Jill possesses a keen intellect, a good memory, and an unbelievable eye for a great picture. She's been a fan, and a tremendous supporter of Johnny Salton and Charlie Pickett, since she met Johnny almost 23 years ago. She kept her day job, tasted the temptations of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle, still lives in the same place, not neurotic, incredibly generous, diplomatic with Johnny (and on his behalf). Jill survived when her friends and associates were dropping all around her.
Jill's the person I first talked to when I contacted the Daisies. Through her I met Johnny, then Charlie, then an interview, then a web page to display the interview (and highlights from her fantastic photo archives). Dave Froshnider finds the site, contacts Johnny, and early next year, the two living original Daisies (and the current Daisies) will go in the studio together, for the first time in twenty years. THIS IS GOOD, brothers and sisters. Maybe Jill will let me use her magic camera, while she's laying down her bass tracks...
Jeff--So give us the biographical stuff, you were born in Florida.
Jeff--The same hospital Johnny was born at.
Jill--I went to Gratigny Elementary school, North Miami Junior High, North Miami Senior High.
Jeff--Did you know Johnny?
Jill--No. I was mostly a surfer chick, beach-bunny type. And drugs...I think that was a course at North Miami Senior High. But I mostly just went to the beach, picked up shells, and surfed, and swam.
Jeff--You weren't a little punk rocker in school?
Jill--Not at that age. I just collected bikinis. I looked really good in a bikini, so I just made it a profession. I mean that I wasn’t playing music, or hanging out with any musicians in high school. There was a huge live music scene in Miami in the 60’s & early 70’s. We had rock 'n' roll on the radio and TV. I was too young to get into the clubs. My parents would take us kids to shows at Miami Dade Community College, a Sly & the Family Stone concert sticks in my mind. And there were shows on the lawn outside of the Jackie Gleason Convention Center, and at Marine Stadium, which had a floating stage in the water. I was 14 at a Chuck Berry show, the dude behind me took my hand and put it on his hard dick, during (Chuck's #1 hit) “My Ding-A-Ling” at the Sportatorium. I was at the Doors' show
But then I left town, I went to Tampa. To USF (University of South Florida) for graduate school. My friend Robyn hooked me up with Jim Rosenquist, a world famous 'pop artist', who is a brilliant painter and was a HUGE influence in my
I remember I was with Jim in Aripeka, FL at the end of the 1970's, the day John Lennon died, so that was (December) 1980. He had a big painting studio, and a house on the Gulf of Mexico in Aripeka, and a five-story building in Tribeca in NYC. Just hanging, and bouncing around, like one does when you're 21 years old. And I had aspirations, to make a living. I'm a photographer.
Jeff--Is that when you first started getting into photography?
Jill--Yeah, first I did ceramics. Then after I dated a photographer, I changed my major to photography, 'cause it looked cleaner. And it WAS cleaner.
Jeff--You got into it right away?
Jill--Yeah, changed my major, and put the time in. And now I work as a photographer, instead of an artist/photographer. There were years when I strictly made ‘art’ and had a series of well-publicized gallery shows with a band of fellow artists. We all loved music, and hung out at Tampa’s punk “Ms. Lucky” club. And now (I) just make a living taking photos.
Jeff--And then you moved back to Miami?
Jill--Yeah, My Dad's wife got killed in a plane crash, in 1982. And so I left Tampa, I had finished school, got a Master's degree. Came back (to Miami), then I met Johnny in 1983, April of '83.
Jeff--And where did you meet him?
Jill--It was at 27 Birds (club), in Coconut Grove (named because it was on the 2700 block of Bird Avenue, the club is now known as Flannigan's Loggerhead).
Jeff--Were (Charlie Pickett &) the Eggs playing that night?
Jill--No, I just happened to be there with my friend, who told me, "That's Johnny Salton, and he's looking at you." Those were the magic words. (laughs)
Jeff--But you had seen the Eggs play before that, right? What was your first impression of Charlie Pickett & the Eggs?
Jill--I saw the Eggs on Halloween 1982, at a gig. It was a Halloween gig, and I was dressed as a poodle, and my friend was a cat. And we saw the Eggs, and I thought they were really good, and they looked like junkies. This was my impression of them. (laughs) And I went back to my...I was living at the Jockey Club, in my dad's condominium, at the time. I was in my own world.
And that was it. And then I met Stick’s (Eggs drummer John 'Sticks' Galway) brother in New York City that fall. And then I met Johnny the next April. And I think the US Furys (band featuring Isaac Baruch of the Reactions) were playing that night, right John?
Johnny Salton--Yeah, I was there just hanging out, I wasn't playing.
Jeff--Trying to pick up girls?
Jill--No, he was with a girl.
Jill--But he left with me. I had met Isaac before that, and Rick (Mahler, US Furys guitarist), who went on to be in (late '80's metal band) Circus Of Power, 'cause my friend was, a groupie, of sorts. We were scenesters. (laughs) For me, it was more fun than the art world.
Jeff--...Forgot about Brandi.
Johnny--Yeah, basically. (laughs)
Jeff--Had you heard any of Charlie's records?
Jill--No. When I was in Tampa, I had a boyfriend who was very into punk rock. So I learned all about Jonathan Richman (punk rock pioneer, with his band the Modern Lovers), and all the European bands, the Clash. I'm trying to think of what records were in this guy's record collection. I mean anything, Frank Zappa, all this stuff.
