Silly Screams and Frankenstein Dragqueens
What does Town Klown, Silly Scream, Frankenstein DragQueens, Lunatic Candy Kreep and Dragster 66 have in common? First, they are all some of the most impressive glamoriented bands during the nineties. Second, they all feature the talent of Cleveland's own multiartist RS Saidso. Saidso and Frankenstein Drag Queens separated on New Years Eve 1997. It has beenquiet on the Saidso-front since then as he hasn't given a single interview in over a year. Glitzine got en exclusive talk w/ Mr. Saidso, finds him ready to face the future... and the past.
I believe this is your first interview since new year's eve 1997, how does it feel to be back?
Well I have been here the whole time just laying low I guess but I am finally ready to talk again!
Ok. Many, myself included, first came across RS Saidso in Town Klown. Could you tell me a bit about that band.
Sure, it was an idea that I had I meet a guitar player who I started writing with and then found the other two guys, went into the studio recorded some demos. But the band broke up eight months after we started, they say I worked them to hard. But we never got a chance to play out so I guess you could say we were only a studio band. That's kind of all really!
What inspired you to write lines such as "Klowning Around, nothing really matters - have some fun" when the major record companies and MTV were convinced that "Suicide is Painless"?
Well I have always written from what was going on around me, and in my life, and then for me everything was about having fun and doing as much as you could as fast as you could. You know that kind of thing, I never gave it much thought other then we had fun. We lived by three little words then " O.O.C. " which meant "Out Of Control" which pretty much summed up that time for us then.
Due to the glamorous sound of Town Klown the glamzines at the time, labeled you as "the next glamrock superstar and songwriter extraordinary". Did you feel comfortable with that?
I have always just done what I wanted to do you know. I never really put tomuch time into worrying about what people say. I just make the kind of music that I like and Hell yeah it always feels good when other people enjoy what you are doing, but I never felt pressured in any way. I have always felt that if you are true to you're self then other people will respect you, because I know myself I have no respect for any of these bands that are always changing with what is "cool" for the minute. I say do what you feel, not what all the other's are doing!
I've only got three songs w/ Town Klown in my collection, was that all that the band released?
Unfortunately that was all that was recorded. There was so much more to be done in that band but everything has it's time. I have been asked by many of the fans to release a full length CD, but I don't know if that will ever happen. If it did I would have to consider a lot of things, and it's kind of like one of those things that I don't know if I want to go there again. I have moved on in many ways, not to say that I am not proud of Town Klown, but it's kind of a nice memory maybe I should leave it at that..
What did you do prior to Town Klown? I've heard that you worked at a circus, is it true?
Well sort of At one time I was asked to join the Ringley Brother's and Barnum and Bailey Circus. I really started out in night clubs playing with a band and touring around the east coast at a young age, then I started producing local bands. It all kind of just happened from there, you know one thing leads to another.
Two years after Town Klown's called it quits, you returned in Silly Scream. Please share your view on that band.
Yeah but before Silly Scream I was working with The Blast Cats doingsome shows. In the middle of that I was approached by a young song writer and asked to take a listen to these "songs" that he was working on. I liked what I heard so after I was done with The Blast Cats we started writing together, when the money was put up to go into the studio he then asked me to produce the tracks and to play all the drum tracks. At the time it was only a project and there wasn't a full band, that is why for those that have it, on the inside of the disc I am not pictured in the band only in the studio shot while we were recording. But it was a great project I think the songs turned out super and the feel on that album was very 50's like, with the harmonies and all. I am a very big Buddy Holly fan so you can hear some of that come off on tracks like "Blue" but I still love that album to this day. It was a great time for me!
Silly Scream's only album - "Miles of Smiles" - was an impressive affair. Are you satisfied with it?
Like I said, at that time in my life it all seemed to come together on that disc. We put a lot of work into it and I think the end result was a really good one. We did start recording for the second album but shortly after we quit working together so it was never released, but I think all the music that we made together was received well by the fans and I wouldn't have changed any of it. Well other then maybe not quitting so soon!
Why did Silly Scream disband?
I think it was a bit of frustration on the part of the singer Raein Belair. He was new to the music scene and me and him didn't always see eye to eye on things and one day he just decided it was time for him to move on. But I can respect that, we all have to make our own choices.. But for the time that we spent together at least the fans have some great tunes to listen to.
