's Rock Goddess Diana DeVille recently popped into the Samantha 7 rehearsal to nab some pictures of the boys in action preparing for their upcoming tour (which kicked off September 27 in Sandusky, Ohio) and to chat with them.
Now that the Power to the People tour featuring Poison, Cinderella, Dokken and Slaughter has come to a successful completion, Poison guitarist C.C. DeVille is turning his attention to his solo project, Samantha 7, the band he started two years ago with bassist Krys Baratto and drummer Francis Ruiz, formerly known as the Stepmothers. Samantha 7 was signed to Portrait Records last year and released their self-titled debut album in late May 2000. Due to timing, the supporting tour for the record was delayed as DeVille hit the road with Poison for a summer of fun and frivolity mixed with good rockin' tunes.
Diana DeVille: First of all, C.C., congratulations on the Poison tour...that was a lot of fun.
C.C. DeVille: Thank you. That was a lot of fun.
DD: Are you tired at all? I mean, you just came off a relatively long tour with Poison, and now you're going back out again...
CCD: Actually I'm mad at myself, because I got home, and I didn't exercise for a whole week, and I'd be lying to you if I didn't feel a skoch bloated. No, but I ran today. I ran last night and I ran this morning, so I'm back on the thing.
DD: How are you feeling about the tour coming up?
CCD: I'm very excited. I'm very nervous. I'm not really...I was nervous, but now I'm like, "Fuck it, you know what? What am I going to do?" We're going to go out there and give it the best we can.
DD: And what about you, Krys and Francis? What are your feelings about finally getting out on the road and playing? I know you've been waiting for this tour since the record came out.
FRANCIS RUIZ: It's time
KRYS BARATTO: Yeah it's time.
FR: It's overdue.
KB: Two years in the making
FR: Hopefully people will have money to go to the shows after the summer. With all the shows this summer...
DD: Yeah, but it 's actually good, because all the summer tours pretty much are over as of Labor Day...
FR: We're going to be one of the only bands out there.
DD: Now you only have to compete with Iron Maiden (laughs). So, how do you think this tour will differ from the Poison tour, or will it?
CCD: It's two different things; you can't even compare them. It really is; it's apples and oranges. I mean, we can't go and have pyro and stuff like that, and quite frankly, if we could, we wouldn't, because why start another band and do the same thing? I want this to be more of a sonically driven band, you know? I just love the songs, I really do, and more than anything, I want people to fucking get the record. I want them to fucking hear the songs and hear them really good. I want us to be a music band. I know it sounds awful, but I don't want to be such a glitzy band as much as I want to be... I would love to have a little bit of that fucking Dave Matthews vibe where it's like people genuflect? I don't particularly like the sound of that, but boy, oh boy, it's like, you know, when you look at Motley Crue, it's like yeah, so what...but with Dave Matthews it's this cult like, Bela Fleck type, like a guru thing.
It's very difficult to go, "No, you don't understand, this is really good; this isn't just a guitar album." I don't know...maybe people thought it was a guitar album.
DD: And it really wasn't, because it was more about your singing.
CCD: Oh, it's not a guitar album. It goes back to the beginning, and everyone's playing songs.
DD: It's almost exactly the opposite, because whereas you were known for playing guitar in Poison almost exclusively, now you're more the frontman.
CCD: Right, right. I want to try to be less...I want to consciously try to do less of that.
DD: How long will the tour be? And what areas will you be covering?
KB: I think it's eight weeks to start. It'll run through December, and then we have January off and February we start in Europe, I think we start in London, and that will probably be just two weeks; I can't imagine it being any longer. That's the way it's set up.
DD: When does the tour start?
KB: September 27th in Sandusky, Ohio.
DD: Will you have any bands opening for you?
CCD: It's going to be whoever the local bands are, so we'll see what happens.
DD: What sort of venues will you be playing?
KB: Clubs...probably about 500-1000 capacity, kind of similar to the Whisky or the Palace [Los Angeles clubs].
Michael LardieDD: I found out before I came here that Michael Lardie (Great White keyboardist/guitarist) will be accompanying you on the tour playing guitar. What led to your decision to add him to the lineup?
CCD: Ron [DeBlasio, Samantha 7 manager] called me and said, "Listen you said you needed a guitar player, Michael Lardie wants to do it," and it went like that, and I was like okay, fine.
DD: So why did you decide to add another guitar player?
CCD: Because I can't sing and play at the same time. In other words, like "I Want To Be Famous," some of the songs that are easy I can sing and play some of the songs, but then there are other songs that I don't even realize I'm wavering. So whenever I feel like I can't sing it, I like to be able to just let go of the guitar and then I can come right back to the vocals and I notice a major difference. Originally I thought that, maybe if we had another guitar player that I'd be able to free up my hands and be more of a frontman, and now I'm realizing that I don't know that that's really the answer either.
DD: Because you're so used to having a guitar in your hands.
