Chuck Shute Podcast

Robert Duncan (Creem Magazine)

August 27, 2020 Robert Duncan Season 2 Episode 53
Chuck Shute Podcast
Robert Duncan (Creem Magazine)
Show Notes Transcript

Episode #53 - Robert Duncan was the managing editor of Creem Magazine from 1974-75 and he also wrote for Rolling Stone, Circus and Hit Parader.  He has written some books as well including a very popular Kiss biography and his upcoming novel, "Loudmouth."

0:00:00 - Intro
0:01:34 - Kiss Biography
0:03:25 - Background & Early Musical Influences
0:06:10 - Playing in Bands in the Early '70s
0:08:35 - Beginning of Rock Writing Career
0:13:16 - Interviewing KISS
0:16:05 - Managing Editor at Creem Magazine
0:18:55 - Leaving Creem Magazine
0:20:45 - Freelance Vs Working at Creem
0:22:45 - Partying With Rockstars
0:25:10 - Epic Party With A-Listers
0:32:45 - Bruce Springsteen Interview
0:36:50 - Blue Oyster Cult
0:40:05 - David Bowie & Freddie Mercury
0:42:00 - Keith Richards & Ron Wood
0:47:10 - Jimmy Page
0:48:40 - Heavy Metal & Sammy Hagar
0:50:55 - Cameron Crowe
0:55:30 - Lester Bangs & Rockstars
0:57:05 - Chicago & NRBQ
0:59:30 - Crazy Shit & Knowing Your Limits
1:05:35 - How Music Scene Has Changed
1:07:50 - New Book "Loudmouth"
1:09:42 - Legal Defense Fund for NAACP
1:10:54 - Sequel to Kiss Book & Future Plans
1:13:00 - Wrap Up

Robert Duncan Website:
https://www.duncanwrites.com/

Legal Defense Fund for NAACP:
https://www.naacpldf.org

Chuck Shute Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/chuck_shute/

Support the show (https://venmo.com/Chuck-Shute)
Chuck Shute :

Welcome to the show. My guest today is great guest I know I say that every week but that was all those are all lies. This is the real great guest. Robert Duncan is the managing editor of cream magazine from 1975 to 76, basically the heyday of rock and he can continue to contribute to that magazine as well as Rolling Stone, circus hip Raider and others. Well through the 80s. He's written some books including a kiss biography, and he has a new book coming out titled loud mouth. So we're gonna talk about all this and I really enjoyed hearing his stories. I was on the edge of my seat, listening to these stories he had about being around some of the biggest rock stars of the 70s at the height of rock music really I don't say this often. But I really think this is one of my best interviews that I've ever had. And it's mostly because of Robert stories. What I love is just as brutal honesty. It's kind of rare in the music business, although maybe not for rock critics, and certainly not for cream magazine in the 70s. If you watch the new documentary, that's out now you can see what it was like back then. And I guess what also strikes me about Robert and his stories is just how much cocaine was going on in the 70s. Sounds like it was really rampant back then, which I guess isn't too surprising. But anyways, I think you'll enjoy this episode. We'll walk Welcome to my show here. You are the most known for, I guess, being the managing editor of cre magazine in the late 60s. And also you've written a couple books you wrote a KISS book, I think, which is one of your most popular sellers right?

Robert Duncan :

One of my.... that that eclipses all other books by hundreds of thousands.

Chuck Shute :

What is it about KISS that why do people I mean, I like KISS, I don't hate them. But this is like if there's all these people like a lot of musicians that I interview, they are KISS that was like.... it's got to be one of the most influential bands, which is really kind of interesting to me.

Robert Duncan :

Yeah, it's, it is really odd. I'm not, I'm not a KISS fan either. But, and I was managing editor of Creem in like the mid 70s. Because, right? didn't start to like 69-70. But KISS .... I discovered, somebody asked me to write a book on KISS and I used to write a lot of magazine articles on KISS because I discovered that when I was a freelancer, you could sell these magazine articles. They didn't want to hear maybe about the Velvet Underground. The magazines want to KISS on their cover.

Chuck Shute :

Sure.

Robert Duncan :

So I wrote a bunch of stuff about it and a guy hooked me up with a publisher who wanted a book on it and it was the first ever book about KISS. Biography such as it was, it's kind of tongue in cheek.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, definitely.

Robert Duncan :

Some people got it. But KISS, I have discovered this to the KISS is like the Beatles of of their generation.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah.

Robert Duncan :

It's kind of the baseline around which people of a certain age, organize, begin and organize their musical life.

Chuck Shute :

Right. So, so for you growing up you, you were born in Wisconsin, then you guys moved at a very young age. Do you move to California at that point? Or where did you

Robert Duncan :

all know, we moved around the Midwest for a while. So Wisconsin and Chicago and Minneapolis. And then and then we moved in New York when I was in fourth grade.

Chuck Shute :

Okay.

Robert Duncan :

It roughly parallels the timeline in loud mouth. Okay, like that. Some of the things around because Yeah,

Chuck Shute :

but you became a fan of The Beatles and The British Invasion that was your kiss. That was your generation.

Robert Duncan :

Right? noodles were my kiss.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah. Right. I mean, cuz that's, and that's what I would expect a lot of musicians to say, oh, The Beatles were huge, but a lot of them growing up as a kid in the 70s. I felt like maybe they thought the Beatles were that was like their parents music or something?

Robert Duncan :

Well, exactly. Yeah, exactly. And it's funny because when we lived in Minnesota, I had a much older half brother. And he was a big bad boy, cut rod gangster kind of guy. And there's a character based on him in loudmouths. But, um, and, but I remember driving around in his Hot Rod, and pouring out of the blaring from the dashboard was this guy singing about a hound dog? And I'm like, you know, I'm seven years old, and I'm like, Wow, what's going on? Mommy, get me out of here.

Chuck Shute :

Isn't it crazy? You have those memories of the first time you hear something?

Robert Duncan :

Yeah, yeah. And then it was funny cuz I saw I was scared by Elvis. And then A few days later, I'm in school and I went to Catholic school and we had a music class where we learned to sing all the hymns. And I remember doing the Elvis you know, in the music class, oh no, I went from being intimidated to being attracted, like, deeply attracted. And I remember it was the one time the nun called home to school. She called home and said, you know, we think your son has perfect pitch. And it was like the one good call from school you know, and wow. But that was because I was trying to seem like Elvis

Chuck Shute :

but so were the were the nuns or the Catholic people. Were they okay with Elvis because he was a little risque back in the day.

Robert Duncan :

Oh, no, they didn't know I was singing Elvis. Okay.

Chuck Shute :

You're shaking your hips like Elvis tenor, and I didn't

Robert Duncan :

see that. But I was just trying to kind of do my little seven year old soprano version of Elvis.

Chuck Shute :

Okay. So, yeah, and then

Robert Duncan :

yeah, I spanned Spend so I spend from Elvis hound dog to, you know, Billy Eilish. That's my that's the arc of my listening career.

Chuck Shute :

That's amazing. Yeah. And so it was around the age 12 that you actually started playing in bands, which was pretty young age to play in bands. And this was kind of in the, your being your first band, or one of the first pencils called sky King. And you said this was kind of in the glam era like Alice Cooper.

Robert Duncan :

Right? Well, yeah, the that was my high school band High School, but I, but I joined when I was in grade school. You know, sir, right about the time I joined the band, I was a bad guitar player, but I wanted to be a rock star. Good. Now, I had seen the Beatles. Now. Yeah. My generation. And that's that way after that, that was just, you know, life takes a left turn. And so, but it was funny. I was thinking about the other day somebody was asking me about, you know, what was the music and I'm thinking well, just before the Beatles and even during the Beatles it was surf music.

