Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Sarge Adam Sessions (Part 1)


This post is not for the timid or easily offended. It contains strong language and a depiction of the obscene rock and roll culture. Also, it clutches overtones of violence and sexual aggression. It is blasphemous, slandering, and disrespectful to about every virtuous entity on the planet...

And it's all true!

"Anarchy in the U.K." was a big hit for Malcolm McLaren's Sex Pistols. They sang of violence, anti-social conformity, and they attempted to taint the Queens image. They even covered Sinatra's "My Way" as a show of defiance.


Meet Fearless Leader... And their unconcerning front man, Sarge Adam.

Sarge Adam and I met through a strange line of events that originated with my interview with Zebra back in July of this year. I wanted more information on the bands she was associated with and the people who played in them. Little did I know at the time that this quest would lead me to cross paths with one of my personal idols (and one of the original Gizmos) - Eddie Flowers - and bring me face to face with Fearless Leader, one of the most controversial acts in rock and roll history.

I honestly hadn't heard of Fearless Leader, or Sarge Adam. Some how I missed that train. I am wondering how this happened, because Fearless Leader epitomises everything a rock and roll band should be... They are the very definition of the term. You would think that a band that plays great music despite their inability to take themselves seriously would surface in the mainstream somewhere. But these guys never did. Their disastrous tour of '88 wasn't covered in Spin or Rolling Stone, despite it being a much better story than what WAS being printed in the late '80s. The cell phone camera was still years away from reality, and there are very few pictures of Fearless Leader available. And meanwhile in 2010 the radio waves are being saturated with shitty bands like Kings of Leon and Buck Cherry... And we need bands like Fearless Leader more than ever.

Having read about Fearless Leader where I could find information on them, and from email exchanges with Zebra and her husband, Allen Clark (who also played in Fearless Leader), I was urged to contact Sarge Adam. I shot off an email to him, and since then through a long trail of correspondence, I have accumulated perhaps the most epic Rock and Roll interview ever.

Sarge Adam - or Dr. Sleaze - as he goes by on stage, has been extremely affable in dealing with me. I am sure that there are other things that he could be spending his time on, rather than conversing with a low-rent blogger like myself... And I couldn't be more appreciative.  The time he has put into this interview is remarkable... And I am forever grateful to him. His answers are candid and at times shocking. Often they made me laugh so hard I thought I was going to piss my pants. His truthfulness and attention to detail amazes me, and still does each time I re-read what we have discussed. This interview goes beyond the usual 5 questions thing that we do here on the Bigfoot Diaries, and even exceeds the interview I did with Imperial Dogs front man Don Waller back in January. This has literally turned into an on-going question and answer session, and that is what I am calling it... The sessions. I am the psychiatrist and Sarge is the patient. Well at least in the sense that I ask the questions, nod at his answers and write them down. Sarge is not crazy. He is more in tune with himself than most people ever allow themselves to be, and he tells it exactly the way he sees it. There is no bullshit with Sarge, just glorious stories of rock and roll mayhem... Enough to fuel a major motion picture. The fact that these stories are true blow me away... Especially because they have managed to fly under the radar for so long.

Sarge Adam with Fearless Leader

Because of the length of the interview, and the areas we haven't even covered yet, I am going to publish this in parts. I don't know what the final number will end up being, but I have enough right now for three equal pieces... Plus,  a whole slew of other questions to cover with Sarge yet. As long as he responds to my questions, I am going to keep asking them.

I am not going to disclose much more about Sarge in this monologue... You will learn enough about the man if you keep on reading. So put the children to bed, pull up a chair and prepare to be entertained. If you are easily offended, this is your last chance to vacate this post.

The Sarge Adam Session Part One:

Tell me about Fearless Leader's very first show...

Our first show was in 1986 at a private party that our drummer Brick Wahl had at a small rental place on Melrose in Hollywood. Allen and I wore roller skates onstage - "Yes it is very difficult to play guitar and especially the wah wah pedal on roller skates" - Allen was the Bassist at the time, we were a power trio!

I had purchased some huge smoke bombs and we taped them to the ends of our guitars. Well, when we lit them they really let loose and the place filled up with smoke FAST! As the damn things were taped to our guitars we had to stop playing and rip these hot as hell, smoking sumbitches off the guitars. By this time the people brave enough to stay were on the floor choking with their shirts over their faces. We poured beer down the damn things and they were water proof, so we just threw them down and kept playing. Well, all the smoke and people flying out the door of this place caused quite a commotion, and a neighbor called the fire department because it looked like the place was on fire! As we left the stage we were met by the fire marshall and about 100 firemen and 20-30 cops! They arrested Brick because he was in charge of the whole thing and confiscated the $600 or so he had taken in at the door. 4 other bands were supposed to play after us including Crawlspace which I played Bass in and Allen was the drummer, they were all really pissed at us! To add insult to injury we threw Brick outta the band because he wasn't a very good drummer, he's still my best friend! That started a trend in L.A. where other bands who knew us would refuse to play after us, so we became headliners by default!

