Tommy Chong Hangs out and tells us about his life
Today is pretty special, and we mean it. Kenric and John got the chance to sit down and talk with the legend himself, Tommy Chong! We hear about his time in prison, to how he got started in music and so much more! We also tease you with a story about Cheech, but you will have to wait for part 2 for that!
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
Theme music by Good Co Music:
I don’t feel anything. Oh right, I’m a robot. Here’s you transcript ~ Steve The Robot
Tommy Chong Interview – Part 1
[00:00:00] Kenric: alright. Alright guys. We’re back. Today’s super special because you should get ready to laugh and have a good time. Uh he’s. One half of the Cheech and Chong duo comedy that you, I don’t know if you’re like me, you grew up watching all these movies and listening to the records.
And I wore out up in smoke on tape, uh, because I had to listen to it really low. So my mother wouldn’t hear me listening to it in my bedroom. And I wore that thing out like crazy and you know, and he’s awesome. You played Leo on that 70 show, Tommy Chong. Thank you so much for coming on.
Tommy Chong: My pleasure.
Believe me. I really enjoy this
Kenric: stuff. Well, it’s I couldn’t believe when they said you were coming on. I was like, no way. No.
Tommy Chong: Yeah. Well, you know, I’ve made. I’ve done. Pretty good sitting at home, you know, sending autographs and doing zoom calls and doing cameos and doing interviews like this series. Yeah.
Because when you get older, you know, when you’re young, you’re shy, you don’t have much to say yeah. When you get older, you get [00:01:00] too much to say.
Kenric: Yeah, we had this guy on named Kelly Jones. Who’s a famous artist, right? Yeah. And him and I talked for three hours and we get, we said by four times to each other, we’d say, bye.
And then we talk for another hour.
Tommy Chong: Yeah.
Tommy Chong: Especially if it’s emergency, if you’re the least bit. Don’t smoke dope.
That that really makes a difference. You know, that just like liquid eating after you’ve been stoned, you know, smoked up, you know, you go, Oh man, this is the best food I’ve ever had. My life. It was just fantastic.
Kenric: You can really taste the chocolate in this
Tommy Chong: ding dong. Yeah. Yeah. Well this glass of water. Oh my God.
Where’d you get it?
Kenric: I got it for the tap man.
Tommy Chong: And now I sell all sorts of CBD products.
Kenric: Yeah, that’s awesome. You know,
Tommy Chong: but I [00:02:00] sell strips. Like little breast strips, you know, and they got 10 milligrams of THC in them.
Kenric: Oh, wow. Like the old Listerine strips that used to be able to get,
Tommy Chong: yeah. Oh, that’s cool. Yeah, it dissolves. And you can pick them up at the head shops and that they come in, I think 50 packets or something, but anyway, you know what, when all, uh, I took a crew of a game, uh, Designers, you know, those video games.
Yeah. I think we went to a hockey game in Vancouver and, uh, what’s the connect play and, and I give them all a strip. Next thing you know, you know, the. What do you call it? The beer guys. They’re the popcorn guys there. They’re just ordering all these
Kenric: munchies. Can I get five popcorns?
Tommy Chong: Yeah. That’s what it was.
[00:03:00] It was, it looked like an ad, you know, because they’re just so much yeah. Junk food. No, those strips. Yeah. The only thing they do, they get you really thirsty. You know, you need your water. I do them to sleep and I wake up in the middle of the night. I’m just
Kenric: got to have that bottle of water next to you
Tommy Chong: all.
Just dryers can be.
Tommy Chong: But, Oh, it’s so cool.
Kenric: I got to tell you, man there,
Tommy Chong: time release, you know?
Kenric: Well actually, where can people go to, to see all the stuff that you guys offer? Do you have a website?
Tommy Chong: Uh, yeah, I guess
Kenric: totally get in trouble with the DEA. Is
Tommy Chong: it? Ah, fuck. I don’t know.
I can’t keep up with all these rules,
Kenric: dude. I listened to you. I can’t. Um, what was it? The comedy central thing that this is not happening or this, Oh God, what’s the name of that is that comedy show. It’s like, this is not happening. And you came up and you talked about your DEA bust. The thing that shocked me was literally you [00:04:00] sent an undercover person to be hired by you guys and then sold to an undercover guy that did everything to make it illegal.
Tommy Chong: That’s how you got busted. Well, yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, it seems fishy because they got us on tape refusing the order, you know, we said, no, we can’t ship it. It’s on tape. It was in, in the documentary. And, uh, and so we knew that we weren’t supposed to ship. And so what the, what they did the DEA agency, they said, well, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll find it.
