Interview by Julian Angel of http://www.medazzarock.com
Where are you right now and what are you doing these days?
You know, obviously we?re out on tour right now, that?s what we?re doing these days. We?re in Reno tonight and this one is a sold-out show, so it?s going to be a great show. It?s about ten thousand. Tomorrow we?ll go to Salt Lake and then it?s Denver. I?ve just finished up the work on my solo record called "Songs Of Life" and it sounds amazing and it?s starting to do real well over here and after the Poison tour is done I?ll be out on my first true solo tour. It starts September 26 and runs till Christmas.
It?s good to hear you guys still sell-out your shows...
Yeah, we do great. We?ve been trying to go back over to Europe and just find a good promoter. It?s an amazing show over here. You know it?s bigger now than it?s ever been.
It?s good to hear that, especially since I?ve heard that quite a lot of so-called Eighties Bands don?t make it that big anymore.
Yeah, that?s right. You know, we?ve been fortunate because our carreer is a little bit above that. This is our eighteenth year now and our tenth album with Capitol and it?s a great feeling. For us in the States it?s pretty much Bon Jovi and Poison at this point who are out there doing all the arenas of our genre, and you know grunge happened and now there?s only like one grunge band left, you know that?s kind of died, and you just hope to write some good music and put on a great show and you just take good care of your fans and they?ll come back to see you.
I think you?ll get a lot of support from the media in America, right? You know, we?ve got like VH-1 in Europe as well, but they do not really support rock music that much...
Yeah, it?s weird, since in different countries they change their shows. Over here we still play pretty much all the time on VH-1, VH-1 Classic and MTV is still playing a lot of this stuff.
Okay, let?s talk about your "Songs Of Life" album. I really like it since it gives sort of an insight into your personal life, your mind, heart and soul and besides that it is musically sophisticated. Was your album intended to be much different from what you have done with Poison?
It was very simple: "Songs Of Life" was intended to both musically and lyrically capture moments in my life. Good times, bad times, beautiful moments like when my daughter was born and sad times like for us in the U.S. after the 9-11 tragedy. Musically it gave me a chance to stretch out and to try some different things and it was a really exciting record for me to make. I immediately let all the Poison fans know that I have no intention of ever leaving Poison, I mean I love being in the band. You know, I am as much part of Poison as C.C., Rikki and Bobby and it?s just I want to continue to write new material. It?s just part of what I am and when I make an album like "Songs Of Life" it?s really important to me to just express myself and that I?m always evolving in writing new material.
Are all the songs on "Songs Of Life" completely new or did you write them over the years...?
They?re pretty much new, but some of the lyrics I started writing years and years ago like "Menace To Society", I started it years ago and I just finished it recently. I wanted to show you that moment in my life, then "Bittersweet" and of course "Raine", music is always evolving. It?s an ongoing process and eventually you just need to finish it and go ?that?s it?. Here?s that song, that?s what it?s about and you put it down and record it. That?s what I did with these tracks on "Songs Of Life".
I think you?ve recorded these songs without any pressure. Did you feel such external pressure, like from the record companies, during the Poison days? The ?great days??
No, they have always been great days for us. In all ten of our Poison records I?ve always written exactly what I wanted to write and we?ve always picked out our own singles and you have to understand, for you maybe it goes in and out of the media, but for us this is our life, I?ve never stepped away from it. We may not be the ?New Kids On The Block? but to us these are our great days. Those days in the beginning were good days, these are my great days! You know, every day it gets better and more interesting.
You?ve already mentioned that before, you?ve tried a couple of new things on "Songs Of Life". How much do new bands affect and influence you?
Well, obviously everything new that you hear, whether it?s my friend Dave from Drowning Pool who?s passed away, he was a good friend, whether it?s Edwin Mc Cain, new material ? I flipped on the country train and loved country music ? I like all styles of music and I learn a little bit from all of it. But realistically what I like to write is what you hear and this is what I am.
You?re still pretty active these days since you seem to put a lot of effort into the maintenance of your carreer, but how does your normal day look like when you?re not out touring. Is your carreer like a full time job to you or do you just settle down once in a while and enjoy your private life a little more?
No, and I can say this to you, this is just luckily one of the things I?m blessed with. Making music and creating - you know Charlie Sheen and I have a film company. I?ve never looked at it as a job because I love doing it and I?m just fortunate that I get paid for it. I never want to look at it as a job, because this would just take away the magic. I own a ten hectar ranch in Los Angeles and for fun and games I spend a lot of time with my daughter and my girlfriend when I?m home, and I?ve got motorcycles and go-carts and I have a lot of fun. My ranch and my house ? it?s a big party, a lot of fun. I?ve also got a big music studio in there and we go in and write and create, and then I have a house in Vancouver, B.C. as well, and we go up there and spend some time, it?s really pretty.
What a life! You just said you?ve got that film company with Charlie Sheen. How did you get to write, direct, star etc. movies?
The hard way. I wrote a script called "A Letter From Death Row" and I put my own money up and went down and tracked the film in Nashville, TN. I went back with the film and Showcase Entertainment bought it. Martin Sheen saw it and he ended up being my father, so we shot some other scenes. That?s just how I got into it. I just came from writing and directing music videos and then I just took it and put it to film.
You?ve directed some of the Poison videos...
One of the ones that I did was "Power To The People" and I also co-directed "Something To Believe In" and "Every Rose"...
I wonder why you haven?t been involved in that "Rock Star" movie that was running about one or two years ago...
