Brush With The Mentors
The Mentors were a hard band to describe, but I'll do my best here, since it's important to the story.
First, let me explain how I came to hear of The Mentors.
I have this friend named Wayne. His whole life has always revolved around radio. His gets paid handsomely to do the wiring for new and renovated radio stations, sometimes locally, sometimes halfway around the world. His wife is a local disc jockey. His brother-in-law is a disc jockey in Seattle. And so, Wayne has quite a massive music collection he has gathered over the years. Albums, tapes, and CDs cover many walls of his home. When I lived closer to him than I do now, he used to drop by with records he felt I would find interesting, which I would happily record on cassette.
It was Wayne who introduced me to The Mentors. He brought over one of their records, and I immediately went wild for them.
They were hilarious. They were also probably the most sexist, politically incorrect band of all time. They were a three-piece band, and musically, they were horrible, which was part of the joke. Their gravelly-voiced lead singer, lyric writer and drummer was a fat, bald guy named Eldon Hoke, who went by the name of "El Duce." The guitarist's name was Sickie Wifebeater, and the bass player went by the name of Dr. Heathen Scum.
The Mentors' trademark was the masks they wore, which were shaped just like a Ku Klux Klan mask, only black instead of white. Their lyrics, which consisted mostly of songs about hitting women, stealing from women, and having anal sex with women, made their anonymity necessary. So nobody knew what they looked like.
During a particularly famous, nasty and ill-willed set of government hearings in 1985 on "explicit lyrics in the recording industry" known as the PMRC hearings, cunt Tipper Gore even quoted some of their lyrics:
"Listen, you little slut, do as you are told, come with daddy for me to pour the gold. Golden showers. All through my excrement you shall roam. Bend up and smell my anal vapor. Your face is my toilet paper. On your face I leave a shit tower. Golden showers."
Typically, their lyrics went so far that they were a parody of themselves. Most people, like the ignorant and prudish Tipper, didn't get the joke. The Mentors went out of their way to offend, and offend they did.
Naturally, I loved this band. I allowed a co-worker and friend named Steve to make a copy of the tape I had made from a couple of Wayne's Mentors records, and soon Steve was as crazy about them as I was.
Around Christmas of 1986, Steve discovered that The Mentors were coming to our town, to play in a tiny club downtown called The Satyricon. We jumped at the chance to go see them.
Now, I had worked as a sound man (they call them "sound designers" now) for six years on the local music scene, so I was familiar with the band that was opening for The Mentors, named Green Ice Cream. Their lead singer was a dumb bitch named Diane who once served as "manager" of a band I worked for. With Diane at the helm, that band, The Results, was a monumental failure.
Somehow, Steve, who was attending the Mentors show with me, knew her too. So we were both kind of appalled that we had just paid the cover charge in part to see the awful Green Ice Cream.
Ignoring the cacophony, we sat down at a table and began rapidly drinking tall Buds and observing some of the bar's local patrons, wondering if some of them were actually members of the Mentors.
Then, halfway through Green Ice Cream's set, something magical happened. Diane, in a lame attempt to be entertaining, asked if any of the audience members had any questions. Suddenly, an unmistakable, gravelly voice from the next table over shouted, "Who in the band do ya fuck?"
Everyone in the bar turned to hear Diane's response, except me. I was staring at the guy who yelled the question. He was fat and bald with eyes that bugged out a little, and was wearing a sleeveless "wife-beater" style T-shirt. There was no doubt in my mind at that point. It had to be El Duce.
From then on, I had one ear cocked toward El's table, where he had a giant pitcher of beer, and was drinking even faster than we were. The more I heard his unmistakable voice, the more convinced I was that it was him. I told Steve that this had to be El, but he was skeptical, thinking it was some Mentors fan just doing the voice.
Mercifully, Green Ice Cream's set eventually ended. Though this was my first visit to the Satyricon, I had heard that you could get away with smoking dope in the bathroom. As Steve and I were preparing to do so, the bald fat guy went into the men's room ahead of us.
