Big John Murray is one of those people who were at the right place at the right time. He started out becoming friends with two of the hottest rock bands RATT and Poison and through a twist of fate…became the bodyguard of Bret Michaels the lead vocalist of Poison. Through the years he has worked with such artists as Stephen Pearcy (RATT)…Kid Rock, Brian Setzer (Stray Cats) while making friends with everybody along the way. Speaking of being “at the right place at the right time”… when John and I were hanging out before our interview, adult film star and Cambridge, Ohio native Jewel DeNyle happened to be enjoying a night out and joined us for the interview. We all sat down at Shaker’s Nite Club in Cambridge, Ohio and John and I talked about how his life has changed since meeting Bret and he gives a “Behind the scenes” look to the reality show VH1 Rock Of Love with Bret Michaels.
The Entertainment Nexus- What have you been doing lately?
Big John- I just finished up a tour with ZZ Top, The Pretenders and The Stray Cats. Bret (Michaels) and I are getting ready to go to Iraq. We did the “Reunion Show” (Rock Of Love) and what do ya do? There’s a lot of shit that’s gonna come out on that show that you guys are gonna die over! I promise you that.
TEN- How did you become Brets’ “Right Hand Man”?
BJ- Well what happened was I was in the Marines from 1989 to 1995. After that what I did was I went up to Hollywood consistently and met the guys from RATT. They eventually went on tour and they were with Poison, and I think Great White and LA Guns. This was around 1999 or 2000. I called Bret, Rikki (Rocket) and everybody and they were like “You gotta job!” I was like “Are you fuckin’ kiddin me?”
Basically what happened is that I got on the wrong bus when I was workin’ for RATT. I got on the wrong bus and I was like; “Are we takin’ the long way back to the hotel?” They (Poison) are like; “Dude…we’re in Detroit!” We had started in Cleveland! So I decided that I would follow this tour for like two weeks and go to Cincinnati and by that time I had a job.
TEN- Rock Of Love is such a huge hit. Was the environment in the house as crazy as it seemed on TV?
BJ- NO…it was much crazier! Much crazier! The powers of editing you only see half of it. There is a reason that I hate fuckin’ Lacey. I hate Lacey! And I still do. I despise her. But, you only see part of it. Editing is a brilliant thing. It’s just like the news. I’m sure there’s another question that you’re gonna ask me very soon as far as me sleeping. (Busts out laughing)
TEN- Absolutely! Was that just for laughs?
BJ- I was walking the girls back during the “Super fan” intimidation/interrogation episode and I fell asleep after I got back. What they did was they edited it brilliantly. It was perfect because I didn’t know that Bret says; “Where the fuck is Big John when I need him the most?” And this was a week later than when they filmed me sleeping. I was like; “Aw, sonofabitch!” I thought it was bad and Bret goes; “No dude…that was brilliant! I got myself into this mess…let me get out of it.”
TEN- Bret has been really cool when he and I have talked. But, on the show sometimes he seemed really stressed out.
BJ- Bret’s my bro. He was stressed out and I’ll tell you why. He is so fan friendly and he doesn’t wanna piss anyone off. Me personally, I would be like; “Get the fuck out!” But there are reasons for what he does. He has “Meet and Greets” that are longer than the shows!
TEN- How do you handle things when it starts to get out of hand like when the fans get crazy?
BJ- The fans never get out of hand! They never do. Being around Bret long enough I know who’s who and what’s what. We’ll have a hundred and fifty fans waiting and I’ll walk up on the bus and say “We have seventy-five people!” I learned from the best. He’s never gonna turn them away until that last person shows up. That’s kinda why I’m here…does that make sense? I’m not gonna turn any fan away. Are you kidding me?
Jewel DeNyle- Fans are money…
BJ- I’ve got a question for ya.
BJ- Yeah. Do you know who Jewel is? (Laughing)
TEN- I have no idea…I’m lying! (More laughter)
BJ- Hey Jewel, do you have anything to say?
JDN- Fans are money. That’s why rock stars, porn stars any kind of celebrity… all have the same lifestyle.
BJ- You know what? I’m not a rock star…but I’m hanging out with a porn star so I’m on my way! (Laughs) This is good! Unfortunately she’s dating a friend of mine who I wrestled with years ago.
