The new music documentary, The El Duce Tapes, details the life and slimes of one of rock ‘n roll’s most offensive frontmen.
He’s part of Hollywood folklore and an underground punk rock legend. Rumor has it Courtney Love offered him $50k to kill Kurt Cobain. His name is El Duce was more than a belligerent, bulging eyed, beer belly singer for one of the most offensive bands known to man. He was a troubled artist who paved the way for the future of shock rock.
Aspiring actor Ryan Sexton found El Duce passed out in the bushes in front of his Hollywood apartment one day in the early 90’s and befriended the rock singer/drummer. Sexton had the intention of making a documentary on El Duce and accumulated hours of footage after visiting the seediest clubs, darkest alleys, and squats in Los Angeles. Unfortunately El Duce met a tragic ending and the VHS tapes lay dormant in storage until now.
The El Duce Tapes documents the upbringing and wildlife of El Duce. Born Eldon Hoke, he started his band, Mentors, in Seattle in the late 70’s and then made his way down to Los Angeles in the 80’s. Mentors were a three piece band that wore black executioner hoods and were self-described as “male chauvinsim rock”. El Duce realized from a young age that his bad behavior and vulgar language struck a nerve with people and gained him notoriety. In 1985 the band was reprimanded by the Parents Music Research Center (PMRC) before Congress for their profane and outrageous lyrics. After this the Mentors had finally found their niche and El Duce wound up on day time talk shows like Jerry Springer and The Wally George Show where he was called out for his lewd and misogynistic behavior. The media’s plan to expose the scumbaggery of El Duce backfired and this national exposure opened up the floodgates and new fans poured in.
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The life of El Duce is clouded with alcohol and shrouded with mystery. This documentary peels back the layers to one of the most immoral and inebriated lead singers of all time. It takes a look at his upbringing and is filled with archival footage and interviews with family, friends, and band members. Although El Duce is a complete degenerate this documentary humanzies the controversial figure. This film is not for everyone. El Duce is politically incorrect and gross but Mentors fans and anyone into the subculture of shock rock will enjoy this exposè on one of punk rock’s first real trolls. So grab a 40 and check it out!
The El Duce Tapes is a New City Road and Highland Park Classics production. It is directed by Rodney Ascher (Nightmare, Room 237) and David Lawrence (Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on the Exorcist). Ryan Sexton directed the archival interview footage and Tim Kirk served as the film’s producer. This documentary is available on Blu-ray and is streaming on ARROW now. For more information visit: www.arrow-player.com. Keeping with the old school DIY punk rock spirit there is also a small batch of 50 limited edition clamshell case VHS tapes available through Witterentertainment.com.
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Directors Rodney Ascher and David Lawrence and I connected through Zoom to discuss The El Duce Tapes. We talk about the man behind the mask, the Kurt Cobain murder rumors, and other upcoming projects.
El Duce was an entertainer who stood up for freedom of expression. He may no longer be with us but the Mentors continue to perform and their classic anthems like “Golden Showers”, “Free Fix For A Fuck” and “Four F Club” will live on forever.
Do you think El Duce would survice in today’s cancel culture?