I really wasn't that much of a music fanatic, 'cause I had a piano teacher, who was really dry. And just made me learn like...I don't know what, stuff I wasn't interested in. Theory, I guess they called it at the time. So I begged for art lessons, and that's how I got into the whole art thing.
And then when I had to go to college, I didn't know what to do, so onward, art, I guess.
Jeff--Was Johnny still clean when you got together?
Johnny--Yes I was clean, but, ah...
Jill--Oh, please, no. I had been with a boyfriend before I went to Tampa, when I went to Barry University. He didn't mess around, and dealt heroin and all this stuff. But they had, like, quantity stuff. So John had these things called caps, which I thought were pills of some sort that you take. But they were like dope, heroin, that people bought five dollars at a time. Whereas I used to know drug people that would buy, like pieces that would cost more money. So I didn't really catch on to what these caps were, for, maybe, six weeks or two months. And then I finally figured it all out, and it was kinda too late. I was already deep into the whole thing. And SURPRISE! Your boyfriend's a heroin addict! (laughs)
He kept it pretty well hidden. And every day, when we first met, he'd go running off to (Eggs' bassist) Dave's (Froshnider) garage, which, I guess was where he lived before we met. Still hung out there, and did (Psycho) Daisies' business all day long.
Johnny--Yeah, we rehearsed every day in Dave's garage, we were doing Psycho Daisies at the same time we were doing Charlie's stuff. I told you Dave wanted to play guitar, so I put this in my mind, that we'd get a band together, the Psycho Daisies, so Dave would keep playing with Charlie.
Jeff--And this was before the Daisies made a record? I was under the impression that the Daisies started in 1984.
Jill--Yeah, one of the first times I met John (spring 1983), after I was with him the first time, I went to Dave's garage. And it was a Daisies' rehearsal, they were rehearsing when I met John. Lisa Nash & her friend Brandi were there. Elaine (vocalist for Crank) was hanging out with them around that time too. They had Crank going. John was in four different bands, he played all the time.
When I first met John, we walked in the Jockey Club, and in the lobby...I was still full of my high-minded art ideals, and I was like, "Oh, I hate that painting. I hate when I walk by here every time, and I see that painting." So John went and took it from the lobby and threw it in the bay for me. (everybody laughs)
Jill--And then the next week, in the newspaper, in the 'neighbors' section it said, "Painting stolen from lobby." Worth like, $50,000 or something. That was one of the first things John did to win me over. (laughs)
Jeff--Describe how it was with you and Johnny in the beginning.
Jill--Well, I don't know if you know how it is with someone with a drug habit, but it's just like a grind...
Johnny--(interrupts, irritated) I didn't have that bad of a drug habit then. I was just doing it on weekends first of all.
I dunno, we were cozy, we had fun. I thought he was king of the guitar gods, and I inspired him. I always liked cool guys, and I thought John was the coolest thing I ever met. I thought John was SO COOL, and I always wanted him.
Jeff--And you starting taking pictures of the band.
Jill--And other bands too, I do a lot of pictures of bands in general, rappers, and Haitians, and rock 'n' rollers. But mostly the Eggs and the Daisies back then.
Jeff--And you went on the road with them a few times.
Jeff--Charlie said you were always very helpful and gracious on the road, always deferred to the musicians.
Jill--Kind of. I was quiet, and...just thrilled to be there with John. My most embarrassing moment in my life -- I flew up to Atlanta to meet Charlie and the band. Sometimes I would work here, and then I'd go meet them (at) places (on tour), and I'd come back and make money, and I'd go meet them places. And I was at the Atlanta airport, and Jim Johnson (first Charlie's bass player, later part of Safety Net Records, which released The Wilderness album), picked me up, and he was gonna drive me to Athens (Georgia). And I had my underwear on over my pantyhose, 'cause in those days we wore pantyhose. And I was just standing there, talking to him, when he met me at the terminal. And my underwear fell off, down around my ankles, and they were like little black (underwear). (laughs) I don't know. It was THE most embarrassing thing. So I had to lift my underwear back on.
Jeff--Yeah, that wouldn't be too embarrassing.
Jill--Let me think of what else I remember. There were times (where) there was no money. Charlie never gave 'em (the other Eggs/Maypoles/MC3, whatever, pick whatever name suits you, or make one up!) money. They had like $10/day. And $10/day was all there was a lot of the time. And that's a pack of cigarettes and a hot dog or something. However, when there was more cash, it was split evenly. And no one had money, and we had to sleep on people's floors, and sit in vans, and we'd get crabby. There wasn't money. But I didn't really eat, or go to the bathroom, for like, days on end! And it was no problem, 'cause we were all very happy, it was like, the best time of our lives.
Jeff--The music made it worthwhile?
Jill--The music was good. We would get there, and some of the shows there were people (an audience), and some not. You know? But it was fun. It was, looking back, the time of our lives. But at the time, I don't know...
We were coming back from...I dunno, maybe Athens, or something, on one of these little 'chitlin' tours we took through the south. And John had hooked up with some girl in Gainesville, and left me. He took off with her while I was on tour with him. She had drugs. So I cried all the way home with Charlie. Charlie took me home, and I cried the entire way home. But Charlie took me home, and they were all very kind to me. I‘d always try to hurt John right back. The minute I got back to town after that, I went over to Jean Luc's apartment and got even.
Jill--Oh, I don't know.
Jeff--It varied from show to show?
Jeff--And Charlie handled the money?
Jill--It was usually Sticks or Richard Shelter. And Sticks would go out and hustle guys to make money, so he had money. And people's girlfriends would go-go dance, and they had money.
