In primary school, if you heard the cry, “CYYAPAAH!” there was a high chance some dickhead was going to climb on your shoulders, stretch their hands up toward the sky as if they were asking God for a favour or a football, before tackling you to the ground.
A few words spring to mind when you think of the eccentric AFL superstar, Warwick Capper; legend, larrikin and provocateur. In the 80s, the blonde-mullet Wiz became the first AFL “rockstar” for his larger-than-life personality, trademark high-flying marks, and for kicking 388 goals in 123 games. But he was much more than that. He was also a counter-cultural powerhouse. In Capper's book Fool Forward, he openly admits to using amphetamines throughout his AFL career. On match day, at half-time, he would have sex with his partner in the change-rooms. On top of all the training that comes with being an AFL superstar, Capper would make ten nightclub appearances a week and fly around the Gold Coast in a pink helicopter.
And that’s not all. His character really began to blossom after football. In the late 80s, Capper released a “number-two” record titled, I Only Take What's Mine. He appeared nude in Penthouse, worked as a stripper, and was the Gold Coast’s first male metre maid. He embarked on a comedy tour with Chopper Read and crooked-cop-turned-murderer Roger Rogerson. The following year he filmed a porno, which he claims was tastefully compiled—The Sunday Telegraph described it as “hardcore” and “anything but tasteful.” And in 2009, he ran as an independent politician against Pauline Hanson.
While in lockdown, I’ve been wondering how Australia’s most famous larrikin is coping at home. So I called him.
VICE: So what have you been up to in lockdown?
Capper: Oh this coronavirus! It’s a bit boring, mate, to tell you the truth. The main thing is to have a schedule, so you don’t get lost. I usually go to bed around 11:30 PM, wake up at 8:30 AM. I’ll watch the news, suss what’s going on. Go for an hour's walk. After that, I might do a bit of gardening. Then just watch Netflix.
What have you been watching at the moment?
Everything. I watched my highlights—that took about three weeks. I watched Fev’s (Brendan Fevola) highlights and it took about an hour. Been watching the Joe Exotic show because they say he looks a bit like me. It’s a bit of an insult. Joe Exotic is a poor man’s Warwick Capper! He looks 80, I look 40.
What do you think of Joe Exotic’s style?
Fuckin’ hell! He’s a fuckin’ rough diamond. If I met him, I’d have to walk him backwards.
Did you ever think about buying a tiger? Would’ve suited your look. You had the penthouse, Lambo, gold cutlery and a butler.
I had the next best thing: leopard skin shorts. I had leopard skin pants too—all from America. Grouse. Woah, what were they? About $5,000. Back in ‘86. And I had snakeskin boots. They were grouse. Got them made in Bangkok. Yeah, they were good.
Do you still get dressed up even though you're working from home?
Well, I’ve had the old face makeover. I’ve had that much plastic surgery, when I cry the tears run down my back. I’ve got a surgeon that’s sponsored me, Daniel Lanzer. He gave me the 20 grand makeover. Took the fat out of my eyes and chin; bit of a freshen up; liposuct the chin a bit. Usually if you feel better on the outside, you feel better inside. Good to get dressed up sometimes.
Have you found that’s helped you, having a routine?
I’m hypo. I go round the block a bit. I’m really hypo. My missus goes, “you’re not going out again!” Yes I am.
What slows you down? What’s Warwick Capper’s favourite cocktail?
Strawberry Daiquiris are nice. I don’t mind the old Malibu and milk. I love the 18-year-old Scotch. Blue Label is nice. Scotch and dry is nice, isn’t it? When my mates come round I hide it and bring the shit one out to them. All my friend’s just smash my bar. Cost me at least a grand a week to fill the cunt up and they keep coming round.
You used to DJ while you played footy too.
Yeah in Sydney, I’d be down near Maroubra. Do a few jobs there. Just to break it up a bit. Smash some pussy, smash some drinks. I used to smash more pussy than drinks though because I was a bit of a fit freak. Yeah, I didn’t drink that much. I used to train ten-and-a-half months a year—that’s a long time. You have to be pretty dedicated. People think I’m lazy but I used to train me ass off just to make it. You can’t kick 100 goals if you’re not disciplined, can you?
No sir, you can’t. I read you were doing like ten nightclub appearances a week too.