We followed him in, and after we had all peed, we struck up a conversation with him in which he admitted he was indeed El Duce. Then I whipped out a joint and we got him stoned. Steve asked him if they would be playing certain songs that night, and El turned out to be as affable and funny as we had hoped. After finishing the joint, El left to join his fellow band members on stage and start the show. Clearly, this was going to be great!
We found a spot to stand right in front of the band. Musically, we knew, the band was awful, but we also knew that whether the band could play worth a shit or not wasn't the point. It would be interesting to see if the other audience members got the joke.
That question was answered right away. After their first song, El Duce said, "We're gonna do another song for ya now..." and a guy standing next to us yelled out, "ANOTHER one?!" We busted out laughing. We were not alone.
I got so drunk that the rest of the night is pretty much a blur, though I do remember that at one point we were standing right in front of the bass player, Dr. Heathen Scum, and yelling "DOCTOR SCUM!" at the top of our lungs at him during every break between songs. Some people were slam dancing.
I also remember doing a small lawn job on the way home on my ex-landlord's front yard.
Steve and I promoted The Mentors at our workplace, a shithole print shop named Wright Business Forms, in the months following the show. We made more tapes, and soon the whole print shop had Mentors fever.
The Mentors returned to the Satyricon again the following year, on the day after Christmas. A lot of our co-workers were looking forward to going this time.
Steve's girlfriend, Rhonda, took the step of making black masks for everybody who was going to the show. Clearly, it was going to be wild.
Unfortunately, I came down with a truly horrible cold around this time. It ruined my Christmas, and kept me from attending The Mentors' show this time.
But there would be a bunch of guys going this time. From Wright Business Forms, there was Steve, a guy who changed personalities when he drank named Jim, a guy who never shut up named Mike, maybe a couple of other guys, and a great big guy who was a friend of Steve's that didn't work with us.
Since I missed that show, I have to tell the rest of this story based on what Steve told me afterwards.
As The Mentors took the stage, Steve and his friends donned their black masks. There were many more people in attendance this time than the year before. A lot of people began slam dancing, and soon guys were smashing into each other all over the dance floor. It got crazier and crazier, and eventually the big guy that came with Steve was picking up people and throwing them across the floor. As things got out of control, Steve said he could see how wide-eyed with terror El Duce was, even behind his mask.
Finally, there was big trouble. After the big guy had been throwing people around for a while, a huge crowd descended on him and Mike near the bathrooms. They both disappeared in a swarm of angry concertgoers, who were kicking the shit out of somebody in front of the men's room door. Steve pushed his way through the crowd, thinking the big guy was getting killed. But when he got to the front of the crowd, he didn't recognize the guy who was getting the shit kicked out of him. Steve turned around to see the big guy at the bar, standing on a bar stool and looking down into the melee, drinking a tall Bud and laughing like hell. Mike was nowhere to be found, though Steve found out later that he had avoided the trouble by diving under a table.
However, the atmosphere was quite intimidating at this point, with what was basically a riot going on, so Steve and his friends gathered to leave. Just before stepping out of the bar, they tucked their masks into their pockets.
Good thing. Outside the Satyricon was an even larger, and possibly angrier, group of local punks. One particularly large punk was yelling, "Where are those guys with the masks? I'm gonna kill 'em!"
Steve and the gang nervously sauntered off down the sidewalk, managing to get away without attracting any attention.
Steve said Mike was uncharacteristically quiet all the way home.
The Mentors eventually added a new drummer, "Moosedick", "brought in so El Duce could concentrate on drinking and lead vocals", according to the Mentors' "personality profiles" on their website.
Eldon "El Duce" Hoke died in 1997 after falling asleep drunk on some railroad tracks near his home, effectively bringing The Mentors to an end.
Before his death, Hoke stated that Courtney Love had once attempted to hire him to kill her boyfriend, Kurt Cobain, for $50,000.