And then we went to New York (City) one time, and I found a place (to live), and Dave and Amy (Dave's girlfriend at the time) were there, staying with us. And it just kinda turned into a nightmare, which was where the band (Eggs Mach 1) broke up. You know, I was a waitress, making like ten dollars or twenty dollars at lunch. And I was like (NYC poet/singer) Lydia Lunch. I always stole sandwiches for John, to feed him. We'd have, like, a sandwich from the deli. And all the waitresses would talk about coming to Miami Beach for two weeks (vacation). That was like their big highlight of their lives. And I was like, "Wait a minute. I have a place in Miami, on the water." 'Cause I still had my townhouse, I hadn't lost it. (I had) a few dollars in the bank, and I just said, "I'm outta here."
Jill--Yeah. And they fought. Physically beat each other up all the time. And they destroyed the property. They messed up. I got a place on good references that I had, and the guy was a painter, and we used the paintings to sub-divide the space. And they threw 'em around, and ruined all his paintings. They were horrible, she was stripping, and it was horrible. And John was doing dope.
And then when I left, Charlie had the nightmare of having to manage John, which was what my job had been.
Jeff--So you left New York City before John did?
Jill-—No. I left and Charlie said, "He's (Johnny) going with you." And that wasn't part of what I was thinking, 'cause the whole time, I had...
And I'm skipping over a lot of stuff here. There were times when, they had to go to a gig, and Charlie couldn't rent a van, so I let 'em use my car.
Jeff--Yeah, Charlie told me about that, how you donated your car to the cause.
Jill--Yeah, they used my car, we blew up the engine. There was a lot of road between those two things (incidents).
Jeff--They were getting ready to audition for Twin-Tone records?
Jill--Yeah. And then Charlie was just like, "Oh no, John's out of the band, you gotta take him with you." Which double-sucked.
Jeff--So what about Charlie saying his girlfriend wouldn't let Johnny stay with them?
Jill--Well, no, that's the point. Because Charlie didn't have his own wherewithal. He was dependant on someone else, so it really wasn't his to give. On one hand, I mean he had stretched himself with credit cards. And John's a handful, he lived with Charlie before. He wasn't...it was like hot potato.
So he (Johnny) came back with me. But those were...I remember, hard times, after that.
Jeff--Johnny said he was at his worst with heroin during that time.
Jeff--Charlie admitted that he could've put his foot down, and let Johnny stay at his place for the two days.
Jill--Yeah, 'cause they were leaving anyhow, it was a pretty cruel thing. And yeah, Charlie could've, but John had no money.
Jeff--So, was your lease up two days before they (Charlie and the Eggs) were leaving?
Jill--Yeah, there was a little bit of lag, and I had some cousin there. And me working in the restaurant, and John just lying in bed all day. It just was like, nobody was having it, so I just wanted to come home, and be a photographer, instead of a waitress in a deli. (laughs) Have a place to live, instead of being homeless. All those good things. So I came back here, and just took trips to New York every year instead of actually living there.
Jeff--And was Marco already up in New York, doing Daisies gigs? Or did Charlie fly him up there?
Jill--No, we had gotten up there for Charlie. And even at the time when we were in New York, Charlie was annoyed with the fact that on his dime, we did Psycho Daisies business. Because we always had this notion in our heads, that the Psycho Daisies were cooler than Charlie. (laughs) 'Cause they were the junkies, and they made the 'cool' music. Charlie was more like, gonna be popular and famous, because he was the great guy he is.
Jeff--Yeah, for all that's worth. Turns out being a good guy isn't worth that much.
Jill--Yeah, well, good guys finish last, we all know that one. Sometimes not, but...
So, John had sent for Marco, to do Daisies' gigs while we were up there. So we did book a few (gigs), here and there, but it really wasn't fair to Charlie. But none of us even saw it that way, we had our own agenda.
Jeff--Well, if it wasn't a detriment to the Eggs. You were there, was it?
Jill--No, but like, even at a Charlie gig, I brought fluorescent paints, and would write Psycho Daisies on the wall, instead of Charlie Pickett & the Eggs. (laughs) I didn't really realize, I was just drawing daisies (laughs). Meanwhile, Charlie was getting mad, because I wasn't drawing eggs. (laughs) At CBGB's, it's buried there under the rubble. But for years, people told me they saw it (laughs)
Jeff--And were you already doing photography for a living?
Jill--Yeah, I had 'winged it' ever since I left Tampa and came here.
Jeff--Was it a struggle at first?
Jill--It's taken a while, but I got a brainstorm. Back in those days, what I did was (take) pictures of girls in lingerie, for their husbands and boyfriends. I had an idea, and I was also 24 at the time, so...naked pictures of myself! It'd be perfect for my boyfriend. Not naked, but tasteful, pictures, and this was before digital cameras. So, there was no such thing, so I kind of invented the whole boudoir deal. But I was too distracted with my boyfriend and his band, to really pursue it. And it became 'Glamour Shots', and a million people did it. But I did, really truly, originate that commercial aspect of, taking pin-up photos for guys. But I made good money doing that, I was on TV, and did a lot of pictures. And eliminated the male (photographer) competition, 'cause it's hard to come to town, and be a photographer. But one thing led to another, and now I do parties and events and publicity, and all kinds of commercial work. So I maintained that all along. But it was good, 'cause my hours are flexible, and I could run around with John.
Jeff--So you and Johnny came back from New York, and John was playing in the Expressos?
