By: Ginger Coyote
Everyone who meets Kim Dallesandro adores her. She is funny, intelligent,beautiful and very enterprising... She is the wife of film icon Joe Dallesandro as well as being a songwriter, designer, contracter and an inspiration to all who know her... I hope you enjoy my interview with the vivacious and very talented Kim Dallesandro..
Punk Globe: Thanks so much Kim for the interview.. Can you tell a bit about your early years?
K.D.: I left home at a very young age and lived on the streets in Europe with a group of gypsies for a spell before I fell into the hands of AWOL soldiers in Germany. It was a very strange time of my life; one I feel imprinted and changed my being, much like my abusive childhood had.
Punk Globe: Did you enjoy living in Germany?
K.D.: I lived in Germany as a mule for a group of AWOL soldiers running drugs to and from military installations. I don't recall ever checking out the sites or being calm enough to absorb the history or beauty around me. It was a tense brittle time, best way I can describe it and it lead to my hospitalization in Austin, Texas.
Punk Globe: What was your first impression of Austin Texas?
K.D.: I remember very little arriving in Austin; my father drove me in a starched silence and I sat staring out a window in a state of psychosis heading for a mental facility for children under the age of 18. I do recall entering the facility and realizing my father had left without even a whispered goodbye. I saw my father 2 times in the 2 years I was there before a gap of 7 years occurred.
Punk Globe: Can you tell how you got involved with the Austin music scene?
K.D.: When I was released from the hospital I lived with another woman in a very small apartment on W. 6th Street. Situated directly across the street was the Black Queen and I would sneak in on nights that KrackerJack played. The line up included Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bruce Bowland, Tommy Shannon, Uncle John Turner, Mike Kindred, Jesse Taylor--amazing musicians making equally amazing music that I could completely immerse myself into and feel part of for a moment or two. A year or so later, I lied about my age and took a job at Mother Earth on Lamar as a waitress where I met my first husband RC Banks and the crowd I would eventually come to call friends. On a dare (to RC) I started writing music to prove you could in fact be employed and write songs; not the best reason to write but it got me started. I continue to hone my craft to this day and have written with many remarkable musicians from Austin.
Punk Globe: Who were some of your good pals ?
K.D.: There was a 'gang' of us that moved from night club to night club following different bands: Monday night the One Knite (Storm), Tuesday night Soap Creek, like that and I was part of that due primarily to my marriage to RC Banks who was a member of many bands during the heyday of the '70's. Every band that played switched members and I came to know the best of the best which has been both a curse and a blessing; I'm very spoiled when it comes to music and have very high expectations.
Punk Globe: You mentioned that you lived near Asleep At The Wheel's business office tell us about that?
K.D.: I lived at the "Willie Arms" a complex directly across from what is now the Texas Opry House. The Asleep at the Wheel offices were at the end of the run, next door to my apartment. At that time, I had divorced RC and he was dating Chris O'Connell and we ran into each other in the parking lot which also doubled as my front yard. I would go to the offices and talk to Ray and the gang play-- pranks on each other and basically be young and stupid. It was a pretty magical time in Austin and one I feel will never duplicate itself based on the amount of talent concentrated in one small place.
Punk Globe: When did you meet our mutual pal Maryann Price?
K.D.: I met Maryann Price through my interaction with the Wheel and proximity to their offices. She was dating the fiddle player, as was I and it was not the best of times when we both realized the situation. I really enjoyed her and there is not a better singer in the world unless you remembered Chris O'Connell was around. Those two women along with Lou Ann Barton really inspired me to write songs that I wanted them to sing and I believe they did a few of them with the urging of Tex Thomas (Harvey Young) who has always been one of my biggest fans.
Punk Globe: Tell us how you got involved with writing lyrics for songs?
K.D.: I got mad at RC Banks when we were married because he said as a musician he could not work, he had to concentrate on his music and craft. So I started writing to prove him wrong. When I realized I loved the craft of songwriting, it became imperative I get a HIT so my daughter Eva would be assured an education, something I lacked and felt the consequences of professionally.
