|The Johnny Manson Interview
JM:Hey, this is Johnny Manson
Al:Hello Johhny Manson
JM:Is this a bad or good time, whatever?
Al:It's a wonderful time, Johnny.
JM:Wonderful time, so how ya doin?
Al:I'm doing great.
JM:So you don't make it home much, do ya, I called ya like a month ago.
Al:Yea, I know, it's hard to be on the run and be a wanted fugitive, you gotta keep waiting until, you know, they break up the watch on your house and the stake out and then you can actually show up.
JMYou should be Intercontinental Champ, you should be European Champ, you should be Heavyweight Champ, and you should have the f--kin tag team titles too.
Al:Well, thanks man.
JM:I think you are one of the most underrated wrestlers in the business, I don't know what's going on. What do we gotta do to get a more of a push here, Do I have to whip some McMahon ass, or what?
Al:Maybe, I don't know. That's been pretty much the story of my career. Especially my WWF career. To have been the most underrated and the most underutilized, you know, and how do we get more of a push? If I could figure it out, that's for sure. Not bragging, but as over as Steve Austin was in the WWF and as over as Goldberg was in WCW, I was that over in ECW. It was a lot of fun, you know. It was very satisfying to finally have a culmination to have years of effort finally pay off.
JM:Did you ever think you'd become a sports entertainer or a professional wrestler when you were growing up?
Al:Yeah, that was what I wanted to do. I was about 14 or 15 years old, 16 years old, I made the decision that that was what I was gonna pursue.
JM:How'd ya get into it?
Al:Back when I broke into the business, and I hate to say like, you know, back in the old days, but ah, back in my day, there weren't schools, there weren't any schools, and it was a very different business because it was closed, you know, back then you didn't really do radio interviews, and if you did you did them in character, and you didnt' discuss any of the behind the scenes stuff, and it was very, you know it was like trying to get into the Masons, the Freemasons, you had to find somebody that was one who was willing to try to bring you into it. Yeah, kind of like that, and I spent about 2 years making long distance phone calls. I'd go to the library and I'd get out the phone books for differnet areas where I knew there was an office for that particular territory. At that time there were differnet companies all around the United States. I got ahold of Gene Anderson in North Carolina and I sold my car and bought a bus ticket and went down there and paid him $250.00 and they abused my for about seven hours and sent me back home. Then I got ahold of a guy who was going into semi-retirement, his name is Jim Lancaster. He had worked for different territories and he was a wrestler, and he took me in and trained me and broke me into hte business. He basically sponsored me, he took me around and got my foot in the door and got me going.
JM:Got your butt kicked.
Al:Yeah, I got my butt kicked a lot. I mean it was a different business and when you were first breaking into it, they made you pay your dues. I mean they physically abused you on occaision.
JM:Now did they do this to break you in or did they think it was funny?
Al:Being sadistic they thought it was funny, but most of them, they wanted to see if you really wanted to do it. If it was something that you really, really wanted to do. And so they made it tough on you. They made you pay your dues and you had to go through the wringer to get where you ended up.They don't do it that way anymore. It's not the same business as it was when I broke in.
JM:Don't they kind of breed them now?
Al:Ah, yeah, yeah, they kinda do.
JM:Like cloning sheep or something.
Al:(laughing) yeah, if you watch some of them in the ring, you'd think so, yeah.
JM:Would you ever return to ECW?
Al:Oh yeah. I would love, I loved that place, you know.
JM:How long is your contract with WWF?
Al:I have another year.
JM:Are you gonna extend that?
Al:It depends, I'm open to any and all situations. I'm becoming very much a mercenary.
JM:Yeah, so if the money was right, WCW might
Al:Yeah, I mean, I hate to say it, but you know, as passionate as I have been over the years trying to do these duty things and trying to be loyal were things that I was taught, like I said, the business has changed and you've got to try to change with it or be left behind. The things that, the rules and the things of the business years ago, you were rewarded for in some indirect fashion or whatever even to a minor degree, you are treated as if you're a fool for following some of them.
JM:What's up with Al's latest angle, or lack thereof?
Al:Ah, haha, I don't know,
JM:Is this Vince saying, o.k., Al, this is what I want you to do now, we'll try this or whatever
Al:No actually, it was, I was getting kinda frustrated with the in-ring stuff, with Steve, because in the ring he and I just don't communicate the same way. I'm going one direction and he's, he's not going in any direction. So I was getting a little frustrated with that and the thing is, out of the ring, the vignettes had kind of run thier course I think, I mean, you can only do somethign for so long and...
Al:And then there was the idea that I'd get back with him and then eventually I'd get away from him again, but now, I think they are kind of liking it. Vince didn't know that I had a legit black belt in karate and a martial arts background.
