Think you're a jack of all trades? Then meet the master- New York-based writer, musician, editor and provocateur Mike Edison (left- photo by Jackie Roman). He's written for Hustler, edited Screw,High Times, and Wrestling's Main Event, played with GG Allin and collaborates with Jon Spencer of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, as well as running his own group Edison Rocket Train, invented the ChroniCaster, and plays a mean theremin to boot.

Mike's currently on the road promoting his newest opus, Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!: Of Playboys, Pigs and Penthouse Paupers, which tells you everything you ever wanted to know (and a few things you didn't) about spank mag pioneers Hugh Hefner, Bob Guccione, Al Goldstein and Larry Flynt.

We were lucky enough to get a few minutes with Mike, who gave us the skinny on porn, potheads, naked puppets, and why Hugh Hefner is a closet queen:

SC: Were you as fixated on onscreen nudity as spank mags in your adolescence (and beyond)? Why or why not?

ME: The sexiest woman on television, to my febrile, developing, adolescent brain was Julie Newmar as the Catwoman on the Batman TV show.I don’t know how much of the whole SM vibe of her get-up and gimmick registered as such to my acorn of a brain, but subconsciously or otherwise I knew that she held the promise of what sexuality would be on every level, just as soon as I figured it out: a little bit of danger, something risque and bizarrely wonderful, a balance between dominant and submissive, rife with seduction and kinky games. And real, gooey romantic love, too, because obviously, no matter how much she purred to the contrary, she had it for that dynamic dork Batman in a big way. I also like the way she pushed Robin around. It was all very provocative.

As far as naked women went, where were they? I don’t remember seeing any actual nude scenes, just lots of tits in early Charles Bronson movies. I was just starting to be able to see R rated films when he was a box office king and REAL sex scenes? I think the first porno I ever saw was probably a reel of some kind at at 42nd street peep show. It was hot stuff for a teenager, hell, even a few years later when I was writing listings for Screw it was plenty hot. Home porn wasn’t so available, and I never saw the point of watching porn in a theater, not with other people around, and anyway, who wants to watch an eighty-minute fuck flick? One minute increments at two-bits a pop in a private booth. That was far preferable.

Actually, I don’t even like pornography that much. People are always surprised to hear that. I’ll cop to using pornography as much as any other guy, and what with my career choices I have a free life-time supply, but to me, fucking, repetitive motion act that it is, is not so much of a spectator sport.The great thing about girlie mags is that they were pure contraband, and that was a big part of the turn on. They spoke to a lifestyle far beyond that of adolescent boys. As I say in Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!, I started out with greasy girlie mags and serviceable brick weed before trading up to real girls and quality drugs, because as you get older, the club house gets better.

SC: What’s your all-time favorite nude scene?

ME: I just saw the new Muppet Movie and most of them walk around nude, or at least the frog does. Nudity is overrated. Partial nudity is where it’s at.

SC: Who are the three sexiest actresses of all time, in your estimation?

ME: Lana Turner and Veronica Lake used to really kill me. Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity, but that has a lot to do with Fred MacMurray selling her, as we say in the wrestling business. She isn’t such a knock out, I mean she’s sexy but not an obvious bombshell, but when Fred MacMurray as the insurance agent says to her, “that’s a honey of an anklet you’re wearing,” that is a very highly-charged moment and she picks it up and runs with it.

Do models count? Because the girl in the JOB rolling paper ad that used to run in National Lampoon circa 1978 to me is still pretty much the sexiest woman of all time. She was sort of this archetypical blond, California hippie goddess, everything that my teenage world in a New Jersey suburb was not. Maybe you guys have her on file somewhere? Actually I bet I could find her in my old collection of Lampoons, but I am afraid she’ll just break my heart.... Actually, honestly, I’ve moved on. I realize now it was somewhat of a one-way relationship. No, really, I’m ok with it.

SC: What is the sexiest movie genre?

ME: Is there a good noir comedy? Because that would be it. A little bit of dark seduction and some laughs. What else would any woman want?