Is it okay if we come up and then pick up the stuff? And then they said, Oh yeah, you can do that. So they flew in and then for some reason, you know, they flew in, they went to the shop and next thing you know, we’re shipping the stuff to them. So, so either they. Got some on suspecting guy or, you know, that because the whole, a bunk company knew they were not supposed to ship.
You know, that was the whole thing, you know, that was keeping us out of jail. [00:05:00] And for some reason that got, uh, the whole ship and it got shipped.
Tommy Chong: And so, so I, I, I,
Kenric: that’s what I say
Tommy Chong: because we had another guy come in our company and he was like the finance financial guy. And he was, uh, he was sent by the feds to, uh, Find out exactly what kind of money we were making, you know, so he got right in the office and he’s showing my son, you know, how to run a business.
Cause we really didn’t
Kenric: know this was our
Tommy Chong: first go at anything. And so he was showing my son, you know, the proper way to do business. In the meantime, he found out that we were losing money. You know, we weren’t. They continue, you know, it was, it was a year old, so we were still, we were still trying to get things happening, but, but, but, you know, I was so oblivious because you know, it’s been legal all my life
Kenric: as far as I’m concerned, you know,
Tommy Chong: you know, you know, I wasn’t trying to stop war or anything, you [00:06:00] know, a musician,
Tommy Chong: just wanted to get high playing my music and be alone.
Kenric: You gotta ask you online. I heard that you, that your band in the sixties. Before it was Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers. You wanted to call it something very different. And I’ll just go with the politically, correct? Because I have a little white guy, so I’m going to call it four ends and a C.
Tommy Chong: Yeah, it was really you’re talking about politically, correct? Yeah, we were the first, we were the first to do that. Uh, AP you know, American press called me up. W w what’s what, what’s the name of your bath? And I told them. They said, well, good luck with that.
We had to change it. We had a dip on the marquee and then we changed it to four color guys and a Chinese lad.
Kenric: Oh my God.
Tommy Chong: But Barry Gordy said, uh, you know, Moda. I said, no, we’re going to call your bank. The Vancouver’s because we were from Vancouver.
Kenric: What was that? What was [00:07:00] Barry Gordy last.
Tommy Chong: Well, that was, that was the kind of humor.
Yeah. Back back in the day, Bobby Taylor, you know, he’s, he passed away a couple of years ago, but he not only a phenomenal singer, but he’s funny. He was so funny here. He could make you laugh so hard because he was silly, you know, just silly,
Tommy Chong: Yeah. Everybody, every, every band, you know, every. Band member, you know, that I played with, you know, jazz, jazz musicians are notorious for knowing the best show.
It may not be a lot, but they know the best. Any jazz musician, you, you ask them and they’ll tell you some joke that, Oh,
Kenric: it’ll just
Tommy Chong: make your mind. Oh, it just blow your mind.
Kenric: I love it.
Tommy Chong: But you.
Kenric: You’ve kind of run the gambit man, fucking musician writer,
Tommy Chong: director,
Kenric: actor, standup comedian. [00:08:00] I mean, what the hell, man, you’re gonna leave anything for the rest of us.
Tommy Chong: What’s going on with you? You’ve been all over the place. Oh no, I, I, I’m not good at anything. I can do a lot of things. I can do a lot of things, but I’m not good at anyone.
Kenric: Right. Thank
Tommy Chong: God, because then I’m not trapped.
Kenric: Right. You know,
Tommy Chong: like I can play, I wasn’t good enough to play on my own record. You know my guitar.
Right. You know, you know, they needed a studio guy, but they got studio guys. The kids can play their ass off, you know, but I noticed one thing is that all the best musicians were poor broke ass
Tommy Chong: that needed to have a girlfriend, so they can have a place to stay. You know, I need a couch. Yeah,
Kenric: yeah, yeah.
Tommy Chong: The best musicians in the world. You know, they’re staying at someone’s friend’s house. Cause they can’t afford word shit.
Tommy Chong: Because they get ripped off, you know, by the studios. Right. And so, so, uh, like we teach now we got ripped off, you know, with our movie, but we were, you know, [00:09:00] we’re, we’re lucky enough to, uh, you know, two
Kenric: other things happen, you know?
Tommy Chong: Cause the thing is. If you’re righteous, you know, if you don’t steal from other people, then, then you can achieve, there’s no end to what you can achieve. You can’t, you can’t cheat. That stops. Yeah. The only thing you have in life, that’s the only thing.
Kenric: Yeah. I believe that a hundred percent.
Tommy Chong: Okay. I said, when you die, man, you don’t take one penny.
Kenric: That’s right. That’s right.
Tommy Chong: The only thing you leave, you only thing you leave, you don’t take anything. The only thing you leave behind is your reputation. That’s the only thing.
