Moistboyz – The Beginning
(words by Guy Heller aka Dickie Moist, vocals)
I have known Mickey Melchiondo, aka Dean Ween, aka Mickey Moist, since 1987. He picked me up hitchhiking a couple of times, and we’d meet at a few parties. I was 23 when my girlfriend at the time was 18. Her crowd consisted of both Ween members, and of course the third silent member, Mean Ween, whose living room I am occupying as I write. I was the older guy at the 1987-88 graduation parties, not quite fitting in. Mick and I ended up having our first prom together, but he was legitimate and of age, while I was a 22-23 year old slob who worked as a roadie and stage laborer for Electric Factory Concerts in Philadelphia. I also worked as a produce driver.
I was arrested for giving pot to my girlfriend near the high school Mick attended, and was humiliated and apprehended in front of over one-hundred students by a policeman who chased me 750 feet, while school was letting out for the day. While the kids shuffled to their busses, they were witness to a long-haired, denim-wearing metal-head being chased through a soccer-field. Most kids cheered me on as I outran the police, but was surprised when the assistant principle tackled me from behind a large tree. A month later, drug-free school zones became law. This is probably the first time Mick had ever heard of me. I believe March,1987. I had seen enough for that year, so I went back to New Mexico. For a while I also shacked up in Marana, Arizona, and Escondido, California, where I went to high school.
Shortly after this period of time, well, late 1990, I came back east, and was walking along the highway as usual, when Mick pulls up driving a huge Cadillac-type car with an 8-track player and AM radio. He said, “Dude get in.” I did, and he laughed and said he had just picked up another friend of his doing the same thing I was miles before, and dropped him off. He also thought it was humorous that the town’s dreggs were skulking along the highway on the same day. After he picked me up, we diverted to smoke pot somewhere near a creek. While smoking, Mick said. “Fuck this, we’re two dudes parking to get high. Fuck this faggot shit, let’s go, the one thing I never do is like, go to the woods and play acoustic guitar on a rock.” Mick drove me to his place, a small apartment in rural New Hope.
We got to his place and smoked and shot the shit about women, rock, and the new Ice-T disc, “Original Gangster.” Mick worked at a gas station, and I was a produce driver. Either we had both quit, or we were just off for the day. At some point we were talking about stupid shit you do when you’re a scum who scams out of work for too long. We had a good time relishing how awful it is to be a young man with no job, no smokes, and it’s mid-summer. It was said that a dude will sit around until the inevitable Traci Lords film goes in, and you whack off. Mick said “Yeah, I could see the lowest point in life being when you’re unemployed, its summer, you prepare to jerk-off, and a fly lands on your dick.” At this point we were both stoned and laughing.
Mick suggested recording. I hadn’t done much of that, so I said “sure.” That’s the first time I saw the low-budget, yet finely tuned machine Ween recorded on that year. Mick called me in and we recorded “Killer Speed.” Then we started another jam, and I applied my own words, and to Mick’s surprise, it was a song about a fly landing on your dick. We called it “Flies on my Dick.” As some would know already, it ended up on Ween’s Pure Guava about a year and a half later. I also remember Mick got a hold of my first False Front demo my band had recorded at Greg Frey’s house. He laughed when we played the track “Let’s Make a Deal.” “Dude,” he said, “I like this one ‘cuz you say your band’s name in it.” Something told me he was being sarcastic? He suggested False Front should be called “Hellerband.” I guess that was a Rollins joke.
The next time I saw Mick, I was eating dinner with my new girlfriend. She and I had just started living together. I heard a car honking, or my name being called. I peered down two stories, only to find Mickey in a burnt-out Suburban parked underneath me. I opened the window. “Guy! Alright cool, dude, are you comin’ or what?” I chose “what,” because I had no idea what he was talking about. “Comin’ where?” I asked chewing some food. My girlfriend was sitting on the couch eating, and seemed a little disturbed that I was enjoying a two-story Brooklyn phone call after we cooked a nice meal. “Dude let’s go man, ya’ gotta come down here.” Mick said. “I can’t, I’m eating right now!” I screamed back. Again Mick honked, even though we had already engaged a face-to-face conversation. “C’mon man, I only have like 20 minutes!” He screamed. I told him to hold on, and closed the window. “You’re not really going to go with him.” My girlfriend asked, obviously more disgusted. “Uh…” I thought a minute, heard another honk, “Guy!” I grabbed a shirt, and said “Sorry babe, I gotta do this,” and made for the stairs. “You…no way…I’m so sure…” she said. “Naw, babe I’ll be back soon.” I took off before she could stop me. Woman love can convince any man to stay, so I split fast before she led me back. “Alright Guuuuuuy.” Mick said. He then let me know we were going to City Gardens in Trenton, NJ. I think Ween was playing with the Rollinsband that night. Fuck. I chose dude time over my girl’s dinner.
