Barely a month after I'd first
laid eyes on them at North by Northwest and declared them
the winner of the Wet Panty Award, Scared of Chaka
stopped by the Magic Garden and sat at my rack! There
seems to be an unwritten rule in stripping that if any kind
of unusual shit goes down, whether guns are pulled, glasses
smashed, or the dreamiest boy in town walks in, you'll be
butt naked. I was butt naked. And suddenly speechless and
shy! It was all I could do to breathlessly stutter their
name, wrap myself in my robe, and retreat to the basement.
Obviously amused, Chaka's lead singer Cisco bought me a
Manhattan. And told me it was the first time they'd been
so serenaded upon entering a strip club! What is wrong
with rock'n'roll these days?
One month later, a frenzied
throng gathered at Satyricon for the best Christmas pageant
ever. Chaka delivered an hour long set of exhilarating
punk rock. A large chunk of Portland's rock aficionados
seem to have migrated here from Albuquerque, and they
turn out en masse to see these local heroes. Chaka's been
perfecting its infectious punk pop formula for seven years
and five albums. The recipe: start blistering and end
on fire! For the ladies they threw in a handful of Devo
covers and did a dreamy version of Blondie's "Dreaming."
The following day the New York Times had this to
say about the Chaka show:
"Scared of Chaka stirs up
the riotous anima that exists in every man who is moved
by music. And Portland, Oregon seems to have a lot of
these men! Beer is spilt, spit, slipped in, and slurped.
The intimacy that exists between the band and its
audience hasn't been seen
since the Beatles, and before that since Aristophanes."
Tell me about it! Looking
to get a bit more intimate, I invited Cisco, the Julio
Iglesias of punk rock, out for drinks. With no stage between
us, the intimacy really grew!
Barely a month
after I'd first laid eyes on them at North by
Northwest and declared them the winner of the Wet Panty
Award, Scared of Chaka stopped by the Magic Garden
and sat at my rack!
Viva: Are you ready?
Chaka: I'm ready. I
was born ready.
Viva: Now, why do you
Chaka: I don't know,
but those glasses are so fantastic.
Viva: (totally thrown off the subject of Big
Trouble in Little China) You like 'em? How long have
you had that drummer?
Chaka: Four years...five
years...Tough guy, huh? Tough drummer.
Viva: And a whole lot
Viva: The girls are always swooning over that drummer.
Who do you think gets more action? You or him?
Chaka: You know, usually
our roadies get far more action, and I don't know why
is. I'm a real jerk.
Viva: So, how did Scared
of Chaka come about?
Chaka: Yeah, um, seven
years ago I just wanted to start a band that played music
I liked, like the Mummies and Supercharger.
Viva: The Mummies?
Supercharger? Wow, that's exactly what I told my last
band I wanted to do! They said, "Yeah, we're just like
Supercharger, only we can play our instruments." Where
all have you been on tour?
Chaka: We've done the
States five times, Europe twice, and Japan; that was the
best place. It was a magical journey.
Viva: Where are the
Chaka: You know, Japanese
girls are sooo confusing. You have no idea where you stand
whatsoever. They're very flirty and affectionate, but
the moment you try to make physical contact, they just
freak out and run out of the room. It happened all the
time. One time I banged my head on the mic, and was bleeding
a little bit. After the show these girls came up and handed
me a napkin and motioned for me to wipe my head with it.
Then they took it back all thrilled and ran off with it.
So somewhere in Japan there's a factory making a lot of
clones. A super super-race of Japanese Ciscos.
Viva: So, is anyone
in the band scared of Chaka?
Chaka: Not anymore.
Viva: Well, while we're
on the Land of the Lost/sci-fi theme, a customer
of mine is writing a sci-fi book and has based a character
in it on me. So he interviewed me the other day and asked
me these five questions. Firstly, what's you're favorite
planet or constellation? The starrrrrs?
Chaka: I'm pretty into
Viva: Shut up, Beavis.
What musician in history would you most like to be and
Chaka: Townshend. I'd
sing and I'd kick out the dopey hippy. We'd just be a
power trio, which was basically what the Who was anyway.
I've always idolized Townshend.
Viva: The rest of the
questions I forgot. What's the sexiest Pretenders song?
Chaka: "Message of
Viva: Ooooo. Never
heard that before. Not Lemmy Kilmister, not Duff McKagan,
not the Cramps....
Chaka: What do they
Viva: Almost everybody
says "Tattooed Love Boys."
Chaka: See, that's
too predictable. That's a good one; it's fantastic, but
it's obvious. "Message of Love" has the weird drumbeat
Viva: What's the sexiest
song of all time?
Chaka: "Can't Explain"
by the Who is the best rock song of all time, but the
sexiest? I'd have to go with either Billie Holiday or
Big Mama Thornton. She was horny.
Viva: Sexiest drink?
Chaka: Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Viva: What's the sexiest
Viva: Who's sexier,
Deborah Harry or Chrissie Hynde?
Chaka: Deborah Harry.
Chrissie Hynde is a little more rough and tumble, which
is definitely sexy, but Deborah Harry is a lot more smoky,
a lot more maternal. That attracts me. I'm kind of a mama's
Viva: What's the sexiest
experience you've ever had on stage?
Chaka: I once performed
an entire song
while making out with a girl.
Viva: Nice! On guitar?
Chaka: Yeah, someone
from the audience sang the song.
Chaka: That was in
Viva: Sexiest stripper
Chaka: Well, I went
to Catholic School, so I gotta say I'm a sucker for the
old standards, the classics.
Viva: Do you like bare
toes or stockinged toes?
Viva: Like nylon? Or
The tape ran out. And for
the first time ever I didn't even notice. What's to blame?
Hung Far Low's bottomless Irish Coffees or those bottomless
brown eyes? The New York Times weighs in thusly:
"Winter in Portland, Oregon
throbs with a restless mania, characterized mainly by
the peregrinations of its Seasonal-Affected-Disordered
youths. An oddly livable balance is struck between the
giddy enthusiasm of the D.I.Y. punk scene, the healthiest
in America, and the widely available alcoholic beverages,
of which Hung Far Low's certainly serves up the most potent
in an environment darker than a mid-December afternoon.
If it weren't for the surly barkeep and peculiarly nauseating
soft rock, our leaders of tomorrow would languish indefinitely
in the company of HFL's rare 'Fire Buddha.' But instead
they migrate hither and thither, from syrupy cocktails
to jagged aural traumas and back again. The economy couldn't
be better. Move there now. Scared of Chaka did!"