Jill--That was just for a short time, John did a lot of things. But John cheated on me and...we had our moments.
Jeff--That was during this period?
Jill--All periods. He'd never pick up girls, only if they picked him up.
Jeff--But you and Johnny were living together?
Jill--We were, we lived here.
Jeff--How long have you been here? (Daisies central, north Miami)
Jill--Since 1983. My dad got tired of the circus I brought along, to his life. And I bought this place, and decided it would be good for a photo studio, 'cause it's on a busy street, I could convert it to that. So I kept the downstairs like a photo studio, and lived upstairs. With John, and our dog T-Bone.
Jill--Well, Dave lived at his mom's house. And Sticks lived in downtown Miami, with an older guy. Marco lived with his parents.
Jeff--Did Marco do any bands before he joined the Daisies/Eggs?
Jill--He played. He had a brother in a band, that was like the New York Dolls of Miami, in the '60's, called WoWii (pronounced wowee) and played in Greynolds Park. Marco's brother was on the cover of Teen Beat magazine. He was cute with a shag haircut. And they almost made it, but their manager did cocaine, and squandered all their money. And they dressed up in women's clothes before the New York Dolls, so that was Marco's older brother. So he was always around music, and had a guitar, but he was sorta in the shadow. But he was hooked up with some people...
Jill--...A white reggae star. Some kinda reggae star. He had some really embarrassing video of him doing some reggae. (laughs) I dunno, I laughed when I saw it, but he was all...
Jeff--Does it exist? Is it still around? (laughs)
Jill--Yeah, yeah. But he did other embarrassing things musically, but no worse than...
Jeff--So, Pushin' Up Daisies comes out, and the Daisies go on tour. Did you go on the road again?
And then John came back, and we got back together for a while. I was with John for a good seven years, and I was with John
Jeff--We also talked about Crank. What did you think of the band?
Jill--That was early, Crank was right when I first met John. They were great. Elaine (Crank's vocalist) was awesome. The songs were good. I just thought they were incredible.
Johnny--That band broke up because of drugs.
Jill--Yeah, that band were all heroin addicts.
Jeff--And you told me Elaine is a schoolteacher now.
Jill--She's been for twenty years. She teaches art in Miami. She has two sons. She married Dave Camp back then. I run into her now and then. We all look EXACTLY the same. (facetiously) No, she looks good.
Jill--Yeah, that happened after Sticks left. And then that was the solution, Dave was gonna get the drum machine. But I was kind of excluded.
Jeff--Sticks left to do what?
Jill--It was to go on tour with the Silos, right John? (Johnny nods)
Jeff--And then Dave left, moved to LA, with no warning, didn't say anything to anybody?
Jill--No, no, no, no. They (Dave and Amy) left, and sometimes I think John should've went with them, and who knows what would've happened, 'cause together they were sort of...I guess Amy had the idea they were leaving, but I believe John had the option to go with them, but chose not to. 'Cause there's no way in hell I was getting in a van with those two.
Jeff--Yeah, I got the idea that you didn't have that high an opinion of Amy.
Jill--Well, she was just a low-life, so, I don't know, female drug addicts...Plus she was mentally unstable. She opened my eyes to all kinds of bad behavior. I didn't know girls could walk into a middle of a median, and pick up men, and make money. She was in rehab when I first met them. And then she came out, like shot out of a cannon. But Dave loved her, but she'd disappear at night, and freak out, she'd been with five guys. (laughs) Shit like that.
But it wasn't even that, it was that she betrayed me, by hooking up John with her best friend. Instead of being mad at John, I was always mad at the other people. So I got in a fight with that girl at Churchill's. Vicki, her name was. I could see it coming, because there was the three of them, and John was with them. And they did drugs, and I didn't. They condoned the whole drug thing, whereas I was more about paying my bills, just surviving.
Jeff--Then after Dave moved to LA, Johnny went back on the road with Charlie.
Jill--Uh-huh, I joined part of that tour. I saw mostly every single show I could go to. I was a very big participant in supporting Charlie's band. I was a huge fan, I loved that band. I can't say enough about how great I thought Charlie was. They were great.
Jeff--And then Charlie and Johnny made the Wilderness album, in Athens (Georgia). You were there for the sessions, how'd that go?
Jill--Yeah, it was the first time I'd seen something being recorded, so it was interesting. I wasn't playing at that point, so...it was fun. It was a little boring in Athens, and we thought we were 'all that', but...it was fun.
Johnny--Peter Buck (guitarist for REM, and producer of the Wilderness album) took us out to lunch every day.
Jeff--What's your general opinion of Charlie's recordings?
Jill--They don't begin to capture the live show. But I like to hear 'em, then AND now. It's like a photo of the Grand Canyon, it doesn't quite catch the essence. But it's great, recording something, and putting it down. I admired them for playing in, like, 'cause I went to New York City all those times. And they played at the Peppermint Lounge, and the Mudd Club, and CBGB's, and I just thought that was so admirable. That they were like American frontier. Rock 'n' roll cowboys on the trail.
Jeff--They went over well in New York?
Jill--Yeah, yeah, the gigs in New York, sure.
Jeff--And Charlie and Johnny toured after the Wilderness was released, and then Johnny re-formed the Daisies with Sticks and Marco, and did the Sonicly Speaking album.
Jill--Sonicly Speaking, I don't know, it was another last minute thing.
Jeff--You and Johnny were still together?
