By Ross Barkan
Soft rock superstar Roger Love, lead bassist and vocalist of the band Compassion, has been making best-selling albums since his riotous 1969 debut, Love Handles You. Millions around the world adore Love for his slippery vocals, sweet bass line, and flair for the dramatic. Richard Nixon, an admirer of the emerging 70’s soft rock movement, called Love “a herald of avant-garde faggotry.” Now, after years of singing, touring, loving, and everything in between, Love agreed to an exclusive interview with the Stony Brook Press to discuss his latest release, Comet Urethra, and the lessons learned along the way.
Stony Brook Press: Mr. Love, it’s a pleasure to finally be interviewing you. We’re huge fans of your revolutionary work.
Roger Love: Thanks Jack, great to be here.
Stony Brook Press: My name is Ross. Anyway, fans and music critics continue to be awed by Compassion’s prolific nature. The band has released thirty-five albums—
RL: Thirty-six actually, Mitchell. Our actual first album Kisses for Jesus was limited to nine copies due to violations of the puritanical 1970’s obscenity laws. Apparently you can’t sing about Hiroshima child porn. Color me tittified, Mitch.
SBP: Ok, my name is Ross and I don’t know what that expression means.
RL: You had to live in 1974. You had to live.
SBP: Fans always wonder why the lineup of Compassion is so unconventional. You were the first and only band that used six bassists. What was the reason for such a decision?
RL: Music lacks bass, Lionel. Bass lines are essential to everything. The original lineup of Compassion had one bassist and two guitarists. After our first practice I fired both guitarists because I realized our bass line wasn’t sick enough. Soft rock is nothing but sick bass line after sick bass line. The first two albums had four bassists and finally I learned the bass, upping the number to five. Our sixth bassist, Eddie Guitar, joined the band and the rest is history. Beautiful history.
SBP: So you don’t think six bassists is at all excessive?
RL: (laughs) I’m going to fuck your mom.
SBP: That’s wonderful. What about your public feud with sixth bassist Eddie Guitar? From the early to mid 80’s you weren’t on speaking terms.
RL: We still aren’t. Eddie and I have been touring together for over thirty years and I still don’t know what the man’s voice sounds like. One time he tried to write a song for our seventeenth album, Vagina Railroad, so I just made the entire album a compilation of my songs from other albums in order to prevent that cunt Eddie Guitar from writing a song. He never will write or sing anything as long as Compassion is active.
SBP: Why? What the public still doesn’t understand is why you loathe Eddie Guitar.
RL: In 1976, we were playing a show in Boise and he reached into my pretzel jar. My pretzel jar. I had it marked “Roger Love” in day-glo marker. I’m the best. No one touches my pretzels.
SBP: Fans and music critics still regard Love Microchip, your third album, as Compassion’s masterpiece. Why do you think the album appeals to so many listeners?
RL: Wa-wa pedal. That’s all. In 1977, no one had heard of the wa-wa or even electric guitar. No one was going electric, Michael. Remember when Dylan played Lollapalooza in 1969 and freaked everyone out by playing “Paperback Writer” with an electric accordion? The world couldn’t take it. Love Microchip had all the electro-hits. I still listen to it twelve times a day. Twelve exactly. On the thirteenth play I grow bored. “Baby Baby (Doll I need you) Baby Baby Baby” is still my favorite. No one thought to sample a fucking tractor but I did.
SBP: What’s really impressive is that you anticipated the invention of the microchip.
RL: Technically untrue, Brett. Technically untrue. Though I did in fact anticipate the invention of the microchip in my best-selling poetry collection, the story behind love microchip lies in a tryst I had one Saturday night with an African. African female to be precise. We were eating cookies, soft-baked chocolate chip my absolute favorite, and one chip came dislodged during coitus. The chip was perched upon her dark, cocoa, aphotic nipple. Perched perilously there for me to eat. And I did. I thought “this chip is small.” Micro is small. I made love. Voi-fucking-la.
SBP: Brian Eno called Love Microchip the work of a “gay, furious genius.” Was this offensive to you or did you like being called a “gay genius?”
RL: I don’t understand.
SBP: Well, do you want to be indentified as a gay man?
RL: No, of course not, the gays are revolting. I hope they’re never allowed to vote. The entire misrepresentation of my blatant, flaming heterosexuality came from the time I made out with a Paul McCartney look-alike in a Milwaukee Marriot back in ’75. I saw Paul in the lobby and I waved. I don’t personally like the Beatles or whatever they’re called these days. They aren’t soft enough for me. But I admire Paul for the way he wears light blue suits. No one pulled off the light blue suit like Paul. I invite him up to my room and we have a drink. I became suspicious because Paul had an Austrian accent and not an English one. To determine if it was the real Paul, I did a lip inspection. Common thing really, everyone knows lips have unique prints. After our lips touched, I knew it wasn’t Paul. I called room service and had him thrown off the balcony.
SBP: Good story. So what about your newest album Comet Urethra? What can the music world expect?
RL: It will be our twenty-sixth compilation album. That bastard Eddie Guitar wanted to write a song so I had to do what’s best. The man is as talented as AIDS. There will be remastered versions of our hits “Drench My Pie” and “Make Love (To Everything Inside of Me).” Our controversial, Kwanzaa-themed love ballad “Chocolate Teddy” will also be featured on the album with guest sample vocals by Elton John.
SBP: Sample vocals?
RL: We play the entirety of “Honky Cat” and have extra horns in the background. It’s good stuff.
SBP: So once again the fans of Compassion will not be given original songs?
RL: The fans of Compassion are leeches. They don’t understand what it’s like to suffer. Do you know what it’s like to be a tortured soft rock genius, Reggie? Everything I hear is never soft enough. Even my own music, the greatest of all, is never soft enough to be soft rock in its purest form. It is the cross I bear. Like Lakatwa, the Finnish god of icebergs, I am a crying sun, alone, heaving the erection of a golden falcon. No one will ever know. It’s never soft enough. Never.
SBP: What do you think of the rock ‘n roll scene today?
RL: Dreadful. I tried listening to that band Radioheater or whatever they’re called last week. Bunch of Swiss fags, I think. They would be better if they stopped the whole electronica and playing guitar thing and just didn’t make noise. I met their lead noise-maker, Timmy Yorke, and he just struck me as a human bananafish. You know the old saying, “You can’t tickle an angel.”
SBP: No, I don’t. What’s next for Compassion? Do you plan on launching another international tour?
RL: We’re playing Andorra fourteen times then heading home. Europe smells, Chuck. I can’t stand the Swedes, the Slavs, the Micks, the French and the dark ones. None of them. I honestly plan to write another album within the confines of my mansion and launch all of the vinyls into the sun. Catharsis.
SBP: You’re insane.
RL: Kiss me.
RL: It was worth a shot.