JM:Oh you do?
Al:Yeah, I do.
JM:Hey that's great, you wanna kick my ass sometime?
Al:Uh, yeah if you wanna pay me.
JM:Well, ok., if that's what it takes to say, hey, you know what? I paid Al Snow to kick my ass. That'd be cool.
Al:Um, and so now I try very hard to make it believeable, and make it half-way entertaining. If they are going to leave me doing this, then I'm going to put my own spin on it and become the David Carradine of the WWF. Like I did the vignette with Steve where I was meditating. I had a special rug, I had the props people go out and get me a special rug.
JM:You are definitely the most creative entertainer I know.
Al: I try to be, you know, I try to be the most unpredictable, the most unexpectable, the most inexplicable WWF wrester so that people will never ever say, all he does is come out and say the same thing over and over again, or he's always doing the same schtick. I can say that over the 2 years time, I've been willing and actually made it believable to pull off just about any possible thing that they can think of.
JM:I love you man.
Al:I love you man.
Al:Head is you know, taking a sabbatical. They wanted me to put it away for a while instead of utilizing it and making the most of it they downplay it all.
JM:Where did you come up with that? That's one of those creative things going, you know what, I think I'll carry a head to the ring.
Al:Actually, it was kind of like that. I had begun doing the thing where I tried to come across in the WWF that from all the frustration I was starting to lose it, and then I continued to do that in ECW and I was picking at my clothes and I was talking to myself and because it's such a visual business, nobody was really picking up on it, I mean Paul E. was willing to let me continue to do it and everytime I'd lose, I'd freak out and I'd go nuts in the ring and one night I was back in the back there and I found literally, a styrofoam head in the ECW arena and I thought, you know what? I've been talking to myself and I'm going to start talking to this and interacting with it as if it's real. I started doing that and Paul E. was like, oh, I hate that, I hate your manager, it's stupid, but he kept letting me do it. He was saying it in a half joking manner, but he really wasnt' getting it at that point. I'd go out and I'd work a match as a babyface through the whole match and at the end of the match I'd lose it and I'd start beating that styrofoam head and people were getting hot about it. They'd actually chant asshole at me and all that, really get upset. One night, I knew I had to get one with a human face on it, with more truer features, and Spike Dudley and Mikey Whipwreck gave me the HEAD in New Britain (?) Connecticut, a fan had brought it as a weapon for New Jack and Paul E. is like, god, you are gonna be the next cult babyface, and I'm like no, I'm supposed to be a heel, and I'm a serial killer, a psychotic deranged individual...
JM:Part of the Manson family baby.
Al:Yeah, yeah, hanging out with you.
Al:You and Charlie
Al:And that was the way I tried to come across and he said no, you're gonna be a babyface, I guarantee it, and it turned out I was. I became a big babyface. The whole thing was perfect, you know, it fit the gimmick perfectly, the whole thing,it was like it was meant to be. It all fell into place and I had a lot of fun doing it. I just wish that Paul E. could have done more or wanted to do more with it or something, but he knew I was on loan from the WWF and wasn't there for the long haul and didn't want to go too far with it, but he was willing to make good use of it and make me an integral player for the short time I was there.
JM:You're mentioned quite a bit in ah, your buddy Mick Foley's book, and I'm sure you read it.
Al:Yes, I have.
JM:You guys must be pretty close.
Al:Yeah, we kind of are, I mean, we are kind of like brothers.
Al:You know, we kind of have that kind of relationship, where, you know, I don't have to call him and he doesn't have to call me for like six months or so, but when we pick up the phone and call one another we're right back at it where we left off just like six month haven't even passed.
JM:I have to scratch my Al Snow...
Al:Oh yea, the best of Al Snow tape, yeah, it never ends. I get used to it and I get to give him shots back, so..
JM:So, are you ever going to do an autobiography?
Al:Well, ah, I don't think that my life is that interesting, so.
JM:You ever think about it?
Al:You know people have mentioned it to me ever since Mick's book came out and I guess I've got enough of a background but gee, that's kind of up to the Office, you know, unless a publisher walks right up to you and say's hey, we find you really interesting, would you write an autobiography. So you know it's up to Vince to all of a sudden take an interest, and apparently from what he does with me on TV, that's not going to happen anytime soon.
JM:What's he like?
Al:He's a businessman and he's incredibly driven, almost to the point of being manic. If he were to wake up tomorrow morning and say, 95% of the world's population watched professional wrestling, then he'd go, Ha, we've got to make it 100% and how do we do that next 5%? He's that driven.
JM:Does he need more money? Is that it?
Al:No. It's just the challenge.
