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Thursday, June 14

saki interviews comedian Dave Hill!

Comedian, writer, musician, podcaster & just general man of many talents, Dave Hill is performing at UP Comedy Club this Sunday! Not only can you get coupons for discounted tickets from saki, but you can also say hi to us at the show. We'll be selling copies of Dave's new book Tasteful Nudes

We wanted to learn a little more about this "swell dresser, hot rocker & sex machine," so we asked Dave a few questions about his rock 'n' roll lifestyle, his favorite Chicago eats & probably his favorite topic, Norwegian Black Metal. Here's what he had to say...
saki: You're a midwest native. Were you always such a well-dressed lady-killer as a kid in Cleveland, or did that develop once you made the move to New York?

DH: You’re never, ever gonna believe this, but no, I wasn’t.  It took me a while to find my groove, stuff to wear, and also females willing to talk to me.  As far as clothes go, I had a brief period in high school where I tried to only dress in snakeskin or at least stuff that looked like snakeskin.  Living in the suburbs of Cleveland though, I only found a pair of really tight pants with a snakeskin pattern on them, so fortunately for everybody, it never really went further than that.

I had a brief period in the late ‘90s where I dressed like the superintendent of a Bronx apartment building on Saturday night.  I did a lot of shopping on Grand Concourse in the Bronx for a while.  It was a phase.  Finally, I discovered British clothes I liked- stuff like Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, Merc, and Adam of London- and just stuck with that mostly.  The British always go just a little bit tighter with everything.  That’s the key, not just with clothes, but in life basically.

As far as being a lady-killer, I’m not so sure about that.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely the makeout master, but lady-killer I’m not so sure.  I guess that’s for the ladies to decide.  Or the cops.

Well, you've got a bit of a swanky "rock god" persona. I thought lady-killer might just go with the territory. Do you really live like Mick Jagger though? I mean, do you eat Cheerios in nothing but boxers like the rest of us, or do you eat your Cheerios in a fancy suit with half-naked ladies all around you?
As you mentioned, I’m from Cleveland, so it’s impossible to live like Mick Jagger all the time.  I’d say, it’s me in my boxers eating my Cheerios half the time and then that thing with the fancy suit and the half-naked ladies the other half.  It’s all about balance.

The power move though is to eat your Cheerios in boxers with half-naked ladies all around.  That’s eventually where you want to get to.  I’m pretty sure that’s what Keith Richards does.

Yeah, I think that's in Chapter 4 of Keith's auto-biography. As a famous rocker and general bon-vivant, you probably run in the same circles as the Deranged Millionaire, John Hodgman. He played UP a little while back. Do you guys hang out and light cigars with $100 bills? Any other crazy rich people you like to hang out with? 
You have guessed correctly.  John and I not only hang out and light cigars with $100 bills, but we also summer together in Montauk, the south of France, and Akron (the bunker is there).  That said, I am a man of the people, so for every Hodgman in my life, I balance it out with an ex-con, a hooker with a heart of gold, or someone who works in sales or something.

As far as other crazy rich people I like to hang out with, I wanted to resist answering that question, but I couldn’t, so here goes. Let me just say I’ve been to both Dick Cavett and Boy George’s homes and they were both incredible experiences in completely different ways.  I probably won’t be allowed back to either, but it was nice while it lasted.

Also, I have Steve Guttenberg’s phone number, so there’s that.  Life is good.

I've read that you're a bit of a foodie, meaning that you eat a lot and often it's junk food. Chicago is known for it's good eats, but also for it's ridiculous everything-but-the-kitchen-
sink monstrosities. Anything in particular you're excited to grab while you're in town?
I’m not so much a foodie as I am a guy who likes to stuff his face with as much as possible at all times.  My main vices are ice cream and cookies.  Other than that, I actually try to eat pretty healthy, at least while the sun is out anyway.  At night, all bets are off.  I think that’s pretty much the opposite of how you’re supposed to do it, but my baboon heart will probably kill me first, so I’m going with it.

As for eating in Chicago, I’m excited for the Mexican food there.  I think Chicago has the best Mexican food in the country, even better than Los Angeles.  Mexican food in New York sucks for some reason with the exception of the taco truck by my house.  I’m not sure why they can’t get it right here.  So yeah, I’m going to stuff my face with Mexican food as soon as the plane lands.  And if I end up shitting my pants on stage during my show, well that’s just a bonus for the people.  Give ‘em a show, I always say.

Don't worry, we eat a lot of Mexican food at work. No accidents yet... Your band (one of them, at least) is pretty big in Japan. With your new book and a comedy tour under way, it seems like your other career in entertainment getting bigger. If you had to choose just one to do for the rest of your life, which would it be?
Hmmm, that’s a tough one.  There is way less equipment to carry in comedy and writing, so I might have to go with that.  Also, not to be gross about it, but I make more money from that stuff than I do playing music.  Then again, there is way less of a demand for me to play the solo to “Crazy Train” in comedy and writing than there is in rock music, so I don’t know.  I gotta get back to you on this one maybe.  They don’t really get my jokes in Japan.  It was fun to tell them in between songs while on tour there and just take in that massive silence.

