Posted on February 2, 2010
Tony Pierce Says Don’t Drink The Kool-Aid
Honest to a fault and too kind to be cruel, Tony Pierce is a rare gem. As the sole author of the long-running busblog and chief blog editor for the LA Times, never a dull word is uttered from his mouth. That is, of course, if you manage to catch him long enough for a conversation.
Photo: miss604 on Flickr
Throughout our friendship, Tony has interviewed yours truly on two occasions and has even orchestrated an interview between myself and Taylor Hanson (yup, the “Mmmbop…” guy). Never once has he sat down to be interrogated by me – until last night.
Keira-Anne: Good evening. Let’s start by getting your name out of the way.
Tony Pierce: My name is Andy Warhol and I’m here to sell you soup. Actually, paintings of soup cans.
KA: Are you selling anything else, Andy Warhol?
TP: Nope, just soup. I also go by a more common name of Tony Pierce
KA: Did your mama name you Anthony?
TP: She did! Anthony Hugh Pierce III.
KA: That’s a rather distinguished name. Why did you drop the a, n, h and y?
TP: There was a tax on consonants where I grew up. So repressive!
KA: That’s rather unfortunate. I hope it didn’t break your mama’s heart. Moving on… Did you have a favourite pair of pajamas when you were a little boy? Maybe some flannels with a bunch of Cs for the Cubs all over them?
TP: Hmmmm that was so very long ago. I’m sure I did, I just cant recall that far back.
KA: Were the Cubs even in existence in the ’50s?
TP: Yes, they were just figuring out how to successfully lose for a living. Their last world series win was in 1908, so by the ’50s they were almost in stride.
KA: That’s appalling. Let’s talk about sports later on. When did you make the move from Chicago to Los Angeles?
TP: I moved here the day after my high school graduation. I was 17.
KA: I like that you’re not getting any more specific than that. You were so young, so fresh and so impressionable. Were you frightened on your first day in LA?
TP: Indeed. I had gone from kindergarten all the way to graduating high school in Illinois. I knew everyone, so moving here not knowing one soul was weird, but I was up for it. I mean, I knew what family I had out here, but no one my own age.
KA: Can you tell me what your first great memory of LA was? You know… that pinnacle moment where you realized you made the right decision.
TP: There’s this free weekly newspaper out here called the LA Weekly and they list all the bands that are gonna play and where all the movies are. Even though I didn’t like to dance, I figured I should go to a dance club to meet girls.
KA: That’s never a bad idea.
TP: So the Weekly said I should try this one club because it was a mix between the bar in Star Wars and the wildest orgies in ancient Rome. LITTLE DID I KNOW that meant it was a gay and lesbian club.
KA: They didn’t specify that in the small print?
TP: NOT AT ALL. So I stood stunned as I saw two super hot girls make out and I was all “I’m in HEAV-“ and this dude tapped me on the shoulder.
KA: Did your stomach drop at that moment?
TP: Looks like probably exactly like how your dad looks and said “wanna dance?”
KA: I guess strapping, young black men from the mid-west were his thing. Did you oblige him?
TP: No, I ran out of the club and sped out of the garage as fast as I could with a huge WELCOME TO LA feeling in my heart.
KA: Have you been back to the Star Wars Orgy since?
TP: When I told my friends about it, they were all, “a gay and lesbian dance club? Hell, we woulda’ burned down such a place in IL“. And interestingly enough this place, The Odyssey, was burned down a few months after I went there.
KA: There’s some culture shock for you… There’s a gay club in Vancouver called the Odyssey as well.
TP: See, maybe that’s a thing that we straights don’t know.
KA: Perhaps it’s a chain. What’s the one thing about LA you wouldn’t trade for anything else?
TP: People talk about the pretty girls, but you’re proof that there are gorgeouser women in Canada.
KA: Is it all talk?
TP: No, there are definitely pretty girls here.
KA: You make me blush and I’m not even the one being interviewed.
TP: Ha! Some say they like bumping into celebrities in LA, but we are now letting Canada steal our movie and TV biz.
KA: It’s true. BC is kind of a Mecca for that stuff now.
TP: So I would say it’s the weather. There’s nothing better than wearing shorts in January.
KA: How about not wearing shorts in January?
TP: Bottomlessness is frowned upon in the lower 48, but I’m glad that Canada is setting trends.
KA: What about Hawaii and Alaska?
TP: Palinville and Punanyland? They don’t really count.
KA: Fair enough. So tell me… what is so special about Los Angeles that they deserve not one but two NBA teams?
TP: LA deserves two teams of all great sports. The fact that we have zero football teams is just LA being funny.
KA: If that’s your logic, then the same should be said about Vancouver. What happened to the Raiders?
TP: The Raiders were here for 15-16 years, something like that. And Uncle Al… all he wanted was a kickass stadium – one with luxury boxes. LA promised they’d hook him up.
KA: Hold on… Uncle Al?
TP: Al Davis. The one and only owner of the Raiders.
KA: Okay. Keep going.
TP: N.W.A even has a line about him: “And quit giving juice to the Raiders / Cuz Al Davis / Never paid us“.
KA: Sounds hostile.
TP: The Raiders are silver and black because Al is color blind and he wanted the fans to see things like he does. He’s the original gangsta, which is why N.W.A loved him.
KA: Tony, you teach me something new every time I talk to you.
TP: Hahaha – menial trivia I’m sure.
KA: Someone somewhere will be interested in that fact. I, for one, am. That said, Lakers or Clippers?
TP: I am not a Kobe fan. But it’s hard not to be a Phil Jackson fan. I really wish the Clip Show was more competitive, because I would go to more of their games if they were.
KA: Nice lead-in. Kobe Bryant replaced Jerry West as the Lakers’ all-time leading scorer in tonight’s game. Does that do anything for you?
TP: Not really. Kobe began playing for the Lakers right outta high school. He’s almost always had great players around him. Jerry West spent four years in college.
KA: It’s okay. The Lakers lost to the Grizzlies tonight anyway. Point proven.
TP: See? Here’s another weird trivia bit that you may not be aware of but maybe you are.
KA: Do tell…
TP: The NBA logo is Jerry West.
KA: Reeeeeeally? Kobe’s credibility between you and I just keeps getting weaker and weaker.
KA: That is nothing short of rad.
TP: I know!
KA: I can’t go any further without complimenting you on your spelling and grammar. I’m a bit particular about it myself – obsessive almost. How important is spelling, grammar and sentence structure in blogging?
TP: it all depends on what kind of blogging you’re doing.
KA: Is it important to you?
TP: I’m trying to do something arty. When it’s at its best, which it hasn’t been in a while, it should look drunken and wasted and nutz.
KA: Blogging ebbs and flows.
TP: Life ebbs and flows and you can’t always be the artiste you wanna be.
KA: Do people still use a “z” to pluralize?
TP: It all depends on what I’m trying to evoke.
KA: I bet you say “zee”.
TP: I think the Lord has blessed us with a large pallet in which to paint from, so we should use everything – but in the right way.
KA: Speaking of, if you weren’t a hot shot with the LA Times and the sole author or the busblog, do you think you would have instead been a man of the cloth? You make this too easy for me. It’s like you’re reading my mind.
TP: If only I could read minds, I would use that power for the hottest evil.
KA: More about that in a moment…
TP: Which is probably why they wouldn’t allow me in any monastery.
KA: True. But you’re pretty tight with the G-man, no?
TP: I am a devout believer, yes.
KA: That makes two of us. I’m diggin’ Isaiah these days.
TP: I just finished first Kings, so I’m still thinking a lot about David. I will be on Isaiah soon!
“I read The Bible once. You know God and Jesus and all them apostles? They were all fishermen, just like me. Yeah, straight to heaven for Mick Dundee. Yep, me and God, we’d be mates.”
Is it that simple?
TP: Let’s hope! They say you go by the Grace of God, so who knows.
KA: And probably by the sweat of your brow.
TP: If I get in, it will be after much deliberation. Unlike you, I wont get a unanimous vote.
KA: I don’t know – I think things are a bit more cut and dry than that… especially in real life. Which merit do you think would earn me that unanimous vote?
TP: A) You’re a virgin;
B) you’re Canadian;
C) your blog design is gorge;
D) you love animals;
E) you love nature;
F) when you touch yourself you think of angels and butterflies;
G) you are super sweet to even those you don’t have to be…
KA: I don’t think my ego can handle you getting all the way to zee, but that’s a good start.
