This is the second part of my interview with Ben Foster, aka Ben Weasel. Much like his career, the first half of the interview revolved around business and his involvement in punk rock, most notably with the band Screeching Weasel. This half Ben discusses life as a writer, his newfound spirituality and even the inevitability of death. So once again I implore you to listen to what a punk rock icon has to say. We pick up with Ben talking about his novel, Like Hell.
Ben: The thing that I’m happiest about with that book [Like Hell] is the dialog. Because I’ve always had a difficulty writing dialog with any of kind of flow to it, and it came off very well. But if you read, you can see that that style of dialog is heavily influenced by the way Elmore Leonard does dialog. Where you’re starting off sections, you’re really writing a lot more in the way people talk. Like you start off sections where they’re not saying, “that fucking guy owes me money”, but they’re going “fuckin’ guy owes me money”. And especially some of that stuff is specific to the mid-West, there’s definitely a Chicago, sort of stereotypically the way people talk in Chicago. There’s certain little things that I picked up on said ‘well this absolutely has to be this way, because this is the way people I grew up around spoke and still do speak.’ The interesting thing is that almost all the criticism I received on the book has been positive, but in the punk rock community I can’t take any criticism, positive or negative, very seriously. I mean I don’t take it very seriously when it come to anything anyway, because these days most people don’t even know enough about music to be able to judge a record beyond simply ‘I think it’s good, or I think it sucks.’ In which case you should put it in those terms, don’t try to pretty it up and justify it. Just say ‘I don’t really know anything about how to review a record or don’t know anything about context, I don’t really know anything about producing, I just don’t like it.’ At least you’re being honest.
It raises an interesting concept, you said about the narrative and how you kind of take from real life dialog, I would think it would be more difficult to write a book that can convey how real people do talk. It’s like acting, people never act like real life on TV or the movies, it’s never how people generally talk to each other. To try and convey that through a book I think it would be even more difficult.
I don’t think so, because I think that people…ok, this is my fucked up theory on this. People, especially people who are actively creative, are very aware of themselves, so they tend to be egotistical. In that sense, and I think all people are aware of the fact that they are kind of acting. There have been studies done showing that encountering another person and speaking to them actually raises the level of your heartbeat; that simple act. So I mean there’s some kind of tension, positive or negative or neutral, that happens in interaction with another human being.
One of the things I talked about with a friend who’s a pretty well known writer in the underground, years ago, was I said ‘don’t you think that when you’re writing about your life, which is what he does and is what I do most of the time, don’t you think that it takes away from the genuineness of the experience when you know in the back of your mind that you’re going to write about it.’ Because when you know in the back of your mind you’re going to write about it, that’s kind of like your safety net, that’s your security blanket that makes you feel more comfortable within the situation. I could write a story about the van, being on tour, being broke and the van breaking down in the middle of nowhere, and it would be funny as shit. Dude, it sucks! It is not funny, it’s not fun and it’s fucking terrible, and the only time it takes on humor is after it’s over. It’s like people talk about passing kidney stone’s, and they talk about it in this normal tone of voice. I guarantee you when they’re passing the kidney stone, they’re not talking, they’re screaming. So I think that paying attention to the way people talk, and then just sort of going, ‘ok I’m going to put words in people’s mouths,’ to me, is the most natural thing in the world. If you look at stuff, like you were talking about actors, if you look at the movies; I just went and saw this movie today, Minority Report, which is just terrible. (laugh) Yet another horrible adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story, with the added Spielberg thing of putting on this completely unnecessary 15 minute, ‘let me explain it all for you in case you didn’t get it the first time’ and then the ending. In the year Twenty O Two, people are still writing lines for action scenes like, ‘Go, Go, Go! Move! Let the girl go, it’s me you want.’ It’s always ‘the girl’, they never use names. People on sitcoms and even in the movies, fathers calling their sons, ‘son’. I’ve never fucking heard that in real life ever, and I don’t know anybody who has ever heard that in real life, and yet it’s still done. So I think a lot of it is just fucking lazy motherfuckers. They’re lazy as shit and they just lapse into writing something like that. I don’t know if people still do it, but it was like a rule in movies for a while, like going back pretty far, going back at least to the ‘40’s and probably before that in the gangster movies, like the Warner Brothers gangster movies, you had to give your bad guy some sort of quirk, like some sort of physical quirk. At this point, isn’t it time to stop that rule? And apparently not, people still tend to do that. So you get these one dimensional bad guys and it reaches the point where’s it not even fun to watch the movie and go ‘yeah, this is a bad movie and it’s good to make fun of.’ It’s not even fun to do that because it’s so fucking boring. I think all of that ties in with dialog; if I’m a bad guy and I’m at the end of this whole situation that I’ve been through where this heroic guy has been my nemesis, and now I’ve got a gun pointed at him and I can kill him. Gene Siskel had a thing for it; it was like the curse of the talking killer or something like that. It’s like ‘shut your fucking mouth and kill the guy.’ Don’t put him somewhere and assume that he’s going to be killed, don’t shoot him and hope that he’s not wearing a bullet proof vest, put one in his head and be done with it and shut up! Because you sit there as a viewer and there’s no tension and you know, the only tension is like what stupid device are they going to use to save this guys ass.
