Interview: RICHARD CHRISTY, NOVEMBER 10TH, 2007
JD: All right. Hey, Rusty, good to see ya. Thanks for doing this interview here, we've been talking about it for a long time, so let's see what's doin' with Richard, AKA Rusty.
RC: Thank you, thank you Jimmy. Thanks for giving me a ride here to Duff's, my favorite bar in the world, and listening to some Amon Amarth, jammin' out, drinking some PBRs, doin' some shots with Tomas and Jimmy, and havin' a good time.
JD: Righteous, righteous. So, I mean, where do we start with this? Your career has had a very interesting trajectory in terms of what you've done ... I met you initially I guess after an Iced Earth show when you and Tim "Ripper" Owens came to Bellevue and we hung out and got fuckin' loaded. What year was that, do you remember?
RC: That was 2004. That was like May of 2004 . Iced Earth played BB Kings, we went to Bellevue, had a blast, listening to some metal. One thing I remember from that night, you gave us a ride in your hearse back to our tour bus at BB Kings, and you drove right on to a movie set. You drove around the barricades, and you said fuck em' ! and drove right in front of where they were filming, and ruined their shot.They were pissed, and we thought it was the coolest fuckin' thing ever! (Both laugh)
JD: What might even be funnier is I don't remember doing it (Both laugh)
JD: It wasn't long after that I remember you were gunning for the Stern job. The whole online voting thing was in effect ... and you were the natural choice for the job, your stuff was just funnier than everyone else's, so ya scored the job, and that was great. What was the time frame on that?
RC: That was a month or two after I first met you at Bellevue. I knew I was gonna audition for the job. I was on tour with Iced Earth, I had to make a tough decision. You know, continue with Iced Earth, or try out for the Howard Stern job. The Howard Stern job is my dream job, I've been a fan since 1995, and I listened to the show everyday since then, and I just had to go for it, it was my dream and I had to do it. It was a tough decision quitting one the biggest metal bands there is, and one of my favorite metal bands, but, you know, I had to do it. I had to follow my gut feeling, and that was try out for this job. I was tired of living in Florida and I wanted to move to either New York or LA, and this was a perfect opportunity, so I'm glad I did what I did.
JD: Obviously, everything's worked out better than you could have even imagined
RC: Oh, definitely, definitely. One of the other great things is living in New York City, and being in close proximity to the greatest metal bar in the United States, and even in the world. When I lived in Orlando there were no bars that had fuckin' Amon Amarth on the jukebox, and it's cool to be able to come to a bar and listen to some Amon Amarth, some King Diamond, some Slayer, some Iron Maiden, Rush subdivisions, you know, all my favorite music. And the favorite people too. I love hangin' out with metalheads and that's my favorite thing about coming to Duff's.
JD: Thanks Man, thanks. You know it's been cool to follow your career in terms of just meeting you and seeing how ya went for the gig with Howard, and everything worked out fuckin' great...and you've been in New York City now ...where do you see yourself a few years down the road? Howard's been talking about retiring for years ... Let's say Howard does decide to hang it up in a few years, do you have any plans?
RC: Well, as long Howard is on the radio, that's what I'll be doing because that's my dream job and I love working for Howard. It my favorite job I that could ever dream of, it's a blast. I still practice drums, 3 or 4 days out of the week. I practice at this school called the Drummers Collective in Manhattan, it's an amazing drumming school, and I practice there so I keep my chops up. I can't say what will happen, it's still a ways off, I mean Howard still has 3 years left on his contract. I still definitely want to work in some form or another in the entertainment business. One of my other goals is to work in movies, I'm huge fan of horror movies, and so my next goal is, if Howard retires, that's my dream. I want to work in horror movies, I want to be either a horror movie writer, actor, or director. I also, you know, I would love to drum in another band if I found another band that I loved, so I definitely have plans if something happens, but I hope Howard goes for another 20 years, I would love to have this job forever.
JD: Yeah, sure, of course. Now speaking of horror movies, and we've spoken about horror movies before, and you and I are both huge John Carpenter fans
RC: That's my dream, to work with John Carpenter is some form. Either write a movie for John Carpenter, to be in one of his movies, anything to do with one of his movies would be a dream come true for me.
JD: My favorite, probably my favorite horror movie of all time, is John Carpenter's remake of The Thing, and I think Halloween is your favorite of all time, yeah?
RC: John Carpenter's Halloween is my favorite movie of all time, my second is John Carpenter's the Thing, my third favorite is John Carpenter's The Fog, my fourth favorite is John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness, my fifth favorite is John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness, my sixth favorite is John Carpenter's Vampires, seventh favorite is John Carpenter's They Live ... like all of his movies, the guy is a genius as far as I'm concerned.
JD: How about Escape from New York?
RC: Escape from New York, right there in the top ten, Assault on Precinct 13, right up there. All his movies are brilliant.
JD: Did you go see the remake of Halloween?
RC: I saw the remake of Halloween and ... I thought it shouldn't have been a remake as much of as it should have stuck with the prequel aspect, because... I'm such a huge fan of the original, it bugged me seeing the original redone. For the hard-core fans, Rob Zombie would have done a lot better just doing a prequel, because it's hard to fit a classic, legendary movie in 45 minutes. Which, you know, after 45 minutes, he started redoing the original. But I definitely commend the guy, I mean, you can tell he's a true horror fan. Even though I wasn't a huge fan of the Halloween remake, it's so cool that a metalhead is making horror movies, it's cool.
JD: Let's talk a bit about music. Let's discuss your band in Florida.
RC: There's a band in Florida that I played in called Burning Inside, and I played in this band actually since around 1994 or 1995. And, it's death metal band, really technical, and really melodic. And it's 2 albums, on small labels, and we decided our third album, we would just release it ourselves. So it's available on all the download sites, it's just an EP, it's just 6 six songs, but I'm really proud of it. It's really melodic, really heavy death metal, so if you're into that kinda of thing you should definitely check it out.
JD: Sounds good, I'm gonna check it out. How's the stand up going? I know you've been out gigging with the Killers of Comedy ... obviously you're used to being up on stage, how do you feel that's progressing for you?
RC: The stand up comedy is going really good. It is really like being in band, but instead of being back behind the drums, I'm right out in front of the crowd. And it's a little more nerve wracking, I get really nervous, but it's very gratifying. If you can make 500 people laugh, it's one of the biggest rushes ever. It's really like a high to make that many people laugh. It's a lot of fun. I'm still very new at it, but I love it and it's something I really enjoy doing, it's almost like being on tour again. It's a blast. I love doing stand up comedy and I'm a big admirer of the classic stand ups like Richard Pryor, Sam Kinison, George Carlin, and I've always been a huge fan of comedy. Steven Martin, I've been a fan of his since the seventies, since I was a little kid. So it's also one of my dreams to go up and do stand up comedy in front of a big crowd, and I love doing it.
JD: Now of course, we have to talk about the fuckin' phony phone calls, which, I mean, I'm a big Stern fan for a lot of reasons ... but to me, one the fuckin' funniest things, you know, crash your car kind of funny, are the phone calls. It's like you've taken the phony phone call thing to an art form with the computers and voice samples. If you had to pick one phone call that you've done on the Stern show, the one that cracks you up the most, which one would it be?
RC: It would probably be shoo shoo retarded flu, when me and Sal called Gary the retard and I was the flu. That was a lot of fun because I got to do a voice, a silly voice, and I love Gary the retard, he's one of my favorite people on the Stern show. And they actually animated that call and it turned out really funny, and I just love that call.
JD: For me, probably I would say the one where you're doubling and tripling your voice, with the Kenmore dryer and all that shit, that one took it to another level.
RC: I get more emails about that call than any other call. People seem to love that call. You know when I did it, I didn't think anything of it, I thought it was funny, and it was a fun call to do, but I would have never thought that that was the one that stuck in people's minds, and it's really cool.
JD: That one, and something that's probably underrated in my opinion, when you strung together all the Ed McMahon bits together " I was at a party in Hollywood one time ..."
RC: ( Laughs) Yep, I love those. I'm so proud of the Ed McMahon stuff because it takes a lot of time to do that stuff. " That was one rough, rough night"
JD: Let's go back to the music for a bit. Where did you initially meet Chuck Shuldiner?
RC: I met Chuck at a bookstore in Altamont Springs in Florida, and I just told him I was a huge fan, me and the guitar player from Burning Inside we were both there and we were freakin' out, we were like "Wow, there's Chuck." And he was the nicest guy in the world. He stopped and talked to us for a long time. And then after that, my goal was, after I moved to Florida, I moved there with Burning Inside, but I always had this dream in the back of my head, wow, it would be so cool to jam with Chuck and play in the band Death. And, through some good friends of mine, Rick Rinstrum, and BC Richards who played in a band called Wicked Ways in Orlando Florida, they introduced me to Chuck ... When Chuck was looking for a drummer, and I auditioned. Luckily I had been practicing Death songs for about 6 or 7 years at the time because I was a huge Death fan. So, Chuck hired me for the band and that was like a dream come true because Death was my favorite, favorite metal band, and Chuck was a super nice guy, we had so many great times on tour... And it's an honor to have played with my favorite metal band.
JD: That's awesome. You've basically captured lightning a bottle twice, with the Death gig, and now with the Howard Stern show
RC: Yeah, I've been very lucky to be able to do two things that I've always dreamed about, and, you know, as common, and as cheesy the phrase is, dreams do come true. You never know, if you just try at something, and believe in it, it could happen.