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PRESS RELEASE FROM EKTRO RECORDS
Today, EKTRO RECORDS sets March 28th as the international release date for X__X’s X Sticky Fingers X collection. Life’s greatest pleasures are often its most fleeting. Witness, for example, the ephemeral run of X__X, a turbulent quartet that tore through Cleveland like a Dadaist cyclone for six months in 1978. Preceding his imminent relocation to NYC, burly, blond brawler John D Morton assembled the project as a tighter, more rocking successor to his storied proto-punk act, The Electric Eels. An early, practice-room incarnation included that group’s inimitable singer, Dave E. McManus, as well as future Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film author Michael J. Weldon. Shortly thereafter, the cast of characters stabilized to encompass razor-wire guitarist Andrew Klimeyk, CLE magazine editor-turned-bassist Jim Ellis, and drummer Anton Fier, who went on to fame and fortune with the Feelies, the Lounge Lizards, Pere Ubu, and the Golden Palominos. Continue reading CLEVELAND 70’S PUNKS X__X TO RELEASE RETROSPECTIVE
Tentative Horrible Fest Schedule
Iceage (Denmark – Matador Records)
Buck Biloxi and the Fucks (New Orleans)
Obnox (West Side Punks)
Prostitutes (Noisy Cle Electronics)
Queen Of Hell (Cleveland glam punks, Morte from Kill The Hippies)
Fat Vegan (w/ a full meat ensemble)
Mr. California & Zack The Ripper (1st ever live set!) Continue reading FULL HORRIBLE FEST LINEUP ANNOUNCED. ICEAGE HEADLINES THIS ANNUAL CLEVELAND EVENT.
Horrible Fest has been growing stronger each year at Cleveland bar Now That’s Class and other random venues across the city. If you like underground punk rock, garage rock, or psychedelic music, you may want to consider attending. I will be flying to Cleveland to attend/cover this year’s chaos. Here is a list of the bands that have been announced so far.
Hank Wood and the Hammerheads
Buck Biloxi and the Fucks
Lumpy & The Dumpers
Gary Wrong Group
The Yankee Peddler
May 22nd through 24th
Toby Radloff is an enormous part of Cleveland underground culture. He was just a misguided nerd ’til his life was changed upon viewing “Revenge of the Nerds” and building confidence along with nerd solidarity. Things accelerated when he met burgeoning comic book artist, Harvey Pekar. He was shuffled into a world reserved for cult celebrities. Toby was now regularly making media and television appearances. I remember seeing “Killer Nerd” silently rest on the shelves of my local video store. The cover was vile and bloody so naturally I was fascinated, even obsessed. Somebody rented a copy one day and decided to keep it so I didn’t get to view the actual film until I was eighteen years old. Things haven’t been the same since. The movie is brilliantly bizarre and unparalleled in it’s psychotic nerdiness. I recently caught up with Toby and we had the following conversation. Make sure you read Toby’s answers in his very unique voice.
Matt Greenfield @rustbelthammer
Thanks for agreeing to this interview, Toby. I must ask, being from Cleveland, do you think that your environment has given you a unique perspective on the world?
Being from Cleveland has helped my uniqueness and has given me the good perspective of a lifelong resident of a city that others tend to ridicule or make fun of. I’m proud to be a part of Cleveland.
When it comes to Ohio, who are your favorite artists? I am interested to know who you favor when it comes to music, film, or visual art.
I do like Drew Carey, Halle Berry (she went to my high school, Bedford High, but several years after I graduated), and pretty much any musical act out of Ohio…too many to list. My musical tastes tend to lean toward music from the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s, music I grew up with. I like comedies and independent dramas, especially when the story lines are about nerd/geek types or simply everyday people.
What was it like the first time you saw yourself in comic book form? Did anyone expect that “American Splendor” would get such a cult following?
When I first saw myself in the “American Splendor” comic book, I was impressed. It got things rolling as far as my acting career went. Harvey’s success led to my success. The book took off around the time Harvey appeared on David Letterman, and my success rode on Harvey’s coattails, starting with my MTV appearances in 1987 through 1989. I am surprised about the cult following the “American Splendor” comics got over the years.