Yeah, it really insults your intelligence most of the time.
I think that’s the essence of what I’m getting to, is that I am insulted by a lot of what I read and a lot of what I see on the television and a lot of what I see when I go to the movies or rent a movie from the video store. When I am at the coffee shop or sitting on the sidewalk or standing in line at the post office, whatever I’m doing, I hear people speak. Even really stupid people don’t talk that stupidly. Even really stupid people, are in their own way, more interesting than characters than you run across. And knowing that, I think people need to get back to the idea of reflecting the human condition rather than printing it up and parading out clichés. What any kind of art is supposed to do, that has ambition, ultimately is to reflect the human condition.
And that’s why I said about the dialog, but I think that’s the part that works the best because I would say that’s more difficult, for me as someone that’s trying to be creative. Trying to create that whole atmosphere, that whole context and that’s where I think the book works.
Well when I talk to people in bands, they’re like ‘yeah, dead on.’ It doesn’t even have to be discussed. It’s like if you’ve been in a band and you’ve been on the road and you’ve been in that van, you know that conversation. All you have to do is change the specifics around, but in the same stupid, insane shit. And that’s the point, that I did not want to write about MY band and MY life and MY experiences. Yeah, I’m gonna use them to an extent, but rather wanted to write something that anybody’s whoever been in a band in a van on the road, pretty much anybody, can relate to. And I think that I accomplish that, and I think that relates to the record as well. Getting back to the idea of you know, ‘yeah these are self-directed lyrics’, if you lived some and I don’t mean like you have to be an adult, if you lived some you can be 15 years old, it wouldn’t matter, it’s not really the age, but basically, if you’ve paid attention to the world around you, I don’t think there’s very much on that record that you couldn’t relate to in some sense, unless you’re just kind of slow on the uptake. In other words, if I sing ‘well I got six guitars I can barely play and questionable singing voice as well’, and then especially doing it in the context of here’s the first song on my record.
Right, the first thing that’s said.
What people get from that though, is like no, most people don’t have six guitars, most people don’t play guitar, most people don’t sing, most people aren’t making records, but you get the sense of self deprecation that’s there. Which by the way I think is really important because what passes for self deprecation these days, people seem to forget there’s a big, difference between self deprecation and false humility, and what we’re seeing now is false humility much more than genuine self deprecation. Self deprecation acknowledges that yeah, I have the things I’m good at, but basically I don’t take myself too seriously and I recognize that ultimately I’m just another person. False humility takes the opposite thing. It says, yeah, there’s certain things about me that are kind of like regular people, but basically I’m this fucking genius and I’m this incredible important person. I mean 99% of the bands that I see interviewed I see a really sickening false humility masking itself, trying to come across as self deprecation, it just really nauseates me. I think if you look historically at people’s influences and ambition and creativity and desire and relevance, I absolutely believe that I have my niche, my place in there that is of value and importance and relevance. I don’t think it’s the be all and end all, I don’t that it’s some huge thing but I do think it’s there. What is sad about it is that I think the majority of music that’s being made in the underground today, and there’s never been a point that I’ve been in punk rock where I could say this, but still the vast majority of what is out there today, I can say with total conviction, has no relevance and will be of no relevance five years from now. It’s just top 40, same thing as top 40 radio, its just flavor of the moment stuff. So I really applaud bands that go out and have conviction and have ambition. I think what Frank is doing with the Mr. T Experience, people just absolutely hate it, but I listen to it and I’m just like no man, this is ambition. And not all of it’s working, but it’s not for lack of trying and I respect that. I respect stuff like Pretty Girls Make Graves and The Weakerthans and Yesterday’s Kids, Jets to Brazil, I mean there’s a lot of stuff out there that is really good and that is of value and that is ambitious and interesting and trying to do something different. And out of all those people I just mentioned, I’m probably like ten times closer to stripped down basic, sort of Neanderthal kind of way of approaching it. But that’s just due to my limitations in the musical talent department and largely due to my laziness in the arranging department, which I’ll be addressing with the next one I do.
