Discussing the Homoerotic Tendencies of Washed-up Rockers: An Interview with the Knockout Pills By Todd Taylor

Sep 10, 2004

Take the better parts of '60s rock and roll, like the Kinks or the Animals, remove the bubblegum trappings, add some testicles, up the ass-shaking quotient, filter it through twenty-some years of weirdo punk rock, bake it in the desert sun for thirty minutes, and BAM! You've got the Knockout Pills. Get their records immediately if not sooner.

Interview and pictures by Todd
Introduction by Josh

Todd: Travis. Acid?
Travis: Acid. Okay, so Grandma and Grandpa take off for two weeks and leave me in charge of the house with a two page fuckin' list. It's not a list of responsibilities or stuff I need to do, just a list of stuff I can not do, period. So, of course, me and my friend Kim, and Bob and Tamar decide we're going to take acid for two weeks straight and break every fuckin' rule, no matter what we've got to do. For the first week - I played in a band at the time - and those guys came over and we recorded our first demo over there. It's like a quiet, old person neighborhood, totally. That was a really bad thing to do.
Jason: The end.
Travis: Yeah... So, we do that. We're fuckin' taking acid every day and we end up having kooky-assed people coming over; Bentley's crowd, people who we were buying acid from. We built a fire in the fireplace. We didn't realize you had to open up the flue, so, of course, the whole house gets smoked out. They have this little terrier fuckin' dog that we lock in a room for a week. It's really obnoxious and it's harshing our positive mellow. "Dude, that dog's so negative. Put it in a room." It didn't help. There was shit over all of Grandpa's den. But we were good. We cleaned up the shit. This is probably one of the worst things I've ever done. So, we drink all of the alcohol in the fuckin' house. Fill it back up. We're taking food coloring and dripping it to make it look like scotch in a clear bottle. That ain't working. They've, never to this day, said a thing. So, no big deal. There's two days left and all we've done is taken acid every other day, the four of us. The house is a complete shambles. So, this girl I used to go out with, Kelly, this real nice southern belle girl in high school moved here from Louisiana. I broke up with her because Bob, the guy I was doing acid with, he was doin' her the same time I was and it wasn't really cool.
Todd: Literally, the same time?
Travis: No. We're getting to that. So our friend Kim goes, "Why don't you call up Kelly and have her clean up? She's so domesticated." We're like, "That's would be coldest thing possible to do." So after twenty minutes of not really trying that hard to talk us into it, we call her up. "Kelly, come on over. We haven't hung out in a while. Bob and I kinda want to make amends after that entire episode." Bob and I wanted to remain friends. I didn't care that much about her. She comes over. We're like, "We were hoping you could help us clean the house." And she's real fuckin' friendly and nice. "Oh, sure, I'll help you." She cleans the house while we sit on the back porch and smoke pot for two hours. Kim and Tamar take off for the afternoon. I go back inside and I'm in the kitchen fixing a sandwich and I hear Bob's voice down the hall. "Travis, dude, come back here." I'm all, "Uhh, all right." Sure enough, there's naked Kelly and Bob and they're having themselves a swell time and that's the end of the story, dude.... Ah, yeah, so we all enjoyed ourselves for the rest of the afternoon and we never saw Kelly again. Ever. So, that was one of the funner times I had on acid that I still have guilt about, but now I've purged myself of that.