How did things change once MTV started doing features centered on you?
Once I started being on MTV (I credit myself as being one of the first, if not the first, non-music segments to air on MTV. Now, if you turn on MTV, where’s the music?) I started getting a lot of positive feedback regarding the MTV segments, and it led to better things, such as “Killer Nerd”, “Townies”, and later, the “American Splendor” movie.
Did you have fun filming “Killer Nerd”? It’s one of my all-time favorite movies. Seeing the scenes shot in Kent and Akron makes me happier with every viewing.
As for “Killer Nerd”, working from a script took some getting used to, and filming included late nights on which I had to go to my day job the next day. The finished product came out well and became a cult favorite.
Troma picked Killer Nerd up and it’s still kind of a “sleeper classic.” It’s usually not mentioned in “best of” lists when it comes to Troma’s cinematic history. I would personally put it in my top five and know many others who hold the movie dear as well. Why do you think the movie has remained so hidden?
Troma, as far as I’m concerned, did get the two “Killer Nerd” films out to a wider audience than the previous distribution company was able to do, although they sat on the films for years after buying the rights to them from Wayne Harold and Mark Bosko in 1994. Troma, however, didn’t promote it very well, but word of mouth sold the DVD sets.
Are you a fan of any other Troma films? What are the chances of a ‘Killer Nerd part 3″ or even a remake of the original? You would have to star in them of course!
As for other Troma movies, some are good while others are stupid or ridiculous. Lloyd Kaufman is quite the showman when it comes to “bad” movies. I have seen some “bad” films that were good, and some “good” films that sucked. I doubt it very much if I’ll ever do a third “Killer Nerd”. I pretty much outgrew the role. If a filmmaker wants to do a remake and cast a younger actor to play Harold Kunkle, I’m open to that. I would most likely play a cameo role unrelated to my original character.
Being that you are the “Genuine Nerd”, what sets you apart from mainstream society?
As for being the “Genuine Nerd”, I have always been considered a “different” type of person. People who know me like me, while others are either indifferent or don’t know what to think. At least I could still go places and not be recognized for my past acting roles.
What was it like trying out for the Howard Stern show? Was it a good experience?
As for being on Howard Stern’s show, it was a great experience. The crew and Mr. Stern, were very nice. I had a good time being on the show.
With the popularity of YouTube, many old segments of yours have come to the surface. What are some of your favorite clips and how has the digital age affected your artistic work?
I’m glad to see the old MTV and Eddie Marshall segments online. They were seen by very few people back then and have found a new audience. Sure, some people have been indifferent or even hateful toward these old segments but the vast majority enjoyed them.
What does the future hold for Toby Radloff?
As for my future, since Harvey Pekar died in 2010, I have been semi-retired from the video/movie business but still occasionally make new segments with Wayne Alan Harold. If some Hollywood or indie director wants to use me in a film, my phone number is listed.
Any closing thoughts to share with the world?
I still see myself as different even though the digital world has made my old stuff more accessible and my new stuff look good. Age has caught up with me, but I’m still the Genuine Nerd. Thanks.
WATCH THE FULL “KILLER NERD” MOVIE BELOW
I feel as if some sort of innocence was lost when cable switched over to a digital format. Television is just too damn sterile and predictable these days. Gone are the days of local television personalities and odd shows at even odder hours. I feel bad for anyone who missed out on those wonderful years. Technology is developing at a rapid pace but not so long ago we saw some rather shoddy things on late night television. Mark Norton is almost like a relic of the past. His commercials started airing around 2003 and at first I thought maybe someone laced my pot with PCP because this stuff is almost unbelievable. All of my widest fantasies were coming to fruition during the span of his thirty second commercials. Mark Norton comes from a long line of unintentional weirdos from Ohio. I don’t know if his commercials still air but in case you were never privileged enough to catch the madness, here is a collection of some of his finer moments.
-Matt Greenfield @rustbelthammer