20 QUESTIONS WITH..
ex-Sister Whiskey bassist RICH FLORIO!
Christmas is just a few days away! And when you think about Christmas, what band do you think of first? Trans-Siberian Orchestra? Nope. The Screamin’ Santas? Fuck no, you think of Sister Whiskey! So as our Christmas present to all the Sludgeaholics this year, here’s 20 Questions with former Sister Whiskey bassist Rich Florio! Ho ho ho!
1.What are you currently up to? This is your one and only chance to plug whatever it is you have to plug.
Well, I?ve been in the same band for about four years now called ?It?s the Pigs.? I ran into Mike Penketh from Swing Thing one night at a club and he was putting together a band with his brother Chris (who was singing now). Later, we recruited Sunny Phillips on guitar and it?s been the same line up ever since. I started my own music library company called Max Trax Music. We compose music for film and television advertising. And it?s fun to make music and finally get paid for it. I?m also the head of graphics at a movie trailer company named Celluloid Heroes in Burbank California. I work alongside great people who are the best at what they do and we have fun doing it too.
Thanks to the owner of Celluloid Heroes, Jordan Levine, who believed in me and gave me a chance to do something that I really enjoy doing. I?m also married to my wife Christi and have a beautiful ten-year-old daughter named Shannon.
2.Your current project ITP (It’s The Pigs) is made up of 3/5 of the infamous strip band Swingin’ Thing (a.k.a. ‘The Things’). What is the status of this project, what kind of sound, image, style, etc…?
Yes, Chris and Mike Penketh and Sunny Phillips are all from the band Swingin Thing. And we all lived in the same building (back in the day) on Sycamore Street in Hollywood. I first meet Henry Kelly (the bass player from Swingin Thing) and he and I would party and hang the most and then I meet the other guys through him. When we first put this band together, we said we would play the music we loved to listen to. It hasn?t changed since then and I think we still have fun doing it. We still play a lot in Hollywood but we just came back from playing a few dates in Philadelphia. So we get around a little bit. Our sound is straight rock like The Clash type sound. You can check out some sound files at http://www.itsthepigs.com/
It’s The Pigs!
3.Rate the following bass player on a scale of 1-10. A 1 being a broken fingered hack, and 10 being a god among bass players.
All these guys are successful musicians and make lots of money but fuck it, if you?re asking, I?ll tell.
Bobby Dall = 3 He?s weak but successful.
Flea =10+ He?s great. My hero.
Geddy Lee =10 When I first started playing bass, all I wanted to do was figure out his bass lines.
Michael Anthony = 9 but always looked like he had a dirty t-shirt on.
Les Claypool =10 I love his playing because he?s a mad man.
Nikki Sixx = 6 Good songwriter.
Jerry Dixon = 5 I never really listened to his playing all that much.
Gene Simmons =10 The reason I even picked up a bass was Gene. My brother and sister and I would play kiss when we were kids. My sister was Ace, My brother was Peter and I was Gene. We would jump around the room while the Kiss record was on.
Steve Harris =10++ Steve is the real deal. I?ve spent many hours copying and studying his style of bass playing. If you play bass, he?s the go to guy.
Dana Strum =9 He taught me a lot about playing bass and he is a really good bass player. He also has a great musical ear
4. Last year, we did 20 Questions with your former singer Dennis Duncan. He told us his side of things; now tell us your story. What happened to Sister Whiskey and your big deal with Warner Bros.?
Well, we were having a really good time as an unsigned band in Hollywood, You know playing the strip, hanging out, getting drunk, chasing girls and just being stupid.
Dana came along and gave us a chance to play in the big leagues. He got together all these record company executives, cleaned us up and threw us in the room together. Then we decided to go with Warner Brothers but it probably wasn?t the best decision because there were smaller companies that we were probably more suitable for us. That, along with some strife within the band and some bad advice from some people, is what sank our ship. But it was a great ride.
5. It also seemed to be a sore spot with Dennis when Dana Strum from Slaughter was mentioned. Dana produced your debut. How did that come about, and from your perspective, what was it like working with him?
We had a roommate at the time named Angie. She was a big Slaughter fan and would call the Slaughter fan phone line all the time. In fact, she went to the movies with one of them one time if memory serves. She would mention Sister Whiskey to them and I guess Dana was looking for a new project to get involved with. He came down to a sound check at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. He saw some potential in the band and started preproduction the next week. Dana had a certain way in which he conducted his band. He was clearly the leader of the band and everyone followed him. He thought that our band should have the same infrastructure. We had Dom Gentile who guided the band as best he could during our unsigned days. He really did a great job booking shows and making deals for us with the club promoters. I think Dana played Dom and Dennis against each other. For what reason, I don?t know. At one point he had convinced Dennis that he was the star and could get his own deal and didn?t need us. Dennis revealed all this to us on a drunken rampage one night. But Dennis and Dom never really got along very well anyway. I had to hear about some of the fights between them at least once a month and would have to patch things up between them whenever I could. It was also suggested, by Dana, to fire our drummer Ange Dunleavey (who I moved out to California with) and we listened to his advice. But Ange really didn?t deserve to be fired and missed out on making the record and some other cool stuff. Eventually poor direction and a lack of leadership in the band cause us to make bad decisions and then Dennis quit unexpectedly. At this point it?s water under the bridge. Everybody is cool with each other, at least I think.
