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Feline Fray: Kerbyís Exclusive Interview With Faster Pussycat Frontman Taime Downe

By Jeff Kerby, Contributor
Tuesday, May 29, 2007 @ 4:30 PM

"Then, he writes that in the l

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When Brent Muscat issued his open letter to Taime Downe and company a month ago, (link) it was inevitable that the animosity between the guitarist and vocalist was bound to lead to the proverbial fur flying. After all, Muscatís media driven correspondence had basically been issued in response to Taimeís original statement a couple of months earlier in which he vehemently stated that, in actuality, Brentís version of Faster Pussycat was nothing more than a "tribute band". No one is disputing the fact that Taime has been recording and touring under the Faster Pussycat moniker for years, but complications arose recently when Brent copyrighted the name and decided to start his own version of the group that would play "all classic tracks, no remixes, no B.S." What resulted has been weeks of back and forth between the two camps with lawyers, musicians and even some fans involved in expressing who they believe is most responsible for this situation turning so bilious.

This, of course, isnít the first time Faster Pussycat has been in the news for events that arenít entirely music related. Most rock fans of the period remember that Taime and the boys have cultivated quite the history of bizarre behavior and perceived drug abuse throughout the years, so for the group to be going through such a dramatic public disagreement at this point really shouldnít come as a shock to anyone. In fact, the band has been enjoying a bit of resurgence in the public eye ever since Faster Pussycatís inclusion in various "metal moment" lists such as those offered up by VH-1 and Maxim. What people need to realize though is that during the times when Taime wasnít scratching his crotch with a prosthetic arm or the drummer wasnít getting busted in the Midwest for mailing himself some heroin, the band actually did find time to record and perform some of the most memorable songs of the era. "House of Pain", "Bathroom Wall" and "Cathouse" remain standards of the period in much the same way records such as their self-titled debut and Wake Me When Itís Over have. Fortunately for Taime and company, Faster Pussycatís music sounds just as good when its placed in a stereo today as it did back in the day when you were suffering through third period algebra and trying to feather your hair like Vince Neil.

Right now though, it appears as if the public can look forward to two versions of the band as the parties involved attempt to get the situation resolved in court. Until then, chances are this whole controversy could end up serving as fodder for yet another Faster Pussycat inclusion in a future metal moments list sure to be called something like, "Nine Lives, Two Bands." Either way, it doesnít appear that Taime and Brent will be sitting down to Christmas dinner any time soon.

KNAC.COM: Well, do you want to start with Brentís letter?

TAIME: UhÖyeah, itís just a bunch of shit. Itís all just sympathy lies. No, he never contacted me. I havenít heard from him since before he was sick. I tried calling him like three times because me and Danny (Nordahl, FP Bassist) were going to go and visit him. I never heard from him. Still to this day--I havenít heard from him. Thatís just a crock of shit. Itís a lie. Him going and registering and trade marking "Faster Pussycat" was done behind our backs, and by doing that, he did it illegally. We have huge, big time trade marking attorneys on it right now, so this is going to come to an end real quick.

KNAC.COM: There were some who wondered how your album was released last year under the Faster Pussycat moniker if Brent, in fact, owned the name.

TAIME: Itís like, whatever. He just went and trademarked the name behind our backs without us knowing it which is illegal because we had a partnership before.

KNAC.COM: Do you think that was done in order to try to gain leverage for a complete reunion?

TAIME: No, he just did it that way because heís sneaky. Heís just sneaky.

KNAC.COM: Was him doing that something that surprised you though?

TAIME: Yeah, totally.

KNAC.COM: So, in your opinion, he hadnít always been like that?

TAIME: No, heís always been sneaky. I just didnít think that he would go and do what he did. It is kind of disappointing though.

KNAC.COM: What were you thinking when you first found out that Brent had his own version of Faster Pussycat and was planning on playing gigs?

TAIME: I was pissed because we had just got done touring. I was like, "what?" No, he never contacted me. Heís full of it.

KNAC.COM: Well, if he had, would you have been receptive?

TAIME: No. Iím playing in a band that I created and started, and itís called Faster Pussycat. Iím not going to go and join some other Faster Pussycat. Brent was never even kicked out of the band either. He just didnít want to go on this tour that we did because he had toÖI donít know what he had to doÖgo to real estate school or something like that. So, we had to find a replacement with Eric Griffin of the Murderdolls. He filled in for us for awhile. We even asked Brent if he wanted to contribute to the new record, but he never did. Heís just lazy. Iím not gonna bash on him, but thatís just the way he is. He just wants everything for nothing.