They had asked us to do some music for it. But I think it was strange. I think the acting was good, but I didn?t think that the movie captured what really goes on. It?s really tough for people to make a really good rock movie. That?s just my opinion. They wanted to use some of the music like "Nothin? But A Good Time" and stuff like that, but I didn?t think the movie captured what really goes on in bands and around. I think that Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston are great actors. I love them. They did a great job, but I don?t think the movie captured the real essence. Did you see it?
Yeah, I was one of four guys in the movie theater...
Yeah. And this is why, and this is a little disappointing. They made fun of rock fans and I explain why. They made it seem like anybody could just take any part in any band. If you go to see your favourire rock band, would you allow the singer to walk off the stage and let anyone just sing for the rest of the concert?
I?d be pissed off. You know, I think it be-littled rock fans. That?s my true opinion. I think the acting was good, I just think the movie be-littled rock fans. I think they let rock bands look like anyone can walk up on stage and just do this? and the minute you get signed to a band you buy a bat-mobile. It don?t work that fuckin? way (laughs). That?s the reason I think the movie did so poorly. I think one day a real rock movie should come out about the way it really works, how hard I struggeld, how hard I played? and you know, the moment a guy drops out of the band and is just replaced by another one the fans are upset.
I hope you will direct this one then...
Yeah, I would like to. I would like to take a real insight to that attitude. Again, like I said, I don?t like to put much of anything down, I think the movie was okay, they just could have done a better job.
I?ve read about you planning some kind of rock band talent show on TV...
Yeah, right now it is entitled "American Rock Star". I think that rock music is really valuable to life. It?s real bands really struggling to go out and show they got good talent and can make it. I don?t care about their sound. The can be grunge, they can be alternative, speed metal, straight up hard rock? I don?t care what they are as long as they?ve got real equipment and can really play. That?s the concept of it. We?ve pitched it to VH-1 and VH-1 Classic and we?ll see which one bites.
Great. Okay, now here?s the final question before we go to ?word association?. Is there any chance of seeing you and Poison in Europe?
Yes. Now I?ve been pushing forward for years and I tell you when it?s going to happen. The real date is 2005. This is going to mark Poison?s twentieth anniversary, we?ll have our eleventh Poison record called "Twenty Years In The Making" and this is going to be our international world tour. Right now we do all of North America, Canada and some South American dates, but when we do the 2005 tour we?re planning on going around the world. Any venue that?s going to put is in, we?re going to go in and play and show that it?s just a great rock show.
So I?ll have you guys play in my living room
Yeah, we will find a good venue, bring our full show? You know, right now in America it?s just massive, so hopefully we can do the same show over there.
I hope you?ll get the right support.
That would be great.
Okay, just as much as ?Metal Sludge? we do some kind of word association as well. I decided to give you a few quotations from your songs and I?m asking you to tell us what had been going around in your mind when you wrote them and what they really mean?
From "Every Rose Has Its Thorn": "I listen to our favourite song playing on the radio" - which one was it?
When I was growing up that was many different songs. My favourite song obviously was "You Really Got Me" by Van Halen, because that for me was in my perfect early teenage years and when that album came out it was really exciting to me and they did that Kings song and that one pretty much hit home.
From "Home": "Dave from Drowning Pool is here, steals my women and drinks my beer"
He came into the Rainbow Bar & Grill and he was great. He sat down and drank with me and we partied and obviously there was a bunch of girls hanging out. He didn?t really steal them technically, he just borrowed them (laughs).
So he gave `em back?
He gave `em back!
From "Party Rock Band": "...but Courtney didn?t love me..." - why didn?t she?
I don?t know. You know, I think that Courtney Love is just hot. She?s just ballsy and sexy and hot. I don?t know if she doesn?t love me, I just assume she doesn?t love me.
But she didn?t tell you...
She?s never told me yet, but I?m going to make her love me one day.
As long as Kristy is going to accept it...
Yes, Kristy won?t accept it, but !"§$%&/()? (laughs)
Do you want me to print that?
o, you better not print that (laughs). We?ll just say "in theory". How?s that? She?s going to love me in theory. We?ll leave the rest of it out of it (laughs).
Is there any creed or personal rule you follow when you?re doing business?
You mean like getting ready for a tour or something??
Rather like negotiating, signing contracts and stuff. You now, I?m planning to start a new column entitled "The Bizz Sucks"
Hahahaha, that?s true yes... These are some of the rules that I follow and that have gotten me through eighteen years and a successful carreer.
First and foremost: Nothing comes for free. You know, if something comes too easy, there?s usually a catch.
Number two: Thoroughly read all your contracts. I really mean thoroughly. Express ?thoroughly? there.
Here?s some other things: Do what you like first, then find a way to make it work. In other words, write the music you like and then make it work. Don?t chase the scene. Do what you love, be true to yourself.
These are my last two things: Never take ?No!? for an answer, find a way ? that?s my one slogan, you?ll find a way to make it work if you want to. It may not be exactly what you want, but it?s better than nothing.
Last but not least the most important one: If you want it done right, do it yourself. Never assumes someone is doing it for you. In other words, too many people go "oh, my agent?s handling that". What they meant to say is that their agent has just booked another band at a gig they could have got. So make sure that you?re taking care of the farm yourself (laughs). Those are my pieces of advice.
So we?ve come to the end, any ?famous last words??
I?m extremely excited about the "Songs Of Life" CD, I thank you for the interview and your readers. I promise you, I?ll do anything in my power to make sure we get a chance to come over to Europe and play. I?m very excited about it. And if we don?t do this with Poison I will do it solo.
We will all be there!
Hey, thank you very much!