Punk Globe: Who were some of your inspirations?
K.D.: I was inspired by Motown hits I'd listen to over and over and try to understand the formula, gospel and rhythm and blues, I loved words that had both meaning and movement so I would listen to any record once to discover; it became an obsession. I loved 60's music, Jefferson Airplane to Joni Mitchell and Dylan everything in between; jazz for the syncopation and beats I would later hear in my head when I wrote; I loved church music, country music, each genre offered another lesson and information I still use when I write. Then I had this bounty of musicians that wrote with and around me which was the biggest gift.
Punk Globe: Who was the first person/band to use one of your songs that you wrote?
K.D.: Tex Thomas, Joe Ely, Kimmie Rhodes, RC Banks, I'd get backstage and pass tapes to every band or musician traveling through Austin, sitting with Joe Ely or Kimmie Rhodes, whoever and crafting songs that I hoped would land on an album. I remember recording "Cheap Wine" a song I wrote hoping George Jones would cover and weaseling my way on to his bus to personally hand him my cassette hoping he'd listen to it. He put the tape in and out of the speakers came my daughter Eva's voice singing her ABC's....she'd recorded over my tape for her lesson. George being the gentleman that he is, look at me and said "I believe that one's already been written." I could have died. I had many right place wrong time moments with my pursuit of songwriting.
Punk Globe: Joe Ely that's pretty cool! Your first husband was a musician.. Tell us about him?
K.D.: RC Banks is in one word an artist. He's written some of the most prolific songs never compromising his idea of what he believes in regardless of the earthly consequences. He's quite famous in Europe and Austin, and one of the many overlooked talents we have on earth today.
Punk Globe: Can you tell us what made you decide to move back to Los Angeles?
K.D.: I was running away from a big ugly mess in Texas and chose Los Angeles to run to. I untangled the mess and found a measure of professional success in Los Angeles which provided the education for my daughter I'd always worried about.
Punk Globe: Tell us how you met your future husband the talented Joe Dallesandro?
K.D.: I met Joe at a social gathering and was pretty rude to him as I recall. He always tells people I was the angriest woman he'd ever met, with good reason, but still angry.
Punk Globe: Tell us about your first wedding to Joe?
K.D.: We married at our house on Formosa Avenue/Melrose after Joe returned from a 90 day film schedule in Yugoslavia.
Punk Globe: I remember meeting you in the early mid 90's through our now mutual pal's Roddy and Susan Novotny.. Tell the readers about the business that you had at that time?
K.D.: I worked in contract furniture/custom millwork-cabinetry for commercial space and spent all my waking hours working to stay even with the demands of my profession. I met Roddy and Soo through Michael Morrison the designer that was huge in the 80's with his embellished leather goods that Roddy made for him. The four of us spent quite a bit of time hanging out for many years.
Punk Globe: It is now 16 years later and I meet you and Joe at a WOW party and I am thinking I knew you from somewhere... You had the same thoughts right?
K.D.: I knew I knew you, told that to Joe a few times that evening but could not place the where or who or what of it. I did not speak to you because I was trying to remember how I knew you so you would not think I'd forgotten or overlooked the first meeting. Eventually we figured it out.
Punk Globe: I remember introducing you to Kathy Peck at a Betty Page lookalike party.. I believe that Joe was a judge.. Do you remember that night?
K.D.: Yes I do, Joe had a long interview downstairs with James St. James that he was surprised with and when we returned upstairs we learned that there would not be any judging because no one was in costume. Kathy was a sweetheart and I was excited to learn she lived in San Francisco since in a month we'd be heading there for the film festival.
Punk Globe: I remember how excited that Kathy was that you called about her helping you with the premiere of "Little Joe" at The Castro Theater.. You also met our Webmistress Sharla Cartner and Craig Pop Artist that day.. Did you have a good time in San Francisco?
K.D.: I did actually, it was a long day but both Kathy, Craig and Sharla showed up- Kathy with a great sign she'd made for Joe to sell his shirts and having them there depleted a lot of the stress of it all. Since that time we've stayed in touch
Punk Globe: It seems like it was almost 2 years after we first met that I was finally able to get you together with Roddy and Susan Novotny.. Tell us how that felt?
