Negotiations with Harley Davidson and Les Vegas

As I entered the house where she was murdered, the smell of death hit my nostrils like a freight train crashing through a mountain of blood-tinged shaving cream. I asked the Sergeant in charge if he’d moved anything since discovering the body after answering a “911” about a cat stuck in a tree.

“We found her this way, Detective,” he responded, the spit flying from his mouth narrowly missing my eye.

“No one from the press’s seen this, have they?” I asked, wiping the Sergeant’s spit off my forehead.

“We’ve been keeping them back,” he said.

“Stop spitting on me,” I replied. “Good, good. Give the boys at the lab a call and tell them to get over here, and make sure they bring the clown unit.”

I surveyed the once-pristine living room. This was the work of sickos. There are sick men in this world. Sick. I’d never seen such sickness in action in my twenty years on the force. I felt a little sick myself, looking at the sickness.

The woman, the former wife of a well-known ex-professional athlete, was lying there, tied up with cheap monofilament. Some creeps had made their way into her house, dressed her up in a clown suit, complete with make up and big shoes. I couldn’t be positive of the cause of death, but I had a feeling I’d seen this before. The severed head of a down-on-his-luck hippie stared up at me. I checked the room for clues and found that the deadbolt was forced…

• •

San Diego’s Deadbolt recently released their fifth album, Zulu Death Mask, on Cargo Music. When they’re not terrorizing the more remote areas of the world as well-paid mercenaries, they’re playing their brand of “lounge” or “surf” rockabilly with a healthy injection of Mickey Spilane. The motivation behind each recording seems to come from their adventures in the seedy world of the assassin-for-hire. It’s a Creepy World, their debut, told of how creepy the world is, and that Deadbolt were ready to contribute. Shrunken Head detailed the band’s adventures in the steamy, dark jungles where the headhunters lurk. Tikiman focused on the eroticism of polynesian cannibalism. Tijuana Hit Squad was concerned with the bands adventures as the rockabilly Brujeria. Zulu Death Mask has Deadbolt returning from Africa, the dark continent, with tales of mercenary heroics, ghostly witchdoctors, jungle-crazed women and more tales of hunting their favorite prey, hippies.

I spoke with frontman and guitarist Harley Davidson and drummer Les Vegas just after they’d returned from the bullfights in their home away from home, Tijuana, Mexico.

• •

Is this the Ink Nineteen Guy?

Yeah, is this Les Vegas?

Hey, this is Harley!

Harley? I was going to talk to Les. But I can talk to you.

I made it home, I made it home.

Did you know there’s a motorcycle named after you?

[Pause. Sigh.] Whadya mean?

Um, nothing.

Exactly, my man.

I understand you spent some time in Africa. What were you doing there and was it associated at all with Pat Robertson’s diamond mine in Zaire?

Well, it was mercenary work, you know, and Pat Robertson, yes, we did work on his- well, we worked for him for a while. He came in one day and was wearing a sort of an African outfit, painted up, ‘cause there was a sacrifice, see? And he sacrificed a goat to.. He’s a really evil man, to produce more diamonds. Yeah we did a little work for him. He wasn’t paying so good, so we blew up a mine and went on our way.

How did you get the mercenary work? Did you go through the “Wild Geese” agency?

We just read it in the Soldier of Fortune classifieds.

Does it pay well?

It pays good, my man!

How about the risks?

There’s risks in life, Dave.

I guess that’s true. On Zulu Death Mask, there seems to be a sub-theme concerned with clowns and/or transvestites. Are any of the members of the band clowns?

One of the guys works as a clown.

How about transvestites?

The guy who works as a clown dated a transvestite. Nobody knew. “She” was pretty, and then one day he went down and was holding a tree-trunk.

Oh my! Boy, that must have been… I’m shocked. What did he do afterwards?

We fired the clown.

Are any of you Transvestclowns?

No, we’re real mens.

Have you been in touch with the Clown Mafia, discussed in your song “Return of Patches,” reveling their presence.

They’re out there. I’m sort of like Frank Sinatra with the Clown Mafia, ya know? I’m friends with them, but I know ‘em, I know who they are… The carnies, they’re a very seedy network. Yeah, I’m in touch with them. They’re trying to get some political action going here.

I was frightened by that song because it was, I will see clowns now and I now know there’s a Clown Mafia, so I’ll have to put up with them.

Well, they want the respect that they used to have in the old days.

But it’s not the old days. Clowns? John Wayne Gacy, that’s what you think of clowns these days!

Exactly. See, I’m going to try to be the liaison to Disney. I’m tired of this Moulon and this Little, you know… l “Bring back the clown!” we’re saying to Disneyland. We’re trying to get legit. But, they’re extremely dangerous and powerful men.

