Use Your Fingers (Sony)
An interview with Jimmy Pop Ali
by Scott Hefflon
Where are you right now? I don’t mean that in a metaphysical sense, I mean geographically.
I’m at my parent’s house in the ‘burbs outside of Philadelphia.
OK, now that we’ve gotten the small talk out of the way, let’s talk about your hit single, “Fire Water Burn.”
Rock Master Scott wrote “The Roof is On Fire” in, like, ’83. I didn’t know who originally wrote it until they had to legally clear it at Geffen. All it is is G and E over and over again. So I was singing different rap songs over like, “Check, baby, check, baby, 1-2-3-4” and “The Roof is On Fire” worked the best. Then I wrote dumb lyrics to fill up the verses.
There are a lot of great one-liners in there. What are your favorite lines from the song?
I like the opening. I wrote the song around March for specific reasons, but then forgot them. After watching the video, I realized “Hello my name is Jimmy Pop and I’m a dumb white guy” is supposed to be an Alcoholics Anonymous thing. I was wondering why I said that. It’s still AA, it’s just Assholes Anonymous. My other favorite line is “I’m not black like Barry White no I’m white like Frank Black is.” I had to bang my head against a wall a few times before I figured out the right contrasting examples.
Hours of research were involved, obviously.
So basically what you’re saying is that I don’t have a girlfriend, I live with my parents, and I watch too much cable.
And you have a good record collection.
Well, not good. Extensive, perhaps. Weezer, Wham!, and Wu Tang Clan…
You “rock out to old school Duran Duran,” I believe?
Oh, many a-night I’ve pulled out my old Decade tape. You have all the hits, going right from “Union of the Snake” to “A View to a Kill” and “Wild Boys.” I saw them play around here a couple years ago and…
“A couple years ago” as in…
Yeah, like ’94/’95. Not back when it was cool to wear the “Hungry like the Wolf” hat, though I was still wearing it in ’94. I’m dressed up like Simon from the video, so people were looking at me like, a) Why’s this 22 year old guy here, b) Why’s he dressed like Simon LeBon from the “Hungry like the Wolf” video? But it was funny because they all ran out of the stadium to their bus after the show with towels over their heads like, “Stop the paparazzi!” only there was no one there. Except me because I got kicked out of the show.
Did you get kicked out for stagediving onto a 13 year old, or at least claiming that’s what you were doing?
Actually, when we were approaching the arena, which was out in the boon docks, we were running late, and there was a girl walking toward us, so I asked her if Duran Duran had gone on yet. She said, “Yeah, but you missed the Cranberries.” And I said, “Who cares about the Cranberries?” And she said, “Well, I do, because I’m in the cranberries.” So we got to talking, and I asked her why she always had a hassle every time Kennedy interviewed her for MTV. She said, (affecting an accent) “Well, Kennedy has a very strange sense of humor.” She doesn’t really sound like the Lucky Charms leprechaun, but she has an Irish accent.
So is that it for the Duran Duran story?
Yeah, I pissed off Duran Duran and scared Delores from the Cranberries. That’s typical for me. Girls always seem to react to me that way. The word “creepy” has popped up a few times. I tend to leave an impression, and occasionally the stench of garlic, behind. I get nervous, and I get gas. Everything makes me fart. If I drink water, I fart. I have the worst ass in the world. In the video, they wanted to do a shot where I’m playing basketball and one of the jocks pulls down my shorts when I go for a basket, and you see I’m wearing girl’s panties, but I don’t think America wants to see my hairy, dingleberry-dangling derrière. At some point in time, people are going to have to see my pooper, but not just yet.
You have a fixation with asses, don’t you?
I have a butt fetish, but it’s not with my own. At least not yet. I wrote an article for PopSmear and have a song along the same lines called, “Philosofeces.” It’s about licking girls’ butts. That’s my thing. It helps make up for my small penis.
If you can’t cut the mustard, you can always lick out the jar.
Where’d you get that?
Dr. Dirty. John Valby, a musical comedian who went to Berklee and now tours colleges singing obscene limericks and parodies.
I was hoping you made that up so I could steal it. Howard Stern had a great line about how he wanted to bang Meg Ryan in the rump until she’s more black and blue than a Harlem Cub Scout. He got in trouble for that one.
I hear you’re the one human Howard Stern wouldn’t even let work for him for free?
Nope, I couldn’t get the gig. I never got past the receptionist to do the interview. I even have a Jackie the Jokeman Box. He’s the writer for Howard Stern’s show. It’s a little box with a nose on it. You squeeze the nose and it tells you a joke. I collect things. I have an end table with the embalmed body of a seven year old next to my sofa. But anyway, I don’t think I got the internship because I actually wanted to do it. They saw me coming from a mile away. He gave me a title. I’m the most successful intern. I have a title! Like Stuttering John or Crackhead Bob, I’m The Most Successful Intern. I don’t have much going on in my life, so little things like that get me excited. I’m thinking of having business cards and stationary printed up.
