The scene: deep within the KZSU dungeon one afternoon
last spring. The illustrious and always good-humored Dr. Sauce sips a mixture
of vodka (the cheap stuff) and Grape Slice, courtesy of the station's vending
machine, in preparation for his radio show, The Travel Bar. Lizzie Boredom has
a just-barely-overdue personality profile assignment to complete. The King of
Sauce, overflowing with personality, kindly lends her some in a futile attempt
to rescue her academic career. The following interview ensues...|
Lizzie Boredom: When did you become a DJ?
Dr. Sauce: I would just do it for fun when I lived in L.A. I would go on some friends' shows (on KXLU), but that was playing mostly `60s ska and rock steady and things like that. I wasn't playing rock'n'roll.
LB: How did you develop your musical taste?
DS: Oh, it probably started when my mom took me to go see American Graffiti down at the old Prune Yard when I was a kid. I think I was five or six. It must have been the second time Graffiti had come out, because it was a double feature with Bugsy Malone, which was the new movie, and then Graffiti just kind of got shown with it. I didn't go to see Graffiti, but then when it came on I was like, oh my god. And so I went and bought the record. That was the first record I bought. And that was just fucking... that was it, right there.
LB: So, how did you get the idea for your show, The Travel Bar?
DS: Well, when I was a kid, I used to listen to the show, on KFOG, believe it or not, by DJ M. Dung- he would play mid-'60s garage and novelty songs. And then Dr. Demento would come on right after. I've always loved Demento, especially when I was a kid.
LB: M. Dung?
DS: Yeah, I guess it was just M-dot-Dung. And he would say, "Daow baby!" He was just incredible. This guy would talk like he was loaded. The show was great. Some times he would get a little too much of the psychedelic stuff. But most of the time it would be cool stuff that you wouldn't ordinarily hear on an oldies station like KFRC.
And then when I moved to L.A., a friend of mine turned me on to a radio show called The Cool and the Crazy. And The Cool and the Crazy was kind of like the blueprint for The Travel Bar, in that they played a lot of old commercials in between their songs. And they talked really fast. The only thing was, there were two DJs, and they talked a little too much. I thought, this show would be really cool if they'd just cut the chatter a little and concentrate more on the music and the goofiness. And plus I don't think these guys were loaded... (laughs) They were like 40, you know. But they just had a really good tempo. And the songs--great old obscure things. The commercials were so cool. They'd play a Pillsbury ad, and then just pitch right in with the music. Everything sounded so good. I thought, that's what I want to do.
LB: I know when I do my show, I just sort of... play music. One thing I always thought was cool about your show is that you seem to have some sort of aesthetic to tie it all together.
DS: I also listened to a lot of college radio in high school and I thought, they would sit and talk, and talk, and they'd talk so slow. They'd be like, "Okaaaaay, you knoooooow, that was the Jaaaaaam..." and I was like, "Come on, I'm fallin' asleep over here! You got three hours- you gotta go, go, go!"
LB: So you're in the Vulcaneers, the Dukes of Hamburg, and any other bands?
DS: Well, the Vulcaneers have sort of become the Latter Day Saints now. And then there's the Astronauts too.
LB: My favorite Dukes of Hamburg song is the Que Sera Sera song.
DS: Yeah, that's an old Doris Day- she sings it in The Man Who Knew Too Much--it's a remake. We do a Lords arrangement of it. The Lords are a German beat band. It seems like they were into doing weirdo American songs like that. They also do like (sings) "You must have been a beautiful baby..." sort of weirdo fifties lounge things. We do a lot of Lords songs.
LB: So are your bands coming out with any records?
DS: Yeah, the Vulcaneers record is finally coming out end of July, early August. Even though we haven't played together for months. We officially broke up Thanksgiving last year. But it's just taken so long, cuz Mike's busy with the Phantom Surfers, and he's got other things, other bands on his label. It just took us a long time to come up with the title, arrange the songs, mix everything, take the pictures. It's old, but it's just finally coming out now. It's called Beat Me Off Scotty.
LB: OK, so, what are some of your favorite bands, or albums?
DS: My favorite bands... from today... My favorite modern band would be the Mummies, without question. They record their albums so trashy... When their record came out, I just couldn't fucking believe what I was hearing. Cuz I'd always liked the Lyres, and things like that, but I always thought, why don't they record the albums like the old days? But the Mummies just hit the nail on the head. So, the Mummies.