I just thought it was your love of the Ramones actually. (laugh)
Yeah, there was a time, like 1989, where I decided with absolute conviction that I was not going to try to learn anything more about playing the guitar than what I already knew, and I never did. And at the time it was actually true, that if I did that, that I really learned how to play, I thought people that really learned how to play ended up getting really self indulgent. Saying well, since I can do this I’m going to do it or I have to do it. So it was probably wise of me in that respect, but unfortunately now there are things, not so much on the guitar, but definitely on the drums. Like if I had learned some basic things about playing drums. There are things now that are really difficult for me to express, so I am forced into a position where I absolutely have to work with top-notch drummers. Somebody’s who’s just average, and is good and can hold down the fort and he’s solid, uh uh, I’m not going to be able to convey what I want him to do. So I have to be working with people who not only are technically really good, but I mean good in the sense of me being able to verbally describe what I want them to do and kind of half-assedly slap it out on my knee, then through trial and error have them get it. But believe it or not, I’ve actually got a few tricks up my sleeve, so maybe I’ll pull them out for the next record.
Before we get off the topic of the fictional aspect of the book, two quick things. Was there ever a major label band that you told off in the way your character does n the book?
No. I will say that I heard a similar story about two bands and I don’t know if the story’s true or not. I actually had the opportunity to find out if it was true and I didn’t make the attempt to find out. Because I just felt like, it’s just a good story. People don’t realize there was a time when the majority of punk bands, even really the popular ones, weren’t acting like Van Halen back stage. And that now most popular punk bands, even kind of marginally popular ones, kind of do behave that way. That is real. You would think that’s only Led Zeppelin or something, I don’t know if it’s a true story but I believe it. I’ve seen enough fucked up stuff to know that it absolutely could be true, so for a piece of fiction it’s completely appropriate to put it in there.
And the second thing, have you ever been exclusively approached by a major?
No, I mean the only thing I guess would sort of qualify, when we got back from the Riverdales tour with Greenday somebody had called my home phone. Now I don’t remember what label it was, I think it was Epic Records. They left this message like, so and so, I think the guys name was Vince or Victor from I want to say Epic records, I may be wrong, had called and wanted to talk about the Riverdales. And I was really, really pissed that somebody had my number, I mean nobody, not even the label had my home phone number because I keep a business phone, so I was really really fucking pissed off that somebody had tracked down my home phone number. So I called back and he wasn’t in, so I told his secretary ‘tell that motherfucker, never, ever fucking dare call me again.’ So that guy might have been approaching the Riverdales about a major label deal, but I cut him off at the knees. And I cut him off that knees too, it wasn’t just because I was pissed about my telephone, it was also like I wanted to send the message, NO. And let your other fucking major label buddies know we don’t want any part of that. But my understanding is that if you make it clear like we did on the insert of Wiggle, if you make it clear that you didn’t want anything to do with a major label, that they wouldn’t approach you. There was a very much different philosophy than had been prior to thatin the ‘90’s, and I think maybe Nirvana had something to do with it, but it was like you’re really asking for trouble if you go after bands who are aggressively independent and very anti-major labels.
What happened to the Riverdales? Was it just a limited time project?
