C.C.DEVILLE "I Think I Went Back To My Roots"

Date September 1, 2002 / 400 reads

Interview by Focus Magazine

Focus: How are you?

CCD: "I'm out of my mind. Now that I'm taking this role as lead singer, I've become such an ass. Everyone wants to hear it in my own voice. They're not really interested in what I've got to say, they just can't believe I've become such an ass. I've got, like, ninety-five phoners to do a day. So let me try to convince you of the ass I really am in as short a time as possible."

Focus: How have things been going? Has the response been good on the tour so far?

CCD: "Oh, yes. Sometimes we play in front of seven people, and sometimes we play in front of seventeen. But either way, I give it my all."

[long silence]

"Hello? I'm only kidding. That was a joke [laughter]. The people have been coming. We've been averaging, like, six or seven hundred people in the major markets, and in the smaller markets, we're getting like two or three hundred, so it's been very successful. They don't know what to expect. Some people expect me to come out with the Phyllis Diller wig doing Poison songs, when in actuality, I come out more, if you will, like a Buzzbee Berkley type of thing."

Focus: Was it at all intimidating to step into the role of frontman, and at the same time come out from behind the makeup?

CCD: "Yeah. Of course it was. [Poison] was the type of thing where you could hide behind a role. But it's also much more refreshing, because the whole impetus of the Samantha 7 thing is to be honest, to talk about things that mean something to me. That was the only way I was gonna get another chance to do this rock n' roll thing."

Focus: Do you feel like you have more of an uphill battle than an up-and-coming band that has no particular history?

CCD: "I think that it's a double-edged sword. I think some of the people are giving me a green light because of my past, and I think there are some people that don't think there's anything new, because of my past. So it's six of one, and half a dozen of the other. But it's nothing that can't be overcome by keeping on, and letting people see what it's about."

Focus: I imagine when people hear the record, they'll know. It's a much more straightforward power-pop thing than what you were doing before.

CCD: "Exactly. When people hear the record, they get sensitized to it immediately. But if you don't hear the record, you might think that I'm gonna do a bunch of Poison songs, which is not the case at all. But again, anything that's worth doing, is probably worth doing until it hurts."

Focus: To be fair, the first Poison record [Look What The Cat Dragged In] had those pop hooks, as well; I hear a lot of punk and indie-pop bands covering the songs. It's a bit of a guilty pleasure.

CCD: "I think I went back to my roots. The first album was more the way I was, when I wasn't writing songs to sell records. But what happened with the second and third albums, I was very conscious of making sure if I'm gonna do a record, it's gotta sell, because everyone has to pay for houses. Once I got off of that treadmill, I just wanted to do songs that mean something to me, without having that seventy beat-per-minute cowboy song, or something. [Poison] became very formularized, that's the whole reason why the whole glam Eighties hair thing self-destructed, because there was nothing new or original about it. It became all about the dollar."

Focus: The Samantha 7 disc is fairly saturated with your obsession with the Hollywood archetype. Not so much the dirty truth, but that sort of naïve, wide-eyed kid's dream of how things are out there.

CCD: "It is an obsession with me. It is, that fantasy land, when you live anywhere else, and you think about Hollywood, the vision of this wonderful land of Oz. But it could be anything, really. It's a synonym for wherever you think the grass is always greener."

Focus: You must be one hell of an optimist, to still look at it that way after living the Hollywood lifestyle, one that nearly killed you.

CCD: "Yes, I am. I am optimistic. At the end of the day, I am alive. And the music industry, and the scene that I thought was so dog-eat-dog, and eat-your-young, and miserable, once they knew I was sober, totally rallied for me to do this album, and to try to realize the dream again. The people that I thought were so stern, and only interested in the dollar, once they saw I was serious about staying sober, all came around to help me. So there is a silver lining."

Focus: You've got a new project, a new album out, and a nationwide club tour to promote it. So are you sick to death of having to talk about Poison in every interview?

CCD: "No, because it's a necessary thing. You've gotta talk about it. Poison was a very big part of my life, so of course people are going to want to talk about it. And there were a lot of good times, too. A lot of what went wrong with Poison was my own doing. But now that I have Samantha 7, it's a much easier subject, because I have another outlet. I'm always scared people are going to judge me solely on what Poison was, and that they're not gonna get the whole picture. Now, the picture's a little bit broader."

Focus: Does it bother you that some of the renewed interest in Poison, brought on by Behind The Music and the whole kitschy Eighties resurgence, is based more on novelty or irony that real fandom?

CCD: "No, that's what things become. And, honestly, that's what it always was. It was shtick. But that's what we went after. We went after the David Lee Roth part of rock n' roll. So to cry that we wanted integrity, when we just wanted to be in Circus Magazine, is putting the cart before the horse. The problem is, once you grow, and you really do have something to say, sometimes you've gotta lay in the bed you've already made."

Focus: It's refreshing that you make no bones about it, deny your past or try to make it something that it wasn't.

CCD: "You can't. Those albums were fun, but were they gonna change the world? No. They weren't meant to change the world. Crowded House was meant to change the world. Memories are nice, but you've gotta move on. Now I want to corrupt the youth of today."