Posted on April 29, 2016
20 Questions with Tony Pierce
When Tony Pierce started the busblog in 2001, I’m not sure even he imagined the wild ride he was in for. Since moving to Los Angeles from his beloved hometown of Chicago, he has collaborated with some of the most prolific media outlets on the West Coast and worked hard to legitimize blogging. For many he’s a champion in the so-called art of blogging, and for others he’s an endless source of entertainment. Tony is passionate about what he does and has a knack for encouraging others to follow suit. He’s also a Cubs fan, uncle, taco connoisseur, music fan, Uber driver, Tweeter, celebrity interviewer, tour guide, music history encyclopedia, and – most importantly – his mother’s son. I am fortunate enough to call Tony a good friend. He churns out hundreds of posts per year but has managed to find the time to answer these 20 questions.
1. What are you really excited about these days?
My love, the Chicago Cubs, are destined to win the World Series this year after a drought of over 100 years. Two years ago we all saw that this was the year. Last year they over-performed and made it deeper into the playoffs than expected. And this year they have the best record in baseball despite losing their cosmic soul, a pudgy dude named Kyle. But all is good in the hood and they’re no-hitting people and shellacking teams by giant margins.
2. What was the last picture you took on your phone?
Yesterday I found myself near the beach in Santa Monica as the sun was setting. I was busy but I took five minutes to take a picture. Worth it.
3. Making yourself accessible through social media and blogging opens the door to admiration but also criticism. How do you handle criticism?
Not very well. In certain aspects I have a thick skin, but I’m also a sensitive poet and I want everyone to magically understand every syllable that I say and write even though I slur and misspell constantly. Even though some people are just assholes who hide behind the anonymity of the web to lash out from their own darkness. So sometimes I do battle. Sometimes I just let it in. Rarely do I let it slide. I feel that I can write better than haters so if you’re gonna come at me with a knife, imma make you say hello to my little friend.
4. What is your bottom line, number one, golden rule when it comes to blogging?
Tony and I, Vancouver, circa 2007. Photo: Rebecca Bollwitt on Flickr
5. Everyone has a spirit animal. What’s yours and why?
Paul Westerberg. Without Paul, Nirvana would have been Pearl Jam. Even though Paul couldn’t do half of the things Kurt did, he made it ok to be normal-punkrock instead of aggro-punkrock. Paul made it ok to just wear a flannel, which you see in the grunge scene. Paul made it ok for your best punk song to be slow and with acoustic guitar and piano. I know I am not nearly as talented as many around me or who are coming up, but I aspire to inspire others to be ok with who they are.
6. The Breakfast Club featured a rebel, a princess, a brainiac, an outcast, and a jock. Who were you in high school?
I was not the rebel or the princess. I was deemed gifted in grade school which I considered the same as having “special needs,” so I never did my work so they’d never call me that again. I played lots of sports except in my senior year when I joined the marching band. So, fortunately I was someone who even the beloved John Hughes coudn’t put in a box.
7. If I gave you $50,000 to start a business, what would you start?
I’d open the best Taqueria in Maui.
8. What’s your all-time favourite jam from the ‘80s or ‘90s?
Soul Asylum’s “James at 16.” It was the B-side of the “Standing on the Doorway” single. “Standing…” was the third (!) single the band released off their best album, Hang Time, so this was on, I believe, the 12″ single. Label-mates and fellow Minnesotans, The Replacements, were known for their covers and I think Soul Asylum would admit that this was in the vein of the Mats’ live show, but of course this is more planned out and practiced. Still it’s a glorious parade of Prince + The Velvets + The Godfathers(!) and even Terrence Trent D’Arby.
9. Blogging can ebb and flow for a lot of people. Where do you see your blog in 2021?
One day my blog will get me fired. 2021 sounds like about right.
10. If I was a highly-skilled bartender, what drink would you ask me to make for you right now?
I enjoy Long Island Ice Teas when I am at a bar.
11. It’s now 2:00 a.m. and I’ve made you half a dozen of those drinks. Where are you going for your greasy food fix?
If you made me six long island ice teas, food is probably not the first of my concerns. Naming the babies will be more pressing.
12. In Los Angeles, what’s the one restaurant that no one has heard of but everyone should eat at?
Dulan’s Soul Food on La Cienega and Century. Get the smothered chicken. Eat it in your car. Lick the grease off your diner’s fingers.
13. What’s the biggest misconception people have about you in real life?
That I don’t like them. I have so much love for so many people. My short list of assholes know who they are. The rest I love. Just because I don’t go out drinking with you or hang doesn’t mean anything. Deep down I am very shy. I am working on that through Uber, etc., but secretly I just want to hole up in a resort with a cheerleader and a huge TV and drink lemonade as she reads poems in translation to me.
14. If you could star as any character in the remake of any movie, which famous role would you reprise?
I’d like to see a remake of Gummo set in Isla Vista. I’d be some random riding old bicycles through the streets.
15. If you could learn a new skill, language, or hobby, what would it be?
I’d learn Spanish cuz girls who speak Spanish are hot and I think whispering something dirty in the ear of a girl in a foreign language as things are heating up will get that temperature up quick.
16. What are you most proud of?
The numbers at the LA Times were impressive, especially since I couldn’t hire or fire anyone. But what we all did at LAist, without paying anyone… I mean it was not being read by a lot of people and then slowly and gradually over a year it became a beast and the fact that it is still around today in an even bigger way with a bunch of people getting paid… that’s probably the best thing I’ve done because it involved teamwork, fun, and punk rock sensibilities.
17. Who is (or was) the single most influential person in your life?
My mom. I hear her when I write. I see her in the sunset and in pretty flowers and plants. I am her when I am at my best. When weed gets legal I’m gonna grow a strain thats not too crazy but lasts with you forever. It’ll be called the Mama Mia.
18. I’m throwing a dinner party next weekend. You’re invited and can bring three others with you (dead or alive). Who should I set the table for?
Quentin Tarantino, Barack Obama, and Sasha Grey.
19. What’s the one question you wish someone would ask you?
Here’s $200, drive me to Isla Vista.
20. Here’s $200, drive me to Isla Vista.
For you baby, it’s on me.
All other photos courtesy of Tony Pierce.
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