Kenric: So was it true that you and Cheech started to do you guys, let’s go do this battle of the bands and you guys show up, but you guys started doing jokes and it was going so well.
You didn’t even play any music and you guys won the battle of
Tommy Chong: the bands, not one note. And we went the battle of the bands.
Kenric: That is crazy. Is that, was that the first night you guys playing off each other like that?
Tommy Chong: Yeah. First day that anybody [00:10:00] ever saw two long hair hippies. Do comedy, you know, and do the kind of comedy that made you fall on the floor, laughing heart.
You know what I mean? Cause we had, we, you know, we worked in an improv club, you know, and we could do anything we wanted and we did get all of that. And the crazier we got, the more the people liked it. And so that’s why we never got around to it. Musically. We were very weak. Yeah. Cause we had plays comedy wise.
Comedy wise, Oh man, you couldn’t touch us. And we would go to places that were, people were stunned, you know, they’re looking at us, what, what did they just say?
Kenric: The name
Tommy Chong: of our band. Yeah. And, and, and so. Then then when we started doing records, you know, because Cheech was always a vocalist,
Tommy Chong: He was the singer.
That’s why we put a band together. Cause he, you know, he’s like a giant, the math is kind of a [00:11:00] crooner, kind of a, he was, he’s got an artsy fartsy guy. You know, he liked art. He hung out with all the top artists in college and he really is an artist in his own. Right. And it still went whatever we did we teach.
I always took to that other level. Yeah. That was that just one more. Yeah, because he, so I’m so used to find things. And so, so that’s how. You know, we, we, we, and then w with me, see, I own the nightclub in Canada. Oh, wow. You weren’t working for it. Yeah. We weren’t working for anybody. We were, you know, I, I haven’t worked for anybody that I can remember.
You know, I think the last guy I worked for,
Kenric: that’s my dream
Tommy Chong: right there. I delivered the bread. Yeah.
Kenric: Currently have a job because, uh, because I need to, but I always strive to do things on my own. Like I’m always [00:12:00] hustling to try to make something on the side or do something and we’re doing this and we’re trying to make this to a point where we can just do this full time.
You know what I mean? Cause we love it. How many times for Christ’s sake?
Tommy Chong: Well, that’s how you do it. That’s how you do it. You don’t, you don’t bullshit around it. You just do it, you know, and then that, but the one thing you can’t cheat, you can’t cheat you.
Kenric: Right? I think we’re not the long way too. I think that’s the right way to do it.
Cause we’re taking our time to
Tommy Chong: build the, the railway is alleys, you know, because you’re going to fail, but that’s where you learn the city. You don’t learn from winning. You only learn from losing, you know, what? You should have done, what you should have done. Yeah. You’re going to dance, you know, and, and, and it’s good that you lose those early because then when you start winning, you know, you’ve been through the losing part.
Cause everybody has to go through that, no matter who you are, you know, no matter where you start eventually somewhere in your life, you’re going to start at the bottom because. [00:13:00] It’s like a ride at Disney land, you know? Okay. That ride, I had my eyes closed the whole time. Okay. Let’s do it again. This time.
I’m going to open my eyes, you know, and that’s what life, that’s what life it was all about. You know?
Tommy Chong: good. Just because you feel at one thing. Yeah. So what, yeah. Try something now, keep doing it until, until you find it. And that’s why it was me, you know, like. The reason I got, I directed a movie, I was trying to find a director, you know, I called the, um, shit.
Tommy Chong: forgot it. Yeah. And I, I was so very smelly
Kenric: Terrence Malick.
Tommy Chong: Oh, wow. You know, I called him because I loved his Badlands was a. With the Martin Sheen’s. And so I called him up and wanted to know if he would be interested directing and he’s he gave me the best advice. If it, did you write it? I said, yeah, this is what the new directed, he says, [00:14:00] you know what you want, no one can, you know, get inside your brain, like you can.
Right. And so I said, Oh, okay. And so that was what I did. With my ever since, even, even when I got the job was 70 show. Yeah. Uh, because I know I was hired to play your character. You know, the writers told me they wrote it just for me. And so I went to the table read and I botched it. I seen how you do it.
You know, they rehearse the rewrite, they rehearse, they rewrite and then they shoot the show. Right. And so I, I jumped right into that and I thought a bunch of clips of the seventies show and I had a TA you know, I had a tweet and say the main thing, the name was that all the clips that they showed me in there, I never wrote one line.
No one ad lib, everything. The writers wrote, [00:15:00] every, every word that I said, I remember at the being a motion. That was it. That was the extent of it because you know what they pitch crows, you know, and they know their, they know the rhythm of the show and everything, you know? And so if you see the bright thing of the records, I mean, bad and I understood earned.
Kenric: are you there?