Chuck Shute :

You know? Yeah, Beach Boys ventures,

Robert Duncan :

yeah, ventures, I mean ventures were just they were the biggest band, you know, of the moment, just before the Beatles. And so we played ventures tunes and Telstar and all this stuff. And and then I went on to, we started a band in high school. And you know, that was a sky King was named for the there was a TV show. And, and it had a father and his daughter and they flew around in an airplane and so it was kind of cool. And but so her name was penny. So I called myself penny, in sky King. So we were, we were, you know, messing with the gender fuckery. And, and, and we were, you know, we were a real hardcore stones ish band. And

Unknown Speaker :

yeah, and that's,

Robert Duncan :

yeah, early on. Sure that was that was early 70s. And early. And we were I, you know, I was just so off the charts and I was, I was just, I would go crazy and, and jumping around and throwing beer on myself and crawling around on the floor and all this stuff. And I remember, when punk started, one of the guitar players called me and said, hey, look what you started, because I was doing a lot of that really, really edgy stuff. early on.

Chuck Shute :

Nice. But so you ended up moving to California. And I thought if I found this interesting, you told the story a few times where you randomly ran into Ed Ward, who's like a rock historian, editor and writer for Rolling Stone and cream. And you're kind of thinking of getting into writing for rock magazines and such. So do you feel like that was maybe like some sort of divine intervention? I mean, what are the odds that you're thinking about getting into that field? And then you just randomly happen to run into this guy. I mean, what this is not

Robert Duncan :

what are the odds? weird story how I met my wife, but um, but yeah, Edward was I was looking for an apartment of basement apartment. And it

Chuck Shute :

wasn't by the way it was were apartments super expensive back in the 70s in San Francisco, because now I can't even imagine what the prices

Robert Duncan :

will be. No. They I think, comparatively speaking, they were they were still cheaper. I mean, because Sure, yeah. Out of the ballpark now. But they were still expensive, you know, okay. Under 150 or 200 bucks a week. You're like, Okay, well, that, you know, so I was looking for cheap apartment. And I wound up at the end of the day out in Sausalito. And I saw a basement apartment for rent and I pulled my car over and I ran over and a guy comes running from the other direction says I got it, you know? And I got shit. All right. I said you might have a look at it anyway because it was like the end of the day no more apartments to look at. He says yeah, you can look at it but don't you know don't get any ideas. And I tell this story in loud mouth in in a fictionalized form and the guy so I go into the apartment I'm looking around and the guy walks in and he puts down this box that he's carrying of the of his shit. And under it is a lanyard and a laminate and it's a press pass. And I say Oh shit, you know what, what do you what do you write about or what do you Why are you a press guy says Well, I'm a writer and an editor I write for Rolling Stone and cream and on the West Coast editor of cream and city magazine, which was a San Francisco's magazine and this and that he just went on he written for every magazine known to man and it was like, Oh shit, I you know, I'm kind of interested in getting involved in that field. Because I had given up on bands I you know, the the final time the drummer explodes or the guitar players girlfriend Won't let him play. It was like, you know, alright, fuck this, I'm going to do something I can do all by myself. So yeah, so it turned out it was Edward. And Edward said well, so he kind of for a while he made me his kind of editorial slave and he would make me transcribe tapes for him back in the day when you get paid for that. He didn't pay me for it. No, no, he just kind of made me his slave and he would he would then cook dinner. He was a big he was a big cook still. And he would cook dinner and, and even cook. They're mostly for me and this other guy, john Moreland, who was a early Rolling Stone writer. And john Moreland got hired to be the interim editor of cre magazine in Detroit. And when he went there, he called me up and said, Hey, you want to come be copyboy? This is after Ed had given me a couple of assignments and kind of taught me how what to do. Yeah, Edward definitely was my my my mentor and instructor

Chuck Shute :

so yeah, cuz back then there was no resume there's no podcasts or YouTube. So you're doing a lot of these interviews with like a tape recorder like, are you doing them over the phone or, or in person? And then you're the first you were just transcribing them, right?

Robert Duncan :

Well, yeah, I would I transcribed a few of that stage.

Chuck Shute :

So were you kind of you starstruck at first when you getting the first transcription? Is that a big rock star? And you're like, oh, wow, this is an interview with a Bob Dylan or something. Or

Robert Duncan :

it seemed cool. You know, it was definitely I was definitely starstruck. But when I started doing it myself, I always tried to do it in person. It's way better doing it in person. You know, you get to kind of see what a jackass they are. And, and I include myself in that, but, you know, and there were some times there was phone interviews, but I resisted that because it's so much less to write about. And, yeah, I was starstruck and I was... it I was kind of tongue tied and I write down all these questions. And I'd be... I was not overly shy person, but I would suddenly turn a little bashful and I would be confronted with. Oh, I don't know. I mean, and then again, there was I interviewed KISS early.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah. Wasn't that one of your first writing assignments? You they were the opening act there. It was before they were really big, right?

Robert Duncan :

Yeah. When I was, I was out in California and cream when now Edward (Ward, Creem Magazine) has given me some assignments and he and Creem called or Ed called and said, Hey, they want they want us to do a story on this band KISS that's coming to town. Will you do it? And I'm like, of course, you know, and so that I was invited out to dinner with Bill Aucoin. Their famous manager was in spin, golly, I guess. And then we went, Oh, and I interviewed the band and I was there the day. Paul came late to the interview. He was out getting his roast famous rose tattoo on his shoulder from this tattoo artists named Lyle Tuttle, who used to do all the rock stars in the 60s, who I got a tattoo from as well. And anyways, they were they were fine, you know,

Chuck Shute :

so tell me this might seem like a season.

Robert Duncan :

Yeah. Like I was horrified.

Chuck Shute :

Well, so yeah, cuz I'm not a big KISS fan. I mean, I like KISS but I don't know a lot about him. Some of these other people that have interviewed you. I know they know everything about KISS. So for the novice fan, did you you got to go backstage. Now how does you get to see them put their makeup on? Like, I always wonder like, how long does that take? Especially back then before they had probably then probably now they just spray it on but back then. I mean, they just do it themselves. They do it to each other. Like, do they have a makeup girl like how does that all work?

Robert Duncan :

Well, I saw them without their makeup and then with their makeup, so I missed the so

Chuck Shute :

you were actually like that's like kind of behind the scenes because before then nobody had seen them without their makeup until the 80s or whatever they did "Unmasked" or whatever right?

Robert Duncan :

Right, yeah, exactly. And no, but I think they I know from my friend Jan Uhelski, my co editor at Creem , she she did get to be backstage for she got to go on stage with them. It's a famous story. She, she tells that in that Creem documentary that just is just coming out.

Chuck Shute :

I just saw that. Yeah,

Robert Duncan :

Yeah. Yeah, she tells about that. And oh, I think she's it took an hour for them to get that makeup on. And they did it. They did it themselves. Okay. But yeah, I was horrified when I first went there. I'm like, What is all this shit? What does this have to do with you know, music I was like, and they had the big KISS sign and you know, I had Gene was spitting blood and they were really doing pretty much everything they do is they would go on to do as headliners as an opening act. And it was just like, oh, wow,

Chuck Shute :

I remember the opening for Do you remember?

Robert Duncan :

kinda wish I remember. I have no idea.

Chuck Shute :

So you're you're

Robert Duncan :

Yeah, winterland ballroom, okay. I should look it up.

Chuck Shute :

So you're a contributor to cream magazine, you wrote some stuff, and then it's only in 75 to 76. You mean, you rose to the top of the ranks pretty quick. You were the managing editor. And that's a pretty big role for that magazine. Right. And at the prime of rock seven, mid 70s. I mean, I can't think of a cooler job at that point.

