|Ian Hammond Interview
Fort Lauderdale, FL
The first thing you need to know about Ian Hammond is that he is fucking HILARIOUS. He's also a good cook, he prepared souvlaki for the grill while this interview was being conducted.. At times soft spoken, at times forceful and loud, it's obvious he doesn't spend a lot of time looking backwards, but when asked, he remembers a lot of details, and can recreate moments in time for us poor slobs who werenít there.
He also spoke candidly about the new album "Proud Flesh", (available at ianhammond.net) and the tragic passing of Dan Hosker, his collaborator on the project. Ian has assembled a band, and is looking to play some gigs. And he also plays guitar for Charlie Pickett, and very occasionally will re-unite the Martyrs...
Ian Hammond, November 2013 [photo: Karen Wideen]
Howdy folks, This is something we've not done before. This here is an interactive interview. There are bits of text that are a different color than the rest, and the reason why is that there are three places in the text that if you click them, it will take you to an old flyer or article. And there are eight links that will take you to an mp3 by RAF or the DT Martyrs. And there are four articles, one picture and one flyer that if you click them, it takes you to a LARGER version of what's there ... so ENJOY ... Love, Jeff
Jeff: Mr. Hammond, where were you born?
Ian: New York, New York State. February 7, 1964. Me and the Beatles arrived in New York on the same day. (Slightly crestfallen) They had better press.
Jeff: What city in New York?
Ian: I didn't even know until about 10 years ago, I was born in Buffalo. (Laughs) I never lived in Buffalo, my dad took a freelance job there, and I happened to be born in Buffalo.
Jeff: And when did you move to Florida?
Jeff: So you were 8.
Ian: I was 8, exactly.
Jeff: So what music did you listen to when you were young?
Ian: Before we came down to Florida, my cousins, one played the drums, one played guitar. You know, not wellÖ just piddled. But (they had tons of albums, and.....everything late '60's (that) you would imagine. I mean, the one I remember is (Rolling Stones) Hot Rocks, whoa! I was probably 7 or 8 years old when I got Sticky Fingers.
And then.....you know, growing up down here....Lynyrd Skynyrd, for sure. And from listening to the Stones you got reggae and blues, and the older, you know the Chuck Berry stuff. And.....that would go through about '76, '77, and then punk rock hit.
Jeff: What was the first punk stuff you heard?
Ian: Well, the funny thing was, when I was growing up in Coral Springs, we had a, everyone had a band. I wasn't even in high school, I was in middle school, had a garage band. And we were doin' Stones and...Probably Beatles, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and all that. And I actually remember... the guitar player's dad.....this would be summer of '76, (ed. note--actually, it may have been the summer of '77, but 35 years later, who's counting?) coming into the garage with Time magazine, the summer of '76 Time magazine, and going.....and he was a pompous fuck.... "It's great that you're doing music, and dadadadada, this is great stuff. But I don't ever wanna see you getting into this punk rock stuff." With that Time magazine issue in hand. And that was it!
Jeff: It's like an invitation!
Ian: Yeah, exactly! As soon as he said that, I went "Well uh....gotta go figure what THAT'S about." And so, by '77...because there was a lag, before you could even get the records. So in '77 I'm 13.....and just like, jumped ship, absolutely. And from then on in it was Clash, (Sex) Pistols, Ramones, the triumvirate. I remember getting the Vibrators' "Pure Mania" very early.....
And then at that point, '78, that's when I started high school, and I started at a different high school. So no neighborhood friends, no nothing. And then within a year or so, I formed R.A.F.
Jeff: Was the EAT the first Florida punk band you saw?
Ian: Well......it would be the EAT..... The first live show of that sort of thing that I saw was the New Wave New Year.
Jeff: And you said you had a fake ID?
Ian: You didn't need one for that show, (New Wave New Year), but later on, I created some phony ID. Yeah, of course...It would've been New Year's Eve '79, then you're into '80, and I guess it was '80 that R.A.F. played the last Premier AOR show.
Jeff: R.A.F. played the last show there?
Ian: Yeah, I believe, I don't think anyone knew it at the time, but I believe it turned out to be the last weekend of bands at Premier AOR. And that night......it was.....just pure 'luck of the draw' that Charlie (Pickett) was playing the same night, so I met Charlie then.
There's an issue of Rag magazine, with a write-up of that weekend, which nails down the actual date. But it had to be '80.....I know I had to have been 16 years old. Eddie (O'Brien) always says, "No, you were 15!"
I had to be 16 as I was able to drive at that point.
Jeff: What were your first impressions of Charlie?
Ian: I have no memory, really, of that particular night. I have a couple photographs from that show, which I believe Jim Johnson took, 'cause they were in the Rag. I know I met the EAT and the Cichlids, and I saw Pickett play. But I was like a 16-year old kid, years younger than the other bands.
Jeff: Your admiration of the EAT, what was it about them that got you?
Ian: Well, I mean.....nearly all through high school that was my favorite band. You know, everyone in high school has a favorite band. That was my favorite band. "Who's your favorite band?" "The EAT."
Jeff: (imitating Ian's classmates) "Who the hell's that?"
Ian: Yeah, and that's when fake IDs got into it, and..........I would have to hazard a guess that the second time I saw the EAT would've been the Progresso Plaza show, at Open (Books and Records). And then I would've started going to the clubs. My two favorite bands in high school were the EAT and the Reactions. Reactions shows? God, after a certain point I saw every fuckin' one. Like the EAT, once I was on, at a certain point, I saw EVERY goddamn show, by the EAT, and in the Reactions case, until they pfffft! (Broke up).
The Reactions sounded like Generation X and the Ramones and all that. That, to me, was like a punk rock band. The Cichlids were a punk rock band, but in a pop sort of way. But Pickett and the EAT, were to me, rock'n'roll bands. The EAT is the EAT. (Laughs) I can't be more helpful in getting more specific than that, how the fuck else does anybody else describe the EAT?
I think it basically went from Premier (club) to.............when the Balkan (club) was found. I have to assume that chronologically, that was what it was. We (R.A.F.) did the same sort of thing, I just cold-called clubs to talk our way in. I can't remember specifically who we might have played shows with....I know we played with the Essentials and the Throbs two or three times, easily. Because they actually got raided, the Balkan did, one night before a show with the Throbs, while we were loading gear in. I know, at that point I was 17, and.......7 o'clock, 7:30, something like that.......I'm 17 years old, sitting at the first chair at the bar, and the doors come flying open, and it's FHP (Florida Highway Patrol), and Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms......Yeah, it was a mob place, no matter what. Yeah, we later heard there was a firearm under the bar, and untaxed liquor, and untaxed cigarettes.
Jeff: Did they hassle you about being underage?
Ian: I dunno, I was just sitting there, I can remember, I was sittin' there with a Heineken dark, and they're like, "Who are you?"
"Well, we're one of the bands."
"Well, no one's playing tonight, so get your gear and get the fuck out."
"No problem, trooper." And we got our gear and got the fuck out. But it's funny 'cause the Throbs had a Hammond B3 (organ) with a Leslie speaker, I still remember that. And it had just been schlepped in, and then had to be schlepped RIGHT BACK out.
Jeff: Wow, it probably weighed....500 pounds.
Ian: Oh yeah, easy. Someone once told me what they.....it's over (500) I think, depending on the accoutrements that are attached. But yeah, it was a monster. The Balkan re-opened after the raid, that I remember.
My timeline is always a bit dicey, but....there was very little overlap between willing clubs, it always seemed like 'the scene' only one spot at a time. Until someone fucked it up, or they closed, or they got raided....
Jeff: What did you think of the Cichlids?
Ian: I saw them probably about half a dozen times. Obviously first time was New Wave New Year. We never played any shows with them. But the funny thing was, Allan Portman tried to get R.A.F. to be his back-up band, after he left the Cichlids. And we had 2 or 3 rehearsals. I guess.....not knowing really how much Allan knew about music, then or now, I guess that he would've floated the notion of having these kids that were probably....I don't know how old he is....
Jeff: A couple of years older than you, probably.
Ian: Yeah, of 5 years younger, as being his back-up band.
Jeff: Probably thought he could boss you around the way Mascaro bossed them around.
Ian: Well, I think that's precisely what transpired. But I guess we were lookin' to do more, so we entertained it, as a notion.
Jeff: It would have been interesting.
Ian: I doubt that. But I have the feeling that.....well Richard Shelter lasted through 1 rehearsal, I think Allan Portman made it through 2 or 3. Then it was like, "Ehhhh..." But I guess what I was getting at, you know, he would've floated that idea past however many people, so I guess at least a few people thought R.A.F. was doing...something.
It's not like we were some great musicians or whatever. There were probably only a handful of fun fuckin' songs and all, we were literally kids at that point, so....I dunno. I don't remember R.A.F. un-fondly. It's like my high school band! That was kinda the funny thing, guys have garage bands when they're teenagers, before they grow up and get serious. When going to high school, you come into contact with other people who are musicians. And I always found it kind of hilarious, 'cause we were like a punk band, it was everyone looking down their nose at us, and I'm getting beaten up in school, by surfers. How embarrassing is that? Yeah, on one occasion I was knocked unconscious, with amnesia for 6 hours. Yeah, oh yeah, yeah. Just surrounded, sucker-punched, and left on the side of the road.
Ian: You know...."Punk-rock faggot!" Back then it was funny, because as clique-y as school would be, I wasn't in any kind of clique, the only people I hung out with, was my punk rock band. (laughs) Then it would be like (pretentious voice), "Well, we're playing this kind of thing," with their sort of prog-rock......We did play a school talent show, we did do that.
Jeff: How'd you do?
Ian: I'm sure it was enlightening to a number of people.
Jeff: You didn't win.
Ian: I don't think we even stayed to find out who won. We made sure we went on quite early. This would've been like 1980, ok? Our high school talent show, in Davie, Florida. Somebody probably came on and did something, and somebody else came on and did their thing. We had them close the curtain, and set up the trio. Had them say, "Ok, here's R.A.F." with the curtains closed. The drummer just started the 'dot dot dot dot', and we had two people RUN and whipping the fuckin' curtains open, and weíre doing (The Clash's) "Capital Radio 1".
Ian: (laughs) This is in 1980, in Davie, Florida.
Jeff: Did you get things thrown at you?
Ian: No! They were still in school. It was Friday night, or whenever, but they were still in school. We left no room for heckling. 'Cause we BOOM! Done! We opened with "Capital Radio 1", we did one of my songs, and we did one of Steve's songs. I don't remember what song of mine we did, but we did "Mutant Radio", which is one of Steve's songs. It's probably the best R.A.F. song.
Jeff: Yeah, definitely. Although "Beach Party Girls" is hilarious.
Ian: We probably did that, that's probably what we did. We probably did "Capital Radio 1", then "Mutant Radio", and "Beach Party Girls".
Jeff: That's a helluva set.
Ian: (laughs) Just like an EAT set, probably over in 8 minutes. (laughs)
Jeff: So how did R.A.F. start?
Ian: Just schoolmates. Gary Jaffe and Steve Anthony, who was Steve Sincere on the Essentials' record.
Jeff: How long did it last?
Ian: I would say around two years, because '80 we played the Premier.......and the last time we played out was a Finders (lounge) show, I actually have a flyer for that show. We played with a band called Lumpen.
Jeff: With Al Harmon, and Lori from the Hayheads.
Ian: Right, and Al's wife as well, I believe was playing bass. That was the last ever R.A.F. show, 'cause I had a punch-up, with Steve Anthony, like two days before that show.
Ian: Over a girl, what else? So he quit the band, was out of the band, whatever you wanna call it, 2 days before that particular Finders show with Lumpen. I mentioned it to Pete Moss, and he said, "Well, I'll play the show."
I remember saying, "But you've only seen the band half a dozen times."
"Oh no no no, no problem." And I had absolutely no alternative, so.....I think we rehearsed the next night, and then played the show. But it wasn't a rehearsal as such, because Moss just came in and played the songs (laughing incredulously). He knew the songs, he just played the songs, like I said, he'd probably seen the band a half a dozen times. So I dunno, I can't imagine that R.A.F. played more than a dozen shows.
Jeff: Like once a month or maybe once every two months.
Ian: Yeah, more like that. Probably some parties, as well.
Jeff: Was there an EP planned before the band split up?
Ian: We did four (songs), and that would've been before "The Land That Time Forgot" (compilation) was released, because we recorded as a submission, and we just didn't make it onto the record. We later recorded two more songs , but that was with the second drummer, which was Doug Gilbert, who had played with the Roll'n'Pinz. How I met him, I donít recall, I probably met him at Open. And Doug might've played, I dunno, six months, it was probably Gary Jaffe for a year and a half and Doug for six months.
Jeff: Ok, what about the Essentials?
Ian: Loved 'em.
Jeff: They stole your bass player. (jokingly)
Ian: They stole our bass player (laughs)
Jeff: Since south Florida punk songs go from band to band, "Johnny" went to the Essentials.
Ian: One got carried, yeah. I think that was like a co-write, me and Steve.
Jeff: Who's it about? Anybody in particular?
Ian: No. No. I don't think so. It was Steve who wrote the lyrics.
Jeff: I know it wasn't about Johnny (Salton).
Ian: No, um......it's a 3-chord song about 3-chord songs. (Laughs) It's like....a black hole inside an envelope inside a.........(laughing)
And yeah, I'm sure there were contretemps at the time that it happened, and......ruffled feathers and all that, but I love the Essentials. R.A.F., while we may not have played shows with the EAT and the Reactions, we DID play shows with the Essentials. In hindsight, Iíve not really thought about it..... Pete liked the R.A.F., and how else would he have seen as many of our shows as he did, if he wasn't already at the club, (laughs) for some other reason? I don't think anyone was, at that point, making it a point to go out and see R.A.F. Dave Phillips gave us "mentions" in Borington (Journal) on occasion, and...........itís just all the people who were hanging out then, Cheri Fun (Dave's sister), the Denises, RageÖ.
It was a great scene, and I was anywhere from between 16 to 18, 19 years old when it was happening, so "Aggghhhhh!" (laughs) "Eeeeee."
It's like the Jimmy Johnson picture of "Live At The Button" (cover), it's Barry (Soltz), Denise Wysocki, Cheri Fun, and myself, that are standing there, leaning up against the wall, it was down the street from the New Wave Lounge, and Jim Johnson came up in the great big station wagon, with Pickett perhaps there, and said, "I need some people to hang out in front of the Button.", so we all piled in for the ride down A1A.
Jeff: How about the Bobs?
Ian: Um, I first would've met the Bobs through having known John Galway. I know I saw them play with (Bobby) Tak (on drums), but I didn't know them.
Jeff: Did you know Bob Rupe?
Ian: No, not at all. He later produced something that we had recorded at L7.
Jeff: Yeah, for the compilation.
Ian: Right, yeah, well, before it, before it. Actually, what happened was, those 2 songs had already been recorded, and then the notion of this "Two By Four" (compilation)..........and so the tracks would've been half done or whatever, and MacIvor brought in Rupe to do it, and that kind of removed me from the equation on those versions.
Jeff: Was Bob easy to work with?
Ian: I didn't have to. Basic tracks were already done, he was the one who came in and did a mix. The simple fact that I went back to using Bob Wlos, would indicate....(laughs) but that was much later in the Martyrs history.
Jeff: Ok, you were already working with Doug Gilbert and Pete Moss, did you start up the D.T. Martyrs right away?
Ian: Basically what happened was, it was December of '82, it's gotta be '82 because I'm sure I was out of high school at that point. I ran into Al Harmon at Open books and records, and the importance of Open....couldn't be overstated at that particular point in time...
Jeff: It was a meeting place?
Ian: Yeah! Not just that, I mean every day Ted (Gottfried) and Leslie (Wimmer) had a song of the day, that you called....the.....I forget what they called it.......they had the regular store (phone) line and then they had a second line. The answering machine would pick up and tell you if there were any shows, and then play the song of the day. So it was.....to pinch from Walter (Cz), Open was essential. It was the only place to get the records. I can remember, "It's going to be at the record shop on this day.", I was at the record shop on that day. Yeah, Open was absolutely essential, and one day I ran into Al Harmon, who walked in there....with a kitchen (trash) bin filled with ice and home-brewed beer. We were just listening to records all day, and drinking home-brewed beer, and he said, "We really need to do a band." I remember ending up at Jim (Johnson) and Charlie's (Pickett) place, that same evening, and (Pete) was recruited initially. I know there was a cassette from December of '82, which was the first Martyrs rehearsal, with Gilbert, Moss, myself, and Al. Moss' (tenure in the band) was short-lived, and then Jim Johnson came in.
Jeff: Did you play a lot of gigs right away, or was it more rehearsing and getting songs together?
Ian: Yeah, it was Sync studio, getting songs together, rehearsing. I believe we played most of our shows in, basically the Flynnís (Miami Beach club) era. Or when we started doing lots of shows with the Martyrs, it was Flynnís-era.
Jeff: Yeah, Jimmy said the shows he could remember were at Flynnís. Why did Pete Moss leave the band?
Ian: He was still with Essentials at that point, and he also had F going as well.
Jeff: And the Essentials went to California.
Ian: It might have been, it just got to be too much at one time, or it might've been something specific like going to California.
Jeff: And Jimmy said that Al Harmon came to him at Musicians Exchange and said, "Hey, do you wanna join this band with Ian and Doug Gilbert?"
Ian: That absolutely sounds.......yeah; I doubt that I sorted that line-up change. That was probably exactly the way it happened.
Jeff: But you knew Jimmy.
Ian: Yeah, yeah, so it was, "You're in?"
"Perfect!" And I don't know how long that.......with the revolving line-ups that we did, I don't remember exactly how long that would've lasted. (ed. note--around two years, my research indicates...)
Jeff: We have the first gig he played, and the last gig he played, but we don't have the exact dates....
Ian: Yeah, and his moving over was basically to start the Chant. So he had good reason (for leaving the D.T. Martyrs).
Jeff: And you were doing heroin by then? How did that start?
Ian: Oh no, I'd started doing that......quite before that.
Jeff: Were you chipping? (Only doing it sporadically)
Ian: I.......rocketed straight through (to full-on addiction) fairly quickly. Around six months, maybe more.
Jeff: So this wasn't a band that was doing a lot of hanging out together, outside of playing?
Ian: No, Al was living in Coral Gables, I was.......maybe even still in Coral Springs at that point? Yeah. (Laughs) There was a lot of driving involved in the early Martyrs. (Laughs) 'Cause we were practicing at Sync.
Jeff: And you gotta cop dope, I'm guessing you're not gonna do that in Coral Springs.
Ian: NoNoNoNo, I always copped in Overtown. But, you know, that's a Johnny Salton story. (Giggles)
Jeff: You told me you and Salton were junk-buddies back then.
Ian: Yeah, well...........you know, I got a call...on a Thursday night, this is like.....The whole junk thing came about, quite frankly in my opinion, because........she's still in Congress, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, her first big thing was to ban the sale of Quaaludes in Florida. Just brilliant. So basically, it seemed to me, that everyone who had been doing Quaaludes just switched over to dope. (Laughs)
Jeff: Including yourself?
Ian: I may have done a handful of Quaaludes my whole life. No, I went straight to the heroin, yeah. On a Thursday night John called me and said, "You wouldn't believe what I've found!"
And I said, "I'll be down tomorrow." So the second time he'd done it was the first time for me. Right out of the gates, straight.....no sniffing, no snorting, no smoking, like just go gangbusters right off the bat, and start shooting up. (Chuckles) That would be '82.....I guess I was doing it at the start of the bandÖ
Jeff: I know you were doing it when Jimmy was in the band.
Ian: Yeah, very early '83, I guess.
Jeff: You've talked to me about copping dope with Salton in Overtown.
Ian: Well, that's because I had the car and he didn't. (Laughs) I always did the driving, I always did the driving. But yeah--we'd go over to Miami Beach, hang out at Dave's (Froshnider) mom's (house), and then we'd drive into Overtown.
Jeff: The Psycho Daises rehearsed in her garage, right?
Ian: Yeah, it was even before Psycho Daisies came about, 'cause it was just.....Eggs-period, that I first remember being at the house. They had a drum kit and all the amps in the garage. I would always bring a Tele (caster guitar) with me. I'm pretty sure I was there the first time they.......Well, put it this way, the first place I heard "Get Off On Your Porch" and "Overtown" was in Dave's garage. I was there on a day when we went and copped first and then went over to Sync for an Eggs rehearsal, and that was the first time that Pickett.......I heard them played before Pickett, 'cause they were playing them when I came around the house. I think they played them for Charlie the first time that particular night.
So yeah, there was a lot of that hanging about. Dave's mom offering us sandwiches, while someone's shooting up in the bathroom. (Laughs) Bizarre!
Jeff: And around that time Charlie wrote a nice article about the Martyrs in Alternative Rhythms (local magazine).
Ian: Yeah, absolutely, Charlie......A lot of us have a lot to thank Charlie for.
Jeff: The classic line-up of the Eggs, favorite recordings, Salton versus Dave Frosh on lead guitar, any thoughts on that? Cowboy Junkie, Live At The Button....
Ian: Well, I mean...........I guess since I was just used to hanging around in the garage, and always listening to one or the other playing.....or me plunking away on bass and them both playing guitar, I can remember playing "Overtown", that day with them. Dave was probably playing bass, it was probably just me and John playing guitar, on the first run-throughs of the song. Um......certainly that never happened with "Get Off On Your Porch", but when they were whacking about "Overtown" the first time, I think I was hanging out, playing guitar with them as well.
But so, yeah, I mean, it was all............I didn't have a favorite. Because I loved the way Frosh played guitar as well as John. Then of course when the Crank thing happened, I remember watchin' 'em both during rehearsals. Iíd guess that was when I first met Elaine. It was all fairly simultaneous, as I remember.....It was all kinda happening at the same time. And.....it was probably about a 2-year period there, that I was hanging out a lot with them.
Jeff: So while Jimmy was in the Martyrs, you cut some demos at Sync, like "What Goes On".
Jeff: Was a record planned at that point?
Ian: I dunno if there was a plan, really. I know Al wanted to be recording, and off we went.
Jeff: And you told me the story of Al singing (ZZ Top song) "Tush" at Jimmy's last gig with the band at Flynn's.
Ian: Yeah, well, ya know.....
Jeff: He wanted to do a bump of cocaine before he sang the song.
Ian: And he sure did. Yeah, he....
Jeff: He wanted to do an encore.
Ian: He wanted to do an encore, and he popped offstage, and certainly popped back on. (laughs) We did about a 150 mile an hour version of "Tush" as an encore. (chuckles) With just me playing the guitar, he just wanted to get up in front of....
Jeff: So he didn't play guitar, he just sang.
Ian: He just wanted to go like "Ayyyyyaaaahhhhh." (laughter abounds) Which I'm not sure that's--- we DO have that recorded.
Jeff: Yes we do.
Ian: I have no clue what it sounds like but.....
Jeff: It's pretty good!
Ian: Ok. (laughs) We were all probably a little zipped by then.
Jeff: And Jimmy mentioned that Doug Gilbert was the only drummer that ever played his song "Lookin'" correctly.
Ian: Yeah. Doug was an interesting character, and he disappeared, pretty much; he fell off the face of the earth. We were doing one of the EAT (Sync) Studio Z shows. You know, we'd just print up a bunch of flyers, and leave 'em at Open, everyone bring your own beer. This was Studio Z in the downstairs. Doug just didn't make it.....to one of the shows. And um.......we're on a pay phone calling from 76th street and Biscayne, and I'm calling his house, and he says, "Well I couldn't find it, so I came back home." That (Doug's home) was in north Ft Lauderdale somewhere, so Johnny Galway played the set. No rehearsal, no nothing, we just.........played. Opened the set with "Rocks Off" from "Exile".
And that was it for Doug Gilbert. And then it was like, "What on earth are we gonna do?
Jeff: And how did you find Tony Bazemore?
Ian: Tony was......my girlfriend........that would've been Lani, at the time. They were working at Peaches, or Specs, or one of those places, together. And she was like, "Well, my manager plays the drums."
"Talk him into it!" And that was it. Just talk him into it.
Jeff: Did he like it right away?
Ian: Um, yeah! I have to assume...
Jeff: He definitely fit in good.
Ian: Yeah, he fit in well, and............god, it had to have been within 6 months, where Tony was having some kinda issues, he ended up moving into my house. And then a few months later, his girlfriend/later fiancťe/now wife, she moved in as well, so there was 4 of us living in this 3-bedroom townhouse thing. And so that helped the band, you know, to no end. Shit, I don't know how long Tony was living there; it was probably a couple years. He was easy to get along with. That's how I learned to cook Italian food, from Tonyís girlfriend Natalie. Or at least got my first introduction to doing it correctly. (chuckles)
Jeff: When you kicked heroin, did you quit cold turkey?
Jeff: How long was that torturous for?
Ian: Torturous? Like, for ages, but physical torture, like 4-5 days. You know, like the first 3 days were......
Ian: Yeah! Yeah.....Did I go to work those days? No. (Laughs) I thought "If I take a Friday off work and quit (heroin), and make it through the weekend, and don't go in on Monday, then I might be able to get my ass back into work on Tuesday."
Jeff: Did you do it on your own, or did you have anybody helping you?
Ian: I just did it on my own. A girlfriend was there, and fed me some valiums and things on occasion I'm sure, and....
Jeff: Why'd you quit? Did you know you would end up dead?
Ian: Ah......I'd seen people shoot up in their neck, and their groin, and I'd basically run out of places to.........
Ian: And I said "I'm not fuckin' doin' it."
Jeff: You knew it wasn't gonna have a good ending.
Ian: Yeah! I guess it was like "enoughís enough".
Jeff: Jimmy seemed to indicate that there was a confrontation about him being in the Martyrs and the Chant at the same time, and there was an issue with that.......
Ian: Um......I'm not really sure, 'cause.......I'm not sure if Al had the issue, or did I have the issue? I gotta be honest on that one, I don't even fuckin' remember. I don't remember there being any kind of blow-up about it. I just thought that......I thought that was Jim's........I thought I remembered........Jim just kinda saying, "I really wanna put it my attention into the Chant, and I can't give either band 100%." Because we were still, at that point, really...... with Jimmy, developing a SET. There was still a handful of covers in there, and some of Al's (songs), some of mine, Jimmy threw in one or two. The Martyrs always padded sets with cover tunes, a lot of 'em just maybe done once or twice, like that version of "Tush".
But.....I don't remember any great contretemps about it, but it certainly changed where we went, when Mike O'Brien came in.
Jeff: Yeah, how did he come in? You knew him before that...
Ian: Well......I mean, it's not like I was a "close personal friend", but.....the way I seem to remember, interesting in and of itself, would be........at that point the EAT was broken up. They were going through their......and I actually remember going to an EAT rehearsal, of like, "Glenn's not playing anymore." Or whoever was bickering... Jeff: Kenny quit, and Glenn came back.....
Ian: Yeah, it was typical rhythm section Chinese fire drill, or......whatever. And I remember....... did I go down there, I doubt I would've played guitar, maybe I........Maybe I would've gone down there and played bass, I don't recall. I do recall going to at least one rehearsal.
Jeff: And playing bass for the EAT, really?
Jeff: Yeah, Ed would probably remember better than me, because this would be like, peak level of (heroin use)......but I seem to remember that. Probably only like one, maybe not even a rehearsal, maybe just a jam, to just see (how Ian played with the EAT). But I'm fairly sure that it happened, because I believe that out of that, it went, (to an imaginary Mike O'Brien) "Ok, well, I'm not gonna join the EAT, do you wanna join the Martyrs?" It's ripe for confirmation, but I'm pretty sure. It may have taken a few weeks, or a month, or something, and some phone calls and all, but I'm pretty sure that's the way it came together.
And then it was........we played well with Jimmy, but the.....I won't say focus, but the angle of attack certainly changed when Mike came in, 'cause it was 2 entirely different......sounds, really. I mean, if you listen to the Flynnís stuff, and some of the songs are the same, as say, Flynnís with Jim, and "Narcotics". And I dunno if we ever played Flynnís with Michael, I doubt it. I think Flynnís might've gone down, as we were making the transition. And I'm fairly sure that there was a real drought, of places to play, that coincided with Mike coming in. Which probably would've prompted shit like going to play the Lonesome Coyote in Pinellas Park, or wherever that was.
I'm sure that it's all intertwined, and sorting it out chronologically, for me is like, "Ugh" sometimes. I can remember a lot of facts, but when I start talking about it now, 'cause I never talk about it. Then things start clicking in, like, "Oh yeah, ok, that DID come before that." (Laughs)
And Mike brought Jesus Mary and Joseph studios with him!
Jeff: And "Search My Car", which has remained a Martyrs staple to this day.
Ian: Yeah, I schlepped that one back in every time I could. I like it! That was the best song on that tape, album, whatever the fuck you wanna call it. As far as I was concerned, I mean there's some great stuff on there, but there's even a couple, 1 or 2......The stuff I have (wrote) on there, I hate! I hate hearing it, itís grating, it's torturous....
Jeff: You told me you don't like your singing on that.
Ian: Oh god! I'd not learned how to sing. Some would argue I've never learned how to sing, but I'd certainly not sorted it by then. 'Cause I always wanted to do the Keith Richards thing, I can do a back-up (vocal) and that's fine, but then.........And it started with R.A.F.---you write it, you sing it!
Jeff: A novel concept.
Ian: Yeah, right? Well, there was a brief flirtation that Al Harmon had, with getting a singer. And this would've been about the same time that Michael came in, or shortly thereafter. And that notion was to get Richard Shelter to sing for the Martyrs.
Ian: You'd not heard that? (Laughs)
Jeff: I have not heard that. Was Richard approached with this?
Ian: Yeah, Shelter actually turned up.
Jeff: How'd that go?
Ian: Now, the interesting thing would be that, I think at that point, we had already recorded the basic tracks, at TAM, for "Narcotics". And it was in between doing the basic tracks on a 4-track recording machine, Jesus Mary and Joseph, was schlepped over to TAM. And we'd done that, and then we were going to be going into L7. And what we ended up doing was taking those 4 tracks, which...the drums, there was probably 4 mikes on the drums, that were run thorough a mixer, down to 1 track.
Jeff: 1 track for the drums...
Ian: ...1 track for the bass, and 1 for each guitar. And then those 4 were dumped up to 8 (tracks) at L7, and somewhere in there at that point, Al was saying about having Shelter join, and this was before he did the Preachers. He wanted Shelter to come in and sing, and I went, "Alright, whatever." But it happened to be the same night that we were, and I know this is all actual fact, I had someone at the ad agency I was working for at the time, a girl come in, to shoot photos for "Narcotics in the Carport". So it at least was started, it wasn't finished, and we were gonna take photos, I was like, "Why are you having him (Shelter) fucking come up here, when we just need to take some fucking photos?"
He said, "Well just let him sing on a few songs!" Alright, fine. And there's actually, I still have the proof sheets, of Richard Shelter singing with us at TAM studio, taken by this girl. And one of the two covers that we actually used, he actually posed with us in the photo.
Jeff: And he was cut out.
Ian: And an expert X-acto knife, pre-Photoshop job by myself. All the shots were taken, like against the garage door.
Jeff: So was it a group decision that Richard was not right for the band?
Ian: Yeah, I made a group decision. (Laughs) I hated singing, but....
Jeff: It wasn't right.
Ian: Yeah. Yeah, I just didn't think he was right.
Jeff: Where does Jeterboy (Joe Harris, who released the "Narcotics" cassette) come in?