CCD: Yeah, exactly. And I don't particularly like running over and...what always makes me nervous is that, you know, you run over and you slap someone's hand and now you did what you did. Now you're here, and how do you coolly go over there, because you know as soon as you go over there you've got to do the same thing. So it's like, I don't know....we'll see what happens. In other words, I'm growing. I have nothing planned. This is going to be the first time I've done this. I've never sang before, so I don't know what it's going to be like. Hopefully by the end of this tour, I will have developed a style as an entertainer in this situation. I don't know how I'm going to be because, you know, I've been doing something one way my whole life, so there's going to be a couple of shows that I don't know.
DD: Is it strange to be listening to the songs, to be singing them and realize someone else is playing guitar?
CCD: No. It's alright. He [Lardie] will get them fine. I tell you one thing, when I'm not playing and I'm listening, it sounds more like the record. There's no doubt about it. I have such a fucking disgusting tone, and I won't play guitar unless it's really overdriven and saturated. And so what happens is that it makes the band sound like a fucking big mud bath. In Poison I had a really great rig, so I can have all that fucking gain, with this thing, it's just going to be a 58 (microphone) in front of the thing, and if I've got a crate, it's going to be like, "Aaaaahhhh." Not only that, but it's a different tone. I really don't know. I'm going to find out as I go. Because I haven't done it. In other words, we've done a show and taken a break, we've done another show and then taken a break. We've never done five, 10, 15 shows in a row, where you start to learn what the fuck this band is about. We've been together for a long time, but no, we've never played.
DD: So now from you guys' [Krys and Francis] point of view, how does being a four-piece change the dynamic of the band?
FR: We don't know. We'll see when we play. Because in here...Actually it just means now C.C.'s gonna stand right in front of me. Fuck. HA!
CCD: It does change it a little bit. It's less aggressive. It's definitely more homogenized. It sounds a little safer. I think that's going to go away once we feel more comfortable and it "sits" more...I think Michael Lardie is playing the fuck out of "Talk Dirty to Me."
DD: Yeah? So you're going to be doing that one on the tour? Are you going to sing that one?
CCD: Yes, it's very strange. I don't like doing the Poison stuff because I don't want anyone to think I'm trying to cash in on the Poison stuff. And even though the band [Poison] says, "No, no, no, go do it, it's fine," I always feel like I'm trying to do a cheap thing. I know Poison is Poison, and I would like to leave them separate. That's Poison; this is Samantha 7. But what happens is, it's not us; it's the promoters. And the promoters aren't dumb. They want to get some fans that are like, "Oh it's C.C. from Poison." And then it's more inclusive. But what happens is you don't get the buying public that buys records that would buy our [Samantha 7] records. You know, in other words, I don't even know if it's better to just say Samantha 7. Who's Samantha 7? I don't know, but let's go check it out. You know? You might not know, but then you don't have a preconceived idea, which might not be...
FR: It'll be "Poison Karaoke."
DD: Exactly, and that's what I find with our audience, you know...it's C.C. from Poison's band, and everyone automatically assumes it's like Poison. Then they hear it and they're like, "Wait a minute, what is this?"
CCD: If you tell them it's the Foo Fighters, no one argues.
FR: And they don't call it Dave Grohl from Nirvana's band, they just call it the Foo Fighters.
DD: So how do you get around that?
CCD: We have to play. We have to do what we're going to be doing. The only way to get around it is to definitely not do Poison tours and then not do Samantha 7 tours. You know, you have to do what you do. We have to do this and we have to be really good. I think it can be done, it can be done, and I think everyone could be happy. What I would really love, I would have really loved to have had Samantha 7 open up on the Poison tour. It was a festival thing, and it would have been fantastic. I think we would have been perfect for the bill. But that didn't happen. Maybe next year. It's always going to be an issue. I'm always going to bring it up. If there is a tour next year, I'm going to say, "Let's have the guys." I would love to do this.
I know it's really good, and we just have to get out there and prove that it's good. If we are out there breaking our ass because we think it's great, then other people will say, "Well, it must be great," as opposed to just putting out a solo record and not doing anything. I really do love this music, I mean I love it. I'm writing...and I really do love this music.
DD: Do you think that having had to wait this long since the record release to tour will put you at any disadvantage on this tour?
CCD: Oh Yes! I mean, I think so, yeah. "Here it comes. The long-awaited, well a couple of months ago...but it's still...They're here now." That wasn't the plan. The plan wasn't for that to happen intentionally. The plan was (from the sticker), "See C.C. on tour with Poison [laughs] on the Samantha 7 record"...
DD: [laughs] And they saw you on tour, but not with Samantha 7!
DD: What song(s) do you enjoy playing the most, or have you gotten to that point yet?
CCD: Oh, I've gotten to that point years ago. [laughs and motions to Francis.] Go ahead.
FR: We like "Framed" [which was released as a single on Portrait Records September 26th], and we like "Bury Me," and...
KB: "Slave Laura."
FR: "Slave Laura." We like the ones with more energy and the ones that we can be more reckless on. That's kind of what this band is, reckless, youthful stuff, and that's what our sound is. And once we start trying to put parameters on what we're doing, then it starts to not be as fun, but it's the ones that we can cut loose on.
DD: [To C.C.] And how about you?