Jill--Yeah, I was with John. And at the last minute, John would write the songs, and (imitating Johnny) "Don't worry, don't worry, I got it, I got it." And just brilliantly, like, pour out the songs. Got Roger (Deering, of the Drills, and currently in The Flair, guest vocalist on Sonicly Speaking) at the last minute too, if I remember.
I remember thinking, "He (Johnny) should sing." And I always liked John's voice myself.
Jeff--Maybe Johnny wasn't comfortable enough with singing yet, because he hadn't done that much.
Jill--No, but I listen to it now, and it's good for what it is, but I don't think John gives himself enough credit for what his voice sounds like. Or (he doesn't) work on it in the studio, 'cause he's always wanting to do one take. But I was there for all those recording sessions at L7 (studio), it was tiny. I don't think I stayed for most of 'em, though. I checked it out, and hauled ass, 'cause there was enough people in that crowded space.
Jeff--And you were helping out on the business end, I imagine. Did you have any dealings with Resonance? (records, the German/Netherlands label that originally released Sonicly Speaking and 30 Milligrams Of Your Love, now out of business)
Jill--Yeah, yeah, me and John hooked all that stuff up, just by being together, and out there. I'm sure I took it to the post office, you know, I did all the behind-the-scenes stuff. With John, though. He was the master of his universe, I was just executing the dirty deeds. I booked stuff.
Jeff--Kinda like a manager...
Jill--Sort of. But then I learned the lesson, back then, to concentrate on my photo business, to make money.
Jeff--Hey Johnny, I remember you telling me about the methadone clinic tour, with the Daisies. (When they went on the road, they knew where to go in each town to get methadone, to avoid withdrawal) Was that the first Daisies' tour, after Pushin' Up Daisies, or was it after Sonicly Speaking?
Johnny--It was both, it was all through the Daisies.
Johnny--I went up there with him.
Jill--For a little while.
Jeff--What was he doing for her?
Jill--Stage work. Stagehand, he got to go to her apartment, she forgot something, and he had to go back for it.
Jeff--And you were good friends with Sticks, you said?
Jill--And his brother Greg, and they both died of AIDS, though, so he got sick after that. Lost his mind and his body. Yeah, he was cool.
And when I got my (first) bass, back in those days, very early on, in a pawn shop, in downtown Miami. 'Cause John had always encouraged me to be in a band, but I couldn't play, small problem. So I got the bass, and then I tried to play it, and I thought something was wrong with the bass. So I took it to Sticks' house, and he picks it up, and could totally play it. "Oh, it's a great bass, it's cool, it's a Fender, it plays great." Then I saw that it wasn't the bass, it was me. (laughs) It took a while (to learn to play).
And then I tried to play with my friend Jean Luc, he tried to have a band. But neither of us could play. And although we heard of bands that would get together, and nobody could play, we actually couldn't play, and couldn't play a song (laughs).
Jeff--And sometime after Sticks left is when you and Johnny broke up for good. In 1990.
Jill-- John and I had a fight over drugs, and I told him, “You can stay here, or you can do drugs.”
Jeff--And when you first got together with Marco, the Daisies were still together. Pete Moss came in on drums.
Jill--And John was pissed at us.
Jeff--And the 30 Milligrams Of Your Love album came out, with your beautiful picture of the water tower on the back cover. They tore the 'Welcome To Miami' tower down, you said. And the Daisies broke up also shortly after that.
Jill--Well, it would break up with John's ebb and flow. I was with Marco, and John went off and did 'John's World', and did a lot of drugs, to SHOW ME!
Johnny--Yeah, I totally dropped out of music for about 7 years.
Jill--For like 7 years, he was doing his own thing. I mean, he'd call if he needed something, and come by, we kept in contact. I made him call me all the time, to check in, if he needed something. I always went over on his birthday, and kinda stayed on his ass as much as I could, just to make sure he was ok.
But then his mom died, I took him to the hospital, and we were there when she actually took her last breath. He calls, and says "I think I better go to the hospital, they said my mom's dying. Will you give me a ride?" So we did, and she died, after John got there.
Then it was pretty tough, 'cause he got evicted after a month or two, and got homeless, and screwy really. He really, really, really had a hard time.
Jeff-- But you kept in touch with him?
Jill--Yeah, as much as I could. He always came back, always needed something.
Johnny--I was living under bridges.
Jill--In the park, on the corner, he was homeless.
Johnny--I'd sleep in the park.
And then Pete died first, and then Marco died. And they (Johnny and Marco) played together that whole time, that whole ten years, off and on. And John would go off, and be unreachable. And they would have a gig, and John would show up all dirty, and whatever, and Marco...One time they got in a fight, a physical fight, in the car. And I just jumped out of the car, and took off, and stayed at my friends' house overnight. (laughs) It was pretty bad. They played together that whole time.
Jeff--Marco OD'd on cocaine?
Jeff--Did you know it was that much of a problem? I don't know how much of this you wanna talk about.
Jill--No, it's that I'm in a different state of mind now. I was quite shocked, like it was any shock that if you do drugs, there's a chance you could die.
Jeff--But it was unexpected, right?
Jill--I was kinda like, "I never thought he'd die." That's what I remember I kept repeating to myself, like a broken record, "I never thought he'd die." He had, like a straight working week, and then on weekends he'd binge out. And he couldn't do it here, 'cause he'd just get crazy, and we'd fight, and it would ruin the
So, I stayed home and cried for two years, and then John started coming around. And I told him if he was gonna hang out, he had to teach me how to play bass, and we're getting the Daisies back together. Because I was sick of him not playing, and there was no reason for him to be in my life, except to teach me how to play bass guitar. So he bought it, and suffered through teaching me, and we DID get the Daisies back together.