SC: What’s the funniest nude scene you’ve ever seen?

ME: In the Borat movie, when Borat is eating the fat guy’s balls. That’s what Hollywood likes to call “a brave performance.” Runner up: Chuck Berry peeing on a white girl in a bathtub and then refusing to kiss her because she smells like piss. I haven’t seen the alleged video of Jane Fonda allegedly fucking Ted Turner allegedly up the shitter with an alleged strap-on dildo, and him allegedly whining when it allegedly falls out of his ass, but that sounds like a winner, too.

SC: Have you ever been strangely turned on by a movie, TV show or individual scene that seemed “inappropriate”?

ME: It is never inappropriate to be turned on, except by children, in which case you should have your balls cut off and stuffed in your mouth. Everything else is fair game.

SC: In Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!, you talk about Larry Flynt and Al Goldstein in a generally positive light andHugh Hefner somewhat less favorably. Can you briefly explain why?

ME: Because Hefner is a lying, duplicitous, closet-queen who likes to take credit for liberating women and opening the doors so we could all get laid and it is complete bullshit. He promotes this shallow, materialistic lifestyle and pretends to be some kind of ladies man when clearly doesn’t even like women. He caught lightning in a bottle putting Marilyn in the first issue of his magazine, and was smart enough to hire a great art director and eventually a great literary editor to prop him up. Not that he isn’t talented, or without vision, and Playboy was for a long time one of the great American magazines, there is no doubt about it, but he is an overrated narcissist who got lucky and lived on the talents of others, and frankly I cant believe anyone would be impressed with him now, floating around his manse in his sailor hat looking like some sick homage to Charles Nelson Reilly and Phyllis Diller. What’s more, he denies being a pornographer, and even denies that Playboy is a sex magazine. Not only is he a creep, but he is completely full of shit. (You can hear more of Mike's thoughts on why Hugh Hefner Hates Girls over at YouTube -SC)

Now take Larry Flynt, generally portrayed as a pig pornographer. And Al Goldstein, ditto. But those guys are pathologically honest and true to themselves. What you see is what you get. And they put their asses on the line in the name of free speech, they both spent time in jail defending it. Hefner can’t claim that. What he was doing was risqué, but he never crossed the line. The other guys lived to punch holes in the wall. Jimmy Breslin once said of Flynt and Goldstein and Lenny Bruce that you don’t want to know them, but you owe them. They are the real deal, street level pioneers. Hefner did some great things with Playboy, but he was way past his sell-by date years ago. He still thinks the big bands are happening.

SC: Some of the magazines you’ve worked for, most notably Screw, no longer exist, and some are barely hanging on. Do you think magazines are going to disappear for good, or is there something special about the print experience that will keep them going for a niche audience?

ME: Well, ink on paper is the best way, I think, to present a magazine, but I am all for the iPad and the like. Why not? It’s just a different delivery system, and now that you can take a digital magazine into the bathroom, who cares? More importantly is the quality of the product. People are getting lazy and cheap when it comes to presenting kick-ass content everyone is in a rush, short, crappy copy has replaced thoughtful long-form journalism, everyone with an iPhone thinks they are Helmut Fucking Newton hopefully, and I honestly think it will happen, there will be a new focus on unique and diversified, high-quality publishing, digitally or otherwise. At some point real journalists are going to take back the turf that the hordes of moron bloggers have managed to poach without any real qualifications.

SC: Wikipedia says you kicked a guy’s ass to get your first publishing job at Wrestling’s Main Event. True or false?

ME: Absolutely, 100 percent true. It was a Loser Leaves Town Match for the Editor in Chief position, and I flattened my boss with a Heart Punch and moved into his office on the 82nd floor of the Empire State Building. He wasn’t heard from again for months. I’m not like James fucking Frey or some fabulizing douchebag memoirist who has to make stuff up to look cool. In fact, I left stuff out of my first book, I Have Fun Everywhere I Go, because I didn’t think people would believe it all.

