The Woodrows

Flying V Green



2003 Interview by JOEY GERM

It's been a few years since we talked to the world's most notorious underground punk rock outfit, The Woodrows, and that's a shame. To remedy the situation we sent out veteran correspondent Joey T. Germ, to the band's hometown of Antigo, Wisconsin to get the 411 on Lynne Cheney's worst nightmare.

Our suspicions were confirmed: in spite of over twenty years stuck to the scuzzy underbelly of the punk rock circuit, The Woodrows have refused to quit while they were ahead (or at least not that far behind) and have refused to fade away from the obscurity that they've always called home. Ladies & Gentlemen, a Reglar Wiglar favorite, please welcome, The Woodrows!

Reglar Wiglar: We haven't heard from you guys in awhile, what have you been up to?

Ricky: We've been working on our Twenty-fifth Anniversary quadruple box set.

RW: Twenty-five years, holy shit! That's two years earlier than previously though by rock scholars.

Toby: Yeah, we found a bunch of recordings that were done in the late 70s/ Even though our first proper album (Run Woodrow Run) came out in 1980, some of these recently discovered seminal recordings date as far back as 1978.

Run Woodrow RunRW: You were what, five years old back then?

Toby: Four, yeah. It's prety rough stuff but it's Woodrows, man. That signature sound is there. Nothing's changed.

RW: No real progress over the last quarter century?

Toby: None.

Ricky: The people will want it though. They'll still shell out for it.

RW: How much is this retailing for?

Ricky: Five hundred and ninety-nine dollars in stores, but you can buy it in person from one of our roadies at a show for six fifty.

RW: It's fifty bucks more if you pay for a ticket to your show and buy it?

Toby: Baby needs a new pair of shoes. Hell, all my kids need shoes. Some of them are still waiting for their first pair.

RW: Is is true that Puff Daddy produced on of your albums?

Erin: P. Diddy.

RW: Sorry, P. Diddy.

Toby: I gave him that name by the way.

RW: No shit?

Toby: Yeah, I gave him that name during the recording of the Champagne and Benedryl record. I thought his name was P. Diddy. I didn't think I was makin' up a new name for the dude. I was just like, "P. Diddy, up the funk on that guitar part," or "P. Diddy, make Marvy's bass extra phat on that track" and "P. Diddy, toss me that box of Fiddle Faddle." I think I even called him P. Diddle at one point.

Marvy: You did.

Toby: Anyway, a few weeks later I see him on MTV talkin' about how he needed a fresh start with a new name. I though, "Wow, that's really stupid." So that's why I changed my name to T. Woody, but nobody really knows who I am, not on the MTV anyway.

RW: It didn't catch on?

Toby: No, and it didn't fool my probation officers for one second.

RW: Officers?

Toby: Yeah, I'm using up a lot of tax dollars.

RW: But you've cleaned up your act...

Toby: Life is a continuous cycle of cleaning up your act, you know? That's the question I ask myself everyday. What is too clean? That's my mantra.

RW: What's a typical day i the life of Marvy Woodrow?

Marvy: Wow, that's a good question... that's a really good question...

RW: Is thee a good answer?

Marvy: Yeah, I don't know.

RW: What did you do today?

Marvy: I thinkin'... I don't know. You got me on that one. That is a really good question. Wow!

RW: Toby Woodrow?

Toby: I got up around 7:00 give or take an hour or so.

RW: AM or PM?

Toby: Ah, that's be AM. Come on man, I'm a thrice married man. I got responsiblities.

RW: That's cool.

Toby: Got up around 7:00 ready to do my B.T.s.

RW: B.T.s Is that an anaerobic or aerobic exercise?

Toby: Bong Tokes? I don't know... aerobic, I guess. Anyway, a few B.T.s then I hit the couch, watch Cartoon Network for a few, then log and surf the net a little, a few more B.T.s then a power lunch, which is usually followed by a pretty intense MTV/VH1 remote control battle, then three or four court TV shows, afternoon B.T., dinner, then in bed by 7PM. Twelve hours, done. NEXT!

RW: That's quite a life.

Toby: Carpe diem!

RW: Certainly sounds like it.

Toby: I like to keep active. I would hate to wake up one day and not be relevant anymore. Besides, being conscious for half the day has been a personal goal of mine since I was seventeen. Now I'm doin' it.

RW: We lost a couple this past year: Layne Staley, Dee Dee Ramone, Joe Strummer. How come you guys are still alive?

