Joe Dallesandro

Art & Sex & Rock & Roll…
a conversation with Joe Dallesandro in Hollywood California by Mila Reynaud.
additional inquiries by Lucky
photography by Mila Reynaud

“Little Joe ”, the naked guy in the Paul Morrissey movies. The sublime “Krassky” in “Je t’aime … moi non plus” by Serge Gainsbourg . A Warhol Superstar, more than just a body.

Mila.  There will be only one Warhol, but do you think Banksy and Obey Giant are the “Warhol’s’ of today?

Joe.  They are nothing like Warhol. Warhol was Warhol. He had a factory and his fingers in a lot of different things. Banksy is Banksy. Obey Giant is Obeyjoe1 Giant.

Mila. Do you think your contribution to Warhol’s art was only visual?

Joe. I gave stories to Paul Morrissey even though he gives me no credit so I did much more than just appear in films. It’s hard to get anyone to recognize that.

Mila. What does Pop Art mean to you?

Joe. It’s just another type of Art.

Mila. In a documentary about The Factory, we can see you participated with some projects and following the process. Did you have more approach in the Andy Warhol’s work and the Morrissey’s films?

Joe.  I carried the camera, I told the stories, provided the dialogue around what we were talking about. During the daytime at the Factory I watched the door at the factory told people Andy wasn’t there so he wouldn’t be disturbed, I answered the phones, kept the press book for the films updated, and kept track of Paul’s college bookings of the older films. I never just hung out with the group I had a very private life that did not include the Factory people. For me it was a job that I left at the end of every day.

Mila. We can see you more intellectually engaged online, why don’t you present in the Art Scene in LA more?

Joe. When I go to Art openings, people pay attention to me and not the artist. I have no desire to steal the spotlight from anyone. And at the same time, the press always pressjoe 3 me to have an opinion about the Art, which I don’t like to do because I don’t really know that much about art. I go to be supportive.

Mila. If I had an Art gallery I would love to have you as a curator, whose and what art would you show first?

Joe. My wife Kim would be good at that, I would never want to do that.

Mila. Can you consider Sex as Art?

Joe. If it’s in a painting.

Mila. What do you think is the future for sexual liberty and censure?

Joe. They continue to push the limits on the internet and television so it will either go further or they will pull it all back and we’ll start all overagain.

Mila. Are you surprised by the terrible news that HIV positive porn stars are active in the Porn industry?

Joe. Nothing surprises me anymore.

Mila. John Waters said “you forever changed male sexuality in cinema.” Is that how you feel too?

Joe. When we were shooting the film, I had no idea that that is what we were doing. It was the audience that came to that conclusion, it was John Waters that had that opinion. We just shot a film.

Mila. When we talk about sex symbols, men and womenjoe4 talk about women but rarely about men. It’s sexist no?!

Joe. here have always been male sex symbols. Valentino, Brando, James Dean. Always male sex symbols.

Mila. More than a Warhol Superstar for me you’re the male sexual icon of the 21 century as Betty Page is a female sexual icon. Do you like this vision?

Joe. I don’t decide those things. Others decide that. I don’t walk around thinking I’m a sex symbol.

Mila. Are Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll for the wild side only, or is it just a banality today?

Joe.T here’s no separations anymore. If you have sex you do drugs then you sing a song while you’re doing it. (laughing)

Mila. What’s kind of rock music are you listening to? Are you listening Serge Gainsbourg?

Joe. I like all kinds of music. I love Serge and Jane Birkin. Whatever I can bang my head to and sing along with.

Mila. Do you think it is passé to listen the Velvet Underground today? Just who was Lou Reed in your opinion?

Joe. I wasn’t a big fan of any of that. Lou Reed was no more than an acquaintance of mine but he had lots to say about who he thought I was and most of the time not in joe2a kind way.

Mila. You’re a rock & roll philosopher Joe, I follow you on Facebook and appreciated you’re up & down posts. How are you using social network, do you like it, do you think is a valid window on the world, do you like this “easy going” access?

Joe. I have fun with it. And when I get sick of it I vanish.

Mila. How do you see the future? Bright, dark, virtual or no future at all?