The Phantom Surfers. They have the hardest, most authentic surf sound. They don't have mustaches. They're not in like, floral prints from the early eighties, like the Surf Raiders or something like that.
From the old days... God, there's a million. The Trashmen. Kookie Burns. I'm a big, big fan of Kookie. Larry and the Blue Notes. Most of my favorite bands only recorded one single and then like got jobs as school teachers or something. They're like, community leaders or cops.
LB: (I ask how to spell "Kookie".)
DS: Yeah, Kookie. He had a big hit, you know, "Kookie lend me your comb." I was in an antique store the day the Gulf war started. I remember, cuz they were announcing that we had bombed Baghdad as I was buying my first Kookie single. It was called The Telephone Call. And it's Kookie calling up this girl, and he's like, "Come on baby, don't you remember me? I took you to the drive in." And she's like, "Who?" She can't figure it out the whole song, and it ends up he dialed the wrong number. The greatest. And she decides to go out with him anyway, cuz he's Kookie, and he's so fucking Cool.
LB: Do you have a day job?|
DS: Got a day job, I work in a--you guessed it--liquor store. That would be United Liquor and Deli in the Marina. Yeah, I fill kegs, I sell booze to drunks, you know... Big bottles of gin to the old women in the Marina, and lotto tickets, and it's a gas, all the way. It's better than riding the bus. My freak count is over 50 every day. It's a people watching experience.
LB: Do you get some inspiration for your show there?
DS: Oh yes. Oh, grand inspiration. (laughs) Well, the funny thing about that job is that there's these old women who come in and buy surplus bottles of gin. Gallons of gin, you know. That's like every day. And there's a lot of young, fraternity types that come in and buy their beer for the weekend, thinking they're all bad-ass. But I'd like to see a drinking contest between the Marina Yuppies and the Marina Old Ladies... ALL the old women in that area would drink them under the table! It would just be laughable.
LB: Any other hobbies, besides music?
DS: I like writing short films. That's a little-known soft side. (laughs) I dabble in screenwriting occasionally. I'm actually working on the Donnas movie right now, which should be done soon. We'll see if we have the money to put it out.
LB: Is that gonna be like A Hard Day's Night sorta thing?
DS: No, it's more like a Rock and Roll High School kinda thing. All filmed on location in South City--16mm, probably. And the soundtrack, of course, will be on Super Teem records.
LB: Got a favorite TV show?
DS: Yeah, I've got a lot of favorite TV shows. I'd say Bewitched, and that's strictly because of Larry Tate, who is probably my favorite television character of all time. And 77 Sunset Strip, they don't show that anymore.
You know, I grew up watching the Munsters, Addams Family, you know, the Six Million Dollar Man, Batman... I don't know how anyone can prefer the fucking rubber suit nipple erection Batman to the good old Adam West, you know, but let `em have it, I say. Yeah, the Catwoman was the first, my first, uh... The first time I was like... My God... I wouldn't throw her out of bed for eating crackers!
LB: Favorite beverage?
DS: Favorite booze... Rum. And, Myers rum at that, probably.
LB: Do you have a favorite book?
DS: A favorite book. It would be a tie between Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes and Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Richard Farina. Richard Farina, incidentally, on the celebration for the opening of Been Down So Long, fell off the back of a motorcycle and died. So that was it for him. But it's an amazing book. One of the greatest books.
LB: Eric told me that I have to ask you about your old man. I've heard these rumors that he might be famous...
DS: (laughs) Yeah, he's an actor (Kurtwood Smith). And he's really good, I think. He's a character actor, and he's appeared in such films as, let's see, in To Die For, he's Nicole Kidman's dad--a real stinky dad. But my favorite Kurtwood is in RoboCop--he's Clarence Bodaker, the gang leader that kills RoboCop. He's stabbed in the neck at the end and blood squirts everywhere. It's the greatest.
LB: Now I'm gonna have to go back and watch RoboCop again.
DS: He's in Broken Arrow too. Dead Poets Society--he's the dad of the kid who kills himself. Here's an interesting note. He got his master's here [Stanford] actually, in theater. And as part of the final he had to sing a song. And my dad can't sing--he's a fucking bullfrog. And so he just talked--talked to the animals, like in Dr. Doolittle. I'd give my eye teeth to see that performance.
At this point, the interview was taped over by the drunken ramblings of my friends. So if you want to find out the rest about the Good Doctor, you'll have to ask him yourself. And make sure to check out The Travel Bar, Friday, noon to 3pm, on KZSU.