Transcript:

Speaker Well, they were shooting.

Speaker I never knew Andy was, so I was told that and he was shooting a film in a friend's apartment and I had never heard of Andy Warhol.

Speaker You know, the guy is famous for the Art Campbell's Soup. And I said it only makes Campbell's Soup. And so I just went there to kind of meet the person for the first time. And he was behind the camera reading a newspaper, not even looking in the camera. And Paul Morrissey was running around and he told me, you want to do a scene with you, OK? And I said, sure, that was that was my meeting. A man behind the camera reading the newspaper. Never said more than two words to me. And that was the big event.

Speaker I mean, what was this film?

Speaker This was this was the first movie I did called Loves Randy. And what was that? It was part of a 24 hour movie that he was shooting. And it was shown once in its entirety. And it was released as a portion of it, as lovers of Undine, which was my first film that I did with Andy, which I did a 20 minute sequence in the film where I wrestled with Undine. I taught, um, college wrestling and they use my photograph sitting on a stool and jockey shorts to advertise the movie, which caused a lot of people to come. And that was my big introduction to Andy and the underground cinema.

Speaker All right.

Speaker And then I think that was about 67.

Speaker That was 1967.

Speaker So then the next thing you did, I was called up.

Speaker I mean, they had me center believes, for this movie, which I never believed was going to show anywhere. And when I was called back to do some still photographs and have the movie make the ad for the movie, I thought it was a big joke. I still didn't believe it. And they called me up about a month later saying that they were getting ready to shoot another film in Arizona, a cowboy movie. And did I want to go? And I said, sure. It was great as a bunch of New York guys playing cowboys can be fun. So they they they said they'd pay me, which was supposedly a big thing because they never paid anybody and they were going to pay me what I was getting paid in this bookbinding factory. So I went to Arizona for a couple of weeks and shot this caviling, which was called Lonesome Cowboys.

Speaker That was the second one was like, oh, God, I should have read what I just said.

Speaker I'm in the process of putting out a book right now, and I've got a big, long story that I just did about what Lonesome Cowboys was about and. Right. Right, like, you know, I just can't think of any balance of cowboys, except it was a movie supposedly like a Romeo and Juliet story where the characters were reversed and the guy that made up the eye gave us the premise for the movie was basically.

Speaker Draft dodger.

Speaker And so it was kind of strange movie, everybody improvised dialogue. And we were just given a small, small story idea and we tried to go with that improvising dialogue around it. I was brand new to the to the group, frightened to death. I was like a kid. And so my improvisation was basically a kid in fear. So who else was there? Eric Emison. He was in.

Speaker I was in the dogs. And there was Louie walled in. Viva TaylorMade. Francis Francene.

Speaker Julian Burrows is the guys talking about that wrote the little idea for the film. And that's it myself. Oh, Tom Hump. It's the character that played the Julianne with Ramona and Julianne. Beaver with Ramona.

Speaker Let's jump to the factory and talk about what it was like around the factory there.

Speaker And also you can when you see Luby there and you got to bring it back to you, OK?

Speaker It's real. It's real difficult for me to kind of. I was with the factory for five years where I guess the first year was basically those first two films. And then the second year was where I went to work permanently at the factory. When I arrived to work primarily at the factories, basically to kind of I was told to protect Andy from, you know, basically just kind of look like a hard guy or something. And when I went to work that day for the first day, they were carrying Andy out because he had just been shot. I went to Paul, I guess I don't have the job. And he said, no, we really don't want you for that. We want you to do films. And so my job basically was to sit in front of a door and bust people in that. You know what I was told we're supposed to be coming up. And those people that would come up that were hanger ons, I was told at all. And he wasn't there and to send away. And so basically, when I started working there at the factory, it wasn't the hang the hang out that it was when it was on the other the other factory, the Silver Factory. And so when people came up, when Lou or anybody came up, they came up for a purpose, for a special meeting. And so they weren't coming up to meet with me. They were coming up to meet with Andy or with Paul. And so the most I ever had to say or do with them was to be introduced to them for the first time. My my thing with the factory was that shortly after my my big film with the Factory, the flesh, they they started a newspaper called Interview. And when the interview started, anybody that talked to Andy on the telephone would be written about in this paper. And so people would call up like the girls that were interested in me, they'd call up Andy and they'd say, oh, we would talk to Joe today and they'd have all sorts of, you know, ridiculous stories that had nothing to do with the truth about me in this newspaper. And the stories from the first movie that I did there with the flesh story, which was about male prostitution.

