Hungry Like The Hyena: A Conversation with Jude Angelini

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13.10.2014
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As part of our ongoing quest to engage interesting people in conversation about life, art, work and all things in between we had one of our staff reporters Thomas Galasso sit down with our friend Jude Angelini. And since Galasso is a Detroit native, it makes even more sense. Amongst the topics discussed were Detroit, music, women, and his new best seller titled: Hyena which is a Bukowski-esque collection of short stories illustrating his life as a young man in Michigan, and his trials and tribulations with fame, drugs, sex, and money.

Union:: Greetings. Some of us know you as the radio personality "Rude Jude" on Sirius, some folks remember you as the cat from Jenny Jones that was going in on guests and thusly making her show a hell of a lot more interesting and volatile. And now you got a book out, and a book thats drawing comparisons to the writing of Charles Bukowski, and John Fante. What is it like to sit down and commit yourself to writing a book? Jude: Greetings to you my friend. All the stories are growing up in Michigan stories. There’s a couple of Flint stories, some Pontiac stories, nothing really in Detroit too much just growing up around it. It started off as a blog ya see. I would do these lists that would detail various shit going on in my life, then from that I decided to tell a story, then people are liking the stories saying “TELL MORE FUCKIN STORIES”. So I started doing that and writing every day for an hour but see, I was going through a break up, I was clinically depressed (it runs in my family). My dad is fuckin nuts bruh, he got put away for a couple weeks in the asylum (not forever but you know…shit is wild), his mother was nutty too. She had the whole shock treatment shit so you see I’m a little nutty. Runs in the fam. (Laughs) The writing process started off for me as a blog, really personal. There were days when I was writing, and not feeling great and I wrote about that. Some people were like “No one wants to hear that you fuckin pussy”. People didn’t want that story, they wanted the other shit, the wild shit, and since it was free I felt like motherfuckers didn’t truly appreciate my writing. And see this was after I had reestablished myself as a public figure, so there was lots of activity. It hurt to have your personal story fucked with like that, especially when its free. Its like a chick giving herself away for free, no one appreciates her. So I took the shit down man, got rid of the blog. Union: The wild shit? Whats the wild shit? Jude: Detroit was a special place. I was in my 20’s in the late 90’s I would go to a rave, a hip hop show, I could go to Legends, go over to St. Andrews, go hit a fucking rave. There was so much shit going on in Detroit it was fuckin’ nuts… Union Houseshoes and Jewels AT THE DREWS! Jude: Aw man. We'll get to the wild shit. In fact the wild shit is in the book. Drugs, babes, being down and out, wildin' out. People loved that, and my persona on TV (Jenny Jones Show) played into that. After a while I started to write for me and no one else, which allowed me to open up even more. When you are writing a blog man, its like narcissism because you’re bragging a little bit if things are going well. Or it seems that way. Eventually I was like "Fuck that I’m writing a book”, and I started doing all these little short stories and a lot of them had to do with an ex-girlfriend. Its just me trying to get over shit, and being as honest as possible with the self destructive things that someone does to get over pain. That’s why you got people in this world who are cutters, or fuckin for money, doing all these drugs or whatever. For me it was fuckin a bunch a chicks, drinkin, doing all these drugs and raging bro. So there's some of the wild shit right there. Union: No cutting? (laughs) Jude: Nah. No cutting g! (laughs) Union: So with all that, you decided writing a book was a possibility for you to expand, and express yourself. That takes a lot of confidence I would imagine and or some burning desire to be understood by others. It seems like a big task my guy. Jude: Well strangely enough that’s why I got into records. My sister and me was living together and she would confront me for doing the drugs I was doing. I’m like: “Fuck her”. So I would get my ketamine and go hide away in my room and try and sort out these stories. I wanted it to flow like a classic album, not a good album, but a truly classic album with a full on arc. That’s how I tried to put the book together. Thats why I felt getting into records would be beneficial for me. The way some of the great albums are constructed are like great pieces of literature, telling a cohesive and honest story. Hyena is a collection short stories that follow three honest story arcs: A breakup, going crazy, and growing up. Union: I caught onto some themes that reminded me of my own childhood in Detroit. Just trying to stay out of trouble, dealing with goonery etc. I like the mention of your dad's Chevette. My dad had two of them little shit boogers on wheels(laughs). I can remember him hammering new floorboards into those things because they would rust out so fast. Jude: Yeah dude, you would run through them bitches man. Rusted out floorboards and shit. You'd see people's feet dangling where the floorboards were just gone. Yeah man! There’s little subtleties of being from Michigan man. That’s a big part of this book. Union: I noticed those Michigan subtleties, I can relate. Just the cadence of everything. The clubs, the cops, the music. Jude: The cops bruh. I remember being home man, it was 2000 there were these two couples fist fighting in front of the Magic Stick and one dude hopped in his car and ran the other dude over, his legs were dangling and shit, and cop cars were just driving by and no one stopped. They clearly saw the shit but was just like “Aw fuck it!”.

