Interview with Revlon Red

It was one of those warm summer nights in a desert metropolis when the sun has receded and the nighttime obscures the urban decay. You momentarily forget that it's gonna be hotter than a nickel whore the following day. MarkyDeSade from Revlon Red had rang to tell me he'd be a bit late for the interview because he was still working on his makeup. I dressed up in my best retro New York Dolls outfit and caught up with him at a "Goth Night" event. When I arrived (fashionably late, of course), a band was onstage playing slow and sombre dirges. The audience was attentive but they weren't dancing. I don't understand this whole Goth lifestyle. They were "writhing in darkness" or something equally silly. I found Marky at the bar ordering some kind of mixed tequila that he claimed was THE drink in Hollywood. He went was yakking to anyone who would listen. A presumably underage vampiress requested that Marky stop speaking so loudly as she was trying to hear the music. I've come to the conclusion that Goths are retards. (This is supposed to be a ROCK N ROLL nightclub not a library, stupid fuckers!!!) Since neither Marky or I were receptive to this pretentious atmosphere of pain and torment, we made our way to the parking lot to guzzle down a bottle of Aftershock, rock n roll style. I pressed the record button on my miniature cassette gizmo and Marky rambled on and on until the last drop of the cinnamon schnapps was drank.

Jay Smith: So tell me about the band. What are you doing?

Marky: Ummm... the band! What are we doing now? At this moment we are... (pause as someone in the background yells at Marky) BEING DRUNK!!! No, shut up! That was Eric, Guttersluts roadie, number one Crue-head, head of crew guy. (laughs) At this point, I'm... (pause) At this moment... (he pauses then laughs as someone gives him a hug) GET OFF OF ME!!! I'm getting molested by guy and girls. (the offender is actually Mykel from Psycho Gypsy as he tries to interrupt Marky) We're straight!!

Mykel: Just because you touch someone doesn't mean you're a faggot.

Marky: We're hanging out with everyone. We don't care what they do, regardless. It doesn't matter to us. (Jay scratches his head, wondering why this issue is being addressed. Marky brings the subject back to his music.)What is the band doing? Hello! Currently we are working on our new CD, first full-length CD. It's gonna be roughly about 12 songs. There may be more, you never know. You may have to look for them. Woo, mystery... Once that's done we're gonna start working a little bit more on merchandise and touring. We're gonna take the CD. We are gonna market the CD. We'll ship it out to all the majors, all the indie labels, all the radio stations around the world that play the kind of stuff that we do, and all the magazines that write about the kind of stuff that we do. We'll see what kind of response we'll get. (Marky stutters a little here, trying to decide what to say) As far as glitter rock bands or whatever are concerned, we are pretty much straight up known as Hollywood's best kept secret. We're pretty mysterious. People don't know really know much about Revlon Red. They want to know more because we don't tell them more.

JS: You've had photos in the Rock City News though...

MD: Yeah, we've had some photos, we've had some write-ups in Rock City, Flipside, Scream Magazine, Bam... Lot of magazines but as far as what we actually do ourselves, what we present to the public we've kinda always held back. We kinda like that mysterious being we're kinda private guys. We all do our own thing. We're gonna go a little more public. We know from experience there are a lot of... We get a lot of fan mail from radio stations and fan mail that want to know more about us. We're gonna send 'em some stuff once the CD's out. Once we burn off a lot of copies of the CD at home on our CD burner.

JS: You won't be using a duplication company to manufacture the CD?

MD: No. Our two demo tapes... The self-titled first demo, the six-song "Suicide City" demo... We put those out ourselves. We designed the J-cards on the Mac. We did it all ourselves. We're pretty much gonna do the CD our own way and we're gonna see if somebody picks it up. See what happens. If not, we're gonna sign a distribution deal because we've had a lot of offers on that kind of thing. As far as publicity goes, that's always been really easy for us. We've spent a lot of  time at home focusing on that as opposed to other bands that go out on the road and try to put themselves in everyone's face around the country. We stay at home. We have an agency. We do a lot of support slot shows for national acts. Rather than putting ourselves in the public face by actually going to different towns, we are more like press darlings. We do support slots for national acts and wait for the press to contact us. It fits our mysterious image a little bit more. I think.

JS: Tell me more about your manic depression and emotional problems. (NOTE: Prior to the interview, Marky had been in the club advising another manic depression victim about which medications to take)

MD: That contributes a lot to some of the stuff that we write about. Not entirely but I am more straight up, I'm more of a frontman. (Motorcycle interrupts conversation as Marky begins yelling at the rider) Hey!!! Fire that Harley up!! I'm more of a frontman than I am a singer. Not that I don't have any singing skills. I have taken lessons and stuff. I'm more of frontman than a singer because I'mreally wild and out-of-control. I prefer to stay in a manic state than anything else. Being wild and crazy is what rock n roll is all about, y' know? That's the kind of singer that a band like Revl'on Red has to have. Otherwise, forget it. It just won't work. I get a lot of notoriety for that. I'm saying that because I have a big head or anything. Straight up! The bottom line is that I'm a lot more out-of-control that most singers that you will see that play the kind of stuff that we play. Not to say that there weren't people before me in the 70s and 80s who were doing the type of stuff that we do but we're trying to kind of redefine in the 90s or year 2000, this style of music and there's not a lot of bands doing it and as far as the bands go that are doing it, I'm been told I'm one of the more out-of-control guys and it probably stems from my psychotic nature!