Please tell me how your next band Frankenstein Dragqueens from Planet 13 got started.
Well it's kind of twisted in a way, it started with Silly Scream really. Joe thesinger from the queens played in another local band at the time who he wasn't happy with, Silly Scream needed a live guitarist and he was interested so he came down. Things went well in the beginning and he played with us for a few months, but things just started to not work out so he was let go. During that time together we talked about what a cool name The Frankenstein Drags Queens would be for a band.
After he was out of Silly Scream he started on that, and I went on with Silly Scream. In the beginning of the Queens it was a three piece I was not in it, they played for about six months and recorded a CD. But they kept going through band members left and right they broke up before they ever really got going. A mutual friend of ours know as Abby was starting to work on a project of mine called Dragster "66" this was after Silly Scream towards the end of 1996. One day he said that he was going to start playing with the Queens and said that they could really use my help and wanted to know if I would be interested, well after a lot of talk it was agreed that I would do what I could for the band. Lot of other little things in the middle, but if you can follow that then you can maybe get a general idea.
The Frankenstein Drag Queens offered some great glampunk. The project got off to a fast start. Do you have any answers to all the attention the band earned in such short time?
I worked my ass off for that band, plus I was known already for the other projects that I had worked on. I mean by this time I had already worked with Town Klown, Silly Scream, The Blast Cats,and a ton of producing for local bands plus I had been in that scene for like six years at that point, I got to know a lot of people and they knew me. Which in this business it's always good to make really good friends in higher places then you!
Things were just clicking for me at that time and it seemed that I couldn't do anything wrong, so it seemed. I just pulled from all the sources that I had and pushed as hard as I could for the band, plus I felt the songs were really strong that we were writing and we had a really wild image. It seemed everything was going right and the word spread quickly about us.
What was your role in the band?
What wasn't my role in the band!
Ok. You played your last show with the DragQueens at New Years eve 1997. I've heard that it wasn't such a happy ending. Please tell me your split with the band and the aftermath.
Well it was a choice that I had made some months earlier while we were onour Touring The Planets Tour of America. I made this choice based on the fact that I thought I had taken the band as far as I could take them, because at that time the other members of the band seemed content to be sitting back at home playing in Charlotte. I wanted more, I wanted all the things that were out there in the world for a Rock band to see and do plus all our fans were asking for us. Things were going unbelievably well for the band we were selling out all our shows back home no matter how big the place was, we were on a very successful tour with more dates planned for the new Year, we were asked to appear on national television on the Jerry Springer Show as well as Jenny Jones Show. We had more then one record label knocking on the door plus most everything else you can imagine the life of being in a successful band bringing, we appeared in numerous national magazines, did live radio even made a stop at the Philadelphia Music Conference to showcase while on the road. All that in less then a year. But the truth what killed it for me was the fact that I was working my ass off for this and no one around me seemed to care, it was like oh ok. They started to take everything for granted including me, and the final draw was when we were on tour and we had four days off while in Baltimore two of the members of the band decided to jump on a Greyhound Bus and go home for what turned out to be only two days before turning around and having to make a fourteen hour drive back to Philadelphia to play the last show of the tour. I felt something wasn't right, like people didn't have there heads in the right place.
After that I had already booked the New Year's eve show months before back home to end 1997 and start the new year. So all was still go as planned but the fans had no clue that it was going to be the end of The Drag Queens as they knew it.. Not much was really said after that night, I felt that I had done all that I could do at that point, I played the show and said good bye!!
You accused your former friends and brought the dispute to court. What was the foundation of the case?
This is all about business to me and I had a lot riding on that band including my money. The company that printed all of our merchandise, T-shirts,Posters, Stickers etc. Was still owed over $3,000 dollars for merchandise that had been advanced to the band. Well you know who's name was on that bill right, yep mine! I tried to make arrangements with the band to settle the debt and it seemed all was going to go well but then they decided they didn't owe anything to anyone and refused to pay so I had to take the legal steps to remedy the problem.
Why have you, over a year later, decided to step out of the shadows and give your version of what happened?
Well it's not a question of stepping out I was never hiding from anything. I just didn't want to make it a he said she said kind of thing, everyone knew what the truth behind it was, at least all the people that were around it. I felt that I didn't need to say anything to anyone, because the true fans already knew the truth behind it all. My word has always been good, and I believe it is better to sometimes just let the dust settle before you go and stir it all up with lots of rumors.