Union: Classic Detroit cops. Jude: I remember riding around Belle Isle, going in circles with my guys and we saw this SUV that had just been torched. On fire, people didn’t give a fuck, man it was so much fun. The cops would roll on by like it was nothin'. I used to always have this chip on my shoulder maybe being from Michigan. Walking around on the defensive and shit, and I’m from Pontiac so we’re looking up to ya’ll in Detroit. If you were from the 248 area code you gots no love man. I remember how it would be when someone came from L.A. or N.Y. to the D and everybody would put them on a pedestal without really analyzing why they left their hometown. I didn’t start getting love until I left Michigan and started doing the Jenny Jones show man. Union: So what was that like? How did that whole moment in your life come into play. I recall the era when all those crazy talk shows were the rage, a precursor to the nonsense we have bombarding us on TV now. Jude: It was crazy man. My family was like “DO NOT GO ON IT! ITS FOR WHITE TRASH”. See my immediately fam, we were broke but we had culture. My mom’s parents were all college educated, my mom just picked shitty dudes. She was a hippie man, she took us to museums and exposed us to art and shit. My parents were against me going on that show and I didn’t give a fuck, I wanted to go to Chicago, get the fuck out of Michigan. I never had that feeling like I had to make my dad happy, or my mother or anybody. I was like “Fuck you I’m going”. Union: So how did it go down? Jude: I was nervous because I was supposed to be the bully on the show. People were booing me. Me and homegirl (who was black) had concocted this story for the show and there was the racial dynamic, so at first it was awkward, here I am clowning this girl on TV, but I was like "the white boy who didn’t give a fuck", and I guess I was able to do what they called black humor and that made it pop off. I was getting paid like $300 per show man, and I was known around the Midwest and beyond but I didn’t have any financial freedom or cushion. I was still working shit jobs. I was the poll boy at a strip club man, dope dealers would come in and clown me, and I was wiping the pussy off the pole man and then I would look up over near the bar and see myself on the TV. I had spiked the ratings by million bruh. A million! I was the bathroom attendant at a gay bar, working in shitty places man. But everyone knew me, and this show was making all this money. No one in Michigan respected the hustle, and I grew resentful and left town man. Union: People hate that. (When you leave town). (laughing) Jude: Bruh! “You’ll be back. Like god damn! I’m trying to get the fuck outta here why can’t you just be happy for me? (laughs) Union: It can be tough being from Michigan, living in the D was a crazy experience for me, so I can imagine your life with the city were interesting. A lot of people are curious about the D nowadays, especially out here in Los Angeles. Jude: I love being from Michigan dude. Thats something dear to me man, I love our grind, our hustle, the way we live and create. I’m not even from Detroit but it had such an effect on me, because that was our main city. You had cats like Bob Segar playing in clubs bringing his sound to all these classic songs. Groups like " target="_blank">MC5, The Stooges all within a 50 mile radius of the D. Per capita we had some awesome shit coming out of Michigan. Union: Indeed man. Its trippy to go someplace foreign and hear obscure Detroit shit lubricating the dance floor for couples, or adding to a dining atmosphere. Jude: I was in Poland and they were playing deep Detroit cuts. Bruh they was playin Sandwiches, uh...Detroit Grand Pubas. Or hearing some Volume 1 era Slum at a bar.

Union: Fitting you have a radio show where you can play more Detroit shit. The radio life you must love it. Jude: Its like a love hate thing man, if you would have told me when I was young like “Yo dude you’re gonna get to be a hip hop station and play rap music” I would have been like “Awesome!”. By the time I got there: I don’t even like rap no more dog, if you look at my records its all rock, soul and country. Union: Yeah I noticed you have a mini-Amoeba in here. Jude: When we started listening to rap they weren’t trying to sell to 12 year old white girls, the whole approach was different. No one was really paying attention except for the heads really, but now that everybody and I mean everybody is paying attention, its like you gotta market to this group of people. The subject matter is all about drugs and partying now, and that’s cool and all but damn even Geto Boys would have a conscience or societally relevant song or some shit man. IMG_2612 Jude: And hip hop is a lot like America man, like it doesn’t do a good enough job respecting the elders, and the people that made it what it is. But in places like Europe they are preserving all that shit. On one hand its just musical evolution, on another hand its been exploited. Union: America needs another Mac Dre. Jude: And that dude had balls…to death! He went to fuckin jail for not opening his mouth. That’s fuckin big nuts dude. Theres not a lot of cats like that man, that’s why I fuck with Jack Kevorkian so tough. He went to jail based on his beliefs, fuckin Mac Dre went to jail for not saying shit. He went to prison off of that, you don’t see cats like that, no one puts their money where their mouth is. Union: Mac Dre was a beast, very unique, very DIY, very Bay Area. I know you have to run, it was great chatting hopefully we can go a bit deeper into our Detroit experiences sometime. Jude: For sure, it was a pleasure.

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