Robert Duncan :

Yeah, it was just it was a great job. And it was astonishing, because, you know, I started I think, doing freelance stuff for me like 74. Yeah, more than went to cream and called me up said you want to come and be copyboy? Well, well, the reason Morgan was there as interim editor was after David Marsh was like the famous founding editor or basically the founding editor. They couldn't find anybody that they liked. And basically, Lester would drive out the editors. Lester Bangs was there but this time and he would, and he would like add on like that guy and fuck this guy up. He would harass them and and the guy would eventually say I can't work with Lester and

Chuck Shute :

what is let's just roll again EC editor to or what is

Robert Duncan :

well, he was he was kind of he was the star writer and star writer okay the voice of the magazine and we'll hear so what happened was so that he kept chasing away editor's people don't even don't realize this he would chase it away they and finally it came down to I I had was very tight in the family, the cream family at this point. And I was you could see, I mean, I guess I had a knack for it. I was a great cheerleader. I would be like, you know, oh, hey, we all got to do this. We all got to do that. And I was always telling jokes and shit. And so the publisher said, Hey, you got to ride home tonight now. He said, we'll come I'll give you a ride home and he took me down his car. He says, Hey, you want to be editor of the magazine? And I'm like, Okay, yeah, that sounds great. But it'll never work. As long as if if Lester is perceived to be, you know, working for me or reporting to me. I said, so here's what I recommend. And again, I'm like, 22, I'm thinking, What a fucking genius. And so I said to the publisher, I said, Let's do this. Let's, let's make Lester the editor. So he'll be at the top of the masthead. And we'll invent this new title for me managing editor. Ah, I'll be under Lester. Okay. And I'll tell Lester, you know, he doesn't have to do any of the organizational shit, or the, you know, the other than the creative work, and I'll do all that stuff. And I'll edit him as he needs it, as he wants it. And, and we did that and it worked like a charm. I mean, it worked. It worked great. And Lester and I were really close friends. Anyways. So came very close friends. So then what happened because you're only there from 75 to 76. And then you stormed off and quit because you didn't like the new editor. There was another editor. That was Higher. No, no, no, I got in a fight with the publisher, the publisher, I'm sorry. The publisher Barry Kramer, who who actually I actually liked. Although he could be, he could be very annoying. Lester and him just fought like crazy. He was Lester's just bait and war and but I got along with him, but you know, I did. I did some irresponsible stuff. And he was like, Okay, I'm holding your paycheck, you know, this week, and I go, Well, no, you can't do that. And he says, Yeah, I'm gonna do it. So I said, Alright, well fuck it. And I went home and I packed up my car, and I drove drove back to New York.

Chuck Shute :

Wait, wait, wait, what was the irresponsible stuff? You did?

Robert Duncan :

Oh, I left. I went, I just kind of disappeared for a couple of days at some point.

Unknown Speaker :

And what were you doing?

Robert Duncan :

I was having. I had a girlfriend in New York and I was having problems with the girlfriend. So I'm like, Okay, I gotta go smooth that out. And I came back But he's like, okay, you know, I'm not gonna fucking pay you. And he didn't pay us much anyways, but

Chuck Shute :

really, you didn't make good money as the as the editor of one of the biggest rock magazines in the height of rock?

Robert Duncan :

No. I mean, I, I believe I made $200 a week, which to me was okay, it was okay. You know, but at least by the time I left there I was 200 hours a week. But, um, so, yeah, that was, you know, and they were it was it was, I'm not sure maybe Kramer got kinda rich off it, but in the end, I think he squandered it all, you know, you know, he squandered it on drugs and cars and whatever.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, well, so you continue to write for cream until 81. But you also wrote for hip peredur circus Rolling Stone. These are all magazines that I read as a kid in the 90s. And you were actually offered a job to be the editor of search. But you deny that because you wanted to write books?

Robert Duncan :

Yeah, well, I, you know, and again I'm it just it's astonishes me. I was like 22, eight left cream came back to New York. People started calling me say, hey, you want to do something for this and that and that's that's when they, the Jerry Rosberg from a circus called me up and said, do you want to be editor circus? And I thought, well look at this, I'm on a roll. I'm gonna be you know, I'm gonna write the great American novel. And you know, and then I'm out of here, you know, and I didn't know it's gonna take me this long to get to the great American novel, but But see, so I turned on searches and I was working in and I made up with the publisher of cream and so I was writing for cream all the time. And I wrote for every rock magazine that there was there was a magazine called gig there was phonograph record magazine, and I can't even remember all the other

Chuck Shute :

so do you like doing that like working Kind of like as I guess you call it freelance for a bunch of magazines rather than being under one magazine or which what's better?

Robert Duncan :

Well, there was nothing better than working at cream because cream was just really, you know, unfettered. You were you could do what you could pretty much do what you wanted. And the other writers were really good. And the freelancers were really good. It was an amazingly high quality of work for such a disorganized, wacky, you know, party hardy organization. And so, and you just had tremendous, tremendous freedom, it was probably a bad that was probably not the best thing to learn early on, because later on when I, when I had had other jobs, it was like, fuck this, what the hell. So was there just

Chuck Shute :

a lot like in that movie, the cream documentary, which I recommend everybody check it out. It was cool. They interviewed the drummer from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chad Smith, and he said he's a kid and he looked at the cream magazine. He's like, hey, this This place is just like down the street from where I live. I'm gonna go there and he just shows up and Alice Cooper's like walking out, was there a lot of that kind of stuff going on when you work there like rock stars coming in and out?

Robert Duncan :

Well, there there was some of that. And, and, and some of like, you know, we every any band that came through town and every band came of, of every size came through Detroit and Detroit had a kind of Mystique. And and still does. But so we would be you know, it was there was a lot of partying with rock stars, you know, not not a ton of them came by the office. But I know he did and Alice Cooper did. And you know, the publisher used to be the manager for Mitch Ryder who I don't know if anybody remembers but he was fantastic. Singer, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit wheels. And so we would be out I mean, I remember one time we went to see the faces and we would just expect to we go party on afterwards. And we went to see The faces when Ron wood was still playing in the face that

Chuck Shute :

with Rod Stewart was Hanna

Robert Duncan :

Stiller Ian McLagan, it was really a great band before Rod Stewart turned into, you know, kind of kitsch smalls. But uh, so I remember we're back in the hotel with the with the, we go back to the hotel, the faces and, and we're, we're actually we're in my one of the guys from creams van and and Ron would walk up walks back out of the hotel and I said, Hey, Ronnie, come on, get get in, we'll go, you know, we'll go somewhere, whatever. And so he wanted to go to we went to Bobby Womack house, you know, the, the great r&b singer and he wrote, it's all over now. You know, because they used to love her and but it's all over now. I mean, so we went there with Ron wood. And, and who knows who else and, and Ron wood and Bobby Womack jammed sang and played, you know? Wow.

Chuck Shute :

Just for fun like you're going to private concert basically.

Robert Duncan :

Yeah. So it was like that happened a lot.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah. Tell me this story because I heard you talk about this one too. So this is like around at 81 you go to a party in New York City because it's totally random yours. Your friend is a stage manager for Liza Minnelli and so you're invited to this party with like all these a listers you said meatloaf was there. Harvey Keitel, Al Pacino Lucille Ball, Gregory Peck, and you run into your old pal Gene Simmons from kiss who's dating Diana Ross. I mean, did you get to this is before cellphones. You can't get selfies with these people. But are you getting autographs or like Polaroids or something? Or?

Robert Duncan :

Well, you know, I'm a guest at the party so I can't I have to pretend like I belong there because I didn't feel like this was my childhood buddy. Married married liesman Cuz he was a stage manager on Broadway and, and when he turned 30, he told her he says, You got to have a giant party and invite all your friends and to their Upper East Side apartment, which he did. She did. And he couldn't take selfies, but at some point, I would, you know, we'd go up there and just they drink all their booze and take all their cocaine. And so at one point, I'm jumping on the couch and I'm, I'm making long distance calls. People don't know that long calling long distance on a landline used to cost a bunch of money. Yeah, that was a big deal. I was calling everybody I know going guess where I am. Guess who's over there in the room. And I was, so I was goofing on the whole experience. But, but yeah, yeah, it was it. And it was a gene showed up. Gene Simmons and I can't imagine I've talked about this. I can't imagine what he was. He thought I'm going to the party with Eliza Mahalia. Yeah, hollywood folks. Martin Scorsese and De Niro and

Chuck Shute :

Scorsese was there and De Niro.

Robert Duncan :

Oh yeah, cuz I They were getting ready to do a movie him and Liza Minnelli didn't New York, New York. And oh my god, Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal. Anyways, Jean must have been mystified. But, you know, I've told this story but but Jean Farrah Fawcett who was two people know?

Chuck Shute :

I mean, I know but I'm old. Yeah, she was a big deal in the 70s. She was a big sex star. I mean, she was like symbol, I guess. In America. Yeah. Yeah, everyone had that poster with a Yeah,

Robert Duncan :

yeah, every boy had the certain poster on his wall. Anyway,

Chuck Shute :

was that the one in Shawshank Redemption? Right? Isn't that fair faucet? At one point, I think he changes the poster. I feel like it is.

Robert Duncan :

No no, it's like Rita Hayworth. I think it because that's a period. Okay. It was something like that. I think it was really a word but But anyways, yeah, so Boston. airfloss It's their were their boyfriend Ryan O'Neal, who was famous for the movie. Love Story. Yeah,

Chuck Shute :

yeah, I know him.

Robert Duncan :

Well, paper, moon and all these And and you know, he I remember at one point walking into the bedroom, you know, we were having just completely off of the chain and, and I walked in the bedroom and Ryan O'Neal sitting there with the largest amount of white powder you've ever seen. And I said to him, oh, hey, and he's snorting, you know, and I said, it was it was cocaine and I said, Hey, can I have some? Yeah. And he's like, Oh, no, man, I don't have enough. And wow, it's, you know, in a topographical feature,

Chuck Shute :

like I and Scarface, Al Pacino. That's what I'm picturing.

Robert Duncan :

It was like, wow. Anyways, so at some point five in the morning, you know, everybody's left except for me and my wife and that might have been my girlfriend at the time. Okay. And my friend Mark who's married Eliza, they were there, and Ryan O'Neal and Farrah Fawcett and And, and they're trying to get me out of it because I'm once I get going, I'm just like, I'm going I'm a maniac. I mean, like with like booze and coke and all this stuff What? Well, I just have tremendous stamina I can do completely I don't need drugs. I was never big. Okay, I can, I can drink all night and just have gone for days. Because I don't know, he still kind of have it. And so they're like, No, we gotta go to bed. Come on. It's five or 530 in the morning. So I said, Well, I lost my jacket. You know what happened to my jacket? And it was like just a windbreaker. But I'm making a big deal. I'm Song walking around going I'm looking everywhere in the house and I'm going somebody stole my fucking jacket. You know, Lucille Ball stole my jacket or something. Griffin on this thing? Yeah. And, and then Farrah Fawcett comes out of the bathroom and she says, Is this your jacket and she has my ordinary black windbreaker and I'm like, Yes, that's my jacket she founded hanging in the in the bathroom. And so I went and I, I used to do a thing when I was drinking, I learned how to do you know, lifesaving Red Cross, lifesaving I, when I was a kid, and I learned how to you know, carry somebody who's heavier than you and all this. She wasn't heavier than me. But I used to add in bars and at parties, I would grab the biggest person I could find and run around and put them on my back and that was my, that was my drunken feet of strength. So I grabbed Farrah Fawcett I threw up on my shoulder and I'm running around the Marvel apartment and I'm just jumping and dancing and just being you know, I'm thinking this is my thanking her for finding my check. And Ryan O'Neal is there my my friend Mark is saying, Dude, come on, put her down or down. You know, he's just being my old friend. Sure. Neil says to him, No, no, no, don't don't interfere. You know. He's like, you He's like he thinks he's gonna be the emergency commander on the spot. And I you know, he thinks I'm gonna like jump out the window with them. I don't know what. So instead of stopping I went and grabbed lizer and I had both like

Chuck Shute :

Oh, please tell me there was a picture of this or a video or something.

Robert Duncan :

My only picture is my wife was sitting there so she corroborate bananas. I ran around eventually put them down and, and I would not respond to Ryan's you know, trying to stop me.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, that would have been bad if he had had a mountain full of coke to you never people do weird stuff on that.

Robert Duncan :

Well, he thought he was he thought he was okay. I'm just I'm the I'm the sober minded one. And anyways, that interesting. That's a famous story from that that party. I try. It's crazy. I tried to loud mouth is a fictionalized memoir, more or less.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah.

Robert Duncan :

Which is a lazy way of describing and it's got a lot of other stuff in it and it's got it's got exaggerations, and it's got, you know, edits in my life and everything. But I at one point, I did have that story in the manuscript. And I'm like, Oh shit, this isn't rock and roll. I keep I gotta kind of touch base with all the little anecdotes have to touch base with rock and roll boy. Oh,

Chuck Shute :

but Well, I'm glad you thought you told him here because it was a great story.

Robert Duncan :

Yeah, it's a funny story. Yeah, yeah. In fact, they told it on somewhere else. And now they said, y'all, you got to come on this other show. And, and so maybe on some national radio show the Oh,

Chuck Shute :

cool. Very cool. So another thing that you did that was really cool. You You said, you interviewed Bruce Springsteen, and you said that he told you that that was one of the best articles ever written about him. What year was that?

Robert Duncan :

That was that was 78 I believe.

Chuck Shute :

Okay, this is a

Robert Duncan :

I had gotten I had met him a few times and we had we including we had a really cool experience that I slightly fictionalized for the book, it's the intro to the book is where he invited me down to Cleveland and we hung out and drove around in this crazy friend's car all afternoon. And it was just a wild afternoon and I don't want to wreck the intro. The book is my favorite part. Okay. But anyways, we went down to the store. The long story I wrote on him was we went down to him, I was invited down to go on tour with him in the south for a few dates to ride on the bus and we went to Houston and New Orleans and Jackson Mississippi. And first of all, you got a lot of flavor going on with those cities, especially New Orleans. And, and I interviewed him and, and, and I was pretty sure okay, this is the best interview I've done and it It had a lot to do with him in that he was not you know, he wasn't drunk or high you didn't really drink and he didn't really get high so he made sense you know, I interviewed Aerosmith at the time and it's like you kind of got to throw up interview stupid and but Bruce was was great and the shows were just fantastic and and and of course the atmosphere walking around New Orleans with Clarence Clemons when he got like, and he got hassled by a cop there, we got accused of walking out on a check from a restaurant that we had never been in. And it was just a white cop hassling a black, a large black man. And it was all it was so it was just full of colorful incidents. And so I wrote I wrote it for cream and I thought, okay, that's probably the best thing I've ever written. And Bruce was as maybe the continuation of This tour, he was coming back to New York and he was doing like his first Madison Square Garden gig. It was like his homecoming to New York, New Jersey boy homecoming to New York. And he, so we we got invited, we got a list. And they had so many people wanted to go they put them in this. They put all of us backstage, the backstage became the after show party was like a big kind of employee cafeteria, somewhere in the bowels of Madison Square Garden. And, and there was like rock stars there. I can't remember who but rock stars and politicians and you know, rich people and it was just this glittery crowd and kind of gross glittery to me. But anyways, my wife and I went we were sitting way in the back of the room. We're sitting way against the back wall in the room. And Springsteen after the show, came in the front door that walk past every rock star and every politician and every you know, rich Dude, and came right back to the table and sat with us. And who were nobody, and said to me says I just got to tell you that was the best story anybody wrote about me since john Landau wrote the famous the future of rock story that basically helped Springsteen become the future of rock and wow, Landau become his manager. So, so that was that was very gratifying. And, you know, he was a nice guy. He invited me down the shore, but I didn't have the money to go down there. I was a broke ass feeling. Wow, that's

Chuck Shute :

a cool story, though.

