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• 03.17.12 11:01 am

MONTREAL – Gavin McInnes can tell you stories. They just might not be suitable for the dinner table, or for polite conversation in general.

Matter of fact, the former Montrealer and co-founder of Vice magazine is likely to offend someone most every time he opens his mouth. He made a career out of it as Vice’s main content contributor up to his departure in 2008 – most notably through the publication’s raunchy, riotous Dos and Don’ts fashion column, which mercilessly poked fun at the style-challenged, and lasciviously/snarkily slobbered over hot hipster babes.

Searching for a new career path in his post-Vice era, McInnes seems to have found his calling with his new book, How to Piss in Public: From Teenage Rebellion to the Hangover of Adulthood (Scribner, $27.99; out Tuesday). As the title implies, it’s a collection of over-the-top tales of debauchery, explicit sex, hard drugs, hijinks, bloody fights (most of which had McInnes on the losing end) and overall irreverence.

The title was taken from a highly popular online “instructional” video he made for Vans’s The idea for a book came from Byrd Leavell, literary agent to Justin Halpern (Shit My Dad Says) and sex-and-booze storyteller Tucker Max (I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell).

“He said, ‘I’ve just had two big books, and I want this to be my third,’ ” McInnes recalled in a recent interview from his home in New York. “He wanted the book to be a punk rock version of Tucker Max.”

McInnes had only two rules: All of his stories had to be true, and they had to make you fall over laughing.

“I started doing stand-up for fun, about four years ago,” said the reformed wild man who, at 41, has settled down with his wife and two kids. “I realized I like telling true stories better than making up shit. From that, it was an easy transition into book form – you just write what happened.”

It helps that McInnes has had some crazy things happen to him: from inhaling Pam cooking spray and losing his virginity (in a chapter called Popping the Cherry) and then some (Desperately Saving Foreskin) in small-town Ontario; to getting his first bit of ink (He’s Gone and Got a Bloody Tattoo!); being a punk in Ottawa (Stomped by Very Stylish Nazis); tree planting in northern Quebec (Is Everybody on This Planet a Tree Planter?); sex in Montreal (The Time I Gave Myself an STD); the beginning of an empire (The Story of Vice: Part One); name-dropping (Dinner with the Clash); his coked-up appearance on Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect (I Said, “Jesus Is Gay,” on National Television); more sex and drugs (Asian Cocaine Orgy); more name-dropping (Partying with Mötley Crüe); an immodest proposal (Will You Marry Me, Blobs?); losing friends to the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle (The Death of Cool: Dash Snow); and, who’d-a thunk, growing up (Turning Forty).

Throughout, one is struck by his ability to be utterly crude, juvenile and obnoxious most of the time, while peppering the whole with instances of sensitivity and insight.

“Maybe it has to do with being Canadian,” McInnes said. “It’s an interesting combination of life experiences; we’ve been educated in the British system, but we’re also hosers! I could go to a salon and talk about Kierkegaard, then on the way home, I’ll do meth with a homeless guy.”

McInnes makes no secret of the fact that he no longer speaks to his old partners Suroosh Alvi and Shane Smith (who have continued Vice without him), and he explains their falling out in How to Piss in Public. But he holds no grudges.

“I don’t have hard feelings for those dudes,” he said. “I made a lot of money when I left, like I said in the book – it’s not like I got ripped off.”

McInnes’s main project these days is the alternative ad agency Rooster, where he is creative director.

“It’s ads for people who hate ads,” he explained. His latest coup is a spoof on the Siri voice recognition software for Apple’s iPhone 4S (which can’t understand him as he spews Scottish-accented obscenities into the receiver while trying to order takeout) that has garnered nearly 1.7 million views on YouTube.

“We just make funny sketches and get sponsors. It’s a whole new way of marketing, where you don’t have to sell out.”

McInnes promises a special show for his old hometown when he comes to the Corona Theatre Sunday, in support of his new book.

“Each show is city-specific,” he said. “I’ll talk about Montreal, being broke in Montreal, what it was like leaving Montreal and coming back. I’ll tell stories from my times at the Bifteck, getting into fights and getting laid.”

Sounds like a perfect way to unwind after the St. Paddy’s Day Parade.


Gavin McInnes performs Sunday at 8:30 p.m. at the Corona Theatre, 2490 Notre Dame St. W. Tickets cost $13.75 to $15.65, available via Evenko. Call 514-790-2525 or visit

How to Piss in Public: From Teenage Rebellion to the Hangover of Adulthood is out Tuesday; copies will be for sale at the show.



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