Monday, July 30, 2007

Interview: The Ugly

The UGLY were one of the most notorious acts of the 1977 punk scene in Toronto. They were considered the outlaws of the underground and featured Sam Ugly, Tony Torcher, Raymi Gunner and Mike Nightmare. Greg Dick got together with the remaining members of the band back in July of 2007 to tell the story of the Ugly. I want to thank Ralph Alfonso, Colin Brunton, Gail Bryck, Vince Carlucci, Nora Currie, Steve Koch, Henry Martinuk, Patrick Klauss, Kire Paputts, Don Pyle, Ross Taylor and Liz Worth and for all their help.

Are you guys all originally from Toronto?
Raymi (R): I am.
Whereabouts in Toronto did you grow up?
R: In the Parliament and Shuter area and Pharmacy and Danforth where I met Sam and Tony. Warden Avenue. St. Dunstan’s.
And Raymi’s brother Mike Nightmare was the singer.
R: Mike was in school with Tony. I was in kindergarten or grade one. Tony and Mike were in grade 7 or 8.
So Tony, were you originally from Toronto?
Tony (T): Yep. I’m from the east end too. I went to school with Mike. Elementary school. R: It was run by nuns.
T: I met Mike in grade 6.
And Sam, what part of the city did you grow up in?
Sam (S): I grew up in the Beaches.
So you guys all met in school?
S: I didn’t go to school.
T: Sam, you went to school. Yeah, me and Raymi we met … we have known each other since we were ten or twelve and then I got into a band with Gonsales.
R: Hey, your friends used to bum smokes off me when I was in grade 2. I was in grade 2 and your grade 8’s were bumming smokes off me.
T: I played in a band with Sam. The first band I played with was with Sam and Mike. It was called SHOCK.
And what year was that?
T: ‘75?
S: Yeah.
And Mike Nightmare was the singer?
T: Yeah.
And what kind of music did you guys play?
S: Hoodlum.
T: Yeah it was total Hoodlum rock.
Did you guys do cover songs?
T: Yeah. We did MC5.
R: You did the NEW YORK DOLLS. IGGY.
S: I don’t even remember that band SHOCK.
T: I know because what happened was do you remember when Mike bought that Marshall P.A. system? That was called SHOCK. Now you remember?
S: Sort of.
And Sam was in the band SHOCK?
T: Yeah. That was before …
We have gone back so far Sam doesn’t even remember. Did Mike have long hair back then?
T: Yeah he had long hair.
S: He had no chest hair though. He shaved it.
T: He used to wear those snakeskin platform boots.
R: Back in the Yorkville days.
It sounds a little more rock ‘n roll. A bit more glamier than the Yorkville stuff.
S: He had the glitter. That’s when we started playing.
Did you guys ever go to a clothing shop named Long John’s back then? It was on Yonge Street.
T: Mike went to Long John’s. I stayed away from there.
Why did you stay away?
T: It was too slick for me.
Yeah. And that might have been Master John’s right beside where they had boots and everything. Why did SHOCK end?
T: I don’t know. If I say Mike could not sing maybe I was wrong. I don’t know, the band just didn’t click, did it Sam?
S: Well I can’t even remember SHOCK so.
T: I remember SHOCK. You don’t remember Mike playing in our band? Me and Kevin and you and Kevin’s dad in Kevin’s basement. Don’t you remember that?
S: I remember the basement. I don’t remember the name SHOCK.
T: Mike was our singer.
R: He said he got a band together with you guys prior to the beginning of the UGLY.
T: Mike was our singer. He played in our band for months.
S: That was when Raymi was a little kid.
T: Yeah, that was when Raymi was just a little kid.
After SHOCK, what did you guys move on to?
S: The UGLY I guess.
T: No we were the MARQUEES.
R: I was roadieing for you guys. You played high schools.
Tell me about the MARQUEES.
T: The MARQUEES was basically a cover band. We played KINKS ….
R: You did “Purple Haze,” I remember. You sung it.
T: Yeah, but we played “Purple Haze” on 78rpms.
S: Yeah, well, Sam is the one who sung it.
So that was the UGLY that was playing that?
R: No that was the MARQUEES.
T: But we speeded it up. We just made it so fast that it didn’t sound like “Purple Haze’. It sounded like a glaze.
What bars did the MARQUEES play in or was it just high schools?
R: Oh everywhere. Tons of places.
S: We did a five year solid tour of Southern Ontario.
R: They were everywhere.
T: It was a lot of fun wasn’t it, Sam? Didn’t we have fun?
S: It was a friggin’ riot.
R: You guys played at that club called the Highland Creek. Do you remember?
S: You name any town in Ontario and we played it.
R: It was on Kingston Road there. That was the biker place.
S: Oh, that was the Running Pump.
R: I remember that gig. A riot broke out that night.
S: After five years of that bullshit I told Kevin to … he was driving the truck then on the way to Kingston I think.
Who was Kevin?
S: He was the guitar player and lead vocalist. Okay Tony, I am sorry, what a jerk he was. T: Why are you saying you’re sorry?
S: Well we said we weren’t going to cut anybody up, but he’s okay. We went through a lot of shit with this guy and we were on our way to Kingston to do the first gig and we were going off to other towns and shit. I just told him to pull over because I had to piss. So he pulled over, I got out of the truck, went to the side of the truck, opened the door very quietly, grabbed my bass and my suitcase, crossed the highway, hitch hiked … took the first ride right back to Toronto. I left Tony and Kevin.
T: I was heartbroken. I went out to every bar. I was a barfly. I drank myself to tears because of Sam.
S: But you didn’t know where I was.
T: I know.
S: That’s when we started the UGLY.
T: Yeah, but do you know what you did to me?
S: I let you see the light.
T: You turned me into a barfly. I was heartbroken. When you left me that day I was going to hang myself.
S: I knew we were going to be back together again.
When you guys were in the MARQUEES, when you were in town, you weren’t going to see gigs in Toronto like at Victory Burlesque.
S: We were too busy rehearsing.
R: IGGY POP played there. His first gig was there in ’73. I was there with Mike. And I saw STEPPENWOLF after that.
I know SILVERHEAD played there and the NEW YORK DOLLS.
R: The guy who coached me in baseball was an owner of the Victory Burlesque, Mr. Lee. That’s how I remember seeing IGGY.
Did you ever go to Massey Hall or Maple Leaf Gardens?
R: Oh yeah. Well Massey Hall mostly. LOU REED, SPARKS, STEPPENWOLF. Of course these guys played that kind of music.
A lot of those crowds crossed over into the Crash ‘n Burn scene.
R: Mike was part of it. He was there with the TUBES. “White Punks on Dope.”
The show you had to be 18 to get in.
R: Mike got me in. He got backstage.
What kind of records were you buying at home?
S: Buying?
Well, or stealing?
S: Borrowing.
R: The last album I ever bought was “Quadrophenia.” After that I started learning how to play my own stuff. Sam and Tony were good teachers. That’s how I got in the UGLY.

So what is it that turned you guys onto the earliest parts of punk rock? What turned you onto punk?
R: Chicks.
What about music?
R: It was the music. It was sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll.
S: For me I was just so sick and tired of the norm. Tony and I weren’t really listening to the newest punk. We just started writing music for the MARQUEES and the UGLY. We didn’t really listen to the top punk, or whatever it was, that was happening.
So what would have inspired you guys to say “Okay, lets start the UGLY now?”
T: MC5.
So it was pretty much the same stuff that would have influenced the SEX PISTOLS or the DEAD BOYS.
S: For me it wasn’t any bands. I just wanted to get away from the norm. I didn’t even know about the RAMONES when Tony and I started to write shit.
When was the first time you saw the RAMONES, Sam?
S: The first time I saw them was at that place on Queen Street.
Queen Street. Where would that have been?
S: It was in the east end.
The Queensway?
S: No, Queen Street, but east end.
T: The Commodor.
S: No. I’m talking about the RAMONES.
The first couple of times would have been the New Yorker. After that they played with IGGY POP at the “Lust for Life” gig at the Masonic Temple.
R: That was the DEAD BOYS and the RAMONES at the New Yorker.
S: It was before the Masonic Temple.
That would have been JOHNNY LOVESIN at the New Yorker.
S: No this is a place on Queen Street on the south side. The Palace or something.
Okay. I don’t know that one. I am going to have to do some research and find out.
R: JOHNNY LOVESIN did do that gig at the New Yorker, that first one.
S: It wasn’t the New Yorker where I saw the RAMONES.
So anyways you guys just felt the urgency … you were inspired to start playing heavier music because, I mean, you guys started around the same time as the New York bands and the English bands.
S: Just about, yeah.
Tell me about Brian Vaders, the original guitarist of the UGLY.
S: He wasn’t the ….
R: Yeah. Remember the long-haired hippy guy?
T: He was before Raymi.
S: Yeah but he wasn’t really our guitar player.
In the CD booklet that’s what it says.
S: I have to read that.
T: He was in the band for two weeks. Then he ratted.
R: On air, let’s get this straight. Brian Vaders rented the P.A. system and he didn’t tell us that payments were due and police were sent. He didn’t rat. It was a misunderstanding. That’s why they threw him out. It was just stupidity.
Mike kicked him out because he wasn’t cool.
R: We didn’t kick him out he just didn’t come back.