Well originally it was going to be three records. Three records, then we’ll break up. We’re gonna have this total uniform, this total strict format for song writing, this totally strict format for how the songs are presented like I’ll sing one, Vapid will sing one, we’ll go back and forth, everything is going to be really regimented including what’s going to happen to the band. The band is going to exist for this length of time, and then once the third record is done and has been promoted, then we break up – no exceptions. No changing your mind and saying ‘oh, things are going good, we’re gonna stick together.’ And that was one of the first things we all agreed on. The problem was along the way to doing that; we just reached a point where we could barely be in the same room together. One of my objections to the tour, if not my primary objection, well on the personal side of it, my primary objection to doing the tour was that I said, ‘if we’re on the road for that long we’re gonna end up hating each other.’ I mean it’s just bound to happen, it’s not a good idea; it’s not a good idea to be in a van together for that long. And that’s exactly what happened. It wasn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy because the thing is a lot of people don’t believe it, there was actually somebody in the band, who I’m sure would not say this now, but at the time I was really pissed. The band was run as a democracy, literally. So I found myself, for the first time getting outvoted 2 to 3 on pretty much everything. But the funny thing is, and this is all water under the bridge, and I’m not at all pissed about it any more, but after the band sort of fell apart, or maybe while it was falling apart, I don’t remember, one of the members said, ‘well you’re bitching about this but you didn’t have to do it.’ And I said, ‘yes, I fucking did, because I got fucking outvoted.’ And he was like ‘oh, c’mon, so what? You didn’t have to do it.’ I’m like ‘man, you refused to fucking be in the band unless it was a democracy and now you’re saying I should’ve just blown off the whole concept and just shat on it.’ It was just a really weak way of avoiding one of many touchy subjects. It’s sort of like, yeah, I want a democracy when it’s convenient and when it’s not, then I want everything done for me and blah, blah, blah. I’m not saying that’s the case of that band or is the story of that band, but I learned an important lesson, which is after that record, there was not even the slightest illusion of there being a democracy in Screeching Weasel. Prior to that, starting with Anthem, I had pretty much made that clear. Because after Anthem it was like ok, it’s still a democracy in that everyone has a vote but I reserve the right to over-ride everybody else. (laughs) I think the difference after the Riverdales was it was, this is a business. Me and John run the business and therefore we make the decisions. And so we just stopped consulting the other members about any business decisions and seldom solicited their opinion creatively unless it was a band member who was going to be able to contribute something creatively of value. Which, the last line-up we had, that’s what we had. Even the one before that, those were all people who could contribute. So I don’t want to paint this weird picture like it was a bad thing at all, it wasn’t. But it was just the kind of thing where I absolutely felt like these people know that yeah, they’re my friends and I love them, but this is a business and we run the business, and the final word is the buck stops with me. And when it comes down to it, I don’t want to hear your opinion unless I ask you. (laugh) Not said in a mean way at all, just said in this way of like look, we’ve been through way too many band members and we’ve tried too hard and really wasted a lot of time and it hasn’t helped at all and even made things worse. Wasted a lot of time, like trying to do it on this really friendly, not quite business level, but on this kind of do it on a handshake and blah, blah, blah, and it hasn’t worked. The irony of approaching things in that way, in that seemingly really cold, business way, is that everybody was a lot happier and got treated a lot more fairly and there was a lot more harmony within the band because of it. And it enabled us to have a more relaxed attitude and be friends and get along. When it was very clear, here’s business and here’s friendship, actually being in the band is a lot more fun. It was like ok, now the business stuff is out of the way, we can just hang out and be friends and play and do what we get to do. I’m sure a lot of that is my personality, but it just so happens that it worked out that that was the best way to approach it. Which is something that I went into detail on in the latest book, in that big thing on being in a band, which is probably already out of date. (laughs)
Ok, a little about that future, what’s your deal with touring? Will we ever get to see you again?
Oh I don’t know. Certainly again, as I’ve gotten older I’ve arrived at the conviction that I need to stop playing around with myself and just admit to myself that I don’t enjoy doing that. I don’t enjoy performing and I never have. I did enjoy it in some perverted, twisted sense. Like years ago when I was drinking and when it was really more of a vaudeville act than a punk rock show. But again it was a very perverse way in which I enjoyed it. (laughs) It was kind of fun because it was kind of scientific. It was like let’s see how to push and push and push of getting to the point of almost a reaction of violence, not quite there, but it’s that really uncomfortable position. But as far as actually people liking what I do and wanting to see me stand on a stage and perform it, that’s a tough one for me because I’m not a performer and I’m not an entertainer. I see myself as a songwriter.
But what about bringing joy to other people?
The funny thing with touring, I always liked touring. The main thing for me was I just loved those late night drives when it was just you and the guy riding shotgun, or if you were riding shotgun, the guy driving, and you just get into some insane cool conversations. And I loved visiting different towns and it very, very, very seldom happened, but actually getting the chance to sight see. I always loved that aspect of it, like I’d be fine and happy, but as soon as we pulled up to the venue, from that point until we pulled out of the venue was just misery for me. I hate punk rock shows, I hate the ambiance, I hate loud music, and it was really like punching a clock for me. It’s like you go to a town, here’s the crowd, you go to the next town, here’s the same crowd. The individuals look different than the night before, but here are your seven people. That theory that there’s seven people, it was just really depressing to me. And then on top of it, I feel very uncomfortable on stage; I don’t know what to do with myself. I am very self-conscious and I feel like since I don’t know what to do with myself, I look like an idiot and I just grab the mic and stand there. I’m kind of at a place now where I feel like, if something comes up that seems like it will be cool, that it will be different, then I’ll do it for fucking free, you don’t got to pay me. If there’s a chance that I can do a show where I actually feel like I might enjoy this, fuck it, I’ll go do it. Or if there’s something that I can set up or that somebody else can set up for me that will raise a lot of money for a good benefit…
I was actually going to ask you if you did anything for the Joey Fund?
No, no I never did. But if I investigated that one and found it to be on the up and up and worthwhile then I would absolutely consider that. Given that, not only Joey Ramone, but Tim Yohannon died of Lymphoma, my uncle died of it and my aunt, his wife, was just diagnosed with it, so it’s something that hits close to home. Whether it his close to home or not is not as relevant as, is it a good organization in the sense of A: Is it apolitical and B: where’s the money going? And really that’s it, there’s A and B. Where’s the money going? Is it like PETA, where I mean I don’t agree with what they’re doing anyway with their extremism, but where the guy who runs it is living in a two million dollar house. Fuck them, they’re not getting my fucking money. That’s the thing, I will not benefit an organization that I am not confident in every way, shape and form is taking that money and using the vast majority of it, like over 95% of it, to do what they’re supposed to be doing with it. Because obviously they need money for administrative reasons and you need to pay salaries to people and I think that’s completely fine. But when people are doing that and just using it for their own personal gain, it’s like I would much rather give money to the bums on the street. And it’s important to me that it’s apolitical because I don’t feel comfortable lending my name to those kind of causes. For me, lending my name to M.A.P. for instance, Musicians Assistance Program, it’s like, yeah that’s a cause. I would like if people would get the fuck off drugs and since this is for musicians in particular, like stop buying into this huge lie of what the life of a rock n’ roll musician will be. But knowing it’s not just some boutique operation, that it’s actually helping real working people.
So do you mind if I ask what you did, if anything, when you heard Joey and now Dee Dee passing away?
Well, no I didn’t do anything. I was really surprised to hear that Dee Dee died, I mean I don’t know the guy, I’ve never talked to the guy and I didn’t know Joey and I never talked to Joey but yeah, several people who knew those guys and I knew in think in ’97 or maybe even ’96, that Joey had cancer. It was a pretty highly guarded secret, no body was supposed to know. In fact, I remember there was this thing, sort of this new item about him collapsing at a club, he was doing a DJ gig in Toronto, I think in ’97, and the thing was just like ‘oh you know, it was exhaustion or whatever, he was really tired.’ And I remember, like no, this fucking guy, something happened with this and he’s getting worse. But I never fucking told a soul about that; I don’t even think I told my wife about it. Because I knew it was just something that he didn’t want people like, throwing sympathy cards his way or whatever. But the thing with Dee Dee came as a big shock, because it was the same thing. I had it on pretty good authority, that he genuinely actually had been clean for a pretty long time. I guess I let it surprise me too, because I thought that this last record that he did was, it wasn’t great by any means, but it was cool and it sounded like he was really having fun. Like more than anything he had done since he left the Ramones. It sounded like he was just totally into it and just really having a blast. Plus, you know he had started a writing career, which I think could have been really interesting. I really enjoyed his novel and had bought copies for friends and stuff. For me it was naturally a little more tragic because of the nature of the death. Because it’s this horrible, classic thing that’s been, unfortunately romanticized, this rock n’ roll kind of death that didn’t have to happen and shouldn’t have happened. I mean Joey had a disease and it affects a lot of people, and it’s like you get the disease, you do everything you can to get rid of it, but if you succumb to the disease that’s it. It’s a terminal illness. This on the other hand, you have to fucking buy the dope, you have to cook the dope, you have to pull the dope through the cotton ball into the needle and you have to shoot it into your arm. It’s methodical and you know what you’re doing. I mean, look I know a lot of people that struggled with drug addiction, I don’t know how many people have died, but one is too many. And I’ve struggled with drug problems myself, primarily alcohol actually. I know the reason you do it, for a lot of reasons, it feels good is the main thing. Like look, the fucking world is a hard place to live in and it’s a harder place to live in if you’re that type of personality like Dee Dee Ramone, where you’re just kind of walking around like an open wound. I think that these guys, both these guys, of course they influenced people, but really their legacy should be and will be I think, not that they influenced all these bands or that they were the first punk band or anything like that, but rather just that they brought so much joy into people’s lives. And I think that even if you do this, like I was saying before, on a completely sub-moronic level of just like singing ‘yeah yeah yeah yeah,’ this is still a noble thing to do. I think