An Appointment with The Mentors’ Dr. Heathen Scum
June 14, 2017
Interview between Terri Sapp Page and Steve Broy (Dr. Heathen Scum of the Mentors)
Show at 529 in East Village
Pictures and video by Terri Sapp Page
© Concert Sutra
On June 14, 2017 at 529, I had the extreme pleasure to sit down and have a conversation with the surprisingly soft spoken “shock rocker,” Steve Broy, a.k.a. Dr. Heathen Scum of the Mentors. The line up that night included The Mentors, The Murder Junkies, and The Rotten Stitches, all of which killed it in this very small venue. The crowd was packed and pumped! The Mentors line up was Dr. Heathen Scum on bass guitar, Sickie Wifebeater (Eric Carlson) on lead guitar, and this go around a fella going by the name of Dino Shitstain on the drums. The set list is provided after the interview. I also took some photos and video that will also be at the end of this fun read.
Concert Sutra (from here out referred to as CS): I know you get a lot of questions about El Duce, but everyone wants to hear your stories from that time (thus the book), so I will go ahead and kick off our time with a couple of questions surrounding that time in the Mentor’s history.
Dr. Heathen Scum (from here out referred to as Dr.): Sure! Ok.CS: First of all, was the tampon a prop that was pulled out of the woman’s vagina from the video, or was it actually a real bloody tampon? The people want to know.
Dr.: (both laugh) It was a prop. I think. I’m pretty sure. I mean, I was there for the filming of that, but I didn’t actually witness that part of it up close. Kinda hearsay, but I’m pretty sure it was a prop. (laughs)
CS: Well, of course, there is always the question, and I think I know the answer, but have to ask…did El Duce really die, or did he pull a “Tupac” making the fans wonder is he still hanging out there?
Dr.: Unfortunately, I do believe he’s gone.
CS: Do you think he was overdosed? Murdered? There’s all kind of speculation surrounding his death amongst the fans.
Dr.: No. The way it happened, there was a mean intersection where the train tracks were, so there was a bunch of witnesses.
CS: So, the train story holds up. Sad. A tragedy.
Dr.: (agrees) Most unfortunate. And for the people that saw it was even worst.
CS: Where are you guys from?
Dr.: Originally from Seattle. All three of us. Sickie, myself, and Duce. We all started in Seattle Washington. That’s where we grew up.
CS: I love Seattle, it’s beautiful out there. As far as it goes, I would think the Mentors is your side gig…or is it?
Dr.: No! Right now it’s all I do! I was an engineer, well, I still am an engineer, but I worked for a Company for 30 years, and just retired last Summer.
Dr.: So, I am doing this full time.
CS: An engineer! Brains and all!
Dr.: (laughs) Yeah…
CS: I work with a lot of engineers at the Power Company.
Dr.: Oh, ok! What kind of Power is it? Natural Gas? Coal?
CS: Actually, nowadays we are into just about everything. You kind of have to be, right? Do you have a favorite memory from your El Duce days? I am sure there are many crazy memories.
Dr.: There are just too many. Nothing stands out as necessarily a favorite. The thing with El Duce, when he was alive, because he lived with me for several years, was that every night’s a party. He was just really a fun person. He’s known as a boozer, but even when he was sober, he was fun! He was just a really good guy. I miss him very much. I mean I spent time with him as a kid, so, some of my memories go back to being a kid! Spending time with his family…I’m still close with his mother and his sister. They live in Oregon.
CS: Oh! I love Oregon! Really just love the Pacific Northwest. Such a beautiful place in the world.
Dr.: Yeah! It’s a nice place to grow up, but you kind of have to move away from there to really appreciate it. But we had to get out of there, because when we started the band, we were only 18 and you had to be 21 to play bars, so we moved to California where you only had to be 18. That way we could get a lot more gigs.
CS: Wow, I can’t believe y’all were that young! It’s been so long! I already asked you and you brought the book!
Dr.: Yeah, it should be out for sale by then. We are trying to do this limited theatrical release for one or two nights in major cities. We are working on that right now.
CS: Do you consider Atlanta a major city?
CS: So maybe it will come to one of our art house theatres or something?
Dr.: I hope so!
CS: Yeah, me, too, because you know we will be there.
Dr.: There are only two places it has shown so far. One is in Portland, Oregon, and the other in Helsinki, Finland.
CS: Finland, WOW!
Dr.: Yeah, Finland! There was a premier. I didn’t go, but the chick who did, her name’s April Jones, she flew up there.
CS: So it has been finished then?
