Photos by Mark Savage (Zoom), Jack Gould (Alvin), and Myles Robinson (Rocker) CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: > FREDDIE BROOKS leads Freddie Brooks & the Dirty Crooks.
> LEE ROCKER is the former Stray Cats bassist and a current solo artist.
> CHRIS GAFFNEY leads Chris Gaffney & the Cold Hard Facts.
> MIKE ROUSE (not pictured) is the bassist for the Bleeders and a local promoter.
> BILLY ZOOM is the guitarist for X.
> DAVE ALVIN is the former Blasters guitarist and a current solo artist. He's actually from Downey, but we'll claim him anyway.
Which musician cut the worst fart you ever smelled?
ZOOM: Is Cheeseboy a musician? I don't know if he counts as a musician. He's an Orange County celebrity, and he had a band called Cheeseboy. He was the one. He was very proud of himself.
BROOKS: Willie Brinlee. He's a bassist who played with William Clarke. It was onstage—he backed up to the drummer, who was a captive audience, and let one rip. He stood there laughing about it. It was brutal—here I am playing a harmonica, and I couldn't hold my breath.
GAFFNEY:That would be me. You know how enamored you get with your own farts. No, actually it was Billy Bacon. In a van. He went off, and then he went, "Enjoy!" I love him anyway.
ROUSE: Paul Fox of the Bleeders. Road trip to San Francisco. Too much liquor and Indian food. Let me tell you, it doesn't suit him well.
ROCKER: Buddy Blue. At that session we did in San Diego. Bad.
ALVIN: Gil T, the bass player in my first solo band. His actually smoked and steamed.
Who is the most underrated band or artist in OC?
BROOKS: Junior Watson. He's known around the world in kind of a cult sense, but the general public here doesn't know who he is. The guy's a monstrous guitar player, a great singer and a hell of an entertainer.
GAFFNEY: I like that band Supernovice. They fucking kick ass.
ROUSE: The Bleeders, of course.
ROCKER:I don't know if this is close enough to OC, but Billy Bacon & the Forbidden Pigs. I think of them from the Doll Hut thing. I think they're one of the most underrated bands around.
Who's the most overrated?
BROOKS: I can't think of anybody in Orange County who I think is overrated. I feel like just about everybody who's getting anything has earned it.
GAFFNEY:I'd hate to pick on anybody.
ROUSE:The Bleeders, of course.
ROCKER: I don't want to make any enemies here. I'll have to cop out on that one.
ALVIN:Anyone who's sold more than a million records.
Finish this sentence: "Woke up this morning and . . ."
ZOOM: I don't know, I'm usually pretty proud of myself just for waking up.
BROOKS:Scratched my balls.
GAFFNEY:Got myself a beer.
ROUSE:I was still at the frickin' Hootenanny.
ROCKER: Had my coffee and my smoke.
ALVIN:Had to catch a plane.
Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera?
ZOOM: Is this for music or sex? Christina Aguilera, but it's close. She's a couple of years older, isn't she?
BROOKS: Christina Aguilera. She's got a more powerful personality and is a little bit earthier.
GAFFNEY: Britney Spears. Christina lets it all go in the first 10 seconds.
ROUSE: Christina. Man, that's some salsa there. I don't go for that white-bread stuff.
ROCKER: Britney. She's a lot better.
ALVIN: Good question. Uhhhhhhh . . . I refuse to answer that without my lawyer present.
Gore or Bush?
ZOOM:Bush. He's not Gore, and I liked his dad.
BROOKS:Are those my only two choices? Let me put it this way: anybody but Bush. I would bring Fidel Castro in if it would keep Bush out.
GAFFNEY:Bush because he'd be easier to kill.
ROUSE:Oh, man. I don't believe in a two-party system. It would have to be Bush because I'm so anti-Gore.
ROCKER: Gore. I'm a hardcore Democrat.
ALVIN:Gore. Supreme Court appointments are the most important thing.
Who was the last person you punched and why did you do it?