K.D.: One word: Fantastic.
Punk Globe: You have also started writing portions of a book you are writing on Facebook. Tell us about that?
K.D.: I am writing a complicated story about 3 people one of whom is a Vietnam vet, and the surrounding sub-story of two women he interacts with currently titled "Mad Dog Tag". It's been a long 5 year process to get where I am with it which is almost but not quite finished. I hope to complete it soon within the next year or so.
Punk Globe: Tell us about your poetry?
K.D.: My poetry always seems to be lyrics. I think I eternally write lyrically, even if no music is intended to be added to the piece.
Punk Globe: Do you do any live performances reading your poetry?
K.D.: Only to Joe.
Punk Globe: Most importantly more people are recording your songs. How does that feel?
K.D.: Feels wonderful. Anytime you do something that encourages another's creativity it's magic.
Punk Globe: You recently found out a well known LA band had recorded one of your songs.. Who was that?
K.D.: I always knew The Little Kings had recorded a song of mine, heard it live when I first moved here. What I just found out was they didn't know I wrote it, had always given RC Banks the credit for it. I wonder if I'm owed anything. Ha!
Punk Globe: Was it released on an LP or CD?
K.D.: I think on both, Bernie Bernstein could better answer that question. It was released though.
Punk Globe: What bands or solo artists do you enjoy listening to now?
K.D.: I love all music really even bad music has something you can learn from it. I've had a great time working with Michel of Die Puppe singing the Lou Reed classic "White Light, White Heat"; rumor has it we're going to do another one soon. I've been working with Bumdoser on some designs and would love love love to do a song(s) with him. Love Rohan, Robert Earl Reed, David Virgin, Adam Ditchburn surprised me with a fantastic song that I still can't believe I didn't write "I'm Looking West". Those are just people I've met through the internet. My taste in music is ever changing and all encompassing so it would take too long to list artists/songs.
Punk Globe: What your thoughts on Amy Winehouse?
K.D.: I think she's a wildly talented individual with a serious problem that needs to be addressed. If she can get to level in her life, I believe she will reclaim her rightful place in music. She has all the makings of a star.
Punk Globe: You are always busy... Tell the readers about the silk screening company that you work with?
K.D.: They are the best. Which is why I keep coming back even if there are frustrating delays. When you work with the best it's hard to settle for anything else.
Punk Globe: Do you have any web addresses that you would like to give to the readers ? So that they can get updates or place an order for product at.
K.D.: is Joe's store where the product branded to him can be found. Currently we have RN Design leather pieces, an Austin Young portrait and 2 style of shirts. Some new pieces will be coming out soon which Joe and I will announce on Facebook.
Joe's website is for all the current news about him.
Me, well I'm around. Ha!
Punk Globe: You and Joe recently renewed your wedding vows and you had a hell of a party.. Tell us about that?
K.D.: We had a hard 14 year period and it was time to commit or not. We chose to commit. And it was wonderful to have some old and new friends there to witness the event. Everyone seemed to have fun and it was a really great day for Joe and I.
Punk Globe: What does 2011 hold in store for you and Joe?
K.D.: We don't have a crystal ball so who knows? We are involved in many different things and who knows where those roads will lead us. If we just end up being and doing what we're doing now, that is okay too. I think as long as you live a life that extends itself in service for others in some way, the rest is gravy. We try to keep that in mind in our daily lives.
Punk Globe: Any partings words of advice for fledgling song writers ?
K.D.: As with any craft, you have to find your 'voice'. That could take 1 moment or 25 years. We all are bombarded with so much creativity and life everyday, it important to find quiet times to work on your projects. I rarely work during times of chaos.
Thank you so much Kim, for taking the time to do the interview.. We here at Punk Globe wish you nothing but the best with your life and career. You Rawk Sister Friend!
Thanks Ginger enjoyed our conversation today and we'll talk the next time we're both wide awake at 2am okay?