But he left the P.A.
R: He just left the P.A. but it was under his name. He didn’t tell us when the dues were done.
So what happened? You guys kept using the P.A. Did anything happen because of using it?
R: Yeah we got arrested and it was thrown out of court.
Oh, so the cops came looking for you.
S: Again.
And did Brian tell the cops on you?
R: Yeah he ratted. Mike beat the fuck out of him.
By this time we have the original four guys of the UGLY. What did you first call the band?
R: ROTTEN. I have the poster at home.
S: And then Johnny Rotten came out so Tony came up with the name the UGLY.
T: I named the band.
So Tony you thought of the name ROTTEN and the UGLY.
T: I thought of the name ROTTEN and the UGLY.
So you guys came out about the same time as the SEX PISTOLS so as not to be confused with Johnny Rotten you changed the name to the UGLY.
T: Well I think we came out before the SEX PISTOLS but we weren’t acknowledged. We were trying to break down the whole barrier of the old school music where you had to have a million lights, a million amplifiers, a P.A. system, and a manager before you could play a club. So we walk in and go, ‘Huh, I got a little Fender amplifier, a 100 watt light bulb over the ceiling and that’s our show man.’ And ever since then we changed it all.
So Tony you thought of the name the UGLY. Now you guys were constantly in trouble with the law. I guess it started off with Brian Vaders.
R: That was the one time and it was thrown out though.
So that was that. That was gone.
S: My own band put me in jail.
How did that happen Sam?
S: How did that happen? I quit the UGLY.
T: How did I put you in jail for that?
S: Because you guys changed the lock on the rehearsal space and I wanted my amp. And Carmela and I got really drunk one night and I said ‘I’m getting my amp.’
R: I think we are jumping ahead here.
This is jumping ahead. This would probably be when you went to the VILETONES.
S: Yeah.
Okay we are going way ahead here but we will get back to that.
T: I never said anything bad about you.
R: Hey, I played for the ‘TONES too. At the Hotel Isabella, I played for the ‘TONES. We crammed in a session at Yorkville.
S: You guys put me in jail, man. I never got my amp back either.
Raymi, you played in the VILETONES?
R: Yeah.
S: When?
R: We played the Isabella. Eva threw a bottle at him.
Eva was Steve Leckie’s girlfriend right?
R: Eva Destruction threw a bottle at him and bashed him in the head.
S: When were you in the VILETONES?
R: We did a gig with this Italian guy way out at York Mills Avenue. We rehearsed at his Mom’s house. She made pasta and we were jamming it out downstairs.
S: Was this before I was in the VILETONES or after?
R: After. He wanted me to do a gig so he could say to Mike ‘Hey I got everyone of your UGLY members in my band at one time.’ Leckie.
S: Well after I didn’t give a shit.
R: Then I played for him and Tony played for him.
S: No, Tony was in the VILETONES.
R: I played a VILETONES gig with him at least.
S: Tony was in the VILETONES because when I quit the UGLY I got Tony into the VILETONES.
R: So we are always arguing, even over the music.
T: Gee, you are such a good Samaritan.
We are jumping way ahead here. We got to go back to before the VILETONES. So what eventually happened to Brian Vaders? Did you lose touch with him?
S: Who gives a shit what happened to Brian Vaders?
Fuck Brian Vaders. Because of all your trouble with the law you guys declared your music hoodlum rock. What was the difference between hoodlum rock and punk rock?
T: It stems right from your soul. Believe it or not, me, Mike, Raymi and Sam, we had soul. It is something that you just can’t have. You’re not born with it. But we all had it. That’s how our music came out. Just from our soul.
S: We all had one foot in the gutter.
T: You could call it punk or new wave or ska or whatever or any of these jerk off labels that they had. We played our own honest music. It was true music. They could call it whatever they wanted to call it but we were the true rebels of the city.
There was no question about it. And Tony you were quoted as saying ‘A hoodlum rocker always has a crowbar in the trunk of his Cadillac and he don’t use it to take the tires off. He uses it to take heads off with.’
T: Well I have never done that. I have never taken anybody’s head off.
R: But he has had a crowbar under his Cadillac.
S: You almost took Garbagecan’s head off.
T: No, but that was to defend myself.
R: Didn’t one of your girlfriends fall out the door when you were going around a corner?
T: Yeah. I ran her over.
I know that Mike Nightmare in ’77 said something of the same thing. You guys were true natural hoodlums. He said, “Anarchists? We’re not anarchists. We’re just natural born. Like, it happens. It just happens. We don’t mean for it to happen. It just happens.”
T: That is exactly true.
R: The UGLY was an all out assault.
T: That is why our music has so much balls.
R: You listen to one of the songs called “Black Days”. It talks about the beginning of man, light. We gotta dominate the cave. We gotta get inside not all this other stuff.
T: What was that other song? “K4”? That was before K4 was even invented.
R: Then you see K4 with all these tanks with K4 written all over them. Don’t point that gun at me.
T: When did we write that song?
R: We wrote that when we played with TEENAGE HEAD at the Colonial.
S: Should we net royalties for that?
T: We were prophets.
Did the UGLY attract other hoodlums to your gigs?
R: Oh yeah. We had a guy jump on stage wearing a shell for his underwear. A string with a shell with big construction boots doing some dance with this chick in garters at the Shock Theatre. Mike was in a big black executioner mask.
S: That’s because the cops were after him.
Mike was known to wear the executioner mask and the big yellow sunglasses to disguise himself from the cops, right?
S: Yeah it was a leather mask he had on.
In the earliest days of punk, the scene was largely made up of the OCA (Ontario College Art) art school crowd. How did they react to the UGLY?
T: They hated us.
How do you know that?
R: The DIODES would not play with us. That’s true.
T: The art crowd hated us. O.C.A. was DIODES country. MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS, the DISHES.
T: Yeah, yeah. We just didn’t fit in with that scene. They hated us maybe because we were too tough.
R: We were pirates.
T: We’re going to kill you.
R: Think about it. A band would go do a set. We would go to the bar the four of us. Maybe we would have a big guy with us. As soon as the band put their instruments down we would jump on stage. They would feel violated. We pirated the stage. We swung down on ropes like pirates attacking from one galley to the next.
T: Oh Raymi, you remind me of Errol Flynn.
And you guys were probably one of the loudest bands in Toronto, which probably scared the art school crowd. I would hear different stories but were you guys based in Kensington Market?
T: No. Mike lived there with Ruby.
R: Above “Courage My Love.” 14 Kensington.
I know the WILD THINGS, a band he had later on were based out of Kensington.
R: The old Tiger bar.
Yeah, I heard quite a few stories about Mike down there. Quite often the members of your band were in jail. Did this ever lead to the cancellation of gigs?
R: I don’t think so.
T: We didn’t have gigs then.
R: I got bailed out before a gig, yeah.
S: So did I.
R: The 19th, 1978, your birthday, I spent my first day in jail.
S; Do you remember Cindy Dentyne from the DENTYNES? The night of David’s fire I stayed at her place in the basement. I slept on the couch. I had a court date the next day. Her father came down and said, “there is a burglar in the house and he slept over” and Cindy is going, “that’s Sam.” So I am having breakfast with this guy and do you remember the bass that Mike sold me, the Fender Jazz? I’m going to court for that.
Is this the bass that we have here?
R: No this is the bass that was in the fire.
S: I went to my court date and guess who’s the judge: Cindy’s dad.
Oh my god. So you got off or you went away for ten years?
S: No. He got me good. I just had breakfast with the guy.
T: How come you seem to be in these little predicaments?
S: The next time I saw her, I said, ‘Your dad just put me away and gave me this huge fine.’
Sam tell me about this band the DENTYNES. Who were the DENTYNES?
S: They were an all girl band and Cindy and …
T: … and Benny and Dianne.
S: See, Tony knows all their names. He probably slept with them all.
T: How do you know?
S: I know.
T: Maybe they just wanted to have a good talk.
S: I slept in the basement that night for Christ sakes.
T: I didn’t sleep with any girls when I played in your band okay?
R: Here’s a little tidbit, between the times of that New Year’s fire we played with the ROMANTICS, TEENAGE HEAD, the VILETONES, and the DENTS. With CARDBOARD BRAINS. Who else was there? The BATTERED WIVES played there. The POLES played there. This at David’s from August until New Year’s. All the bands we played with.
S: I can’t really remember. I was in a locker room.
R: Six dates we did with the ROMANTICS. They were great guys.
T: I love the ROMANTICS.
They had a great drummer.
R: They brought us up on a radio interview in 1983 when I was working at the City TV building. This was before it was City TV. It was Accusonic Studio. I’m listening to the radio and I hear this interview with the ROMANTICS and they go ‘we played with this great band the UGLY,’ and I couldn’t believe that they said ‘great band.’ So it was nice to hear that six years later.
Well they were right when they said you were a great band.
R: I heard this interview I swear to god. I wish I had it on tape.
T: Everytime the ROMANTICS came to town Jimmy the drummer would hang out and do stuff together.
I think one of them went out with Ani Avarta. And you guys said when you did six nights with them it was at David’s? I am pretty sure I saw you guys play with them at the Colonial.
R: The 6th, 7th and 8th and then they held us over for three dates.
And you guys got a good crowd.
R: Oh yeah. Every night was good.