Dr.: Yeah, yeah.
CS: You’re just working on the release. We have been dying to get our hands on it.
Dr.: (laughs) Yeah!
CS: My next one is kinda for the whole band, so I’m not sure if you can answer for everyone, but I love to learn about the gear that the bands we love are using. We are all gear heads around here. What kind of gear do you guys prefer when you are playing live?
Dr.: I have a little Fender bass amp, it’s called the Fender Rumble 500 Watt amp, you can pick it up with two fingers! That’s my bass amp. Then, we have a 5150 combo. We have to travel light. We can’t bring full stacks. But it’s a nice set up, and we have our own drum set, although tonight I believe we are using the other band’s gear.
CS: drum wise, or just in general?
Dr.: Just in general.
CS: Is that hard to get on somebody else’s rig and play?
Dr.: Not really.
CS: You just tune it up and go?
Dr.: Yeah, for bass particularly.
CS: I have always wanted to play the bass. How long do you think the Mentors will tour, like in the grand scheme of things?
Dr.: Well, I’m 59 right now, and like I mentioned, I just retired from my job last Summer after 30 years, so I’m drawing a pension and shit, so it’s a question of how long I live, really! (laughs out loud)
CS: Right! Well, that’s a great answer from a fan perspective!
Dr.: I don’t intend to stop. I mean I figure at least until I’m 70. Maybe longer! (laughing) I intend to keep going as long as I can. That kinda why I retired, actually a little early, to focus on this.
CS: That is awesome, Thank you! Early on, what were your influences to make the Mentors happen? How did you get together in that way?
Dr.: Well, you know, we were big music fans ourselves, and we all liked the usual bands at the time, you know, Zeppelin, Beatles, Stones, Beach Boys. The shit that was big back then. When we really started calling it the Mentors, we kinda tried to hone in on the punk rock scene. Although, I can’t really say we were influenced musically by them, the IDEA of the Sex Pistols and stuff like that was something that was very influential.
CS: So, what are some names we might find snooping through your record collection?
Dr.: (laughs) Oh! I mean, my record collection is insanely big. I have not idea how many there are, but seems like millions. I can tell you the shit I have been listening to a lot recently is…really like, uh…gospel quartets, strangely enough. Like, the Blackwood Brothers and stuff like that. I like the Isley Brothers. I listen to a lot of their stuff from the 1970’s. Vintage stuff. There are a few albums that they put out in their sweet spot period that are really good.
Dr.: I like Joni Mitchell! I can’t say I have listened to a lot lately.
CS: I’m just curious, because she is one of my favorites in my record collection.
Dr.: I have a lot of her stuff. When I was a kid, I loved Joni Mitchell. I listened to it a lot back then.
CS: I just like the idea of the Mentors listening to Joni Mitchell! Seems like kind of an oxymoron (both laugh)! Tell me about just a normal day for a shock rocker entertainer like yourself.
Dr.: Well, if I am at home, I get up a little late. You spend 30 years getting up at 4 or 5 in the morning, so it’s nice to sleep in until 8 or 9. Then, you know, I get up and just poke around the house. Maybe go out and make some music in the garage. I like to ride a bicycle. I go for a bike ride.
CS: Do you have any pets?
Dr.: Yeah. I have two cats and a dog.
CS: AAAWWWW (heart melted)!!!
Dr.: My wife used to have a horse, but he’s recently died.
CS: They live for a long time!
Dr.: Yeah, he was over 20 years old. So, we will probably get another horse.
CS: I am jealous! I have been itching to ride again for the last several years! We had a horse in the family for the longest time who passed a while back (RIP Blaze), and recently I have been trying to find a horse to impose myself on for a long time now!
Dr.: They are a lot of work. Cleaning them. Feeding them. Caring for them.
CS: Yeah, that’s why I am trying to find someone else’s horse to ride! (laughs) What kind of dog do you have?
Dr.: It’s actually my wife’s dog. A small Chihuahua thing…
CS: A little yapper?
Dr.: Yeah! Barks at me all the time!
CS: SO, you prefer the cats, then???!!!
Dr.: I prefer the cats.
CS: AAWWW! You are a cat person! We are cat people.
Dr.: I’d like to get a dog that’s my dog, but I’m just not around enough.
CS: This might be an odd question, but for a Seattle native, maybe not…how do you like your coffee?
Dr.: I like my coffee with two creams.
CS: Two creams, that’s it…no sugar?
Dr.: No sugar. I like cappuccino a lot, too. How do you like yours?
