Cassandra Peterson is best known for her on-screen horror hostess persona of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, but she has incredible music stories to share. She tells DJ Garth Trinidad about going on a date with Elvis and a meet up with Jimi Hendrix. She chooses the “funkiest, hardest, edgiest, sexiest song from a woman” and reveals her biggest regret, which involves a band that changed her life.
For more: http://www.elvira.com
Banner Image Credit: John Biehler
1.) Elvis Presley- Hound Dog
2.) The Beatles - I Saw Her Standing There
3.) Jimi Hendrix - Foxey Lady
4.) White Stripes - Conquest
5.) Pretenders - Brass in Pocket
Elvira’s 5 Favorite Halloween Songs
"It's Halloween" by The Shags
"Do They Know It's Hallowe'en" from the Vice compilation Album Featuring Elvira
"Zombie Killer" by Leslie Hall featuring Elvira
"Mistress if The Dark" by Ghoultown
"Haunted House" by Elvira
Garth Trinidad: This is Garth Trinidad of KCRW and I am honored and it is my pleasure to be here with Miss Cassandra Peterson, best known for her on-screen horror hostess persona of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. It’s kind of surreal, you know, obviously it’s – I had a very personal and intimate, but you know strictly personal love affair with this on-screen persona and I’m sitting here –
Cassandra Peterson: Oh my goodness, don’t tell me I helped you through puberty too.
Garth Trinidad: -- with the woman…I’m not going to put it like that but I’m like every other guy that sat and had to watch Elvira on screen. I didn’t watch for the horror – you know I’m not really a horror guy -- I just watched for you. And here you are.
Cassandra Peterson: If I had a dime for every guy who said I helped him through puberty, I’ll tell you I would be…
Garth Trinidad: A multi-multi billionaire most likely. So we’re here, we’re going to be talking about music that has of course inspired her and songs that you know have depth and meaning for her in her lifetime. You brought a nice, wide array of picks I wanted to get into and I think the first thing we have here is something from Mr. Presley.
Cassandra Peterson: Well, I had to mention Elvis because this was the first song that sort of registered in my mind as a child. I got a little record player with a little single for my birthday when I was…oh, I’d say I was maybe somewhere between 3 and 5 years old. And I fell in love with that record. So, that song is sort of just engraved in my brain. And later on, when I was 17 and I was a showgirl in Vegas, I was lucky enough to go out on a date with Elvis Presley – I don’t know if you heard that story, but …
Garth Trinidad: No, never.
Cassandra Peterson: It wasn’t that exciting – I mean it was exciting – oh God, it was exciting for me, but not that much happened because I was 17 – that spells jailbait. But he did change my life, absolutely changed my life. I thought I had made it as a showgirl in Vegas and Elvis convinced me that I could sing. I never was a great singer by any means, my God, but that I could do it enough to make a career out of it and not stay in Las Vegas until I became the oldest showgirl in Vegas. So I don’t think any playlist would be complete without at least one Elvis tune.
Song: Elvis Presley’s “Houndog”
Garth Trinidad: So the next track we have here from the infamous Beatles.
Cassandra Peterson: I had to include the Beatles because I got “Meet the Beatles” album for Christmas. I played that record and my entire life changed. My ENTIRE life changed. I remember that moment – it’s like Oprah would say, it was an “a ha” moment, you know? It was the way I dressed, the people I hung out with, the things I read, the things I did -- everything changed because of the Beatles.
So I picked one from “Meet the Beatles” because that was my first album. I picked “I Saw Her Standing There” because I would dream every night that someday I was going to be 17 and the Beatles would pick ME.
Song: The Beatles “I Saw Her Standing There”
I’ve met all the Beatles except John. I never got to meet John and that’s…you know, sometimes people say ‘do you have any regrets in your life?’ and I swear to God, I think that’s my only regret -- that I never got to meet John Lennon, because he kind of turned out to be my favorite Beatle and his music, his life, everything he did, I mean, he is my idol. And so that is a regret, that I never at least got to see him in person or meet him – sad.
Garth Trinidad: Cassandra Peterson is our guest DJ today and we’re just talking about songs that have inspired her throughout her lifetime, telling little stories and what not. I love this, “Foxy Lady” from Jimi Hendrix. Can we talk about this song?
Cassandra Peterson: Yeah, oh God, well that was another turning point was when all of a sudden bands like, well Jimi Hendrix first was the first one that really hit home with me, but Led Zeppelin, just the ‘60’s, the kind of acid rock thing came out. And I tell you, it was another turning point. I still loved the Beatles, because they were right along in there doing the same thing, but man the first time I heard Hendrix, I just didn’t know what hit me. I was such a freak. I followed him around where he played in the United States just like concert to concert and then finally I met him too at the Denver Pop Festival and I had quite a lot of fun with him I must say. Ow!
Song: Jimi Hendrix’s Foxy Lady
Cassandra Peterson: I don’t know…that’s kinda how I felt after I met Jimi. You know and I just remember that guitar part starting, oooh that little - and just like, just going crazy. I don’t know.
Garth Trinidad: The White Stipes, “Conquest.” What is it about this particular song that made you choose it? Cassandra Peterson: Well it’s so different really for White Stripes, I thought. It’s so odd for them, it’s such – it’s almost like a show tune or something, it’s such a bizarre choice in song. But then when I saw the video, I think that’s what really just made me totally fall in love with this song. And it actually tells a story, which a lot of songs don’t. It’s kind of interesting. It feels more like an opera. So, I just think that it was a funny, unusual song for a band of their caliber to do.
Song: White Stripes’ Conquest
Cassandra Peterson: And then when I got to see Jack White play with the Raconteurs, I really felt like I hadn’t seen that kind of electricity on stage since seeing Robert Plant or Jimi Hendrix. I couldn’t believe how he freakin’ lit up that stage, man. It was, woh, I was just blown away.
Garth Trinidad: “Brass in Pocket.” What made you choose this one?
Cassandra Peterson: Well, in the ‘80s I was actually a production assistant on the Don Kirshner Rock Concert show. And it was just a way to get to see every band that was out there in the ‘80s. And all of a sudden that whole New Wave thing hit and I lived my life at the Roxy and the Whiskey, every night. I tell you, the whole New Wave thing just, thank God it came along ‘cause I mean, I’m sorry but I think 99% of the music in the ‘70s sucked. I don’t even remember the ‘70s. I went directly from the ‘60s to the ‘80s.
When all the music came out, I mean the Pretenders and Devo and Oingo Boingo. It was so incredibly refreshing. I thought, ‘oh my God music is back!” And Chrissie, I just thought she was the coolest and “Brass in Pocket” was the funkiest, hardest, edgiest, sexiest song from a woman that I had heard ever probably, and maybe still is.
Song: The Pretenders’ Brass in Pocket
Garth Trinidad: Cassandra Peterson has been our guest DJ today. Thank you so much.
Cassandra Peterson: You’re welcome this is fun. I could talk about music all day. This was great.