Is it true you got punched in the face by a priest while playing at a Catholic Fair? And how the hell were you allowed to play a Catholic fair?

The Catholic school carnival was in the San Fernando valley at Saint Catherines Catholic school annual fund raising party. Our drummer at the time Flytrapper (Electric Ferrets) had friends who were booking the gig and he had them book Fearless Leader, the Thirsty Brats ,Crawlspace and they also had some really shitty U2 cover band to open the show. The U2 band took the stage and we all started throwing everything not nailed down at them, I think they played 3 or 4 songs before tossing in the towel. The Thirsty Brats with Scott Drake (Humpers) took the stage next and the crowd which consisted of mainly children, parents and clergy started to get the idea that they had made a huge mistake! The Brats got to play about half of their set before the power was cut on them for swearing too much! We took the stage in our make-up to a giant groan from the crowd, but we refused to play until the guys who booked us went to the beer stand and brought us 24 cups of beer. They did! We guzzled the beer fast and then went into "Hey Satan" our usual opening #. This was met with so much anger you could feel it. The anger was alive!

I was singing and swearing and just doing my thing when a really angry looking Priest and two big football players got onstage to throw us off. I told them to "Get the fuck off my stage you lousy cocksuckers!" and the football players looked at each other and then looked at me with fear in their eyes and they just bailed and left the Priest on his own with me! Scott Drake said I looked like the "Evilest clown he had ever seen" The Priest was screaming for them to pull the plug and I told him if he did "I'd kick his ass back to Hell where he belonged" That was it.. he actually ran at me in his little black dress and punched me right in the mouth, so I laughed in his face and then gave him the hardest uppercut I've ever hit anyone with, and his little 130 pound ass flew up and out into the crowd never to be seen again. We played one more song and got offstage before the cops came! Once again... Crawlspace was scheduled after us and got cancelled. They were not happy with us at all!

Oh, another hilarious thing about that fair was....Our bassist at that time was Mike Snider (Kings of Oblivion) and he's kinda weird. After we had put on our makeup and costumes he was walking around the fair trying to pick up jail bait girls with the line "hi I'm in the band" Allen and I followed him around laughing our asses off as the little girls ran away in horror!

The Fearless Leader

How did the name Fearless Leader come about?... obviously the evil dictator from Bullwinkle comes to mind... And how did that name incorporate into the clown outfits and other garb the band was known for wearing?

FL is indeed inspired by the Bullwinkle show character. The band just got together and started making up names and we all agreed on that one, mine. I imagine that's the way most bands do it. I always have.

When we first started playing Allen and I would wear a little make-up and weird clothes, but Brick wouldn't do it (another reason he hadda go). Our first release was Trigon records 1988 "Gimme the Keys" which we have 3 songs on. In the promo pic's we are not wearing make-up or strange clothing. We also released a single on Trigon in early 89 with a lineup of myself, Allen on guitar now, Flytrapper on drums and Mike Snider on Bass. This was our last release without make-up. Allen and I had always wanted to wear KISS like make-up so we started doing that. We also started to wear whatever weird clothes we could find....Leather pants and cod pieces, long gloves, silver cowboy boots with pink heels, big pink boa was my first costume. It was a piece meal kind of thing with no real structure.

Then Snider quit the band and a guy named John Hancock (real name) from Texas joined the band, and things really started to come together. He took the band name Oral B. Goode and was a really great musician and song writer. We were instantly 100 times better with old Earl in the band. I say Earl because Allen couldn't say Oral with that hillbilly accent of his it sounded like Earl, so we all started calling him Earl!

During this time we composed and polished up the songs for our 1st album. We did a US tour in 1988 with Flytrapper on drums and Allen now playing rhythm guitar, Oral B. Goode on Bass and me on lead guitar. While on tour I found my now trademark red and white gingham ladies polyester leisure suit in a Pittsburgh thrift shop!

It became obvious that Flytrapper was holding us back, so we let him go and a new drummer... Johnny Duff, also from Texas joined the band as our new drummer. He took the name Spammy Haggard, which I thought up. Spammy was also an excellent musician and I suddenly found myself with a really fuckin' good band! We started playing shows 3-4 times a week and really got the act tight! Our audiences started to get bigger and bigger and things were good, very good! Or so I thought!

Allen and I were still playing in Crawlspace and there was a little jealousy going on there because Fearless Leader was way more popular. Allen was also still playing drums in his original band "The Lazy Cowgirls". So we weren't really putting all of our time and energy into Fearless Leader. The Lazy Cowgirls went to Europe for 3 months in late 89 and Fearless Leader suddenly turned into a power trio. Some say we were at our best during this time, but without Allen it wasn't Fearless Leader to me. He and I were the masterminds behind this thing and with him missing it just wasn't the same. We played a lot of good shows while Allen was gone and our audiences started to number in the hundreds and we got ready to record our first album, as soon as Allen returned from Europe.