Are any of you cops?


The song “Crime Scene” is very real.

Did you feel like you were at a crime scene?

Yeah, I did. I felt like I was inside the mind of Mike Hammer. That’s another song where everyone is either a transvestite or something weird.

We like a lot of true crime, we read a lot of true crime novels. See, you read the book and you learn stuff, strange things that you don’t hear from the papers.

Like what?

Well, I read a couple of those O.J. Books. And…

What possibly could I have not heard about O.J.? I didn’t watch any of it nor read any thing about it, yet I knew everything!

I didn’t watch too much either…

Do you think he did it?

Oh yeah, he did it. But it wasn’t like the “abused women” thing. In California, the feminists went nuts and they’re like “if you yell at your wife or girlfriend, you’re going to jail.” So “thanks!” O.J. The “O.J. Law” like instant felony. The laws should be like “buda-BING” ya know? Yeah! But what it was, was like a love triangle, had nothing to do with… And when he did smack her around they were both coked-up!

You’ve gone on record as advocating the widespread killing of hippies. This is alluded to on the song “Watongo.”


Can you give me an example of what killing lots of hippies would accomplish.

Well, it might accomplish less begging on the streets, probably talking about a lot less hitch-hikers, panhandlers, and then the gutterpunks, too. They’re the new hippies. They got a credit card in the back pocket if their begging doesn’t go too good. I have a major problem with people begging like that. You know, they got to do a little rippin’ off here and there.

I read in an interview that you actually had picked up a hitchhiking hippie that you, er, dispatched of…

Yes, exactly. We had a sort of little hunt thing going on the salt flats of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Did they ever find the body?

They probably did, but after we got through with it, there wasn’t much identification.

So, there’s nothing tracing the body back to you except this interview we’re doing right now…

Yeah. Now, some little rich kid is missing, from New Hampshire, big loss. Maybe the Kennedy’s can help out, they’re from around there, right?

Right… What weaponry or techniques do you recommend for hippie hunting?

First of all, a good sort of humiliation thing. A nice haircut, nice flattop, shower, go and get ‘em some nice… Go to Wal-mart and get them some Dickies

What happens when you put water on them? You said you give them a shower. There are people who don’t wash, do they scream on contact with water?

They hate it, you know? And they start to resemble sort of a human being. And then they just can’t take it. See, “look at yourself. Are you willing to accept this and live or rebel and die.” and they go “fuck you, man! Fuck you!”

“OK, start running, boy.” That’s what we do.

You just got back from Tijuana, according to your publicist.

Yeah, we were just there at the bullfights.

Well, have you guys ever had sex with animals? I understand they have a lot of that in Tijuana.

I never been to one… I guess they still have it… Les? Did you ever go to the donkey show? No? He was there in the early days, and I guess you could still see them.

How do you know? Are you sure you haven’t been to one?

Dave, I’m, you know…

Well, if you don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine.

I used to go to the real nice transvestite bars and, well, it wasn’t nice at all, it was real scary. It was real dark and red lights. And the waitresses were men, dressed up like women. And you had to be real drunk to like, you know…

Well, they come out and do a little dance, just out of Blue Velvet. It was beautiful. I’m a part-time Tijuana guy and I take everyone in there and they just really freak out. And then you kinda watch the drunk sailors comin’ out of the back room, zippin’ up their pants with smiles on their faces. Gettin’ a hummer from a guy! [Imitates “Sergeant Carter” voice] “Ensign, did you know you just had a homosexual experience?!” But anyhow, it was really good, just sit back, drink beer and watch the fun of it all.

How was the bullfighting in Tijuana? I understand it’s a real man’s spectator sport.

It was good, good! Hemingway was into the [imitates “Mexican” accent] machismo of zee boolfight.

Have you ever fought a bull yourself?

No. Bumped a few cows, but never fought a bull.

When you were in Africa, did you fight any exotic animals?

Oh, of course. Before we’d get our pay, we’d go to town, whack a rhino, cut a little of the horn off. Get down, you know? We’re just ruthless. I’m just a ruthless cocksucker!

I thought you said no one was a transvestite? Oh, wait, that would be a plain old homosexual.

[Imitates “fem” voice] Hey! It’s the nineties, all right? Yeah, we’d get a little rhino horn and it’s good. Fantastic. You know what they have here in San Diego? They have the San Diego Zoo, right? And they’re going to trade some rhinos for pandas.


Yeah, they sent over a couple of rhinos. And those suckers never came back… [Imitates “coolie” voice] Ahhh, they died of ahhh, mal-nou-tri-tion. So sorry. Truck break down, could not feed rhino. You know old Deng Sho ping was sucking up that rhino horn, you know it.