Robert Duncan :

Yeah, it was great. And everybody's like, I felt like everybody's looking at us all the actually famous or glittery people are looking at us, like, Who the fuck are they?

Chuck Shute :

Well, so another band you had a run in with was blue ice or cold because you said that your wife was friends with them, and that she actually lived with them. So it was that before you guys were dating because Was that while you were dating because I would not want my girlfriend or wife or whatever to be living with a rock band, especially in the 70s that sounds like a bad idea.

Robert Duncan :

Yeah, well, they're they're actually pretty tame guys. No, it's funny. I yes, she lived with them with her own boyfriend. She went out for a long time with another guy who wrote about music. And, and he then went on to write lyrics for Richard Meltzer. He went on to write lyrics for the blue Esther called Wow, he became a their lyricist. And, um, and anyway, so she, when they were even before they were the blowers who called so they had a big house out in Long Island and they, so they all live together. You know, it was it was the hippy days it was like 69 or even 68 I can't remember Okay, well, they were the soft they were stock forest group and then they were soft white underbelly, and then they became Blue Oyster Cult, but I got to know them separate from her because I was writing for cream and I went and did a story and got to be friendly with them. And, and then I met my wife and that was one of the ways we connected. I met my wife, just you want to talk about weird things I met my wife. I, I chased the girl I came out of a bar, having had some drinks, and I read two girls were walking past the bar, and I ran out and I kind of grabbed one of them. I said, Hey, you want to have a drink? And she's like, Get your hands off me. And then I walked backwards for you know, a couple blocks and and they were ignoring me. And then finally, I said, Look, Hey, where are you girls going? And finally she answered, I'm going we're going to the to the bottom line, which was a big club in New York, back in the day, and where Springsteen played, as a matter of fact launched kind of Born to Run there. But uh, and and I said, Well, hey, you know, I can get you in for free though the bottom line because I knew all the publicists and I'd been working in the biz, so business for a couple years. And she said, Well, we're already getting free. And I said, What? Why are you getting free? I was like, just crestfallen. And she said, Well, my friend is a singer. And that was this woman who went by Helen wheels. And I'm a photographer. I said, All right. And this is I just gotten back to New York from cream. So I said, you're a photographer. I said, Well, alright, what's your name? And she said, Ronnie Hoffman. And I said, Ronnie Hoffman. I'm Duncan from cream. I sent you a check last week, because I used to ha, the editorial checks. And so it was like, Alright, okay, so then they came because

Chuck Shute :

that's before Facebook. So you don't know what the person looks like that you're getting? Yeah. No, that's funny.

Robert Duncan :

And then it turned out we both knew boisar called guy, john Moreland. In fact, the next morning, john Moreland calls her apartment says, Hey, this guy Duncan is back in town from Detroit. And I think you might like to meet him and she said, Well, he's right here. Yeah, that's cool. Yeah, it was. So yes.

Chuck Shute :

So blue. Yeah, blue circle Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie. Yeah. Did you have a running with him? I interviewed David Bowie.

Robert Duncan :

And he was, he was he was, he was a great a very kind of sober interview was nothing I guess it was between cocaine bouts. You know, okay. He's great. He was he was he didn't look terrible either. I think he had cleaned up by this time. I don't know what it was late. 70s What

Chuck Shute :

about Freddie Mercury? He He's always crazy was he ever call him?

Robert Duncan :

Freddie Mercury I interviewed backstage in in Oh shit, because they were playing. You know, a big arena day in Michigan when I just when I was working in Korean. And I remember, you know, I wasn't a huge Queen fan. I love like them and respect them more now. Hmm. And but but I, but I remember Freddie, it was like, I had a sense. Now it's funny because I still have the tape of this and I found it recently. But I thought, God all he all he wanted to talk about was shopping we talked about because I came from New York, he says all he loved Bloomingdale's, and this and that. And I'm like, Well, I'm not a big shopper, you know, so. So I found it a little boring, but it was fun. But it's fun. Funny, um, there's a there's a site called rocks back pages calm and they they part of what they do. They archive, rock critics, tapes and stuff. Oh, and so I had to send this off to them. I sent this off to them and, and I listened to it and I was like, Oh, shit, I've totally It was a great interview. And I was Freddy was perfectly interesting. And I just was, you know, I'm just trying to be a snotty

Chuck Shute :

Ah, what about Keith Richards? I mean, that's a legend Rolling Stones. Yeah. What was he like?

Robert Duncan :

Oh, I so I met Keith and Ron wood did it did a tour as the new barbarians. It was basically Ron wood was writing songs and they and so they did a an arena tour where they had a big a big band of all these heavyweight musicians. I remember only Stanley Clarke that the mostly jazz bassist, he was their bassist. And I remember because I've wrote in the, in the army, it was fantastic. We we they put us on limousines and drove us out to a to New Jersey to a private airport where there was like a 727 parked and you get out of the car and you just walk right up stairs into the end of the plane in the plane. The front part of the plane was like a pub. And they called it the pub and it had like a British bartender behind them. bar had a bar Wow. Better intellect like yeah tufted leather chairs they're they're all bolted down they're all you know, airplane approved but it was like it was like oh shit this is just too cool. So but anyways when we flew to I this I have a version of the story in the book but I changed the locations we flew to Baltimore and played down play down there as like an hour flight and afterwards we wound up back in the hotel in New York and I was supposed to do this interview with with Woody and he kept telling me all any minute man but we're all having a good time now we're just drunk and carrying on and and one point when we got back come walking in from the adjoining bedroom is is Keith and he's carrying his you know, his you know squared off bottle of Tennessee whiskey jack daniels and and he entered And you know, he's just like, it's like, okay, that's that's he's just like Keith. And he would talk. Yeah. And he was I don't know if you ever seen the Mike Myers parody of Keith. Well, you told I think so.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah.

Robert Duncan :

And that's how he talked to you. Like, I can't understand a word he's Yeah. And at some, at some point, somebody came to the door. The woman came to the door. And, and Woody Ron wood answered the door. And, and, and Keith looked over and saw who it was and that it and it was he was screaming, and I'm like, okay, something's going on. And so and then what he said, Yeah, he's, he's not she's a reporter from NME, the paper, the English paper, and he doesn't, he's kind of mad at her, though. So anyway, so so the speaking of it, so, but it was great and Ian McLagan was this wonderful. He was playing in the band wonderful. keyboardist and composer in the end, but at one point, I'm like shit, you know, it's like four in the morning. I better call my girlfriend and tell her be a little late. And so I saw

Chuck Shute :

were you able to decipher his ramblings on into an interview

Robert Duncan :

occasionally? Occasionally, but it was fun because it was just a bunch of guys shooting the shit and they let me just shoot. I was shooting the shit with them. That's awesome. A bunch of drunken guys just talking, you know? And, and so I said the runway and I said, Hey, I got it. Can I use the phone? He says yeah, yeah, yeah. And he takes me to the bedroom and you know, gestures there's a phone by the bed a landline because there were no cell phones kids. Yeah. And so I sit down on the it's a white bed, white shag rug. It's all white room, and I pull the white phone towards me. I pick up and I, you know, I'm starting to dial or I did dial and I got my girlfriend and and then woody comes back in the room. This is how he tell it in loud mouth. When he comes back through me and he's like, oh, and he he says sorry, and he moves the phone a little bit, and I realize I have snow plowed a large. Again, another large mountain of white powder

Unknown Speaker :

on to the white

Robert Duncan :

rug. And he's like, there's some left. So he's like cleaning it up, put it in a little piece of paper. And I'm like, Oh, you know, you they let you be one of the guys and then you fuck

Chuck Shute :

So rule number one hanging out with rock stars is don't screw up. Don't mess with their cocaine.