it’s something to be respected and admired if somebody has the ability to do that and to bring that to people, then that is inherently a good thing. Dee Dee Ramone was part of a class, if you will, of people who are now all now dead. But most of them died way, way long before him. And I think the most recent ones were the guys from the NY Dolls, that was what, the mid ‘90’s? But I mean, he outlasted them all and he probably from all accounts anyway, was one of the ones that should have been the first to go. And again I didn’t know him personally, but it came through in his lyrics and his songwriting and the way he conducted himself. This sort of sense of humor that you sense that he had about himself that just brought a lot of happiness to a lot of people. And the same is true for Joey, I mean he approached that in a very different way but the end result was the same. I mean these guys spent their lives engaged in a lot of different activities, but the thing that they’re known for is something that brought a lot of joy and happiness to people and temporarily eased, and will continue to ease sort of the pain and misery of the human condition for a while. You know, do I wish that those guys were still around and making music? Yeah man! And I wish fuckin’ Hugh O’Neil [of the Queers] was still around. I mean Hugh O’Neil when he died had been sober for the longest period of his life in twenty years. When he was sober, I really liked him I really liked being around him. I wouldn’t use this word about many people in punk rock, but Hugh O’Neil was a fucking gentleman. He just had a certain dignity that isn’t so apparent in most people. Kind of a quiet dignity about him and was just naturally very polite and friendly and considerate, a genuinely nice guy. A great drummer, a unique drummer, had a great ear in the studio and yet as soon as he got loaded, I could not stand being around him. I could not fucking be in the same room as him, he just turned into a complete idiot. It wasn’t like he was a jerk to people or rude, I couldn’t stand to see this guy reduced to this gibbering fucking imbecile, and that was sad.
And it was cancer with Hugh too, right?
Yeah, he had brain tumors. You want to talk about the cruelty of life, the irony of life? The guy’s sober for eight months and then boom he finds out he has brain tumors. Look, the reality of the situation is, we lie to ourselves everyday when we wake up. We lie to ourselves because we never consider, ‘oh I might die today,’ but the fact is, we might. And we can die at any time and at any age and it happens all the time to people and it will never stop happening. As I have gotten older and had more and more people I am close to die, I have chosen to use that as a kick in the ass for taking advantage of my life, because I have no idea how long it’s going to last. And I think this has a lot to do with this record that I’ve done, it’s definitely motivated by that. You know it’s kind of funny, one of my favorite movies because I love Bill Murray so much, What About Bob? And if you remember the ending of the movie is just terrible, like the whole movie is funny as shit, then the ending of the movie is really ill-conceived, it doesn’t work out. But he still thinks he’s getting therapy and the Richard Dreyfuss character is trying to kill him. (laughs) And so he thinks he’s still getting therapy and he works this out in his own head and he dismantles this big bomb, and at the end of the movie he end’s up cured and he’s written a book called Death Therapy. (laughs) But there is some validity to that though. I mean if you seriously think about death and the reality of it, you’re going to put down the Nintendo and you’re gonna get out of the same undershirt you’ve been wearing for five days and put down the beer and be like, I fucking need to do some things in life and give my life some meaning and value. Nobody is Immune from this. Nobody gets out alive, so rich, poor, ass hole, nice guy, doesn’t matter, you’re all gonna end up in the same place – dead. Like I said, ultimately you have to go, how do I want to go out? Not really how do I want to be remembered, I don’t personally care how I’m remembered but how do I want to go out? Do I want to die screaming full of regret or do I want to die peaceful knowing that yes, I’ve devoted my life towards trying to bring some happiness and Joy to other people. Because I’ve just spent too many years just fucking around and causing a lot of misery to myself and others. The fact that I have the opportunity now use that energy that motivated all that negativity and use that energy in a way that will benefit people. Coming to recognize that I have a certain power, the same energy that sort of caused me to be a juvenile delinquent, fuck up and caused me to become a punk rocker and sort of be at odds with people. That energy is pretty powerful stuff; I know from experience, that same energy can be transformed into something positive. And who knows, it’s just stuff that I’m trying out, in two years I may be back drinking and playing that character again, that Ben Weasel character. Hopefully I won’t.