KA: Remember when we hung out in Vancouver about 20 years ago?
TP: Best summer vacation I’ve ever had!
KA: What’s so repulsive about this city that’s kept you away since? Does Vancouver smell funny?
TP: Vancouver smells so good that even its worst aroma is Hells Angels selling weed.
KA: I don’t think they sell it. I think they have other people that sell it for them.
TP: Whatevs, that whole block smelled awesome.
KA: If you come back to Vancouver this summer, we’ll go to the arcade again. And I’ll even let you borrow Jordy to go for a walk and pick up chicks.
TP: The reason I have never come back goes along those lines… I really got a massive crush on Foxy.
KA: I know you did.
TP: And it would be hard for me to not stalk her if I returned. Which isn’t the way you wanna roll when in Canada.
KA: Would she be upset if you stalked her?
TP: It’s hard to tell because she plays it so cool. She hardly ever writes me back when I write her, so who knows if she just doesn’t wanna talk or if she hates me.
KA: And you definitely don’t want to be a needy chick to Foxy.
TP: I don’t wanna be needy to anyone. I don’t mind chasing, but I don’t wanna be annoying.
KA: That’s a good balance. But the offer stands. My dog is a total magnet. You’d have hot chicks flocking to you like bees to honey.
TP: I’ve always had great luck up there, so I wouldn’t doubt it!
KA: Multiple luck from what I’ve heard.
TP: I think the girls are just tired of naturally handsome locals.
KA: “Naturally handsome locals” isn’t really an accurate blanket statement. Do you still have this shirt?
TP: Indeed I do! I’m thinking about wearing it to this really cool Super Bowl party on Sunday. It’s the cheesiest shirt I own, so why not?
KA: Who’s playing in the Super Bowl this year? New Orleans and…
TP: Peyton Manning’s Indy Colts.
KA: Are you placing any bets?
TP: I’m not, but if I was, I’d bet on the Colts – they have the experience. But my heart is with the Saints.
KA: Is that just your hunch talking?
TP: No. I just feel for the city of New Orleans and I know how much more important this would be for them. Indy has… oh so much but New Orleans could use a break.
KA: You know, I was thinking the same thing tonight as I watched the Suns in NOLA. Plus they’re down their star point-guard. A win would’ve been great for the city’s morale.
TP: Trust me, I am in 7 NBA fantasy leagues and I drafted that point guard #1 in three of those leagues. I know all too well about that sitch.
KA: Does that mean you’re out money?
TP: No I never play fantasy for $. People cheat enough as it is, but if it was for $ I’m afraid they’d totally cheat worse, and block me from making incredible trades. Today, for example, I pulled the trigger on a trade you may appreciate.
KA: Are you afraid of becoming addicted to gambling?
TP: The only thing I’m addicted to is blogging.
KA: That’s safe.
TP: Is it?
KA: You traded Amar’e Stoudemire, didn’t you?
TP: Close, Derrick Rose for the injured Carlos Boozer.
KA: That really doesn’t impact me either way.
TP: Me, I think it’s a brilliant trade.
KA: Plus, we got whipped by Utah last week.
TP: See, they’re really good. Some would say Boozer is their hidden reason.
KA: It’s possible, sure.
TP: But in fantasy he gives points, boards, blocks. Rose can only score and dole out a few assists.
KA: Fantasy sports, in my opinion, is really likened to WOW.
TP: Oh def – except with real people.
KA: Doesn’t it make you feel a little bit silly?
TP: No because it keeps me aware of EVERY team in the NBA, even the players on the bench.
KA: So there is some value to it.
TP: Tons. When I go to a game, I know every detail.
KA: Tony, we’ve been chatting for 53 minutes now. What kind of a feeling are you having about how we’re rolling?
TP: Chatting with you, Keira-Anne, is like dancing in the clouds with Gene Kelly.
KA: Would you be Gene Kelly?
TP: Wait, that’s a dude?!?! Aw crap.
TP: Ok, his girlfriend.
KA: You’d be his girlfriend?
TP: Chatting with you, Keira-Anne, is like being Spider-man upside-down kissing Kirsten Dunst in the rain while Sam Raimi directs.
KA: That was a hot kiss – very lippy. Have you ever kissed a girl like that?
