We met first author Larry Viezel back in July 2014 when Rocky Horror Saved My Life filmed CHAOS at the River Oaks Theatre. We thought it was some sort of mistake when they said they were coming out, but they seemed nice enough. Anyway, Larry has written a book with Sal Piro, President for Life of the Rocky Horror Fan Club the book is CHOCK full of the kind of crap you dream about seeing one day.
So Foss fired off an email with 11 questions about the book The ROCKY HORROR TREASURY: A TRIBUTE TO THE ULTIMATE CULT CLASSIC and RHSML….
1. How did your obsession with Rocky start?
This is a pretty unique spin on the standard opening question. You aren’t really asking “When did you first see Rocky Horror”. You’re asking when did my *obsession* start. I started going to Rocky Horror just after i graduated High School. I went pretty much every weekend that summer. It was a fun place to be and there were hot girls in lingerie to ogle. I stayed out way later than I did otherwise. We all went to the diner after every show and had a hell of a time being dumb teenagers with nowhere to be. What actually got me obsessed with the movie was taking all that away. When i went to college there was no Rocky Horror around. The local show in Albany had just stopped running and there was no show other than Halloween. Absence makes the heart grow fonder as they say. So I would long for those weekend opportunities to go home and be part of the Rocky scene again.
2. What made Rocky so important in your life?
There is the cliche answer – the friendships. As cliche as the answer is, its true. I’ve made lifelong friends there. I still talk and hang out with people I met at my first show at the theatre.
The not so cliche answer, or at least the answer most people won’t admit, is the attention. Rocky was, and still is, a place where a guy with dumb jokes and great sense of timing can get laughs and swoons. There is no better feeling in the world than an audience eating up what you are throwing at them.
Great. Its pretty fantastic to go all over the country and witness Rocky Horror in different markets. Its not a journey too many people have gotten to make in the 40 year history of the movie. Certainly not this many shows in one year. Its pretty cool to see the similarities and differences between the casts. To see two shows that have sell out crowds, but could not possibly be more different, and yet they are still ostensibly doing the same thing. Its also really cool to meet the people who have kept the cult going for as many years as its been going. I’ve heard some great stories – some really unexpected stuff. I sometimes wish we could stay talking to some of these people for way longer than the short time we have with them.
There is a misconception though about the journey being all peaches and blowjobs. There is a fair amount of suck involved in filming. We hours on end cramming as many interviews as we can into the small time frame we have allotted. Sometimes those hours are spent in dank basements, sometimes in hot rooms where we can’t turn on the air conditioning because it will ruin the sound. Or we spend the days travelling – either cramped in the middle seat of an airplane or driving 10 plus hours to get somewhere. I also spend an inordinate amount of time away from the responsibilities of the rest of my life – my family, my job, my home show. Going away means those things will be twice as much work to tend to when I come back in half the amount of time. But I can’t complain too much because making this movie has given me the opportunity to see all of these shows and that’s a Rocky Horror fan’s dream come true. And in the end I am sure its going to all be worth it because there will be a kick ass finished result.
4. What was the moment that you decided to create a book for the fans of Rocky?
Its not really all that glamorous. I answer emails for the Rocky Horror Picture Show fan Club, as well as handle their social media. An email came across addressed to Sal Piro from a publisher who wanted to put something together. They had Fox on board. They had Richard O’Brien on board. They had Lou Adler on board. The only thing missing was an author. I mentioned it to Sal and he said “Oh yeah – do you want to work on that with me?” This of course was right as documentary filming started and I was completely overwhelmed at work. So of course I said yes.
We were given a very short time to finish the book and not a lot of room to write. We were asked to put 40 years of Rocky Horror history into under 7000 words. That’s the origins of the play, the filming of the movie, the audience participation, the fans, fan events, conventions. They said “write a book about Rocky Horror”. Sounds so simple right? With 40 years to cover, we could have written an encyclopedia.
