Art Holmes meets Lonn Friend

Why do you love music? Asks our young hero scribe, William Miller, in ‘Almost Famous’ or as I like to call it ‘Untitled’ cause that’s really the true version to watch.

This is the first question I pose to Mr. Friend for the interview I conducted with him in August of 2011. This was not actually the first time I met Mr. Friend in person. No, the first time I met Lonn Friend was the second day I had arrived in the land with the big fancy sign hung over in glorious fashion.

This came about because I’ve been a fan of Lonn’s since he started doing his ‘Friend at Large’ segment in 1991 I believe it was.

This was a segment featured on the ‘Head Bangers Ball’ a show I had been watching religiously since 1987. Before ‘Head Bangers Ball’ MTV would have shows dedicated to metal and hard rock. Dee Snider hosted one I think maybe once a month? That I loved and they would have a daily 30 minute block of hard rock vids during the lunch hour so my summer breaks from grade school would be consumed with pretty much Inspector Gadget, Spider-man, and that metal block in the afternoon.

Now let’s go back even further to the birth of MTV in ’81. This is where my soul’s passion for music really started to form. Whether it be

The Buggles,

The Police,
and then evolving into Motley Crue’s Looks That Kill,

 And of course Michael Jackson’s Thriller Album

So beginning at the age of six this was basically my musical foundation. I was also blessed to have a sister that is 12 years older than me so I got a great history lesson in seventies rock ‘n’ roll so there’s certain songs such as Joe Walsh’s Life’s Been Good that takes me back to being a four year old and not really enjoying life so much.
My home environment was how one might say a tad broken, divorce, re-marriage, sister moving out after she graduated high school, a tormentor of a step-brother, so music was the escape for me. Especially during those horrid years of ’82 to ’84. Things got so bad for me I begged my father to let me live with my mother and my step mother basically told father that it’s either he goes or I go. I was basically the demon child and cause of all the problems in the household. And by some miracle I was able to move to Belvidere, Illinois from Milton, Wisconsin in the summer of ’84.

And this is where my tastes in music really blossomed or as my sister would probably think descended into santanism. She was just starting to find the republican jesus around this time and I was just starting to get into Twisted Sister, Iron Maiden, Dio, Judas Priest,

and god forbid Black Sabbath and the Prince of Darkness Ozzy Osbourne. Which was pretty much due to that knock out performance they did at Live Aid

But as far as being one of the most well behaved children on the planet and being a stellar angel to the best of my ability for a 9 year old I was definately an honors society member of that league.

I won that damn sunshine gram award in the third grade twice in the same week pretty much forever putting me in the uncool league of outcasts. And of course I sucked at sports and got picked last for everything. But enough of this tangent, back to the music.

I was very fortunate when I moved to Belvidere to be living across the street from my cousins who were a good 10 years older than me. My mother had me when she was 36 so basically I was the same age as my second cousins across the street, but my first cousins were amazing. They had the movie poster for Apocalypse Now hanging up which I was always mesmerized by

as far as letting me watch anything I wanted and they were watching things like ‘A Clockwork Orange’

The Wild Life

Fright Night

The Warriors

 Maximum Overdrive

Repo Man

Return of the Living Dead
and MTV was on all the time 
so as far as an education in Music and Film 
I was getting an excellent education at 10 years old.
At 10 I transitioned from toys to music cassettes as my preferred luxury item of the week.
My first cassette I ever owned I bought with my 10th birthday money.
It was World Wide Live by the Scorpions

and I had it constant rotation,

and then Live After Death came out by Iron Maiden and that it was it for me.

Almost 30 years later and Iron Maiden is still my all time favorite band.
But if I ever I want to transport myself back to 1985/86 three videos that do it for me are

Ratt’s Your in Love, Motley Crue’s Home Sweet Home and Ozzy’s Shot in the Dark.

I also specifically remember getting Master of Puppets the week it came out.

They were profiled on Dee Sniders MTV show and thinking how cool they were for going on stage in their street clothes and just being themselves and then getting teased at school for liking that satanist crap.

So 4 year later when the Black Album hit and everyone loved I absolutely hated it. It would take me about 10 years to realize what a master piece that album really is.

Onto 1987 and the beginnings of the Head Bangers Ball.

Every saturday night from 10 to 1 in the morning or was it 11 to 2 ? The greatest videos of all time would be on. Stand out videoes for me at this time were

Megadeth’s Anarchy in the U.K.

Dokken’s Dream Warriors from Nightmare III

and Love Kills from Nightmare IV

Once I realized Megadeth’s Anarchy was a cover I immediately seeked out the Sex Pistols album and actually found it at Kmart. Go figure that one?? And thought well that was interesting but it was the beginning of me finding punk rock and branching out into another similiar yet different genre of music.

