The Richard O'Brien Crusade

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On-Line Chat

Richard's On-line Chat at Virgin.net
Here is it, in it's entirety. I took the liberty of putting Richard's thoughts into full lines (he had a habit of typing about five words at a time) Richard proved himself once again to be quick and full of wit - see particularly his response to where babies come from.

Enjoy~ Q

Richard Hello, good evening and welcome.

Larry: Being a celebrity on the internet, especially as the creator of the movie with the largest number of web sites on the internet, do you ever look yourself up? Are you surprised at what you see?

Richard If I looked myself up, I probably would be surprised, but I'm a technophobe, bordering on a Luddite. And so this is my first journey to the Web. And so far, so good!

Claire: Of the many jobs that you did before you started your career in show-business, which was your least favourite?

Richard Cutting hair. I spent five years at it and it was a complete waste of my time

Vanessa: (aka "Q"): Could you possibly share a story from your days in theatre, before Rocky?

Richard No. Not really. Simply that the question is too broad, and as a consequence I wouldn't know where to begin!

Giles: Why now after nearly 25 years is rocky horror still so good to watch?

Richard Because it's a root fairy tale; most simple myths and legends have been told for at least 8-10000 years, one wy (sic) or another and Rocky is one of the oldest it's a re-telling of the Garden of Eden and also a re-working of Babes in the Wood and Hansel and Grettel.

Vanessa:: Why was Rocky made mute for the film?

Richard When we made the movie, there were very few actors who were working out and pumping a little iron. Peter Hinwood was decidedly good-looking, which meant we could shoot him in 360-degrees and the camera loved him from each and every angle. He was not an actor, and was indeed an exceptionally shy human being, and so, taking away the dialogue made it easier all round.

Riff: What did your family think of the songs you were writing for The Rocky Horror Show?

Richard Well, it was a fait accompli, and at the end of it they were quite impressed, with the exception of my mother who detested toucha toucha touch me.

Larry: A lot of actors keep things from their movies and productions. What do you have left from Rocky Horror?

Richard Can you be more specfic?

Vanessa:: You once commented that it was nice to see Vincent Price in the audience at the premeiere of RHS. Did he happen to comment on the show, or was his attendance the end of that story?

Richard No, he loved the show. I was about to see him in Los Angeles just before he shuffled off the mortal coil but unfortunately it didn't happen. But I've raised a glass to him on the odd occasion.

Chris: The message of Rocky was 'Don't Dream It, Be It'. How do you feel about that message now?

Richard It's an uplifiting and encouraging philosophy, because ideas are cheap it's the follow-through and commitment that counts.

Nathan: Will you please make an official comment about the filming of Revenge of the Old Queen? The Rocky Horror Picture Show newsgroup is being filled up with people saying that ROTOQ will be released in May.

Richard This is rubbish. The ROTOQ went to three draft screenplays and then Joe Roth, who was then the head of Fox moved on to Disney. And the incoming Big Cheese decided that he didn't want to pick up his predecessors' options and since then the years have rolled away.

Anita: I'd like to know how his new musical "Alive on Arrival" is going, and where will it premiere when it is finished?

Richard Exteremely slowly. Mind-numbingly slow. It's not exactly on the back-burner, but it has been put to one side in the last couple of weeks as I'm working on another project which has a deadline to adhere to. As soon as the second project is out of the way, I shall return to AoA, as I'm really enjoying the journey with it.

Arik: What is that other project?

Richard Would you like to f***ing know!

Vanessa:: Do you feel there is pressure to insert Rocky-like elements into AOA?

Richard No, not at all. In fact, I'm not quite sure what you mean by Rocky elements. But it will be its own story in its own time and its own space, and the only connection with Rocky is that it's the same left-hand grasping the pen.

PlanNine: Will you be working again with Patricia Quinn and Nell Campbell any time soon? You 3 make a great trio in RHPS and Shock Treatment!

Richard I'm attending a Rocky Horro (sic) party at Oxford University this weekend with Patricia Quinn, and we're spending the night together in a hotel down there. If Little Nell cares to join us, who knows what entertainments we might devise.

Larry: when is the next time you are going to be in the United States?

Richard Not until the end of the year. I have to go back to New Zealand some time later in the year, and I would make a point of stopping off, but that's about it for the moment.

James Norman: Are there any plans to release recordings of any of your other works? (i.e. Thunderrock, Kimi and Ritz, The Stripper) Who owns the rights to these?

Richard Various groups of people own varioius (sic) rights for various works. I'm always a member of the groups. But as to re-issuing any of the titles you've mentioned, there are no plans as yet - but who knows?

PlanNine: Dark City was such a fantastic movie, and you had such a fab role. How did it feel having a director write a role that was tailored especially for you?

Richard It was a wonderful experience. And the generousity of spirit had abounded on the set and the production in general was phenomenal. I was exceptionally lucky to meet Alex and am very grateful that he wrote the part for me.

Larry: How did you hurt your head while filming Flash Gordon?

Richard When Flash was locked into a cage and submerged into the swamp I came down with a key to let him in and as I went under the water and then ejected myself from that body of water, I hit my head on the cage-which appeared to be made of wood and vines and organic matter but was, in fact, made out of fibreglass and it slashed through my skin like a razor.

Marge: Of the many films you have appeared in, do you regret any?

Richard Yes. Shock Treatment.We should have gone with the first draft, which was monsters rising from the grave. As it was, we finished up with a muddy story and, apart from the sound-track, i was, and still am, disappointed with the result.

RiffKitten: How did you get the nickname 'Ritz'?

Richard I can't for the life of me remember. It started 1969. I don't remember who it was that started calling me it.

Chris: Did you ever fall off the set on Crystal Maze?

Richard No, I'm far too agile.

Frank: You obviously loved your time doing 'maze, so why did you leave, and do you regret your decision?

Richard There's no regrets. I felt that I'd gone as far as I could down that particular road. And I didn't want to become a parody of myself or limit my other choices.

PlanNine: Any insights into working with the Spice Girls? ;)

Richard Stay mono-syllabic.

PlanNine: You've said that you really enjoy religious art and say thay you're a religious man, have you ever felt the need to express that in any of your plays?

Richard I suppose, to some extent, I did, in an elliptical fashion, introduce spirituality into Disgracefully Yours.- a show in which I played the demon Mephistopheles.

DLP: Would you ever consider acting on television more? personally I think you would make a great Dr Who.

Richard I would have loved to have played Dr Who and I would like to act on television, as I think it's just as acceptible a medium as the theatre, or films. However, I do have an affinity for the world of make-believe and fantasy, and wouldn't really want to play a bank manager or a chartered accountant. I mean, there are limits.

Odjob18: what age did you start your acting career

Richard 26. I started in 1965, riding horses in movies. And then took myself to evening classes, and from there, to doing every job in the theatre except the wardrobe.

Vanessa:: The Ink Thief was a perfect mixture of being frightening and a bit silly for young children. What did you take on board for that role to perform it so well?

Richard The producers and the director. And I came out of my corner swinging.

Michelle Cummings: Do you believe in angels, or "friends on the other side"?

Richard Absolutely. I have felt the arm and love and comfort around me on many occasions.

Nation: Richard, What advice would you give someone who wanted to write their own musical (something like Rocky Horror)?

Richard I have no advice. The best advice I can give is for you to reach inside yourself and find those things which you have a personal relationship with and strike forward from that point. Good luck.

Vanessa:: Many songwriters have certain rituals they adhere to while writing. Do you have a set way of writing? Do you prefer collaborating, or working alone?

Richard I prefer working alone. I generally start with the lyrics, but with a phantom tune in my head. If Richard Hartley is to be involved, I then sing the songs to him, and he goes away and either (a) arranges them or (b) re-writes the tune completely. I leave it up to him. And, as yet, after 20 years or more of working together, we've never had any disagreement.