I remember they used to have the X’s and O’s.
R: I remember the old poster.
T: But Greg, do you remember that we played at the Colonial.
Yeah I saw you play there with TEENAGE HEAD.
T: No. We played with RED RIDER.
Tom Cochrane’s first band.
T: That’s right. We smashed their equipment. It started an on going grudge. They hated us ever since.
Actually when the MODS played just recently Tom Cochrane was at the gig at the Horsehoe. It’s too bad you guys weren’t there.
T: I would have said ‘Hey Tom, come on. Let’s just forgive and forget’.
S: It’s just blood under the bridge.
You guys definitely played the Colonial more than one time. I saw you there with TEENAGE HEAD.
R: That was the gig that they had the double gig that night. We filled in for them.
I don’t know if you remember this gig. I told Sam and he didn’t remember. Sam couldn’t keep his bass plugged in. It kept popping out.
R: That was the Horseshoe I think.
No it was definitely the Colonial the one I saw. I was up on the balcony watching it.
S: She was just being a bitch that night.
R: Do you remember the time we got on stage and we played two different songs. You were playing one song and I was playing another.
S: That was your fault.
R: It was totally my fault. I think I was playing “Baby Do You Wanna See Me” and it was “Murderous Adventure” and it all sounded the same.
T: I don’t even remember that.
S: I do. Do you remember when the DAMNED came to see us at David’s? That was really cool. They loved it.
The DAMNED came when they played their first gig at the El Mo (El Mocambo) when they were in town.
S: I guess.
R: Deborah Harry came too.
Tony, did the DAMNED use your drum kit because Steve Leckie was on the show and he said when they played the El Mo?
T: No. Rat is cool. He had his own drum kit.
S: No he was borrowing yours.
T: No, Rat didn’t borrow my drum kit. Rat had his own drum kit and he buried it on stage too. He took the bass drum and just buried it right inside the wall and the bouncers came running out going, “is there a riot here?” Come on man. The guy’s smashing his drum kit. What’s wrong with that? But no. It was Paul Cook.
That’s with the SEX PISTOLS.
T: I was playing with SCREAMING SAM …
Oh, and the PROFESSIONALS played the Voodoo Club.
T: And Paul Cook was trying to rip me off for my drum kit. That’s how the PROFESSIONALS get their equipment. They used to rip off all the opening acts.
And SCREAMING SAM opened for the PROFESSIONALS that night at the Voodoo Club?
T: Larry’s. But I am going ahead here.
We’ll get back to that one. Let’s keep on the chronological list here. Do you guys remember the Blake Street Boys?
S: How can you forget?
R: Turning Point, 1978 – “Be There or be Punched Out.” (original UGLY flyer)
What do you remember, Sam?
R: I liked those boys. Allie. Do you remember Allie?
S: I remember right after playing the Turning Point and we were going to Blake Street and you were going to steal a case of beer from the Turning Point. Bring it out the back door which you did. He put it in his Cadillac and he was driving to Blake Street with the case of beer and all these guys are just waiting for this beer. And Tony gets pulled over by the cops. They confiscated the beer so he shows up at Blake Street with no beer. And I think it was Joe Millie that just punched the shit out of you. And I had a broken leg. I had a cast up to here. And I couldn’t really do anything. So I am hobbling up the street trying to find a cop. And I couldn’t find a cop. And I came back and finally the fight was broken up and I got Tony …
I thought Tony being in a band might have some clout for him, but I guess not.
S: Well it was the beer. They loved us but fuck with their beer and you’re dead.
You remember those guys too, Raymi?
R: I just remember that they put the worst punk club right beside a disco.
And which club was that?
R: The Turning Point. 192 Bloor Street West. And just beside it, maybe 188 some disco from the basement came out and it would be polyester and leather fights. Sam you remember the fights out there. Punk rock wasn’t really accepted in 1976, 1977, 1978. ‘Let there be New Wave’ PATTI SMITH said. Or IGGY in ’71. You can go back and regress on who is the original punk. We weren’t. We were hoodlum rock. So, getting back to the roots of where we started from. These guys came to me ‘I gotta guy that can play guitar.’ My brother was learning how to play guitar. So, Brian Vaders was out and I was in. We sat there, wrote five songs one day.
S: Why do we keep going back to Brian Vaders? The guy is nothing.
R: Let me finish. I am on a story of how it all started. This is a great story. So you have these four guys, bang I can’t show up with an acoustic guitar with a pick up playing punk rock. No way. I borrow a 1971 Telecaster. Still won’t do. I go to buy a Gibson. Mike goes out in the hallway and writes two more new songs. He comes in and goes ‘okay we got to learn this.’ Thirty nine days of straight rehearsal. August 10th is the UGLY’s first gig.
T: What are you talking about?
He’s right Tony. It’s in the CD booklet.
T: I don’t remember doing that. That’s brutal.
R: We had twenty two songs. Our first set. We had to remember twenty two songs.
S: To do what?
R: Do you remember the first gig on August 10th at Club David’s? So that is my story about how the UGLY became the UGLY.
I want to talk about that gig. That was the first gig. That was August 10th, 1977, and you did a series of shows that saw you share the bill with TEENAGE HEAD, the VILETONES, and the DENTS.
R: We played ten days straight after thirty nine days of rehearsal.
You guys being hoodlum rockers and all and constantly being watched by cops, were you trying to choose out of the way places to do shows? Did you purposely try and find places that weren’t so popular?
T: Yeah. Like Detroit.
Okay I know you guys went to Detroit. That was a little later on.
T: What do you mean Greg?
You guys played Bookies, right?
R: But that was later on. That was in the spring.
S: Do you remember the drive back from Bookies?
R: I do. Alfa Romeo.
T: So I am actually stepping ahead of myself just like a drummer does.
You guys hung out at the Crash ‘n Burn. Tell me about the Crash ‘n Burn.
R: I was at the bun fight.
S: Where is Chris Hate? You started that whole thing.
R: Someone said ‘that was the first time I have seen a horse duck.’
So, Sam were you at the Crash ‘n Burn?
S: That night? Yeah.
R: I was there too. I had bruises on my arms from getting hit a couple of times.
S: I was there that night trying to break up that fight between you and Johnny Garbagecan.
R: Rock hard buns were getting thrown at each other and a horse and carriage went by and people start whipping them at that. That’s where I was saying that guy said it was the first time he saw a horse duck. They were hitting the horse with the stale buns.
S: Can I say something? Do you remember that fight you had with Johnny Garbagecan because he called your girlfriend a horse?
R: Well maybe she was a heroin dealer.
S: These two guys just went at it and went at it and went at it and they were just killing each other. Johnny Garbagecan does not quit. Tony does not quit. Tony is just crapping him.
This is in the Crash ‘n Burn?
S: Outside. In the alleyway. Johnny Garbagecan had bits of skin on the brick outside. I tried to break it up. I am in the midst of these guys and one of them hoofs me in the balls. I don’t know who it was but I puked all over and that stopped the fight.
T: Just because of the puke.
Do you think it was because of this kind of behaviour that you never played the Crash ‘n Burn?
R: We were just starting out. The Crash ‘n Burn folded before we could play out.
S: It was a hang out for us.
The UGLY weren’t officially together.
R: We had a bunch of songs but by the time we had a set together, the place had been raided and closed down. I have a picture of Stiv Bators and Cheetah Chrome from that era. An 18” x 16” picture all shellacked on a quarter inch piece of wood. It was in Club David’s. I had one of the POLES and one of the VILETONES.
You guys practiced at a place called the Philip’s Building. Tell me about the Philip’s Building.
T: There was us and the ‘TONES rehearsing there.
And I think the DIODES and the MODS played there also.
T: Not the MODS. The ANDROIDS. Dave Quinton was playing with this band before the MODS. Or maybe it was after the MODS.
He was also in this band called the QUTE around the same time.
T: He was playing with a chick singer.
S: He was playing in the ANDROIDS with Ruby.
T: His band was rehearsing next door. There was still a lot of great musicians and bands.
R: Everyone was talented as hell. The B-GIRLS… we walked into Peter Pan’s, do you remember when that scene was happening? You walked in there and you had fifty people dressed in full leather but classy. It looked like the Academy Awards of the punk scene. So think of the Academy Awards and put a punk thing with the make up. Nobody had the piercings or tattoos. Just studs and leathers.
S: It kind of sucked though, Raymi. There was a bunch of people trying to look cool.
R: It was the B-GIRLS, the VILETONES, the UGLY, the DENTS. It was the same as the 60’s.
S: They were a bunch of poseurs.
R: So was I.
S: No you weren’t. You were in the real thing, man.
I think one reason why you didn’t like the Philip’s Building was that each band had their own room and the UGLY had the absolute smallest room out of any band there.
R: It was a closet.
T: It was about as big as the interview studio.
R: It was twice as big because we had 400 watts. Then we would leave the rehearsal room and go, ‘How’d that sound?’, ‘What?’ I actually went deaf for half a minute.
S: Where the hell is the Philip’s Building anyway?
R: The Philip’s Factory at Brentcliffe and Vanderhoof. Eglinton and Laird Drive.
S: I know Brentcliffe. I got arrested there.
That night at the Philip’s Building, that night you had purchased some musical equipment from the singer, Mike Nightmare.
