Esoteric writer, punk rock legend, and drunkard of extraordinary prowess, Satan’s drinking buddy Vadge Moore waxes intoxicated on the beauty of booze.
First taste from the well?
I must have been 3 years old. It’s one of my first memories, actually, which seems appropriate. An old friend of the family, Gene Prat, who was a high-roller political guy that later worked for Senator Hiakowa, had left a can of Coors on our big, leather Lazy-Boy. I remember seriously disliking the taste ‘cause, well, Coors sucks, of course. It wasn’t until I was 11 or 12 that I started really getting into it but that first memory really stands out. That and I had a terrible nightmare about Ronald McDonald that has severely damaged me. Hate clowns. Fucking hate ‘em.
Surely not Shakes?
Except Shakes the Clown. That’s a great movie.
Anything with alcohol in it. If I really have to choose, I love vodka martinis — neat with an olive. I hate these fucking twists. Pussy ass shit!
I presume you’ve gotten into some debauchery on the road. Oh, man. So many memories. Or lack of memory, I should say. The Dwarves were playing in Miami and these kids had set up this show all on their own. We show up and immediately some juicy, chubby chick locks onto me. She has a bottle of vodka and the bar is feeding me Jager shots. I can remember He Who Cannot Be Named mentioning that maybe I should slow down because we still have a show to play. When He Who tells you to slow down you know you’re getting trashed. I kind of remember setting up my drums but my roadie had to do most of it. We were starting off with the song Underworld which has a guitar intro and then the drums kick it in. Well, when the drums kicked in I was so off beat, which I never am because I am a professional, that our guitar player Crash Landon grabbed my drum set and threw it at the audience. End of show. There was no way I could carry on. Only time this ever happened to me. Then I got in a fist fight with the promoter because he was complaining so much about how they had put up so much money to bring us there etc., but, come on! It’s the fucking Dwarves! What do you expect? The funniest thing was that the club was supposed to pay us a thousand dollars. Because of the fiasco they paid us five hundred. That’s like a hundred dollars per second. The Dwarves are the highest paid band in the world. Oh, and the fat girl did fuck me that night.
Since leaving The Dwarves you’ve been primarily a writer. Do you find alcohol to he an aid to creativity?
Alcohol is absolutely a help in so many ways. When writing a first draft for an article I usually get pretty crocked because so much stuff just pours out of nowhere. I write from my notes but when drinking and first drafting I start to improvise. The exception was an article I wrote called Monstrous Souls: The Magickal Art of Lautreamont and Rimbaud. That article (at www.rosenoire.org) from first draft to last was written entirely under the influence of Absinthe. Alcohol, for me, seems to allow me to tap into my primordial unconscious or my Id, as Freud called it. Within that realm there is a tremendous amount of libidinal energy that can be harnessed for creative purposes.
Does that apply to writing songs as well?
All of the vocals I’ve recorded for my noise band Chthonic Force were done under the influence. Booze allows me to tap subtle aspects and nuances of my vocals as well as inspiring howling, lycanthropic tantrums. Drumming for the Dwarves; nary a sober moment. Whether I was spitting at the crowd, tossing a bottle or jumping into the crowd to retrieve a groupie or start a fight, I was always soused. It does a lot for the good ol’ Dutch Courage. Got out of a lot of sticky situations just because I had the stupid confidence that booze gives you. It’s the magic serum.
I’ve never seen you hungover. What’s your secret?
My advice to you young, aspiring Drunkards is exercise. I’m not kidding. Nothing cures a hangover like exercise. You might not feel like it and you might be pretty sure you’re gonna die, but it really works. After a heavy night of drinking just start off slow; go for a brisk walk, build up a sweat and, if you feel like it, take off on a light jog. You re-oxygenate your body and you sweat out the toxins. And, guess what? You can drink more then usual, longer than usual and you look great for the ladies. You know how eventually you reach that burn-out phase after a good, long bender? If you exercise that doesn’t happen. Your friends will think you’re fucking Superman. I learned this from reading about the late, great Hunter S. Thompson. This is precisely what he did and we all know about his legendary excesses.
You’ve got 20 bucks.
I would hop on down to my favorite bar, order a couple of martini’s then race to the corner store and purchase a half-gallon of cheap red wine. Nothing says drunk like mixing vodka and wine. Ernest and Julio Gallo is pretty damn cheap and they’ve got a pretty good Chianti.
If you could have a drink with anyone, who would you choose?
I couldn’t have just one shot with Beelzebub, I’d have to have a few drafts. I would choose a couple of pints of the drinks that Aleister Crowley invented. For the first the contents are: one measure each of cognac, Kirsch and absinthe with a good dose of Tabasco and ether, shaken with ice. Then there is the Khubla Khan #2 : this consists of gin, vermouth and this potion that Crowley poured from a bottle marked Poison but was really laudanum. That would provide me and the Dark Lord with plenty of mental lubricant to start planning world conquest. Or have we already?
—Interview by Lorin Partridge
Front-man of the internationally adored pop-punk combo The Alkaline Trio, Skiba has released numerous critically acclaimed albums, singles and music videos, toured the world, and recently enjoyed an increasing amount of mainstream attention for his band’s latest full-length release, Crimson.
