|vincent gallo's musical history
On my fifth birthday in 1967, along with two pairs of brown socks, I received a one dollar bill from my wonderful parents. Boy, what gift givers they were. With dollar bill in hand, I thought and thought and thought. I thought hard about what to buy. And after weeks of thinking and looking at millions of things priced under a buck, I finally let go of the dollar bill to purchase the Beatles album, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band. My first record album it was. Though I had no phonograph to play it on, I did stare at it a lot. However, a few months later my best uncle, my Uncle Hoxie, who could fix anything, fixed one up that he had garbage picked for me. The Beatles are the best band in the world to get a five year old kid hooked on music. I began to sing along and fake play along all the time. And all the time I wished really hard that I was in a band.
1971. My first band. The Blue Mood. A fat Jew named Mark Suchman on vocals. A Sephardic Jew, poorly named Irwin Ashkanasi, who was ugly and couldn't play a note but had a brand new two channel amp and a basement, miming rhythm guitar with his amp volume turned off. An already drinking eleven year old redheaded Irishman named Keith Ice on guitar. By the way, did you ever notice the smell of redheads? I think that's why a lot of redhead girls have Black boyfriends. They smell compatible. Anyway, Keith could really play guitar. He didn't have his own amp so he played through the extra channel of Irwin's brand new amplifier. I was nine. I played drums which I acquired from another Jew friend by trading his parents my cleaning, gardening and handyman skills for the summer. Along with the drums, I got a brace face blow job from my Jew friend's fat older sister. It was my first one. I also fingered her. It was a cheap drum set bought by cheap Jews, but it made sound and I loved it. Our only gig was two songs at a bar mitzvah. One was the band Free's song "All Right Now," the other was Creedence Clearwater's "Down on the Corner." The Jew kids loved us. Especially me. Because I had long hair and no braces or glasses or pimples or a yarmulke. We broke up right after the show. Maybe it was too much, too soon.
1974. My second band, Zephyr. Danny Rowland on guitar. Barry Height on drums. And me looking very Chris Squire on bass. A perfect band -- no Jews, no redheads. Oh, yeah, we also had a singer. I don't remember his name. I could never remember it then. All I remember is, he was 16 and he had a car. I guess he was the Irwin Ashkanasi of my second band. Only you could hear him sing. Our guitar player Danny could pick up songs off any album. He could also figure out the bass lines and teach them to me. And our drummer was in the high school jazz band. Those two were 14. I was 12. And we were doing rough covers of King Crimson, Yes, Genesis and Gentle Giant. This was all pretty advanced for our age. What's-his-name, our singer, was definitely the weak link. Though I repeat, he did have a car. We played one concert at the Delaware Park summer festival which had 20 bands. We went on first at 10 am. A bit early for a good crowd. However, my mom and pops and aunt and uncle were there. It was fun to play. I had spent weeks on my outfit. I made a sort of cape out of an old blanket. And I wore my boots on the outside of my jeans. They were up to my knees. My parents never spoke about the show. My band broke up that day. Around 12 noon. Just before lunch. Maybe if we'd eaten breakfast, we wouldn't have been so edgy.
I had a friend named George Shearer, and that year in 1974, we started listening to the Stooges, the New York Dolls, and Bowie. George didn't play an instrument. I had never played guitar. So in 1976 with George barely playing drums and me barely playing guitar, we formed the legendary band, the Plastics. Legendary in Buffalo, that is. Which is saying nothing. It was my third band and George and I were thirteen.
Members of the Bush Tetras, Lydia Lunch's Teenage Jesus and the Jerks and me and George were all gigging at a space called Halwalls, which was run by the artists Cindy Sherman and Robert Longo. Buffalo wasn't bad in 1976.
When I was 16, I went to New York City. I got in a band right away with Jean Michel Basquiat called Gray. We did gigs at Max's, CBGB's, Hurrahs, and a famous one at the Mudd Club. The Mudd show was packed. It felt really good. After that gig though we broke up. It was Jean's fault. Anyway, a month later he was a millionaire art star. Sometimes it's good to be Black.
1981. I formed a band with one of the other guys from the band Gray whose name then was Wayne Richard Clifford. He calls himself Justin Time now. I still call him Wayne. He doesn't like it. Anyway, our band name was Bohack. Wayne's girlfriend Claudia was also in the band. We did a record on my label Family Friend Records. Francesco Clemente did the cover art. It's a rare record. So dark, it's hard to listen to. Got one crazy fan letter from that album. Why are all my fans weird? Can't pretty girls like me? Bohack played one live gig. At Howie Montague's non entiendes cabaret at Danceteria. We played just one song, that was the concept. Wayne played with an old dirty rag shoved up his ass and no clothes on. Claudia Porcelli, the girl in the band, was also naked. I chopped up a bunch of hair off dolls and glued them all to her crotch and formed the biggest bush in the world. I also drew giant breasts on her naked chest. Boy was she sexy. And she smelled nice. I stole a sock off a bum's foot and taped it around my penis. Long before the Chili Peppers thought of it. This was 1981. That night, right after the show, the band broke up. I don't remember why. From that show, Wayne got a hemorrhoid. Claudia got eaten out. And I got asked to do the music for Eric Mitchell's last film, The Way It Is, which was also the first film I acted in along with Steve Buscemi and Rockets Redglare. There's a vinyl pressing of that soundtrack. It's worth getting, if I should say so myself.
1982. Hip hop and you don't stop. Prince Vince is going to do the body rock. That's right, Vincent Gallo turns Puerto Rican and becomes a world class leader in the hip-hop scene. I got some good tapes of stuff I did at that time. It'll all come out soon.
1997. Did the music for my film Buffalo 66. After giving up trying to get paid for writing, acting and directing the movie from those filthy Canadian thieves at Lion's Gate Films, I decided rather than to direct another film to focus on music. Still wishing to be in a band, I formed a band called Bunny with Lucas Haas. It was so good to play with Lucas. We did nice things together. And we went on tour in Japan together. After our last sold out show in Tokyo, which really was quite nice, we never played music together again. I can't explain to you why without insulting Lucas and I refuse to insult him. Besides, he can't help it. It's not his fault.
Anyway, I spent two years in Los Angeles building a very odd recording studio that could record beautifully with very primitive recording techniques. About a year ago, I finally got all the stuff working. Only I didn't really feel like being in a band anymore. I recorded an album on my own, in my own home, on my own gear, making my own music. The album is called When and I hope you hear it and I hope you like it.