S: Yeah a bass.
Some undercover police showed up that evening and they came and questioned you. Can you tell me what happened?
S: Well, they came by because of gunshots.
Well, Mike was known to shoot off a gun into the ceiling.
S: That’s what he was doing.
When you guys were rehearsing.
S: It just so happened that the bass that I bought was hot. And I paid good money for it. I didn’t think it was hot.
Yeah. And you bought it from Mike?
S: No, I bought it from a friend of his. He just introduced me to this person. It was on Spadina Avenue just north of Bloor.
Now, you would have been practicing when the police came. What happened to Mike when the police came in?
S: Nothing happened to Mike.
Was he in the room?
S: Nope. We were all in the hallway.
R: The three of us got arrested.
I was told that Mike made it up to the roof of the building.
R: Yeah, he kicked the crap out of Brian Vaders.
Dave Quinton was amazed at how calm and cool you were. He said you were such a pro when the cops came in. He was scared himself and he said you were amazingly cool.
S: Well, I wasn’t acting. I thought the bass was legit.
R: Is this an interview or an interrogation?
I’m with you guys on this one. At this time you guys were starting to gig regularly. The UGLY were in full swing by this time when you guys were at the Philip’s Building.
S: Yeah. That was around the time we did the recording.
The recording that eventually became your album that came out in 1986 called “Disorder”? Tell me about Ruby T.
S: Lovely girl.
T: Mike’s favourite. Mike loved her.
That was the singer, Mike Nightmare’s, girlfriend. And how did he meet her?
S: He took one of my girlfriends. That little bastard.
Which one?
S: Eva.
So Eva dated a few of the musicians from the scene, I guess.
S: Yeah I was going out with her.
That was before Carmela.
S: No, it was way after Carmela. Carmela was early on.
So how did Mike meet Ruby T.?
R: Ruby T. was doing photography for IGGY POP and BLONDIE at Seneca College in ’76 with David Bowie playing keyboards….
S: Is she still alive?
R: No. I will get into that later. She was doing photography and they hooked up. They sort of met each other prior to that and they hooked up together that night. I actually took a picture of Xenia that night. She was dressed in black and pink like a Pink Lady. I think I have the picture somewhere. She was blowing me a kiss.
And Ruby T sang in the TRUE CONFESSIONS and is on the “Last Pogo” album cover.
R: I have a tape at home and at the end of the tape he goes ‘Baby baby give me all you got’ and he’s got Ruby on it, singing.
That’s an UGLY song.
R: No she just wanted to do something.
S: I remember that night.
What ever happened to Ruby?
R: She was killed by a biker guy just like Eva.
That’s really sad. I am sorry to hear that.
R: She was dancing and stuff. She was murdered too.
S: It sounds exactly the same.
She was an absolutely beautiful girl. And she was the singer for the ANDROIDS and the TRUE CONFESSIONS also. That’s terrible to hear about that. Tell me about a concert at the Rockpile. It was called the “Outrage” concert. It featured the VILETONES, TEENAGE HEAD, SIMPLY SAUCER, the BATTERED WIVES, the CONCORDS, and the DELINQUENTS. Why were the UGLY not on the bill?
R: I don’t know why. You’d have to ask Mike why.
T: It was politics.
S: The night we set the guitar on fire and ….
R: Johnny Brauer didn’t want us to.
He was the manager for TEENAGE HEAD.
S: I met him a while ago. We just shook hands. It’s blood under the bridge.
Where did you meet Johnny Brauer recently?
S: I think it was at that photograph show on Queen Street.
Don Pyle’s photo exhibit. Let’s get back to the “Outrage” concert here. You guys weren’t on the bill. You think it’s political.
R: It was pirated. I was there wearing a white shirt. Mike looks at me and goes what the hell are you wearing a white shirt for? He rips the pocket off. I lost an ounce of pot that night so that is how I remember. So these guys come out and they are dousing this guitar in gasoline filling in the holes.
S: No Raymi. It was you and I back stage.
R: Yeah, but we almost burned down the Masonic Temple because I went back to find my ounce of pot and the place was on fire. You guys went to the stage and I was looking for the pot and I looked and there is a flame going underneath all these coats from the gasoline. It dripped. So I put it out. Then I went back and joined you guys and went to pirate the stage. We could have burned down the Masonic Temple if I didn’t go back and look for my herb. This is serious shit. The Masonic Temple wouldn’t even be there if I didn’t go back and see those flames underneath those coats because of us lighting that guitar on fire. You guys went on stage to throw the guitar, Leckie tried to break it, then he fell on his ass, then he broke it in half, then doused it out with beer and then when he finished the set we jumped on stage. They grabbed Tony, they grabbed you (Sam) and pushed you off the front of the stage, they threw me off the front of the stage and they were punching the crap out of Mike. It is all on film.
S: They broke Freddie’s guitar.
R: The next day in the paper they said the UGLY destroyed the atmosphere of the gig. And I just went screw you. We probably made it work better because then they had the Restricted concert and they put us on the bill, so I rest my case.
If anything that probably gave you guys some momentum. And there is some amazing video footage that exists. John Brauer is ….
R: The VILETONES, the UGLY, TEENAGE HEAD, the BATTERED WIVES, everybody. That was rock ‘n roll. 1977 just exploded and it veined out like a tree. Thirty years later here we are talking to you.
It is still unclear to me. How did Freddie Pompeii’s guitar get busted?
S: By the bouncers.
R: I picked up Freddie Pompeii’s guitar and when he pushed me off the stage it fell and busted.
S: And this big black guy just put down Chris Hate’s bass because he didn’t want Chris’ bass to get smashed.
Were the VILETONES upset with you guys about that?
R: No. I mean about the pirating, they loved that. I don’t know about the guitar. It was probably Chris’.
S: It was Freddie’s guitar that got broke.
So that pretty much made the UGLY a fixture on the Toronto scene. Did this incident affect your relationship with TEENAGE HEAD since John Brauer had a fight with Mike Nightmare ….
T: No. TEENAGE HEAD are our buddies.
S: Do you remember that Screamin’ Sam gig we did in Hamilton? I was borrowing Steve’s bass cabinet. At one point I turn around and the head of my bass went right through his speaker. So I said to Steve ‘Man, I am so sorry. I’ll pay for it and everything’ and he goes ‘Naw. Can you just sign it?’ So I signed it.
And that’s a testimony to how cool TEENAGE HEAD are.
R: Sam did a lot of destruction during the UGLY. Breaking guitars on stage. We used to do that. We would buy these shitbox guitars and as soon as we ended the set we would smash the shit out of them.
I noticed Sam spelled Raymi’s name. He spelled it wrong. But I actually spelled it wrong the first time I wrote it too. Now you guys played October 31st, 1977 with the VILETONES and the DENTS at Club David’s. How did that gig go?
R: That was awesome. The DENTS played a gig and then people started mingling and paper cups are getting thrown at the band. Then the UGLY played and bottles started showing up. And when the VILETONES got on tables and chairs started flying. The place was wrecked. Do you remember that gig?
S: I was high on locker room.
What’s that?
S: It’s this stuff that gay guys sniff.
R: Poppers.
S: No. It comes in a bottle
R: Anal Nitrate. (laughter)
S: We used to do it before every song.
R: That was bullshit stuff.
After that gig on Hallowe’en you did a six night stand with the ROMANTICS. We had a conversation about how they were one of the greatest bands. Just amazing. Do you guys remember a band from Detroit called the SILLIES? They played up here all the time. I think I must have seen them fifteen times without really trying to. They were just always opening for bands.
T: I heard of them but I don’t think we played with them.

So, you guys played New Year’s Eve ’77-’78 at Club David’s with the CARDBOARD BRAINS and the VILETONES. Tell me what happened that night? How did that gig go? That same night at the New Yorker the CRAMPS were playing with the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” right across the street. People were going back and forth.
T: I remember that. We played great. It was a great show that night.
S: It was amazing. It was about the ugliest we could get.
Did the VILETONES headline that night?
T: Yeah. The VILETONES headlined. We didn’t care about headlining.
That was the infamous night where the club burned down.
T: Exactly. I remember that night so vividly. It is crystal clear. It was the first thing that ever happened. I stayed over at Xenia’s house. I get a phone call from Sam telling me that Club David’s burned down. I didn’t believe him.
R: That was my favourite New Years.
S: Do you know what Sandy told me? You guys should take your stuff home tonight. I went. “it’s New Years, Sandy. We’re going to a party. Can we just put a few things upstairs?” He kept going to me, “Take it home.”
T: He knew.
S: As we were going to the party, walking up Yonge Street we hear all these sirens. We were like “there must be a fire somewhere.” That’s the night that my dad kicked me out of the house. I still had to rent a truck. That’s the night I stayed at Cindy’s place. Then I went to court and her dad charged me. And I am at David’s and I can see through my equipment.
Why did you get kicked out?
S: I can’t remember. I wasn’t really living there, I was just staying there for a while. And then he just kind of went “get out of here.”
T: So we didn’t get any equipment back.
S: No. Long and McQuade’s asked me for $1,300 bucks to get my amp back. I said “Listen buddy I can see right through it. I don’t want it back. You can keep it.”
T: That fire was like a bomb. The UGLY started to go downhill after that.