I figured the day will come. I let them run around and make themselves look like cry babies about the whole thing. It was really stupid, and I can respect someone for there silence. Besides my actions have always spoken louder then words! Plus I was busy looking to the future of what I wanted to do. I always say "Yesterday is just for remembering, those who chose to live there lose sight of tomorrow" so I guess if you can understand that then all is good
All your bands have had an outrageous and weirdo image? Do you think the visual dimension is an important part of your music?
Well it depends on how you look at it really. Yes I think image is important, because if someone has never heard of you before and they see only a picture of you, ask yourself if you are sitting there looking like the next door neighbor what is going to make them buy you're music? What would make them want to come see you live if they have nothing to look at? I can stare into space and listen to a disc.
You need something to lure the people in to you, to catch there attention. But it doesn't stop there, you better have some damn good music to back it up. I have seen a lot of bands rely too much on just their image and have no music to back it up, and now a days a lot of people expect more from you if you have this outrageous image. So you better have something to back it all up, I think you should work on both really. So I would have to say that each is just as important as the other!
What inspire you when you develop a new look?
I think it all goes back to feeling for me. I mean what is inside of you. Inever really put a lot of thought into it, it's just an extension of who I am. I really love designer clothes and designers like Todd Oldham, I think that he is just fabulous! I always say do what you want, be who you are! I never tried to create me it just happens because this is who I am, nothing more nothing less!
What is your concept of your new project Dragster 66?
Concept? I don't know that I have a concept per say. It's just another extension of who I am and what I am feeling inside.
You have described it as "a car full of his personal demons driving a hundred miles an hour into a brick wall.". What do you mean by that?
Everything has to come from somewhere right? The thoughts, lyrics, and driving rhythms are things that come from with in me I would have to say for myself this is the most honest I have ever been in my lyrics, there are no second words nothing is hiding here. What I say is what I mean, it's all about coming clean for myself and saying things that before I may have not admitted to, or I may have shied away from.
The things I say in these songs are things that I probably couldn't say one on one in a conversation. This is my greatest therapy! So if you listen you can maybe learn something about me you didn't know.
Have you ever considered starting a band with your brother Randy K Zex (Formerly Blast Cats)?
No not really, he has his own ideas and I have mine. But we enjoy a lot of other similar likes besides making music together.
Your mother was a showgirl in Vegas. How do you think your family background have effected you and your music?
Well I was the first one in my family to become a musician, then my brother. My mother never really encouraged me to play anything and as a kid she never really talked much about her showbiz career. But I guess maybe it was in my blood a little. But my father was the one who always told me that I could be anything that I wanted to be. So I would say the greatest gift they gave me was the freedom to be me!
What does RS Saidso's near future look like?
Busy! That is the way that I like it, I can't stand to just sit and do nothing I have to be working. Well, I am gearing up to leave for Europe in a few weeks. I have plans to record a new CD for release this year through Addiction Records. Yes, it will be my first solo project. There are talks of a major movie role for me this year, which I am really excited about.. Acting is my other love!!!! I am looking forward to working with new bands in the studio and producing some other bands as well. Touring, etc, etc, etc, Basically anything I can get my hands into I will! Email me if you want to fill my calendar I will find the space.
I know that you are soon going to Europe, are you travelling as RS Saidso - the performer - or as a civilian? Will play any concert in Europe?
Well I will be touring with Paris France own Undercover Slut. We are scheduled to tour throughout Europe, I know the tour kicks off March 13th in Paris at ABC SPACE. The other dates I am not sure off right this second. We are also shooting a new video and a lot of other promotional stuff. I am really looking forward to it, and as it goes now all is looking good. But along the way I will be enjoying the sites and the local hospitality if you would! Undercover Slut also has their first full length CD coming out at the end of the year on Addiction Records, plus you can get their first video through Addiction as well.
Do you have a huge fanbase in Europe? Does European and American fans differ?
Yes it does seem that I have more support from overseas in general.. I don't know why maybe they understand me more, I don't know. America is so conditioned to the same thing and it seems here if anything is different then they don't want to take the time to understand it. I would say it is different, but I love all my fans no matter where they are.
Mr. Saidso's future looks very bright... and crammed! Any Saidso fans should try to catch any of his shows in Europe - true entertainment!
Visit RS Saidso's Website E-mail RS Saidso E-mail Addiction Records