The epitome of rock and roll

Tell me about that U.S. tour in '88... Did it have a name? Was it a nation wide event?... And what are some of your memories from that tour?

We toured the U.S. in October of 1988. No, it didn't have a name that I can remember! The lineup was myself on lead guitar and vocals, Alien Rock (Allens FL name) on rythym guitar, Oral B. Goode on bass and Flytrapper on drums. I dyed my hair blue which turned green 2 days later and Flytrapper dyed his fire engine red. We toured in a small Toyota truck with a camper shell on the bed and all of our equipment in a U- haul trailer. First show was in Denver, we arrived a day early and got very drunk not realizing that the thin air and Mile High City would seriously affect our bodies. We were out at a bar partying it was up a big staircase and when we went to leave we were all very drunk! Flytrapper tripped going down the stairs and fell on Oral's leg breaking his ankle. We went to the E.R. and they set his leg in a cast. Oral had to play every show sitting in a chair! The gig in Denver went well, but Oral kept bitching about his leg hurting, upon examination I noticed that it had been set improperly at an angle and he had to have it rebroken and reset.

The next show was in Minneapolis (a hell of a long drive in a day) We arrived bone tired to find it snowing! The show was in a restaurant/bar. It was kinda weird having people eating while we played. They had agreed to pay us $200 for the show but all we got was a shitty meal!

Next up Chicago the Rainbow Theater on Milwaukee street. A real dump made of wood, falling apart. The stage was up a huge flight of ricketty stairs that I thought would fall apart at any second. Alien Rock and I had to drag all the equipment up the stairs because Oral couldn't because of his leg and by now Flytrapper was having intense diarrhea and was curled up in a fetal position. My younger Brother Greg flew in from Detroit to see us and when he heard about Flytrappers problem he immediately punched him in the stomach making him puke everywhere! Needless to say this did not help and Flytrapper was forced at pain of death by me to get his ass onstage and play. The show was lousy and there were maybe 10 people there, a total waste of time!

Next show was in Pittsburgh at the Electric Banana where we found that most of Pennsylvania had dry counties or no drinking on Sunday and we could not find a beer anywhere as it was Sunday! We finally found an open liquor store near Pittsburgh and stocked the truck with beer. A really funny thing happened in the store though. Flytrapper saw 2 cute Amish girls and was trying to hit on them, I poked Allen and pointed it out to him, we both almost pissed ourselves watching these poor girls try to avoid Flytrapper. He finally gave up and came out to the truck and said " those fucking bitches wouldn't even talk to me" which led to about a half hour of gut wrenching laughter from the rest of us. The girls came out and got into a horse drawn carriage which surprised Flytrapper. He had never been out of California and didn't know what the Amish were! A few seconds later a very mad looking Amish man exited the buggy and headed our way, needless to say we packed it up and split FAST! We laughed for days about this experience.

Next show was in Buffalo and we arrived to find that it had been cancelled, so we decided to go to Niagra Falls and do some sight seeing. We stayed in a honeymoon hotel and ate massive piles of Buffalo chicken wings. The next shows were scheduled for Portland Maine and then down the East coast ending at CBGB's. But by this time between Oral being in serious pain because of his broken leg and Flytrapper shitting fiery hot chicken wings every 5 minutes we decided to cancel the rest of the tour and head home. With just myself and Allen taking turns driving we made it from Niagra Falls to L.A. in exactly 48 hours non-stop! All things considered one of the worst tours in the history of Rock! Flytrapper quit the band immediately! His parting words "I hate you fuckers!"

Heh... How many shows were cancelled on account of you cancelling the tour early?

I think we had to cancel 6 shows Portland, Burlington Vermont, Providence R.I., 2 shows in Boston and CBGB's.

One other thing happened on the tour that I didn't mention. We were passing through Green River Uta,h and one of the tires on the truck started going flat. So we pulled into a Shell station, the only gas station in the shit-hole town. With our green and red hair the inbred retard working there looked at us as if we were from Mars. We had put new tires on the truck before we left L.A. so I was pissed. Upon inspection the tire had a nail in it and the asswipe at the gas station told us "come back in an hour and it'll be fixed". So we went and ate, BIG fuckin mistake!!!! when we returned the asswipe told us "I've got bad news all 4 of your tires are flat!" While we were gone he had obviously punctured all the tires. I wanted to kill this fucker and I told him to call the police to the station! He said, "Sure but I don't think my brother is gonna help you". His Father was the sheriff and both of his brothers were deputies. A light went on in my head as I realized that this was a scam that this fuck head had pulled many times! Luckily I had a Shell credit card and we were forced to buy the most expensive tires he had because that was all he had that would fit the truck, or so he said. So we got ripped off for $400 there. Man, I really had to hold myself back from hurting this fucker really badly! Oh well, you live and learn! Shell did give me the money back after a year of nasty letters and phone calls from me!

