Since learning that Rupert was to play legendary punk musician Cheetah Chrome in his latest movie, CBGB, we've been dying to know more. Rupert revealed in our recent set interview what it was like getting to know the real Cheetah and bring him to life on film. A few weeks later, we were lucky enough to ask the man himself some questions about the movie, music and more...
1. Who was your favorite British punk band, from your era? Why?
Well, I can’t possibly pick only one, there were too many and I listened to a lot of them. I can narrow it down to three – The Damned, The Stranglers, and the Sex Pistols. The Damned really were the embodiment of the punk spirit to me, much more so than the Pistols . We traveled with them, played with them, and they were the real deal, right down to the way they treated their fans. The Stranglers were just a great band, period. The Pistols are more of an honorable mention, though I thought they were great. But they ended up being in it only for the money after Glen left , and Punk was first and foremost about the music.
2. How did the Savannah set compare to the original CBGB?
Half of it WAS the original CBGB’s! It was really well done. I took some photos of the set, and if I didn’t know it I’d think it was the club. There were some minor differences, like the stage was actually two levels and the phone booth was by the front, but so what?
3. What can we expect from Rupert's performance in the movie?
Rupert did a great job, he somehow got a really good bead on me! What impressed me the most was how every take he seemed to get closer to my real personality until he nailed it, and we’d only spoken a few times. He’s a very good actor, and I’m honored he chose to play me. My gut feeling when I heard was that he was the guy, and I think he’s proven that right.
It was great to get a chance to hang out with him too, he’s a very cool guy! Hopefully we’ll get to more when the film is released.
4. When we spoke with him, he had a "cheetah" themed t-shirt on in your honor. What does it feel like to know your music has shaped the taste of future generations?
Yea, I wanted that shirt!
It feels great, because for quite a while I felt like the band had become a footnote in music history. In the early 80’s it was like we’d never existed! But we were a good band, and while we didn’t have a huge following, we had one that stayed with us through the years and passed it on. When the internet came along, it was amazing what a resurgence we had in a short time, and I assume we’ll have a bump when the movie comes out!
5. Rupert's an avid guitarist, did you jam together?
No, I didn’t know he could play when we were there or I would have liked to!
6. Does your son like Harry Potter?
He LOVES Harry Potter, we’ve seen all of the films as they came out and we’ve played all of the video games as well. Rogan was thrilled when I told him Rupert was playing me, and he loved meeting him. It was funny, because when we first were told that Alan Rickman was playing Hilly, I joked that they should get Daniel Radcliffe to play Stiv and Rupert to play me!
7. Which character from the series would you like to play?
Probably Sirius Black or Lucius Malfoy, or any of the Death Eaters. I could probably pull off Voldemort, I’ve got the noggin for it!
8. We know you quite like the Killers, and have been quoted as saying you "listen to a bit of everything" - what are you listening to mostly at the moment?
Since I’m in the middle of producing a multi artist Eddy Arnold tribute record for my new label, Plowboy Records (http://plowboyrecords.com/, mostly the mixes for that! When I do get a chance to listen to something else, I usually pick up my guitar and play instead, give my ears a rest. But I’m pretty old school, pre 1975 stuff – Beatles, Stones, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Stooges, MC5…..
9. Finally, Rupert recently ran with the Olympic torch; did you follow the Olympics?
I don’t know if you’d call it "following" , I watched a good bit of it because there was nothing else on! The things I do like are the diving, gymnastics, volleyball and BMX …but mostly I find it a grim reminder of how lazy I am! I did catch Rupert carrying the torch, and he seemed to be having a great time – I would have been down after a mile!
Credit and thanks to both Cheetah and his wife, Anna, for the above images.
Cheetah Chrome, along with Don Cusic (author and music historian) and Shannon Pollard (the grandson of the late Eddy Arnold) launched Plowboy Records on May 15th, 2012, in tribute to Eddy Arnold, who passed away in 2008. The record label's launch was timed on what would have been Arnold's 94th birthday.
Eddy Arnold was an American country musician whose career spanned six decades. His career is marked by his influence on the country music scene in Nashville, Tennessee, as well as his many awards and recognitions over the years, including his rank as #23 among “The 40 Greatest Men of Country Music” by CMT and an induction of his song "Make The World Go Away" into the Grammy Hall of Fame during the year of his retirement.
The intention of Plowboy Records is to continue Arnold’s legacy, introducing his music to future generations, but also to highlight and encourage current artists with their own careers, and not just in the country music genre. Cheetah Chrome is serving as creative director for the label. He is also producing a tribute album to Eddy Arnold, in which Arnold’s songs will be covered and re-interpreted by current musicians in a number of styles, spanning from country to indie rock.
For more information, visit Plowboy Records' official website: http://plowboyrecords.com/
You can also check out this video of Chrome, Cusic and Pollard promoting the launch of Plowboy Records: