JEORDIE WHITE | BASE TENDENCIES
Though they toil in separate fields of entertainment, Bobcat Goldthwait and Twiggy Ramirez share a lot of common ground. Both have taken their twisted images to the extreme; both are edgy, over-the-top, and a tad frightening at times; plus both have set late-night talk shows ablaze -literally. Bobcat once torched Jay Leno's guest chair, while Twiggy and his Marilyn Manson mates burned up the stage for the finale of The Jon Stewart Show. Both men bear the battle scars of their respective professions -Twiggy relating the story of getting his head gashed open by hurled debris during a concert in Mexico City, as Bobcat displays an eye injury stemming from an nasty incident involving a plastic pink flamingo. And while Bobcat mocked the world of law enforcement in the legendary cinematic efforts Police Academy 2, 3, and 4 (or Police Lobotomy as he now refers to the series). Twiggy was always a big fan of Judas Priest, who rebelled against authority figures and had a big hit with "Breakin' the Law" Coincidence? We think not.
Currently, Bobcat can be seen hosting his own bizarre Big Ass Show on FX, while Twiggy can be heard strutting his strange stuff on "The Dope Show" and, of course, the rest of Marilyn Manson's new Mechanical Animals album. In short, Bobcat and Twiggy are not your average mundane entertainers. And when you're busy breaking new ground like these two, you're bound to get your hands dirty. Not to mention your feet. And no matter how outlandish one might choose to be, one must always remember to keep appearances up and practice proper hygiene. Who knows where these guys' hands have been?
That's why we decided to treat Bobcat and Twiggy to lovely afternoon of pampering at Cali Nails, a Burbank strip-mall salon offering a variety of beauty-related services. Bobcat's daughter had to get a broken nail repaired anyhow, so we figured this recently acquainted pair could get to know each other a little better over manicures and pedicures. We join Bobcat and Twiggy as they head into the salon....
Twiggy: So we're gonna get our fingernails done...
Bobcat: I gotta get my feet done, apparently.
Twiggy: Your feet?
Bobcat: Yeah. I've been told that. This is where my girlfriend gets hers done. She's in there with my daughter right now. I've never been here before.
Twiggy: My feet are, like, frightening. Do they boil your feet first or something?
Bobcat and Twiggy enter Cali Nails and the gloved. Masked Vietnamese women get them situated at adjoining nail stations. Bobcat opts for a foot treatment first, while Twiggy -a little shy about taking his shoes off - begins with a manicure. As the Hand Lady starts to work on Twiggy's cuticles, the Foot Lady instructs Bobcat to place his feet into a rectangular tub of water.
Bobcat: Is this somebody's old water or is it new?
Foot Lady: Oh no, it is the new water.
Bobcat: Oh, good. Would it be cheaper if I used old water? (He takes off his shoes.) Whew! It iust became a little more smelly in here.
Bikini: This is a first for you?
Bobcat: Yeah. I'm very nervous. I'm having my pedicure hymen broken right now.
Twiggy: My feet are really bad.
Bobcat: I don't know, man. I'll meet you in a cage match as far as Fred Flintstone feet go.
Twiggy: (to the photographer, a little nervously) Are you guys gonna take pictures of our feet?
Bobcat: (placing his feet into the tub) Whoa! Hey!
Foot Lady: Are you okay?
Bobcat: No. I just didn't know it vibrated! Wow. I wanna sit in this thing. Take my pants off and sit right down in it. Like a little Jacuzzi.
Hand Lady: (to Twiggy) You want color?
Twiggy: Sure. why not?
Hand Lady: You pick out color.
Twiggy begins rummaging through the nail polish colors as the Foot Lady begins sandpapering Bobcat's feet with a loofah thing...
Bobcat: Hey! What gives!
Twiggy: What are they doing to him?
Bikini: They're basically sandpapering his feet.
Twiggy: How does it feel?
Bobcat: (giggling) Strange. Yikes! (To Foot Lady) Are you mad at me?
Twiggy: Maybe you'll get your toes sucked later.
Bobcat: Twiggy, you're making promises you're not gonna be able to keep.
Soon Bobcat's feet are sparkling, his toenails coated with a shiny clear polish. Meanwhile Twiggy has selected alternating purple and pink colors for his fingernails. The Hand Lady works on Bobcat's fingers, urging him to select a color for his nails.
Bobcat: (to Hand Lady) What do you like?
Hand Lady: I don't know.
Bobcat: You'd like for me to go away, wouldn't you?
Twiggy: You gotta get a color, Bob. I got two colors -one every other nail. Like fuckin' Dee Snyder in the "We're Not Gonna Take It" video.
