#118-#124: Buncha quick ones: Mayor Ray Nagin, Judy Tenuta, Linda Hamilton, Mark Wahlberg, Mike Patton, Mastodon, The Pointer Sisters

#118: Comedian Judy Tenuta: I interviewed the accordion playing Love Goddess over the phone. You may not remember her, but she was huge for a minute, with flowers in her hair. Sort of the feminine answer to Bobcat Goldthwait, with a pinch of Rosanne Bar (who used to be very funny!). Judy (JudyJudyJudyJudyJudy) was the same in her interviews as on stage, which is how most comedians tend to play it.

#119: Actress Linda Hamilton: I shouldn’t write too much about this but: The lead actress from the Terminator movies lives in my neighborhood. Linda’s very nice and sweet and normal. Walks her dogs, drinks at the neighborhood bar. She once invited my partner and some other neighborhood ladies to skinny dip at the pool she’d just installed. I asked to take her fishing, and she said yes. We’ll see.

#120: Underwear model Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg: I belonged to a semi-luxury old-school gym in New Orleans’s French Quarter, and as I was walking out onto Rampart Street one day I brushed by Mark Wahlberg, who said, “Sup man.” I repeated that same greeting back to him.

#121: Vocalist Mike Patton: A guitar magazine had assigned me to write about Jesus Lizard guitarist Duane Dennison, playing at VooDoo with his side band Tomahawk, featuring Helmet’s drummer John Stanier, and singer Mike Patton of Faith No More, Mr Bungle, etc. I walked onto Dennison’s bus, and ran directly into Stanier and Patton. I told Stanier how I, like he, had attended USF in Tampa, and how the music teachers there had often mentioned Stanier to us as one of their better students. Though Stanier seemed really moved by, some biker bodyguards interrupted and pushed me past Patton to the back of the bus, where Duane Dennison awaited with his guitar for our interview. On my way off the bus, I ran into Stanier and Patton again, and we spoke for another five minutes, mostly about Stanier and USF. Patton listened intently, and seemed to appreciate me not focusing on him (I bet that gets annoying).

#122: Metal band Mastodon: Leader singer Troy Sanders told me, “We could write 15-minute songs all day but for The Hunter we decided to…get in and out of each song, which was ultimately more energizing, especially after two-and-a-half straight years of touring and playing all these really epic layered and emotional songs. The Hunter is more quick bursts of raw energy.” Produced by Michael Elizondo (Eminem, 50 Cent, Pink, Gwen Stefani) The Hunter was Mastodon’s first album that didn’t follow a detailed storyline. “No matter what kind of riff came along, no matter what it sounded like, if we liked it we just built it into a song,” Sanders said. “So this time…the record is more to the point.”

#123: Singing legends, The Pointer Sisters: So excited was I to buss these ladies’ table at Palace Cafe on Canal Street just before 9/11. All three acted very sweet, all dressed up in sequins as if going to perform a concert.

#124: Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin: I’ve met Ray a few brief times (as every citizen should their city’s Mayor), but my most distinct memory is from before he was mayor, when he came out to install our Cox cable. Kidding! I wish I had that story to tell. My brightest memory of Ray is in the month or so after Katrina, at a grocery store, after he’d made his famous “Chocolate City” remark (a remark I always agreed with; Ray Nagin’s Kanye moment). Nagin walked around the Rouse’s, handsome and bald, shopping like the rest of us which, given the historical moment, had to be a low-key publicity stunt of some sort. He didn’t push a cart, instead carrying his big case of Heineken Light bottles (?!) by hand, silently announcing that he was just like the rest of us. No one bothered him, but I did say casual hello in passing. I liked Nagin enough. I can’t imagine he’d ever shout at me for wanting to take his picture at an inopportune moment, like Mayor Landrieu did. Weeks later, I wrote an article about painting floats for Newsweek, and in my author photograph I wore a piece of tape stating: “Ray Nagin was right.” That was before the countertops. But New Orleans is and should always be a Chocolate City. And even though grifting during Katrina was particularly despicable, his ten year sentence remains racist as fuck. Cosby got three to ten. When I see a photo of Ray now, it only reminds me that America is more rotten than Nagin ever was. I am glad he’s out. I hope the rest of his life goes more smoothly.

Michael Patrick Welch’s “132 Famous People I Have Met” series is FREE, but please consider donating to his VENMO (michael-welch-42), or to his PayPal account (paypal.me/michaelpatrickwelch2), so he can feed his kids, pay his mortgage, etc.

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