Allen Price - Alpo - on stage at Warehouse Live, 10/22/2011
Rivethead Magazine and Rivethead Radio team up to bring you this special, exclusive-to-Rivethead-only interview with the legendary dead horse!!
Rivethead Radio presents:
FROM THE HORSES MOUTH
(The Truth behind the Tall Tales of a Texas Legend)
by Wes Dodson
History often lends itself to legend, and the thin line between fact and lore becomes a little blurry over the years. But, what if you could validate the myths by plugging them right back into the original source? What you discover might just… kick your ass!
Legend of Three-Legged Ass
Wes: I recall hearing something back in the mid 1990’s about Ronnie, Greg, and Alpo continuing on after deadhorse as a trio and calling it Jackass.
Is this Horsecore, or is it horseshit?
Ronnie Guyote: It was a brief time… at least five minutes.
Greg Martin: I was involved in that? I don’t remember a damn thing about it!
Scott Sevall: It was after I left.
Allen Price: It’s Horsecore, Wes. We actually got together at Francisco Studio’s, and as I blew through a bunch of amps and equipment, we actually got together with Mike BBQ and hooked up as many effect pedals as we could and we were doing some pretty different kind of industrial, kind of rhythmic stuff. Then I completely bailed. That’s when I sold all my equipment and ran off screaming.
Wes: It was a great name to spin off of deadhorse with, I’ll give you that!
Greg: It was cool stuff too, man!
Scott: We used to jam at Ronnie’s place, and he had this sign on the door that you would enter and it was a feed bag. Whatever kind of feed it was, it said: “Donkeys, Mules, and Jackasses.” Remember that?
Ronnie: Yeah. I still got it in my garage, man.
Greg: Yeah, that was like some weird, kind of heavy… Mike BBQ was playing some heavy, dark keyboards in it and shit.
Ronnie: It was almost like industrial metal shit.
Greg: Yeah, it was fuckin’ cool!
Wes: So, it wasn’t like a take-off on what deadhorse would have been doing?
Alpo: It was nothing like deadhorse at all.
Greg: It was a way different direction, but it was nothing light at all. It was real dark and fuckin’ heavy, and I wished we still had some recordings of it. It was awesome stuff, man. It was some heavy shit. It was coming out mean, man.
Alpo: You know, to add to the Horsecore and Horselore legend stuff, the reason we ended up with the name deadhorse was we kept naming the band and finding bands with that name already. So, we kept switching the name of the band. I guess we picked a name that we didn’t figure anyone in their right mind would ever name their band, you know? Then, when we did this Jackass thing, after I left like a month later I see that there’s a show on MTV called Jackass. I’m just like “that’s so freaking typical.”
Greg: It was later than that. It was far later than that.
What in the Hell is Wrong with You People?
Wes: Word of a deadhorse practice room, complete with bones dangling from the ceiling, lit by a solitary red light bulb has circulated for years.
Is this a steamy pile of horseshit, or is it as I suspect, a very real possibility of a room at Francisco Studio’s?
Ronnie: No, everything that came out of deadhorse was in my mom’s garage. It took five to seven years to create that room, and I can say that I actually did most of the work in there. From hanging all the shit, beer cans, and lights. I hung every red bulb I could find. We even had fluorescent red bulbs, and we’d turn everything off and have nothing but red in there. It was cool. We thought it was funny.
Wes: The shot of you guys in a room on the Peaceful Death insert… that was not Francisco’s?
Ronnie: No, that was my mom’s garage.
Greg: Yeah, Ronnie by his-self, peeled carpet padding into foot long strips, about two inches wide and stapled them… covered the whole motherfucker, the whole ceiling.
Ronnie: Carpet is the best way to sound proof something, so we laid carpet all over the walls, and padding, and sheetrock, and [more] padding. I tried to duplicate the carpet on the ceiling, but you couldn’t hang carpet from the ceiling. So, like he said, I hand cut and tore strips of carpet and stapled over ten thousand of them to the ceiling. It took about a year to do it.
Wes: For the first album worth of songs you honed in there you never had the cops called on you?
Greg: We did a few times.