JM:I'm not saying he's not a hard worker, you know, but the Rock, I personally don't think that he has enough experience to like, write a book. I haven't read his book though, so I can't say.
Al:I haven't either, I haven't either, but I guess, he has his father and he has his grandfather were in the business, and if they were to rely on that experience then it might be pretty interesting. I don't know. As far as his own experience, his life experience, since he's been an adult, I don't know taht he's necessarily had that.
JM:He's still like a kid.
Al:Yeah, yeah, I guess he is. I don't know if Rocky can say that the oppurtunity was there and he'd have been foolish not to have taken advantage of it and passed it by.
JM:Is there an Al Snow fan club?
Al:Not that I'm aware of.
JM:Really, so could I have your permission to start the official Al Snow fan club?
Al: By all means, go right ahead.
JM:I would love to be president.
Al:That would be great. A very elite group. We are small, but very vocal.
JM:Yes, and very strange.
Al:Yes. That's right, I believe that it's the misfits that really make the world.
JM:Do your kids have an Al Snow doll?
Al:Yes they do.
JM:Really, when they get mad at you do you know if....
Al:Do they go up and stick pins in it? Yeah.
Al:No, but that's one of the coolest things about doing this is that ten years from now I can go buy my doll at a garage sale for twenty-five cents in a box.
JM:Yeah, you definitely won't find it at Walmart now, will you?
Al:No, you're not going to find it at Walmart now.
JM:That was cheesey.
Al:And the sad part was, and this is what our society has become, two women who are, and this is regrettable, they are actually assistant professors of communications at a college and I certainly hope that they are not teaching their students this, but they went into a store, saw a picture on a package and made assumptions based upon the packaging, about my charcter and became alarmed and disgruntled and felt that they needed to expound their opinoin via a public forum, the Atlantic Constitution, based upon nothing more than assumptions and guesses as to what was really going on. They jumped the gun and of course Walmart having their finger on the heartbeat or the pulse of the nation that they do, immediately panicked, because two women in Georgia complained and got a national paper, the Atlanta Constitution to write a story and they pulled it. The only problem I have with this is that these two women made these assumptions and my belief is that isn'that the way the Salem witch trials began? Publicly persecuted because of public assumptions? As far as Walmart is concerned, I consider that company, and I don't hold any grudges against anyone here because it turned out to be a terrific publicity bonanza for me.(inaudible) was riding around in the back seat of my car for a couple of days. I think it's very two sided for Walmart to pull my doll because they say it has a severed head in it, when it's actually a mannequin head, and even in the package it's just a Barbie doll head that you popped off of a Barbie doll, you know. The Sleepy Hollow doll that they carried actually had 2 severed heads that had bloody stumps with the eyes rolled back in thier heads and it's o.k. to carry that and nobody, these same two women never peeped a word about that, um, and also I just wanted you to know that you can't buy my action figure, but you can still go into any Walmart in the United States and buy live ammo and a shot gun, and a hunting knife to cut up the victim if you need to. Don't buy my action figure because you may, that is actually known as a training manual for future spousal abusers. I'm thinking about including htat with the next action figure.
JM:Really? How to beat your wife?
Al:yeah, chapter one, holding a phone book up to her to cut down on bruising.
JM:Now is HEAD a male or female.It looks female.
Al:Either one, I always refer to it in an asexual manner. I never call it a "him" or a "her" if people listen to me I call it a they, and the reason that I do is because I try to, I actually read a book on abnormal psychology, and tried to portray the traits of a paranoid schitzophrenic with transference disorder. Where I have the sickness but I have transferred the disorder and believe that the actual sickness is hte mannequin head and not me. That's why I say that the mannequin head has multiple personalities. I do lots of little things when I'm in the ring or going to the ring or leaving the ring to create depth for the character which creates questions which creates possibilities for storylines, and one of them was to refer to the HEAD as a "they" or a "them" therefore saying that it has multiple personalities. Then I could bring out a different head for a different situation, with a different look on it. Like you know, I've got the Help Me HEAD, which is when I have an internal cry for help that I can't vocalize, and then I bring out the Fear Me HEAD when I get mad, and it's all cut up and it's hair is shaved and it says Fear Me on it, and then I bring out another HEAD and it says something else, and it all represents different aspects of thier personalities.
JM:So one of these times you could take a head out that says Johnny Manson?
JM:Great angle, people would be going "what's going on?"
Al:I made it a point, I've got like eight different heads with eight different looks for that purpose and they simply didn't explore that part of the character.
JM:You ever work with Vince Russo?
JM:What do you think of him.