SC: Since you have experience editing magazines in all three areas Who’s the most (and the least) fun to hang out with, pro wrestlers, potheads, or pornographers?

ME: Professional potheads suck. Working at High Times was like being in the film Groundhog Day it was the same fucking thing, every fucking day. We’d have the same editorial meeting twenty times and no one would even notice. Christ, it made me want to put a bullet in my head. Actually I was convinced I could and I would wake up and still be at the same stupid meeting. I thought being publisher of High Times was going to make me smoke more pot, but it made me drink more and take a serious interest in heavy downers. The editors who were stoned all the time, which was almost all of them, were paranoid, lazy, and completely stunted emotionally and professionally. Maybe that doesn’t come as a surprise, but hey, we were trying to run a magazine, a famous one it was kind of a rock star job but everyone there took it for granted. It was tragic. As far as wrestlers and pornographers go, you know how it is for every genius like Goldstein there are a million hacks. For every visionary like Roddy Piper there are a million un-evolved thugs. Sort of like high school English teachers that way.

SC: What are your personal experiences with censorship, either as a writer or as a publisher?

ME: I was shocked when I was asked to tone down some drug references in a story I wrote about the Rolling Stones for Spin magazine. I used the phrase “really delicious cocaine” and the editor told me I couldn’t say that. I was completely shocked.. a rock’n’roll magazine demanding I not make drugs so appealing? And this was a story about the Rolling Stones, fer chrissakes. The same guy also asked me to lay off Ron Wood, who I said looked like a cross between a magpie and my grandmother. He thought that was over the line, too, but I sent him a picture of Ronnie and he relented. Honestly, these days, the real censorship comes from fear of pissing off publicists and advertisers. No one else really cares.

SC: You’re a rock musician as well as a writer. Does the style of your writing influence your music, and vice versa?

ME: Music influences my writing to the degree that I want it to bounce when it has to, and do a sexy, slow-drag when that’s that is called for Mostly I try to keep a good sense of rhythm and meter and cadence. I want my books to read as if you were listening to a great rock’n’roll record, or a stack of killer jazz sides, and that would include fast parts and blues and laments and maybe a bit of novelty. Maybe a few clanging, cacophonous notes, or some interesting stacked harmonies. It’s an extended metaphor, but hopefully it comes together on the printed page. If people like my writing, certainly the rhythm and the irreverence has a lot to do with it. Music and writing, when they are good, are a lot like sex. When it is good.

SC: Speaking of music, you cover classical music for a few of the local papers. How’d you get that gig? Do you secretly sit at home sipping brandy and listening to Stravinsky records?

ME: It’s not a secret, although it’s more likely Brahms or Beethoven than Stravinsky he can be a little bit too modern for my taste. I got the gig covering classical music after I Have Fun Everywhere I Go came out and the editors of the New York Press insisted that I write for them. I agreed only on the condition that I would only write about professional wrestling and classical music. Wrestling because I love it and no one ever lets me write about it, and classical music because I figured it would be a good dodge to get free tickets. I love going to the symphony but it is an expensive hobby, so this worked out great. They’d give me fifty bucks for a preview of say, Rite of Spring, which I would compare to a good Black Sabbath concert, but the tickets are worth six times that, and the people at the symphony love it because no one ever talks about classical music in rock’n’roll terms, and so they figure they are reaching a younger audience and keep inviting me back to write more. So I write 800 words about Mahler, but really it is a rant about how much I hate the contrived angst of Pink Floyd, with a nod to Mahler’s very real pathos as a hook to hang it on. Some racket, ay? Seriously, though, go smoke a joint, or better yet, drop some acid and go see a good orchestra throw down Beethoven’s Ninth or one of the big Mozart symphs especially Nos. 25 or 40, the two he wrote in G minor because that’ll really blow your hair back. Compared to that, rock music is like moving boxes at the dock.

Check out Mike's website over at complete with videos and tour dates, and then do your brain a favor and buy Mike's books, Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! and I Have Fun Everywhere I Go, both available at!