Speaker The Hustler, Lou, got his ideas from that movie. And that's basically where he got a couple of the characters. I didn't even how his character came from either that one or trash and flesh. There was Jackie Curtis and Candy Darling. They were the first two transvestites in the first movie. And in Hollywood Long was in the second one. That was trash and that was about trashy people.

Speaker And guess the plot of Flash.

Speaker I'm trying to remember was sort of like unusual, I guess, family. I mean, you were.

Speaker I was. Yeah.

Speaker I was the husband of Geraldine who had a girlfriend, Patty Dobsonville, who was supposedly pregnant. And I was just to go out and hustle up enough money to get her her abortion to pay for the abortion. And it takes takes me through all these different people that I meet on the street that I'm trying to hustle up this money. And then they come back to the house at the end of the day. Turns out that Pat is there and she doesn't need an abortion and was just one day in the life of a street hustler or something. So you think got maybe you've got the idea for your character, Little Joe, that you would think so that all the talk that went around the country, the people that want to know Joe or who thought they knew Joe would tell stories. And basically I was told when I worked at the factory that any publicity is good publicity. So, you know.

Speaker Stop bouncing the other side in the sand.

Speaker Yeah, right.

Speaker You also sort of book the films now about the colleges.

Speaker Give me something to do. Yeah. Whenever there was know we had colleges that would have would rent out films. And so was my job to see that the prince went out and was shipped out to the university and that that we got them back in. So basically he gave me something to do.

Speaker And tell me about Warhol and tell me what you felt you should tell people back then.

Speaker When my my brother was Andy's chauffeur, he also appeared in a couple of the films that I was in. He never got any credit because he was basically the person who held the mike. And in any case, we had gotten a Volkswagen bus because I got after the first film. It was real difficult when down the street with equipment. So when we had this Volkswagen bus, we could slide the door open and shoot a couple of shots on the street and keep moving on. And so my brother, he was Andy's chauffeur for about five years. I think he was the one person who really had a salary there. I mean, you get paid a real salary and he would come and talk to me about how he and Andy had conversations all day long. I'd never said more than no. Good morning. Good night. Thank you. He gave me a check occasionally. And so I was, you know, big surprise. I mean, when I heard that Andy had these long conversations with people.

Speaker Can you. I'd love you to read for me just the lines from water, the wells that lets you know them by heart.

Speaker Now I know them.

Speaker Yeah, Little Joe never once gave it away. Everybody had to pay him pay. Hustle here, hustle there. New York City is the place where they say, hey, Joe, take a walk on the wild side. I said, hey, Joe, take a walk on the wild side. So that's the best part of the song, do you?

Speaker Yeah, it was a great song.

Speaker The chorus. I mean, can you do that again? All right.

Speaker Little Joe never once gave it away. Everybody had to pay and pay. I still hear I still there. New York City is the place where they said, hey, Joe, take a walk on the wild side. I said, Hey, Joe, take a walk on the wild side.

Speaker That's the song.

Speaker Can you have anything to do with it?

Speaker I realize it's hard because you're doing it. What what what is it? Capture at that time.

Speaker Talk to me. Yeah, but tell us that business.

Speaker Well, it starts about, you know, people like candy.

Speaker And it covers the part of me. I mean, I think Sugar Plum Fairy having one of them came to New York City. And I mean, it covers an event or a supposed advance that, you know, is supposed to be real about the character, you know? I mean, the hustling about me was based basically on that film Flash. And the movies that we made back then were considered like documentaries like Real. And part of the real person, though, for the first time when I said when we started making those movies, they were kind of different than the ones that we made with Andy for the first time. We kind of polu storyline to them and they didn't have that in the earlier days. So with me and with the other people that appeared, I mean, some of the transvestites that appear in the movies with me, they were real people. And you just captured, you know, the taste and a flavor of who those people were and put it song.

Speaker Can you tell me what it was like being a character in one of the most popular songs of 1973?

Speaker He was always tough. Yeah. I mean, you were the.

Speaker Well, to talk about that, but it always is for me. For me, it was bigger than, you know, you got to remember back then. I'm a star. Andy Warhol is underground movies in my picture in The New York Times, in the Village Voice, full page ads of me. For years, I kept doing one after the other these movies. And to have also a song where people say you're you're you're the Little Joe was a big event for me. I mean, I don't know why I was singled out. And you know what made me special, except for these movies that I was making. And then I was on the cover of Rolling Stone, which was a big event. I mean, there weren't actors usually put on the cover of Rolling Stone.