Jeff--And (Daisies keyboard player) Billy Ritchie comes in here somewhere, right?
Jill--Billy had been, when John was homeless, trying to get him to play with him. Billy was one person, who I didn't know that well back then. But he was a friend and a fan of John's, when John was TOTALLY untouchable, and no one would have ANY-THING to do with him. Billy was always kinda checking up on him, and encouraging him to play, and really wanted to be in a band with him. And they played out a few times, and...he tried.
Jeff--Right, as a duo
Jill--Or a three--o, or a trio. (laughs) They had Joey Maya play (with them) once, they'd get people one time. But without somebody like me babysitting the whole thing, John was difficult to work with, was the word that was on the street about him.
Jeff--Billy's a helluva nice guy.
Jill--Oh, he's amazing. He's the glue that keeps the band together, me and him both are. He's more musically talented, perhaps, or experienced, lemme put it that way, than I am.
So then, John and Bobby Gold, our first drummer (for the re-formed Daisies), who I'm always indebted to, 'cause he played with me when I couldn't get through a song. Literally I couldn't. John taught me to start a song and finish a song, and the stuff in between, even if I make mistakes, keep going. I got thrown on the stage when I'd been playing, like two or three weeks. Immediately thrown on the stage at Churchill's, and, sink or swim, I learned to play. I used to sweat bullets, and not be comfortable, and all that stuff. But it was FUN, and it brought joy back into my life, after being so distraught over Marco dying, and my world shattering, and...life not exactly working out like I had sketched it.
Jeff--And John, when he was homeless, he slept on your front porch? Or your back porch?
Jill--No, John had lived down the block, then he moved closer down the block, to someone else's apartment. Then he got kicked outta there, he had a place to live for a few years, three years maybe, right up the street here. And then, they kicked him out, but I wouldn't let him in the front door, because I knew that meant that I'd never get rid of him. So I'd kinda cater his homelessness, I guess he lived in parks, or under the bridge.
Jeff--But he knew he could come here, and...
Jill--Yeah, and he could come here and take a shower, and off he'd go again. But I really wouldn't let him in the front door. And then it rained, for like, a month, and then I pitched a tent outside for him. But, you know, I'd come home, and he'd be on my courtyard every night. So then, I'm in bed with my dog, and John's out in the rain, so I just went "Fuck it.", and let him in. We're talking three years later, maybe four.
Jeff--And this was all platonic, strictly friends?
Jeff--That's amazing, that there are no hard feelings, and...
Jill--Oh, there's plenty of hard feelings, we've got a lot of hate for each other, don't kid yourself. But we've got love AND hate, so...(laughs)
Jeff--It's a love/hate thing, Johnny gets into those with a lot of people. He's in one with a guy named Pickett.
Jill--Yeah, we love him but we hate him.
Jeff--So the Daisies played some gigs, and decided to make a record. And you and Billy paid for the record.
Jill--Yeah, Billy was involved. At that point, we called in the keyboard player. John wanted to play with him, and he was in contact with John. So we had Billy come in. We started as the three of us, and then Billy came in, maybe a few months in, and was great.
Jeff--And then (drummer) Bobby Gold came in?
Jill--No, Bobby was there. Me and John and Bobby, and then Billy came in after.
Jeff--And Johnny said you did the record (It's No Fun To Be Paranoid) over a few weekends.
Jill--No, we worked on it for a few months. It was only the first ones that John did, that he did in, like, two or three days. 'Cause we didn't have the twelve-hour days, we'd go up for three hours at a time, four hours. It wasn't like we'd go spend twenty-four hours in a row there (in the studio).
Jill--Yeah, I wrote a lot. John and I probably co-wrote that album.
Johnny--She's saying the words (lyrics).
Jill--Yeah, the words. 'Cause I was all full of emotion, with Marco dying, and all that. So there was a lot of that in that record. And John had music, when I had the words, and it just went together, and he'd show me how to play it. And I owe everything, playing-wise, to what he's taught me.
Jeff--How did you decide to put out your own cd? Who's idea was it?
Jill--We didn't think it would be so hard, because we had done all the earlier Daisies' press. But we didn't realize that now there's, like forty million bands, instead of only one million, back in the day. (laughs) So it was a little harder to get any kind of attention. Whereas before, John got in the (Spin magazine's) eighty best records of the '80's, and it was just easy to get a review in Rolling Stone, and now, unless you really had connections, it was a little harder hooking stuff up.
And plus, again, I learned to just deal with my photo business, and finance the record stuff. Instead of thinking that (music) was gonna pay the bills.
Jeff--And you and Billy do the organizing and scheduling, you work together on that?
Jill--Yeah, uh-huh, he's (Billy) a salesman, so I feel like it should fall more in his lap. (facetiously)
Jeff--And you've been playing about once a month.
Jill--I always felt like, if we don't rehearse once a week, we're not a band. And John doesn't feel the same way, but I kinda was new to it, and I needed it, as did everybody else, including John, you know? (laughs) Not to make it like work, or a job, or something, but I just thought practice once a week, and play out once a month, was our kind-of, goal, 'cause we all have other lives, and stuff. That was what we tried to do.
Jeff--And was it worth it?
Jeff--Any regrets about re-starting the Daisies?
