A Date With El Duce

I assert the following to be truth. My intention for decades has been to draw a comic strip about it, but frankly, rendering it would be gilding the lily. The story and the people involved are cartoonish enough already.

I first heard of the Mentors when I was a freshman in college. The only other band that compared to them in terms of sheer filth was GWAR, but they were fictional space creatures. The Mentors were men in black hoods with names like Sickie Wifebeater and Dr. Heathen Scum. They recorded songs about golden showers and domestic violence. They made 2 Live Crew seem politically correct by comparison. They pioneered their own genre; “rape rock”.

Hadn’t heard of that before, had ya?

The Mentors’ lead singer was Eldon Wayne Hoke (1958-1997). He became more widely known to the world as El Duce.

I met El Duce in 1996, at a pub on River Street in Savannah, Georgia. At the time he was no longer with the Mentors; he was fronting a band called “Gardy Loo”. I’d seen an ad for the show in Creative Loafing; they were opening for the group “Dick Delicious and the Tasty Testicles”. I hadn’t heard of them before, but my appetite for El Duce was only whetted by an insane, alcohol-fueled interview in Jim Goad’s ANSWER Me! magazine.

pp.22-23, ANSWER Me! #2.

I had to meet him. Just like I had to meet Sleazy P. Martini, from GWAR (whom he really knows). I tell you this emphatically:

El Duce did not disappoint.

You might have heard El Duce’s claim that Courtney Love offered him fifty thousand dollars to kill Kurt Cobain. That is correct. From the compromised culture spergatory we know as Wikipedia:

After the death of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain on April 5, 1994, Hoke began making the claim that Cobain’s wife, Courtney Love, had offered to pay Hoke to kill Cobain. Hoke promoted his story in such media outlets as TV’s Jerry Springer ShowThe National Enquirer weekly tabloid, and in Nick Broomfield’s documentary film, Kurt & Courtney. El Duce claimed in the film that he knew who killed Cobain (giving the name “Allen”), but said he would “let the FBI catch him”.
According to the self-published book “Truth Is Funnier Than Fiction” by Mentors bass player Steve (“Heathen Scum”) Broy, the whole story was concocted by Mentors associate Rev. Bud Green in order to sell to supermarket tabloids.

GG Allin had flung his last turds in 1993, overdosing on two bags of coke at his friend Johnny Puke’s house after a (literally) riotous gig. The mantle of ultimate degeneracy came to rest squarely upon the shoulders of the Mentors. Their filthiness was certified years prior, at the 1985 U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s hearings into the proliferation of “obscene” lyrics in popular music. Despite the near-total obscurity and limited availability of Mentors music, the (presumably legitimate) Rev. Jeff Ling shared the following lines from “Golden Showers” with the standing committee and the world:

Bend up and smell my anal vapor;

Your face is my toilet paper.

Frank Zappa was present in opposition to the hearings (as were Jello Biafra, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, and, um… John Denver). Zappa found the proceedings so farcical that he used an entire album to air his contempt.

El Duce was 38 when I met him. He didn’t look a day over 60. Like, holy shit, this was a dude who lived hard, and died even harder.

In 1996 I was dating a woman who learned of my plans to see Gardy Loo and wanted to accompany me. I said something to the effect of “I don’t think that’s a very good idea, but I suppose I can’t stop you.” We showed up, ordered some beers, and patiently awaited the spectacle as more and more people arrived.

The club’s stage had its back to the front bay window, so that bands could also be viewed from the street outside, and draw patrons in. It was small and couldn’t have been higher than a foot or two above the dance floor. Gardy Loo consisted of a vocalist (El Duce, hooded), a guitarist, a bass player and a drummer. They played for about .5 seconds before my female companion completely regretted her decision to attend.

I was laughing myself sick. It was even more politically incorrect than the Mentors; El gargled out lyrics like “the old folks’ home is where I roam” for a song I think he called “Senior Citizen Sodomy”, and he introduced another number with “your old lady might run around on ya, but once you cut that clitoris off…”

The song was called “Clitoctomy”. I shit you not. I bore witness to this. My girlfriend really wanted to leave at this point.

When Gardy Loo “finished their set”, every band member except Duce threw their instruments on the floor and bailed. Like vamoose. Gone. El Duce remained standing on the stage, amid the echoing feedback of the abandoned instruments, and as he pulled off his black hood, the limelight framed his bowed, hairless head. With his stout posture and bulbous gut, he looked like a mythical idealization of the master troll he was.

I had to interact with this man, however briefly. A short line of admirers had queued at the side of the stage, as El loitered (drinking beer) and Dick Delicious started to set up. I abandoned my date and joined them, promising myself that I wouldn’t get all starstruck, like the guys in line before me. (It was just guys. The ladies seemed to give El a wide berth overall.)

When my turn came to meet El Duce, I immediately became starstruck. I emitted some gibbering variation of ohmygodI’msuchabigfan and as if that wasn’t bad enough, I grabbed his hand and shook it vigorously, accidentally bumping his other hand and spilling his beer.

The first thing that came out of my mouth was “let me buy you another.” El replied, in a voice described by Jim Goad as “the sound of churning bowels”,

“Thanks, buddy. [pointing at bar] Let’s go hit on those girls.”

There were indeed girls at the bar, and El did indeed hit on them. I bought us both beers, and we hung out in the time until Dick Delicious started. His eyes constantly looked as though they would pop out. He was a funny guy. Convivial, even, if you overlook him waving his dick around.

Look, I know what year it is. I know how people are these days, especially when it comes to indecent exposure. But I’m telling you, one of the most side-splitting experiences of my lifetime was watching the lead singer of the Mentors flap his wang about a crowded dance floor, while a band called “Dick Delicious and the Tasty Testicles” played songs like “It Was The Tits” and “Big Stinky Pussies”. Everyone was laughing. Okay, maybe my girlfriend wasn’t laughing. So almost everybody.

Later on that night, I got to meet Mr. Delicious too, and he traded me a CD for an issue of my (then new) comic book Fink. I can’t stress how appropriate the material in that comic book was for the evening. It was literally an old Dynomutt comic into which I spliced filthy dialogue. Evan Dorkin warned me in a letter that this concept was becoming passé (which it was), because so many ‘zines were doing it with Family Circus panels.

That’s how different 1996 was from now. Enough people were Xeroxing and stapling their own vandalized cartoons and mailing them that it became
passé. I was informed of this by a working professional whom I corresponded with after sending him my Xeroxed-and-stapled cartoons. If there’s a tactile or similarly meaningful equivalent to this in 2019, I am unaware of it.

When I left the club it was just about last call. El Duce had already been reprimanded by the bartender about his cock-flapping, but was still holding court at the bar with a dwindling group of fellow drinkers. Sometime later I heard they pulled a gun on him to get him to finally leave.

Eldon Hoke died at the too-young age of 39 on April 19, 1997 in Riverside, California. He was hit by a freight train going 60 mph, removing his head. Because of Hoke’s then-recent claims in the Kurt Cobain documentary, many theorize that Hoke was assassinated. Ministry’s Alain Jourgenson states in his autobiography that El Duce was summoned across the track by fans, and his foot became stuck. His blood alcohol content was high and the coroner’s office listed his cause of death as “misadventure”.

What could be more appropriate?

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