KNAC.COM: I know you have stated before, that you believe that you essentially wrote all the songs.

TAIME: Yeah, me and Greg wrote all the songs.

KNAC.COM: That being said, if you had to put a percentage on Brentís contribution, what would it be?

TAIME: It wouldnít even be like ten percent.

KNAC.COM: Yet, he has got the trademark now.

TAIME: Yeah, he wonít have it for long. Heís gonna have to spend money to get it. Thatís all legal stuff though, and itís all in the process. I canít really talk about it now, but it isnít anything all that interesting anyway.

KNAC.COM: Was it more irritating for you from a personal or a professional standpoint that this happened?

TAIME: Both. I thought he was my friend. Then he cries about us not contacting him when he was sick. I tried three different times, and I never heard back from him. To this day, I havenít gotten a call from him. Itís complete bullshit. Danny and I were going to drive out to Vegas from LA. Then, he writes that in the letter to make it look like Iím some kind of asshole or something. Itís such crap. Itís a load of shit.

KNAC.COM: Then, there was the line in the letter where he says that if it would have been you who was sick, he would have been thereÖ

TAIME: Heís so full of shit. If I would have had some money for him, he would have been there.

KNAC.COM: Then, after the sentiment and the invitation to join the band, it was like, "P.S., if you use the name, Iím going to sue you because I own it."

TAIME: Yeah well, we are in the process of doing that to him, so yeah, whatever.

KNAC.COM: As far as Faster Pussycat goes, what do you think of that version versus what you have going?

TAIME: What I have is the band I created. I created it since day one in 86. I created the band. I put Brent in the band. I put Greg in the band. I put everyone in the band. I wrote the fuckiní songs. I still write the songs. I do what I want to do, and thatís just the way it is. Itís my business. Faster Pussycat is my business. Brent was a part of that until he went behind our backs. To me, Faster Pussycat is my rock and roll music. It wasnít put together by everybody. The old stuff? Well that was my stuff too. Brent contributed on a few songs, and thatís cool and all, but I contributed on every song. I wrote the vocals and the melodies and the most of the guitar parts.

KNAC.COM: So youíre saying is that if anyone is going to have their name on it, then itís going to be you, right?

TAIME: Whatever. I created it. Thatís just the way it is. Itís a fact. Whenever someone says something about the new stuff not being Faster Pussycat because it sucks or whatever, wellÖyeah, it is. Itís my stuff. I wrote "Bathroom Wall", "Cathouse", "Slip of the Tongue"--I wrote those completely. Greg Steele and I wrote "House of Pain" together. I wrote most of it. Brent co-wrote about four or five songs on three records.

KNAC.COM: So you had no idea he was trying to get that AVN Award gig or anything? Just one day you woke up and there was another Faster Pussycat?

TAIME: Yeah, well weíre still going on tour in the summer.

KNAC.COM: Does a song ever cease being yours in the sense that the audience can begin to dictate how they want it to be performed with little patience for what the artist may want to project?

TAIME: It doesnít.

KNAC.COM: SoÖitís always your baby, and you can do what you want with it? Do you think that type of uncompromising attitude is a requirement for anyone who is going to ever produce anything worthwhile?

TAIME: Exactly. Iíve always done the music the way Iíve wanted to do it. Iím not going to stop now. Why the hell would I?

KNAC.COM: Sure. Iíve got to ask you--when was the last time you saw Decline of Western Civilization: The Metal Years?

TAIME: That would have beenÖ87?

KNAC.COM: Really?

TAIME: I donít like watching myself. Some people donít like hearing themselves talk on a tape recorder--I just donít like watching myself, whatever.

KNAC.COM: You remember the part though where they were talking about you smacking someone with the microphone stand and you said whoever didnít like the music could "eat a full bag of shit"?

TAIME: Exactly. I donít go and write a record for fans. I write music to write music that I like, and if they dig it, cool. If they donít, fuck it--you canít please everybody. Thatís always been my philosophy.

KNAC.COM: Even if some of the newer material hasnít been viewed in a positive light by many, is it still rewarding to know that you are continuing to write and record original songs and not playing some nostalgia tour in a casino somewhere?

TAIME: Thatís for when Iím in my Frank Sinatra days and Iím too feeble to move around or anything.