Bobcat: I want a happy color. Like the stuff they use for mental patients. Yellow...?
Twiggy: You like orange? They got orange over here.
Bobcat: Yeah. I'll take orange and yellow. This is very surreal. This is like something you'd do for yourself, but to have someone else do it for you.... I'm surprised that in L.A. there's not a wiping salon.
Twiggy: A wiping salon? (laughs) You mean to wipe your butt?
Hand Lady: Your nails not even, you cut too short.
Bobcat: Cut 'em too short?
Hand Lady: Oh yes.
Bobcat: Does that mean I have, like, mental problems?
Hand Lady: Oh yes, I think so.
As the Hand Lady gets Bobcat's fingernails into shape, alternating yellow and orange colors, Twiggy woefully agrees to remove his shoes for a pedicure.
Twiggy: I've been known to have the ugliest feet, but today they're not as ugly as they usually are. I've got some hairy feet. You like my hair socks? I shoulda shaved my feet before we came.
As the Foot Lady tackles Twiggy's feet, Bobcat begins sorting through a box of tiny gold charm words that can be glued onto the fingernails.
Bobcat: think I'm gonna get "Try God."
Twiggy: What are those? (looking in box) Oh wow!
Bobcat: They're pretty weird. What's the most popular one of these?
Hand Lady: Oh, whatever you can pick out.
Bobcat: What do people usually get?
Hand Lady: "Love" sometimes. Or "#1"
Bobcat: "#1"?! They have big heads, those people. Do you have, like, a "#2"?
Twiggy: (laughing) Number two....
Hand Lady: I have "#1 Lover." And "#1 honey."
Bobcat: I'm gonna get "#1 Honey," just in case there was any debate over who was the Number One Honey around here. I'll just bust my thumb out and settle that debate.
Twiggy: I wanna get 'em all. They glue em on?
Twiggy: Then you're pretty much screwed forever.
Bobcat: How long do they stay on?
Hand Lady: They stay on long time.
Bobcat: Cause I think this joke's gonna be over in, like, three or four hours.
Twiggy: (looking in the box) I'm gonna get "Jesus."
Twiggy's selection of the "Jesus" charm prompts Bobcat to let us in on what could eventually be the follow-up to his classic Shakes the Clown, the hilarious 1992 movie he wrote and directed.
Bobcat: I wanna do a movie called Teen Jesus, like, Jerusalem 90210. Jesus' angst-ridden teen years.
Bikini: Covering the time period that's not in the Bible?
Bobcat: Yeah. It's not in the book. I'm gonna answer the questions. his rebel years.
Twiggy: Teen Jesus. That's good.
Bobcat: He gets picked on by the jocks, and wins the swim meet by walking across the pool....
Soon there's nothing left but the drying stage, for which Bobcat and Twiggy each get a little fan. Bobcat's fingernails are yellow and orange, his thumbs boasting the gold charms "Try God" and ""#1 Honey." Twiggy's toenails and fingernails are purple and pink, his pinkies each reading "Jesus." We chat a little more as the polish hardens.
Bikini: So you've known each other how long?
Bobcat: We just met. We met a couple times and just started jawbonin', but we seem to be on our way to having a relationship.
Bikini: How did you meet?
Bobcat: Through Billy.
Twiggy: Billy Corgan. I went one night with Billy to see him perform and we hung out afterwards.
Bikini: Do you see any similarities in the work you do? Obviously, you both kind of push the limits. Your material can be a little controversial....
Bobcat: Yea, but where I see the parallel would be the sarcastic and goofy elements.
Twiggy: A sense of humor.
Bobcat: I think that's probably it. Because if I took my persona seriously... l probably wouldn't be playing bowling alleys in Detroit en the weekends. It's like not really giving a fuck about how you're perceived. At the same time it's not like, "I don't give a fuck!" it's not anger, it's more about just having fun, That's what I think we have in common. I don't think you're very caught up in how people perceive you.
Twiggy: I would agree.
Bikini: You see the humor in your persona?
Twiggy: Oh yeah.
Bobcat: But there are people who are just afraid of you. I think it's really funny. They're terrified of you.
Twiggy: There's people who are afraid of you, too.
Bobcat: Oh, totally. People meet me and think I'm gonna hurt them or offend them....
Twiggy: I think now Bobcat has come out of his shell almost. I guess you're finding yourself all over again in your comedy.
Twiggy: Because you were this character at one time. It's almost like me playing, you know, this character in my band.
Bobcat: I agree.