Robert Duncan :

Yeah, he was so nice. I couldn't have been nicer. Ron was a very nice guy. And he was like, Oh, don't worry about it. And you know, whatever. He has 50 million. He is $500 million. Who knows? Sure, yeah.

Chuck Shute :

Okay, so we could go on and on and on about rock stars. Let me do at least one more. Do you have a story about interviewing Jimmy Page? I mean, that guy's a legend too.

Robert Duncan :

I interviewed I just did a short interview with Jimmy Page. But my you know, it was it was at an event it was a red carpet thing. And, and so I got to ask, I asked him three stupid questions. So nothing, nothing in depth. This is like, I think the last interview before he let his hair go white. You know, he's still had the black dyed black hair. You had the black hair that he had all his career and then not long after this. Maybe I scared him into letting his hair go away. But But my favorite part of that is, I was on video the interview and so I when we were editing it back at the shop it was I said to the editor I saw you got to give me a copy of that meeting Jimmy Page because I love Jimmy. I love Jimmy Page. It's guitar playing. I've loved it and Eric Whatever he was with with the Yardbirds, I saw the Yardbirds by the way with him and that's cool and and with with when he played on that first Joe Cocker album, I was like, Oh my god, I got to get that because it's Jimmy Page. So I was a big fan. And I said so you got to give me that tape. Give me a copy of this. It was taped at the time and and instead he edited me a little video of of Jimmy pages going Hello, Bob. And so I have on my website I have Hello, Bob.

Chuck Shute :

Oh, okay. Well there you go at some time. So then as the as time changes into the 80s you were not a fan. I'm a big fan of metal heavy metal glam metal rock eight hair metal, whatever. I guess you'd call it. You were not a fan of heavy metal. You had a lengthy article about how it was abysmal and terrible, horrible, stupid music, barely music at all. Do you have Do you have you backed off on that? Little bit or do you still feel that way?

Robert Duncan :

Well, I think that was in my book, the noise. Okay. And I think you will find, like, a lot of things I write is tongue in cheek, and it's also um, and I'll bet you I should go look it up in the damn book, but I'm sure that at some point, I turn the corner and I go, but it's this. So I think whoever first kind of dug that out, neglected to dig out the subordinate clause that begins with but and that you know that I'm just trying to be provocative and so some heavy metal I like if you call Blue Oyster Cult heavy metal, I've been listening to them all my life. Or Sammy

Chuck Shute :

Hagar, you've interviewed him right? Well,

Robert Duncan :

I I met him once I had to sing a song to him but in my role as a an advertising copywriter because you can't make any money when you have a couple of kids. As I did. You have to get Real day job, and that was my tasia. And one time I had to present a radio spot to Sammy Hagar. And and so I it was jingle spot. So I sent it, which was kind of funny. Just me and

Chuck Shute :

Yeah. Are you still did that was the ad agency in San Francisco? Are you still doing that? Are

Robert Duncan :

you? Well, I don't, you know, I made a deal with my partners. I have a few younger partners and I made a deal. Let me go off and finish my book that I'd been working on for like five or six years. And I just like, I got it. I gotta go to this. And so yeah, I mean, I still, you know, we have Monday morning zoom meetings, I go to them, but I'm really I'm just, I'm only involved from time to time.

Chuck Shute :

Okay. Well, so, uh, and then I can't remember what year was like early 2000s. I think there was this movie that came out Almost Famous by Cameron Crowe now I don't know if people know this Cameron Crowe he made Almost Famous. He also made Jerry Maguire Fast Times at ridgemont High, but people might not know that he started out as a writer for Rolling Stones and he worked there in the 70s. Did you ever have any run ins with him when he was a rock rock? Rock writer? Oh, yeah, you know, yeah,

Robert Duncan :

the thing about Cameron was he really was like, 15 years old. It like literally Wow. But I met him when he was you know, he, I don't know if he ever wrote for cream. But all the guys a cream note knew him and I met him when he there was a band called the tubes people. Yeah, for that. They had, like, kind of hit.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, it's escaping me. But I know I think I have one or two. Yeah. Uh, talk

Robert Duncan :

to I can't remember what it was. But so they were they were on their kind of inaugural tour of the states and Cameron was friends with them and maybe doing a story for Rolling Stone and, and by this time, he's like, you know, maybe he's 18 but I you No, I was 20 or 21. I was like, you know, I wasn't much farther ahead of him. Yeah, all the stuff that we're talking about I, most of it I did when I was you know, in my early 20s. But, but Cameron came with the tubes and, and we were there. And you know, it was an occasion if you put free booze in front of a 21 year old, you know, he's gonna, if he was of my band, he would drink it. And so we're just shit faced. And I'll tell the tale out of school because I, I saw Cameron recently and I

Unknown Speaker :

really,

Robert Duncan :

I reminded him of this I saw they're doing he's written a musical of Almost Famous

Unknown Speaker :

Oh, okay, cool.

Robert Duncan :

And we are the woman who's the Kate play is played by Kate Hudson in the movie. Is that the Penny Lane?

Unknown Speaker :

Lane?

Robert Duncan :

Yeah, so we're friends are the real Penny Lane. whose name is Penny got she's got a different last name. So we've become friends with her and she she called us up said, Hey, you want to go see the preview of Almost Famous down in San Diego, which was this past spring. And so we did and we went down there with her. And, you know, it was, first of all, it's gonna be a big hit, but it was supposed to start on Broadway, like next month. And sorry, you know, so it's delaying here, but it's gonna be a hit whenever it comes out. But so Cameron, I reminded him of this incident, but we were watching the tubes. And he says, I got some quail eggs, which were, you know, sleeping pills, pretty strong sleeping pills.

Chuck Shute :

And this is when he's like, 15. No, now he's 18. He's okay. Because in the movie, the movie which is loosely based on his life, he's like, 15 he's a kid and he he's like a straight laced kid, pretty much in the movie doesn't do any drugs or drinking that they show.

Robert Duncan :

Right? I didn't see him take any drugs. He just said, Hey, you want some quail? ludes soy? So I'm like, Okay. So he gave me qualia I was already really drunk and 20 minutes later I'm going Cameron I don't know what the fuck was with these qualia they don't work. And so he

Chuck Shute :

this like The Wolf of Wall Street. Did you ever see that movie where the guy does quite? Yeah, yeah kicks in later right?

Robert Duncan :

Well, it doesn't kick in in 20 minutes but when you're drunk and your sense of time is distorted so I took another coin loose and and then went on to have the, you know, most outrageous night of my life and you know, lying by the side of the freeway and, and with the crazy guy behind the wheel, it was just, it went on went on and on. I won't bore you with it, but it wound up they they just couldn't wake me up. So they threw me in the back of this. Our friend's van

Chuck Shute :

so really is like The Wolf of Wall Street where he's crawling to try to get to the car because he's on qualys and he can't like move his body.

Robert Duncan :

Exactly. Only I couldn't move my body at all. They threw me. And Lester was there and I guess Lester got so fucked up, too. That I woke up the next morning in Michigan in the middle of winter. I'm like, fucking freezing. And I realize I'm in. I'm lying on the floor of a van. But there's something on top of me. I can't move and it's Leicester. They tossed Leicester in on tile. So, fortunately, Lester probably saved me from hypothermia. So there

Chuck Shute :

you go. Yeah. So in the movie Almost Famous. Cameron Crowe's character the kid character that's based on Cameron Crowe. He talks to that publisher is that the Philip Seymour Hoffman character is that based on Lester Bangs, I can't without the guy's name in the movie. I can't remember. Okay, so that's totally based on Lester Bangs and right.

Robert Duncan :

Just called Lester Bangs in the movie.

Chuck Shute :

Okay. Yeah, I just wasn't.

Robert Duncan :

And Philip Seymour Hoffman was doing an imitation of Leicester. Okay. So didn't listen. And in fact, in this musical, it's coming out, I guess now next year, a Broadway musical. They've really amped up the Lester banks part. He's like, kind of a he does kind of walking commentary throughout the show. And he's, and he's the he's the kind of the holder of truth. You know? Yeah, kinda.

Chuck Shute :

I like that part for trading. Yeah, that line in the movie. Or he tells the the young writer kid, hey, don't be friends with the rock stars. They'll make you feel cold. Cool, but you're not cool. Do you feel like that's good advice for people in that business? Like as a rock writing? It sounds like you were friends with a lot of more you like at least hung out and partied with them sometimes.

Robert Duncan :

So this, Lester, well, you know, my relationship with rock stars was my relationship with everybody. Anybody who was like, more famous than me or richer or whatever. I was always like, rather than letting them put me down, I would put them down. I would tease them and I and and they were some of the coolest rock stars would think that was funny. Yeah. It Jensen actually took it really well. I used to.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, you heard you talk about that. torment him. Is there anyone who didn't take it? Well?

Robert Duncan :

Oh, I remember there was, I had to go see the band Chicago. I didn't like,

Unknown Speaker :

Oh, you don't like Chicago?

Robert Duncan :

I didn't like Chicago. I mean, maybe they had one or two good songs. But I wasn't a fan.

Chuck Shute :

You really are like a rock critic. Like you. You hate more stuff than you love right?

Robert Duncan :

Probably Yeah. I mean, because nine out of 10 things are suck. You know, when you're when you're younger, you're I'm like, you know, 99 out of 100 suck. But um, I remember I said something to the guy from one of the guys in Chicago. I don't even remember which one it was. And he was friends with the photographer friend and the photographer introduced us. And he and he fucking went ballistic. And I'm like, Oh, I know what I said to him. I said, how's your life? And he was in. So this guy had to be restrained from hitting me. And it was like Jesus, how's your life with the fog? And, and he's like a little guy too. So it wasn't really, it was kind of like, and I'm not I'm not a little guy. And, and anyways, so finally they hauled him off and I'm like, What the fuck was that? And they, he and my photographer friend said, you said how's your life? And he thought you said how's your wife? And he was in the middle of a nasty divorce. Oh,

Chuck Shute :

whoops. Yeah, so, uh, yeah, so that wasn't even you weren't even trying to give him shit. You were just trying to.

Robert Duncan :

Yeah, I was just, you know, give him a kind of a wiseguy greeting. Okay, for some reason I got thrown out of a dressing room and there's a band I love and I've loved forever. They actually played at my high school called nRb Q. They're one of Keith Richards that said, bar band in the world. And they really are a wonderful band. And they continue to be around and they've gone through a bunch of changes. But anyways, I remember one day go barging backstage when they were playing at a club in New York, and you know, I was just shit faced again. There was a lot of drinking in those days. Mm hmm. And in my butt off. Next thing I know, I'm being tossed out of the dressing room. But I have I have not a clue. I there was nobody there to tell me what happened.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, so it sounds like there's a lot of crazy shit. I don't know. When I watched the cream documentary. I wasn't like paying super close attention. But some of the stuff that happened I don't know if you were there when this happened. One of the editors their dog had taken taking the crap on the floor. And so somebody took the I think was this Barry Kramer that took the dog crap and put it in the guy's typewriter.

Robert Duncan :

The dog was Lester's I was not Lester's okay. It was Lester's. The editor was Dave Marsh and So Dave Marsh, Marsh took the dog shit and stuffed it in Lester's type. Yeah.

Chuck Shute :

And then he didn't didn't he also dump a garbage can on ag pops head because he papad come in and didn't say hi to him. And so then he tried to get as attention.

Robert Duncan :

That was overshirt that was a publisher. He dumped a garbage can and he said that was Kramer Barry Kramer. He didn't say hello. Yeah. Very, very good. Okay. You know it Kramer had been around he had. He was this he had managed Mitch Ryder and, and all this stuff. So he knew everybody in the scene, even before cream.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, so do you think I mean, we talked a lot about this, you know, mountains of cocaine and the drugs and the drinking and all this crazy stuff. I mean, do you feel like there's like a limit to that because I mean, a lot of these guys did not you know, they ended up dying too. Young Barry Kramer and Lester Bangs. It sounds like they both died way too young. Did they just not know their limits? Or did they not know how to slow down as you age or or what's your philosophy on that? Because I mean, I've had people on my show that I mean, there's So many people I've had on my show that are like, I'm sober now. And this is my lifestyle and it's like, you know, works out really good for them. And I wonder if those guys just couldn't figure that out and it was too late.

Robert Duncan :

Yeah, you know, I think I mean, what probably what no doubts saved me it's a cliche but was you know, I met this wonderful woman who who is a photographer, and so she was involved in the scene and the woman who live with the with the boys are called Ronnie Hoffman and my wife and and having a wife to say, dude, really, you know, should you be doing that? Just having some some sort of stability in your life and unless you're, you know, lesser had a had a long time really sweet girlfriend and she had left and and you know, and then that I think that was the beginning of him not not bothering to get control of his impulses. And in Kramer two is getting divorced, you know, so he was living in a motel, you know. So you're living in a motel? What are you going to, you know, you're going to intense you be inclined to get high. And, you know, I think the same with Lester, you know, he was he was living next door to me when he died and

Chuck Shute :

that's right. You went in, they didn't they knock on your door and you had to go in there and you're trying to wake him up and he didn't wake up.

Robert Duncan :

Yeah, Yeah, I did.

Chuck Shute :

And you're pissed at him for that. Right?

Robert Duncan :

Well, I, you know, in the cream Doc, I say, Yeah, I was, I was pissed. It's like, you know, dude, when they're down at the county morgue. That's, that's not cool. That's not cool. And it was, you know, he, it was New York City. And it was it was, you know, it was they're just going to put you into the whole county morgue system and it takes weeks to do the Toxicology tests and it's just seemed like such an ignominious and For a really brilliant man and, and also, I think I say this in the cream doc is he, you know, it's like cliche. Yeah, what a stupid cliche you know, and Lester would have been the first to call it out. In fact, I was just somebody sent me something today and it had a whole thing about lesson I was reading and this guy was saying that Oh, he was quoting something from one of Lester's pieces about the stupid cliche of of dying and so, so yes, I think they they didn't have some stability. I got lucky. You know, I remember my friend saying to me, you're not I remember my best friend taking me aside and said, You're not gonna make it to 30 man you we all we all want. It was like an intervention. And Damn, but even at the time, I I felt like, even when I was at my most outrageous I, I felt like I always knew a little bit what I was doing. And, you know, I just like, I had a natural kind of, you know, over enthusiasm. So it wasn't always that I was shit faced it was just as a guy like to really just fuck around.

Chuck Shute :

So now you just you still do that but you just you tone it down a little bit because

Robert Duncan :

now you're older and I like I still like to drink No. And then here's what you want stability in your life. I you know, if you're up to it, then I had a couple kids. And it's like, all right, you know you love those kids two pieces. And that's it. My wife, you know, we moved to California. My wife didn't drive and I was the only one that family drove and I thought, okay, if I'm shift faced, you know, that's gonna be tough if somebody gets hurt or sick. And yeah, to get them to spill and also the first time I had a hangover and little toddlers were jumping on my head. We'll do anything. Never to have that feeling again.

Chuck Shute :

Gotcha. Well, that's good. I think that's good. You can kind of slow it down but still have fun.

Robert Duncan :

Basically quit drinking for 20 years. And my uncle will tell my kids would tell you Yeah, we never even saw any of the beer cans in the hand. It was like, Alright, well, if I can't really drink I just if I can't get drunk I, what's the point? So? Well, that's admirable. And now I've been back on it. Yeah, but nothing like I use

Chuck Shute :

No, no, it's not the 70s anymore. You can't

Robert Duncan :

it's also Yeah, your head is just not there.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah. How else is the music scene changed from the 70s? Today? I mean, I want to hear in your words. I mean, I know obviously, it's totally different, but what would you say is the biggest differences in music from the 70s till today?

Robert Duncan :

Well, music is no it was the center of the universe back in those days. You know, that was the culture was, you know, you defined yourself By what music you listen to. And I think that persisted through the 70s, maybe into the 80s. And I don't know if it was MTV that helped undo it. But, but then and hip hop came along now if you include hip hop in, in the kind of rock and roll rubric, which I would, I think, you know, hip hop is a form of rock and roll. And so, you know, I think the music has been very exciting the last 2030 years. I mean, there's been great hip hop, but punk era and the post punk era was great. You know, Nirvana. Now, Nirvana is ancient, ancient history. Today, but

Chuck Shute :

have you heard the new cardi B song? whop?

Robert Duncan :

Oh, I've only heard about it. Okay. I haven't listened to it. Yeah. You know, I think it's like that I think of that. It's like, okay, that's like kind of, you know, showbiz. It's like, kind of, I guess you're good and I'll listen to it, but it is You know, I mean I I loved like the first Kanye blesses troubled heart. I loved his first record I just went crazy for that okay. And you know Lil Wayne I loved some of that little Wayne stuff and you know in 90s I'm I fell in love with the guided by voices like one of my all time favorite bands you know i i go for that kind of poppy stuff oh who was it I was into Mars Volta and at the driving before that Mars Volta I love these are people I bought tickets to go see you know, okay. Wow. Last rock interview I was supposed to do is with Robert Pollard of guided by voices and and he flaked on it. Ah.

Chuck Shute :

Well, so tell me about the new book. We talked a little bit about it here in there, but it's called loud mouth. I know that and it's basically like a fictional novel based on kind of your reality. You change some of the names of the characters and such. But, you know, tell them tell us about that a little bit.

Robert Duncan :

Well, it's, you know, it's the all the stories I've been telling you. Yeah, much. They're all okay. Yeah. Except I cut the lies of thing. But it's, you know, it's a coming of age novel, and so on. It's not just all rock and roll shit, although it hints it why I why the character in the book which is meek, sure about my own. Got involved in rock and roll, you know, I came out of a background of a southern family and it was could be, it could be like, let's just call it dysfunctional at times. Okay? And spend a lot of time in Memphis to because they're, you know, this deep south and they were quite a, you know, it wasn't. They weren't into this whole thing of rock and roll and, and, and everything. So, so the it's a coming of age. Now about the guy who goes through all that shit, rebels becomes a singer and a in a band and becomes a, you know, kind of notably wild singer, and then winds up at cre magazine. Awesome. And before finding the love of his life, this woman, this photographer woman who he meets by this weird serendipity and and it's like, how does it it's kind of covers from this guy going, growing up and being crazy and then crashing and then kind of getting it all sorted out.

Chuck Shute :

Cool. All right, we'll look forward to that. Do you have a charity that you work with or that you want to promote? I hope I think I told your manager. Hopefully he told you about how I end each episode with a charity.

Robert Duncan :

Well, you know, I do. Okay. My charity I'm supporting is the legal defense fund of the n double acp. Which is, which is, you know, standing for, for for all of us, but especially for black people, African American people in this country, which is something, obviously we need much more of, but they're really they're a wonderful charity. They been around for a long time. And and they're, you know, if you go on, like one of those charity sites like Charity Navigator to see how good is this charity? Okay. How much of their money goes to? To the cause? Yeah. Administration. It's like they get like an a, an A for they really put their money where it's just

Chuck Shute :

called the legal counsel for NAACP

Robert Duncan :

legal defense fund or legal defense fund.

Chuck Shute :

Okay, cool. I'll put that. I will put that in the notes of this episode. Yeah, and yeah, you've done some amazing things. A loud mouth book is coming out. Everyone should get that. Do you have any future plans like Would you like to do a sequel to the KISS book? Because since that was your biggest hit? And I'd advise you to say yes. Because if you say yes, then we could probably get some headlines from this interview.

Robert Duncan :

Well, if it helps you and it helps.. well it would help me..

Chuck Shute :

Right? A lot has happened from 78 since you wrote the first book, and then you could package them together as a two pack.

Robert Duncan :

I hadn't really thought about it, but it's a funny idea. Maybe I should do a sequel. Maybe I should. I would approach it in my own way. Like I did the the original book. Yeah. Somewhat tongue in cheek.

Chuck Shute :

Absolutely. Well, you heard it here first.

Robert Duncan :

Not sure how much of their music I could listen to... yeah. That's funny. Yeah, that's, that's a really funny idea. No, I mean, I have a couple, a couple other books in the works. And, and I have a nonfiction thing that I've been working

Chuck Shute :

on. What's the nonfiction,

Robert Duncan :

the nonfiction thing I was writing. I've been writing For the last several years, I've put it on hold this it's a blog I've been it's really a book I've been writing but I, I piece it out once a week or once every few weeks. It's about a, a, an Italian restaurant in the town I live in. That is the book the book is called center of the universe and it's and it's run by these Brazilian Brazilian Korean sisters and who are like kind of Pied Pipers and everybody in the town and our town I live in this town full of musicians and artists and it's a quite a lot of really wacky people characters. Wow. So this restaurant is just this wonderful place where the the sit one of the sisters who is the front of the house one will say hey, I'm gonna seat this guy with you tonight. You know, you should get to know this guy. And, and and the town is crazy. So I'm that's my battle.

Chuck Shute :

Well look for that too. So people can follow you on social media to get updates, check out your website. I think it's it Duncan rights calm or

Robert Duncan :

Dunkin rights like rights words.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah. And then you're on Instagram and Facebook. Are you on Twitter?

Robert Duncan :

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and the links are all on Duncan writes Perfect.

Chuck Shute :

Okay, there we go. I'll put that in the notes as well. Well, thank you so much for coming on my show. I really appreciate it.

Robert Duncan :

Well, I I appreciate it. My honor. My pleasure. All right.

Chuck Shute :

Thank you so much. All right. Buh bye. All right. So am I right? Is that not one of the better episodes of my show? If you made it this far, then I think you have to agree. Just such great stories from Robert. I'll have to have him on again for sure. Because there was a lot more that we didn't cover. But make sure you follow Robert on social media for updates on his new book, loud mouth and the other projects he has maybe a new kiss book. You can follow me on social media if you like and if you enjoyed this episode, Please share it with a friend and make sure to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode. And if you really want to do me a solid you can write me a review, as that really helps with the iTunes algorithm so people can find the podcast. Thank you so much for listening to the show and hope you have a great day or night and remember to shoot for the moon.