Yeah and shopping centres. I used to do all that. I needed five cocks back then. Hard. I was that busy. Fuckin' hell. I didn’t know whether I was coming or going half the time. Most of the time I was cumming. I was sponsored by Hoover. Yeah, yeah. Free washing machines. I was the first male metre maid. I had a number one movie but it was a porno. I had a black Lamborghini. A top ten song too; I think it was number two in Australia.
You made short shorts an art form.
I was the Bon Jovi of AFL so I thought I’d go next steps and just go even tighter. I wore my sons size four shorts. And it just gave the game more sex appeal, didn’t it? The girls loved it.
And do you think it made you play better?
Yeah, yeah. Made me feel good. I was a rockstar. Gerard Healy who won a brownlow (but I was getting paid more than him) said “there were 24 players, 23 ghosts, and Warwick Capper.” I said, “I agree with that, thanks mate.”
Where do you think it comes from, your larger-than-life character?
I think it’s because I believe in myself. And I’ve always liked different things, like colours and leopard skins and pink boots. I brought the first pink footy boots out and I was sponsored by a pavlova company. They used to call me a cream puff. Pavlova Pantry. They gave me a cat once and I called her Pavlova. Yeah, it was grouse. I just like different things. I just like seeing things online. Seeing things in magazines. I like how people dress differently. I’ve got a nice jacket with butterflies on it, a nice blue one. And my leopard skin jacket still goes well. But in all seriousness, to play league football is not easy. And then to juggle appearances and all the other shit that comes with it. And then all the girls wanted to have sex with me and I’m trying to keep a marriage going. It’s not easy, mate. You have to know what you’re doing.
How did you manage it then?
Just had to be strong in the head mate. I had to play in front of 50,000 people every week with three of the full-backs trying to knock me out. That pressure. I played in the toughest era; 80s and 90s. Fuckin’ tough. But Jason Dunstall, one of the greatest goal kickers of all time, he said “you had to be three times better to play in the forward line than the back line.” He was right. To mark the fuckin’ ball, getting smacked in the head, to try and turn around and kick the goal when it’s pissing down rain and there’s a few blokes trying to smash you. It’s not easy. In the back line you just run off. I’ve always been headstrong.
Some people have been struggling with their mental health while in isolation, and it’s an issue a lot of blokes don’t tend to talk about. Have you got any advice for them?
Try to talk to your friends on Facebook. You can FaceTime them. They could also get a Warwick Capper WizVid video for $60 bucks and I could give them some advice. But seriously, if they’re real bad they should ring the helpline Beyond Blue. You can go mad staying at home; it’s good to get exercise. You don’t need weights if you know what you're doing at home. You can use your own body weight. Two hundred sit ups, 200 pushups, 150 burpees, three sets of 40 squats, walk and jog six kilometres a day. And plenty of stretching.
Fuck that. Sounds too hectic. On a more pressing note, tell me about Mad Mondays back in your day?
I used to run it, because I was the one that used to get all the roots. I was the main man on footy trips. I did Carlton’s Mad Monday just recently. Dale Thomas dressed up as me. I was the only outsider to be invited in to Carlton’s inner sanctum. What was that like?
Yeah, it was different. They were all off their heads. Ours were better because there were no phones. Yeah, I hear footy players have been copping blackmail and extortion.
Yeah, extortion. You know I worked with Chopper Read for three years. And Roger Rogerson. Roger’s inside for murder now.
What were you doing with him?
I even stayed at his house, living with him, and he got arrested for murder. I couldn’t believe it. He was pretty good. Pretty ruthless though. He used to love the piss; loves the beer. Good bloke—but if you get on the wrong side of him he would fucking give it to you.
Did you ever get on his bad side?
Yeah, once. I kept turning the air conditioning down, and he goes, “If you turn it off again, I’ll kill you Warwick.” When we were on tour one time Jacko (Mark Jackson) went the wrong way, so Roger started terrorising him. Jacko shit himself and wouldn’t talk to Roger for three days. We had a tour called The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. It was good fun, mate. Chopper didn’t like Jacko either. Chopper thought Jacko ripped him off. Jacko wouldn’t pay him all his money. So Chopper was going to kill him.
How did they settle that?
I think he paid in the end. Yeah, he was a bit nervous. As he should’ve been.
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