Penthouse Retrospective

by Jon Wiederhorn Originally Published: April, 2001

Orgy | 20 Years Ago This Month

Don’t let the name fool you — Orgy’s futuristic glamsters aren’t totally debauched. Not yet anyway.

Penthouse Magazine - April, 2001Group Grope

In just a few days, the members of Orgy are scheduled to play Tulsa, Oklahoma, and they’re not really looking forward to it. Not that they’re worried they’ll bomb. Despite their galactic glam appearance and futuristic music, they’ve fared pretty well in the Bible Belt. In fact, last time they came through town, they might have fared a little too well, and they’re wondering if there’ll be a police procession waiting for them outside Cain’s Ballroom when they step offstage.

“When we were pulling away from Tulsa last time, there was a girl on the side of the road and she was wasted,” recalls drummer Bobby Hewitt from his home in Los Angeles. “She didn’t look like she belonged at in Orgy show, but she was hot and she wanted to get on the bus. Somehow we talked her into taking all her clothes off. I was wearing her underwear, [guitarist] Ryan [Shuck] was wearing her bra, and [singer] Jay [Gordon] put on her dress. We went into our hotel like. that and caused quite a scene. Unfortunately, she ended up being a local politician’s daughter.”

As its name suggests, Orgy lives for excitement and trouble, and it usually finds both. No, the band’s members have never actually taken part in a Backstage Sluts-style group gang bang like their pornographer/rocker pal Matt Zane, but they’ve done nearly everything else. They’re regulars at the Los Angeles strip club Crazy Girls, and they’ve developed a reputation for livin’ and lovin’ like rock stars–even if they’re reluctant to detail their more outrageous sexploits.

“Man, I would expect that people would want me to say, ‘Oh, yeah, this one time I fucked three pairs of twin sisters and their brothers.’ That’s so predictable,” says the towering Gordon, the most intense and neurotic member of the group. “Well, shit happens out there on the road, and, hey, if you trip over something and fall right into 14 girls, you can’t help that.”

“I think AIDS put a damper on people’s sexuality for a while,” says band chick-magnet, guitarist Amir Derakh. “But now everyone’s realizing that we can still enjoy our bodies, we just have to be careful”

Drummer Bobby Hewitt is the only member of Orgy who doesn’t whore it up, and that’s because he’s happily married to ex-porn vixen Shane. “My wife has been out on the road and she understands what goes on there, so she lets me do whatever,” says Hewitt. “But her being so fine with that makes me not want to fuck around. I can’t speak for the rest of the guys, though.”

When they’re not getting their rocks off, the Orgies tend to fuck shit up or at least act like fuck-ups — especially Shuck, who’s earned the nickname Liquid Idiot. because he often gets drunk and stupid. For example, on the band’s tour bus, when all the lights are off late at night, Shuck likes to get naked and balance between two bunks on either side of the aisle, so whoever walks by bumps into his dangling privates. And try not to catch him on one of his more destructive days. “We were driving down the freeway one time, and I threw a bottle from the back of the bus and broke the front window,” he admits sheepishly. “Another time, I fucking jumped on the bus driver naked while he was driving and we nearly got into an accident. I’ve done a lot of stupid shit.”

Of course, stupid shit sometimes has its cost. The media and fans might be thrilled by Orgy’s antics, but parents usually don’t feel the same. The band’s second and most recent album, Vapor Transmission, debuted at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 200, selling to established fans and quickly going gold. But it lacked staying power, dropping to No. 183 less than two months after its release. Needless to say, yuppies weren’t stuffing their kids’ Christmas stockings with Orgy product this past holiday season. In part, Gordon blames post-Columbine conservatism for the record’s lower-than-expected sales.

“I don’t want moms to hate our band,” exclaims Gordon, who in conversation switches topics almost as rapidly as a Jeopardy contestant. “I understand that they’re threatened by the name ‘Orgy’ and they want to protect their kids. But my lyrics have some mystery behind them, and they’re open to interpretation. I don’t write songs that go, ‘I’m at a party. I think you should do it too. I’m gonna go shoot dope and be gay.’ I love to go to titty bars, but I’m not going out terrorizing people or robbing banks. People judge us just because we’re real. Isn’t one of the Ten Commandments, ‘Thou Shalt Not Judge?’”

Biblical doctrines aside, there’s another reason why Orgy isn’t penetrating the mass market as deeply as it did when its platinum album, Candyass, hit in 1998. In an era of Ricky Martin, ’N Sync, and Christina Aguilera, Orgy is a bit too, well, weird for the mainstream. Looking like extras from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the band members sport spiked hair; shiny, multicolored clothes that seem like military outfits for an Ecstacy rave; gravity boots; and enough eye makeup and lipstick to paint a cheerleading squad. It’s all part of their philosophy that predictability is a crime against creativity.

“I’m all about doing things differently, but there are a lot of people who can’t handle change of any kind,” says Gordon. “Progress is a good thing. Hey, we could all be cavemen with clubs and scummy fingernails trying to hunt down a woolly mammoth. And then what do you do, eat the fucker raw? That’s fucked up. Society has come … this far, and when people get conservative, it pisses me off.”

It seems safe to theorize that many more people have enjoyed the band Orgy rather than the decidedly adult activity orgy. You may learn why.

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