Remember your first drink? Old Style beer; I took a sip off of my dad’s 12 .oz can while he was on the phone. I was five or six at the time, but it was the dawning of what would be a long-lasting relationship. I remember it tasting different than I had expected it to, but it was a taste I would grow to love (for a good ten years straight), and I still drink it whenever I go back to Chicago.
What’s your favorite drink?Bloody Marys in the morning, Blue Hawaiians in the evening.
Do you drink every day? On tour, I usually just drink when we have a day off the next day (or if we’re in Denver). When I’m off I drink pretty much every day.
What would you say was your worst, most retardedly regrettable experience with alcohol?
I would have to say the time I stayed up all night drinking with my friend Chuck. We were on a U.S. tour together heading down the West coast. We played a show in San Francisco and had an all-nighter to San Diego. There were some people in San Diego that I thought we were going to see that I had a beef with. Since it had been a while since I had been in a fight, and since I was extremely intoxicated, I decided it would be a good idea for Chuck (6′, 220 lbs. of muscle) to punch me (6’2”, 160 lbs. of cheap beer) as hard as he could in the face. Needless to say, I went down like a sack of potatoes. The long and short of it was we ended up punching/wrestling each other out into the middle of Highway 5 with traffic whizzing by in the far lane. The next day—still awake and drinking—we arrived in San Diego and pulled up to the venue. In bare feet, I jumped out of the bus with my skateboard in hand and proceeded to bomb a nearby hill into the small crowd of people waiting to get into the show. I hit the group head-on, but was the only one bleeding when we all got up. I was forced by my bandmates to “take a time-out.” The show that night was the worst I’ve ever played in my ten years of touring.
Why is alcohol is better than drugs? Alcohol is better than drugs because it’s something (if you’re good at it) you can ingest a lot of. With most drugs, you will reach your limit much quicker. Alcohol works better if you’re socializing, as well. A round of drinks is better for good conversation than a pile of blow. A pile of blow just makes people try to talk over each other rather than with each other.
Alcohol is better than drugs because you have options. If you take a hit of ecstasy, you’re most likely going to be on ecstasy for the rest of the night. If you’re doing cocaine it’s probably not a mixed bag. If you get bored with what you’re drinking, you can always switch it up in the next round. That “beer before liquor” shit is for weekend-warriors and pussies. Alcohol tastes better and is more fun to do. You can go out to “get a drink”. You don’t go out to “do some drugs.” I don’t anyway.
I understand that you’re a fan of absinthe. What makes absinthe more appealing to you than the other varieties of booze, and what are your thoughts on its illegality?
I do enjoy absinthe quite a bit. It started when we began touring Europe several years ago. At first, I didn’t really know the difference between quality absinthe and that garbage they try and pass off on dumb tourists like myself at the time, but after a certain amount of experience and research I feel a bit more knowledgeable. Initially, it was the taboo of absinthe that was appealing, but when I started to realize the difference in taste and effect is when I feel I actually understood its true purpose. There was a time when absinthe was regarded as a high-class spirit, and when you drink good absinthe you understand why—mostly because it’s really expensive. The ritual involved is also very appealing. The Alkaline Trio never go on tour anymore without our fountain glasses and French sugar cubes, made specially for use with absinthe. As far as commercial absinthe is concerned, Edouard from France is widely recognized as top-notch among absenteurs and is one of my favorites. It has an extremely high thujone content and is as smooth and tasty as hell.
What’s the best country to drink in?
I would have to say Japan. When I first went over there years ago, you could buy beer from vending machines on the street. It was perfectly legal to waltz around the city with an open container in your fist. The last time I went into a bar in Osaka, everyone in there told me I looked like Tom Hanks and bought me drinks so that they could laugh at me freely. I don’t think that would happen in any other country.
What’s your favorite bar, where is it, and what makes it special?
The Owl Tree at Post and Taylor streets in San Francisco. The sign on the inside of the bar reads “Bobby’s Owl Tree” and is owned an operated by a gentleman in his eighties who tends the bar in traditional white shirt/black bow-tie barkeep attire. The entire inside of the bar is covered in all things owl. Taxidermy, paintings, stained-glass, light fixtures, etc. It’s very dimly lit and 45s of Johnny Cash or Billie Holiday are usually playing softly on the old-school jukebox. It has a very classic, warm feeling to it, especially on a cold and rainy San Francisco night. Bobby cracks jokes and drinks alongside the clientele, which usually consists of a mellow, enlightened drinking crowd. It never gets too crowded and although it’s mellow, it’s very happening.
Who, in your estimation, were some of history’s greatest drunkards, and why?
I’ve read that Abraham Lincoln was a big drinker. I’m not sure how “great” he was, but I remember reading a quote of his that said something about how drunks are generally more romantic and creative people. Benjamin Franklin was supposedly a lush and a Satanist, which makes me think much more highly of him than I did back in school. Frank Sinatra was great at drinking while maintaining an immense amount of style. He once said, “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.”
The greatest drunk musician: I’d say it’s a tie between Frank Sinatra and Boyd Rice.
—Interview by Brian Clark