What happened to the ex-members of Bloodhound Gang?
I haven’t talked to Daddy Long Legs or Skip O’ Pot2mus for over a year now. Same with the other guys you probably wouldn’t know unless you got our first record, before Use Your Fingers (Cheese Factory/ Underdog/Columbia/Sony). Back then, Daddy and I did production and then we rapped over it. The new guys were brought in because we wanted to mix it up and do half live, half samples. Next I’m trying to bring Weezer and Wu Tang Clan together. To integrate them seamlessly.
A multi-faceted musician/producer, aren’t you?
Idiot Savant. But all the savant part does is make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, the rest is all idiot. Oh, the savant part also performs freeform, avant garde poetry like… (I’m not going to transcribe this part.)
Are those crickets I hear?
(pause) Hey Scott, why don’t you go BEEP! yourself?! My phone doesn’t have quick BEEP! reaction or I’d’ve told you that a long time ago.
Can you play “Yankee Doodle,” “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?”
Wow! You have even more free time than I do! No, I can’t. But I used to be able to play “Just Can’t Get Enough” by Depeche Mode. Excuse me, I’m peeing. Hi mom, what are you doing? My Mom’s about to give Elmer a bath. Elmer’s our dog. I have to leave now, she doesn’t want me to see the dog naked.
What’s this record’s public service announcement by the drunk homeless guy?
There isn’t one. That was last album. Or do you mean the retard on “Why’s Everybody Always Pickin’ On Me?” Last time, the B.H.G.P.S.A. was a homeless guy saying, “Try throwing your socks in the trash before they have the holes in the feet.” I had to think about that one. There’s a homeless lady out where Lupus lives that we were thinking of naming an EP after. She’s a crack mama who calls herself Our Lady of Crack.
Tell me about your beefy boy bad assness in “Boom.”
You thought I was bad ass?
At the beginning, yeah, but your voice started to crack and squeak when you got on the roll.
The beginning part wasn’t me.
That was Rob Van Winkle, better known as Vanilla Ice. He was good at being tough, and I followed him like (in falsetto), “Yeah, I’m tough too,” and then I hid behind him. I run. Like a girl.
It’s cool you didn’t make a big deal out of it. Cameo appearances by stars and, uh, has-beens…
Like having Rip Taylor on Use Your Fingers, that was half the attraction of having Rob do it. Not saying who he was.
Is Rob from your neck of the woods, or ‘hood? Did you use to run into him down at the local liquor store buyin’ a 40 oz.?
Hey Scott, man, why don’t you read your fuckin’ bio, man… You’d see what it was all about. I wouldn’t have to keep fuckin’ repeating myself. (Pause.) How’s that? Did I sound tough?
Very scary. What’s your pop culture junk food?
I’m a big Stern fan, I grew up listening to him. I was a radio/television/film major, but it’s amazing how many movies I haven’t seen. And that’s a pet peeve of mine, people who gasp and say, “You’ve never seen that?” I’ve started to get into old comedy albums – Steve Martin, Bill Cosby, Jonathan Winters, The Funk Tramp, Bob Newhart. I’m a big Young Ones fan. My favorite band of all time is Depeche Mode.
Um, you do realize I’m taping this…
I’ll say it. I’ve seen them eight or nine times.
They always seem so troubled by something far away, over to the side.
Ten thousand people screaming their name, and they look like they’re trying to remember if they left the curling iron on.
I was talking with my close, personal friend, Steve, the Satan-worshipping guitarist from Nerf Herder who collects action figures, despite the fact that I wanted to talk to Parry, the singer and guy who wrote most of the words…
Well, hell, you know, some people get out. I do interviews on Friday nights from my parent’s house while my mom shampoos the dog. At least that’s what I tell people. And you probably do the same. You need to be there for your friends so they can call you with their tongue-piercing dilemmas. But seriously, Parry hasn’t realized what’s happening to him yet. He owns an orchid farm. He sent my mother and my girlfriend orchids for Christmas.
But the question I would have asked him had I been able to talk with him is, you’re a funny guy, you write lyrics that strike people as funny. What happens if you’re not funny?
The ultimate goal is Jimmy Pop movies and television. I’m not in a band because I like music. If I wasn’t able to tell poop jokes over music, I wouldn’t be in a band. It just helps that I know something about music. Like Beavis and Butthead, only this would be Jimmy Pop and Jimmy Pop, with neither one of me being any smarter than the other. We wouldn’t even say anything. It’d be very avant garde. Whether we’re a novelty or not remains to be seen, but I think we have enough edge to pull it off. I’m about as deep as a kiddie pool, so I doubt I’d get far making it political, or saying it’s about being a musician, or it’s for the scene, man. I just like to make poop jokes that rhyme.