Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

NIGHT LIFE / THE CLUB SCENE

Boyz in the Hoods : The Mentors, scourge of Tipper Gore and civilization in general, prove that nothing exceeds like excess.

March 18, 1993|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Imagine Howard Stern and Benny Hill steering the Titanic through the apartment in "Last Tango in Paris" as narrated by the nastiest poet in the fourth grade. Uh oh, it must be the Mentors, one of the most notorious bands in recent memory--sort of like three Eddie Haskells snickering under a glass stairway at the girls' school. They'll be making their Ventura debut Saturday night at the recently reprieved Mayfair Theatre.

The Mentors, who apparently saw "Tower of London" too many times, feature a trio of hoods named El Duce (drums, vocals), Dr. Heathen Scum (bass) and Sickie Wifebeater (guitar).

The Mentors are the heavy metal band from hell, representing all the excesses rock 'n' roll is supposed to embody. But their excesses are so excessively excessive, one can't help but laugh. Or simply ignore them.

With songs like "Sex Slave" and "All Women Are Insane," don't expect the Mentors to play at feminist fund-raisers. The band was picketed by the Ministry of Morals in Canada, and the nonprofit Parents Music Resource Center--the organization the Second Lady was part of until last week--doesn't like them either, as Tipper singled out "Anal Vapors" for congressional interest.

But somebody must like the Mentors, who have been around for 15 years, since they were high school buddies in Seattle. There have been about 10 Mentors albums, the most recent being 1991's "To the Max." They also have videos, none of which you'll ever see on MTV unless perhaps Andrew Dice Clay buys the channel.

Since El Duce, a panhandler according to the band's press kit, forgot to answer the phone, Sickie Wifebeater handled the interview.

*

You guys have ties to the White House through the PMRC and all that, so why didn't the Mentors play the inaugural instead of Fleetwood Mac?

We didn't want to get Al jealous or cause any trouble with the Second Family.

*

How often do the Mentors play?

We practice every day and we play about once a month in various locations outside of L.A. County. Have you been to the Sunset Strip lately? There's a lot of Nirvana glam metal rock star wanna-bes who have been thrown out of their pads and wanna go to the GIT (Guitar Institute of Technology) and become rock stars. There's a lot of prostitutes and body piercing, and just a lot of things we don't like to be around.

*

Do you have trouble cashing a check made out to Sickie Wifebeater? And your wife, Suzy, is she known as Suzy Homemaker Wifebeater or what?

No, she's Suzy Psycho.

*

How would you describe Mentors music?

It's Mentortainment. It's pure American adult fun. And we want the underage crowd too, if they can get in on it.

*

Some of the reviewers in your bio kit have other ideas. I can't think of a more offensive label than "rape rock," but that's how some describe your music.

That's a thing that's been played on for a long time by the authorities and some people. We just play loud rock music. Rap is rape music--they just drop the 'e.' Rape music--now that's something guaranteed to put people off, especially women. Why would we want to offend them? They're the ones we want to come to our shows.

*

What's the story on the hoods?

We only wear them when we're performing. It's no big secret who we are and it's not some Kiss sort of thing. Even they got tired of putting on makeup. Sometimes people misunderstand the hoods and think it's a Ku Klux Klan thing. Well, our hoods are not white, they're black. They're executioner hoods.

*

Why did the Mentors end up on their own label?

We made an executive decision to take the music directly to the people with no crooked middlemen. We've got about 10 albums overall, and we're gradually re-releasing the classics. We sell them at specialty shops or at our gigs.

*

Do you guys get any airplay?

Oh yeah, we have a few people out there who play us. In fact, we were camping in the Los Padres National Forest above Santa Barbara not long ago and I heard "Judgment Day" on the college radio station, KCSB.

*

How did you three get started in all this?

We started in 1977 back in Seattle when we were in high school together. For a while, we were the only band that knew how to play jazz fusion, and we played around trying to get our chops together. We got tired of that stuff and one day we were sitting around throwing darts at pictures of girls we wanted to have fun with. We told El Duce to write some lyrics, who didn't want to write about politics, so it became sexual politics. And here we are. There's a Mentors tour every year.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|