another!
How did everyone feel when you finally saw the finished movie?
The screening at Paramount—we all met and saw the movie and were just going, ‘Oh, this is so great!’ We all had stars in our eyes. When we saw it, it was the sad ending. And then they changed this—had to be more upbeat. And I think they went back later and filmed those scenes with the big crowds—with the concert and all the people. For an upbeat kind of ending. Or maybe they were thinking about a sequel?
What’s the best part about it taking more than twenty years for this to finally be released?
It’s cool that it’s a cult classic. A secret movie. Shit happens for reasons, I guess. I think it’s really cool the way it turned out. Especially the success that came for these people. It was Diane’s second movie, and Laura’s first, and Ray has gone on to such success. Kind of cool to look back—‘Remember, nobody ever heard of you in this!’ The biggest stars were Steve and Paul! I don’t regret what happened at all. I had so much fun—the greatest time.
Should every citizen get an electric guitar on their sixteenth birthday?
Well, now it’s Guitar Hero.

—Chris Ziegler

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