5. What’s the first item you every collected?
It was an 8×10 photo, but I have no idea which one. I think it might have been a black and white headshot of Barry Bostwick as Brad. There was a guy on my college campus selling posters and photos. I bought a giant poster of Kurt Cobain, a giant poster from The Lost Boys and whatever Rocky Horror photos they had. I got it in my head that I would collect all the photos that the Criminologist uses in his book. Then I went to the local comic book shot to try and track down the copy of Weird Fantasy that was in there. And then eBay came along right around when I had disposable income from my first *real* job. Thousands of dollars later I have no idea what happened.
6. What is your favorite item that you have collected of the Rocky Horror Picture Show vs. The Rocky Horror Show?
From the movie its the original costume pieces. I have Columbia’s bustier and Rocky’s floorshow boa. From the play is a bit tougher of a question. I bought two collections just before the 4711 Rocky Horror convention in Atlantic City. First was “The Rocky Horror Scrapbook” collection. I found a guy on craigslist (how many great stories start out that way?) who was looking to sell a bunch of Rocky Horror stuff. He was the guy who originally put together the Rocky Horror scrapbook. He had kept it all for 30+ years in storage. In it were some handwritten lyrics by Richard O’Brien for Science Fiction Double Feature. Scrawled on the back of them were notes for I Can Make You A Man. I’m not sure if this is the “original hand written lyrics” but I am gonna say “Yeah, probably”. Shortly after I bought that collection, another collection came up for auction from Sothebys. It was all of Michael White’s stuff. Mostly notes, and letters. One of the pieces was a framed picture of the famous Rocky Horror Show head logo. It looks like a photograph. I don’t think its an original painting. But its still pretty boss.
Ooof. All of it. I am somewhat of a hoarder. My wife says I should go through some of it and find some things I can part with that I don’t think are that amazing. But all of it is fascinating to me! I suppose if my house was on fire and I could only save one item – it would probably be the bustier. Its a shame if that was all that would survive though – I have some amazing shit.
8. Interviewee choice: Create your own question here then answer it. Make the question and answer clever.
Q: Besides Rocky Horror, what are you fascinated with? What do you collect?
A: I collect Mayor McCheese memorabilia, statues of Atlas holding the globe and clever interview questions. This one won’t be going in.
9. What happens to your collection when you die and can we have it?
My guess is that I will die in the fire mentioned in question 7, selfishly trying to go back in to save what was in the house. You can’t have it. No one can.
In all seriousness, I imagine once I am in the ground one of two things will happen to my collection. Either my wife will auction it or it will go to start a Rocky Horror museum.
10. Has your collection gotten you laid?
I am sure it helped. But it was never like “Oh my god! Is that a Japanese press book signed by everyone in the cast?!? We should totally fuck!”
One time after a show a girl came back home with me. She was cute, but not someone I really wanted around because there were some major crazy alarm bells going off around her. She told me she had nowhere to stay and I totally fell for that because a) I am a genuinely nice guy and b) I am a big dumb male. The next morning one thing led to another and there she was in my bed blowing me. I drove her home later in the day and that was the end of that. I found out later that the reason behind it all was a friend put her up to it in order to steal the Columbia bustier for her. So yeah – I suppose this totally counts.
11. What advice do you have for young aspiring collectors or people looking to get laid?
For collectors – Collect what you are fascinated with. There’s probably half a dozen major Rocky Horror collectors out there – but all of us have different enough tastes for what we collect that its not too often that we overlap and go after the same stuff. EBay is your friend, but some really good stuff pops up at auction houses otherwise. If you go for the standard licensed stuff, buy ten of them, not just one. And stay the hell away from any auction I have my sights on.
For getting laid – any tips you’ve heard, read, paid for or practiced in the pursuit of getting laid is entirely bullshit. There is no magic button. There is no secret password. There is a reason its called “getting lucky”. Get lucky as often as you can and press your luck when you do. The worst you can hear is “no” and then you are no worse off. You’re in the same spot as you were before that – jerking off to obscure and awkward pornography on the Internet while crying. Cest la vie.