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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

2008.04.30 - SuicideGirls - Interview with Del James

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2008.04.30 - SuicideGirls - Interview with Del James Empty 2008.04.30 - SuicideGirls - Interview with Del James

Post by Blackstar Thu May 13, 2021 2:50 pm

Del James, The Language of Fear Author

By Fractal Suicide

Seems like even the pigeons have seen better days... As I write, I am sitting inside of a decrepit laundry mat across from a condemned, Triple XXX porno shop in Hollywood. There's a vagrant missing most of his teeth, growling about needing a better fix. I watch another man out of the corner of my eye plot to either assault me or steal my freshly laundered panties. If Del James were to write of this, our story would end with a vengeful witch, her skin pale olive, wreaking havoc upon these run-down city streets. Such is the moral of Del James' stories; there is soul in the underbelly, but it's easily tarnished and turned to a monster.

In 1986, an aspiring writer slid a story over to a friend. The story was titled "Without You", and was based on a rock star teetering on the edge of love and loss, a man on top of the world but missing the one thing he could never have again. The musician the story was based on was W. Axl Rose, a man who had yet to release his first album, and the writer was Del James.

His collection of shorts, compiled together in The Language of Fear, has been re-released recently after over a decade of being one of the top ten sought out, print horror titles. Inside this volume is the famed story "Without You", which later became the inspiration for Guns N Roses' "November Rain" music video.

The stories are those of human horror, ranging from "A Tale of Two Heroines" where a junkie sells his infant for a shot, to an acid bath in a porn theater in "Adult Nature Material", to "Date Rape" where a man kills his wife for a seductive phone sex operator. "Mind Warp" takes the reader on an acid trip beyond hellish, while "The Immortals" features an outlaw biker's final ride, and, of course, the blazing climax "Without You". Del's stories are horrifically eloquent and beautifully obscene, honest words in a world of derelicts and destitution. He pens his tales true to his nature.

Fractal Suicide: What's the marriage between horror and rock-n-roll for you, and better yet, what's the fuckin' honeymoon like?

Del James: To me, rock-n-roll and horror are one and the same because they both take me to a sublime place... while a band is onstage or the movie is playing, that's one of the few times I feel right in my skin. This is where I belong. I can talk horror or music for days and never get tired because I love this shit as far back as I can remember. My first album was KISS' Alive and I grew up on the horror comics of the day. I can remember watching Quinn Martin's "Tales Of The Unexpected" on NBC and those stories scared the hell out of me but, more importantly, they spoke to me. I got it! Everything from seeing Judas Priest for the first time when Unleashed in the East came out, or hitchhiking to see Thin Lizzy at the Miami Jai Lai Fronton during the Black Rose tour, or seeing The Plasmatics or Johnny Thunders, to sneaking in to see Mark Of The Devil when they actually handed out barf bags or seeing Maniac during it's initial theatrical run and being crushed (to the point where that film became the standard by which other grimy horror flicks were judged), or taking my then girlfriend to Evil Dead... She walked out because it was too intense but I stayed because I HAD to see what happened. And I ain't the only one. At these events there are all these other kindred souls banging their heads or smiling at the really gory parts. These are my people, even if I don't know their names.

FS: You've been working with Guns N' Roses since before they had a record deal. What has that ride been like?

DJ: In 1985 I moved from New York to California and never looked back. I was 21. On my first day in Hollywood, the first people I made friends with were the guys in an unsigned band called Guns N' Roses. These dudes were paying their dues in the clubs and struggling to eat once a day. It was far from glamorous or how people think of GN'R today. Shit was as street as street gets. We became friends for the same reasons ya click with anyone in life. We had similar interests, similar habits. West Arkeen, Todd Crew, me, and few others were the only people who keep up with GN'R. And through all of it, Axl was the guy I connected with the most. He took me under his wing. Back in the day, Axl was the guy who hung out on the street corner, bullshitting rock-n-roll all night. He was the guy who loved writing different styles of music with all sorts of different people, myself included. He had the vision beyond the Sunset Strip. He helped me become the person I am today in the sense that I've never met anyone more real than him and hopefully some of that rubbed off. He was always supportive and encouraging of all his friends. Axl has always had my back and everyone should be lucky to have a best friend as loyal as Axl Rose. Over the past 20 years, he's offered me many, many great opportunities and hopefully I've risen to the occasion. I've certainly had my share of wonderfully decadent experiences with Axl and I cherish them all.

FS: Guns N' Roses' opening act on their 2006 tour was the SuicideGirls Burlesque show. What was it like working with the girls?

