So that reckless hedonism – the whole sex, drugs and rock’n’roll thing – made you want to do this? It can’t have been the money…
"I mean, none of the bands that I really like sunk my teeth into – like T.S.O.L., the Circle Jerks, the Adolescents and Black Flag, had money. When Social Distortion came to my house, they were literally starving – that’s why they ate all the food. Those bands were playing clubs in front of 100, maybe 150 people, back then. It wasn’t like the scene that kind of came out of it later on in life, when Goldfinger really started – that Green Day, Offspring era, when those bands were playing in front of 10 or 20,000 people. It wasn’t like that back in the ’80s. It was very do-it-yourself. Like, I had to make Liberty spikes in my hair with my mom’s gelatin and egg whites, and I had to make my own T-shirts by drawing with a Sharpie, and I had to get a Sid chain from using a dog collar. There wasn’t any Hot Topic or any kind of way to buy punk rock clothes back then, so you had to make your own.
"I think the appeal to me was more of the outsider perspective, being that my father was a nuclear physicist. He built the fuel to put the rocket on the moon and he’s still the smartest man I’ve ever met. And because I failed at school, and I was kicked out of high school, I felt like I didn’t belong in my house. I was kind of excommunicated from the church once I shaved my head. And the cops never really liked me because I was always stealing my parents’ car. I became a derelict pretty quickly when I started doing drugs and drinking. We would sneak out at night and break into the community centre and rob people’s houses for all their alcohol and jewellery, and when my friends’ parents would go out of town, we would just steal everything from their parents’ room, and trade it for cocaine."
Was that behaviour a reaction to being what your parents maybe considered a failure?
"Partially. My dad told me I would never make it in the music business, that I wasn’t good enough to succeed. He had hopes of me becoming an engineer like he was. That’s why he wanted me to go to school – he just couldn’t imagine a life doing that. It’s a very different era now than it was back then. In the ’80s, no-one was making money playing punk rock, so it’s not like I could fault my dad for trying to protect his kid.
"The first time that I ever smoked weed, I felt like I just fit in with my friends. And the sense of warmth and community that I felt when I was drinking with my friends when we were driving drunk on the streets and doing stupid shit. We used to go to fucking parties at whoever’s parents were out of town, and I would just go find a fish tank and like, eat a goldfish. I remember one party where this little 10-year-old kid started crying and screaming, ‘You ate my fish!’ and I felt so fucking terrible. But we were just fucking idiots doing stupid shit. Obviously, later in life, I became an animal rights activist, and I still feel bad for the little goldfish that I ate."