The fabulous Ginger Coyote sat down with me at a Mexican restaurant in Silver Lake to discuss her legendary punk rock magazine, Punk Globe, as well as many other subjects e.g. Bebe Buell, Patti Smith, serial killers, kooky song lyrics, her band White Trash Debutantes and John Waters.
Punk Globe Magazine is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a glossy new book featuring Debbie Harry on the cover (available now on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com) Go buy it and own a piece of punk history! Ginger Coyote for mayor of Hollywood! Hip hip hooray!!!
AMY: Hi Ginger. You look lovely.
GINGER: Oh yeah, once ya got enough drinks in you. Drink more!
AMY: Haha!!! So tell me about Punk Globe, your magazine. You started in ’77 correct?
GINGER: I started doing Xerox copies and stapling twelve sheets of typing paper and I would give them away at shows. The reason why I started is because people were complaining about the lack of magazines in San Francisco that supported punk rock. There was one called Search & Destroy and that was it. They catered to only the bands that they liked and not the underdogs. So I saw this English punk zine called Sniffin’ Glue and I said, “Hey I could do this!” I would do show reviews and interviews with bands. I started off once or twice a month and then I wouldn’t do it for awhile. Then in ’78 it became a monthly thing.
AMY: How much did it cost you per month?
GINGER: Well at the time I paid $150 a month for rent, so I had a little money to play with. I would go to the Xerox places and I would tell them that I copied 10 pages when I actually did 20. Then I started meeting guys who worked there and they let me do it for free. Then I started selling ads in it from punk stores and then I started charging 50 cents and the record stores and punk stores would take 15 cents for selling them. Then I charged a dollar. Everyone else who was doing magazines went to the industrial areas [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][to get them printed] but it was expensive so I found this place in Chinatown. Florence Fang, how punk rock is that, her and her sons were real cool and they would give me time to pay. The only setback for doing that was that they were Chinese and they would print the magazine upside down sometimes but they would always fix it for me.
AMY: Tell me about what bands got you really excited about punk rock.
GINGER: The Ramones, Blondie… I knew Arturo [Vega] and he introduced me to Joey and Dee Dee [Ramone] and I loved Debbie [Harry], she was real sweet. I became friendly with the Talking Heads. Johnny Thunders came around, but he was always looking for heroin all the time. Richard Hell started hooking up with my friend Ann and she moved in with him in NYC. They had a traumatic relationship and she wrote him all these mean letters. He recently put her letters to him in his newest book. “You scum ass motherfucker!” Hahaha!!! To this day she has a very successful lighting company and just got back from tour with Tom Waits. There was this building called The Yellow Bordello and everyone lived there: Andy from Eye Protection, Andy Sandy, Blondine, Ann, and all these people. Andy was in Wall of Voodoo, and played with Amee Mann. He wrote a song about Punk Globe Magazine recently.
AMY: I bet a lot of people thank you for promoting their bands early one.
GINGER: I gave Faith No More their first interview… I gave Dead Kennedys their first interview.
AMY: Wow! So you’re friends with Jello and those guys?
GINGER: Yeah, I mean Jello and I were real close back in the day. There are pictures with him grabbing my tit and licking my thigh.
AMY: Is Punk Globe Magazine national now?
GINGER: It’s international because it’s online so it goes all over the world. Here is the first pressing of the book on Punk Globe Magazine. There are a lot of photos in here. We have L7, Jayne County, Bebe Buell, Rodney from The Specials, Donna Destri, (Jimmy from Blondie’s sister). Legs had brought up to me that Debbie was the one fixing her Camaro on the Bowery. She was living in that rough area of town. It was Patti Smith that lived up with Allen Lanier in the West Side.
AMY: So they looked like they were at their opposites stations in life.
GINGER: I didn’t like Patti Smith at all. She was so rude. Jim Carroll took me to see Patti Smith and she wouldn’t let me in the dressing room. She said, “No girls!” So he left with me.
AMY: I heard that Jim Carroll wrote a poem for you.
GINGER: Well, Jim promised that I would meet Keith Richards. I didn’t take him seriously at all. Later on, Jim led me to the office of this rock n’ roll club after he played a show and behold Keith Richards is sitting there!
GINGER: Keith was there for the show and he got up and played guitar with Jim Carroll. I said , “You really were telling me the truth!” And I went up to him and kissed him and that’s what the poem is about.
AMY: Oh, that’s sweet.
AMY: He was a real smart guy, right?
GINGER: He won a Pulitzer Prize for The Basketball Diaries [sic]. Then he found out that I knew Leo DiCaprio, amongst other mutual friends. He was very surprised we knew the same people.
AMY: So you had an much older woman in your band White Trash Debutantes?
GINGER: Punk Rock Pat and Lenore Real Cool Chick.
AMY: And Tonya Harding?
GINGER: I had invited her to be in the band. I got a call from her manager that she was looking for new ventures and was interested in seeing us. We woke up and every station was saying, “Tonya Harding is joining a punk band!”
AMY: So that was good press for you.
GINGER: We played at The Satyricon in Portland and they had on the marquee, “Welcome Home Tonya.” The president of Tonya’s fan club did a boycott on us and said that we were degenerates and that we worshipped the devil. She said that Punk Rock Pat was doing a version of “Highway To Hell” and that she was the worst influence. We had news crews down there and there was a boycott. Tonya never showed up.
AMY: You can’t make this stuff up.
GINGER: Then we went into Canada and King World interviewed us and asked if Tonya was coming and I just said, “She called and said she’s trying to hitch a ride up, so we will see.” I thought I’d have fun with it. Then at customs they see Punk Rock Pat and they said, “What’s she doing with you?” I said, “She’s our singer.” They said, “How old is she?!” And I just said, “A little older than you, but what’s age?” Then they go, “We wanna see papers!” They were quizzing her about everything. They they said, “Where’s Tonya?” I said, “You would let Tonya into this country?” And they said, “Oh yeah!” And I said, “She’s a convicted felon. You’d let HER into Canada but you won’t let Punk Rock Pat in!”
AMY: A sweet, little old lady.
GINGER: Well, she wasn’t that sweet. Punk Rock Pat was so mad that she says to customs, “I sing with this motherfucking band!”
We played the Town Pump with the Cadillac Tramps and the lead singer, Gabby, gets up onstage and says, “I’ve just fallen in love and her name is Punk Rock Pat.” He had some weed and he tells Pat to smoke some and she says, “Oh no, I have the high quality stuff. I’ve got this and it costs $20 a joint.” She ends up walking around Canada and she was so high that she thought she left her keys in her car door and everyone was looking for her. Then we found her talking to some black pimps and we asked her what she’s doing and she says, “I’m asking these guys if they saw a Cadillac with the keys still in it.” I said if that happened, you’d just see the Cadillac rolling by. Haha!
AMY: Did you vote for Jello Biafra when he was running?
GINGER: Yeah. I worked on his campaign. His platform was all about making the politicians wear clown outfits and he did a lot of silly stuff but he spoke very well. He came in fourth place. Jello is nocturnal and stays up all night and sleeps during the day. He would never come to the meetings for mayor cause he was sleeping. We got his name on the ballot but he had to come in to sign an affidavit at 4pm and he comes running in at 4 minutes to 4 — he’d obviously just woke up.
AMY: What fun bands did White Trash Debutantes play with?
GINGER: The Lunachicks, L7 were fun, Dread Zeppelin…
I have a good Jane Wieldlin story too. One time there was a birthday party at this drag place called The Blacklight. It was down on Western Street and that was at a time there were drugs everywhere around there. These queens down at the Blacklight were thugs. The bartender was a tweaker and all of a sudden he ran behind the bar and grabbed a baseball bat. He went back to the bathroom and started pounding on the door, “How many times do I have to tell you, don’t do cocaine in MY bathroom!!!” He got inside and chased them out and there was Jane from The Go-Go’s!!!
AMY: Did you see the Sex Pistols play?
GINGER: I saw their last show at Winterland. They had a party at the Miyako Hotel and Steve Jones was making out with Zsa Zsa Gabor! Haha!
AMY: How did you meet Sable Starr?
GINGER: Through Mackenzie Phillips and those people. We used to go to Rodney’s and that’s how I met them.
AMY: Right, Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco. Did you love Sable?
GINGER: She was funny and then I saw her up in San Francisco. She was with Johnny Thunders.
AMY: Where did you meet Bebe Buell?
GINGER: I met her at a show and we got along so we went out to bars together and got drunk. Then she started writing for Punk Globe.
AMY: Cool. I heard your band White Trash Debutantes played on Conan O’ Brien. How was that?
GINGER: That was after the Tonya Harding thing.
AMY: That really blew you up right?
GINGER: We were also on the Jerry Springer Show. He was really nice. He was wearing a sweater and blue jeans and he comes and shakes hands with you. He said, “I hope you aren’t too offended by this show.” There were people in the audience that would say, “You are just a bunch a degenerates.” They shot three episodes all in the same day and if you watch closely it’s always the same people that stand up in the audience to pick fights. They planted them there.
AMY: Well when Jerry Springer first started he was very cool. He would have documentary style episodes about homeless punks on the streets of Hollywood and NYC.
GINGER: When we were on it, it wasn’t the days of everyone starts wrestling and chairs are thrown. Punk Rock Pat was up all night smoking weed. So she was kind of incoherent and they had a psychiatrist on the show and he said, “Pat is there anything that you want to unload that you’ve never told anyone?” And she says, “When I was young, my mom and dad made me wear brown shoes during catechism.” Haha!!!
AMY: Hahaha!! It scarred her for life.
GINGER: It did scar her for life. Then later on, we had all gone back to the hotel and the analyst had found out that I had been in Danielle Steele’s book and she wanted to know how she could get in with Danielle. (Ginger contributed to Danielle Steel’s book His Bright Light on Danielle’s late son’s battle with bi-polar.)
And I said Danielle will not read anything. That’s part of her thing, she cannot read anyone else’s stuff. Because Bebe wanted her to read her stuff and she wouldn’t do it. Then the analyst asked me to be her representative. She wanted me to manage her career, especially the show business side because she thought I was great at publicizing White Trash Debutantes. I said, “You’re a psychologist and you met me on the Jerry Springer show!!!”
GINGER: And she just said, “Well, you’ve been really great with your band so maybe you could help me, too.” I just said, “I might be able to get you Tonya Harding’s number but…”
AMY: Or you could find her a bunch of new patients…
GINGER: I could of probably found her a lot of new patients but I don’t think she would have liked the people I brought to her….
GINGER: I would probably brought her some of the Manson family. Haha!!
AMY: Do you host any nightlife events?
AMY: Surprising! Because you have such a great personality. You’re a character!
GINGER: I’ve got a really unique, perky personality. (She starts singing) “To make-up for a face like a St. Bernard/ I said the looks don’t count/ Just be Miss Congeniality/ Smile when they call you a big, fat tub of lard/ You’ve really got a unique, perky personality/ To make-up for a face like a St. Bernard.”
AMY: Have you ever met John Waters?
GINGER: Yeah, he came up to a me in a local video store in San Francisco and asked me to be in one of his movies. I gave him my number and we exchanged phone calls back and forth. He wanted me to drive up to Baltimore for the movie and I wouldn’t get paid so I just told him I’m very busy.
AMY: Haha!!! What’s your favorite movie?
GINGER: Serial Mom.
AMY: I could see that. I’m surprised you weren’t IN that.
GINGER: Is this the cocksucker residence? Did I get that zip code right? 922- Fuck You!
AMY: Haha!! When John Waters was asking you to be in one of his movies, did he tell you which one it would be?
GINGER: No. But Pink Flamingos was already out and Multiple Maniacs and Desperate Living. So it wasn’t those movies. I was hoping it was gonna be Serial Mom. I would be good in Cry -Baby. Amy Locane, the actress playing the real goody good one ended up going to prison. She got really out there with drugs.
( On February 14, 2013, Amy Locane was sentenced to three years in prison for vehicular manslaughter and assault by auto after killing a 60 year old woman and injuring her husband while her blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit. She was released this June on parole.)
You know Hunter S. Thompson worked the door at Liberty Mitchell’s Dads nightclub (The famous porn producers The Mitchell Brother’s) to do research.
AMY: What?! Crazy… What serial killer do you find most interesting?
GINGER: I liked Dorthea Puente. The old woman from Sacramento.
AMY: The one who killed all the old people for their social security?
GINGER: Yeah. We wrote a song called, “Welcome to the Hotel Sacramento.” (She sings) “I’ve got a lovely place/ I’ve got a lovely face/ They’re digging them up at the Hotel Sacramento/ There’s a lot of dead men in Dorthea’s garden/ Dorthea’s definitely twisted/ She’s standing in the doorway of her seedy hotel/ I was thinking this could be heaven or this could be hell/ She asked how would I pay/ When I said with a Social Security check she said, “Welcome to the Hotel Sacramento”/ Dorothea goes to Harry’s with the money she collects/ she tells all the people/ I once was a brain surgeon I heard my landlady say/ And Warren Beatty was my boyfriend when I lived in L.A./ On that October Saturday when they found her very first victim/ She put on her red coat and heels and walked away/ She took a bus to Stockton and took a bus to L.A./ She became the target of a nationwide search by the end of the day/ Dorothea sat and watched her scene up on TV from her own Hollywood bar stool perch/ Welcome to the Hotel Sacramento. “
A friend said he was buying Dorthea drinks at a bar, he didn’t know who she was. She was asking him if he collects social security and he calls me up, “I’ve just met this very interesting woman…”
AMY: Definitely interesting.
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