Do you think President Clinton used some rhino horn on his recent trip there?

[In “Clinton” voice] He might. Ahh think he probably did a bit, maybe Yeltsin did a bit, too.

I had a fantasy about Bill Clinton.


Well, not really, it was with Monica Lewinsky. She’s hot…

She is! Ya know, ya just got to treat here like the pig that she is. If I had her I’d be giving her a golden shower all over that dress. She could save that one, send that one to momma, see if she likes storing that sucker! But, ahh…

Tell me about the song “Burn, Lil’ Debbie, Burn.”

Do you have those “Lil’ Debbie” snack cakes out there?

Um, no… What are they, like, Tastykakes?


Is this song about setting snack foods on fire?!

It’s about Little Debbie and the way she treats men, evil bitch… She’s a girl, who, well, she’s just an evil little bitch, what can I say?

Speaking of evil little bitches, do chicks dig your music? Are you guys all homos? Because this is “men’s” music, isn’t it?

We got some chicks that dig it. There’s a few. Like the whole creepiness of Deadbolt, you know. wouldn’t you like to have a good Deadbolt chick? She’d know how to treat a man. We don’t want no damned, friggin’ “Pearl Jam” chicks. What’re you gonna get with that?

A disease?

Yeah, a disease of the… [Goes into over-the-phone pantomime of argument with Pearl Jam chick] Smack you around … you little… Shattup!

Did you meet any Deadbolt chicks in Africa?

Yea, of course. Big. Big woman. They’re beautiful women in Africa.

Speaking of your song, “Jackals of Botswana,” when you were in Africa, which countries had the best massacres? Rwanda? The Congo? Did you get to collect any land mines?

We just got in on the tail end of Rwanda. Very bad out there. A shortage of guns, so they start passin’ out machetes to all the, um, kids. They get ‘em whack out on banana beer and hand ‘em a machete and, I’m serious! They got Banana beer out there!

And they just let ‘em have at it with the machetes, huh?

Yeah, yeah! Give ‘em a uniform and a machete and go to it!

Did you participate at all or just watch?

We kind of came in as the dust settled, they had the UN troops and they were keeping a little peace and drove through and observed the town a bit, hit a few bars. There’s always still a good bar there, in all these Africa countries, you know, when they go to shit. There’s always one great drinking place, with cuban cigars and America whiskey.

What’d you do about malaria?

No malaria problems. No tsetse flies, you get all the vaccinations for all that.

Did the shots hurt?

They hurt, you know… “boys.”

I see… What was “October in Zimbabwe” like? You liked it so much you wrote a song about it?

It was great. They have like a little Oktoberfest thing going on, there was one guy who, you know, with an accordion, another mercenary from Germany, doing a few drinking songs. Heinz was his name.

Heinz the Mercenary?

Yeah! All right Heinz! Start playing and we’ll get the beer.

I love African women. Will you do a nationwide tour, now that you’re through “touring” Africa?

I think in April. We’re going out the midwest in October, we just got done with the Northwest. We got a little regional deal going here, Babe.

You know here’s only five things you can sing about: gettin’ drunk and screwin’ a broad, there’s getting dumped by the broad and getting drunk, there’s getting drunk and talking about the ozone, and then there’s a sensitive song about love, and then there’s another sensitive song about being happy, That’s it. I like having a good theme for a record. Taking the listener for a little journey. Nobody want’s to hear about the damned rainforest!

But you had an album called Shrunken Head. Don’t they get those in the jungles of the Amazon? Which, I might add, happen to be rainforests?

Hey, we were just trying to get some shrunken heads, we weren’t trying to save the rainforests or anything.

[Les Vegas comes on…] Hi, Les!

Hi Dave!

I understand you killed a clown…

Well, you know, a man’s got to do, what a man’s got to do.

I’m wondering what the general scene is like in San Diego. Because if a band like Deadbolt were up here I’d go to see them every weekend. You’d be the “bar band” at the donut shop where the cops hang out!

[Harley gets back on] Exactly, we’re a band you can sink your teeth into. We’re not going away, we’re not the fad band, you know, we beat up some guy that was “swing dancing” at our show; beat the piss out of him!

I hate this swing shit! Revival may ass! It’s been on the radio for fifty years! What is it with these kids these days?!

You see some guy singing on an old vintage microphone? Well that mic has more style then he’ll ever have!

[Les] Did you hit on people who cry about their bad childhoods? Who had a good childhood? No one!

I bet Jeff Dhamer had a good one.

[Harley] My dad was so mean, he used to make me spank him!

That’s a mean dad! But maybe that had something to do with you transvestite clown thing in your music…

• •

Check out the Deadbolt web site:

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