Al:Mixed feelings, I mean, Vince is a great guy, and Vince was the reason that I came back to the WWF. He had contacted me several times while I was with ECW and he convinced me to come back. It was because of him that I did come back and because before I left, Vince was the one guy who before he had any power was coming up with ideas and was coming up to me and talking to me and trying to create things to try to give me an oppurtutnity. I don't necessarily agree with his booking strategy in WCW right now, but he's a creative guy, when he's put in with the right group of people to direct that creativity, he's the main reason that Vince McMahon is where he is today.
JM:Who was your best match ever?
Al:That's hard. Of the top of my head, I had two matches and probably the first one that we ever had was the best one, was with Chris Benoit. He's an incredible athelete, and incredible worker, he works his own style
JM:He's a total Dynamite Kid mark,
Al:Yeah, and he works his own, that style, he works that style.
JM:If you could have a match with anybody, who would it be, past, present?
Al:Well, if it were past, you know, Terry Funk or Harley Race or even Rick Flair, in his day, you know, the wrestling business, is unlke any other form of entertainment, it's very important that everythign you do has some sort of ring of truth to it in order to help the fans suspend their disbelief and be entertained. When you are out there portraying Rick Flair, as the babyface, they guy that everyone is against, when deep down everyone knows he has had his day numerous times and he's an icon and a legend, and they believe that he shouldn't be utilized that way and so they don't get behind it, so it's very difficult to make people believe it because it just doesn't ring true.
JM:Where do you want to be ten years from now?
Al:I honestly don't know. I haven't figured out what I want to be when I grow up yet. I don't have any idea. I don't know what it is that is going to challenge me enough to create some sort of passionate feeling that I'm going to want to pursue it ten years from now, I really don't know.
JM:You still having fun?
Al:Yeah, I am having fun. This is basically what I've worked my entire adult life for. There are times when it's frustrtaing, like any business it gets frustrating, especially any creative business, I wouldn't change anything though, I'm having a blast. I'm going to try to ride it as long as I can. Try to make pay while the sun shines.
JM:what's your favorite food?
Al:Ferbers(?)Jelly Beans, the new tropical flavor is absolutely the best,they come in a green bag, they are without a doubt, the other ones are good, I love the other ones, I'm addicted to them, but the new tropical flavor are the new crack. Very few people could live on my diet and survive.
JM:What is in a typical Al Snow diet?
Al:Basically as few vegatables as possible. I consider the fact that I travel and work with enough, and then you have to hav a healthy dose of sugar in there. You have to have as much salt as possible, I'm a big fan of salt. I have a salt lick in my kitchen, I just run my tongue across it. I don't drink any alcohol. I basically figure I'm manic enough without getting drunk. I can't imagine myself on illegal drugs or alcohol because I have a hard enough time dealing with reality as it is.On a regular basis I will go out in the front yard and spin myself around until I'm really dizzy.
JM:You do that with the kids too?
Al:No, it's more fun doing it by yourself. You get more looks from the neighbors.
JM:So what can we expect from Al Snow in the future?
Al:Absolutely, the most unexpected thing, the least likely thing that you would expect to see in a wrestling venue, that is what you are going to see from me.
JM:You know, you have the best t-shirts available at WWF events.
Al:Oh really? I'm asking them to make a new shirt for me I want them to put on it "what if the hokey-pokey is really what it's all about". You know, it makes people think. I like to make people think, you know, better than sitting there sometimes (Homer Simpson voice)"mmmm donut".
Al:You know,Bret Hart got over for one reason, and one reason only and that was because he got to do an episode of the Simpsons.
JM:Is he a dick?
Al:Sometimes he can be, sometimes.
JM:Is there anything else you might like to add to the people reading to this?
Al:To the people who are watching the WWF and the people who are watching Al Snow, look for the swarm.
Al:Someday soon maybe.Someday the swarm will come.
JM:You don't want to explain that do you?
Al:Oh no, no. It'll ruin the surprise.
Al:The swarm will come, believe me though I'm the only man who can do it. I truly believe that I am the only guy who can do it and it makes sense and to be entertaining too. I'm shallow but I work very hard to portray a deep situation, that way you know, it'll keep people guessing.
JM:Who is your favorite person at WWF?
Al:My favorite person in the WWF? You know, the guy that I was probably closest to was Mick. You know I won't tell him that.
JM: I won't either.
Al:There are a lot of guys that I like and get along with, but character wise, probably Kurt Angles character, I'm very entertained by the 24/7 thing they are doing with Crash, it's a hoot.
JM:And of course the Al Snow.
Al:Oh yeah, yeah, definitely. Me and Captain Backdraft, Steve Blackman.
JM:Seems like you are enjoying your life long dream.
Al:Oh definitely, having fun.
This transcript was writen by staff member Maggie-O
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