Ian: I probably met Jeter the same damn time I met Pickett, probably at Premier. I remember he helped us get........what the hell was the name of that place? There was a place.....I go through this every time. There was a place on state road 84 and 441, and I can never remember the name of it, and I know Joe got us in there. (Ianís note: It was called the Rendezvous) Perhaps a couple of others. We never pulled shows like....other than that one Premier show opening for Charlie, or opening for the Reactions, were the only ones....later opening for the EAT, because I got it. But Joe helped hugely back then. Once again, it was back to that whole Open Books and Records connection. It was the hub of everything. If I met them at this place or that place, where would I tend to see them? Open Books and Records on a Saturday afternoon or whatever.
And Jeter's been a great friend for 30 years.
Jeff: Aside from your vocals, what do you think of the cassette? Do you have pleasant memories?
Ian: Not doin' it. Actually, everyone else's songs that they sing, I think sound kinda interesting, kinda cool. I just can't, my voice grates on me at that age. More than anything, it's age. And I've never.......no one taught me how to sing, it's like who taught the British how to make cars? No one! No one taught me how to sing, probably until '86, '87, and then Lowell George (Little Feat) taught me how to sing. (Laughs) In order to sing like that, you kinda hafta sing correctly, I guess. It's a projection thing. It was somewhere around that period, I began to realize how you project. I'd still rather just play guitar and sing back-ups a lot of times, probably the majority of the time, that's why I like when I play with Pickett. That's what I originally kind of assumed I'd be doing at some point, as opposed to fronting.
Jeff: So you didn't start out to be a front man/singer/songwriter/guitarist?
Ian: No, R.A.F. had a front man, actually. It was a 4-piece, lad. At Premier AOR it was a 4-piece.
Jeff: Who was the front man?
Ian: Just another kid from high school. (Ianís note: Chris Caruso)
Jeff: And he only did that one gig? Didn't stay on the scene after that?
Ian: Well he did at least 1 gig. There's photos. Like, Instamatics in someone's garage. Yeah, there's a few. And maybe they've got that very helpful Kodak processing stamp, to tell us just exactly when the fuck they were.
Jeff: So please tell the "Miami Last Night" story. The Martyrs came over to St Pete to play a gig at the Lonesome Coyote...and Black Flag was playing also in the area, so attendance at your gig was sparse.
Ian: Precisely. We played Friday and Saturday. And it's quite a long, convoluted story, lad. (Laughs) Do you really need it?
Jeff: It's such a great story!
Ian: Ahh....the lyrics are basically stream-of-consciousness, you know? Like, almost all the shit that I wrote. But it's all pretty much fact-based, what ended up in "Miami Last Night". What happened was we played on Friday, and we were well fucked-up, I'm sure. And Saturday morning at 10 o'clock we were on a radio show! (HAD to be on WMNF) With Henry Rollins as well, and god....well, he can sure as hell be annoying at 10:30 in the morning, yeah. And um, it was just a nightmare, the whole show. The shows might have been cool; I remember throwing at least 1 Telecaster.....like, a good distance. But then the clutch blew on Alan's car, and we had, 2 cars had gone over (to the west coast), and we had to leave Michael, TRAPPED, like a rat, on a Sunday, in the hotel we'd got. I can remember, me and Tony had run into these 2 girls, and they brought....they said, "Oh, weíve got a huge bag of pot!" And when they said huge, we had no idea, it was like....a BALE that they'd found washed up on the beach. So there was tons of it. But no matter how much anyone smoked, they really couldn't get stoned off of it.
Jeff: Because of it being in the ocean.
Ian: Yeah. But we smoked tons of it, and just couldn't get stoned. Al and I weren't in the most agreeable of moods, and Tony had to drive us back across Alligator Alley, and the "roll one Martyr" was because we had the big huge bag, so we were constantly.....not like we were gonna stop trying! We just kept rolling 'em and smoking 'em and...
Jeff: To distract yourself from your withdrawal.
Jeff: And somebody went back and got Mike?
Ian: No no, the clutch got fixed, and Mike drove that old Toyota Corolla, or whatever the fuck it was, back across the alley on his own, like 2 days later. Like I said, it's not necessarily in order (the song lyrics), but it's all in there. There's a few tunes like that, but none that so closely follow one storyline. We'll get that song sorted eventually, maybe. (Laughs) In time for my memorial album.(laughing)
Jeff: What caused the break-up of that line-up? Tony stayed, but Mike left, and so did Al Harmon.
Ian: Yeah.....and that would probably coincide with right around the point that I cleaned up. And so, I gotta be honest on that one, I don't remember. I mean, I'd like to, and if Mike was here he would say, "Oh no, this..." Or Al, for that matter. Whatever, and I wouldn't have a problem with it. It probably involved asshole-ism on at least more than 1 party. I'm sure it wasn't just me. But I don't remember it to the point that, I don't remember if it was me, or if I was just a contributor, (laughs) or was it collateral damage of some sort........And um....... Enter Larry Joe! (Miller) I know I never had any sort of big blow-out with Al Harmon. If I'm not mistaken, it was his wife going to medical school. And Mike and Al stayed quite in touch; they both went to work in Antarctica together. Al may have just...gone to Antarctica to clean up, that could be part of it. He would be the only one who would be squeamish about me opening my big mouth, because of what he went on to do later. Whether or not he'd have an issue with it now that he's retired, maybe not, maybe, but um.....That never actually occurred to me, that maybe that's why he went to Antarctica, I didn't think. I was so busy trying to clean my own crap up, and so busy being like, "Wow......"
The one thing you can go by is, I got married in February of '87. Al Harmon aint in the picture; he wasn't there. Neither was Mike. Larry's in the pictures. So by February of '87 it was already done, back in June or July ('86) I did the quick little few shows (playing bass) with Charlie.
Jeff: Do you remember the first time you played with Charlie?
Ian: No. It was probably before that. I can remember comin' up and playing (with Charlie) at Art Stock's Playpen South. And that was without Salton, it was with Marco and Frosh. I think the first times I actually....he would've given me a guitar and said "Play!" would've been after John had gone, I don't remember playing onstage with John ever. But me and John had done other stuff before, you know, like Heroin Boys and crap like that.
Jeff: Was that an actual band?
Ian: It was Velvet Underground Appreciation Night (at Open Books and Records), and John said, "Well, we're going to call ourselves the Heroin Boys."
And I went "Yeah, fine."
Jeff: Do you remember what you played?
Ian: I'm sure "What Goes On" was one of 'em. And probably "Run Run Run".....beyond that I dunno.
Jeff: Who else was onstage?
Ian: (lifts his palms like "I don't know" and cackles) I think (Pete) Moss, I think Moss was in that little adventure, he might have been playing bass, and me and John playing guitar, and someone else playing drums. And there's videotape of me playing onstage with Al Harmon and Chris Cottie playing drums. Bill's (Henry) got it.
So there's all sorts of little tiny transmutations that went on, Bill caught some of them, but....I didn't remember that until I (saw it).
Jeff: How about being on the road with Charlie, Pat Johnson and Bobby Tak? How was that?
Ian: I'm sure I was just equally as challenging as Pat and Bobby were. (Laughs) I was probably worse. I'd quit dope three or four months before that, and hadn't been out of town in a long time, and I was probably a little bit out of control. (Laughs) Just a little......
Jeff: How many dates was it, and how far out of state did you go? (With Pickett)
Ian: SssssssSouth Carolina. Five shows? Maybe six. Gainesville or Tallahassee or both. I know there was one in Orlando.
Jeff: So Larry Joe comes into the Martyrs on bass.
Ian: Yeah, Larry Joe was in....while I was still doing dope.
Jeff: So then he leaves and Michael Chatham comes in.
Ian: Um.........Well Mac (Kevin MacIvor) came in first, so it was me, Mac, Larry Joe, and Tony. That sort of transitional area is the one that's a bit cloudy for me. But it's right on in there, it was like a year after quitting dope, I got married, it was Larry, Mac, and Tony then. That whole year was like........(I) didn't have my wits about me.
Jeff: Ok, so Larry Joe leaves, Chatham comes in. You also get a keyboard player, Otis Green, around this time.
Ian: Yeah, I don't remember how I did that, but Otis was a junkie-buddy. Chatham came in through MacIvor, from doing the Bob Went Bad project together. That's when Mac first worked with Chatham. Now of course I knew Mike though (Pete) Moss and Angelo (vocalist for F, nickname "Flash") and all.
Jeff: Right, Spanish Dogs and Stan Still Dance Band, and.....
Ian: .....Every other band in all of south Florida. And to me, the "classic" version of the Martyrs is that line-up, Mac and Chatham and Tony.
Jeff: Certainly the most.....I don't wanna say.....commercial's not really the right word.
Jeff: Prolific and...........tuneful?
Ian: I was just.....I had laid off the punk.
Jeff: You know what I mean. In a perfect world, "Money" is a hit single.
Ian: I'd laid off the punk.....and obviously you bring a completely different writer in, like going from Al Harmon to Kevin MacIvor was....night and day. And then you make a couple bass player changes, Chatham's certainly a far more melodic a player than Larry Joe, who is more of a percussive-type player, so that happened right there. And obviously MacIvor's songs suddenly coming in is gonna change the direction a lot.
I think me, suddenly...........in the last year or so that I was doing dope, I didn't listen to anything other than Little Feat, in that house. I wasn't even allowed to go near the turntable...
Jeff: That will make you more melodic.
Ian: Yeah, and that's when I was learning to sing. 'Cause that's what I was listening to, the rest of them in the house banned me from going near the turntable, 'cause if I'm going near the turntable, I'm putting on Little Feat. For like a YEAR. And literally not listen to anything else. And so that, I know, had a huge influence in changing what the hell I was playing. That's when, with Al's departure, that I picked up the slide. Because in the first line-up of the Martyrs, it was Al doing the slide, not that I wasn't piddlin' around with it all along, but if I go play a Martyrs show, I wasn't the slide player. And if you're playin' with Pickett, you aint the slide player.
Jeff: Kevin plays a little slide now and then too.
Ian: (laughs) I think that describes it quite happily, he plays very little.
Jeff: Ok, so the classic line-up of the Martyrs, how much were you playing out?
Ian: That was a lot, but I was booking us into any goddamn place that, I would cold-call. There were places in fuckin' Homestead and shit, and....."Do you do covers?"
"Yeah! We do covers." We'd go play 4 sets, and put a cover in each set. It was like, before Al left the band, we'd started doing shows with Ruby Cadillac, for ABATE, and for Vietnam Veterans Bikers, and that's how the recording at that point was financed. And we did 'em with the next line-up. And private parties, we played quite a few private parties, we played for the Joy Moos Gallery, you mentioned the Gutter, that was another one, obviously MacIvor finagled that one. And I would finagle these other ones.