S: I remember when Leckie used to DJ there and he used to send me notes and the notes would say ‘join the winning side.’
Did he give them to you, Tony?
S: No. Just to me.
Mike was going after seven different insurance companies during that time the manager got murdered so it was all dead. And when that happened the headlines in the paper read “Third Homosexual Murder” and that inspired the FORGOTTEN REBELS to go write a song for their first release.
S: I don’t think that murder had anything to do with the homosexual thing.
It didn’t?
S: I don’t think so.
R: Why did you think we went to Detroit and saw Club David’s ashtrays on the table? Think about it.
S: That’s what I was going to say. Why are you telling me no, no, no.
R: I was going to say that I think it was a hit on him.
So you are saying there was a conspiracy there. Do you think somebody from Bookies had something to do with it?
T: Bookies is related to David’s.
I didn’t know that. How are they related?
T: They had David’s ashtrays and David’s matchbooks in Detroit.
R: They were affiliated. They were business partners.
S: They were gangsters, man. We didn’t want to say anything at the time because we didn’t want to raise any eyebrows.
And where do you think the connection was exactly?
S: I think Sandy owed money to the Bookies people. That’s why there was the fire. Sandy started the fire, I think. Just after that he got murdered.
T: I think we really don’t know.
We’re speculating in all fairness.
R: Hey, Kevin and Michelle in Ann Arbor Michigan, it’s Raymi. I know everything. (laughter)
S: Do you remember we got ripped off at that gig? Mike and Ruby …
R: We lost all our money.
S: Ruby goes to us, I had your pay in my top and I was dancing with this black guy and he just took it and left.
R: And then she left her purse on the street which cost us $150 extra. So we lost a total of about $850.
S: We didn’t get paid at all.
R: So we jumped in the Alfa Romeo with a six pack and booted it back to T.O.
S: I think it was bullshit.
T: No one knows what happened that night. It was a big mystery. Ruby with thirty thousand G’s you know.
Is it true that night in Detroit that your equipment was stolen from your van?
R: No we couldn’t get it across the border.
Did you guys have trouble getting into the U.S.?
R: Me and Sam went through and Tony got stopped because he only had a birth certificate with him.
T: I always get stopped.
S: Carmella got turned back.
R: And then we didn’t play until 11:30 at night by the time our equipment showed up.
T: I went through the bridge and they wouldn’t let me in. Then I went downstairs under the tunnel and they wouldn’t let me in. I left the tunnel and went upstairs on the bridge and then they let me in. It took me a while to get to Detroit.
R: We had to separate a bit.
S: Can I tell you how Carmella got turned back? She was borrowing a car from Al the Boxer. His front license plate was missing. So what she did was she got this little piece of cardboard and it said “Keep Ontario Ugly” and they stopped her. You gotta go back. Get out of here. I was supposed to meet her at the border and I am in this Alfa Romero and I go to the border and I find that she is turned back. I was so pissed off. I got back on the highway trying to get to Bookies and I almost missed the ramp so I jumped …. There is this island between the middle of two roads and I hit that going about 130 mph so I was airborn. I was on a bridge and I could see another highway down below and I landed again and I am on the right road. On the way back from Detroit we went 120 mph and Raymi is drinking Schlitz and my rear view mirrors are waving back and forth.
R: We made it back from Detroit in less than four hours. It is usually a six hour drive.
This was the only time you guys played in the US.
R: Right. We got robbed. That was it. How could we do a tour. Once we got across the border we had shows booked in Baltimore and Chicago and all these places, but …
S: How many times do you want to get ripped off?
R: We lost all of our touring money.
T: They booked us in the States everywhere.
Going back to where we were prior to the Detroit thing, after Club David’s burned down, you guys started playing the Turning Point. How did you guys originally find out about the Turning Point?
S: It was Tony and I. We painted the Turning Point.
R: Yeah, but Karen Snails played there and you guys said there was a gig and Mike came to me and goes “this girl named Karen Snails from the CONCORDES played there,” and says “we could get a gig there.” We went there and took the place over.
Did you guys paint that lovely picture of Jose Feliciano there?
T: No that was done by an artist.
S: I always thought it was a picture of Tony. (laughter)
Tony is a much more handsome guy. Let’s get back to the music.
R: Our music was our soul. Sam wrote some great riffs. He would go ‘okay this is what it sounds like’ and I would go at it. The music was part of us. The music was very good. It could have been better because it was too early in our band’s evolution. Three years later with major money put into our band we could have become a BEATLE band. The same with the TONES. The same with all the bands. Toronto wasn’t ready for us.
Do you think that because you guys were a Toronto band you would have done better had you been based out of New York or London?
R: Yes.
And why do you think that is?
R: Common sense. Population. You got this market to buy you. Here in Toronto if you sold this amount you get this.
Did you guys ever get anybody from New York trying to have you come down and play there?
R: Yeah of course. There were guys that wanted us to play Germany.
It was just too far for you guys to go.
R: Everybody was struggling.
Can you tell me about the couple that ran the Turning Point?
S: Joe and Anne. Joe worked at night with the Railway.
But he was at the Turning Point most nights.
S: Yeah but he would work the train stations late at night. He would work the graveyard shift. And Anne was just a big lush.
When the place closed, Sam owed a $400 bar tab. I know I had about a $50 or $60 tab.
R: I worked there. I was getting two dollar tips for tomato juice.
S: When did you work there.
R: I was a waiter there.
S: Not when I was there.
R: Yeah, we were rehearsing there. During the day I was a waiter there and during the night you guys would show up at night. I was off shift.
How many people were drinking there during the day?
S: I think you just went up to the bar and ordered beer.
R: Oh no. I actually did waitering. Clean tables. I did stuff. We used to rehearse there. That was our rehearsal hall. Do you remember we used to do gigs there and rehearse there? But during the day I was waitering there.
S: I want to go to Tony on this. Was Raymi ever a waiter at the Turning Point?
T: Yep. I remember him cleaning table tops.
S: Did he ever get me a beer?
R: Probably not.
S: There you go.
You probably didn’t tip him, Sam.
T: No. He got lots of beers.
So Raymi was working there. You guys were playing there a lot. So when you guys started playing there some of the newer bands started playing like late ’77, early ’78 like the MODS, the FORGOTTEN REBELS, ARSON, the HATE,…. Tell me about the singer for the HATE? Mr. Shit.
S: Angie. Mr. Shit was somebody else.
I thought Mr. Shit was the singer for the HATE.
S: No.
T: Angie used to carry an axe in his jacket. Nutso. He was totally bezerk.
Apparently they have a 45 out too.
S: Yeah their hit single was “Fuck the Retarded Girl”.
That’s pretty nasty. I have never seen their single around.
S: Well, that was their big song.
Who was Mr. Shit then?
S: Mr. Shit was the guy that used to follow the VILETONES, the UGLY …
T: Mr. Shit was Mr. Shit.
S: I remember him being front row stage every time Steve would gob. He would catch it and swallow it.
I think this is coming back to me.
S: Actually his real name is Randy.
Is he still around?
T: I see him sometimes.
R: He loved us to death.
T: I am pretty sure I saw him opening a bank one morning. I think he is a bank manager.
S: Used to be a bank robber now he is a bank manager.
R: He used to request “You Gotta be Mean.”
That song is so heavy. That sounds like something heavier than KILLING JOKE ever did. And I have heard tapes of you guys live. So I want to ask you about that song. Was that one of your early songs?
T: I wrote that song.
S: Going back now, Tony says he wrote it, Raymi says he wrote it, I am saying I wrote it. We all wrote it.
T: But I gave it the title.
S: I think every UGLY song we all wrote. Somebody came up with a riff or an idea. We all wrote every song.
T: What about that song “Burn Me in Hell?”
You guys also played a theatre that was called the Shock Theatre on College Street. Tell me about the Shock Theatre.
S: That place. I remember Johnny Garbagecan and I …
Johnny Garbagecan was the manager for the UGLY.
S: Well he was ….
Well he had a briefcase that said UGLY on it. So anyways, the Shock Theatre.
S: It was Gary Gold who put up the money for the Shock Theatre.
And Gary Gold was from the Pig Paper? Oh no Gary Gold is the art gallery guy. The guy who has the “Here and Now” gallery on Parliament Street.
T: Gary Gold didn’t put up any money for the Shock Theatre.
S: Yes he did. He put up all the money to build that stage that I and Johnny Garbagecan built.
You built the stage for the Shock Theatre?
S: Yes.
Okay. I didn’t know that.
T: Oh no. I thought you meant he paid for the Shock Theatre.
S: No. So, Johnny and I built the stage and the next night I get a phone call saying we gotta tear it down.
S: Because the building inspector said it wasn’t right. So I called Johnny up and said, “Man, we gotta tear it down”. The same night that we finished it. So we go down there and we are tearing it down from the bottom and Johnny manages to knock down a two by four and this huge thing comes down on me with nails. I was going “Hey John, something’s not right here.” So he is propping the thing up again so that I can get out.
T: That all happened at the Shock Theatre.
S: Yeah. And then another time we go down in the basement just before a gig and we find this door. We go in and there is a river.
Some of the houses in Toronto are built on a river.
S: Yeah, it went right through there. So we got our lighters and we went exploring. There was water that continued to rush. Every so often we came across a rat. We went on for about ten minutes. Eventually we decided to go back. We were going way to deep into the Shock Theatre.