KNAC.COM: When you perform a song like "House of Pain," where does that put you emotionally?

TAIME: Itís all just memories. Itís all cool. When we go out and play, we play old stuff and new stuff. I just play stuff that Iíve created throughout my life. We play all the hits, and then we play a couple of Newlydeads songs and then we play some of the new Pussycat record which is slamminí.

KNAC.COM: In your mind, whether itís old or new or traditionally sounding or more electronic--regardless of the sound, does it all fit together in your mind because you created it?

TAIME: Oh yeah, it goes killer. If you went and saw David Bowie or the Stones, and they just played off of one record, youíd be disappointed. We just have so much stuff, and we arenít playing three hour sets. Plus, people get bored. Slam them in the face with a cool ass set. Thatís what I always try to do is perform a slamminí set.

KNAC.COM: Is that more important than creating in the studio in a sense?

TAIME: I like them both. I like to go out and play live, but I also like creating even though sometimes it does get monotonous sitting there after awhile though. Playing the shows and hanging out with the people--thatís the fun stuff. Itís fun creating, but itís more fun to go out there and play it and have a good time.

KNAC.COM: Has that always been the common thread? Is it still cool for you to go out and raise hell?

TAIME: Fuck yeah.

KNAC.COM: Thatís interesting because you talk to a lot of people who go, "I donít do the party scene. This is a business where there is no time for that behavior."

TAIME: Fuck it. Itís only rock and roll. It isnít rocket science--just bash it and have a good time. Thatís what itís supposed to be. Just do it for as long as you can.

KNAC.COM: So youíre basically saying that the motivations for making music donít have to change with time? You can still be making music for the same reason you started over twenty years ago?

TAIME: I do, you know, I just want to make music and have people get it and hear it and want to have it. I always wanted to create music, and thatís what I was lucky enough to do.

KNAC.COM: Does it ever shock you of the scope of influence a song like "House of Pain" had? I mean, itís very rare that a local scene such as the glam metal scene of LA in the 80ís just blows up and the music ends up piped into malls in Des Moines or wherever.

TAIME: Itís still strange. People come up to me all the time and go, "oh man, Iíve been a fan of your music for twenty years." Itís weird.

KNAC.COM: Weird and cool?

TAIME: Yeah, itís both. Especially when you consider it was something you just wrote in like a room somewhere. Then, the next thing you know, you have Tom Hamilton from Aerosmith come up and say it was his favorite song when it came out. To have him tell me that at a show, was so fuckiní cool.

KNAC.COM: So, can you confidently state that you raised enough hell, partied enough and took full advantage of the situations afforded you at that time?

TAIME: Oh yeahÖas much as I could. We toured constantly. It was a blast.

KNAC.COM: How do you even go to real estate school after something like that? Iím not just talking about Brent here, butÖhow does anyone move on to a more "normal" life? How hard of a transition is that?

TAIME: I donít know. Iíve never gone. (laughs)

KNAC.COM: But, you know what Iím getting atÖ

TAIME: YeahÖuh, I dunno. I mean, I give him credit for learning stuff. I always constantly learn stuff--I just donít go to school for it. (laughs)

KNAC.COM: I always wondered how one would go from rock star to working at AM/PM, butÖitís good to know you havenít made that transition. That being the case, there are plenty of rumors about what goes on in your personal life. Is that anything you care to expound upon? Or is that just a mystery that needs to remain as such?

TAIME: Yeah, thatís a secret that is just held in my little black box.

KNAC.COM: Well, is it safe to say that it concerns a lot of late nights.

TAIME: Sure, we still go out and have our share of drinks and all of that. Iím not a big cokehead like everyone says I am either. Iíve dabbled my share in all the drugs, but mostly just alcohol.

KNAC.COM: MostlyÖ?

TAIME: Yeah.

KNAC.COM: That was a funny part in your interview for The Metal Years, when Penelope asked if you had a drug problem and there was this awkward silence and then you said something like, "no, just Advil." It wasnít very convincing.

TAIME: Ahh, fuck it, it just wasnít anyoneís business.

KNAC.COM: It is what it is, and you donít need to know--is that it?

TAIME: If you know, then you know. If you donít, then tough shit.

KNAC.COM: When your drummer mailed himself that heroin while you guys were on the road, did it occur to you at the time that it was as dumb as it sounds right now?