JS: You wanted to address the subject of Hollywood lingo. Tell me about some figures of speech, et cetera...

MD: I won't tell you the history of that because that would be giving it away. Let me put it to you this way. In Hollywood, in the glitter rock scene, gutter rock scene, whatever... There's a number of us that have our own lingo and it's been passed down over the years and that lingo consists of a certain pattern of speech, pronounced in certain ways, and certain words that have double or triple meanings. For instance, "figurish". Here's the sentence. A number of guys hanging out, they're checking out a chick. They look at each other and they go "It's figurish." Now, that's pretty obvious. "It's figurish" as in 36-24-36. Right? But there can be a dude. For instance, Jay, yourself. I look at you, you have that 70s rock image, you're figurish. Not to mean that I'm gay or bisexual or whatever. You're figurish because of the way you dress. You're figurish. (pause) You have image. You have charm and charisma about you because of the way you dress, your haircut, the way you wear your makeup, et cetera. Right? Bands can be figurish of their image, their sound, et cetera. Certain thing are "rim." When something's bad, it's "rim." That chick is rim. You know what I mean, she's fuckin' just nasty.

JS: Even if she has a great body?

MD: No. Wait! Yeah. She can have a nice body but a bad face, she can still be rim. I'll give you a sentence. (demonstrates) Damn, man. Check out that chick. She's figurish, huh? (There is really no woman, he points to an imaginary woman strutting out of the Liquori Lounge) You might not like her, your reply might be, "Naw dude, that shit is rim! I can't believe it!" I might be like, "Eh, I heard the camp is good." You might be like "Naw, I heard the camp is ripe!" (laughs) RIPE... pretty obvious. I might be like "Eh, my friend combed it furiously the other night." Combing signifying sex. Two camps rubbing against each other. Camp meaning "the bush."

JS: Is this a Hollywood thing? You don't mind banging someone your friend's already shagged?

MD: I don't think anyone in Hollywood minds banging anyone that someone else has banged. Come on, it's life. We've all banged many other people that other people have banged. Terms like camp signifying the genitals. Ripemeaning... if they smell or if they were just nasty in some way. Rim signifying it was nasty, it was no good, it was ugly. We might be a bunch of guys driving in the car past a girl and scream "IT'S GOOD!!" Not to be demeaning to women but rather than saying "She's good" or "You're good." You know? Just to let 'em know, "It's good!!!" There's a certain lingo. It's really hard to describe. ,ya know? You come to Hollywood, you hang out with the boys, listen and you'll find out what it's all about. There's actually a lot more terms than that. I'll straight out attribute it to pre-Fizzy Bangers days and I'll give a lot of the credit to Charles "Chuck Legend" Bernal from Fizzy Bangers, the bass player. And that's all I have to say about Hollywood lingo and if you want to know more, someday I'll probably fuckin' add it to our website or launch my own website and put a dictionary of Hollywood lingo in there. All I know is, fuckin'... Jay, you're legend!

JS: Tell me about the Rainbow Bar and Grill, the Hollywood rock n roll hangout. I've also heard people describe the place as "poser central." What's your opinion?

MD: I'll tell you about the Rainbow... The Rainbow is the world's famous place where people come to, especially girls, from all around the world to meet rock stars and aspiring rock stars. People I've partied with, like rock legends... The most obvious one, Lemmy of Motorhead... Very great guy, he's actually been coming to some of our shows and wished me good luck though I don't really know him all that well. He knows my face from around and he's been backstage. Slim Jim from the Stray Cats, Randy Castillo.... I mean there are a gazillion of them that come in and out. Actors and actresses... I mean, I've met Scott Baio there. Partied with him. He hailed me for my image, thought it was great to be doing what I was doing. People that pop in their on a time-to-time basis... Ricky Rockett, Brett Michaels, I mean, you name it, they're there. They're in and out. Pick a night of the week, come down and check it out. Know what I mean? It rocks. It's the best place. And definitely some of best pizza from anywhere I've ever been in the United States. I've been to Manhattan, tried New York pizza. It couldn't compete.

JS: In the 80s, showcase clubs on Sunset Boulevard introduced a pay-to-play policy. The band buys the shows tickets and they are responsible for selling the tickets and promoting themselves. Has this been a headache for Revl'on Red or have you worked around it? Has this policy died with the 80s?

