Pigs have appeared on my wedding cake. My studio is named Hog Heaven. Kelli gives me piggy presents to show how very much she loves me. Babe is a favorite, if sad movie. But some of you still wonder about the whys and hows of the pig fetish...
The story, as best I can tell it, goes like this:
About 1991 or so I met one Matt Zuniga who worked with me at Subway. We used to go play drums under bridges and write bad songs to play with just drums and vocals. We also worked for some cantankerous bosses at Subway. They were a Jewish couple who totally took our store over and made total asses of themselves. They were fat too. They were over-indulgent. And frankly, they were only interested in extorting money from customers above all else. Matt called them pigs. We wrote a quite rude song about them that played up the pig/pork/swine sort of thing. Then somehow Matt started calling me pig in the middle of 1992. So I called him pig just the same. It was really dumb.
Then later that year, for some really odd reason, my goofy songwriting somehow got on a farm animal theme. One of the songs was inspired by a line in the Three Little Pigs ("when monkeys chewed tobacco and pigs spoke rhyme...") Somehow I crafted a song about this sort of thing, and when I sang it, I screamed it till my throat was meat. Matt mocked me for this. More pig songs followed, but my best farm animal song hit was The End of the Road for Missy the Cow.
Over the years, little by little, the pig identity stuck. Matt and I almost forgot each other's name because we called each other pig so much. One time in 1996 or so my girlfriend got me some Babe pigs from a fast food joint happy meal. These pigs were stuffed things about the size of computer mouse now. They were totally inflexible. One day, I posed these pigs in some wacky sexual positions over a curtain or sheet of stars and moons and stuff. They were cute. Rude but cute. I called it "Hog Heaven." In 1997 recorded a project that I called Hog Heaven, and I used pornographic pig pix for cover art. Since most of the project was instrumental, I named many tunes by some pig name or another. I ended up redoing most of the project after mixing it and releasing it on cassette originally. For the revamped CD release, I redid the cover in Photoshop. Actually, most of it was done by Tom Griesgraber the Stick player. Tom is a little conservative and sort of sheltered. We reshot a bunch of perverse pornographic piggy poses, and I distinctly remember him saying "I can't believe I'm doing this!" But he soldiered on as I asked him to do lame image editing work. Then I built my studio. There was no other name in the running. Hog Heaven Studio (no "s") was opened on June 11, 1998.
The studio was a magnet for pig paraphernalia. Mark Decerbo got me a string pig lights that I hooked up to my phone ringer so that when the phone rang, about 12 pigs lit up along the wall. I called it the "swine line" and would answer it as such. Kelli got me a little sticker in the studio that said "pigs are friends, not food." Many songs were recorded in there... a song called "Bad Cop, No Donut" with a vocal riff that is about police pigs that were out to spoil my fun in the summer of 1997. Then there is the almighty classic of all time—a tune by the Magnificent Meatsticks entitled "Everything Is Better Wrapped In Bacon." In late 2000, I did a Mike Oldfield-esque recording for the holidays. It was the Hog Heaven Holiday Theme Music CD.
I still have some pig stuff. A stuffed Babe presides over my computer as I sit here now. A Beanie Baby piggy called Luau is my travel companion in my work truck. Kelli got me a little piggy purse for change in my own truck. She got me a piggy key ring holder which is in the studio now. Friends give me other piggy stuff—toys, pictures, books.
And then there is the most important thing. Kelli and I went for a drive around the mountains on Valentine's day this year. In Julian, we stopped into every shop. We didn't see piggies anywhere until late when we found the adorable ceramic figures (pigures, that is). There were big ones and little ones, but the only way to go was to get a pair of the small ones. They looked so cute together.
Two days later, I asked her to marry me. The piggies have that sort of effect on me. So it was only natural that they made a cameo on the cake. Her grandmother expressed disgust at the idea while we planned things, but we snuck it in on her. At the wedding she was a little distraugt that there were piggies on the cake, but once she found out the part about their influence in our lives, she was okay with it.