Screamager: Did you ever get annoyed with stupid contestants on The Crystal Maze??

Richard No. But I did become bemused by some of their eccentric behaviour when confronted with a problem which was hardly rocket science.

TheWalrus: Where do babies come from?

Richard Bloomingdales. Second floor.

PlanNine: Can you tell us a little more about "Absolute O'Brien", you're (sic) new album. We know that it's "apartment Jazz", but I would like to know, why did you choose to release an album now, and why "Apartment Jazz"?

Richard Six of the songs are from Disgracefully Yours. Five were written while I was in Australia filming Dark City. I didn't want to make an album of songs which differed wildly in style and so consequently, even though a couple of them have a slight country feel, the jazz element remains to tie the album together.

Vanessa:: Do you feel your songwriting has changed since you began?

Richard Yes. I find that i'm becoming slightly more mellow, but I hope I never mellow to yellow ribbon round the old oak tree. shoot me if i do.

Screamager: What's your hangover cure??

Richard No, I love to suffer.

Neko: What's your favourite way to get a hangover?

Richard There are so many wonderful ways to achieve the perfect hangover. Mixing your drinks is a fairly safe bet. I suggest you start with a couple of beers, then hit the red wine, then you swap to something with a couple of shots in it - Vodka's cool - and then onto the brandy, with a dash of port in it. Enjoy.

TheWalrus: What was with the whole "Your father doesn't like Mexicans" scene in Shock Treatment? Was there some sort of underlying message there or was it just to be silly?

Richard The joke was Danny was behind Wilson's Hardware with several men naked. Janet's dad didn't like the implication of this. The joke was that he didn't like gays. But Janet's mum got the wrong end of the stick - pun intended.

Chris: When did you last have hair and did you lose it naturally?

Richard I shaved my head in 76. And yes, it was waving goodbye.

Nation: Do you have any particular goals for the future, or do you think you've done all you want to do already?

Richard I would like to direct ballet. I would like to direct a movie. And I'd like to have sex with several people I've caught sight of. * (see note at bottom- Q)

ArikBot: Have you heard of the recent resurgence of interest in Shock Treatment. Starting with floorshows in Paramus NJ, Albany NY, and now at every Rocky horror convention accross the country, did you really expect it to take off like this? (See the other note too- Q)

Richard I'm not aware of Shock Treatment picking up a following. I'm sure that everybody looks delightful running around in white coats, and maybe one day I might get the opportunity to take in one of these performances. However, I'm not sure that I look forward to it.

MisterRenfield: What, if anything, would you consider your biggest fashion disaster?

Richard Every time I've bought anything that I've thought would allow me to fit in with the human race, I've always f***ed up.

Magenta: will you sleep with me?

Richard Not if you snore.

Larry: Any plans for Mephistopholes Smith? The play was only in America for one week and then it seemed to dissapear. It had wonderful music. Are there plans for a revival?

Richard No. I'm afraid that the cloven hooves I wore for two hours on stage crippled my feet and, due to pressure on the balls of my feet (check your reflexology books) I created chest infections which were unbearable.

Larry: What is 'Interfishnet'? I've seen it mentioned in various locations as a technology company you are building. Is it taking off? Are you hiring :)

Richard Interfishnet is a company formed to oversee the production of the Rocky Horror interactive game. No jobs going.

ArikBot: The National Year of Reading would like to ask a few questions:

Richard ok.

NYOR: What book had the greatest impact on you?

Richard HG Wells' short stories, which I read when I was 12.

NYOR: Which fictional character do you identify with / would you like to be?

Richard Let's talk comic time here. I wouldn't say no to being the Silver Surfer or even Doctor Strange.

NYOR: Do you have any bad or unusual reading habits?

Richard I suppose I do tend to skim, but when you read as much as I do, I suppose that's an in-built problem. Memory is also another problem. I'm not sure that I've got altzheimer's, because I can't remember.

