Cisco Adler is famous for a lot of things — he’s the son of Lou Adler (the legendary ’60s producer who’s worked with everyone from the Mamas and the Papas to Cheech and Chong), the ex-boyfriend of The O.C. star Mischa Barton, the guy with the exceptionally large pair of testicles (a portrait of them was posted on perezhilton.com) — but being a musician is not one of them…yet. But with the VH1 show The Rock Life (airing Mondays, following Rock of Love) set to feature the daily struggles of Whitestarr, the slop-rock band Adler formed some seven years ago, he’s hoping to change that.
Think of it as The Hills (of Malibu) starring a bunch of long-haired, ass-bearing dudes who make no apologies for their I wanna rock n roll all night and party every day lifestyle. One thing’s for sure: it makes for good on-screen drama, and Adler would know since he’s a reality TV nut (watch out, Padma Lakshmi!). Always good for a laugh-out-loud conversation, we caught up with Adler just as Whitestarr’s rented (and subsequently, trashed) Winnebago was pulling into his Malibu home. The band had just returned from a series of one-off shows, which, to their surprise — and delight — were all near or total sell-outs. Maybe their moment has finally arrived.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Whose idea was it to do the show?
CISCO ADLER: It was my idea. Over the years, I had been pitched those weird reality shows — me and a girl and all that bulls—. Eventually, I was like, let’s just do our own show and have control and get it out there. I was involved in pitch meetings and it was a fun process that took two years, but that’s why it was so cool to finally see it. You know, everyone in Los Angeles has a TV show, so to actually have [mine] make it to air was nice.
The entire band watched the first two episodes together at a bar in Chicago, right? How was that?
It was hilarious. Tony Potato was belligerent, screaming ”Tony, Tony, Tony!” every time he was on the screen. He blacked out. He says he remembers the first episode, but by the second, he was gone. He woke up naked in a room and doesn’t remember how he got there. See, even the dancer’s living the rock life!
Tony Potato is, of course, your not-exactly-in-shape full-time dancer. How did he become a part of the band?
This is how he tells it to me, because it’s foggy. When we first started, we didn’t know that seven years later, this would be my entire life, blood, and the air I breathe. We just started a band. But for the first couple of shows, there were so many random weirdos on stage, and he says that he got up and was the one who just never got off. So now we’ve taken him on. I can’t explain it, it’s just Whitestarr. There’d be no Whitestarr without Tony.
Was he inspired by other famous rock band dancers?
Over the years, people have brought it up — Happy Mondays and that ska band, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones — but I like to think of it more like Public Enemy with Flavor Flav.
And then there’s Rainbow, your guitarist. In the first episode, when manager Carl Stubner comes to see you play with Tommy Lee and Slash in tow, were you really annoyed at all of Rainbow’s grandstanding, like the 10-minute long guitar solo?
Isn’t that hilarious? The funniest thing about that is I remember it exactly as it was cut. It was, like, it couldn’t have been done better from my own memory. I wasn’t that pissed off. Literally, it came down to the fact that we finally got a manager to come see us, and it was just time to play tight and look like some professionals. Not look like a bunch of d—s who are hyped because there’s a bunch of chicks in the front row.
At that Roxy gig, as any Whitestarr show, there’s an awful lot of ass crack. Do you ever wear underwear?
How long have you been going commando full-time?
I don’t know. Three, four, five, six years? I don’t remember when I started wearing pants too tight for underwear.
What’s the advantage?
Only one layer to pull off, of course.
NEXT PAGE: ”I’m like a naked dude. So I was thinking, ‘Damn, it took them that long to get a naked picture of me?”’
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Well, while we’re on the topic of body parts. You seemed to take the news of your balls being all over the Internet pretty well, all things considered.
CISCO ADLER: Honestly, that week was so gnarly that when that happened, it was the funniest thing on earth. I couldn’t believe it. First of all, I’m sure it has something to do with my dad and being raised in hippie culture, but I’m like a naked dude. So I was thinking, ”Damn, it took them that long to get a naked picture of me?” I didn’t give a f—, really.
Was it ever an issue for you growing up?
Obviously not. It’s like, look, I have big balls, but I’m sure other dudes have big ones, too. Mine just happen to be the most famous.
So you’re known for that, for dating famous starlets like Mischa Barton and sometimes rolling out of clubs with friends like Paris Hilton. Does it bother you that so much of the attention the band gets is on your social life?
Well, that’s the trifecta, right? [Laughs] I’ve come to terms with it. I know what I am — I’m a musician. That’s what I do by trade. But for some reason, the world is obsessed with what everyone does socially. And I cannot help it if the laws of attraction are working for me.
Do you think this tabloid-crazed mentality will ever die down?
I’m sure it’ll blow up at some point. It’s cyclical. You look back at when it was Jayne Mansfield or Marilyn Monroe and all those chicks were going crazy. People were obsessed with what they were doing, who they were f—ing and what drugs they were snorting. It just comes back around. But believe me, there are those people who go out and ask for it sometimes. Then again, sometimes you just find yourself drunk in front of a camera.
What’s been the reaction to the show?
Our MySpace [page] is going crazy. Last week, we played [a show in] Phoenix on a one-off just by ourselves and sold it out. It was crazy, that was just two days after it aired and you could see all the people who made their way from that. As far as our families and friends, everyone loves it and laughs and knows we’re crazy mother f—ers. We’re also happy we made an agreement to let it flow. We don’t care that out of 30 minutes, 10 are going to be an argument — that’s good television! But hopefully people will see it and go, ”Damn, these guys are kind of wild, and holy s—, they can play their asses off!”
Do you feel like rock music is too tame these days?
It’s too tame for me. People are worried about my balls, but what the hell happened to rock-n-roll?!
You produced Mickey Avalon’s hit jingle, ”Jane Fonda.” Are you still working with him or any other artists?
Yes, Mickey Avalon, the world’s first glam-rock rapper. His record came out six months ago and I did two songs on that, and we’re gearing up for the second one right now and I got maybe six or seven songs on it. And then I have this guy Schwayze, who’s actually sitting in my living room getting stoned right now. He’s a kid I found through hanging out in Malibu who I just thought was extremely talented. We teamed up and made a record without any pressure at all, just for fun. I produced the whole thing and sing on it, too. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s kind of like a Gnarls Barkley thing, just two worlds colliding in music.
Any other plans?
Me and Rainbow are always talking about doing a sequel to Cheech and Chong, where we play their kids who never met each other, because they were never even acknowledged. We’re still working out the logistics, so I can’t really tell the world about it yet.
What TV do you watch?
I’m a Seinfeld guy. And I was a diehard Law and Order fan for years. I’m a reality junkie. I’m sorry all you cut-rate actors, it’s just better TV! I’m kind of into Hell’s Kitchen, and totally into America’s Next Top Model, just to look for my next girlfriend. They gotta be making their way to L.A. after the show wraps, right? And I love Top Chef. Whoever that hostess is, she’s the hottest girl ever!
That would be Padma Lakshmi, who recently announced she’s divorcing her husband, Salman Rushdie.
Padma, call me up, baby!