R: Do you know that the old City TV building had its own railway?
That’s crazy. So you guys played the Shock Theatre and you guys played with a band called BRAT. What were they like?
T: The BRATS were a punk band.
R: We also played with the TOYS. DOA. The SKULLS, they were called at the time.
Tell me about the SKULLS. They lived in Toronto for a while.
T: They had their own paper.
I know they had a bad experience here but they spoke very favourably about the UGLY.
S: They used to back themselves up. They would switch instruments and back themselves up and call themselves the BLOATED COWS. They would sound horrible. Then they would come on with the right instruments and sound great.
They did a lot of gigs with the UGLY, the SKULLS.
S: And the VILETONES at City Hall.
I think that was DOA though.
S: Yup.
Did SWOLLEN MEMBERS play the Shock Theatre?
R: Yup.
The CURSE, the DIODES. Tell me about the New Rose. Did you guys ever hang out at the clothing boutique?
S: Yeah, Tony and I used to sniff glue there.
T: I didn’t sniff glue there. What are you talking about?
S: Do you remember when Freddie had those zippo lighter things, but instead of a zippo lighter he would have a tube of glue. So, Tony and I ….
T: Maybe you did.
S: No, you and I. We took the tube of glue, went in the back, sniffed it. It was all crunched up so we put it back in the zippo thing.
So that was New Rose.
S: Yeah. And I remember Tank hanging around there all the time.
R: Do you remember I smashed my guitar? They had it on sale for $50.
Who smashed a guitar?
R: I smashed a guitar on stage at Club David’s. The Mann guitar that was on sale for $50.
Did anyone buy it?
R: I don’t know. It was gone eventually.
You mentioned a guy who hung around with the UGLY quite a bit. Tank. Tell me about Tank.
S: He was a big guy, but what a pussycat.
He was a good buddy of the UGLY’s.
R: Do you remember the time we were doing a pirate set at the Isabella. Some band was playing. The UGLY showed up. Tank was there. They were going to take a fifteen minute break. The band walked off, the UGLY walked on and Tank stood there and made sure that none of the band got back on stage.
S: The last time I saw him was quite a while ago. He is still a big guy.
So, April 7th, 1978 you guys finally played a legitimate gig at the Rockpile. The gig was called Restricted. The bands that played at that were the VILETONES, the CURSE, the DENTS, the WADS, BRAT.
R: There were only five bands. You got something wrong there. It was the VILETONES, the UGLY, the CURSE, the DENTS, and the WADS.
Okay BRAT didn’t play. That night the singer of the WADS, Paul Eckness got a bottle in the head.
R: There is a picture of him where it looks like he just blew his brains out. Blood is pouring down his face.
S: He got knocked right down.
R: But he got up and pretended to put a gun to his head and blew his own brains out. It is one picture … I don’t know where it is. It is one of the highlights. He kept going but with blood pouring down his face.
Did you guys have a good gig at that show?
R: Yeah we did. The UGLY DUCKLINGS recorded it and because they didn’t get a vocal track, brought us into Claire Burton Recording Studios on Adelaide Street for a session to get Mike to sing over top of what we were playing. But it was so rough we couldn’t get a beat out of it. That fell through with the UGLY DUCKLINGS.
That’s too bad. By around this time the UGLY were getting popular; however you guys were constantly getting outmaneuvered by TEENAGE HEAD and the VILETONES.
R: That was just management.
S: What do you mean by outmaneuvered?
What I mean by that is you guys had your hardcore group of fans, but it seems like TEENAGE HEAD and the VILETONES were getting the New York gigs, they were getting records out, they were getting the tour, and with you guys it seemed like it was an uphill battle because you guys were so wild that I got the impression that official management types were staying away from the UGLY.
S: You know what, the UGLY never had the right people to back it up.
R: We were on our own.
S: We were the Lone Rangers.
T: We weren’t liked by the corporate people.
I mean you guys didn’t have financial backing.
T: How come the girls liked us? I don’t understand it. The girls liked us but the other guys didn’t like us.
Obviously the girls liked the UGLY and the same with all the cool people. You had a big crowd. Eventually you guys started building up momentum. But I was meaning you guys didn’t have financial backing. Like the VILETONES had the connection with New Rose because Freddie’s wife was connected. You didn’t have managers or producers or records. It just seems like the mainstream media were afraid of the UGLY. I think you guys freaked them out.
T: We were too strong. I don’t know.
Like the VILETONES got all the press it seemed.
S: Leckie is really good at getting press.
T: We played honest rock ‘n roll.
R: Our music industry nowadays is more about how much money can you make for me. If you want production or anybody to put input into your band, the industry is first about how much money can you make for me.
But you guys were the backbone of the Toronto punk scene.
R: Yeah, but so were the VILETONES. So was TEENAGE HEAD. You can’t put a label on who was the backbone of the scene. Or when did it start? It just flowed. It just started to rock. It started to flow like a plant. You put a seed in and it started to grow. This is how punk rock came about. We hooked up because we had known each other for years. The UGLY started that way.
Did you guys have a rivalry with any other bands?
S: The MODS (laughter).
Those bastards the MODS.
R: He’s my lawyer now (referring to Dave Quinton, the drummer of the MODS, who is in the audience).
It pays to love the MODS now.
S: We love the MODS.
Dave Quinton: Tony loves the MODS. He used my kit at the “Last Pogo” and he fucked it all up and dented all my drum heads.
Those are Tony Torcher dents though so come on.
T: I didn’t do that. Come on.
Dave Quinton: No they were cool.
R: I never forget the night that Club David’s burned down and Tony walked up to his drums and he took a charred little drum stick. It looked like a spaghetti noodle, and hit his cymbal and a piece the size of a quarter pizza fell out. It was so charred.
Dave Quinton: Hey Greg, do you know how you were talking about why the VILETONES and TEENAGE HEAD got more attention? The fact of the matter was that people were scared of the UGLY. And I will tell you why I think people were scared of them because they were the most intense band of all of them. They were. They were more intense then the VILETONES, musically. And they were more intense then TEENAGE HEAD. They were more intense then all of us.
R: Careful, Chris is here.
Dave Quinton: Well it’s true.
Chris Haight: They were my favourite band.
There you go. Chris Haight said they were his favourite band.
Dave Quinton: People were scared of the UGLY because the UGLY really were loud, heavy and you didn’t know who was behind the faces.
I saw a few kids who came in here to get records off Raymi tonight and they ran away when they saw him so people are still afraid of the UGLY.
T: That’s cool. As long as that keeps going on and I am cool with that.
I am too.
R: I just want to say that the UGLY is a state of mind.
You guys had a soundman and stage manager by the name of Johnny Garbagecan. I was actually hoping we were going to get Johnny tonight. I tried. I know Johnny is out there listening.
S: Johnny broke my nose.
R: Hey Johnny, are you still building a boat?
Chris Haight: Crash is still looking for you.
Sam, you say you got your nose broken. How did that happen?
S: That was from when I quit the UGLY. They changed the lock on my door of my rehearsal space. I broke the door down to get my amp.
I think Raymi is siding with Johnny on that one because he is upset that you quit the band. How did Johnny hook up with you guys?
S: Johnny Lagosi. That’s his real name.
T: I met Johnny in elementary school too. The same time I met Mike. We used to call him “the crow” because he had this black hat with crows on it and he had this nose that resembled a crow.
S: I thought we weren’t going back to noses again. (laughter)
T: So we called him the crow. That was his nickname. Then he became a roadie for the MARQUEES and then when the MARQUEES broke up he became the roadie for the UGLY.
What year did you meet him?
T: I met Johnny when I was about 15.
That’s a long time ago. So he was like a brother to you guys.
T: Yeah it was like that. We did lots of stuff together.
Johnny always carried a briefcase and on the briefcase it said “The Ugly: Punk Rock Group.” What did he carry around in that thing?
S: Drugs.
T: Nothing.
Okay because I always wondered. I always thought that it was kind of cool that this guy has a briefcase, but I never saw him open it.
S: Tony’s covering for something.
It wasn’t a violin case anyways. Now he also put out a magazine called Toranna Punks and it included pictures, info, show dates and I think that was part of the testimony of the UGLY. You guys weren’t getting press from anybody so your manager made a magazine to promote your band. Would that be accurate?
R: Yes, that would be accurate. He did a great job of it and Toranna Punks was a great magazine. The UGLY’s drink Black Label. Everything was in there.
S: Everyone says HANDSOME NED drank Black Label before the UGLY. I keep telling people …
Black Label was the punk rock beer.
R: That was ’77. HANDSOME NED didn’t come around until ’81.
S: I love HANDSOME NED. I knew HANDSOME NED before he was handsome. (laughter)
T: We were drinking that stuff way before that.
R: Do you remember when I worked at Sunnybrook Hospital? I was working for the veterans. After work I would pick up a twenty four of Black Label and go to rehearsal at the Philip’s Building along Eglinton and Bayview area. That was my end of how I met them. I went to school, went to work for four hours and then to rehearsal for three hours.
In 1978 the punk scene was really starting to explode in Toronto and Creem Magazine from Detroit sent a writer up here to cover you guys. Tony you sent a message to her. It was a girl that came up to see you guys play. What did you do?