Jeff: And they paid pretty good, apparently.
Ian: Yeah. But we would go do 4...we played like a cover band. We would do 4 45-minute sets, and we had MacIvor writin', me writin', Otis wrote a couple-3 tunes. And we'd throw a cover in each set, and we had hours of fuckin'...I think we had over 50 songs goin' at that point of the band.
Ian: Then Churchillís (Pub) would be coming on strong at that point. And shit, we would just.... You weren't overloaded with bands over the course of a night, it'd be like 2 bands playing, maybe 3. And we would try to get the other bands on early, and then we would play for an hour and a half. (Laughs)
Jeff: You had the songs.
Ian: Yeah, we had songs. And I doubt there would be more than 1 or 2 covers in that group. I can remember doin' (Lou Reed's) "I Wanna Be Black", I can remember MacIvor singin' that. I don't know if I covered anything. I know I covered at least a couple times, (Little Feat's) "Feats Don't Fail Me Now". But yeah, we would fuckin' go to Churchillís, and start at 11:30 and play 'til close. 'Cause we just had the shit (material), and people HUNG OUT! It was like, what the fuck? So why not? In blazing however-many degree heat in Churchillís back then, (Churchillís had no AC back then) in fuckin' August. And is there any possible way I could do anything even remotely like that these days? NO! (Laughs) I'd be dead! I'd feel WAY dead.
Jeff: So then the band went into L7 and started recording what became "Sins Of Soul".
Jeff: How were the initial sessions? There's a few different mixes on tape.
Ian: Well, you know, it's like we're FINALLY gonna make a Martyrs record. And we're recording; I don't remember how many (songs) at this point, but whatever. We recorded 2 of Otis' songs, and half the rest were Mac's, and half the rest were mine. And there was a blow-up, which would've been in '88.........Preceding that was Mike Chatham leaving, and going to New York. And I can completely...he was born here. He was tired of it here. He had to get the fuck out.......I can't wait for him to get back. It's been 25 years or whatever (laughs), it's like "Can't wait for him to get back."
And so, (it was) the first time that Iggy (Mark Iggy DiLeonardo) was brought in.
Jeff: You said there was kind of a power struggle at that point.
Ian: Well, MacIvor then wanted to bring in a new keyboard player, which he did. And yeah, he kinda tried to go for a coup díťtat, and......
Jeff: You and Tony weren't havin' it?
Ian: Well, I wasn't havin' it, in the rehearsals that kinda led up to the last show, which was at the Reunion Room, I think. I remember Jeter was actually at that show, 'cause he went, (affects southern drawl) "Well, it looked like you weren't havin' any fun." And...Mac had demanded to write the set list, went real heavy on the keys (keyboard) stuff. It was Mel Morley, local musicians from certain quarters would shiver at that. And he died too, just last year.
And I actually was just in a pissed-off mood, and walked outside after playing the set, and Tony went, "I'm on vacation! And I'll call you in a couple weeks." And it was like......after a couple weeks, "So are we gonna finish this thing?"
And I was like, "Yeah! Hell yeah!" And so I took 5 of my songs from the existing (already- recorded) sessions, and we picked 5 more, bringing in Dave Cook (bass) and Rich DeFinis (guitar).
Jeff: And Nick Kane.
Ian: Nick Kane, yeah, came in and did overdubs on 2 of the ones that had already been (recorded), yeah. He basically came in and re-did the MacIvor stuff, on just those 2. And I knew Rich since middle school, um, and I don't even know how he came to play in the Chant, but then there he was. "You wanna take a shot at doin' these?" And he brought Dave in, I believe.
And so we did that. And it was through Jeter's help, that it got done, I'm sure he probably helped out financially a bit, I know I............
Jeff: And Bob Wlos played on the album as well.
Ian: Bob Wlos, of course, being the engineer, um.....you can't not! (Chuckles) I mean he's such an incredible fuckin' player that it was like, yeah! And you know, there was those big, sweepy slide things that Mac had put into a couple songs, and I, even before Mac was out of the project, I was already bringin' in Wlos to add to that, or augment that, or play off of it. And his part just got a little bit bigger......after that point.
Jeff: Were you happy with the way it ended up? (Ian Hammond and Sins Of Soul--"Last Of The Martyrs" album, Jeterboy Records)
Ian: You know, some of my song selection is suspect. But yeah, half of it I quite like, and have no issues with other bits. If we'd gone on to do something else right after, there would've been...........I don't know, it was very fractious at that point, so...I don't know if we could've produced something.
Jeff: And Mike Chatham later put out some of the original mixes, with MacIvor on them.
Ian: Yeah, yeah. It was all just fine. 'Cause I had sort of said, "Yeah, you know, there should be a........the compilation should be called 'Horse Shoes And Hand Grenades'" (as in) Close only counts in...
'Cause everyone's like, "Well, you got so close to actually doing something!" So Horse Shoes And Hand Grenades.
Jeff: So about the time that line-up broke up, Pickett quit music. Did you talk to him about it? Did you have any feelings about it? Salton said he should've stuck it out a little longer, what do you think?
Ian: Well, I've kinda talked about it with Charlie, post-fact, and he kind of says, "There were certain things I should have done at certain points, that I did not do."
Jeff: Go to England when they got those good reviews.
Ian: The Melody Maker thing (review), yeah. And so I was kind of operating on that all along. We never got any of that type of......interest from outside the area, and it just seemed like...... maybe because I was a bit younger than them, that if it had happened to me at that time, I would've been far more fuckin' reckless, whatever. I stopped after '91 for a number of years myself. No, I actually think there's something somewhere marked Churchillís '92, probably early '92. And that would have been the last thing I did for 7 years.
Jeff: What do you think about Charlie's recordings? Do you like the later stuff he did? Do you have a favorite record? How do you think they've held up over time? Do you like "Bar Band Americanus"?
Ian: I absolutely love "Bar Band Americanus". I think the Peter Buck-produced stuff sounds good. (Live At) The Button was just, a favorite. And now I've just become far too enmeshed in it.....shit I remember.....probably the "Live At The Button" version of "American Travelust", it was like my favorite fuckin' song in high school.
Jeff: Mine too, for years.
Ian: My '72 Nova had an "American Travelust" license plate on the front. But it was probably shows that never got recorded that were my favorite versions of this, that, or whatever. I don't know how many times I saw them over however many years. But now I'm totally biased, because it's me, Ray (Harris, bass) and Nathaniel (Seidman, drums) there, doing the best versions of this, that, and everything.
And John (Salton)......I don't play like John. I don't think I'm supposed to try. Back when I spent a lot of time with John, over the course of a couple years, we used to sit around and play guitars all the time, it was obviously 2 very.....not VERY different styles, but different approaches relating to the same style, I guess is more like it. I mean, the one thing I can say is that..........probably the best compliment I've gotten with regards to Charlie's line-ups, is Jill (Kahn), saying "I like it when you play with Pickett, 'cause it's......" And I think it's just BEYOND style at that point, she's just talking about, it's just part of the thing. And it's just........we do "American Travelust" and "Heads Up Heels Down" because I MAKE him.
Jeff: And "Feelin'", you made him do that.
Ian: Yeah, it's only been (played) 1 time in 20 years so.........we'll see how effective I was in trying to.....But yeah, it's all those songs I like most. And "Slow Death", shit.....
Jeff: You've said the lead break on "Shake Some Action" is your nemesis.
Ian: Yeah, yeah, probably one of my favorite things Johnny ever played was the "Live At The Button" "Shake Some Action". And now, the reason probably why "Shake Some Action" doesn't get played that often, and never gets played when I'm in the band, is because..... Now I've SANG it with them when there's other motherfuckers playin' it....It's because I go, "I got NOTHIN'!", it just is not, playing in that type of progression or whatever, is just not my......and I've fucked with it, and I've piddled it around.
Jeff: It's in your head now.
Ian: Now it's like a....it's a nemesis, that's why I said. But yeah, it's one of my favorite things John played..........and there were cassette tapes I had, of John playing with me and Moss and Tony.....
Jeff: And they're long gone?
Ian: Oh yeah yeah yeah. Bill has some....Bill doesn't have any of John, but he's got a few things with Pete, stuffed away.
Jeff: And at this point in the Martyrs chronology you form a new line-up.
Ian: I put together a whole 'nother line-up with Tony.
Jeff: Right, with Gary Kramer (guitar) and Len Lovelace (bass).
Ian: That's absolutely correct.
Jeff: And at that point you also lost the "D.T." What was the decision to lose the D.T.?
Ian: Well, "D.T.".....that was Al Harmon's name for it. And I never referred to the band..... It kinda came down to, like.....you hear any member of the Rolling Stones, they just say "The Stones". They don't go through all the extra syllables. So I never referred to the band, EVER, in my own circle, as the DT Martyrs, I always just went, The Martyrs. "The Martyrs are doin' this, the Martyrs are doin' that." And D.T. was just.......and then I've got Scotchy MacStumbly playing......and let's just kick the D.T, ya know? (laughs) Which didnít stand for delirium tremens at any time.
Jeff: No, it stood for dog's tooth.
Ian: Dog's tooth, yeah! Which, by the way, that's basically what became "Snake Dance". The music of "Snake Dance" was actually, that first rehearsal session with Moss, that was something we were playing. Like I said, there's a cassette of that, I don't know if anyone still has it, I know my copy is also long gone.
Jeff: Ok, you had Gary and Len in the band, you recorded a 3-song demo, and an additional 4-5 songs, they were recorded at somebody's home studio.
Ian: Yeah, but when I say home studio, it's home studio in a WHOLE different way. This guy had everything that L7 had, and probably more stuff. Just set up in his house. Not like people's home studios today, because they got Pro Tools.
Yeah, the sound on those was great, we were kind of.........people said "You sound like Guns And Roses." I'd never heard of Guns And Roses at that point, but............
Jeff: They might have been going by the picture of the band more than anything else.
Ian: (laughs) Thatís distinctly possible, yeah!
Jeff: I don't think it sounds anything like Guns And Roses.
Ian: There's one that I do. Well, I think it was actually said specifically to me, about the song "Squeeze." That that sounds like Guns And Roses. And I think it's probably the break in the middle......people maybe thought I pinched it off them, or something, but it was written way before that. Yeah.
Jeff: Was there any gigs with that line-up?
Ian: Yeah! Not a whole lot...
Jeff: How long did it last, why did it break up?
Ian: Well, it would have.......everything would've been over by '92.
Jeff: Right. Why? The scene was changing....
Ian: The scene was...yeah.......And a lot of people weren't involved, for their own reasons, had become dis-involved. I got tired of it, to probably be honest, I was probably fuckin' tired of slogging along, and.......spending whatever money I had to do recording shit, and pay for rehearsals.........and yeah! How long can you slog along for? I essentially made the same decision Charlie did.
