Great Guys Day is a day at Harold Oliver Primary, a local grade school, when the kids are invited to bring in a great guy in their life. Unfortunately some kids don’t have a great guy in their life to bring in. That’s where WK stepped in. We sent 9 great guys to hang out with 9 great kids for the afternoon. The day was spent making crafts, eating lunch with the kids and playing a hell of Soccer game. Special thanks to Dan Wieden, Floyd Rocker, Paul Levy, Taylor Twist, Aaron Lee, Peter Yue, Gene Willis, Fritz Mesenbrink and Chris Soli for donating part of their day to make a few kids real happy.
I grew up in Northbrook, Illinois just about 30 minutes from the big city. It happened to be John Hughes’ favorite place to make his movies. Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Weird Science and of course Ferris Buellers Day Off just to name a few. The school used was Glen Brook North. All 4 of my older sisters (Joanne, Julie, Diane, Leanne) and my younger brother Robby attended GBN. I did not. I went to Loyola Academy, an all boys school.
I remember as a kid hearing my 2 oldest sisters telling stories of “actors” hanging out at their school. “this really cute guy and a total loser are in my weightlifting class”. “Oh…i know, that guy is soooo queer”. Naturally they were talking about Emilio Estevez and Michael Anthony Hall. This was really weird for me at the time since I didn’t understand that actors were actually real people as well. Come to think of it…I still don’t quite get it and probably never will…at least I hope so. On a side note, US Magazine should be called THEM Magazine. Anyway…back to Northbrook, my sisters and John.
Sooo…Diane (the 3rd oldest) was lucky enough to be in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. John really took to her and put her in a bunch of scenes as an extra. She’s most visible in the classroom scene where Sloan gets called out of class by the nurse. Diane is right behind Sloan. Yes…I thought Diane was the coolest of the cool. She was though and still is. She’s now happily married with 2 babies and lives in Santa Barbara.
2. Some of us have seen you on stage swiveling your hips and acting like you are in a band. What is that all about and any groupie stories?
I spent a great portion of my childhood listening to records and performing in front of the mirror. When I felt I was ready I would put on shows in the living room for my Mom and Dad. I’d make my brother Robby be the bass player or somebody as equally unimportant but I was always the front man. It was my show after all and as far as I was concerned he was lucky enough to be in it. Sometimes he’d play the keyboard which was actually our heater. It came out of the wall and stood a good 3 ft. it was a perfect keyboard and it’s still at my parents house. Awesome.
As I got older I found that my obsession with performing in front of the mirror didn’t end. I did it all the way into high school and then some. Yeah…I know.
In my junior year of high school I worked at a record store in the mall. It should be noted that it’s the same mall where Robert Downey Jr. and that other shitbag poured their Cokes on Michael Anthony Hall and his nerd friend in Weird Science. Pretty fucking cool huh? My co-worker at the record store went to a different school and asked me to sing in his band. There was this Battle of the Bands and they needed a singer fast! I joined. We didn’t win. I did get the chance to sing Smells Like Teen Spirit, Feel Like Making Love and Mysterious Ways in the same set though. I think that’s a record. I’m not sure of it but that’s what I tell everyone.
I went off to college and my obsession continued. Learned how to play guitar and bass and eventually some drums. Played in a bunch of different bands and had a ton of great experiences and it actually fed my hunger. I still play and record music and will probably do so until I physically can’t. Sadly, I don’t perform in front of the mirror or my parents anymore, my brother runs my dads business and I am the one who plays bass now. At the very least though…my bass is real. You hear that Robby?
Groupies? The best groupies ever are kids. Yeah, yeah…get your mind out of the gutter. Seriously. I’ve rarely had the chance to play an all ages show. We did this one at the Crystal Ballroom years ago opening up for this band Cornershop. Never heard of them but they had a lot of fans. Young ones. We went out there and there was a sea of young kids getting totally into it. I guarantee they had never heard of us but what did they care? It’s music and it’s fun and they were there to rock. It was very cool especially only being familiar with 21 and over shows where nobody really cares and everyone is drunk. Ok…those are fun too. I ended up signing autographs which was completely ridiculous. These 2 sweaty kids asked me for my bass pic. I threw it at them. Shit like that is awesome and retarded.
3. Have you seen the ass of a jackass?
Long story short? Yes. I’ve seen Chris Pontious’ cock, balls and ass a lot. I’ve witnessed Dave England try to make love to a stove only to have it tip over on him. I’ve had the pleasure of being punched by Jeff Tremaine in a gay bar and the first time I met Mr. Knoxville was by him cattle prodding me right on the ass. I’m really happy for all of those guys. They’ve been doing that shit forever and now they’re getting paid…a ton. The funny thing is that some of them would still be doing that shit regardless of Jackass.
4. If Soli was to come over to your desk with the K9 unit what would they find?
They’d find a Sicilian dirtbag with a beard pretending to build websites. 5. What are you doing this weekend?
Probably rocking out in front of the mirror. After that?
I’m working on a new record with a bunch of different musicians. The idea is to not worry about all the things that people worry about when forming bands or playing music. No live shows. No band period. The project is just to make music. Music has been such an important part of my life and when I listen back to old stuff I’ve made I can recall how I felt back then, who I was hanging out with, where I was living, etc. Music is what documents my life and I haven’t done enough of it in the last few years. Fuck it. I’m doing it now and I’m doing it with friends. Lot’s of them.
After that I will play a videogame. I usually play games that have zombies. I really don’t know why.
6. Pay it forward (lame I know, sorry about that one)
Let’s see…i don’t know jack about Sef McCullough. Uh…Sef?
The Wieden + Kennedy weekly lunchbox is now soaring with the third installment featuring Pigeon John, Lyrics Born and Cut Chemist. Our first time was awkward and rough with Art Brut. The second time was sexy and smooth with Ladytron. The third time, however, turned the whole place out and made returning to work after lunch on a Monday difficult. Pigeon John wasted no time warming up and went straight at us with great energy and charisma. Kind of hard to drop into a place of business in the middle of the day and get heads boppin to say the least. Cut Chemist dropped some history and a whole bunch of science on the wheels of steel. With great video synced to a lot of the beats that showed lots of old footage from breakers and beginnings of hip-hop style to Capoeira and martial arts movements.
Top it all off with Lyrics Born getting the whole place on their feet and moving to the sound backed by Cut Chemist. LunchBox is in full swing and puts another stamp on why this place is the World Headquarters. Stay tuned for how we are going to top this.
Studio’s Brad Simon is a part of a group show happening at Fifty24PDX Gallery. The show features work from local Portland artist and opening night, December 7th, will feature music by Ohmega Watts. Mark your calendars.