Arikbot: Thank you from the National Year of Reading.

NicolaB: Is there any chance that the performing rights of Rocky will ever be available to amateur groups?

Richard Some time during the coming century, it's possible.

Odjob18: What would your dream job be?

Richard I'm pretty lucky I am allowed to spend my day doing those things which I love doing. If I chose to change direction, I would. It's as simple as that.

RiffRaff: Will you be attending any of the year 2000 conventions?

Richard Depends whether I'm still alive or not.

LarryV: I collect all sorts of memorabilia from Rocky horror (especially photos) Does it ever weird you out that people are collecting things that at the time [you] wouldn't have thought twice about?

Richard Not at all. I collect a lot of junk. And I intend to keep on collecting lots of ephemera. It's the squirrel mentality. You can't help it. You just get therapy.

Vanessa:: Of all the characters you have written and subsequently performed, do you have a favorite?

Richard The character of Martha Fortune in my play Disaster brings back happy memories for me. She was superbly played by Patricia Quinn.

PlanNine: I noticed a definte (sic) "80's New Wave" influence on the music from Shock Treatment, how did the New Wave movement affect your songwriting?

Richard New wave is a term which has been around for a lot longer than one would think. There was an 80s feel to Shock Treatment. But that was what Richard Hartley brought to the party. Personally, I try not to follow trends.

Chris: Do you have any recurring dreams?

Richard No, but lately I have discovered lucid dreaming, and I love it.

Nation: What do you do in an average day?

Richard Live it.

PlanNine: Speaking about comics, did you hear that Warners is making a Batman musical? The only way that yould (sic) be good is if you wrote the music for it! What do you think of all these pop musicals that are very much a result of Rocky Horror being a sucess?

Arikbot: Do you like chatting?

Richard Question 1- I couldn't begin to write symphonic scores for epic movies such as Batman. Question 2- Yes.

Odjob18: Who is your favourite writer and why do you like him?

Richard James Lee Burke, an American writer of detective tales and more. He is the greatest living American writer and an equal to Hemmingway and Steinbeck.

MisterRenfield: If you were a vampire, who would you bite?

Richard Every sucker I could. Especially politicians.

Neko: Are you still in contact with Nell and Patricia?

Richard Yes. In fact, Nell has recently had a baby. Raise a glass to her.

Neko: Are you a John Waters fan?

Richard Yes, I enjoy John's films.

Larry: Ohter than Nell and Patricia, do you keep in touch with anyone else involved with the production?

Richard When Meatloaf hits town, we generally say hello to each other.

Odjob18: I heard the spikes on the maxe (sic) are rubber is this true?

Arik: Crystal Maze

Richard Dear Bob, it's highly unlikely that the producers of a game show which involves members of the general public are going to sharpen Toledo steel and allow these contestants to fall upon them. So what do you think?

Magenta: Do you get annoyed with all your fans sending you mail and asking for autographs etc.?

Richard No, not at all. I can't say that it cheers my day, but it certainly doesn't depress me. Besides, I've got some very sexy photos, and I love sending those out. - and wondering what happens when they fall in the hands of those whose hormones are racing.

ArikBot: Magenta likes you very much. But she is only 17. Please don't encourage her

Nation: What's the worst question anyone's ever asked you?

Richard That one.

Arikbot: I think that's it. Thank you very much from all your fans.

Richard Goodbye. May all your dreams come true.

Many thanks to Virgin.net for hosting the chat, and letting us use the transcript.

*- in the original transcript, Richard's answer was interrupted by a the question that followed, in what appeared to be an attempt to stop his train of thought from repeatedly going in and out and in and out of a tunnel, if you get my drift. It can also be noted that they scolded him for encouraging young Magenta. Perhaps it was the first time that the moderators spent more energy keeping an eye on their guest than the participants!

This question belonged to Larry Viezel, but was not credited to him during the chat.

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The Richard O'Brien Crusade est. 1996