CS: I like mine with lots of cream and two sugars, raw sugar if available. I like the texture and taste better than the white stuff.
Dr.: Yeah, our drummer, the guy you’ll see tonight, he’s from Italy, and we have gone over there, stayed with him, and played shows a few times, and he likes to prepare Italian coffee with a specific kind of…this percolator system. I ended up getting one for my house. I really like that. Fresh coffee.
CS: We use a Keurig these days, so it has been a lot easier to have a cup when we want a cup and not worry about drinking a whole pot! But, I love lots of cream!
CS: What’s your favorite beer, or drink, or do you drink at all?
Dr.: I like red wine.
CS: What grape?
Dr.: I like a Shiraz typically. But I like Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joes! (laughs) I am not an expensive wine connoisseur.
CS: Two Buck Chuck is great! And for $2.00, how can you beat it???
Dr.: You can’t. (laughs) I like also a Merlot, Malbec, stuff like that, but Shiraz is my favorite.
CS: So your home base is, because I know you guys are from different places right now. What would the Mentors consider their home base?
Dr.: Riverside, California. That’s where I live.
CS: How does your writing process work?
Dr.: Well, normally, used to be I would try to write a song on my own with a guitar or something, and then go and record it. Now I just go into the studio with a drummer and make stuff up. That’s what I do. So, it’s pretty organic like that. Just whatever comes out comes out, and then I’ll usually smoke some pot and put on some headphones, and some lyrics will just kinda come to me.
CS: So you use a drummer in your process. That’s cool!
Dr.: The guy that did our latest record. He and I play together a lot. Maybe 20 hours a week, and we have been doing that for years, so we have a pretty…
CS: You got a process down.
Dr.: Pretty good. I can just go in and make up 8 or 9 songs in 3 hours.
CS: Do you have an engineer, or do you engineer?
Dr.: Oh no. I don’t do it. I wish I did! I’d save a bunch of money! I don’t know if you know the band the Voodoo Glow Skulls, but they are local in our city, so they have a nice studio that I will go into to record there. There are also two or three other studios that I will use, but that’s the most convenient one. It’s about 20 minutes from my house.
CS: Cool! That’s nice to have a place to go where you are comfortable with and is convenient. So, when you are preparing to release an album, how does that particular process go? With the manufacturing, the artwork, and all that kind of business that goes into releasing an album?
Dr.: It depends. With the latest one, I sent off to a friend, a guy I found actually on Facebook. This guy Nick Price did our art. I just hired him to do it! I explained to him a basic concept. He liked it. I take care of all that myself.
CS: Man, you’re pretty fucking handy, I’d say (both laughs)!
Dr.: I did the same on the book, too…that was a real asshole!
CS: How long did it take to get that book together?
Dr.: Man, I have been working on that thing for 10 years! I kept telling everybody I was doing it. Finally when we started working on the documentary, I said I really need to finish it. So I just holed up in a hotel room for about a week. I finished it. Then, figuring out the proper format for the printer was another week. I had to download all this Adobe shit. Put all these weird fucking notes, and just put it all in the right format was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
CS: I can’t wait to read it. All that hard work will be worth it!
Dr.: Yeah, I am working on two more now.
CS: Two more!!! Same subject matter, or different?
Dr.: Well the book I have for sale tonight is called “The Truth Is Funnier Then Fiction: My Life With Eldon Hoke & The Mentors” written by myself, and is the story of the Mentors from the very beginning to when El Duce died. So, I have another one I am working on covering after that time. Then, another one I am working on cover general reflections on life. So stuff unrelated to all this.
Dr.: Oh yeah!
CS: I have noticed you guys now have more of a presence on social media…
Dr.: Oh yeah. That’s very helpful. It’s amazing.
CS: Has it helped with networking as well as your touring schedule? That is how my husband Noel found out about your show tonight, because I am kinda overwhelmed these days and have a harder time keeping up!
Dr.: Yeah. I was able to book this whole month long tour through Facebook. I would just put out the word that I’m looking for a gig here, and people would chime in. It was actually really easy, because we had been working with a booking agent for a while, but he left to do other jobs…
CS: So, you don’t even have a booking agent! Doing it all through Facebook! That’s incredible! It’s gotten you out of that West Coast to come out and see us!!!
Dr.: (laughs) yeah!
CS: Hopefully that will continue, because we get really excited when you all come around, and try to get as many of our friends out as possible! Do you play any other instruments?
Dr.: I dabble in other things, but I play bass and guitar mainly, but I play keyboards, and I like to fuck around with other stringed instruments like Dulcimer. I also have an autoharp. (laughs) I have a lot of other instruments, but the main ones are guitar and bass.