Twiggy: Like, weren't you telling me once that sometimes you listen to your old standup and..."
Bobcat: And I can't understand what I was saying
Twiggy: Yeah. it's like, who was that guy? It's like with us, the threat of our image outweighing music. Like on this record we had to prove ourselves musically because last time the image was so strong last
Bobcat: It's the same thing with my standup.
Twiggy: you're even funnier now than you were when you were playing a certain character. But sure some people expect...they wanna go see I crazy guy going, "Aaaaaaaaagh!"
Bobcat: Well, I do think that people couldn't even hear any of the standup I was doing. I have no idea what I was saying half the time. My early stand-up I didn't even wanna do standup. It was always making fun of standup. I'd just clean a fish on stage and that would be my act, you know, "Goodnight!" But I up becoming a standup, though I was still always trying to make fun of it. And now I actually find myself doing stuff that's more close to me, but doing weirder stuff. It's really funny...doing something as cheesy as a game show has given me the luxury of not having to do standup, and really...l don't care anymore about how I'm perceived. I was just always afraid of becoming what I hated in standup and was always just boring and homogenized.
Bikini: Is it easy to break free from a character create and be yourself?
Twiggy: For me, like, whatever we created with Twiggy Ramirez...kind of stepping away from myself helped me find myself even more. Not that I've found myself yet and I'm done. But it kind of makes you look at yourself from the other side of the bridge or whatever. It's almost like being an actor.
Bobcat: Do you ever find it frustrating when it so much about time band and people's focus on nothing to do with the music?
Twiggy: No, because that was the whole point of the band-- to put that back into rock & roll music. When we came out it was when grunge music was big everyone's image was not to have an image.
Twiggy: And everyone was crying about being a rock star and about how miserable it is. What's so miserable about making money and traveling around the world, girls, and...? What's so bad about that?
Bikini: So in breaking away from the sort of out-of-control Bobcat character you created....
Bobcat: There was a time when like everything I said...l didn't really hold myself responsible for it. It was like this other guy did it. Now I'm responsible for what I do and say. (laughs) Bobcat Lite.
Bikini: But you can still be just as subversive, or even more so, because it you tone it down a little, often you can have a bigger audience.
Twiggy: I think there's a thin line, you know. People have gotta hear what you're saying. If they don't hear it, then what's the use of saying it? So you've gotta be conservative to a certain point. Otherwise it can be as offensive as you want, just for the sake of being offensive and, you know, we could be a death metal band, but no one's gonna...you're just going to be preaching to the people who are already converted because it's gonna be such a small audience. You've gotta be smart about it.
Bobcat: That's true. But for me, I mean, I never was interested in people hearing my standup. I was just pissed off and....
Twiggy: You wanted them to know you existed....
Bobcat: Exactly. It's like...Robin Williams is a friend of mine and we were talking about how...you know, we have the same demons. But he wants everyone to like him. And for some reason it was more important for me that people...I didn't give a shit if they liked roe, they just had to acknowledge me.
Twiggy: Yeah, exactly.
Bobcat: And that was more important to me (laughs). But unfortunately one's a little more lucrative than the other.
Bikini: How about your TV show -- do you have to censor or cut a lot of stuff out?
Bobcat: No, very rarely does stuff get cut out. But some of it's tough. I didn't like this one contestant... his secret was, "I've been rejected twice as a sperm donor." And I go, "Whose ass?" And so we were backstage trying to get that joke in. I'm going. 'Look. 'Ass' is in the name of the show" They're going. "No. it's the overall idea." We were talking about the fact that two things you can't do is Jesus....
Twiggy: I don't know why. What's the big deal?
Bobcat: It's very strange. Jesus is a biggie. And drugs.
Twiggy: It's weird. Last record with us it was more of a religious thing, this time it's more of a drug thing that were gonna run into even more problems.
Bikini: Meanwhile. Bobcat wants to make a Teen Jesus movie and your new single is....
Twiggy: "The Dope Show".
Bikini: And you've got "Jesus" on your pinkies.
Twiggy: I like my "Jesus" nails. I think it's nice.
Bobcat: I've got nail envy. I think yours are better.
Twiggy: You like my nails better?
Bobcat: Yeah. Whatever. I choked. There was a lot of pressure. Your colors are better.
Twiggy: Yours are good. They match your shirt. And mine match my shirt.
Bobcat: You have more of a fashion sense.
Bikini: So would you go back to Cali Nails?
Twiggy: Yeah, I think I'm gonna come here regularly. Every week now.
Bobcat: From now on this is gonna be our regular Thursday afternoon.