You've contributed to This American Life. First of all, congratulations. Second, if you had to give someone one piece of advice on how to get a story on TAL, what would it be? Full disclosure: it's me. I want to get on This American Life.
Thanks!  I guess my only advice would be the same advice that the This American Life folks give on how to get on the show- just listen to the show and get a feel for what kind of stuff works.  I’m guessing you are already doing that though, so scratch that.  Maybe just send some cocaine or meth or something to the This American Life office.  Ira is crazy for that shit.  No, I kid, I kid.  I guess just listen to the show and keep pitching stuff.  Or send bottles of Jameson to their office.  I feel like it is safe for me to say that Ira definitely likes that.  I don’t think it will help get you on the show, but he will be thrilled I bet.  Tell him I told you to send it.  I am hoping this will help me get on the show again soon.

Not a problem. I love Jameson too! And now I've got this story about interviewing you. What an experience! You also started an e-mail correspondence with a member of the Norweigan Black Metal band, Mysticum, where you posed as a teenager who was the self-proclaimed "King of Black Metal." Are you a fan of extreme Black Metal, or did you just want to poke fun at that whole scene? I honestly couldn't tell...
It’s a bit of both.  I am a huge metal fan and definitely into black metal.  I like Mayhem, Darkthrone, Enslaved, and Bathory the best (though I realize not all of those bands are strictly black metal in case anyone is keeping tabs.  And, yes, I know Bathory was a Swedish band, so just, like, calm down, okay?).

Also, I love when people take things really, really seriously to the point of ridiculousness and just really commit themselves to their craft.  Don’t get me wrong- I don’t support any of the murder, homophobia, racism, church burning, or other bad stuff that sometimes goes along with black metal- but I’m wild for the rest of it, the corpse paint and sheep’s heads on stage and all that.  That said, Norwegian black metal is also completely hilarious, so it’s fun to poke fun at too.

As for as my e-mail correspondence with Mysticum’s record label (“The Black Metal Dialogues” as they are officially known in Internet folklore)- I did that in 2004 or so, just to entertain myself.  At the time, black metal had yet to become part of the pop culture vernacular, so I didn’t think my fucking with some black metal band would be of interest to anybody.  It went on for six months with me trying to get my fictitious black metal band Witch Taint signed to this Norwegian black metal label.  As it went along, I shared some of the e-mail exchanges with a couple friends who were also into black metal.  They passed them on to some other friends and eventually someone offered to build a website for all of them.  Now Witch Taint is the biggest fictitious kvlt band in the world.  I sell tons of T-shirts and sweatshirts all over the world.  It’s pretty fun.  When I started selling T-shirts in Norway, I knew everything had come full circle.  The folks were pretty proud, as you can imagine.

I know you've said that you don't often catch on to new bands until they're more well known, but what have you been listening to lately? 
Yeah, I’m pretty slow on catching new stuff unless friends turn me on to it.  Or I might stumble upon something on Brooklyn Vegan or something.  So, yeah, I tend to listen to stuff a few years after everyone else.  Or I just listen to stuff that’s 30 or 40 years old- the Kinks, the Stones, Zeppelin, Cheap Trick, Thin Lizzy, the Stooges, the Raspberries, Big Star, Bad Brains, the Smiths, Elvis Costello, the Replacements, Husker Du, Black Sabbath, and all that.  Typical aging white guy stuff.

As far as stuff that’s not super old that I like, I’ve been listening to the new Rufus Wainwright album, Alessi’s Ark (a great singer/songwriter from London), Lucy Wainwright Roche, Ghost, Sweet Apple, Walter Schreifels (full disclosure: I’m the guitar player in his solo band), Doug Gillard, TAB the Band, Grinderman, the Lifeguards, and the last Pentagram album.  I’m also one of the biggest TLC fans you will ever meet.  I just wanted to put that out there in case Chilli is reading this.  I love her so much it’s weird.

How about books? Any good reads lately?
Yeah, a shitload.  I love Michael Ian Black’s new book “You’re Not Doing It Right.”  And my friend Leanne Shapton has a new book coming out called “Swimming Studies” that’s so good it’s kind of annoying.  I’m finally getting around to reading the Patti Smith “Just Kids” book too and am enjoying that.  Suzzy Roche’s “Wayward Saints” is also great.  I usually jump around between a bunch of books at once.  Other stuff I’ve read recently that I recommend is “Tokyo Vice” by Jake Adelstein, Nick Flynn’s “The Ticking is the Bomb”, Duff McKagan’s book, and- believe it or not- Sammy Hagar’s autobiography.  I’m a huge DLR-era Van Halen fan and not a fan of Sammy’s music at all, but I wanted to get the inside scoop on Van Halen, so I picked up his book.  I’m glad I did because now I have made my peace with Sammy and wish only the best for him in life, not that he needs it.  I’m even thinking of going to that Cabo Wabo place someday.  Baby steps.

You've interviewed a lot of famous people on your live chat show, The Dave Hill Explosion & your podcast Dave Hill's Podcasting Incident and, well, a bunch of internet videos. As an experienced interviewer you have to tell me... how did I do?

I gotta be honest- you hit it out of the park.  You asked me about me and Norwegian black metal- my two favorite subjects.  Also, I got to give a shout out to Chilli, something I try to do most days.  The rest is just gravy.  Thank you!

No, thank YOU, Dave. You're real real good at answering questions. See you Sunday!

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