Jason: What's the "hung Grandpa story"?
Travis: I can do the "masturbation Grandpa story," which is a little bit better.
Jason: Sure.
Travis: So, I've been living with my grandfather for many months now. It's not been too bad because I usually crash at other people's houses, but I've been severely lacking in masturbatory enjoyment because, for some reason, I can't do it if he's anywhere even near the fuckin' house. I have this fear that even if he's out in the yard raking, he can hear me pumping away. He's all, "What's that? Pervert." And it' not like he's asexual. I don't want him masturbating in the house, either. He's seventy-nine years old. He has a problem with not knocking, too. I've been lying in bed with a stiffy poking up and a.) I sleep in the buff and b.) in the summertime, it's hot, so you don't have the blankets on and he'll knock on the door at eight o'clock in the morning and just open it, and be, all, "Phone!" And I'll be, "Fuck! Dude! Get away from my dick or talking or noise."
Jason: There was no pay off?
Travis: Then he came in to wake me up before we came to L.A. It's four thirty in the morning and I'd taken valium the night before and I was all aaunnnhgggghh. And I wake up to him opening the door. He's got a sweatshirt on and his tighty whiteys with his sack hanging down. "Time to get up." "Aaarrghh, not to that, dude. It's time to cover up."
Todd: Matt, tell me about the last time you had problems containing yourself.
Matt: The first couple of weeks in seventh grade in junior high, you know how kids are always making up myths? "Oh, if eighth graders catch you in the bathroom, man, they're going to give you a swirlie or they're going to beat you up." And I believed it. I was a year ahead, so I was eleven. I was terrified. I had lunch. It was pigs in a blanket or something that goes right through you. I had science class fourth period. I go in and I begin to feel it brew there. It was the first time I had to take a dump in school. So, I get excused, and I go to the bathroom and it's one of those bathrooms that looks like a boot camp bathroom. It's got four urinals, three toilets, no walls. I'm just, like, "Fuck." So I go over there and I take my pants down and you start hearing voices, you know, but you're not hearing voices, but voices in your head of eighth graders roaming around and footsteps, so I was, like, "I got it. I'll take a shit in the nurse's office. It's right down the hallway. No problem." So, I go scooting down there and about half way down, it was just one of those things. I had my knees together, trying desperately to get down to the nurse's office and I took a shit, right there, in my pants. And I finally got down to the nurse's office. Smelled up the place. And she had this look on her face: horror and repulsion and I could see she was a little chuckled by it. So I had to go in there, take my pants off, and we had to call my sister to come and get me. They put my crappy underwear and pants in a bag and sent me on my way.
Todd: Did they bring you a pair of pants?
Matt: Yeah, my sister brought me a pair of sweats. And I was excused. I could go home.
Todd: No psychiatric evaluation when you were sitting there?
Matt: None whatsoever, except, "Don't shit your pants." I was scared - initiation and all that stuff.
Todd: Jason, you crossed paths with a self-proclaimed rock legend?
Jason: I was working in a record store in Kansas and a troll-looking, toothless sort of long-haired, scraggly dude came into the store and was shopping around for awhile. He's over in the Nazareth section. He comes over to the counter, and there's a cute girl who was working there at the time as well, and he has this stack of Nazareth albums and he puts them on the counter. It's a used record store. "Glad to see you're stocking our product." "Yeah, okay, whatever." Nobody knew what to say. So he turns a record over. "That's me. I'm Manny Charlton." It really was him. It took awhile to convince the three of us working there that it was him, so we call our boss guy, who always liked to glad hand and schmooze whatever vague celebrities would come in. We had a wall that people would sign. The boss dude was a pretty big pot smoker. He wanted to have the magic bonding experience with getting high with a rock legend. My mind went to all these pretty okay Nazareth songs like "Razamanaz." I'd forgotten "Love Hurts." So, they go off in the back and they're getting high and he's into it, so I finally called back. "I gotta get in on this." He's, "Sure, come on back. We'll have a good time. It'll be all right. We'll get high with him." He was an Okie sort of dude. When I get back, immediately Manny starts mocking me. [in high-pitched voice] "Oh, let me get high, too." This isn't going well. So, we start smoking pot and it was a lot more potent than whatever I'd been smoking at that time, and I'd been smoking a lot. The more pot we're smoking, the more confused I'm getting, working in and out of the conversation, realizing that I have nothing to say to this guy whatsoever. I'm