ZOOM:A guy at an X show in Vancouver in the early '80s. He threw a beer on my guitar, and I punched him in the eye. It was good. He spent the rest of the show holding his eye with one hand and flipping me off with the other.
BROOKS: A nightclub owner who shorted my bread. I did it in a back hallway. I can't elaborate.
GAFFNEY:My brother. He was trying to show off that he was a boxer in front of my other brother. He was my bass player at the time, and I sent him to work that night with yellow arms. I don't hit him in the head anymore.
ROUSE:I've thrown a person or two off the stage, but I haven't punched anyone.
ROCKER: The last person I punched was Slim Jim [Phantom]. We got into a drunken brawl one night about 10 years ago. I don't remember why. He probably spilled my pint.
ALVIN:My brother Phil, at a Blasters rehearsal, over a song or something. It happened every time.
If you could wipe all traces of one band's music from the face of the Earth, whose would it be?
BROOKS: It would have to be Led Zeppelin.
GAFFNEY: Puff Daddy, or any of that suburban white rap.
ROUSE:Should I piss everybody off and say the Beatles? You'd love that, wouldn't you? Piss 'em off, Mike! The Beatles.
ROCKER:It's a tough call between Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
ALVIN:Journey. Or any band that ever did a power ballad.
Napster: Pro or con?
ZOOM: Napster? Is that something like a hamster? Is it a rap artist?
BROOKS: Con. I don't know enough about it, and I feel very unprotected in that way. I'm skeptical and suspicious.
GAFFNEY: What'd you say?
ROUSE:Pro. It's a great vehicle for bands to get exposure. Corporations and corporate bands shouldn't be participating in it. I don't believe in major labels and the way the music industry as a whole does business.
ROCKER: Pro. If radio wasn't in such a sorry state and was doing its job, then I'd be against Napster. But at least it's a way to hear some music where the record companies aren't deciding what you hear.
ALVIN: I don't know. I'm computer-illiterate.
Any chance you're one of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' 57 illegitimate children?
ZOOM:I don't think so. I resemble both my parents, so I think I'm safe.
BROOKS:No. I'm the wrong color.
GAFFNEY:No. Wasn't he black?
ROUSE:If you saw the nap in my hair, you might think so.
ROCKER: I wish I was.
ALVIN:Not likely, unfortunately.
If you could have played with anyone in history, who would it have been?
ZOOM:Helen Shapiro. She was a British singer who was famous everywhere around the world except in the U.S.
BROOKS: Muddy Waters. There was Bach, there was Beethoven, there was Mozart, and then there was Muddy Waters.
GAFFNEY: Otis Redding or James Brown—James Brown just for the risk of getting fined.
ROUSE: After watching Scotty Moore [at Hootenanny] the other day, he'd have to be one of them.
ROCKER:Elvis Presley. I wouldn't have been looking forward to those $50 checks at the end of the night in the early days, though.
ALVIN:Blind Lemon Jefferson.
What will the next big trend in OC music be?
ZOOM: It'll be something produced by Billy Zoom and recorded in the new Billy Zoom production facility.
BROOKS: According to your latest article, it might be some kind of soul/ reggae thing.
GAFFNEY: They will rehash the "outlaws" period of country music. That will become hip. I just saw Hank Williams III, and he called me "sir."
ROUSE: I think there's only been one—a bunch of pissed-off youth. So the next one is more pissed-off youth. It's all the same.
ROCKER: It's been a trend all along, but I think the rockabilly scene is just getting better and better. I think that's the next thing to emerge from here.
ALVIN: The next trend will be a combination of norteo mixed with ska.
Finish this sentence: "I love music critics because . . ."
ZOOM: Because they aren't drummers.
BROOKS: Because they been bery, bery good to me.
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GAFFNEY: They adore me.
ROUSE: I love music critics because Buddy Seigal is one. Other than that . . .
ROCKER: Because most music critics don't even bother listening to the show.
ALVIN:I love music critics because if they're doing their job correctly, they're exposing people to a lot of music they can't hear about anywhere else.