DJ: Man, the Suicide Girls were a fucking blast to have on tour. Hot chicks who party harder than the fucking rock stars? Do the math. I rode on a bus with Dizzy Reed and Tommy Stinson and on a few occasions we kidnapped a few of the gals. They belonged on our bus dancing to old school Aerosmith or Sly and the Family Stone! There was one pretty gal in particular that I clicked with and I miss her.

FS: Aside from being a writer and Guns N' Roses' road manager, tell me about the random odd jobs you've had. What about the seedy porno theater in "Adult Nature Material"?

DJ: It's real easy to rattle off the cool shit on your resume but I've worked some really sucky jobs. Among my many unglamorous gigs, I've delivered meat lockers and worked in a toner room. My toner sales name was Steve Harris. I worked a Canada Dry route down in the Bronx and every fucking crackhead thought that, because we were in a soda truck, we should give them free soda... I also worked at the Pussycat Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. Large screen, 35mm prints of films like New Wave Hustlers. I don't care who you are, if you watch porn on a giant screen for like an eight-hour shift your thoughts are going to wander far from pure. I was dating this Suicide Girl prototype before there were computers, let alone an Internet; Dyed black hair, black nail polish, tattoos, fishnets and heels... really fucking festive. After my shifts ended she would meet me and we would stroll along Hollywood Blvd. down to Vine. Those walks are something I will never forget because, even though I was a minimum wager struggling to pay my bills and eating popcorn for dinner because it was free, I felt like the king of the world because I had this hot bitch on my arm. My apartment off Vine was a drug den. One of the top dealers around was doing business out of my kitchen so needless to say there was a plethora of illegal substances. Girlie loved drugs more than she cared about me but that's okay; I loved getting high and fucking her so it kinda of worked out. Until one night we had a fight over the drugs and I never saw her again.

FS: Your stories in The Language of Fear are of human horror. How much of your fiction is based in fact?

DJ: I only write what I know but I'm certainly not above embellishing to tell a better tale. I can tell you a thing or two about death because I've come really close on numerous occasions. Addiction is my bitch. It's not something to brag about. It just is. If you hang around with a certain element you tend to develop a certain character, but no matter how deep into it I got I never lost sight of that fact that some of this shit makes for great copy. I've been shot at, stabbed, I've been kicked through a laundromat window. I rode my motorcycle into the lobby of a hotel. I've woken up in different states with people whose names I didn't know. Me and my crackhead ex-girlfriend were in the back of an ambulance, both bleeding profusely while declaring our love for one another and no tattoos will ever never cover up the scars from that night. I had a beer bottle busted over my eyebrow in a bar fight and this Vietnam veteran with a homemade peace sign tattooed on the head of his cock wanted to stitch me up with needle and thread, like Rambo style. I took a pass but shit like that makes for great fodder somewhere. The addiction, the violence, the grimy side of life, all that stuff the raises it's ugly head in The Language Of Fear has some sort of basis in fact. Fortunately, I left most of that shit behind me when my first daughter was born. Most of it...

FS: What is The Language of Fear? Is it a specific dialect?

DJ: The Language Of Fear is street talk. I know I ain't the most technically proficient writer but that's never stopped me from trying. Hopefully some people dig what I have to say.

FS: Your story "Without You" was the inspiration for Guns N Roses' "November Rain" music video. How did that all happen?

DJ: Before Appetite for Destruction was released Axl was involved in a relationship with Erin Everly. That relationship was seriously dysfunctional. Erin's done all the talk shows and painted a certain negative picture about Axl but I know the truth and someday all her ugly truths will be exposed. Anyway, Axl wrote "Sweet Child O' Mine" about her and we all had a sense that GN'R were going to be special. I also was afraid that Erin might be able to manipulate or push Axl over the edge to where he really hurts himself. But I didn't have the verbal skills to tell him how I felt or of my concerns. Guys have a hard time telling other guys that they are worried about them or that they love them so I wrote a short story called "Without You." It was a thinly veiled prediction about a rock star who writes a beautiful song about the woman he loves and is haunted by the success of that tune to the point that it destroys him. I wrote the story, gave it to him, and he got the message. Years later, we were entertaining the notion of making a full length rock-n-roll movie based off the story and three videos -- "Don't Cry", "November Rain," and "Estranged" -- would be parts of the film. Axl gave me a shout out at the end of "November Rain" that I am eternally grateful for because that's what helped me get my book deal for The Language Of Fear.

FS: What should we expect from the novel that you have in the works?

DJ: My novel, A Celebration Of Pain, is a fucked up love story. He doesn't believe in love. She is afraid of love. And the killer videotapes his murders as expressions of love. It's very New York and layered in sex and drugs and insecurities and extreme violence and yearning. Oh, how we yearn, right? Alcoholism, addiction, heartache? They're close friends and at times COP reads like a confessional. On certain pages there are subtle and not-so-subtle references to certain wonderful people and wild incidents that have had a profound affect on me. Part of the reason why writer's write is because we get to safely hide behind the guise of "it's just fiction" while exorcizing our demons. I can want to fuck or kill anyone on paper and if the story is entertaining enough, people will pat me on the back for thinking sick thoughts. I can live with that.

FS: Your credo is, "There are no coincidences, only chance and fate exist." Where did this come from?

DJ: Without sound like too much of a hippy, "there are no coincidences, only chance and fate exist" is something that I firmly believe in. I have no recollection of where I was or when I wrote that line but I buy into it wholeheartedly. Why do certain paths cross at certain times that lead to special connections? Why do some people smile back at you while others walk away? Why did the cops not frisk you on the day that, if they had, you'd still be incarcerated? Why did other people die while we're still here? "Shit happens" ain't cutting it. Shit happens for a reason.

FS: There are a lot of LSD references in The Language of Fear. Do you have any personal experience with it?

DJ: There's a lot of LSD references in The Language Of Fear because I took a lot of acid. Ironically, when I was quite young I was terrified of LSD because of the whole Charles Manson, eat acid and lose your mind hysteria that existed during the '70s. Then I took my first dose in seventh grade... I remember going to see a midnight showing of Lucio Fulci's Zombi tripping my balls off. When the movie ended and the lights came on, everyone was moving slowly... like zombies. Fuck me if I wasn't convinced that somehow watching a zombie movie had somehow transformed everyone except me into the living dead. I waited 'til everyone left the theater before I started moving and I refused to let anyone walk behind me.... But check this silliness out, one summer night I took some mescaline. I lived on a block of tall red brick buildings and across the street were these smaller buildings. As an only child growing up in a one-bedroom apartment, I slept in the living room and we had this cat that eventually lost its mind and had to be put down because it attacked people. I think I found it in one of the basements.

Across the street from my apartment lived these single mothers. These hot, kinda trashy, welfare mommies were in their mid-20s or early 30s, partiers, with like different colored kids from different daddies. They used to like flirt a little and smoke out with us kids but that was because we always had pot and they were working us to get stoned. Fair enough. Fuck, I was 15. So one night I'm frying my brains out when the HOT mommy waves me over. She's being super-friendly and offers to get me stoned... This never happened like this before and then she says lets go inside and have a beer.... Oh my god, I might be getting laid but I have to stay calm and play it cool. I can't let her know that I am tripping my fucking face off. Or maybe she knows and is fucking with me? So we're on her couch and I'm like, "Should I put my arm around her or should I try an kiss her?" Nothing is making sense and I'm totally nervous and excited and horny and did I mention that I'm totally tripping my teenage balls off?

Okay, so we're on the couch and the Tom Snyder Show came on and fucking Charles Manson is on the television! He's doing the whole Charlie Manson rap that is so enthralling and the more he speaks the more it's making sense to me, like on a spiritual level. Revolutions and ATWA and bloody payback and I am really fucking losing it and is the mommy understanding Charlie's rap too and if so should I be worried? And then Charlie Manson's big fucking swastika forehead started coming out of the television screen and into the living room! Fuck me! I did what any tripping teenager would do... I ran the fuck out of her apartment! Oh, but my stupidity doesn't end there. So I'm in my apartment now thinking about how badly I blew it and wondering if she'd have boned me and did I really see Manson in the chick's living room? I'm totally bugging out and I know I gotta be cool or else my folks will know I'm tripping and now I gotta pee! To get to the bathroom I have to walk past their bedroom door and even though the door is closed, somehow they're gonna know I'm wasted. So I don't know if two minutes or two hours passes by while I'm contemplating how to walk past their bedroom door but I REALLY gotta pee. I thought about pissing out the window but decided against. I sneak past their door and another problem arises, at least in my head. The whole pissing thing became really complicated. What if I make too much noise or what if I piss all over the moving seat? But if I piss sitting down that makes me a bitch right? But if I squat I won't piss all over and leave evidence that I'm all fucked up. So finally I'm sitting down, taking the world's longest piss ever, when the fucking cat pushes open the bathroom door and enters. That motherfucker walked right up to me and STOOD UP on its hind legs like some sort of feline alien that somehow knew how high I was. I popped up off the seat, pissing on the cat in the process, and ran the fuck out of the bathroom!

FS: You've been all over heaven, hell, and everything in between. Do you chase the demons, or are the hellhounds on your tail?

DJ: I totally chase demons. Half crazy means we gotta work on breaking that other half.

https://web.archive.org/web/20101224105711/http://suicidegirls.com/interviews/Del+James%2C+The+Language+of+Fear+Author+/
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