Jeff: And when you did that, Tony vanished off the face of the earth?
Ian: Yeah. I never heard from him again.
Jeff: And how long did that last?
Ian: The hiatus?
Jeff: Did you still play for your own entertainment, or did you quit completely?
Ian: No, I didn't play, I ahhhh.........I got divorced in '95, maybe it was '96, I dunno. But it was like, I was just busy. I worked.....I wasn't in advertising, I was working at a....like a printer/repro place, like I'm doing again now. And I was fed up with that, 'cause I was working double shifts, and bought a house, and lalala......Ended up getting divorced in '95, '96, whatever. And got involved in doing visual art for a few years.
Jeff: And that was your creative outlet for a while?
Ian: Yeah, it was absolutely, it was completely...coaxed from me.....the girl I went on to live with, was starting a gallery at the time that I met her, and we ended up......moving IN to the gallery, a warehouse. And it was her that got me to get the camera back out, and, "Just don't shoot the kinda crap that you shot (before), think about it and....you can DO fine art." And lo and behold, I'm doing fine art! Do some shows and.....get one in the Ft Lauderdale Museum of Fine Art, and......
Jeff: Do you still have the photos?
Ian: No, I have none of it. But....right around '99, it would've been '98 or '99, Chatham was back here, and we did some shows of.......or MacIvor suddenly said, "Would you wanna do a reunion?", and then MacIvor wasn't involved, I recall doing at least 1 (show) with MacIvor, and he brought in Nathanial (Seidman), who had been in Slang, and Ordinary Language (2 of Kevin MacIvor's bands), with Iggy, who had been (in the) Martyrs, so here we are in the same.....elliptical that we've always been in.
Jeff: Didn't Nat play with some other people, more mainstream?
Ian: No, Nat was an engineer. Criteria (studio), Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine. He was an engineer on that stuff. And then I know, Chatham and I, with Nat, did 2-3, maybe 4 shows....starting in '99. For maybe a year or 2, very few and far between, and all that. And Chatham ended up going BACK to New York. And that ended that. And then in 2001 my career situation came crashing to a halt, and that's when I said, "I'm going to Europe." (laughs) For all intents and purposes I was out of the country from December 2001.....to October 2003.
And I came back here.....towards the end of 2003. My memory is (that) the first thing I did after I was back here was playing with Charlie. With Ed (O'Brien) and with (Bobby) Tak. (ed. note---I believe Ian is mistaken here, as the first rehearsal with the Pickett/Hammond/Tak/O'Brien lineup was not until February 2006)
Jeff: Talk about Greece. You loved it there. What did you do for a living?
Ian: Yeah. I'd have not come back, if my living had worked out. I was there for 3 months, I came back here for a bit, and basically sold/gave away/liquidated everything I owned, and figured I'd go back there. And what I was gonna do was work at the Navy base at Souda Bay. Which...it took awhile, once I was back in Greece, to get onto the base, and start the interview process. Then they had to do a security clearance. You know, 'cause you're working at a military base. (Chuckles)
And that took, like, a month. And I waited and waited and waited, and it's now become, like, March of 2003. And I'm waiting and waiting and I get a phone call, towards the end of March. "You're through legal." Which means as soon as you have a job, you have an instant visa waiver. Just on the passport you got, you're on a waiver that's...keeps you legally in the country as long as they're your employer.
And the day after I got the phone call that said, "Go tomorrow!" I woke up in the morning and the rockets started, (the start of the US bombing Iraq) and the base was sealed, and my papers remained on the base, I could not get on the base, and no one was allowed off the base. And that lasted for 2 months. At which time the whole town basically shut down, because it was before the tourist season started, so the only way anyone was makin' money, was from ships getting liberty and all. Or just from the guys stationed on the bases comin' out on the weekend......spendin' a lot of money in the restaurants and bars.
Jeff: And that put a stop to that.
Ian: And that put a stop to that. And my visa expired during that time, within like days. And I never had a work permit anyways so...
Jeff: You had to leave.
Ian: I lived illegally, no, I didn't leave. (Laughs) I stayed another 9 months, nearly a year, and was just illegal. And when it became....when it was coming into winter of 2003, there was no jobs I could do. And I had to get back, so I....by hook and crook, got back here, and.....I had like, 70 Euro (approx. $90) when I got back to Ft Lauderdale, to my name. And nowhere to live, and no job, and that's it. So I got a job, and.....it took a while, and....finally, after a few months back, I must've seen Pickett or the Daisies at Alligator Alley. And that led to...
Jeff: The first gig in that second or third reunion with MacIvor.
Ian: Wait a minute, was that?....
Jeff: 2004, right? (Asking Karen) You were there....
Ian: Was that 2004?
Karen: Oh yeah, it was August 2004.
Jeff: And Chatham was down (visiting from NYC), but he didn't.....(to Karen) Did he play?
Karen: No, those guys sang back-up for Pickett on a couple songs. (Psycho) Daisies played, F opened, then Pickett, then the Daisies.
Jeff: Then the Martyrs. We didn't know you at that point.
Ian: I'm not sure I.....I remember that one, but we did a couple ones (shows) there, we did a really brilliant one.
Jeff: Charlie said the Ft Lauderdale Saloon gig was really great.
Ian: We did another one that was....death on earth. And that's why there were no more, for a while.
Jeff: And did you play at all while you were in Greece?
Ian: Well, in Crete I had a neighbor who brought over an acoustic with nylon strings. So I played that. And I had another Irish neighbor, who was there part-time, was a musician, traveled all over Europe, and could play fuckin' everything. And he had a natty guitar, but at least it had steel strings. I can remember sitting on the side of the mountain, playing "Money." (Laughs)
Jeff: Is that a co-write with you and Kevin MacIvor?
Ian: No no no no, well yeah, it is a co-write, between MacIvor and Bob Rupe, but then again, that war's been going on for 20 years. Nah, I had nothin' to do with it.
Jeff: What, somebody says he co-wrote, and the other guy says no?
Ian: No, MacIvor says he wrote "Money", and all evidence points to the fact that Bob Rupe wrote at least a......(a conversation with Bob Rupe indicates that "Money" was written by him when he lived with Jimmy Johnson, performed with the Bobs version 2 (with Kevin MacIvor on guitar and John Galway on drums), and as with most south Florida bands of that era, Kevin brought the song to the Martyrs, perhaps with some changes he made to the songÖ.)
Jeff: I had no idea.
Ian: I'm like a diplomat.
Jeff: You're good at that.
Ian: (laughs) On occasion....But seriously, really, this guy had this 150-year old house, in a village. And you met Antoinette, I was with Antoinette. And for Easter the whole country shuts down, so he came and collected us, that Saturday, and we stayed over at this 150-year old house, right on the side of the mountains. It was 2-story, but half of the second story was, you're on the roof. With rebar stickin' out and.......we made a grill (laughs) on the roof.
Jeff: On the roof?
Ian: Yeah, it's all concrete. And I was makin' chuletas, I was makin' Puerto Rican pork chops. (Laughs)
Jeff: Playin' "Money'.
Ian: Yeah, playin' "Money" on the side of the fuckin'......
Jeff: That's surreal.
Ian: It was, it was hilarious. Malcolm was his name.
Jeff: So the Martyrs were re-united from 2004 until 2007
Kevin MacIvor, Nathaniel Seidman, Eddie O'Brien, Ian Hammond, Fort Lauderdale, 4/27/2007 Photo: Bill Henry
Ian: I think the last stuff was......The last stuff we did was 2007, 'cause that's when Trish (Ian's ex-girlfriend) melted down, and put an end to that. We had a brief, 2-year run, start to finish, we had Ron Rummage, come in and play bass.
Jeff: And sing 3-part harmonies with you and Kevin too.
Ian: And sing 3-part harmonies. Ron was like, the first REAL musician that I ever, he is a professional musician, that's what he does.
Jeff: Not an easy thing to do in south Florida.
Ian: No, which is why he left and went to Kansas City, Missouri. (laughs)
Jeff: That's where he is now? I had no idea.
Ian: I did have 1 communication with him, probably a couple years back. Just to say, "Hey, glad you're doing something,"......and it probably had more to do with Pickett, than the Martyrs. My name popped up through Pickett.
At that point, it was (my) life meltdown, AGAIN. And Nathaniel didn't wanna do Martyrs, he didn't wanna deal with me, rightly.
Jeff: Why do you say that?
Ian: I had too much drama that bit of 2007. It was just.........it was like living through scorched earth.......for like, a 6-month period. Total life destruction. (Laughs) Life was out of fuckin' control, and it was out of control because I had no control over it.
Jeff: There were a few shows that were pretty.....liquid.....
Ian: It wasn't drinking issues, with me, at that particular time. I'm sure on individual occasions it didn't HELP matters. In other words, not only did I have catastrophic issues going on, there were other issues with other people, so......
And then I started doin' shows with Charlie. Obviously he figured out that, "Well, It's obviously not Ian who's having the huge issues inside the Martyrs." Because then we started doing the traveling shows....which is....
Jeff: Do you enjoy that?
Ian: It's probably the most fun of any band experiences I've had.....
Ian: ....Were the ones with Ray and Nat, playing with Pickett. Yeah.
Jeff: 'Cause there's no pressure to be a front-man?
Ian: That's part of it. Part of it is, "Hey! I'm in Atlanta!" I aint here. (South Florida) And so, like I said, what's my favorite version of Pickett? (Charlie band line-ups) THAT! What, am I not gonna vote for myself?
Jeff: No, it makes perfect sense.
Ian: And thankfully we have Karen's DVDs, so it's not just in my head. Its like, "Fuck! We did a brilliant version of.....whatever, that night." Maybe not so much the next time, or whatever, but.....all in all, it's my favorite performances.
And some of the stuff, I told Jill, "I have nicked from Johnny as much as I can on certain songs." American Travelust, I'm pinching the "Live At The Button" thing that he did, to a degree. I don't know how successfully or not, and I can't even tell you when I even HEARD that last. But I'm doing what's in my head....
Jeff: WWJSD? What would Johnny Salton do?
Ok, about 4 years ago you started going in the studio, with Charlie, Cortland Joyce (drums), Billy Ritchie (keyboards), and Dan Hosker (bass).
Ian: Ah, but it was (Tak-Pickett's) "What I Like About Miami" first. That's really where it came together, and.....unfortunately it was RIGHT THERE that people started dying down here.
Ian, Power Station, June 2009
Photo: Karen Wideen
Jeff: Was there a conscious decision on your part, like, "Hey, I wanna make a record."?
Ian: Yeah, I was havin' such a good time workin' at Power Station (studio).