Jill--Oh, not in the least bit, it's been great, just the greatest. 'Cause for years, I didn't...you know, I was just on my own, so it was like the fun part of my life, to just go out, and be sociable, and do something different than my photo work. It became like, the art of my life, that wasn't about making a living.
Jeff--Even if you love photography, the repetition could be a drag.
Jill--No, it's not the repetition, it's more the...I dunno, it's just a commercial endeavor. Not an 'act of art', totally, it's a bottom-line, business, sort of a deal.
Jeff--Yeah, well, art doesn't pay.
Jill--(laughs) Yeah, exactly. Neither does cool, so...
Jeff--So you played some gigs after Paranoid came out. And then Charlie (Pickett) came out and played with the Daisies. How was that? Who put it together? Did everybody enjoy it?
Jill--Yeah, Billy was the one who orchestrated that whole thing. To his credit, Billy, just like with John, kept trying to get him (Charlie) to do stuff. Billy would get on the phone with Charlie, and try and get him to play gigs, and book gigs, with Charlie and us, just to try and get him to play.
And when we first backed Charlie up, that was nerve-wracking for me, because Charlie wouldn't practice. And I needed practice to learn the songs. 'Cause I'm not, like a, schooled musician, or an experienced musician, that knows just, how to jam. I have to be shown songs, and I have to practice 'em a lot, and then I get 'em--great! But Charlie didn't have any desire to practice (laughs), so it was very stressful for me. But we pulled it off, and played a few gigs together. But then Charlie got his own band, and it was better. Because we liked backing him, but with Charlie's (having his) own band, then the Psycho Daisies could be it's own separate thing, and not have the two (bands) sound like each other, or any kind of competitive-ness.
Plus, in the Daisies, John is the 'master maestro'. We call him 'mister master maestro.' So we always defer to his better judgment, it's John's band, we're his puppets, gladly. I basically wanted the band, not for my own thing, but just so I could hear John play again, as I think Billy's motivation was. And Bobby, our new drummer, is a fan. So my favorite part about being in the band, more than the gigs and the recording, is just practicing and getting to hear John play.
Jeff--Right. So, in between the last two albums, you started a website for the band, Psychodaisies.com.
Jill--We did. Our friend Jay Carter designed the site, he's a web designer, Puffywhiteclouds.com. He helps us out with a lot of stuff, although we need to update it, we're three drummers behind, and our new singer, but we're getting there. We keep having hurricanes. We just made our drummers POOF!--disappear. (facetiously)
Jeff--Who's idea was it to do the website?
Jill--Mine, yeah. I run it by John, it's always a joint effort, and he's got final approval on everything. But I just wish he'd devote more time to it, because he's good at that kind of thing, and I'm very busy. (laughs) Because we have to give Jay material, it's not his fault. All he asks for is for us to give him the material, and then he works with it.
Jeff--OK, drummers. You started talking about drummers. Bobby 'Boom-Boom' Gold, he worked with you while you were learning the bass...
Jill--Yeah, he was patient, and all that. But then we had a gig, and he was kind of a problem, he was a little bit negative. And he didn't have money, he had problems with getting work that he liked, and keeping work. And he kinda had an attitude, and was resentful, that I made good money at something I liked. He just had problems, and he had to leave, to go to New York for some reason, and he stood us up at a gig.
It was a gig, you know, it was pouring rain. Pouring, pouring, pouring rain. And it was packed. It was shocking, but he didn't know that, he probably thought there'd be nobody there. "I'm going to New York tomorrow, screw you and your gig." But HE'S the one that left to go to New York, and didn't say anything to us, he just didn't show up. So we played it with a drum machine, it was really embarrassing and humiliating.
Jeff--You had a bad gig.
Jill--No, it was ok, the people still danced. It's just that, for how good we could be, it was just, for me, I just wanted to crawl into the trap door in the floor, and disappear.
Johnny--Don't be so melodramatic.
Jill--We played, don't forget, with Joey Image from the Misfits, for a short while. We played with him before Scotty, after Bobby Gold. Joey Image from the Misfits was in town. And he was playing with some friends of ours, and then he wasn't, or whatever. So I asked him if he would play with us, and I was shocked when he said yes. He was the original Misfits drummer, and he's like a fast punk drummer, so I was a little bit shy to play with him. Because he played good. But I actually could keep up with him, it built up my confidence a bit, seeing that I could play with somebody like that. And then Joey left to go to California to play with the Undead.
Johnny--With another guy from the Misfits.
Jill--And then Scotty was easy to play with after Joey, 'cause he (Joey) played FAST and HARD, as far as I was concerned.
Jeff--So for the Snowflakes Falling On The International Dateline album, you brought in Scotty Upton on drums.
Jill--Well, we advertised in the paper, because Bobby left, and we needed a drummer.
Jeff--Scotty was a very good drummer, very steady. And helped Johnny out with background vocals.
Jill--Yeah, he was simple, and steady, and a real nice guy. And tried to do things for our band, he really did try to. But he got frustrated with John's personal...behavior problems. He just wasn't down with any kind of drug abuse, or any lack of seriousness.
Jeff--And what's Scotty doing now?
Jill--He's playing with the Hooples, they're one of Dominic's bands, a good friend of ours. They do covers, punk covers.
Johnny--But not obscure covers.
Jill--Sorta obvious, but still, goodies. They're good.
Johnny--Oldies but goodies.
Jill--Scotty's a friend of ours, he would help us out in a pinch. At least all of our ex-drummers are still friends. They don't wanna be in our band, but they sit there, and they're proud when we win best rock band of the year, and laugh to themselves.
