FRONT Magazine caught up with DOUG STANHOPE the other day and instead of talking about the usual stuff, FRONT decided to talk to Doug about booze, being an expert ‘booze bag’ and all. It makes for a great read but if you need convincing, check out an extract below:
Hi Doug. You’re in a van at the moment. You must be pretty used to spending a lot of time in vans.
í¢äåÂYeah, although it’s nicer than a lot of alternatives. It’s better than flying. You just shove all your shit in the back, with no airport security, no pat-downs and I don’t have to take my laptop out. There’s no crying babies, and I don’t have to wait for miserable hag to bring me a cocktail, I can make my own.
You kind of self identify as a drunk, so we thought it might be kind of fun if instead of doing a straight up normal interview, we could talk about booze for a while.
í¢äåÂSure! I mean, I’m no connoisseur, I’m just a booze bag.
So you’re a whatever’s-around kind of drinker?í¢äåÂ
Yeah – well, I’m not drinking cooking fluid or anything. I’m mainly a vodka guy, but on stage I pretty much stick to beer most of the time, though I’m starting to drink vodka on stage. It’s just that places have a tendency to try and impress you with how much they pour in, so it’s harder to figure out how much you’re actually drinking. I know exactly how much beer I can drink and still put on a good show.
What’s your earliest drinking memory?
I remember my first drunk, it was the night before Thanksgiving in 1980, so it would have been a Wednesday night in late November. My older brother had a girl round from next door, his age, and there were all the cool kids at school drinking and, uh, they indoctrinated me. They said I could hang out, so I got a bottle of white wine and I drank most of it, and I remember getting really fucked up, and I smoked a cigarette and that almost made me fall over, because cigarettes do that when you’re young, they make you feel genuinely high.
You ever get people burst into tears or anything, really letting themselves down?í¢äåÂ
There’s a routine on my old DVD where I talk about how people always think I smoke pot, and try to give me it, but I don’t smoke pot. Then at a show a guy tried to give me drugs, and he walked right to the centre of the stage, trying to give me the heavy-handed handshake. I’m going, “I’m in the middle of the spotlight, on stage in a theatre, this is probably not the time” and this guy’s just handing me coke going, “Don’t worry, it’s not pot!”. He was just so blotto drunk y’know, he just kept saying, “It’s not pot!”.
We got a kid in San Francisco who I saw from the stage who was clearly not gonna make it through the whole show. It was a standing event, so he was just wobbling from foot to foot just trying to stay standing up, and after the show, when the venue’s closing up he was one of the last guys there. They’re dragging him out, and he starts vomiting profusely, so the bouncers are trying to aim the vomit away from them. They set him down outside, and it’s really dark, in a kinda nowhere area, and this kid’s so fucked up that he can’t tell us where he lives. We’re trying to get him in a cab, cos we can’t leave him on the street, because he’s out of his mind. Then finally his phone rang, so I took it, and it’s his mother! It turned out to live 40 miles away, we had to get his brother to come and drive and pick him up. He lived, though.
Ace, so there’s a happy ending. Just think how bleak that story would have been if it ended with you saying, “And then he died in my arms”.í¢äåÂ
Hahaha, I got a sheepish message from him afterwards going, “Evidently I was a little bit out of control last night, and I appreciate you getting me home”. But it really reeked of embarrassment.