Jeff: And aggravating the fuck out of Bobby Tak.
Ian: Well, I never tried to aggravate Bobby Tak. I seem to have an innate ability to do so. (Laughs) I don't know what it is, I swear!
And I said to the engineer (at Power Station), and the owner, "If I can get in here..."
And they said, "Alright, you know, if you can, we'll give you the same rate as Charlie."
And I didn't have to say very much to Charlie at all, I said, "Man, if I can get in there, in Power Station, and work like that, I can get an album out in far less time".....than it's ended up taking. (Laughs)
And he said, "Well, if you want to, then go right ahead!"
Jeff: And Charlie has done this kind of thing before, he's helped the Daisies, he produced the Essentials, he helped produce the EAT.....
Ian: I assume. (He is) A great benefactor of the scene. And it......took off very quickly......90% of the reason that it did was.......'cause of Dan (Hosker).
Jeff: Let's talk about that, had you ever played with him before?
Ian: No, I'd not even really......I knew Dan, I know the Holy Terrors from whenever they first formed.
Jeff: So you saw them play.
Ian: No, I used to have to fuckin' listen to 'em, from the next goddamn rehearsal room at Musicians Exchange. And they could never get through a single fuckin' song! And it would go on for hours. And we weren't really listening to what was going on, but it only became apparent many years later, what the fuck they were actually working on, and it made sense, why it sounded like what it sounded like.
And then I knew, from the Terrors, Rob (Elba), from seeing the Clap play at the Poorhouse, and singing "White Riot" with the Clap. I didn't really meet Dan until he started seeing Marla. So I met him through my ex-wife. And he would just come around, and him and Marla would come around, Saturday nights, and like do exactly what we're doing. (Minus the interviewing part, of course) And he's ALWAYS playing the guitar, and we have acoustics, electrics, all kinda crap 'round here, he's always......And so I'd play a bit, fuckin' 'round, and "Well, what are you doin'?" He's asking me. 'Cause he probably had 3 projects going on at that particular point in time. And this would be, like 5 years ago now.
And I just started playing him this shit, that I was thinkin' of, and older tapes, older versions, of stuff, and kinda saying, "I'm thinking of doin' this this way and that way." And I had absolutely no idea what I'd do as far as actually putting a band together....
And Dan just went, "I'm the bass player." I was left with no decision.
And alright, I'd seen the Bikes once or twice by that point, so it wasn't a question of, "Can he do it?" I mean, he can do whatever.
Jeff: He was a very melodic bass player.
Ian: He came up with such an interesting bass sound, as it relates to my older songs. Then of course, the stuff that's newer, and all that sort of formed together, he did do some interpretive stuff, but it was all done with, just a totally different feel, and fortunately I feel that it's so unique, that I'm not even gonna attempt to, when I put a band (together) to go play live, at some point, if I can get that sorted, there's gonna be no attempt to sound like any of the recordings. I mean, we'll do some of the songs, but I'm not gonna even make ANY sort of attempt, to go in with a notion of what it's gonna sound like before I'm in the fuckin' room.
Jeff: You're gonna go with a whole different approach.
Ian: No, it's not a whole different approach, it's the same fuckin' thing, but......You know, shit.....it's getting to the point where, "WOW! I probably need to find another guitar player." (laughs)
Jeff: The Martyrs always seemed like a collaborative thing, with you and another guitar player.
Ian: No, I wrote songs, and Mac or Al wrote songs, there was no collaboration at all. Never.
Jeff: Ok, collaboration was the wrong word. Let's say, the Martyrs was always a 2-guitar band.
Ian: Oh yeah, absolutely, sure. Yeah, what on earth am I gonna do next, right? Exactly. And I don't wanna hafta stand up there and do it all myself. I have no clue. I'm just first trying to sort who the fuck am I gonna get to play bass?
Jeff: The recording, are you happy with it? Pleasantly surprised? Delighted?
Ian: Absolutely, yes, all of the above. I mean, there's things that are gonna need addressing....
Jeff: Cory (Joyce) did a great job on drums on the first songs...
Ian: Absolutely. You know, Cory, at the time, he was just starting a new business, and......I didn't replace Cory. In so much as....
Jeff: Cory got real busy.
Ian: Cory got quite busy, and then it was literally....it was doing the Ft Lauderdale Film Festival thing, which....who was it? It was probably Elba. No. Yeah, it was! Elba, the troublemaker! Saying, "Yeah, can you do a Martyrs?"
And I went, "Ahhh, not really."
Jeff: No, you told ME, "Not really." And then I went public with the "Not really", then you changed your mind!
Cory Joyce, Ian Hammond, Charlie Pickett, Billy Ritchie, Dan Hosker
Power Station, Fort Lauderdale, October 2011
Photo: Karen Wideen
Ian: No, but then Nathaniel said "Ok." Which I thought was gonna be (no).
It was like a cluster-fuck thing initially, really. Cory says "Yeah, I'll do it, but no rehearsals."
MacIvor said "Yeah, I'll do it, but we're gonna need lots of rehearsal." So basically both of them were wrong.
And of course Dan was absolutely in. I dunno, he really thought we were gonna get to travel, on this project. He did. And I said, "Well motherfucker, as long as we aim the fuckin' boat at Europe....And we can afford to live elsewhere, and break even, that works for me."
Jeff: Especially considering how the music industry is now.
Ian: Yeah, yeah. If I get to get paid for playing, and it's not stuck in one fuckin' bar, wherever, but particularly in south Florida, then hey, I'm the proverbial clam. And then Dan's shit happened. (The car accident that killed Dan Hosker) And now we're here.
Jeff: And both you and Pickett took some time off from the project, and decided what you wanted to do.
Jeff: And you talked about it, and decided you wanted to go on.
Ian: Yeah, I um........'Cause Dan was here, like every other night, playing, eating, listening to the shit, plotting and planning. More collaboration than I was used to, and ya know.....the timing was such that, we were just getting to the point of, Dan was gonna start to add all the additional things he was gonna add, other than playing the bass. And had JUST set up a full Pro Tools studio in his house, to allow us to do non-live room overdubs over there.
Jeff: So that is where the album would have been finished?
Ian: It would have been finished.
Jeff: The drums and bass for the last 5 songs are done.
Jeff: And then he was in a horrible accident.
Ian: And no one really knew what was really happening, at least initially.
Jeff: You didn't find out about it for days, right?
Ian: I didn't find out about it for a couple days. And...............the nameless are not blameless. But I.........I just didn't pick up a guitar for..............a long time. Because it was every other day, we were making decisions about what we were gonna do next, and what we're gonna be working on, and it was like, he was 110% in. And so, it was just like, regardless of what it's outcome was, of what the outcome would be, for Dan, in his situation, it rapidly became obvious that, whatever the case, he'd not be playing music again. And I just switched OFF.
Ian: Absolutely, completely, 100%. Just a sanity saver.
Jeff: And when you finally started thinking about the record again, what did Charlie say?
Ian: "As soon as you're ready, go get on back in there and......" Yeah, Charlie's been 100% the whole time. And.....'cause we went blasting through like gangbusters, like 7 basic tracks done in the first DAY. And it took awhile, there were issues and things that had to be sorted along the way, financially, and people's availability, and that's what held up the second batch of rhythm tracks. And prompted the change in the drummer, because.....
Jeff: Because Cory's got a full-time thing.
Ian: And the only thing about the project, that I'm really regretful of, is that literally the 2 fuckin' songs I most wanted to do, which are completely unrecorded by me, in the studio, ever before, are the only 2 on the list that I've not recorded now! And they won't be, it's gonna be another line-up that works on those.
Jeff: They'll be on the next project.
Ian: Yeah, it's gotta be the next project. I mean, hopefully there'll be a next project. But that's where, effectively, we're at now. And it felt good, but it felt weird, to get back into Power Station. And at the same time we lost Dan, the engineer there had to move on, so we were working with a new engineer. And Nathaniel became more involved, but it's good to be in, and gettin' back to work. And now, according to Pickett, we will be back in next week!
Ian: Yeah, everything in it's time, and all that, but, we'll get it all sorted.
Jeff: Have you thought at all about how you want to see it released? Do you wanna do a digital release, or vinyl is making a big comeback....
Ian: I doubt that would be in anyone's budget. Put it this way---I have no intentions of buying a turntable. No, I don't think I'd go down that road. I mean, if someone wants to take it down that road, in addition to all the more modern methods, I'll say "Great!" The point of putting it on vinyl is kind of.....moot, because it's a totally digital recording, it's not like anything's gonna be gained, audio-wise. But I'm so happy with the Power Station, that I LIKE the way it sounds. I like the way it sounds. We have great communication with all the people that have worked in the booth, and in the room (studio), engineering, I like working there. And from what I understand, I'm quite economical about it.
The engineers are like....Because I'll turn up....if Bill Ritchie's gonna come in and do piano overdubs, or if Charlie's gonna come in and do something, I'm there, like an hour before. And I get, like 4 things done, before the next person turns up to do anything. And the engineers are always like, "You came in, you knew where to go, what you're gonna do, you knew what order to do it in, and we went 'bingbingbingbing', and fixed 4 fuckin' things!"
Jeff: I'm guessing not all musicians do that?
Ian: I don't see a way NOT to. 'Cause first off, it's not my dime! So I'm trying to be economical.
Jeff: Plus you've never known anything else. You've always been on a tight budget for these recordings in the past.
Ian: Yeah, always. But I mean, there is countless tracks that are gonna be added, that me and Dan talked about 6 months ago. I already know, when we're rolling this track, that this thing has to be done.......in a dozen places. That's because we were sitting here smokin' a bowl, drinkin' a beer, and eating leftovers, and coming up with cunning plans.
Jeff: So what you're trying to say is that there's certain things that you and Dan specifically talked about, that have not been done yet, but they WILL be done, because you both agreed on them before he passed away?
Ian: Yeah, some of them will not be done, because it was just stuff that Dan would've done. More production notions.....will be followed....just because it's the way it was decided. And I have no reason or will to change it. I think what's gonna happen is, whatever band there might be, if there's a band, we'll not make a huge effort to.....replicate the sound of this project.
Jeff: Well, you're very Dylan-ish anyways, in fuckin' around with the (song) arrangements. Not to the extent he does, of course, but......
Ian: No, I don't mind changin' the shit around. It's more fun....
Jeff: Does it make it more interesting to play? Something that you've played 20 dozen times before?
Ian: Yeah, yeah! So, I mean, some of the songs will be done (live), but the CD, the album, album sounds better to me, will be a time snapshot of 'these are the folks who are on it, and this is what we came up with'......and if at some point in the future, with other players, we can replicate some of that, that'd be brilliant! There's stuff that remains to be seen.