TP: Not when it was raining.
KA: Were you wearing spandex?
TP: Just under my suit.
KA: So you were more like Superman…
TP: The only way I’m like Superman is that I work at a newspaper by day.
KA: And your name is cooler than “Clark”.
TP: Tony Pierce is a pretty good name, I must say.
KA: It’s a great name. May I compliment you for a moment?
TP: Hmmmm… fine.
KA: Woah, woah, woah… why the defense? (Do you like that I spelled it the American way just for you?)
TP: How are you supposed to spell it?
KA: In Canada we spell it as “defence”. Safari tells me that I just spelled it wrong.
KA: For the record, I believe our French Canadian-influenced spelling looks odd. We also spell “center” as “centre”.
TP: Yes, I like that a lot.
KA: Anyway, enough deviation. I would just like to say that I enjoy speaking with you because you are one of those extremely rare people that expects authenticity from others while seemingly accepting them for who they are. And that, my friend, makes my heart happy.
TP: Awwww thank you! I don’t expect people to be authentic, but I’m very happy when they trust me enough to cut the act.
KA: Perhaps that’s a better way of articulating what I meant. You have a knack for encouraging people to cut the crap.
TP: I’m glad you feel comfortable with me. For sure!
KA: So as our time together draws to an end, is there anything that you want/need/wish the great people of Canada to know about you? Or do you simply want to bid us adieu and goodnight with a reminder of how warm it is in Cali right now?
TP: It’s not super warm here this minute.
KA: I bet it’s warmer than Vancouver.
TP: I have my little space heater on.
KA: I have my heater on in my little space.
TP: And no, I don’t want to try to convince Canada of anything about me. I trust that they will judge me accurately. I guess the only thing for me to say to the good people up there is “Thank You”. Mostly for visiting my site as much as they do and for always being welcoming and loving when I visit.
KA: Are the majority of your readers from Canada?
TP: At the bottom of my blog on the left rail it shows the countries. Right now it’s late, so almost everyone is from the West Coast of the USA. But during the day, when it matters, it’s about half Canada and half the USA.
KA: Well, whatever we may lack in numbers, we make up for in love and pixie dust for the busblog.
TP: Hooray!!! I do have one favor of you.
KA: Anything for you, Anthony Hugh Pierce III.
TP: I would like to ask you about your love life since we have been tracking it on the busblog. So table’s turned! Ms. Keira-Anne, tell us that you’re not still a single woman. Tell us that some smart man has swooped you up.
KA: Is the interviewee allowed to ask the interviewer questions?
TP: I believe you just said, “Anything for you, Anthony Hugh Pierce III“.
KA: This is true. I can’t deny what I said or eat my words.
TP: But since you are a gentlewoman I will allow you one no comment.
KA: I am still a single woman and no smart man has swooped me up.
TP: Now how again is this at all possible?? You walk to work?
KA: I do walk to work each day.
TP: And no guys smile as you pass by?
KA: Sometimes the construction workers. But more no than yes.
TP: When you go out with your friends to eat, or better, to drink, no guys send over a nice drink and wave?
KA: I had a guy buy me drinks on my birthday. Then I found out he was engaged. Who does that? Needless to say, I bolted.
TP: Dick! Do you have any single lady BFFs?
KA: Sure do. Well, single ladies. No BFFs for this girl.
TP: Am I to believe that you and your single ladies don’t go out 1-2 times a month to prowl the bars and/or bowling alleys searching for testosterone?
KA: You know that’s not how I roll.
TP: It’s just walking that catwalk. Letting the fools know what they lucked into.
KA: I do that every time I leave my apartment… 😉
TP: Fair enough. You’ve answered more than one question, so thank you. One follow-up though, totally unrelated.
KA: Go for it.
TP: Power Windows… Sorry, Tinted Windows
KA: What about tinted power windows?
TP: Your boy leading that super group.
KA: Aww yeah Taylor Hanson. It didn’t really take off as much as it could have. But the thing is, he gels best with his brothers. Anything else he tries, in my opinion, will pale in comparison.
TP: Glad to hear it. I was afraid you’d drank the Kool-Aid.
KA: Never. Unless it’s lime.
TP: Awesome. Well thanks for the interview.
KA: No, no… thank you.