Ronnie: In the beginning a few times.
Alpo: The cops sided with us.
Greg: Yeah. My uncle is a constable in that area, and the last time a cop came out there it was a female constable. She walked in right after these guys got done smoggin’. I mean, she had to walk through fuckin’ clouds of reefer smoke and shit, and there’s beer all over the place. Anyhow, just for the Hell of it, I asked her “Hey do you know [name omitted]?” Her eyes got all big. “Aw man, me and [name omitted] used to date a long time ago!” I said, “No way! That’s my uncle!” She goes “No shit? All right… well, I’ll take care of these people” or some shit like that. She went next door and bitched the neighbors out, and we never got the law called on us ever again!
Ronnie: One by one all the neighbors around my mom’s house moved out.
Scott: The cops never came the two years I was in, ’94 to ’96. Not once. We could jam and you could stand outside of it and it would be faint, maybe like a boom box inside. Ronnie had it padded pretty fuckin’ well, man.
Alpo: We actually only practiced at Frisco’s, you know, maybe twice.
Scott: Allen would come up with these crazy ideas and say, “Hey, these guys are gonna open for us, but they’re gonna let us jam at Francisco’s. Maybe it’ll spark some creativity. We’ll write some new riffs.” He was always about moving us around, thinking a different environment might spark us to come up with something new, which wasn’t a bad idea, you know?
Morality Lesson from a Zombie
Wes: Not long ago, Zombie Ray confided in me… more like grumbled something to me about being overlooked in his contribution to a deadhorse tune. He wasn’t at all specific, and over the weeks that followed I would continue to press him as to which song he had a part in co-authoring. He finally broke down and told me that his songwriting claim was attributed to the 1990 deadhorse classic, French Fry.
Wes: “No shit? You helped write that? Which part of it did you write?”
Zombie Ray: “I came up with the name, French Fry.”
Wes: So that we might afford this man an overdue, public acknowledgement for his artistic contribution, I ask you… did Zombie Ray give this 40 second long masterpiece its glorious title?
Greg: I’ll tell you something that probably ought to come to light right now. From the time that we got together and started writing songs under the name deadhorse, until we gave it a break, Zombie Ray wrote everything.
Alpo: I was still living at home with my parents. My step mom had bought some microwave french fries and we had a party when they were out of town. Greg was eating frozen food out of the ‘frigerator without even cooking it. So, I cooked him some microwave french fries, and he just thought it was so preposterous that there was fast food that was frozen that you cook in a microwave. Somewhere later on I got some out of the quickie mart, or whatever the fuck it was. We heated them up and got back into the car to go, and apparently I started flinging them around. Mike had made a comment “poke out his eye with this fry.” It kind of all went from there. It was one of those things we didn’t really mean to do. But you know, like Greg said, from the beginning Zombie Ray pretty much wroteeverything.
Greg: You know what? After we recorded it, we were done and Richard (Cagle, Saturn Records) looked at us and said “O.k., it’s all sounding great. You guys ready to go?” Like we were fuckin’ off! “What are you talkin’ about? That’s it!”
Wes: If Zombie Ray deserves some change or somethin’,pay the man already! C’mon!
Scott: I think he has been paid… in beer, more than twice over.
Greg: We’ll get Argo to give him a hand job.
Alpo: Next thing you know he’s gonna be filing a workman’s comp for fuckin’ brain damage!
Scott: You don’t know how many times after walking off the stage that we went to our dressing room to get a cold beer, and we find Ray passed out on the couch… beer cans… and all the beer is gone! He drank it all while we played! “You didn’t fuckin’ save us one beer?”
A legend, indeed! For a completely different take on the creation of French Fry, check out Rivethead Radio’s official Zombie Ray interview here:
Interview with Zombie Ray
Don’t forget to get your tickets for the deadhorse DVD release, Saturday, November 17th 2012 @ The Engine Room!
Deadhorse @ Engine Room
Special thanks to Argo, Bob Harrell, Garrett McCall, and two thumbs up (the ass) to Zombie Ray Grindle!
Greg Martin onstage at Warehouse Live, 10/22/2011.