Tommy Chong: No, that’s fair to me. It was the winter. Oh no. Wow. Because it wasn’t, uh,
Kenric: Tommy you’re breaking up.
Tommy Chong: Are you there?
Kenric: How the director directed,
Tommy Chong: you know, so I went to film school and went to sitcoms school. And so I sat there and I watched, you know, how they create that magic, you know? Cause you can never, you get learning, you know, there’s always something to do.
You know, that’s why there’s this pandemic, you know, people are [00:16:00] bitching and moaning. That means that they’re not access to them.
Kenric: Right. Right. They’re not doing things that they could be doing. I think we’re are you there? Or you’re you’re breaking up.
Tommy Chong: Oh, am I still breaking up? Yeah. Oh, the timer. Have we been on too long?
Kenric: No way.
Tommy Chong: I got, I
Kenric: still got too many questions for you. I can’t let you go that easy.
Tommy Chong: Yeah, I guess sure. The wifi up here sometimes.
Kenric: Yeah. That’s okay. We’ll wait. We’ll power through it.
Tommy Chong: Okay.
Kenric: Um, What was that 70 show your longest steady gig.
Tommy Chong: Yeah. Yeah. You know, when I
Tommy Chong: no, she said, you know, we’re still together.
Yeah. You know, but, but yeah, the movie. Yeah. Uh, let’s see. Yeah. It was, cause it went five years.
Kenric: Yeah. Yeah. Continuously. I mean, yeah.
Tommy Chong: Yeah, five seasoned [00:17:00] Jeff, you know, I spent one half, a one season in jail, but as soon as I got out, they, it was so weird because I wanted more money, you know, at the end of that, the first season.
And so, and so they all said, no, they were going to write the edits and then I got busted it. So it worked perfect. And so then after I did my nine months. I came back and then they
Tommy Chong: me back in the show without a race.
Kenric: Of course. Yeah. They did a really good job in that writing because they captured the spirit of Tommy Chong from Cheech and Chong in that role,
Tommy Chong: they captured that spirit and, and the, and, and it fit in so well with what they were doing because none of them really knew what.
Pot blurbs, you know? Yeah. I mean, you know, they’re faking it, you know, but not, not one of them right back that I did a bit about my first day of the seventies show and I laid up and I offered to all the, the actors, they all turned [00:18:00] down and finally the cameraman reaches around, Hey, welcome to the show, man.
Kenric: There’s my friend,
Tommy Chong: well was part of the crew, you know,
Kenric: How much of, of Tommy Chong in real life and Tommy Chong on TV or on, in the movies and on your comedy sketches crosses over with each other.
Tommy Chong: It depends, depends on where, but I’m learning now that they do the grandpa be quiet, be quiet and just enjoy not having to talk, you know, I’ve been enjoying that lately.
Uh, eh, you know, when I go to parties, you know, it depends, I I’m hanging out with sugar, Ray, Leonard, you know, the boxer. Yeah. And he’s awesome. You know, his wife and my wife they’re best friends because we both, they’re both very domineering. They both tell sugar, know what to wear and
Kenric: type personalities,
Tommy Chong: how to [00:19:00] talk.
And we’re just there. We’re like, we’re like toy poodles. It is
Kenric: a typical Saturday night. Is it Tommy Chong and sugar Ray Leonard. Barbecuing drinking wine, which is
Tommy Chong: a very, you know, we go to different restaurants, the way the women pick it up. I love this.
Kenric: This feels like it should be on TV.
Tommy Chong: Oh
Kenric: yeah. That’s like, that’s a reality show in the making right there.
Tommy Chong: You know what the big deal is now. When we go to eat, the women have one table and the men sit at another table is so fucking cool.
You know, because when it’s mixed couples, you know, uh, you know, they have to include us in the conversation. Right. And, and we don’t give it. Did you shit about what they’re talking about? Who’s with who or who dumped to, you know, [00:20:00] you know, what she, where did you see the Grammys? You know, none of that crap.
Tommy Chong: Got all the guys that they’re Trump, he’s a couple of Trump,
Tommy Chong: that they know better than the day they start. One guy. He, well, both of them, one guy, one guy got the point. The virus Trumpy. He’s still a Trump because they don’t, you know, they, they say, well, you know, uh, uh, Hillary must’ve brought a date.
Kenric: I’m calling them all that from now on Trumpis. I love that.
Tommy Chong: Oh yeah. You know, I was calm. I was calling trunk charts for awhile. Yeah. The guy was a retarded kid. He called me up and called me out on it. He said my kids, you know, eventually we’re probably, you know, so it’s like an insult to injury. Oh, okay.
Okay. And [00:21:00] then I changed it. So it’s all Trumpis, you know,
Kenric: I love it.
Tommy Chong: A trapeze trapeze with, with a little T
Kenric: it’s a little T yeah,
Tommy Chong: yeah.
Tommy Chong: Yeah. I asked him on my Twitter page all the time. You know, they, they show up, you know, they tell me, call me an idiot. And then I blocked him. And I installed them on the way out.
Yeah. And they just want me to, you know, just shut up be the, be that stoner, but, but don’t have a political, uh, uh, an opinion, you know, not that I, you know, I’ve been around longer than these guys that could even think about it. No, I, I definitely know. I, you know, I knew Trump was gonna win. I knew that he shouldn’t win.
And I knew, you know, when I, especially when comi, uh, uh,
Kenric: fixed it
Tommy Chong: for him to win soon, as [00:22:00] soon as he called me, he did that. That was it. And, and, and he knew what he was. Yeah. Oh, he’s
Kenric: playing the media.
Tommy Chong: Oh my God. No, no. They want a Trump in and the reason they want Trump in is to get all the tax breaks once they got.
Yeah. But they didn’t expect to get, you know, a pandemic.
Kenric: It just crazy. Just crazy. Yeah.
Tommy Chong: Yeah. Can you imagine only, you know, Let’s see what I can just see. Okay. Okay. That’s good. Debbie.
Let’s give him the pandemic. Let’s see what he does.
Kenric: He does nothing right
Tommy Chong: with nothing because he’s a liar. He never wanted the job.
Kenric: No, he didn’t
Tommy Chong: want to be president. He didn’t want to be president. That’s why he got elected because he was so honestly dishonest. You know what I mean? Yeah, yeah, yeah. [00:23:00] I grabbed a women by the pussy.
Yeah. So what you know, right. You know, it’s weird,
Kenric: super right wing Christians that are so staunchly
Tommy Chong: behind him. Listening trying his best to lose with the Mel Brooks. The producer tried your best. They have a flop movies and instead they had a hit. And that’s what happened at Trump not won a job. You know, no climb man in his, in his right mind wants a job.
Kenric: They just want
Tommy Chong: this money to get paid. They just want to get paid for telling you a story.
Kenric: That’s all.
Tommy Chong: And, and once they get paid, they don’t care about anybody.
Kenric: Awesome loser. I’m the best loser leprosy.
Tommy Chong: One steady got elected and that threw a big monkey wrench into his plans. He doesn’t know what health insurance is.
He has no concept,
[00:24:00] Tommy Chong: nothing. He has no concept. Your only concept is that how it, his hair looks right. And he’s still got that Elvis Presley, you know, Uh, someone once told me he’s got that Elvis Presley kind of vibe, you know? And so, so he’s still back in that era.
Kenric: Oh, I do. Let me pull this out to the max.
Tommy Chong: Yeah. Oh my God. Oh my God. The politically correct now is it’s going to be good. You know, it’s going to get. Really liked it and, and Biden’s going to be, uh, he’s got his work ahead of, but you notice how, uh, how the Republicans mess everything up like George Bush. Yeah. You know, we’re just starting the Iraqi war based on weapons of mass destruction that never existed.
And then it’s not, we got Trump in there only he and he alone do anything. This [00:25:00] guy can’t even find the door to the white house, keeps walking in the closet. Oh my
Kenric: God. With
Tommy Chong: the current
Kenric: political environment and like the cancel culture, I was curious, what do you think of that with when it comes to standup comedy and.
All the political correctness that is happening. And if somebody steps out of line, you get, you just get paraded, man, you get barraged until they’re canceling you. And sometimes I don’t think all of it is necessarily
Tommy Chong: warranted. No, you got you, you know, especially comedy comedy comes at a certain time in history.
You know, it comes and goes like jazz, jazz music, you know, because comedy really is the truth. You’re you’re dealing with truth. That’s why the black comics, you know, they just, all, they just grew like crazy, you know, during the seventies. You know, because there were, they were telling the truth, they were telling the truth, you know, comics like [00:26:00] red Fox, you know, they’ve been telling the truth forever.
Right. But they were telling that to two black crowds, you know, and then, then Fox got his, uh, uh, Stanford sign. And next thing you know, he’s got a big white following, but he wondered Fred Stanford, you know, they didn’t want to, they
Kenric: didn’t want red Fox. Right?
Tommy Chong: Yeah. And so, so comedy, you know, it comes and goes, you know, it’s like jazz, like dancing in clubs.
It’s like bars, you can’t grow a bond now. You know, it’s too dangerous. Right. You know? And so, so you know what I’m doing, what I’m planning on doing. Cause we’re we got a Cheech and Chong dispensers. And so what I do is
Tommy Chong: turn the, the dispensaries into like a, um, a community center. Oh cool. You know, so that, and the way you do it is very simple.