Erin: Some people around us haven't made it, but we've been lucky.

Ricky: Luckier than a lot of people we've come into contact with, you know: promoters, managers, club owners, some of these guys have met with some misfortune but we've been fine.

Toby: For awhile it seemed like there was a fire at every club that wouldn't pay us. It was wierd.

RW: And there was a period there for a couple years where you switched labels and few times—

Erin: One hundred and eleven times.

RW: Wow, that's a lot. What was going on there?

Erin: Well, back in those days we weren't exactly sure what we had sgined and for how long. We'd be under contract wit one label for five records and then inadvertently sign to another label for like, a ten album deal. I mean day-to-day, it's hard to remember.

Ricky: I guess one day in, like '85, we signed to three different labels in one day. We just drove around all day in a cab inking deals.

Erin: It was quite the legal tangle. I still don't think it's straightened out.

RW: I wouldn't think it would be all that difficult to remember what label you were on. Maybe a few Post-It notes around the apartment or something...

Erin: Yeah, maybe, but when you factor in the kind of lifestyle the Woodrows lead, there are things that conspire against normal brain functions. You have to take these things into consideration. Look at it this way, if you work for McDonald's or Burger King you're probably gonna be wearing some kind of uniform, right?

RW: Presumbably.

Erin: OK, presumably you wake up in the morning and you shake the cobwebs out of your head, you light a smoke, do a little bit of whatever it is you need to do to get going, and maybe you can't remember where you were or what you did the night before—hell, maybe you don't even know where you are at that moment, but you look in the mirror and you're wearing BK gear or a hat that says fuckin' Taco Bell on it, or you got some polyester slacks on and you're like, "Right on, I work at McDonald's." So you say, "I should try to find the nearest McDonald's and get to work 'cause I'm probably really, really late."

RW: I see your point.

Toby: Yeah, see fast food is easy, that's easy enough, but when you're in a situation like ours, it's now so easy to know who you work for.

Erin: We work for the kids.

Toby: Right, and also for our lawyers and our ex-wives and our accoutants.

Marvy: We're broke all the time. Our accountants were robbing us blind, but you really can't blame us, what with the level of substance abuse we were enjoying at the time.

RW: Is it true what I heard, Steve Albini wanted to record you guys?

Erin: Yeah, Albini wanted to record us on the sliding scale payment plan but he doesn't do drugs so that was out.

Ricky: I don't think he had any idea just how far down the scale you gotta slide to find our range. Some people just aren't prepared for the welfare state of rock 'n' roll.

RW: Marvy, what's this I hear about you and Britany Spears?

Marvy: I don't know, what have you heard?

RW: That you two were sighted together getting out of her limo at the AMA awards.

Marvy: I'd prefer not to get into my romantic life, if that's ok.

RW: No, that's fine, I just thought I'd throw it out there.

Marvy: What transpired between Britany and myself was a very special, very private thing that would be tarnished if I were to go into great detail.

RW: That's very admirable of you.

Marvy: What two mature adults do in their private lives is their own business and nobody else's.

RW: I understand completely.

Marvy: So let's just say that I nailed her and leave it at that.

RW: Fair enough.

Erin: I haven't worn pants since '92.

RW: Excuse me?

Erin: I haven't worn pants since 1992. That's one way to measure you success, if you don't have to wear pants.

RW: In public?

Erin: Anywhere. In restuarants, clubs—if you're hot shit, you don't gotta wear pants. You've heard of 'no shirt, no shoes, no service,' right?

RW: Sure.

Erin: All right, well I don't wear pants and still get served anywhere the hell I go.

RW: I never knew that's how it worked.

Marvy: We've never really been a band that has been able to keep tabs on our pants anyway. Toby got me wearing a diaper for awhile, but I never really felt that comfortable with it.

Toby: It can in handy though, right?

Erin: Yeah, it did. It saved me some embarrassment, like at the supermarket and stuff, where I was glad I had that protection, but it just isn't my thing.

RW: So, do you guys listen to any other kind of music or do you just listen to punk rock?

Ricky: I don't just listen to punk rock. I listen to other kinds of music, like when I'm trying to relax and 'smooth out' I might put on a Butthole Surfers reocrd or when I'm gettin' romantic with my lady, I might throw on an Einstürzende Neubatuten record. I've got a very wide range of musical tastes. Not just punk rock.

RW: Thanks guys.

Published in RW#18, 2003

Reglar Wiglar #18


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