not particularly a fan of his music. I don't know that much about him. There's not that much small talk. He's going on that they're on tour with Skid Row. Apparently, they're playing a few dates with them in the Midwest. They've got a show with them in a week and if we want some free tickets, he can hook us up. Don't worry about it. So I drift out and when I drift back in, he's all, "I'm not gay, but Sebastian Bach, man, he's a really good looking guy. I'd go for some of that if I could." Where did this come from, this homoerotic subtext? That's the "Love Hurts" thing? So that confuses the hell out of me and he continues to talk about how he's from Edinborough, Scotland. Then he keeps repeating the words in an increasingly Scottish accent. He's affecting a Scottish look on his face that I can't describe and he's putting on this Uriah Heep album and playing air guitar to it, with a stack of all these crappy albums he wants to hear while he's there. It's been an hour now. He signed all of our records. He wrote, "Keep on fuckin' rocking" on everybody's records. Essentially, nobody could wait for him to leave. As he was leaving, he was rockin', pumping his fist. "All right. See you all at the show! It'll be great," as he goes down the stairs. So, we all thought it'd be a funny story to tell other people. But then he comes back the next day and just hangs out for two hours. He pulls up another big stack of records he wants to hear. Finally, it got to us. "You know, we don't really want to hear this shit any more, Manny." It was the worst dreck. We ended up playing Dinosaur Jr. to drive him out. Of course, the tickets never arrived. I ended up selling my signed Nazareth's Greatest Hits album for a dollar.
Todd: Jason, porn?
Jason: This is a job I had before the one I have now, which is the came basic thing: designing internet porn.
Todd: What does that mean?
Jason: I do graphic design for tours. I'll design annoying pop-ups. We try not to do total bullshit lies, but they're almost all lies: "Updated every second with a million new photos." What's going to happen? The porn police are going to come after you? There is no bad end result for lying about porn because no one is going to after you. People expect to get taken. It's so absurd so everybody plays these weird games with it like multiplying your numbers. The last place I worked, they shot porn as well. They were our main content provider and we built websites around the stuff they shot. They shot it and sold DVDs and videos of it and then we had websites that had streaming and the still content they took. So, anyway, they were going to make a porn flick and the chick who was directing it, asked me if I wanted to be in it, just as an extra. They were building a script around things they had at their disposal, which was their video warehouse, all their computer stuff. It was called Return to Boobsville.com. There was a scene I was written into where I played a technician who is supposed to tell the woman who is doing an online masturbation chat that she was just so damn hot that she melted our fuckin' T1 and our kernel was experiencing a malfunction. Too many people were logging on. I've got all of these absurd lines. The chick shows up and claims that she didn't even know the scene was going to be filmed, that she was just really doing an online chat, and had no idea that it was going to be used in a movie. She guesses she can do it. We have the online chat and then she's asking how to fake an orgasm. She's been in porn. She's a porn actress. It's completely confusing. She seemed out of it, like she was playing up some dumb angle for the whole deal. Every line I say, they stop the camera and tell her her line and then she says it. It's totally surreal. She's really cool and nice to me, but it made no sense. I made that scene and that took forever. I felt like a complete fuckin' moron, really uncomfortable. The next scene is me in my cubicle. This big-busted woman, Lisa Lipps, comes into my cubicle and I have this dialogue with her. And she's just supposed to say four lines and split. But, instead, as I believe is common with porn, she's just ad-libbing. She comes over and rubs my chest. I'm thinking, oh great, what the fuck is happening? She starts kissing me. You've never seen a guy look more uncomfortable in a porn film. Finally, she gets up and leaves. That's pretty much it. It lasted 'til three in the morning and she made me change the one line we thought was going to be funny. A co-worker was going to be in the next scene as a video editor and he was going to say, "Just doing the Lord's work, Ms. Lipps." And she got really freaked out about it. "You can't do that. You say that in a porn and every man is going to lose his erection and they're going to run to the bible." All of a sudden, she became a clinical psychologist? It was an exciting experience all the same.

To buy their first album, go here: www.dead-beat-records.com
To buy their new album, go here: www.estrus.com
The Knockout Pills, PO Box 3775, Tucson, AZ 85722