Sister Whiskey with Dana Strum
6. What ?rock star? deserves a smack in the mouth and why?
Everyone always says Axl Rose but I?m gong to say Stevie Rachelle form the band Tuff. Something about a big German in a cheese head hat that makes me hostile.
7. Of the following, which do you prefer and why?
Whitesnake or Warrant = Whitesnake. Rudy Sarzo was pretty cool.
Pretty Boy Floyd or Ugly Kid Joe = Neither. I hate these bands.
Sister Whiskey or Drinking Whiskey = My buddy, Vince Fitsgerald from the band Tommi Gun. I prefer him to Sister Whiskey or sippin whiskey.
New York or Los Angeles = I love LA
MTV or CMT =My ex roommate Keith would watch CMT. I wanted to go on a shooting spree.
White Lion or White Zombie =Rob Zombie?s music is great.
Heavy gauge or light gauge strings = I use a mix of light and heavy gauge strings.
Dennis Duncan or Dunkin? Donuts = I prefer Dennis to a donut, but not by much.
Crazy Girls or The 7th Veil = The bitches at Crazy Girls are the best.
BAM or Rock City News = RCN
8. Back in 1997, you started playing bass with the band ifoundgod, only to be requested by them to leave the lineup after just a few months. Was that an amicable split, or did it bum you out when they asked you to quit?
IfoundGod was a cool band that I played with for a while. I was also involved with 2 other bands at the time and the guys in IFG wanted me to devote more time to them and I had no time to do it so I just stopped showing up.
9. We also heard that legendary singer Glenn Hughes did some backing vocals on the Sister Whiskey album, yet he wasn?t credited for doing such. Did you guys forget about him, did he request not to be named for tax purposes, or do you think he was so embarrassed to have appeared on your disc that he wanted his name no way associated with Sister Whiskey?
I have no idea why he wasn?t credited on the Sister Whiskey album. I don?t think it?s because of him because he has the credit on his Web site.
10. Yes or No, has Rich Florio ever done the following:
Milked a cow = Yes and it had only one udder.
Pissed in a fish tank =Yeah, but my piss has all kinds of good stuff for the fish.
Shit in a bathtub = But it was someone else?s shit so it was ok
Jacked off in a treehouse = Does a doghouse count?
Eaten at a McDonald?s and Burger King in the same day = I hate them both.
Trashed a motel room = I threw up in a few.
Banged up a rental car = I banged in a rental car a few times.
Passed out on stage = Never
Signed your name in blood = Never made that packed with the devil. But I did sign a production deal with Strum. Only kidding.
Touched another man?s penis = Once. It was my own and I was young and very impressionable.
11. Name 3 bands that got signed off the Sunset Strip but had no business getting a record deal. Please feel free to elaborate all you?d like.
I don?t know any bands that didn?t deserve it. All bands in that environment are trying to reach the same goal. It?s not easy to get there and then have staying power. One band that I thought should have done more was LSD. They were a great band and they were signed to Warner Brothers at the same time we were and we would run into them every now and then. They should have made that band huge. They were exceptional.
12. When we asked Dennis Duncan about the possibility of a Sister Whiskey reunion ever happening, he said, ?It will never happen. All the guys have moved on to other things. I don’t think any of them even play music seriously any longer. I don’t think anyone would really care about us anyway. We probably couldn’t sell enough tickets to fill a bingo hall.? Do you agree with his sentiments, or do you think that you could sell enough tickets to fill something bigger than a bingo hall, like an Elks Lodge or possibly even Paladino?s?
No he?s right. Not about the other guys playing music though. Jack Aurora stills plays guitar for Motley Priest, I still play and never stopped.
13. Time for a Metal Sludge walk down memory lane! Tell us what you remember most about the following years:
1974 = Playing on a swing in our backyard. My sister cut her eye on it.
1978 = The first year I saw Kiss in concert. Fucked up my whole life.
1982 =Started the 8th grade at St.Mary?s Elementary School.
1986 = In McKee high school hanging out with the wrong crowd.
1988 = First year out of HS went to see Iron maiden & Priest in concert.