Speaker So that was a big thing for me at the cover of many of these theater magazines that were out at the time from after dark to many different ones. I can't remember them all.

Speaker It's hard when I'm like, I feel like I'm on the spot to say something and I've got like tons of it. Oh my.

Speaker You can also talk about, like, when you were you were sort of the song. You were sort of this symbol of sort of gay culture, that you were the person who was, you know, this great looking guy who had made it through the movie. What was it like sort of being the real Joe and also the sort of person that you were created?

Speaker Well, I say all the publicity is good publicity for me. And I knew that I had a large gay following. Back then, it wasn't about my you know, when I was interviewed and asked if I was gay or straight or bisexual, it wasn't about my sexuality to people. So I wouldn't, you know, define myself any way. And I just lived my life without defining what kind of sexuality I was. I mean, I had I wasn't a person that was homophobic. I had a lot of gay friends. I lost three friends. I didn't think of them. And when I sat down to be with my friends, I didn't sit down to talk about who they were sleeping with or what they were sleeping with.

Speaker So I wasn't part of my relationship with my friends. So I don't know. I mean, I still have a large gay audience. I think of them as my fans and I don't think of them as, you know, that's their sexual preference.

Speaker I mean, back then, it was a very big thing because back then, when they called the days to stonewall and the situation back then was very repressive. So for us to be as open as we were was a big thing. And being young like I was, I didn't I didn't think nothing of it. It wasn't anything special that I was doing. I was just being myself and being honest.

Speaker And and for that, I always kind of looked up to as a somebody making, you know, big breakthroughs in anything indicating a gay world and allowing people to be open about their sexuality, which I didn't know for a person who didn't talk about her sexuality or define it, I kind of found peculiar. I did in my movies and in the movies, it was basically I was know the three films I did.

Speaker It was always it was peculiar because we were about me being looked at and looked at as a sexual person that people were trying to do. And I always acted like I was uninterested and more. I was an interest. The more people were attracted to me was very strange.

Speaker It kind of was a real normal straight guy that kept trying to get married and kept doing one every seven years. I'd fail at one and I another. So I've gone through three marriages, seven year marriages and kind of gave up.

Speaker Now, time to retire.

Speaker It is amazing the period when you think about how you became such a symbol for so many people. I guess in a way, you know the song When People Stop You on the street.

Speaker I mean, to this day. Yeah.

Speaker It's hard to explain how you how you react when people come up to you. I mean, I never I never thought much of.

Speaker I mean, I know it's it's very exciting.

Speaker It's very nice to be recognized, this stuff. But there are times, you know, you just don't know how to react to people. I mean, people come up to me, act as if they've known me forever because of seeing me in the movies. And yet they know nothing about me and to my fans who, you know, who have come up to me and been real polite and nice with me. I'm I'm real I'm real generous and open to them. And I let them feel like they you know, they have a part of me in, you know, the part that they know is real. And then to the people that have been rude to me and, you know, frighten me. This is a very scary thing and strange. It runs up, Jehanne, and, you know, once kind of give you a hug. It's kind of scary because you don't know them. And for me, all these years that I you know, I've had fans in direct results of Lucerne. I you know, the young generation that continue to come around because this song has never lost its popularity. And the people still you know, I'm an old man now and it's just. Yeah, the guy. Yeah, the little Joe. And having the tattoo on the arm, kind of.

Speaker You see that now? Well, we can bring pictures around to show.

Speaker So maybe the last thing will be. Is there any way you can? What is it about that song that is so powerful?

Speaker Do you think it's just the stories about five people, or is it just that those people were so incredible?

Speaker I think I think the lyrics that kind of give you an image of a person and a couple of verses, they give you an image of the person that you feel like, you know, a character is a whole character that's shown to you. And just a couple of couple of lines and. And then also, you know, that there was there was a story behind it, too. And yet they were doing they weren't just based upon nobody. They were based upon characters in movies that continue on after the Sun and see the movie if you want to find out more about that character.

Speaker Did you ever talk to you about this, are you writing conversations or any comments about Holly? Oh, that's just give me a couple words. Holly, Candy, sugar. Very Jackie. Holly.

Speaker Oh, you're killing me. Holly, I hate. No, no.

Speaker Mean we worked with her in many films.

Speaker No, I worked with her in one film, Trash. I worked with Candy Darling and Jack Curtis, one film. And I meet these people for the first time the day that I was going to work with them and ever see the talk in the factory. I was the one that everybody talked about in the factory. I was the one that, you know, horrible story about. Oh. Did you get to sleep with them yet?