Scoring a cassette tape from my mother almost every week for five years tends to add up. My collection was pretty impressive as far as real authentic metal as opposed to the Bon Jovi, Poison stuff. It was like if the girls went gaga for it I usually stayed away cause again like with sports it just wasn’t in the plan for me to be that IT guy in school. I guess the god person thing wanted me to bloom out at 35 freakin’ years old.

Back to 1991 and The Head Bangers Ball changes up it’s amazing format with the smashing trucks and the SOD music bumpers to kung fu stuff with this kind of elevator metal music which I never cared for and Riki Rachman was o.k.

But the segment that I really loved was ‘Friend at Large’ with Lonn Friend. This guy was sooo cool. It was like he was the coolest metal kid ever. Just sitting there in his room reviewing albums and he had the platform of MTV and he had access to all the bands and living this amazing life on Sunset Blvd. which is really well chronicled in Decline Part II.

Now Decline Part II is interesting cause it was not the first thing that I had seen or read about that portrayed the scene as it really is and the reality of it. No the first thing I ever read was actually a piece by thee Lonn Friend in Hustler Magazine. Now you may ask how does a 15 year old kid get a copy of Hustler Magazine. Well ask my second step father that one. Anywayz, I read this article and it blew my mind cause it was just brutal. And I read this before Lonn Friend started hosting his segment and then eventually I made the connection when I discovered RIP magazine in June of 1990,

 and that it was Flynt Publication so to me this just put Lonn Friend as the coolest person ever.

So up till I graduated high school in 1994 music really was my life. After high school, my musical states brached off into Sinatra and pretty much everything that wasn’t country or rap but especially country.


To lyric based for me and too depressing. I mean peaches christ people. Really??? You pay people to depress the crap out of you. I don’t get it and neither should you.

Fast forward to 2009 and I’m hardcore into my Facebook addiction and of course I remember Lonn Friend and how much of an impact he had on me in my formative years. Found him on the facebook, sent the request, and turns out he’s really good at the Facebook. Who knew?

So me being me I would comment on a lot of his posts and keep up to date with what he was doing now. He had written a book called ‘Life on Planet Rock’

about how he started in the industry up to losing himself as a cog in the machinery that was Arista records run by Clive Davis. And of course since I lived in the cheese wiz utopia the chances of scoring this book were somewhere around the outer reaches of Uranus (if you know what I mean).

But I was always fascinated by what thee Lonn Friends life must be like so I found it amazingly interesting that he’s not as metal as I had thought but a very spiritual person. And I was really starting to understand my own spiritual progression so I really felt like I had found a kindred spirit and to have this tiny yet significant for me repoir with him through the facebook really took that last year I lived and made living worthwhile.

So now its April of 2010 and my grandfather passes away leaving me five thousand dollars of an inheritance. I knew he was going to leave me something and told myself if he leaves me at least five thousand I’m moving to Los Angeles and low and behold that is exactly what he left me. So I got my big big monies and I was gone.

A week later I’m in Hollywood, Sunset Blvd, at the Sunset 8 hungover and went to the nearest internet console I could find and messaged Lonn about how to finally get a copy of his book and low and behold he said we could meet at Steve’s pizzeria place by capital records.

So that first meet and greet was pretty mindblowing and getting a signed copy of his book. Besides Al Gore he was the first celebrity (at least for me) that I met and the first person I ever met when I moved here. If that’s not a good sign I’m not sure what is???

15 months go by and I find myself in month 1 at The Los Angeles Recording School. Once I ran out of money and finally went to skid row to get help cause I ended really getting derailed that second half of 2010 my path for what I came here to do in the first place really went into full effect. I really wish I had been smarter and knew that I could have went to school here immediately in August of 2010 a good year before I started I would have had a year of the G.I. Bill  but old habits and old ways of thinking die really fucking hard.

So month 1 of the Recording School we are givin this assignment to find a celebrity that you’ve always to meet and seek them out for an interview and the film the process of trying to get the interview. Well my immediate thought was to interview Lonn Friend cause his credentials are so amazing and fit so well within the Recording School program and he was a very easy get. Did the interview and when I got to class our instructor said if you get a direct contact your basically being a lazy bastard so we did this instead.

But, I will always be grateful to Mr. Friend for allowing me to have this experience. So thank you Lonn Friend. Not many people in life can say they ever had a moment in their life that they got to sit down and have a one on one interview with one of their heroes and have a documented account of it.

Art Holmes


    I still want to do that follow up interview for ‘Sweet Demotion’ up at Griffith Observatory using that big fancy sign as a backdrop.

This is part 1 of 6  of my interview with Lonn Friend
be sure to check out more info in the description section

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