Jeff: The future is unwritten.
Ian: The future is unwritten, exactly. The cover songs, would we ever do fucking "Loving Cup"? (Rolling Stones) (laughs) Who the fuck would figure I would cover "Loving Cup"?
Jeff: Well, anybody who knows you would know.
Ian: But that particular song?
Jeff: It's a tough song to play.
Ian: And it's funny because.....the way I started on that one is fuckin' Ray Harris was playing that in rehearsal one night! And I went "Oh, I know that." So we were just playing it before Pickett got there.
And Cory had come in and done a Charlie show, it was right after his return, Cory did a show with me and Ray, before he did the recording stuff with me. That was the way that connection went through. And I'd known Cory, not real well, back then, but knew of him. Just from his time playing with Pickett. But Marla knew him; they went to the same high school. So when he came on, playing with Pickett, she was going, "I know you from high school."
So I'm optimistic about.....whatever we'll do with this. It's just tragic, what happened with Danny. And there's nothin' I can do.
Jeff: All you can try and do is make an end result that he would've been happy with, and that you'll be happy with.
Ian, Dan Hosker, Ray Harris, Charlie, October 2011, Monterey Club, Photo: K Wideen
Ian: Yeah. Exactly. We had already kinda mapped out where we were all goin'.......so.....yeah, no complaints..............no complaints at all. And we'll add and amend, as we go. Be it the interview or the record or whatever.......................
Jeff: And we talked briefly about "Live To Drive", can you talk to me about the subject of that song?
Ian: It's about a conversation between and 18-year old Ian Hammond, and a very nice woman who was 6 or 7 years older than me, and driving around in her Karmann Ghia.
Jeff: And you also mentioned the specific circumstances under which you wrote "Through The Day."
Ian: That was written on the day Peter Tosh was killed, I remember I was hanging out with Salton that day.
BONUS TRACKS RECORDED AFTER THE GIG
Notes--Although Ian had a few beers over the course of the evening, he did not appear to be intoxicated. He wasn't slurring his words, or stumbling around saying "I LOVE you man!", or anything else that drunk people do. So I have to assume he was mainly sober. And he wanted to talk more, so we obliged him, and we're glad we did.
A--WHAT CHARLIE TOLD US, SEPARATELY.
Ian: Yeah, it's funny. Pickett actually said something to me that I found like, I was like, "Yeah, and?" I said "Yeah, Jeff's coming about, and we're gonna talk about whatever."
And he actually made the point to say to me, "I told Jeff, 'Ian doesn't lie.'"
And I went ...
Jeff: He's got you pegged. He looked behind the curtain.
Ian: Yeah, because I don't, and I'll say fuckin' anything.
B--TALKING ABOUT PLAYING NOW, CHARLIE AND HIM.
Ian: ......Like with Pickett, you're married, you have a child, and you do this? Like what the fuck gets you to keep fucking doing this?
Jeff: Because he loves it.
Ian: And I haven't the slightest clue, I mean I keep doing it as well, but.....I'll never be able to sort out why.
Karen: Because it's fun.
Ian: Well I guess I do it because I love it, and 'cause it's fun as well, but....
Jeff: You feel like you still got something to say. Obviously, 'cause you're making a new record. I'm sure Charlie feels that way too. I'm sure he still feels like he's got something to say, he's still writing new stuff.
Ian: Yeah, we're all threatening to cut new tracks on occasion..........I mean I really don't know, but there is obviously a..........And we're not able to do what we used to do, because people are DEAD. So we can't do what we used to do, but somewhere in between those 2 things, we go.......I still have a notion, or I still have a....thing, to do it. So, I don't know, I guess, on occasion, it's like sometimes you're just going through the fucking motions. Because it's NOT what it used to be. It aint.
And no one's had more, losing the original people, than Charlie.
Jeff: One would hope that you would get a sign, that you shouldn't be doing it anymore.
Ian: Yeah, I'd love to have a great sign. (Laughs) I'd love for there to be like, "Oh! This is why you've been doing this!"
C--GREECE, SLIGHT RETURN
Jeff: Ok, lemme ask you this---when you came back from Greece, were you glad to be doing music again? Did you miss playing?
Ian: Well, no, I didn't miss it at the time, but it was like a delayed sort of thing where, I came back here, and I was pissed off, that I was back here. And I just kinda floundered about for......a while. But......Pickett sort of went, "Get a guitar, do a thing!" And it began to motivate me.
D--FUN WITH CHRIS AND JEAN.
Ian: Like I told you, when I first started doing dope, with Johnny and with Dave and all that, and we were hangin' out (for) days on end, and places, and.....whether it was (EAT drummer Chris) Cottie's (house) or whatever. Actually, Dave and Johnny never hung out at Cottie's, so it was like, someplace where I could actually just.....know myself. Of course, Chris was just a...............he was a good guy.
Jeff: And while we're talking about that, what did you do at Cottie's?
Ian: I was still in high school. And Chris had that place on Trapp, right around the corner from 27 Birds (club), big nice place, and I would get out of school and go down to Coconut Grove for the weekend. And Jean Natay (the girl on the cover of Charlie's "If This Is Love" 7") was living there, I think she was living there. It certainly seemed like she was living there.
Jeff: Get high, hang out.
Ian: Yeah, get high, hang out.
Jeff: Did you ever play with Chris other than that one jam?
Ian: Well not really, it was open house. He had, like an open house, and there was a lot of people hanging around, and......No, it wasn't like doing music, it was a bunch of musicians not doing music. A bunch of musicians doing EVERYTHING other than music.
Jeff: Which for most musicians is sex and drugs, when they're not doing music.
Ian: Yeah, absolutely. I dunno, Cottie's place always seemed like........free territory. You didn't have to do anything. It was just free territory, and that's what I like. And Jean was crashing there, and I probably turned up at Chris' a LOT, because she was hanging out there. (Laughs)
Jeff: And how long did this last?
Ian: That was probably a couple month's worth of time, a couple-3 months or something like that. 6 months maybe.
E--THE MARTYRS, SOMEWHAT HONESTLY. AND THE CURRENT SCENE.
Ian, Johnny Salton, Jeff Schwier and Charlie Pickett,
September 2009, Churchill's Pub, Photo: Karen Wideen
Ian: It's hard to put it all into perspective, 'cause there was the EAT, and there was Pickett, and we were sort of there in the fuckin' background. And midway through that crap point, where nothing was going on, Pickett wrote that quite nice review. And that was the only time we GOT any kind of fuckin' review.
Jeff: That's true; I looked through quite a few magazines from back then...
Ian: I know, we were (the) red-headed stepchild that never.......No one noticed the Martyrs back then, and it would've continued to have been that way, if I hadn't started playing with Pickett, in this millennium. No one fucking cared. Why do you stop doing shit? Because no one cares. (Laughs) There were people that would turn up, and we would have great shows, but that was 10 years before. So it's like, WHEN IT'S DONE, IT'S DONE! The Martyrs as such, gets far more coverage in the last 10 years, than in the first 20 years.
Jeff: That means you were ahead of your TIME!
Ian: No, it means that no one gave a crap. And it's only because Charlie has a higher profile, and more people know, and so when I began to do shows with Charlie.........'cause I still get it to this day. "Who the fuck are you?"
"Well I play for Pickett, and I used to have a band." I used to have a band. Used to come around.
Jeff: But the Martyrs stuff is good, and I'm certainly not the only one that feels that way.
Ian: Agh. You know, there's a bajillion bands playing a bajillion different fucking things, over the course of however much time, and only a certain amount is gonna be recognized. And it's nice now, that after all that, it's nice to get a bit of......I like it, it's great. Gotta be thankful to Jeter......I go through bursts where I'm not doing fuckin' anything, and then I go through things where I think I'm the greatest fuckin' thing since sliced fuckin' bread. And everybody's just missing it.
Sometimes you get great response, and sometimes you don't, and I think it has very little to do with me. I'm not doing anything hugely different from one point to the next. But sometimes it's like, GREAT reception, and sometimes you can't BUY a bit of support.
And how does all this new....I mean, we got more enthusiastic crowds 20 years ago, when we didn't have shit other than paper flyers. But now, yes, everything's all together, it's Facebook and internet, and less people turn up! And I can't sort that, and I can't explain it.
Jeff: I think people like you and I and Pickett and Salton and Karen and Jeter, people that are REALLY, REALLY into music, are becoming a thing of the past. I think most people don't feel that way about music anymore, I think they take it for granted.
Ian: So how do we impart enthusiasm? I think that's what we do now, more than anything, is try to impart enthusiasm, to the casual observer. People make less effort, it almost seems like people will just sit and watch the Youtube, as opposed to actually fuckin' being there.
F--IAN AND MARILYN MANSON
Ian: One of the reasons why I found the whole Marilyn Manson thing so astounding (is) 'cause the way Brian (Warner) laid it out, he REALLY laid it out. He knew how to make it HUGE.
Jeff: Shock value.
Ian: Fuck, we all had the possibility of shock value. He knew what to DO with shock value. And that's not just punk rock, because by that time punk rock had.....it's not that important. 'Cause I actually used to sit and talk with Brian about, like, "What do you wanna do?" He came into work, where I used to work, and I was makin' flyers and posters and crap for him.
And his whole thing was based upon "Rock'n'Roll Swindle". But it wasn't just "Rock'n'Roll Swindle" film. It was, "I am going to take this, and I am going to manipulate this, and I am going to come out on top of this. " And he did!
Jeff: I didn't know you knew him.
Ian: Oh yeah, for a couple years, just as they were about to go big, yeah. And I was doin' flyers and shit for Robbie Gennet, and I had a chance to......I decided, "Well, I have to make a decision. Am I gonna do work for this band, or am I gonna do work for that band?" And I chose Robbie Gennet. (laughs) And then Marilyn Manson went huge. And Robbie Gennet is now a writer for Keyboard Player magazine.
Jeff: See, that's what I'm saying. Marilyn Manson was ambitious, and he got a series of breaks to get where he is now. But in the history of great music, is his music better and more important than what Charlie writes, and the O'Brien's write, and you write?
Ian: No, it contributes absolutely nothing, you're absolutely correct in that sense.
Jeff: It's just lucky breaks or unlucky breaks.
Ian: Well it's really apparent that none of us have had lucky breaks.
Jeff: Marilyn Manson's certainly not the first person from Florida that wanted to be huge. He had a lot of ambition, yeah. You could maybe say his ambition was because he had nothing else to do.......
Ian: Yeah, I would absolutely say you're 100% correct. And he was more ambitious than any of us. And he became this huge thing..........and frankly, I don't think I'd want his life. I'd like something in between what I've got, and what he's got.
©2015 Jeff Schwier