Speaker And they'd all chat to Andy, call up Andy. Oh, I got to go to Joe's house and he let me in. And he would tell some of them from Geraldine or Andre. I say, if you can act normal, I'll let you in the door. But you got to act normal, can act crazy. And they would act normal for about 50 minutes after that. I had to throw them out because they're crazy. And they'd go back to Andy and tell Andy how they'd slept with me and the size of my thing. And I'd say, you know, I mean, it was not true. But they'd make up all these stories. You know, a 50 minute visited Joe's house was, you know, days and weeks of chitchat on with Andy on the telephone in that chit chat went into the newspaper and it became like gossip and truth.

Speaker So what was it like working with Holly that Holly was because of all of this gossip and stuff, was very fearful and find that I was going to be these, you know, horrible, scary guy.

Speaker And it turned out to be a nice, sweet little beanie kind of candy.

Speaker Candy was.

Speaker If I could play the scene, the scene, the scene at that, candy appeared with me and she stand on a sofa reading a movie magazine, talking with Jackie about the articles in this movie magazine.

Speaker And I was with a topless dancer getting a blow job over on another silver. And now and they continue talking about their thing. And I just continued just standing with my back to the camera and the girl then after she finished her duty, asked me if I liked her new breasts that she had just got made. And that was the scene.

Speaker And.

Speaker It was me and Candy talking bad if we weren't, Candy would also was asked if she liked the new breast unestablished answer or if she she'd have more silicone put in it. So it was the scene and she replied very don't know.

Speaker She opened her infamous amalgamation of several characters. That's right. Yeah. Guys joke. OK, well, that's what I thought.

Speaker It was also a couple of characters. Of course, Jack Curtis is not really mentioned and I thought, oh, is he. Yeah. Holly Holly came from Miami. Yeah, right.

Speaker But how about Jackie? That was Jackie.

Speaker Haven't you thought about Jackie a long time? No.

Speaker Tony, about an 18 year old for the first time meeting of people I know, I know I, too, is going to be in the scene with him. And basically, I wasn't interacting with them. They were sitting on the sofa talking to each other about this film magazine.

Speaker But Jackie, of the people that came to the factory was one of them. One of the people I came up the most that I let in, because Andy, I don't know for some reason, never told me not to say he wasn't there for me.

Speaker Talk to me about Max. What was that like?

Speaker Max, this is the scene of with Max's was and he would make a painting back then and and give these paintings to make you in an. And for that, we will give you an annual giving so much credit which the people at the factory allowed to use by signing our name. And we get a meal. And basically almost all of us were able to go up there and sign our name to get something to eat.

Speaker And so became the hangout and went on for a while.

Speaker And then eventually, I mean, there were times that we were, you know, that wasn't on credit. And then eventually there was the times where they had the shows upstairs with.

Speaker I think the ad does perform up there and the valves and.

Speaker It wasn't I know it wasn't large audiences, it was a very in crowd, you know, it wasn't like people on the outside would come to Maxygen and see their favorite group for the first time because it was a very in crowd.

Speaker In the back row, in Max's back room, it's in the room I never been in.

Speaker So as I go there and not as often as everybody else but I ever went there was for the baked potato or sour cream.

Speaker I was basically while we. And he hung out there.

Speaker Born out there. They'd stay there for hours and the crazies would show up and entertain Andy from dancing on the tables to just trying to be interesting. For the first time since I already was a member, I didn't have to be interesting. I just went to eat.

Speaker That's great. Anything else?

Speaker Aaron, we have two things. Joe, I need you to look here for one minute.

Speaker You got the screen test with any of those? Yeah. Did you ever do.

Speaker We therefore songs for Trella Brooklyn Academy in Music.

Speaker When Andy died in 1987, you go to his funeral. No. Okay, so let's let's just do this as we look right here for one minute without, you know, any expressions you want. You got one minute to look at camera.

Speaker Yeah. S Yeah.

Speaker You guys ready? Okay. And go.

Joe Dallesandro
Interview Date:
1997-07-12
Runtime:
0:28:59
Keywords:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
222
MLA CITATIONS:
"Joe Dallesandro, Lou Reed: Rock And Roll Heart." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 12 Jul. 1997, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/273
APA CITATIONS:
(1997, July 12). Joe Dallesandro, Lou Reed: Rock And Roll Heart. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/273
CHICAGO CITATIONS:
"Joe Dallesandro, Lou Reed: Rock And Roll Heart." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). July 12, 1997. Accessed January 23, 2022 https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/273

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