T: I told her if you like the UGLY you are liking the ugliest guys in the world. Ugly guys make the best lovers.
S: Do you remember that poster? It was one of those magazines … the actual caption read “Ugly Guys Make the Best Lovers”.
Is that what Creem Magazine wrote about you?
S: Well that was our poster. We got this from a real magazine. It was ugly guys having sex with these big women. So what Mike did was he cut out the heads and put ours there. I think I am fucking you Raymi.
T: Oh that. Jimmy the Worm did that.
Who was Jimmy the Worm?
Chris Haight: Jimmy the Worm and Mike Nightmare got the very first punk room happening in Toronto. It was at the Underground in the Colonial. There was a line up upstairs and down the block and they never would get a mention but I am telling you that they knew how to put it together.
That’s who Jimmy the Worm was?
Chris Haight: Now Mike used to be a hoppers at the Telegram. That’s how they got together right. Money didn’t mean fuck all to them. They had enough dough to back an actor, a label, whatever it took. They would blow the whole thing just wishing and hoping. They were the main Undersis and promo men. They were them.
So, that’s Jimmy the Worm and Mike Nightmare. Now, Tony at that time the writer from Creem came up. It’s been documented that when she was in the audience and you knew she was there that you threw a bottle at her head just to make sure she didn’t write anything too sweet about you guys.
T: I didn’t mean to throw a bottle at her head. It slipped. These people always tried to make me look like the killer. I’m not. Do you know what I said to her? She asked me for an interview. And I go “interview this” and I smashed a beer bottle against the wall. That’s all.
It’s amazing how these stories change. And that is in the CD booklet. That’s where I got that from.
T: There is no way that I would treat a woman like that.
S: That was a guy.
T: Guy? Whatever?
I think as time goes on stories turn into taller and taller tales.
T: I’m not a violent guy.
Stephe Perry had told me that he had heard a radio interview that you guys had done with CBC in 1978, which also featured the SEX PISTOLS and IGGY POP. And it was aired in 1978. Do you guys remember doing that interview?
T: Yep.
Do any of you have a copy of it?
S: No.
It is so hard to find. They aired it four years ago.
T: I heard a recording of it, but I can’t grasp the person that has it. If I ever come across it I will grab it for you.
We would just love to hear it. It was aired four years ago when the SEX PISTOLS played in Toronto. That day CBC re-broadcast it on the air. Colin Brunton and myself are trying to locate it but it is really hard to find.
T: I will definitely hunt it down. I’m sure there is a copy somewhere. I mean, it’s in the CBC. It can’t get lost.
I tried to get it from CBC and it just seems impossible.
R: Is that the interview with CBC radio? That is Robin Benjer. You can get it but it will cost you $75 or something like that.
I hope one day we get to hear it. Steve was telling me that his stomach was hurting he was laughing so hard. It must be a great interview.
R: It is.
In 1978 you did a gig at the Horseshoe with the CRAMPS and the QUTE and some of those songs ended up coming out on your “Disorder” CD. You guys also played at the Horseshoe with RICHARD HELL AND THE VOIDOIDS. I was at that gig. That was actually my 18th birthday. DEAD BOYS you guys played with?
S: Yep.
Now it says in your bio that you also played with SUICIDE.
R: Yep.
Where did you play with SUICIDE?
R: At the Horseshoe.
R: It was not at that gig, but we played with SUICIDE at another gig.
The time with DESTROY ALL MONSTERS and I remember when SUICIDE was playing Mike Nightmare was squirting Alan Vega with a squirt gun and he wouldn’t stop and Alan Vega got really pissed off and eventually just walked off the stage.
R: No that was bullshit.
T: Over a squirt gun?
R: Someone threw a beer bottle in the face and he went ‘fuckin’ asshole’ and he started smacking the mic against his head.
Did you guys remember the CRAMPS? Did you meet Brian Gregory?
R: I met the CRAMPS. I had a tape. Jaan Hause has a bunch of my tapes. There is a live UGLY tape he has. I have never got it back. He has it because he is my publicist. Jaan Hause has the UGLY with some other band. I don’t remember who. I lost the copy of the CRAMPS with the UGLY. But a lot of things went missing. I remember things. I am like a numerologist. I remember names and dates. I remember things like that.
It seems like you have a great memory. It seems like the UGLY had a good relationship with the promoters the Garys.
R: Yeah we had a good relationship. The Garys were good guys. We did gigs with them. They always got us on a bill. They always made us sound like shit and TEENAGE HEAD sounded better. Just kidding. No. They always got us on an opening act. You got to love those guys. They did the Edge. I’ve actually seen Chris Spedding there who eventually became the publicist with the UGLY CD.
He played at the Edge with the NECESSARIES.
R: They opened up for BLUE PETER and Mike was a singer in a band called DEGREES OF PASSION.
When was this?
R: This was 1979 at the Edge.
Really? Were you in it?
R: Yes. I was the guitar player. Joey Ashrweiller and the drummer from the PAUL JAMES band Adrian Veciola.
Are there any recordings of that?
R: Yes.
And do you have them?
R: I have a recording but it was ripped off in ’96 when I moved out of Toronto. And in some studio there is probably a recording of that band.
You are saying you have all these live tapes of the UGLY.
R: But they are gone. I had them and they are missing.
The stuff I have heard is so ….
R: I have a poster of the original ROTTEN band. It says Johnny Garbagecan Productions 1977.
You guys were known for exposing your genitals on stage quite often. I heard about one gig where Mike cut a hole in a piece of baloney and stuck it on his dick.
R: Yeah. That was fucked. That was at David’s. It was a big banquet and they had a buffet out and somebody threw a piece of baloney at him and it hit him in the face and landed in his hand. He folded it, bit it in half, whipped out his dick, and stuck it through the hole.
And Raymi you urinated one night off the stage. Where was that?
R: That was New Year’s Eve at Club David’s.
Did you upset anybody?
R: No. Just had to take a leak. Freddie Pompeii grabbed me and spotted me out into the crowd. He thought why take a leak off the side of the stage where nobody would see me and started spraying the audience with me. It was New Year’s Eve about 2:30 in the morning. Freddie Pompeii, Gord from TEENAGE HEAD playing guitar, I’m playing guitar, Sam on bass, Mortar X on drums and some chick jumped on stage and took her clothes off. It was a great gig. Then the club burned down to the ground at 6:00 in the morning.
Was this around the same time that you guys were also dressing in drag?
R: That was a WILD THINGS gig. That was later on with Mike and Billy from the Shock Theatre.
Sam did you ever go see the WILD THINGS?
S: Yeah, they sucked.
R: Well if we dressed in drag we might have sucked. (laughter)
One thing we didn’t talk about when we were talking about the Crash ‘n Burn was the famous incident with Phil Lynott, the singer of THIN LIZZY.
R: Oh yeah. He punched the shit out of Mike.
What do you guys remember of that incident?
R: I wasn’t there. I read it in the paper the next day.
S: He was there at the Crash ‘n Burn and Mike called him an Irish Nigger, which was not good.
No. And Mike’s an Irishman too.
S: So I guess Mike thought it was a joke. Well it ain’t a joke. Phil just punched him.
He didn’t have any help did he? Did he have bouncers? He’s a big rock star.
S: No, he did it himself.
R: He laid him out and Mike wasn’t expecting it.
T: Wasn’t he a big guy, Phil?
S: Yeah he said “screw you little guy.” And they are both dead now, so.
THIN LIZZY at that time I think were recording an album in Toronto. I think it was when they started going heavy metal. They were doing that record in Toronto. Was there ever any major record company interested in the UGLY?
R: No. Not really. The only band management was from Captain Kangaroo.
S: Captain Kangaroo?
R: Do you remember the guy with the limousine?
S: Oh, that guy.
R: He ran Attic Records. He said I think I could make a big deal out of you guys.
S: I can’t believe you remember Captain Kangaroo.
Raymi has the best memory here tonight, I think. Tell me more about Captain Kangaroo.
R: This guy wanted to put money into us. He used to wake up in the morning and fill up a salad bowl full of Cocoa Puffs and Coca Cola.
That’ll get you going in the morning.
R: He would be sitting there eating going “I think you guys would be the biggest thing. It would be Ugly-mania”. He came up with this idea of “Ugly-mania.”
That is almost as good as ugly guys get all the chicks. So that was ….
R: That was Attic records. 324 Bloor Street West. Just by the Varsity Restaurant in Toronto.
That was your closest brush with a label.
R: Yeah. I lived at 328-1/2 Bloor Street West. He knew Carl and my girlfriend and said ‘Hey youse guys are great.’ He came there and pulled up to Mike’s place in Kensington in a limousine to impress him and said ‘I want to manage youse guys.’ That was the only clue of management.
In 1996 finally after twenty years we see a full release of the original band of the UGLY, which was called “Disorder.”
R: I found the tape in the garage that Johnny Garbagecan was renting. I rented this place for a rehearsal studio. There was all this stuff in storage. I open up this suitcase and …
Where was this garage?
R: Right between the Cameron House and this tiny street that ends in a dead end. The next street is Augusta. Right on Queen Street. It was that laneway. It had a wood stove and there is a suitcase that I open up and the first thing on top is a tape labeled “Master Recording of the Ugly, 1977 October”. I grabbed it and went ‘Oh my god. This is Johnny Garbagecan’s old studio space that I rented for $50.’
S: You should have burned it right there and then.
R: I brought it to somebody and without it we wouldn’t be here today. 18 years later after that was recorded … think about it. 1977 and then I found this thing and by the time it got released it was ’96. What is that 19 years? Do the math.
The tape suffered from loose cables, misplaced microphones, distortion and it is just incredible how it sounds.
R: Read the Shades Magazine. They did a write up on page 26 and 27. You read it and it says ‘The only punk band in town. Check it out.’ George G. Higdon.
Dave Quinton: I just wanted to say of all the bands that had their records re-released and a lot of us had them ten years ago and Sam has heard me say this before, I mean I think if you listen to the UGLY CD, you realize just how powerful this band was and the fact that there wasn’t more attention paid to them at the time was really quite crazy because I think of all the records that have been released of all the bands, this is the best one. This is the one that represented what the scene was most about. In terms of pure powerful punk rock music from that era, this was the best record. Quite frankly, I’ve got it in my car and I listen to it periodically.
S: You have a car?
Dave Quinton: I have a car. I’ll even drive you home tonight if you need it. But seriously, it is the best one of all the bands that were released.
Thanks Dave. I couldn’t agree more. Moving on, Sam, I remember there was a great quote from you when the CD was released. You said, “If the Toronto scene was the underground we were below that. We were the outlaws of Toronto punk,” and I couldn’t agree more. Tell me about the song “Murderous Adventure,” Raymi. There is a line in “Murderous Adventure” where you say, “We live the line in our song” …..
R: “Our life is like living in a pirate ship. We never know when it’s going to get raided.”
And that’s what it was like being in the UGLY.
Raymi starts singing the song.
That’s pretty good but it sounds a lot heavier on the CD. Now on the CD we were talking earlier about a song called “K-4”. On that CD right before “K-4” you can hear Tony yelling “Fuck the Viletones because they fuckin’ suck.” Then you can hear Nightmare saying to him “Get back on your throne”.
R: And he fell off. That’s why he did that guitar rhythm.
That being 1977 this shows that rivalry and ironically first Sam quit and joined the VILETONES. And then Tony followed him. You guys both started playing in the VILETONES. What was the difference playing in the VILETONES and playing in the UGLY?
T: The music wasn’t there anymore.
So you’re saying the music was heavier in the UGLY?
T: Yeah. There was no more … what do you call music …. Honesty?
Well the best music is pure passion, I think.
T: That’s exactly what I am trying to talk about here. You couldn’t come close to the UGLY’s music. And the ‘TONES … I guess … I don’t want to cut them up, but we were posing. It looks cool.
What do you think Sam? What was the difference playing in the VILETONES?
S: The UGLY were a very cool band. Very heavy. Just out there punch in the face. But the VILETONES was the same thing, It was a punch in the face, too. Not quite as hard. But they had the lift with the publicity.
So did you think you had a better chance of making the big time by joining the VILETONES?
S: No. I didn’t think about that. I joined the VILETONES because I had it with Mike. I love the guy, but it was time for a change. And I’m glad I joined the VILETONES because it was just a change. And I’m glad Tony came with me. Steve Leckie always had the right thing with the publicity. He was Mr. Publicity guy. The first gig I did with him was at the Isabella and I woke up on his couch. The next morning there was a newspaper on my face. The front cover of the Entertainment section and there I am, which was cool.
And Steve is still a mastermind. He is like a Malcolm McLaren for media exposure.
S: Okay, now we have had some bad times, but we have had some good times.
T: He’s up and down like a yo-yo. He’s okay.
R: Who’s the one who said he fuckin’ sucks?
That was Tony.
S: He didn’t say, “Steve Leckie sucks.” He said “The Viletones suck.”
Okay, so we are at the point where Sam and Tony have joined the VILETONES. Raymi, what were you doing once these guys left?
R: I was out of the picture. I was a crêperie chef at Alice’s Restaurant.
I remember that. Okay, so later renditions of the UGLY with Mike Nightmare lead to the release of a 45, which Tony it turns out that you play on it. There is a picture on the 45 and there is one guy cut out. I didn’t realize Tony that it was you. They just chopped the photo off and left you out of the photo. Why did they do that to you?
T: Because everytime I play in a band that is what they do to me.
S: He got off easy. When Tony quit he just got his picture cut, but when I quit, I got put in jail. So you got off way better than I did.
R: Yeah. You spelled my name wrong. That is another reason.
T: I am so happy to get off easier than you.
Tony and Sam when you guys quit the UGLY to join the VILETONES did you guys have problems with Nightmare?
S: Oh, yeah.
T: He wanted to light our house on fire.
S: I was always looking behind my back.
T: No, nothing. I am just kidding.
There was a couple of tracks from a second generation of the UGLY that made it on to the “Last Pogo”. There was a movie called “Cinofrenic” that they were in.
S: Was that the one with the pig?
Do you guys remember if the single got reviewed. Was it well reviewed? I don’t remember.
R: Yeah. That was a great poster.
Later on, I remember Mike Nightmare singing for the SECRETS. Tell me about that?
T: We need Chris to tell us about that. I don’t know anything about the SECRETS.
The bottom line was he wasn’t in the band for long. It was very short.
R: The Horseshoe Tavern was a gig he did. It sounded great. Actually Chris, the time you played the Horseshoe with Mike and the SECRETS and I stood by that pillar and I was in awe. I was blown away. I thought it was so good. Then I looked behind me and there was no reaction from the crowd. They weren’t into it. But I was.
Chris Hate: It was my time to show some appreciation. A lot of guys were trying to put their heart and soul into it with this be bop crap. It was my first introduction and this was way before they used the word “Gangster rock.”
Sam, I wanted to ask you in: 1980 Chameleon Records released a compilation of Toronto bands which included the SECRETS, ARSON, TRUE CONFESSIONS, ZERO4, and the TYRANNA track “Back Off Baby,” which features you on bass. Were you a member of TYRANNA?
S: No, I just did it for the recording with Cleave. Cleave Anderson of the BATTERED WIVES who is now in the SCREWED and is instrumental in getting back all the old. That was the very first time I recorded. It was a place on Queen Street and you could hear the street cars go by. “Okay. Go now there is no streets cars.”
Later on, you guys were going … I guess that was with the WILD THINGS. Who was in the WILD THINGS?
R: There was Ace, Mike, Leo and Dogface Jenkins. Ace was in a City TV commercial one time. Billy, the Count of Cork. It was just a five piece band called the WILD THINGS but the WILD THINGS was formed in 1980.
And I remember the WILD THINGS wore colours like a motor cycle gang.
S: They tried to be the UGLY.
Did you see the WILD THINGS, Sam?
S: Yeah.
I really liked them. I thought they were great.
S: Yeah, I thought they were great, too.
Now Raymi, the whole band moved to Vancouver. How did people in Vancouver react to you?
R: They hated our guts. We were banned from there. Channel 13, George Duffy did a television program called “Up and Coming” and this guy named Ian Insane who was at Emily Carr Art College won the best unedited video for the contents of the WILD THINGS because we came out looking like the Third Reich. We freaked them out in 1981.
S: You guys were a gang.
R: Yeah, and then the Hell’s Angels told us to leave town.
So you guys came back to Toronto? Are there any WILD THINGS recordings out there?
R: Yes. I got tons.
Do you have them now?
R: I have twenty of them, but they are rough.
Sam, around 1980, you had SCREAMIN SAM AND THE PROBLEMS. I have a poster from your first gig at the Edge where you guys have a crashed up car. It was you and …
S: … a guy named Gideon and Brian from SHADOWY MEN.
Wow. Brian was playing drums.
S: No, Tony was playing drums.
T: That’s another name. I made that name up too.
I remember you guys shared the first gig with the DEAD KENNEDYS when they played Toronto.
R: You mentioned the DEAD KENNEDYS with Sam. I have a gift for you from the DEAD KENNEDYS.
I just want to say to you guys that we could go on and on here tonight. This has been a pretty lengthy interview. I really do think that the UGLY are hands down the hardest kick ass band to ever come out of the 70s Toronto scene. I think you got a real bum deal when it came to getting recognition for what you guys did. I want to say that I am so thankful for you guys coming in here tonight and talking to us.
S: I don’t think we got a bum deal.
What I mean is that it seems like you really didn’t get recognition.
S: Hey, that is rock and roll.
T: Thank god. You would have sold out.
R: I was a 19 year old kid hooked up with the best bass player in Toronto and the world.
What I’m saying is that he doesn’t care. I think that’s what makes the UGLY great. You guys did it because you were playing with pure passion. I’m so glad that for anyone who is unfamiliar with the UGLY …
T: I started the UGLY.
S: Hold on, buck-o.
T: I got Mike and you together.
S: Remember Kitchener? Writing songs for the UGLY.
Okay, hold your horses you guys. I think all you guys were responsible for starting the UGLY including Mike Nightmare who is with us tonight in spirit.
R: Where are those guys? His favourite saying.
I really hope that we get any kind of WILD THINGS recordings or UGLY recordings. We really got to hear this stuff. I want to say thank you to Tony Torture, Sam Ugly, and Raymi Gunner, and to everybody involved tonight. I just want to say long live the UGLY. One of the greatest bands. Thanks so much for being here tonight.

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