By October of 1991, I saw a lot more of Mick and my usual posse. My friends Anthony, Aaron, and George began renting the hillbilly mansion known as Brookridge Farm. We all lived there, and died there. Aaron Freeman, False Front, most of the Sound of Urchin, Mean Ween, and many others have walked the line at Brookridge. Brookridge Farm incidentally became part of Ween’s Pure Guava.
Mick is the only one of us who never lived there, yet he was a champion participant in assisting our disorder. One night, well, morning at 4:am, Mick walked into my room at Brookridge unannounced, woke me up, and demanded that I lay down some vocals on this song he wrote. He hadn’t even turned the light on, yet I could see he had a bundle of equipment under his arms with patch cords hanging. He said the song was supposed to be in the tradition of Billy Idol, and it was called “Boneyard Hum.” I sat in amazement that he was in my room. I was supposed to wash dishes at 6am. Like a soldier, I got up, and recorded the song. I still say it is the worst thing I have ever done. I mean the music was cool, but at 4am, I’m lucky to pull off a bad Tom Waits, let alone Billy Idol. He left by 5am, and I sat in my room, and allowed 6am to pass. That day I was tired. That day I was fired.
New Hope-“Moistboyz I”
During the years 1992 and 1993, I went to Mick’s new place where he had a small room for recording. It was a small extra bedroom with closed windows. We would always get together at 7am or so, drink strong espresso, and kick a tune out. Mick’s house was on a side street of New Hope, PA, with next-door neighbors. It was summer, but we had to keep the windows closed to keep the noise in. Sometimes that room got pretty fucking hot, and we would sweat bullets recording this mutated metal music. Mick casually said the air was actually “moist,” like fucking thick. Thus, the name of our band. Playing the music can make you lose pounds in an hour. At that time, I only cared about False Front. Once a purebred workhorse, I changed into a consistently unemployed dirt-bag. If it didn’t rock, it was useless. This gave me a lot of free time to record. I used to walk the streets of New Hope scamming small jobs, and scraping by. For a while, I ended up at Mick’s house laying down tracks. (…sounds like 2006.)
Nevertheless, we recorded a lot of shit, and by the middle of ’93, Mick had this idea that he would shop a tape of the best few tracks to the fledgling label Grand Royal. I’ll have to admit, I wasn’t quite sure if he was serious or not until he actually did it. My take on the music was great at Mick’s place, but I never really thought anyone would put themselves through the sometimes painful experience of enduring what we did. Mike-D of the Beastie Boys ran the label.
One morning, Mike-D called from his car phone, and he was exited about the track “Carjack.” He dug Mick’s work, and felt, I guess that he could trust Mick’s vision. Much to my surprise, “Grand Royal Records” agreed to release our first EP. By the summer of 1994, it was out. Mike-D had a good idea to actually publish a classified ad in the L.A. Times, that stated I was looking for band members to start the Moistboyz. The classified ad is on the inner sleeve of the Moistboyz I EP. I actually got a letter from Japan from a dude who wanted the job. Our situation was now a small, but legitimate machine of sorts.
This is the period we did all four shows. One show was at the “Court Tavern” in 1994. Mike-D came down from New York to check out his new product. I think Mike thought we were much different, and expected “Carjack” to be the essence of our gig. Instead, he arrived and experienced the most un-cool situation he could imagine. Nobody knew I had consumed meth that night. I remember spilling a shit load of beer on Mike-D’s pants.
When our set was done, the next band came on. I believe the singer thought we were out of the building, because I heard him say, “We didn’t come here to sing about drugs and daterape like some others…” I was tanked and pissed. I came back to the stage area, and screamed nasty things like, “I know where your sister goes to school! You faggot!” And followed him along the lip of the stage like a hungry dog. Someone suggested that maybe I stop before we got into trouble, when I saw
Mike-D in the back with his head in his hands, shaking it back and forth, like he was thinking, “what have I done?” It would be another eight years before we would play live again.
“Time of the great confusion”-1995-2002
Truth be told, on June the 12th,1995, I had a serious family tragedy, and felt it best that I leave the east coast for my “real” home in the high desert of New Mexico. I spent my life there from ’95 to 2002. I had also spent half of 1994 there as well.
Moistboyz II was reluctantly released on the part of Grand Royal Records in 1996. I believe the owner of the label loved Mick, but figured me to be a homophobic anti-semite, so it barely came out. The second release was everything we didn’t have time to add to the first. I remember after a long crank binge, I freaked out at the label’s interns for advertising my writing as a “manifesto,” around the time of the Unibomber. Man, I was pissed, and very, very high.
After this, there was a long absence from 1997-2002. For five years the Moistboyz did not exist. I worked as an apprentice cabinetmaker, and Mick continued to rock. We lived 2,200 miles apart.
Mick called in 2001, and suggested meeting in 29 Palms, California, to record at a friend’s home. After careful planning, and Mick accepting the burden of lugging a shit load of equipment, we made our way west. I only had to go a short distance from Santa Fe.