TAIME: Yeah, brilliant move--it was just pathetic. What was even dumber was that Eric Stacy (former bassist, Faster Pussycat) did it the following year when he went on vacation to Pennsylvania with his girlfriend. He did the exact same thing that Mark Michals (former drummer) got busted for. Mark had been warned a million times about his heroin problem getting us in trouble. That was the final straw. That was also Ericís warning. Then the same thing happened to Eric a year later. He went out and did the exact same thing. Thatís how fuckiní bright he is. Thatís why he was eliminated from the band too.

KNAC.COM: Thatís interesting because he has been one of the most vocal entities in Brentís camp.

TAIME: I know, and one of the reasons why was because he was kicked out of the band originally. He was kicked out for a reason, and when we put it back together in 2001, it was me, Greg, Brent, Danny and Chad and Christian from the Newlydeads. Then, Greg left, but I still talk to Greg all the time. Eric wanted in at that time too, but I was like, "you were kicked out for a reason. I donít want you in the band." This is just his little moment to enjoy himself before they have to stop doing it. Heís a piece. I donít want to do an Eric bash either, butÖI donít care for the dude.

KNAC.COM: In your defense, when the cops show up and take the drummer away, it does kind of fuck the band upÖ

TAIME: Yeah, we had a gig the next night.

KNAC.COM: What was the process for trying to fix that like?

TAIME: We had to have Frankie Banali fly out. Right before, we had two tour buses, and the one we were in stayed in KC the night before he got busted. See, Mark rode in the crew bus because I had found needles in the back lounge of our bus awhile before, and I was pissed off. I was ready to kill him. Our bus driver actually found them, and I was like, "fuck". He was warned before we ever went on the road. Since I was really pissed off at him, he didnít want to ride on the bus with me. That was fine by me, but when we rolled into sound check, we were waiting for Mark, and that was when we found out. We had just started a tour, and that was for Wake Me. Then, we were gonna go to Europe and from then we were gonna go on the road with Motley for three months. This was just the club run at the very beginning of the tour, and that was just the final straw. I had offered to get Mark into rehab and have him join back up with us after the Motley tour, but he just couldnít to it. It was hard for that to happen because he was a friend, but we had our record company, all the crew people--about thirty people--depending on us.

KNAC.COM: Recreational partying aside, it really was a business at that point.

TAIME: It was. He was warned too. We had Frankie on the plane that night to Minneapolis the next day. He got in, in the morning. As soon as we could load in, in the morning, we rehearsed with Frankie. We got through about 75% of the set. We had to cut it a little short though. We even played the night he got arrested. We only played a few songs, but we played with the opening actís drummer. We went out and playedówe couldnít do it bad ass or anything, but we didnít do bad with a drummer we just picked up who was playing stuff out of his head from opening up for us for two nights. We pulled it off though, and after two or three shows, we were back to normal.

KNAC.COM: Was it ever hard for you to keep the personal part aside from the professional?

TAIME: Itís not a party every single night!

KNAC.COM: Thatís what I want clarification on because if a person reads any biography about someone like Jim Morrison or whoever, the authors tend to fixate on the partying and the drugs to the point where a person wonders when the hell they had time to produce anything.

TAIME: I dunno, but I donít get fucked up every night. When youíre out on tour, youíve got a show the next day. When it gets to the point where you canít do it, youíve got to just chill or whatever. Iíve always been pretty good at knowing when is good. Youíve got to do the partying after the showóhave a couple of drinksóget loose or whatever. You donít get hammered though. I donít like being completely trashed. That isnít fun. Being buzzed is fun.

KNAC.COM: Vomiting isnít fun.

TAIME: Puke? No, I canít even smell it or Iíll puke.

KNAC.COM: When you walk Sunset today, how nostalgic is it for you?

TAIME: That scene was just insane. Thatís one thing that is just missing from Hollywood today is a really cool rock scene. It was just so crazy then. It was really just a big, crazy cool scene thing. There hasnít been one anywhere since thenónot just LA eitheróanywhere.

KNAC.COM: When you first got to LA, were your eyes just as big as saucers when you saw the girls on the Strip?

TAIME: Ahh, it was so coolÖ.it was cool.

KNAC.COM: Who the hell decided big tits and peroxide blonde hair wasnít cool?

TAIME: I dunno, itís still cool. It never stopped being cool in my book.

KNAC.COM: Isnít that the way it should be?

TAIME: Thatís the way it is in my little mind. People can like whatever they wantóI like all types of stuffóbut, you canít take anything away from a nice, big olí set of titties.

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