Jeff--So Scotty left, and you got Neil.
Jill--Yeah, John met him at a gig, at Alligator Alley. And he had some good pot, and (John) smelled it. And they talked, and he's a drummer, so...We just picked him up at a club. (laughs) But it's a grab bag, just like dating, when you do stuff like that. He was sort of...although enthusiastic, and would always make our practices. John was happy with him, and he showed it by...not really being mentally around for the practices. Neil was pretty 'out there', so I didn't really care for playing with him, 'cause I didn't really see where we were playing the same thing. So it was a little tricky, a more free-form sort of thing.
Jill--We just had some...John brings out people's bi-polar-ness, I think. (laughs)
Jeff--So Mike Vullo steps in, for a few gigs.
Jill--Yeah, we played with him for a while, it wasn't that long, a few months. And he comes from West Palm Beach to practice, and sometimes John would be pissy, and not wanna practice. And he came a long way to come do that, so...he just got frustrated, and couldn't really do it with us.
So he quit, and we were drummer-less.
Jeff--Didn't you tell me that Bobby Load called, and volunteered his services?
Jill--No, he had called Billy, to see if the Daisies wanted to play a gig with his band, Southern Flaw. He was the lead singer. He hadn't played drums since he was eighteen years old, he's been a famous lead singer-about-town. In Load, and then Southern Flaw was the more recent one. They got second place in that Little Steven's Garage Rock thing (that the Daisies participated in). They were a good band.
But Billy told him that we didn't have a drummer, and he's like "Oh man, I can play, I'd love to play with you guys." So John taught him our songs, suffered through teaching somebody else our songs. But now we have a drummer that's sociable, and out on the scene. So he gets us gigs.
Jeff-And you said Lisa (Nash, the Daisies' new vocalist, played with the Screaming Sneakers back in the day, hung around with Johnny Depp) came to a Daisies' show.
And she was like "No, no, no, no." But her husband Shane encouraged her, 'cause he had said she was frustrated, because she wasn't doing any kind of music anymore. She had been in bands since she was a kid, and really missed it. Doing nothin' but working, and raising up her own children.
Jeff--And the band has played a few gigs with the current line-up, and you said relations with everybody in the band are really good.
Jill--We've been together for almost a year now, and yeah, (it's) better than it's ever been, we have a great time. At practice it's fun, everybody's fun, and great. Everyone's got their share of problems, except for Billy and me, of course. (laughs)
Jeff--And the Snowflakes album got a lot of recognition in the area.
Jill--Yeah, again, we didn't really promote it anywhere beyond the area. But we won some awards, best of this, and best of that, and local critical acclaim. It pays to have friends in high places, you know how it goes.
Jeff--And now you've got some label interest.
Jill--Yeah, John's got a few things going, so it's pretty good.
Jeff--Because you and Billy decided, that you don't wanna put out the records anymore.
Jill--No no, it's just that we need help with putting them out. We wanna put 'em out ourselves, because then you don't have to relinquish your control to anybody else. It really doesn't take all that much to put out a record, you know, it depends on what you do with it. It's just once it comes out, getting it heard, and all that.
Jeff--And you got married recently, how did that go?
Jeff--Cool, very cool!
Jill--So, there you go. And the whole theme of the wedding was like, good thing I like daisies, 'cause they're cheap, and it's my favorite flower, so it was a daisy sort-of-a wedding.
Jeff--And was it your idea for the daisy on the cover of Pushin' Up Daisies?
Jill--We did. And I know Dave was critical of that, but you gotta remember, it was before computers, we were like, doing typesetting. And John actually drew the face on a photo of a daisy, but yeah, I'd like, xerox, and make the flyers, I've always made all the flyers and stuff. Maybe it started from desire, but it's by default these days, nobody else does it unless I do it.
Jeff--Nobody does it better, your flyers are consistently cool and interesting.
Jill--Thank you. I like to, it's like...
Jeff--...Something creative, like taking pictures?
Jeff--And you told me Marco's dad was at the wedding?
Jill--Yeah, yeah, we're good friends. He (Marco) was close to his dad, and I never appreciated their closeness, when I was with him. But Harold and I became really, really, really, really good friends, and close. And still are, to this day, he's a great guy. We both got through losing Marco together, somehow.
Jeff--It's great that you've kept in contact all these years.
Jill--Yeah, he's got a great son, too, Aladdin, who comes to a lot of our shows. He's there to support us whenever he can.
Jeff--And you and Johnny don't talk about it too much, but it's so incredibly big-hearted of you to take him into your home. How has your relationship with Johnny evolved over the years?
Jill--Well, Danny's really helped us with having harmony in the household, 'cause he's good to John, and he's taught me to be better to John. I get frustrated with him, because I want John to be a certain way, to succeed. And John's John, and I try to learn to accept him as he is. His health isn't good...
Jeff--And you were there when he found out he had emphysema, right?
Jill--Yeah, but they said he had two weeks to live, and that was four years ago, so that shows you what doctors know. But it's tough. We hear him downstairs coughing and hacking, and he can't breathe. But I've always admired John, because no matter what, he keeps carrying on. And of all these other people that have had all kinds of success. He at least has put out all these records and continues to play.
Of course, I continue to wish he'd lay off the medications, but it ain't gonna happen in this lifetime, so we just gotta be glad we got Johnny around, in any way, shape, or form.
©2005 Jeff Schwier