Joe. We all make our own individual future, you just have to live around what is going on. I don’t think young people are active or aware of what’s going on they should be screaming and yelling about what they are losing and yet you hear and see nothing from them. That concerns me.

******* with Lucky, editor and founder of SugarBuzz Magazine*******

Lucky. Do you remember where you were the first time you heard the reference to you in Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”? What was your initial reaction? Is it true that “Little Joe never once gave it away”?

Joe. I was in Europe. I thought it was cool he did a song about the films he watched.

Lucky. Do you still have your infamous “Little Joe” tattoo? Or has faded like distant memories do?

Joe. I still have it but it’s faded. It fell off.

Lucky. To your knowledge, was “San joe5Diego Surf” ever released and if not, any thoughts why?

Joe. It released in the museums. The Warhol foundation released it recently.

Lucky. What would you consider the deciding factor as to why you decided to stay behind in Europe after “Blood for Dracula” wrapped?

Joe. Paul Morrissey had groomed me to be an actor and stay behind in Europe.

Lucky. Where did you live and was the situation tolerable? Any favorite memories from those times?

Joe. Rome was my base. I wouldn’t have stayed if it wasn’t tolerable. I met a lot of interesting people from all walks of life; writers, actors. And I liked the food.

Lucky. Of all the films or other forms of art you have been involved in; did anything cause you to feel disturbed or regretful afterward?

Joe. I would have preferred not to have taken photos or been involved with Bob Mizer. Everything else is what it is. Part of my life.

Lucky. Please set the record straight regarding The Rolling Stones “Sticky Fingers” album, is the front cover joe6you, the inside underwear photo you, or both? Do you ever hang with The Stones and if so, whom did you feel was the most approachable or coolest? Did you even like The Stones, or Rock and Roll for that matter?

Joe. Outside is me. Inside is someone else. No I don’t hang with them. I love their music. Loved the film “Performance”. I’ve met them, just never hung out for long periods of time with them.

Lucky. Do you ever see or keep in contact with any “Warhol Superstars” or other figures from you storied career?

Joe. Only if there was an event that Paul Morrissey needed us all together for. I never hung out with them, even in the factory days. I went to work answering phones and filing, opening the elevator door, then went home. I was only present for film openings or when Paul or Andy said I had to be there.

Lucky. What have you been up to lately? Do you have any film or other projects in the works?

Joe. I’m working on a few surprises I can’t talk about right now. I’m also looking forward to a few appearances at festivals in Russia, South America, and Paris in the next few years. I’ve got quite a few people passing me scripts that I’m considering. And then there are all the photographers that seem to need one good shot of me for their portfolio.

Lucky. You could live anywhere. Why Los Angeles and how long have you called the City of Angels you’re home?

Joe. It’s warmjoe7here.

Lucky. Do you currently enjoy music or literature? Care to name any artists and or authors that excite?

Joe. I love the work of Pethit Thiago, Usher San, Jim Herrington, Mila Reynaud, the artists I’m working with for my shirts Mavi and Roberta and Izzy, Dire McCain is a great writer and has a magazine featuring new writers, my wife Kim is an incredible writer. Austin Young, Lenora Claire do some fantastic stuff, Angel Villanueva is an incredible painter, there’s Gronk, and people like Selene Luna doing fantastic things. I missed a lot of names. There is greatness all around us. It’s just harder to find because the internet makes people believe they are all great. And unfortunately that is not true.

Lucky. How about film?

Joe. I like science fiction and cartoons. I love anything that has nothing to do with reality. The new thing in Hollywood up on the Boulevard is people rushing you and punching your head and knocking you out. Do you think I want to hear about that? I’d rather watch cartoons.

Lucky. Where do your tastes lie these days?

Joe. I’m just Joe. I have Joeboy tastes. Samejoe4 as before.

Lucky. Anyadvice for the young whom are trying to make their mark?

Joe. Stick with it but don’t lie to yourself. Others will let you know if you’re good or not. Don’t decide that for yourself. And if you aren’t, there is something you’re good at so don’t give up. Find what that special thing and be great at it. But it’s all hard work and sacrifice. Nothing is easy or free that is worth anything or lasts longer that “15 minutes”.

joe dallesandro @ facebook