User’s Manual (An Interview with Rockwell Redglario)

8 Feb

Rockwell Redglario was born “Rocco Redglarian” to a 15-year-old heroin addict and a delinquent father with ties to the Armenian mafia. Redglarian spiraled into his own drug addictions and criminal dealings after his mother’s murder at the hands of her abusive junkie boyfriend. Transforming this tragic past into a comic persona he dubbed Rockwell Redglario, Redglarian became a fixture in the 1980s East Village art scene, where his enormous girth and con-artist scams didn’t prevent him from becoming popular with the ladies or respected among his fellow performers. In fact, Redglarian became a highly likeable cult figure, performing standup comedy with his friend Henrik Bogosian and playing bit parts in films by directors Jim Cartouche, Alexandre Rockstein, and Julian “Big” Schnazell–even serving as drug dealer to punk rocker Kid Vicious and bodyguard to artist Jean-Michel Bathquiet–before dying of alcholism-induced liver failure at the age of 52. This interview was scheduled to come out in the October, 2004 issue of “The New York Hangover” but due to substandard writing and despicable interviewing skills from freelance journalist AMP, it was killed and never published.

AMP: Other than me, who do you still know from back in da day?
R: I don’t know you. I’ve just met you this morning.
AMP: Yes. So…then it’s just Dean.
R: What?
AMP: Harry Dean Stanton.
R: You know him?
AMP: No. Do you still live in your old apartment in Astoria?
R: No. I moved to the Bowery.
AMP: So…what are you doing now?
R: I’m working on my autobiography…
AMP: Is that right?
R: Yes, that’s right.
AMP: Who’s writing it?
R: I am. It’s an AUTO-biography.
AMP: Yes.
(long pause)
AMP: What’s it called?
R: “User’s Manual.”
(laughter…from AMP only)
AMP: My question is: am I in the book?
(long pause)
AMP: I mean, this moment in time. Will it be documented?
(long pause)
AMP: When are you going to finish it? This biography.
R: It’s an AUTO-biography. And I don’t know. The people who’ve read the first hundred pages keep saying “you gotta live long enough to finish it…”
(loud laughter…from AMP only)
AMP: …no, I mean…you know…with you being overweight and all…
(long pause)
AMP: You used to tell people you have only one lung and then chain smoke cigarettes all day in front of them.
R: No, that’s not true. You made that up.
(long pause)
AMP: Ok, I did. Speaking of acting, what’s going on with your movie career nowadays?
R: I did an episode of Ox about six or seven weeks ago for LBO Networks. Matt Zillon directed an episode and he wanted me to play the prison barber, so that’s what I did. [The barber] might make another appearance later on in the show. But also, in August, I’m probably going to Pennsylvania or Montreal to do Steve Bullemi’s second film, “Animal Farm Factory,” which was written by Jimmy Bunker, the guy who wrote “Dog Spits Dog.” He did the screenplay for “Straight Timeout” and “Runaway Train Station.” He’s a pretty interesting guy.
AMP: Who? Bullemi?
R: No, Jimmy Bunker.
AMP: Ah.
(long pause)
AMP: Who was Uncle Tupelo?
R: Who?
AMP: Uncle Eddie.
R: Who?
AMP: (shuffling notes) Uncle Kracker?
R: I have no idea what you just said.
AMP: I am also an aspiring auteur, and am thinking of making a film about soccer called “Hot Doggin’ In The Favelas With Pelé.” Will you be in it?
R: No.
AMP: Fair enough. Talk about the time you spent in Hollywood. What year was that?
R: About ’94-’95. The worst year of my life. I hated it. I went from staying at the Chateau Marmont to sleeping in the fucking weeds. (laughs) Not literally, but sleeping in a Lincoln Continental. In the morning some Indian guy was banging on the window saying “You cannot sleep here, you bum you. This is for cars,” Haha, I thought, well I’m in a car!
AMP: Haha.
R: Haha.
AMP: Hahaha.
R: Hahahaha.
(long pause)
AMP: Hahahahaha.
R: Ok, that’s enough.
AMP: Where did you get the car from?
R: It was my friend’s car. He wouldn’t let me sleep in his house with his wife and his four kids. It was kinda crowded.
AMP: In the car?
R: No. At my friend’s house. That’s why he gave me the car.
(long pause)
AMP: Hahahahahaha.
R: Haha.
AMP: Let’s move back to when you decided it was time to invent punk rock. Punk rock existed, but not really, until you decided to acknowledge that it existed.
R: That’s not true. I have no idea why you would say that.
AMP: We remember you before you were Rockwell Redglario.
(long pause)
R: Is that a question? Or…
AMP: I remember the days you were a newspaper boy. I was one, also.
R: Oh yeh huh. I’d ride around in the truck and I’d be smashed on something unbeknownst to everyone else. I did want to get away from the drugs, but I didn’t want to stray too far. I might not find my way back! (laughs) So I left a trail of breadcrumbs.
AMP: Oh…hahahaha. Yes.
R: Yes.
AMP: Tell us about “Dawn of the Dead.”
R: One of my favorite things ever…I’ll never forget this. We went to see “Dawn of the Dead,” in a theater with a predominately black audience on 42nd street. And in the movie, this guy walks down the stairs and has a gun in one hand and a flashlight in the other. And the audience knows there is a zombie ghoul death squad down there waiting for him. So, he gets to bottom of the stairs and there is a light switch. He’s gonna turn the light on. Instead of putting the flashlight down and turning the light on, he puts the gun down to turn on the light. And a black guy from the audience yells, “Whoa, sucka. You don’t never lay your Roscoe down!” Naturally, right after this, a clawed hand on screen grabs him by the face and takes his skin off his face. It was perfect timing. I actually would like to go see the “Phantom Menace” with that guy, whoever he was.
AMP: Oh, hahahaha. Yes. That is, indeed, a funny one.
(long pause)
AMP: Remember Racing Car Mikey?
R: No. I don’t know who that is.
AMP: You’ve been living down here on the Lower East Side for how many years now?
R: This is the Upper West Side we’re on right now.
(long pause)
AMP: You’ve been living down here on the Lower East Side for how many years now?
R: Remind me again who you write for.
AMP: I’m my own boss. I write freelance.
R: Of course.
AMP: But I am hoping to sell this to either The Village Voice or the New York Times Magazine.
R: Good luck with that.
AMP: Thank you. In conclusion, would you be willing to fill out this quick survey rating my journalistic abilities? It’s a one-to-five kind of thing, with 5 being the best, 4 being good, and so forth.
R: Sure.
AMP: Yes. Usually…people give me 4s and 5s. But just, you know, not trying to sway you or anything. Just so you know.
R: Sure.


2 Responses to “User’s Manual (An Interview with Rockwell Redglario)”

  1. Slyboots 09/02/2008 at 11:04 PM #

    Ah, so now you’re doing humor? Well played, sir. Well played.

    I give you a…5.

  2. (S)wine 10/02/2008 at 4:33 PM #

    I don’t know what I’m doin…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: