Dickies/Mojo Nixon/Ed Gein’s Car/Electric Love Muffin – September 21, 1986
Ken Hinchey (City Gardens regular): The Dickies had a penis puppet named Stuart, which they used during the song “If Stuart Could Talk.” In the middle of the song, Leonard [Graves Phillips, Dickies vocalist] would get the puppet out and have it sing, “See me, Feel me, Touch me, Heal me,” from that Who song. Before the Dickies played this show, they were hanging out at the bar and were upset because Stuart had been stolen in New York the night before. Leonard was showing me this sad little muppet, made out of pantyhose and stuffed with toilet paper, and said, “This is what I have to use tonight.” He was really pissed off about it.
Leonard Graves Phillips (The Dickies vocals): In those days, we went through a lot of Stuarts. People would just mess with him and steal him. The Stuart I use now I’ve been using for about ten years and he’s in good shape.
Randy Now: I road managed The Dickies, and they used to take that Stuart puppet and smash it, step on it, and I would have to fix it. When it got stolen, we had to make one from scratch. We put together a replacement puppet, and it was pretty sick looking.
Leonard Graves Phillips: The song “If Stuart Could Talk” is an homage to The Who. I’ve always had kind of a love-hate thing with The Who and Pete Townshend always had this juvenile fascination with boyhood and manhood. As it turns out from reading his autobiography, he is really fascinated with his manhood.But the song is a tip-of-the-hat to them. My point is, the song was written about a talking penis, so it’s only logical that we have one on stage.
Ken Hinchey: During the show, it gets to that, “See me, Feel me…” part, and he takes out the homemade puppet and starts using it, and you could tell Leonard was not into it. After a couple seconds he threw down the puppet, unzipped his pants, pulled them down, and whipped out “the real Stuart.” It was out there for a long time, and the spotlight was right on it.
Leonard Graves Phillips: What?! Where does this stuff come from?! That didn’t happen. A complete rumor. Someone is confusing me with Jim Morrison. Who told this story, a he or she? A he? Then it definitely did not happen. But we got a couple of guitars stolen from City Gardens, for what that’s worth. It was after the set, and these kids just grabbed a couple guitars and ran out the door.
Ken Hinchey: I interviewed Leonard once for an article and he talked about being a Satan worshipper. He was totally serious. I asked him, “Aren’t you afraid of going to hell?” And he said, “Who says hell is bad? You know who says that? The other side… That’s what they want you to think. The only reason we think hell is bad is because we’re not getting Satan’s perspective on it.” I asked him if [Dickies’ guitarist] Stan Lee was a Satan worshipper too, and Leonard goes, “No. He’s just a Jew.”
Leonard Graves Phillips: I said I was a Satanist? No, but here’s my Satan story. [Dickies’ guitarist] Stan Lee and I got on a plane once with a human skull that I had purchased from [the now-closed New York store] Maxilla & Mandible. I don’t have her anymore, but I called her Moronie, as in [the Ritchie Valens song] Bony Moronie, and I got a little story as to her origin. I wasn’t going to pack her of course, so I took her on the plane with me in a box. She was on my lap and I had Stan on one side of me, and a really nice born-again Christian lady on the other side. She had that kind of happy, desperate joy that nervous people have in general, let alone born-again Christians. She tried to make conversation and she said, “Oh, what are you reading?” And I had some nineteenth century satanic, Joris-Karl Huysmans book, Là-Bas, and Stan kept saying, “Tell her what you got in the box.” I’m like, “Stop it. I’m trying to be nice.” As it happened, that was the most turbulent air flight I have ever been on. We’re flying and there’s a little bump and you get some nervous laughter around the cabin. Then there’s this big dip, and you hear a collective groan. The woman next to me said, “Oh, I fly all the time, it’s really nothing.” And then we hit another one, a huge air pocket, and cups and stuff flew everywhere, and she started freaking out. Then Stan started waxing philosophical, “We’re on this thing and it’s hundreds of tons, and it shouldn’t even be in the air, they don’t know what keeps it up. We shouldn’t even be here!” It was one of those existential moments where I’m in the air, I got freaking-out, born-again lady on one side, Stan on the other, a human skull on my lap, and I’m thinking, “This plane is going to go down in a fiery ball and there is going to be one more head in the rubble than was on the flight manifest.” That’s my satanic story.