CS: I know it will be in the book, but since I am only able to buy it tonight, tell me how the Mentors end up together as a band? Just give us a little taste.
Dr.: Well, the story was I started to play guitar on my own. I didn’t have any friends to play with. I made various attempts to learn to play guitar, but not very well. I took some lessons, then I ran into Eric Carlson in 7th grade. He sort of befriended me, and we started talking about various guitar things when he learned I played guitar, which I really didn’t very well. Then he invited me to jam with his band. He actually had a band with a drummer and another guitar player. That’s when I started playing with him. This is all in the book, of course, but the guy who had been playing drums at that time was a hoodlum who was more interested in going and stealing cars and drag racing and shit than playing music. So that left us without a drummer for a time. About a year later, I was walking to our school when I saw this guy carrying drum sticks, El Duce. I went to him, man, do you play drums??? That was it!
CS: Isn’t it funny how things work out? And how many ever years later and here you are!
Dr.: Yeah! Yeah!
CS: You meet each other, you get this band together, how did the concept materialize. You know, with the executioner’s hoods, and…
Dr.: That was really El Duce’s doing. He had this idea of the executioner’s hoods. He was a big fan of…
CS: …and the shock rock element…
CS: I mean, your lyrics are definitely in a world all…
Dr.: Now, that kind of evolved a little differently. When we all got out of high school, none of us had any idea what we wanted to do with our lives. We were kind of footloose and fancy free, all living at home still, so we wanted to form this band. We tried to get a singer. We auditioned and worked with three or four local singers, none of which would work out. So, me and El Duce, because I had this tape recorder that allowed me to overdub on the old style four track tape recorder. So, me and him would just make up songs in my basement. And he and I, well, mostly he would sing on them in a drunken state just for fun. That’s sorta where the Mentors come from. Then, I told the Duce, you should just sing. You should sing, because you are on these songs anyway, and he said no it’s too hard to do it when I’m playing drums, but he somehow learned how to do it! He took that ball and ran with it!
CS: Incredible! Y’all’s crazy lyrics have been quoted at me quite a bit in my life (laughs)! You wouldn’t even believe it! Me and my old girlfriends and now my husband just singing along enjoying the humor not even thinking how some of the overly “PC” folks who may accuse you guys of coming off a bit misogynistic. Not any of our friends, because if you get it, you get it.
Dr.: Right. It has caused us a lot of problems as you can imagine, but also had some benefits, too. The folks who get the humor get it.
CS: I have someone who wants to know very passionately if you will ever have action figures, because they need a full set.
Dr.: You know, I was approached to do a deal like that a while ago, through a Company that we do video distribution through, and they wanted to do it. I was all in favor, but we could never reach an agreement on the terms. I didn’t think the terms wee something I could sign up for, so at that point, I started looking into doing something on my own. I kinda vaguely know how to go about doing it on my own I just haven’t gotten off of my ass to do it. Probably eventually.
Dr.: Probably eventually we’ll do it!
CS: But, action figures put that on your check list! There is interest out there!
Dr.: I think the Murder Junkies have a “GG.” I’m not sure they are selling it when they tour, but I believe there is a “GG” Allin one out there.
CS: (both laughs) I can’t even imagine what that one is like. (laughs) One last question for my own personal knowledge. Do you ever plan to record an audio version of your book, so that I and those of us whose have a mad commute and not as much time to sit down with actual book anymore and have become addicted to Audible these days. You know these days it is hard to find the time to sit down and read a physical book.
Dr.: Right. Sure.
CS: Of course, we will make time to read this one, but hopefully you can make time to record an audio version! You should consider it!
Dr.: That’s a great idea! Thank you! I think I will look into that.
CS: I think the coolest part is that the artists that are recording a non-fiction book, they actually use their own voices!
Dr.: Yeah, my previous drummer had the Paul Stanley book on audio. I listened to some of it. That’s a good idea. Thank you.
CS: Hey! I would buy it. AND listen to it! Well, that’s all I have. I am excited for the show! Thank you so much for taking your time to sit with me and have a chat. It was a pleasure.
Dr.: It was my pleasure. Thank you, Terri.
CS: Remember anytime you guys come into town, we will be here!
Dr.: I hope so.
Mentors set list for June 14, 2017 at 529
Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em
Sandwich of Love
Free Tix For Fucks
Going Through Your Purse (I personally dedicate this one to Allyson)
In & Out Of You
Find Her Feel Her Fuck Her Forget Her