When we arrived at Palm Springs airport, we departed onto the tarmac, and walked across the runway area to the main port. The temperature was 110 degrees, and forgetting my high school days in that area, was stunned at the coat of heat that immediately enveloped me. It reached 118 by the time we got to the studio/house. There was a small putting green in the airport.
It was the summer of 2001. I hadn’t seen California since 1989. I remember the air of the Mojave area deserts from my green years, and going to high school. Even during the return sessions in January of 2002, it remained about 80 degrees during the day in 29 Palms. I’ve always been most at home in deserts, so it felt good to record Moistboyz style rock in a place like that. While we recorded there, we hung out a little in Joshua Tree with Josh Homme, Hutch, and Mr. Dave Catching. It was a short conversation with Josh that I got the idea for “The Walker.” Chris Goss paid a visit to the studio, and we ate a good meal at the 29 Palms Hotel. Chris told a lot of stories about the old punk days in New York, and Mick many of his own. One night Dave Catching made dinner for Mick and I in Joshua tree. We listened to The Masters of Reality. Mick and I also hung with Ben Vaughn a lot. My step mom and my dad used to see Ben Vaughn play sidewalk shows in Philadelphia, and try to get me to come. I never would. So it was cool hanging with Ben. All in all, during our two visits to California, I had a blast doing it again. I am encouraged to be constantly reminded how any moron like me can scream awful shit at the top of his lungs, and have a damn good time doing it. Moistboyz III was released in late 2002, on Mike Patton’s Ipecac Records.
2002-2006: After another devastating family tragedy, I ended up walking away from New Mexico, and my life. Again fueled with a powerful lack of self-respect, I desired to be playing live again. For eight years I did no live shows apart from a few with my band the Voodoo Junkies in Santa Fe. They took place in 2000. The Voodoo Junkies opened for Ween at the Sunshine Theater in Albuquerque, NM. We were very drunk and a bit rusty. But I’ll have to say, I liked that group a lot.
But now, I had to reckon with getting my skinny frame into shape to be able to endure the onslaught of reproducing the Moistboyz vocally…live. No matter what kind of bullshit Iggy Pop references I get, and how many 22-30 year old reviewers hate me and my big mouth, I challenge any man to endure putting out at top volume for over an hour, the type of music the Moistboyz do. Performing the Moistboyz music is grueling. You hurt badly after a show. My levels of adrenalin and physical output have burned the effects of meth-amphetamine and cocaine combined. Make fun of us however you please, but we deliver. It’s easier to mumble to a half ass beat, and call it punk, than to articulate every syllable without rest. As you age it gets harder.
The first show in eight years was performed at a club in New York City. It was “Show-world” and was one of the only porn palaces left after thug-master Giullianni came in and fulfilled the dreams of Travis Bickle. I had been back in New Jersey only a few short months. The club had a David Lynch sort of feel. You almost felt like “Ben ” from “Blue Velvet” was running the place. The waitresses all looked like porn actresses, which was appropriate due to it being above an adult video and book mall. The bouncers all looked like football players. The Moistboyz had to call ahead for all guests so they could have laminated passes ready upon entry. Flashy bullshit for real. Show-world was also the first experience with NYC’s “no smoking” policies. That’s why I now piss all over that junk star city. Can’t carry a gun, can’t smoke, but you can shoot semen in the air in a porn booth while you shoot heroin into your arm. Fuck ’em.
An intimate posse of friends hopped into a van and drove from New Hope. My ex and I ransacked the porn stores to the delight of the proprietors, spending money and making it obvious that we were both very sexually charged people. We were asked to leave for trying to have sex in the video booth. A nice man pointed to the sign; “Couples must leave door open at all times.” We locked it, and refused to acknowledge the attendant when he pounded on the door. After that I met JJ French from Twisted Sister in the club. The Sound of Urchin played, and Instant Death began to team up with us. So, this is what eight years of silence led to. During the second half of 2002, into the first months of 2003, The Moistboyz did about 10 shows. We had now doubled our gig tenure 100% in six months.
After this period, I had to reckon with the forced sale of my home, drug-bingeing, breaking women’s hearts, and again, became a scumbag extraordinaire. The Moistboyz did sporadic shows during 2003 and 2004, a lot of them with the Pennsylvania Connection, and Instant Death In that time frame. I moved to Austin, Texas for three months, and still have a band there. In the latter part of 2004, and early 2005, I cleaned up and began to conceive of Moistboyz IV with Mick. Working around full time jobs, and other projects, Mick and I whittled away at our new endeavor. It put us out quite a bit, but it was fun, and that’s what it needs to be.
Since Moistboyz IV was recorded, it’s been entertaining to say the least reading reviews about how we “got weak,” or “got political.” Or the “this one is too over-produced,” bullshit. It’s my favorite to date. I stand behind it 100%. Our tour was a great success, and I had great time in every city.
Moistboyz IV was produced by Mickey Melchiondo, recorded in New Hope, PA, and mixed by Howie Weinberg.