MS: No. It hasn't died. It's still around. The rates are cheaper because the clubs know that they can't pressure the band to sell as many tickets because,
regardless of what type of music they play, the focus for music in the last ten years has not been in Hollywood but... As far as the glam, glitter rock, gutter rock scene goes, whatever you want to call it... Whether it's 70s-style, 80s-style... As far as we go, we may have been a little bit luckier. We may have had a little bit of an edge in than other bands because I grew up in LA We had a good act. Not to have a big head but we have a good act from what everyone says, y'know? We promoted long in advance, full page ads in Rock City New every month... "Revl'on Red Coming Soon." Finally "Revl'on Red" and a date at the Whiskey doing the No Bozo Jam. We came out at a good time slot. We came out, did three songs with a solid image, 1993, tail end of the 80s glam scene. Broke out the best of 70s, 80s glam styles, grabbed the crowd by the nuts and immediately got phone calls from all the major clubs like Troubadour, the Roxy.... We were offered to do shows without doing the pre-sell. Pretty tough thing to do but, me personally, because I am the one guy in the band who's from L.A. and pretty well-known around the scene. I know how to deal with people on a pretty straightforward level and so we started doing "mop-up" slots for headlining acts like Heart Throb Mob, Revolution Hazy, and other bands at midnight. They heard that we were really good, had a solid image, and we promoted heavy so we didn't have to do pre-sell. Everyone stuck around to see us so the bars sold drinks until closing at 2 AM. We immediately graduated from playing right before the headlining bands in the support slot. From there, we built a following because we drew well and everyone liked us. We started doing our own headlining shows and from there we started doing support slots for national acts. Now we work with Artists Worldwide Talent Agency and we do support slots for national acts about once a month. We're musically diverse from most other bands of our genre more so than you would think. Not only do we do 70s glitter and gutter rock, but we also do 80s glam metal and heavy metal, early 80s new wave and late 70s/early 80s pop/punk. We've played with a range of bands anywhere from bands that are in the vein of New York Dolls type stuff to Cheap Trick type stuff to Motley Crue type stuff. Bands like Pretty Boy Floyd, Bang Tango, Sebastian Bach... We've played with Missing Persons, Gene Loves Jezebel, and the Fixx. We've played with punk rock type bands like Total Chaos and Mad Parade. We're kinda chameleon-like. It's kinda funny because it would almost sound to somebody like we don't know what style we want to play but when you hear our stuff, it all mixes together into our own unique sound. That's what everyone tells us, I guess.

JS: Do you see yourselves becoming a major label success or do you think you will establish yourself as an underground phenomenon?

MD: Well, the way I look at it is like this. Number one, it never went away, it went underground. Everything goes underground. It's big and then it goes underground and then it goes underground for 8 to 10 years and then it becomes big again and it's always different when it comes back. I predicted that in the 80s with punk rock and now look at the Offspring and Green Day. Ska bands like Sublime and No Doubt and retro new wave bands like Garbage, Republica, Elastica... It's all 80s punk or 80s ska or 80s new wave. It's just a little different from what it was ten years ago. Those are the bands that are big now on the radio. It's like I tell everybody... What came after that? What came after punk and ska and new wave? Motley Crue, glam rock, heavy metal, the 80s glam, the 80s metal. We're closing in on the year 2000 here and it's only natural that it's the next thing to come around but it's gonna be different. Right now, as far as unsigned acts in the Hollywood scene, we're up there carrying the torch and we're kinda working musically on trying to redefine what it is that it sounds like for the year 2000, along with the image. We're trying to redefine the image too and give it more of futuristic type thing. I think it's only a matter of time. Probably a very short time.

JS: Marilyn Manson went glam. They flopped. The movie Velvet Goldmine flopped. Do you think maybe the masses can't handle the image and androgyny?

MD: I think that they tried too soon, number one. Number two, I think that the androgyny was a little too blatant. We have no problem with people being whatever they want to be and doing whatever they want to do. As it comes back around, we're a straight band. We're not pushing bisexuality or being gay. We have no problem with those things but we're a straight band. We want guys to come to our shows. We have a certain heavy element in our music that appeals to guys but we're focused more as a chick band. If it's on its way, on the rise again, the third climax, let's call it. It's going to be chick bands. Guys that look good but that are chick-oriented. That's pretty much the way we see it happening. It's all about timing. It's all about the right marketing and the right sound. Hopefully, it'll pay off for us. If it doesn't, it doesn't matter because we're having fun playing rock n roll, having a good time. It's not just all party songs. There's a social element to the songs. We're not political but we do have serious songs that have social statements in them. We're not just a party band. There's something there for people abroad.

JS: Explain your social subject matter in the lyrics.

MD: It's mostly observation. Things that we see in life going on around us. Off the top of my head, one example might be like... A girl steps off the Greyhound
bus...beautiful, wants to be an actress, comes to Hollywood, has a hard time struggling to pay the bills... ends up dancing topless to make the extra cash she needs... goes from that into modeling. She can't make money in modeling so she starts taking the clothes off and doing nude modeling... ends up in the porno industry, ends up addicted to drugs... ends up found face down in the gutter with a needle in her arm.

Mykel: I'm sorry. I need my needle. (laughs)

MD: What an appropriate ending to an interview! Thank you... Thank you Mykel from Psycho Gypsy! (laughs)

Revline (Hotline): 1-(213) 891-3818

Revlon Red
c/o Circle A Productions
PO Box 1301
Culver City, CA 90232
1-(310) 838-0632

Interview by Jay Smith