TEN- And his name is?
JDN- Jamie Dundee
TEN- And what does he do?
JDN- He’s a professional wrestler.
BJ- He lives like five minutes from me! We’re like so close and I didn’t know it!
TEN- Jewel, do you watch the show (Rock Of Love)?
JDN- Yes of course I watch it. My sister is a huge fan.
TEN- John, did you hook up with any of the girls at the house?
BJ- No. What I did was I told VH1 and everyone. Because at that time I was still engaged and involved with someone and I didn’t wanna do anything that would embarrass my daughter.
JDN- So you were a “good dad.”
BJ- I still am a “good dad!” Even though I’m not in the house…I make sure that she has everything she wants or needs. Not wants but needs. (Laughs) It’s hard because she’s eleven hundred miles away.
TEN- Do you get to see her a lot?
BJ- No, I don’t. I saw her last week and it was the most brilliant thing because for the first three days of our visit she didn’t know me. She picked up the phone and goes; “Dad…dad…dad” and finally on the fourth day she looked at me and goes “Dad!” I was like; “You finally realized I am dad.” I have a daughter that doesn’t know me other than to pick up a play phone. I’m not going to give up my career but in the same aspect it hurts every day.
TEN- Was Rodeo as sweet as she seems?
BJ- Rodeo was amazing…absolutely amazing! I’m still good friends with her. Here real name is Cindy and we actually did an appearance together and she threw me a birthday party. I haven’t had a birthday party in thirty years!
JDN- She was my favorite!
BJ- She was like; “Come in here” and everybody yelled “Happy Birthday!” It was a real VIP club called Lotus. They gave me a VIP suite with the works!
TEN- Was Tiffany the “train wreck” that she appeared to be?
BJ- Tiffany is amazing. What she did was she “over compensated” because she was scared of meeting Bret. She knew everything about Bret…everything. VH1 came to me and said; “We have twenty-five girls and we need to cut five of them” and I said “Let me do what I do.” I walked down there and I was like ‘You, you, and you.” But, here’s what happened. Tiffany fought for it. But, she kinda played me. What she did was she got fucked up for three days. If you remember from behind the scenes I told her; “Don’t make me regret this!” She did…
TEN- I’ve got to ask…”Who does Bret pick?”
BJ- I can’t tell ya.
TEN- Not even if I stop recording?
BJ- Nope! I’ll tell ya who won. I’ll guarantee you…it’s not me! (Laughs)
TEN- Will there be a season two?
JDN- Starring me! Porn star meets rock star let’s roll! (Laughs)
BJ- I can’t answer that right now.
TEN- You were a well known and respected body guard before the show. Who were and are some of your clients?
BJ- Kid Rock, Brian Setzer from the Stray Cats…Chad Kroeger from Nickleback…obviously Bret…Stephen Pearcy from RATT who I love…that’s my boy!
The reason I say that is because Stephen got me my job.
JDN- He’s my bodyguard tonight. He had to kick a couple guys out from our VIP table. They were stalking me so he put them out.
TEN- You become life long friends with your clients. How do you separate work and play?
BJJ- That’s a great question. It’s always about the artist. They come first.
TEN- What’s the coolest thing about what you do?
BJ- Are you kidding me? The best thing is that I work for Bret Michaels…Kid Rock…Brian Setzer! Dude…I am in Heaven!
TEN- Will you ever write a book about all of the things that you’ve seen over the years?
BJ- That’s my book. That’s nobody else’s. Long story short…”What happens on the road…stays on the road.”
TEN- You mentioned Kid Rock. Did you see the MTV VMA scuffle between him and Tommy Lee?
BJ- I’m not even gonna comment on that.
TEN- Tell me something disturbing about yourself that you’ve never told anyone before.
BJ- I’m fat! (Laughs) The most disturbing thing about me is that I have a daughter and I can’t even see her. I love her but her mother and I don’t get along. I kicked her mother out of the house because I didn’t want my daughter growing up in the same scenario that I did.
TEN- Is there anything that you guys want to say?
JDN- Jewel DeNyle.net and on Myspace Jewel DeNyleXXX
BJ- And check out www.bigjohnrocks.com
I want to thank Big John for being cool through the years and for Jewel for sitting in for the interview.