You just have a billboard announcing what’s going on. You know, in the community, right? [00:27:00] The culture with the culture you see, and we will abide by whatever health rules that we need to abide by. But eventually I want to, uh, be able to provide space. For entertainers like comedians. Yeah. Like, uh, poets or late jazz music or, you know, music groups, you know,
Kenric: a space.
Tommy Chong: an awesome thing. You know, you don’t, you don’t need, you don’t need much more than a space where you got electricity, you got a stage, you got dressing rooms, you can come out, do your, do your act, you know? And you know, like the, the, the old days, the old ways of like, like. The, the bars in that it’s going to change, you know, and we’re going to be, we’re going to look.
For a healthier lifestyle, right. As opposed to like some of the restaurants and especially in LA, you know, they’re there, they’re outside and they’re much nicer. They’re much nicer. You [00:28:00] go to these restaurants. God, I never know. It’s so nice for you. And all they did was, you know, put carpet down and in some landscaping and some fencing, and now you got a, you know, lighting and heaters.
You know, so, so the pandemic is changing our way of life. It making it more, uh, civilized, cause families are eating together, not
Kenric: a bad thing, right?
Tommy Chong: No. You know, kids sitting at the same table as their parents, you know, uh, you know, because mom and dad, aren’t running off to all their different jobs that they have to do now.
They’re stuck in the house. Yeah, they got to teach your kid. You know, they got to go through all that. When I was growing up, that’s the way we did it was called property.
Kenric: Did your mom and dad? I had, I wanted to ask you this. W did your mom and dad have to deal with racism in Canada, though [00:29:00] with the area that they’re in and paying him Chinese descent and your mom being Scottish Irish
Tommy Chong: from the day they got married.
Kenric: Yeah. But
Tommy Chong: my dad, you know, I found that out much later, but my dad and his brother when they were notorious, uh, fighters. Yeah. You know, uh, ni because back in the day, Uh, you know, you weren’t just a kid, you were a kid that either had to learn how to fight or run,
Kenric: fight or flight
Tommy Chong: one or the other fight or flight.
And my dad was because he was, he was quite sure. Yeah. He was like the running back for the football team. Yeah, he was the guy that gave the ball to it because you couldn’t stop him. And my uncle ended up teaching a dieting in gymnastics at the university of Alberta. That’s cool. So my dad, when he married my mother and my mother was five foot, eight close to tonight, I put nine, my dad was five foot three [00:30:00] and Chinese full Chinese, and I, we never knew how they met.
All the family, you know, we could make dad typical Chinese. He would, he wouldn’t car. He hardly typed. Yeah, he would, uh, he wouldn’t ever say goodbye or hello. You know, when he left, he was a dry truck driver. He just laughed. When he left to go on the road, he just leaves and let’s call the Irish
When you go to a party and then you just leave without saying goodbye, goodbye.
Tommy Chong: Well, my mother, my mother was part Irish was supposedly, but I found out later that she was a 25% native. Oh, it’s going to find out I’m 8% data. And so, and so yeah. You talk about racism. Yeah, he did for a hot minute. Especially during the war.
Yeah. Like, like, uh, when you got the uniform on the drunk, the drunks would, would have something smart to say, but not [00:31:00] for long, you know, because my dad, well, we here kids, uh, we moved into this one neighborhood where the thing is, but when you’re in the Chinese community, yeah. They call everybody Hong Kong.
Is because when they went through the immigration, all of a sudden, everybody’s your uncle.
Kenric: Okay. So,
Tommy Chong: so we had an uncle and when we used to build our little farm house and we have, we moved in with him and his, his, his, his wife and Joe, Joe BA. And, uh, and so we moved into this new neighborhood, white neighborhood.
Kenric: Yeah. And
Tommy Chong: I, and I went to the park, you know, I was so happy and I go to a little park and there’s a gang of kids there. And so they surrounded me. Yeah. And they were very racist. You know, Amanda, you know, it started pushing me around and then they, then they got a young kid, my size. And they said, okay, you guys got fight through [00:32:00] suffers.
Well, they had no idea. Yeah. That I grew up as a bigger brother. Right. Three years older than me. Sorry. I knew how
Kenric: to disable a kid.
Tommy Chong: I had, I had my, my GoTo gut punch. Right. You know? Right. I laid them out with a gut punch today. That was the end of that. And you know, him and that kid and I became friends later.
But, and then, so after I laid the kid out with a gut punch, the rest of the big kids started kicking me and pushing me around, you know? Yeah. Bullied me. They just pushed me around. They didn’t, they were, they were kind of like. Kind of mixed, like, uh, because we’re, their feelings were okay, this guy is different than us, so we should be bullying them.
But I kinda like him, you know, he’s different. So we ended up, we ended up being friends, but I went home crying and my uncle took me in the backyard by [00:33:00] Chinese uncle and he taught me three ways to kill somebody.
Kenric: Oh, my God.
Tommy Chong: When was he hit him in the nose with the, with the base of your hand, hit him up. So the bone fragments goes into the brain. Oh my God. I know that one was behind the year with your, with your knuckles. Oh, and the third one was a throat shock to the, to the throat, right? To the Rose.
Kenric: What was it? Do it, man.
Tommy Chong: W we got a real sad. Neighbor right next door. And so I tried it. Yeah. Yeah. Crazy. Crazy. Kid’s nose blew up, you know, bleeding and he went home and he’s got blood all over the place. And the mother, mother shows up at the door with the kid knocking on my door and he’s like, look what your kid did to me. And then, and then the whole neighborhood put up fences.
[00:34:00] I’ve been to then it was the community
words. I am hoses, fences. We were responsible for fences. We grew up like that on data. Like we never had toys. There’s no such thing as a toy store in the country, you know, you made your toys
Kenric: pretty wild.
Tommy Chong: Oh, yeah. But my, you know, my, my mother was strict. This could be, you know, you never know running around, you know, she wasn’t an alcoholic at all.
She was, she had a TV, you know, she’d been sick. You know, we were, uh, you know, I was without a mum for, for four or five years, but, but no, no, she was quite strict, but we were wild in the sense that we were. You know, Oh, well we never wore shoes or shirts or summer.
Kenric: Well, you’re in Alberta, Canada, man. You got to take your clothes off.
At some point you get the one you get the fall and winter, [00:35:00] like
Tommy Chong: when it gets hot, when it gets high, not only that, but you couldn’t afford to have shoes where you were out you, so you’re made barefoot
Kenric: and your Sunday’s best and that’s it.
Tommy Chong: Yeah. Well it’s Sunday and that’s it. Yeah. For that. Yeah. And that’s it.
No. And, and for toys, I used to borrow my mother’s a pairing nights. You know, and we learned how to throw them into it. First of all, under the outhouse. And then he did a, into the barn.
Well, the old side of the yard and the shed, and we just did, and we, my brother got really good. Well, he was the best athlete, you know, I was okay. But my brother was deadly with that night. So sometimes I’d have friends over that. I’d be, you know, they have no idea how, when, uh, when, uh, uh, native my brother was, yeah, [00:36:00] they would have.
My friends, eco stand still don’t move. Don’t move. Then you throw the knife and see how close you get to these.
Kenric: Oh God, I would not been a good person. I would have been so nervous.
Tommy Chong: Sweet, sweet. And throw it in. You can stick it in there. Oh yeah, we are. No, but that, that was there. That was there. We go to things for Christmas.
President. Oh, get me a hunting night.
Kenric: That’s what I wanted.
Tommy Chong: And that’s what my, my mother bought us, you know? Yeah. The Swiss hunting knives that were so sharp and so, so much fun. I used to wander off into the fields, Alberta, myself, just myself. I pack a lunch and go and yeah. Yeah. Oh, I got it for
Tommy Chong: I was like, no, you know, you’re doing the data.
Yeah. Just, just go on a hike on the daytime by myself. Yeah. And then come back. Yeah. So, uh, no, I, I, uh, I had a magical childhood
Kenric: growing up like [00:37:00] that. When did you realize that you had this bug in you to entertain? Because all the things you’ve been doing is, is all wrapped around entertaining.
Tommy Chong: Well, I could play guitar and learn how to my mother had a guitar that she bought when she was pregnant with me.
And I got it here. I finally, I found the pieces and I had it redone, I guess, looking at it now, but it was the little cheap Sears guitar, you know, that you got for, I think $10, $15. I had a little hula girl picture on her on the front, which is gone now. But, uh, but we had this guitar and then there, across the field, there was a fiddle player and I learned how to play a guitar that I could play with the fiddle player.
Yeah. And so
Kenric: a lot of, rather
Tommy Chong: than, yeah, I just all rhythm. Yeah. And so I was like a backup guitar player for a, I think I start when I was about eight, eight or nine. And then, uh, right up until I [00:38:00] was. So I started the band. I started the band when I was, uh, I guess 16, 17. Yeah. I just turned 17 and we started, you know, I got into a real band, but up until then, I played with a fiddle player for, for a couple of years.
Yeah, that’s cool. He taught me, he taught me how to keep the time,
Kenric: you know,
Tommy Chong: and he taught me three things. He says, First of all give the people what they want. Yeah. If they want to hear the same song five times and I give it to them. Uh, and then, and then, uh, I always keep the time, you know, you keep good rhythm, keep good time.
Don’t speed. Don’t drag, just, you know, get that pocket, find that groove. And that was it. And, uh, yeah. And, and, you know, you play for dances. Did you do that? Maybe a couple of breaks. Yeah, but you played for an hour and then you have maybe 15 minutes and then, Oh, you got to go back playing again. You know, and I loved it.
[00:39:00] Ah, yeah.
Kenric: How old were you when you guys moved to Vancouver?
Tommy Chong: I was, I was 20, so I was 20.
Kenric: Did you start the club or did your parents
Tommy Chong: Oh, the club.
Tommy Chong: it was given, it was given to us. Oh, that’s awesome. I’m counting you we’re blessed. That’s awesome. No, what happened? You know,
Kenric: it, it wasn’t, there was a strip club, right?
Tommy Chong: Well, there was a couple. Okay. The first one was an after hours. It was the steakhouse. Originally the guy bought the building and he said to me, ah, Would you like a club? Okay. Yeah. I said where? And he showed me. Yeah. And so with the keys and we opened it up and we had to put a stage in, yeah. We put a stage here and it was like a practice club for the longest time, because we couldn’t afford to advertise.
Right. But, but I met my [00:40:00] now wife. But she was a young high school kid and, uh, and, and we were doing other gigs side gigs too, you know, okay. Our nightclub, our rehearsal hall. And, uh, so we did this seem fair. And, and she had seen us before, out at, uh, the beach. We did a beach when I first saw her and I met her.
She wanted to, she was into black guys. She wanted to beat the singer, but I kept sticking.
Kenric: good. Looking at you.
Tommy Chong: She had no, no interest in me at all until. She had no choice. And so anyway, we played the teacher and then they to, they come up and talk to the band and they wanted a ride to the heart club in town. Yeah. So we told them, well, we got a club. Why don’t you come to Sierra club? [00:41:00] They said, well, Yeah, we’d never heard of it.
So we’re going to go to the hot club.
Tommy Chong: But the problem was, they were, they were kind of like hippie teenagers, you know, and they weren’t wearing shoes.
Yeah. The nightclub wouldn’t let him hit the hot club. Oh, my God. It’s so crowded. Most people were outside anyway. And, and, and, and shall be in her sister. There you have no idea how gorgeous they were. Let me just,
Kenric: your wife is aged amazingly well. She’s
Tommy Chong: beautiful. So her sister, her sister looks just as good,
Kenric: just, yeah.
Tommy Chong: Amazing. Can you imagine when they’re like,
Kenric: that’s some genetics right
Tommy Chong: there, 16 or 17? I think she was 17. Can you imagine? So anyway, they, they weren’t allowed in that. And so most of the patrons are standing outside cause it was hot and crowded in there. And so me. Bye bye. [00:42:00] Now wives shall be says, why no clubs, they, we can get into.
And so she, she led everybody like pied Piper down to our club. And of course my brother looked at her with no shoes and said, Hey, you know, to me, I’m on stage. And I said, it’s okay. Let her in. She’s a friend of mine.
And from that day forth, that club was packed. Soon as they heard our bands who was there,
Tommy Chong: the club, teenage
Kenric: girls, man. They bring everybody else in, especially when it comes to clubs.
Tommy Chong: Oh, they they’re, they’re in charge of everything.
Tommy Chong: Yeah. You, you, you th they know what’s hip
Kenric: what it is. There’s a ton of bands that I listened to in junior high, in high school.
Not because I liked them because the girls liked them. That’s
Tommy Chong: exactly it. When, of course, when I was playing music, I had a, uh, another native. We are an army cadets together. Yeah. And, and when we’re in cadets, I [00:43:00] bring out the guitars, you know, and, uh, we would play, uh, played backup for, for Dick, Dick bird. He was a full blood SRC native, but he did great Elvis Presley
Tommy Chong: Cause cause the Elvis came out just when we were. Yeah. We were there when he, when he, when he first appeared on TV.
Tommy Chong: And so next thing you know, where. I’m taking a bus with my guitar down to Western Canada, high school to back up my Dick, as he did as Elvis person, personally, a personal
Tommy Chong: with girls.
Tommy Chong: And what was that other one? Uh,
Kenric: Heartbreak hotel
Tommy Chong: heartbreak hotel. My baby left me.
Kenric: God. He’s so good. Yeah.
Tommy Chong: And the girls were screaming.
Tommy Chong: it was so funny. It’s funny when
Kenric: girls were making you do, man, the [00:44:00] things that you’ll go through just impressed that one girl
Tommy Chong: that’s that’s how Cheech got into pottery.
Kenric: Oh, are you going
Tommy Chong: to tell us the story