So after Flytrapper quit, what was the next move for the band?

Well, after Flytrapper left the band Spammy Haggard stepped right in to take his place. We were going to let Flytrapper go anyway. By the way the name Spammy Haggard is a bastardization of Sammy Hagar who Spammy bore a strong resemblance to. Actually the best move we ever made because he could play any instrument and was a GREAT drummer. Spinning his sticks and really grooving with the music. Something that we hadn't had before and I realized immediately that I would never again work with a shitty drummer. The drummer is the heart of the band, and if he sucks the band is gonna suck. We didn't suck anymore after that! It was time to record our first album!

I get the bastardization of Sammy Hagar... Pretty clever! That being said, Spam actually played quite a roll in the vitality of Fearless Leader, didn't it? Isn't there a story about you shaping spam into a phallic shape and chasing a nun... Or something to that effect?

Well, the origin of using Spam escapes my old warped brain! I think I brought a can to a show because I used to put shit all over my head and body and then make the audience eat it off of me! Whipped cream, peanut butter, cheese whiz etc. I brought spam and thought no one would eat it and I was wrong, they ate it all. After that it was a part of the act! Oral B. Goode tried like hell to get them to sponsor us until they wrote us a legal letter threatening to sue the hell out of us if we didn't stop using their product in the act. Of course we didn't stop!

Once at a Las Vegas show I put 2 cans of sardines down my pants and then after the show I didn't change and went casino hopping with Flytrapper. I got thrown out of about 10 casino's before almost getting killed by a bouncer at Caesars palace. I'd sit at a black jack table and once the dealer smelled me (about 2-3 minutes) they would ask " who smells so bad" and I'd answer "I've got sardines in my pants" and we'd get escorted out! This big black guy at Caesars took offense and wanted to rip my fucking head off! Yes, I started making spam dicks and pretending to shove them up my ass. One time I was dressed as a nun when I did it!

Tell me about the other bands you played in besides Fearless Leader.

I was in a band in Detroit in 80-81 called The Gerbils and I played bass in Crawlspace for 4 years here in L.A. I've recently rejoined Crawlspace as a guitarist.

Sarge with Crawlspace 2010

How is it going with switching to guitar from Bass in Crawlspace? Was that Eddie's (Eddie Flowers) idea, or yours? Anything from the first "reunion" show happen that's worth mentioning?

Crawlspace show last night was in the smallest place I've ever played. Maybe 20 x 20 ft. record/ bondage store on Highland in Hollywood. They had an actual J.W. Gacy clown painting of himself, really creepy! Not the clown, but Gacy the fucking animal, prick!

It was 110 all day and when we took the umm floor it was 130 with no AC in the building. I could not breath, what with being nervous and the heat. We played ok I'd give it a C- which I expected seeing as how we never practiced before the show, and I had to learn all the songs by just listening to them! Next show this Sunday at the Redwood in Downtown L.A. It had better cool the fuck down, DAMN!

Crawlspace was the only band that I ever played Bass in. I didn't even know that I could do it, before they asked I had never touched a Bass! I'm a guitarist! I think it was Allen's or Keith Telligman's idea to use me as the Bassist. I went to Mark McCormack's apartment in Hollywood, learned the songs in about 2 hours and we played a show the next night. This was in 86 I think and between both bands we played shows almost every night. Quite a few on the same bill, convenient on one hand and exhausting on the other! Oh, I answered your question bassackwards! No, it was Joe Dean the bassist in Crawlspace who thought of using me as a guitarist. Their normal guitarist won't play Sunday night shows! He'd better watch his ass, after I play 2 by myself, I may not want him back (fuck them)! He's an mediocre guitarist anyway, doesn't fit in Crawlspace at all, in my humble opinion!

Oh, one more old Crawlspace story before I forget!

We were playing Madame Wongs West in Santa Monica in 1988 and I decided to buy a pigs head from the local Mexican Carniceria and bring it to the show and get medieval with it! During the set I took out pliers and a screwdriver and ripped its' ears off and poked the eyes out, you get the idea! And throw it all at the audience. When I was done with the bloodbath I tossed the head on the stage and resumed playing Bass. Some little shit head picked it up and blasted me right in the face with it and almost knocked me out! A pigs head is fuckin heavy. By the time I recovered the asshole had split or he woulda been my next victim! After the show as we were leaving we walked past the kitchen, so I threw the pigs head way far back behind the furnace so no one would ever find it until it started really stinking! I still wonder to this day who found it and what the fuck they thought when they did?

To be continued...

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