1. T.S.O.L. || Five (or More) Questions With Tommy Black
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018
Interview with guitarist Ron Emory at first, then singer Jack Grisham chimes in. The rest of T.S.O.L. follow suit. Bassist Mike Roche, pianist Greg Kuehn, and drummer Antonio Val Hernandez. All on the phone, in a 15 passenger van, doing a tour of the West Coast.
Tommy: My name’s Tommy, Tommy Black, I’ve been over at The Viper Room sixteen years I’m General Manager, so –
Ron Emory: Awesome, nice to meet you, Tommy.
Tommy: You’re my first, five questions thing, awesome to meet you too. When’s the last time you played a show at a 175 cap venue in the LA market, you know that small of a room?
Ron Emory: Um… that small of a room in LA… the last time we played a room that small in LA? Maybe Raji’s?-
Ron Emory: -we did a record in ’91-
Ron Emory: – at Raji’s on Hollywood.
Tommy: Wow, that’s huge.
Ron Emory: Yeah. So that’s the last few times we played a venue that small. In LA.
Tommy: Are your fans gonna be nice to The Viper Room or are they gonna destroy it? I shouldn’t say that. Are your fans gonna be nice to The Viper Room? (laughter)
Ron Emory: Ah we have super nice fans-
Ron Emory: How’s your security? (laughter)
Tommy: That answers my question. (laughter)
Ron Emory: No we have great fans, man, I don’t know what they’re gonna do. I can’t speak for them. But I think they’re gonna be fine. Ya know, we’re all older and stuff –
Tommy: Yeah, yeah, oh I get it, I get it. What do you think when you hear the name Viper Room, what’s that make you think of?
Ron Emory: You know what, can I pass the phone to (hear voices in the background) …no no, Jack, everyone wants to be part of this interview. Oh wait, okay? I’m gonna put ya on speaker
Tommy: Alright, alright –
Ron Emory: Now we got the whole, the whole crew –
Tommy: Here let me, hold on. Wow this is exciting we’re stepping it up, hold on –
Someone in the background says, “we’ll give ya a podcast, we got pod” (Laughter)
Tommy: Yeah. So Raji’s was the last time you played a room that size?
Jack Grisham: Yeah it’s gotta be Raji’s it was a live record that wasn’t really live. (laughter)
Tommy: Yeah (laughter) I hear that. There’s a lot of those going around.
Jack Grisham: Yeah. Live. (laughter)
Tommy: What do you guys think of when you hear the name Viper Room?
Jack Grisham: Positive or negative? What do you want? You want positive or negative?
Tommy: Just first, first one. Quickie, easy. Preferably positive.
Jack Grisham: Yeah, positive.
Tommy: (laughs) Alright, positive. How was this band formed? People wanna know. Just tell us about it, I know it’s out there.
Jack Grisham: There’s a church band, that’s still playing now, called The Sounds of Liberty…
Jack Grisham: …and our friend said, “No, you guys are The TRUE Sounds of Liberty…”
Jack Grisham: …yeah so it’s actually (?), you can look up the church band they’re still playin’ (laughter)
Tommy: Wow, you should have them open. (laughter) What, what’s the scoop on the vandals Disneyland story? You guys allowed to talk about that?
Jack Grisham: The Disneyland story?
Tommy: Yeah, are you-
Jack Grisham: No, no it was a long time ago. We… (laughter) we broke into Disneyland ‘cause we thought that we were gonna like, vandalize the place. Like, like we thought we could get into rides and, you know, go to Snow, Snow White land and all that shit. (laughing) We had no idea the kinda crazy, police, underground, super-spy, security force that they had goin’ on in there.
Tommy: (laughing) Yeah. Pretty hard, pretty hardcore. So what, what happened?
Jack Grisham: Oh, well, well, a bunch of us got arrested. (laughing) That’s what happened. But what was funny is, they were so… like they didn’t understand that we would be going in there to vandalize the place. Like I remember the guy looking right at me goes (putting on a voice), “But why would you want to break in it’s closed? The park’s not even open. (laughing) You can’t even, you can’t get a churro. You can’t…” It was hilarious. (laughter)
Tommy: They were perplexed as to why you’d want to vandalize Mickey.
Jack Grisham: Right. They had no… they had… it was the furthest thing from their mind. They just thought we wanted to sneak in and go on some rides.
Tommy: (laughs) That’s awesome. What are you up to now, I mean, what kind of vehicle are you in right now?
Jack Grisham: We’re in like a 15 passenger van doing the west coast right now, pullin’ a trailer. Ya got parking for us?
Tommy: We’ll figure that out.
Jack Grisham: Oh thank you.
Tommy: Yeah. What, who’s the coolest guy to tour with in the band.
Jack Grisham: Probably our old, deceased, drummer, the rest of us are assholes.
Tommy: (laughs) Okay.
(Someone in background says something indecipherable.)
Jack Grisham: Our new drummer, Anthony, Antonio. He’s actually probably the most mellow guy out of us.
Tommy: That’s ‘cause he’s new.
Jack Grisham: That’s right. So right now he counts as the cool- or, or maybe our merch girl, Haley, maybe she tops him out.
Tommy: (laughs) So how has it changed for you guys over the years? Hollywood?
Jack Grisham: The police are more friendly.
Tommy: True that.
Jack Grisham: Yeah, that’s about- that’s the biggest change… everything else- oh less drugs maybe.
Jack Grisham: Drugs for us.
Tommy: (laughs) Yeah, for everybody.
Jack Grisham: Pot’s only about a year or two away from being legal so, ya know, mostly all positive.
Tommy: Yeah, alright, alright. Well cool. This was a positive phone call… Alright guys, well be safe and we’ll see you Thursday.
Everyone: Thank you. Thank you, Tommy.
Tommy: Thank you guys.
Five (or More) Questions with Tommy Black is produced by Joshua Chévere Cohen & Prickly Pear Marketing