CCD: I like, I mean there's a reason for the order of the songs. I put those songs in the order that I like them basically. But doing them here (in rehearsal), I notice that "Good Day" and "Cover Girl" turn into something wonderful that they didn't before.
DD: The combination of players makes the individual songs bigger?
CCD: Well, the thing is, having him [Michael Lardie] playing it, I'm not in a hurry to finish the songs...It's been so long since I loved doing something. I like doing a lot of things. I like to run. Nobody loves to run. It's not something that you love to do. It's a fucking pain in the ass...but you like to do it because you realize that, if you don't you're gonna be...the other side is awful. I loved to do drugs. I really did. Not only did I love to do them, but I really was pretty religious about them. I was 24/7. I would never just say, "Oh look, it's time to go to bed." I would pass out, and that's how I would stop. Then I'd wake up and go right back to it. Now that I'm sober, I had never sang before, and now it's the most driving passion in my life right now. It's something I love; I love it. I'm not even too hip on playing anymore, I mean, I'm just not too hip on playing guitar. I love writing and when you have a song and then the band plays it and you hear it and it's like hot, that's magical.
DD: So now "I Want to Be Famous" was recently picked up for a television show?
DD: Tell me about that.
CCD: I don't know the real deal yet, but there's a movie called Grosse Pointe. It's not a movie, it's a situation comedy, and it's about people in a soap opera, so I guess the song fit in good with that, and that's always good exposure. That's a good thing. Someone likes it, so that's a plus.
DD: So it's almost like you're saying, "I want to be famous" and at the same time people are relating to that. That's got to be a good feeling that they relate to the song enough to put it where everyone will hear it in the show.
CCD: Well, the thing is that they get it because it's a spoof. Grosse Pointe is a spoof, it's a daytime drama, and their antics off camera are worse than what they...in other words, it's a bunch of kids, it's like Melrose Place, and they're all fuckups. They do their lines and then they're busy fucking everyone else and...it's a comedy. So the whole, "I want to be famous" thing, they get it. It's tongue in cheek. To actually look at a town that's glowing and mistake that for some kind of holier-than-thou monolith, like some people go to the church, and look up to the sky and you see this Hollywood is on fire with all those lights and everything, and it's not something to aspire to, but I love it. I can't help it, I love it....
DD: What's on your mind right now? What are you thinking about right now?
CCD: I happen to have come up with some songs on this tour that are just incredible...pain is so fertile for writing songs. For me to be in my bunk and to hear other people tittering, oh God, that pain is like.... if it's a long bus ride, I could have a greatest hits album. Honestly, by the time I'm getting off the bus, it's done. Also, you ever watch John Goodman when he does that City of Hope thing with Marlo Thomas? You know all those kids and the St. Jude thing? Well that's the charity I give to, so I was watching this one girl...and she's bald and everyone's around her, and she's the only one that's got any balls. The mother and father, they're all white and they look worse than the kid because they're worried about the kid, and the kid is taking it great. So I'm writing this little song about this little girl. It's going to be a real tearjerker because she's probably going to die at the end.
DD: Now you mentioned the tour is going to be about eight weeks, then you've got some time off and then you'll be going to Europe. Do you have any plans for the future once the tour is done? Or is that too far into the future to be thinking about?
FR: Well, with going to Europe you never know what's going to happen. We could be out for a week and get picked up on a cool tour. Anything could happen (she said). [laughs]
CCD: We're hoping...Honestly, I don't want it to be done when this is done. As long as we're progressing, I'm happy. I don't want to get there, be done, come back home and someone say, "How was your little tour? Did everyone get that out of your system? Are we done now?"
FR: The goal was not to put out a record and do a little tour. The goal was to have a career and, you know, this is what we're doing.
DD: So for you, C.C., how does that fit in with what Poison is doing? Are you going to find a problem with conflicts?
CCD: I don't think so. You know, a year is a long time. There's 12 months in a year and as long as I creatively schedule my time...Because Poison now is at the point where we go into a room and everyone just writes really fast. It's not like the drudgery of the old days you know...making it this way and Bret going "no" and me saying "No, you don't understand, it's gotta be this way." "No, it's gotta be this way..." Now the ideas that stay pure come here, and the ones with collaboration go to Poison, and I don't have to break my heart every time. And it leaves me a lot happier.
And leaves us happier too, C.C.
Here are some of the tour dates for Samantha 7:
10/04 - West Warwick, RI The Station
10/06 - Old Bridge, NJ Birch Hill Night Club
10/07 - West Springfield, VA Jaxx
10/08 - Philadelphia, PA John's
10/11 - Minot, ND Legends
10/12 - Fridley, MN The Main Event
10/13 - Madison, WI The Attic
10/14 - Mankato, MN The Albatros
10/15 - Superior, WI Bed Rock
10/16 - Fargo, ND Kirby's
10/18 - Omaha, NE Music Box
10/20 - Dallas, TX Canyon Club
10/27 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL Comfort Lounge
10/31 - Jacksonville, FL 618
11/09 - Albuquerque, NM Midnight Rodeo
11/10 - Phoenix, AZ The Mason Jar
More dates will be added, so be sure to check out www.thestepmothers.com