Eldon Ray Hoke (1958-1997), better known as “El Duce,” the lead singer and drummer of the Mentors, was essentially a highly misogynistic and pornographic heavy metal version of Phil Collins, except infinitely more entertaining and hilarious. El Duce and the Mentors started their XXX-rated musical careers in 1976 in Seattle, Washington. After moving to LA, the Mentors started playing the usual bush-league heavy metal and punk venues, gaining a name for themselves as much for their appearances and El Duce’s obscene bantering with the audience during live shows as they did for their distinctly non-PC songs. The band members all wore black hoods, while El Duce’s entire drum kit was festooned with tits, ass, and split-beaver shots clipped from dozens of different nudie and porn magazines. Additionally, El Duce’s side gig as the MC of the notorious Ivar Theater in Hollywood ensured a constant supply of strippers for their shows. No band more rudely and crudely epitomized the sex, drugs, and rock and roll ethos like El Duce and the Mentors.
During a 1992 interview with the infamous underground magazine Answer Me!, El Duce pontificated on topics and themes that have been on the front burner lately:
“When I become King of the Country, I’m going to blow up that Statue of Liberty, build a Berlin Wall across the Mexican-American borderline and enslave everybody and send them to work camps if they don’t have their Green Card. Then I’m gonna go to the welfare office and recruit people to go to the work camps.”
Hmmm…who does this guy remind me of? LOL
Their songs, the majority of which were written by El Duce, and occasionally by guitarist Sickie Wifebeater and bassist Dr. Heathen Scum, leave no doubt whatsoever about their attitudes toward the opposite sex: “4-F Club” (Find Her, Feel, Her, Fuck Her, Forget Her), “Free Fix For a Fuck,” “Woman From Sodom,” “Clap Queen,” “On the Rag,” “My Erection is Over,” and “Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em” (a song about getting drunk and beating up unfaithful women) eventually got them more gigs, and their appearances on local TV shows like “Hot Seat” made them more and more famous, and infamous, in the greater LA area:
Mentors on Hot Seat, Part 1:
Mentors on Hot Seat, Part 2:
The Mentors finally got attention at a national level in 1985, during the Tipper Gore/PMRC hearings into how far into the gutter pop music had sunk. In addition to the committee lambasting songs by such acts as Prince, The Mary Jane Girls, Madonna, and Black Sabbath, a priest recited some lyrics to the Mentors song “Golden Showers,” and was hushed by a chuckling Senator Al Gore:
The Mentors continued to release studio and live albums, and toured extensively, both nationally and internationally. The onset of political correctness in no way impeded their progress, and El Duce made more headlines when he claimed to filmmaker Nick Broomfield that he was offered $50,000 by Courtney Love to kill Kurt Cobain. Tragically, El Duce was himself killed, perhaps appropriately, by a train while passed out drunk. Shortly before his death, he made an appearance on the Jerry Springer Show. When confronted by a woman who claimed to be a victim of a gang rape, El Duce’s reply was that he “thought she looked familiar.”
El Duce on Jerry Springer:
After being on hiatus after El Duce’s untimely death, the Mentors reformed, and continue to release material and tour to this day. They’ve had several lead singers since the death of the inimitable El Duce, but their main prerequisite is that they must sound and act like the original El Duce as much as possible. Unfortunately for them, nobody can truly sound and act like El Duce, but they get an “A” for effort nonetheless. Isaac Newton said that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and the formation of a female version of the Mentors, the aptly-named Womentors, further validates Newton’s time-tested theory. As time goes on, El Duce's status as a man, a Myth, and a Legend continues to grow. Fuck PC-ness!!! Long Live The Mentors!!!!
P.S. A very talented young filmmaker named April Jones made an excellent rockumentary about the band, check it out: