Tonight, Bedtime Stories has a special guest in New York's Dave Hill, an accomplished writer, performer and musician. He's had his own TV show, 'King of Miami' on MOJO, hosts the live show the Dave Hill Explosion and has played in the rock bands Cobra Verde, Sons of Elvis, Uptown Sinclair, Valley Lodge and Children of the Unicorn. He's also written the Black Metal Dialogues and done about a million other things, including taking some time to answer our five questions by email.
1. Which do you enjoy more, comedy or music?
I like them both a lot. They’re probably my two favorite things to do, you know, other than banging and stuff. Comedy keeps me busier and pays my rent more than music at this point, but I’ll always love playing loud rock music and dragging big amps around town late at night too. I try to make sure to do a little shredding on the guitar at least a few times a day no matter what else I might be up to. It’s important to bring the rock heat whenever possible, even when you’re home alone and maybe haven’t even put on pants yet.
Anyway, without music I’m not sure I ever would have gotten into comedy. When I started singing in bands I realized that I liked talking in between songs almost as much as actually playing the songs. The other guys in the band would sometimes get impatient with me and would want to start the next song if I rambled for too long, but talking on stage at rock shows and was one of the things that led me to be comfortable with the idea of doing comedy. Now that I do comedy shows a lot though, I tend to just stare at my feet a lot more when I play rock shows. Sometimes it’s nice to just shut up for a change. Comedy is much scarier too. With music you can always just bury your head and start the next song no matter what’s going on with the crowd or even if there’s no crowd at all.
2. Do your comedy and music worlds ever meet?
They seem to more and more lately. People who know about my comedy stuff will end up checking out my music stuff and vice versa. Most of the music I’ve been involved with hasn’t been “comedy rock,” but just straight up rock and pop music. I’d like to keep doing more music at my comedy shows though. For a while I tended to keep the two separate, but eventually I’d like to mix it all into one big Dave Hill juggernaut complete with official Dave Hill lunchboxes and home taxidermy kits and everything.
3. You grew up in Cleveland. What was the extent of your comedy experience there?
I never did comedy in Cleveland. I mostly played in bands and did some writing and graphic design and painting stuff. I never really thought I’d end up performing comedy. I came to New York for a long weekend five years ago and never left. I got hired as a writer on a show for Spike TV. The producer of the show, my friend Katherine Dore, encouraged me to try performing comedy since I tended to act like an idiot around the office most of the time. Without her I’m not sure I would be doing the stuff I’m doing now.
4. How did you end up working with Little Michael Jackson on the 'Little Michael Jackson And Me' videos?
I was getting off the subway in Union Square in Manhattan and I heard the tail end of “Beat It” coming out of a CD player upstairs from the train. I assumed there must be a Michael Jackson impersonator up there or something, but I had no idea exactly how awesome of a Michael Jackson impersonator I was about to encounter. When I got to the top of the steps, I saw Little Michael Jackson (aka Alex Sotomayor) standing there. The rest is history. At the time he didn’t speak much English, so I actually hired a translator when we did the first video. Since then he’s gotten really good at English. I, however, remain unable to say much in Spanish other than telling people not to lean against the door, which I admittedly don’t have reason to do as often as I’d like.
5. Have you performed in Philadelphia before?
I’ve never done comedy in Philadelphia before, but I’ve played rock shows at the Khyber a couple times when I was in Cobra Verde and Uptown Sinclair. When Cobra Verde was on tour with Mike Watt a while back we also played at the Pontiac Grille once. I remember on the way to Philly we stopped at a truck stop and I bought some Whoppers, the popular chocolate-covered malted milk ball snack, not the popular Burger King hamburger of the same name. On the way back to the van I decided to throw one at the singer John’s head just to break up the trip a little bit. I thought it would amuse him but he ended up getting really mad at me and understandably so- it turns out those things are really hard when you get hit with them. I think it’s the chocolate coating that does it. And the ones I bought were probably in the machine for a while so they were especially deadly. Looking back on it, I probably should have thrown the Whopper at Frank the guitar player. I am bigger than him. For the record though, I am generally against the idea of trying to injure someone with candy. If there is one message I can get out to the young people through this interview, it would be that. Also, I smell nice and I am an excellent kisser. Ask anyone.