1990 =Working in NYC and playing in a band called Cheap Thrills.
1994 = Got married and my daughter Shannon was born.
1998 =Lived in Van Nuys CA, porn capital of the world.
2000 =Started playing in It?s the Pigs. Sunny Phillps, guitar genius.
2002 = Started my music license company Max Trax Music.
14. What hard rock / heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?
As I said, I loved Kiss when I was a kid but it?s hard to look at them now. I saw their farewell tour back in 97 or 98 and they should?ve stopped then but they didn?t. Someone must care because I don?t. Someone must stop them before they infect the rest of the world.
15. For what amount was your biggest music related check, and what did you end up doing with the cash?
It was in the 5 figures. But not related to Sister Whiskey or any Rock band that?s for sure. I think I got some hookers and coke.
Sister Whiskey, looks like Rich Florio can’t afford shoes!
16. Out of all the bands that Sister Whiskey ever shared the stage with, which ones were the coolest to work with, and which ones were the biggest bunch of jackasses you?ve ever met?
The coolest was Swingin? Thing guys. By the time we put the band together they were tearing up the strip. Not all the guys were cool, but most of them were. They let us open for them and we were exposed to their crowd. The biggest jassasses were the guys in a band called Brother Cain. They thought we were ripping them off or something and think they sucked or something. Anyway they were gay.
17. Rate the following chicks on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a bucket of pig intestines, and 10 being a modern-day Aphrodite:
Paris Hilton = 10 She looks dirty.
Britney Spears = 8
Pamela Anderson =7 Starting to be a little weathered.
Kylie Minogue =10
Ashlee Simpson =5 Lip syncher.
Jessica Simpson = 10 She is Hot.
That Christy chick from i.f.g. = 5 She was cool though.
Martha Quinn = 2
Gerri Miller =-5 She was that bald chick, right?
Kendra Jade = 8 Now I know she?s dirty.
18. Which would you rather have happen to you (and you have to pick one):
a) Have a full pot of freshly brewed scalding-hot coffee slowly poured over your exposed crotch, and you can?t try to cover yourself with your hands or anything like that, or;
b) You walk into a public restroom and mistakenly open an occupied stall, only to discover a fat, sweaty, hairy man sitting there jacking off, and just as your brain registers what?s happening, he blows his wad with such force his goo hits you smack dab in the face.
Which will it be?
You?re a real stupid fucker. When you gonna grow up?
19. The Last of Rich Florio:
Last rock star you shook hands with = Jack Aurora. But I check quickly for diseases.
Last fast food you ate = El Polo Loco
Last CD you purchased = Chocolate City
Last concert you watched from the crowd =Charlie Daniels in Laughlin
Last time you talked to a member of Slaughter = I don?t remember
Last time Sister Whisky played a gig =94
Last time you had hair down to your waist = 96
Last time you signed an autograph = Last time I used my credit card.
Last time you boiled your bass strings =A few years ago.
Last time you got shit-faced drunk on the strip =One time, I drank so much at a Rock City News interview because Ruben Blue brought us a bottle of Jack Daniels to drink. I think 3 or 4 of us polished off a fifth in an hour or so. On the way home, we stopped off at that Burger King on La Brea and Sunset and got some burgers. When I got home I puked and the freshly eaten burger got caught in my windpipe. I was so drunk off my ass and had to reach in my throat and pull out a big glob of meat and bun. It was pretty cool that I lived.
20. Time for Metal Sludge?s Word Association. We mention a name and you give us your thoughts.
Mark Slaughter = He wrote one of the songs on the Sister Whiskey CD
Jack Aurora =Oh you mean ‘strunz.’ He?s a great friend.
Bill Gazzarri = I remember him from the Decline movie. ?ODIN, ODIN, ODIN.?
Dom Gentile = Beans. Guitar player for SW. He and his girlfriend Felicia were the ones with a jobs back in the day and if we had no food they always feed us and take care for us. Still friends and talk on a regular basis.
Neil Zlozower = He never took pictures of us. David Klien was our guy.
Vince Neil = I saw him play at House of Blues with Tuff one night. He looked like a fat Elvis
Gregg E. West = He was the drummer that replaced Ange. He was a cool guy and a great drummer.
Paul Stanley = Please make Kiss go way. Please, as a fan I?m asking. You guys have enough money by now.
Rodney Dangerfield = Caddy Shack rules. ?Who stepped on a duck??
Alice Cooper =The golfer?
Well there you go! Merry Christmas everybody!
For more information on Rich Florio’s new band It’s The Pigs, feel free to visit their Web site at www.itsthepigs.com. And if that’s not enough, Richie invites you to send him comments, hate mail, and naked pictures of your girlfriend to [email protected].