C.C.DEVILLE "SAMANTHA 7 Is Just More Viable At This Juncture Than POISON Is"

Date July 1, 2000 / 946 reads

Interview by YourMVP Magazine

CC: How's your leg? Are you going to be able to play?


CC: I don't like that. That's a pregnant pause!

< Laughter >

FR: I rehearsed the other day with my left leg.. and it was cool.

CC: Great. It doesn't have to be perfect. As long as we've got the vibe. We need the Francis vibe.

Krys Barrato: That's what I said yesterday.

FR: I'm working hard at it.

CC: In fact, if you don't play the kick drum too hard it might be a good thing.

< All laughing. >

FR: That's what I was thinking.

CC: I'm only kidding. I need you just the way you are. Enough of that.. I think this is on his dime.

YourMVP: What happened to your leg?

FR: We were in Jacksonville, FL, and I got hit by a car. My leg got ran over, so I'm on the injured list right now.

KB: It was beautiful.

< FR laughing >

CC: You know how there are two bones in your shin? He broke both of them. In the beginning I was like, "Oh, you pussy.. get up." It didn't look like much. I was like, "Alright, he's the drummer and doesn't get no attention and has to break his leg." Then I get the X-rays and both bones --you can see it-- aren't even touching. Both bones!

You were literally run over by a car? How'd that happen?

FR: Actually, we were talking to each other --CC and I-- and we were approaching an intersection. I was looking at him, and he went into the cross-walk. I thought it was clear. When I stepped into it, the car ran over my leg.

That can ruin a tour!

FR: Well, I missed a couple week off the tour because of it. Luckily our tour manager knows how to play drums. He filled in for the few shows we had left. I'm going to be back up and playing.. and back in action.

Tell us how S7 got together.

CC: I tell that story all the time. Give that one to Krys.

KB: Well.. We got together through mutual friends. I was doing a soundtrack for adult films and CC happened to stumble across one of those films.

CC: Just for the musical content.

< All laughing. >

By pure accident!

CC: Not for anything I was watching.. I always like to.. .. To see how music accompanies such adult situations. Usually I don't even have the picture on! Usually I'll pop in the adult film and just have the "soundtrack" on. On that particular day, it just happened to be like the Groove Monster George Clinton meets Bootsie Collins from hell. It was like.. And I'm like, "Oh, my GOD! If this is the way some guy is fucking, he must have like a gargantuan dick!" You know? And I put the picture on, and I see.. Oh, it's not. It's just the soundtrack. Then at the end of it, it says "Music by Girth." I was like, "Oh, boy.. " But you could tell it was a bass. So I called up my friend, who happened to get me the movies, and said, "Who is this 'Girth' guy-- and is he interested in playing in a band?" So that was.. anyway, go on.

KB: No, no. So that was it. It was a phone call. We started demoing some songs. Got Francis involved. And the rest, as they say, is history.

From what I read, Francis didn't make the cut at first.

CC: Yeah..

FR: Yeah. < Laughing. >

CC: We auditioned. Francis was one of the first guys. I didn't think he was into it. I thought he didn't really like the band. So we got this other guy, and he was really, really tall. Then we got rid of him because he couldn't play. So then we went and saw Francis again at a club.

FR: They just happened to realize I was the right height, also!


CC: And was he was interested. I just didn't think he was. The thing was there really wasn't much to be interested in at the time. I think we had three songs.

KB: Yeah, three.

CC: So it wasn't like we came with this whole big thing. It was just like, "Here." Remember we had those two little amps.. We used those two little boxes and a little head. I remember I couldn't even hear it because he was so.. That's the other reason! He was so goddam loud!

It sounds like your job could be in jeopardy, Francis. If you lost any height from that broken leg, you won't be the right height any more!

< All laughing. >

KB: The shorter the better!

CC: If he's shorter, it's OK.

FR: Yeah, my new name is going to have to be "Ilene."

< All laughing. >

KB: Good one!

CC: If he were Japanese, it would be "Irene"!

< Uproarious laughter from all. >

They say you were too loud for the audition, but everything I've read says you're the quiet one of the group!

KB: Yeah. I guess I get all my frustration and anger out through the drums. Most of the time, speaking wise, I've been dubbed "Harpo" because of the internet. I don't have a computer, so it's hard for me to get on. Krys is our internet king. Everybody that has a computer loves Krys. They have what they call the "Barrato Harem." It's a group of girls that love Krys because they always talk to him on the internet. Since I'm never on, I got the name "Harpo" so everyone thinks I'm quiet. When I get on the drums, I'm not quiet at all.

CC, you were just on tour with Poison. Krys, what were you two guys doing while CC was on the road?

KB: Vacationing.

FR: Yeah, Krys took a vacation and went home for a little while. I just stuck around LA and found different things to do to keep me busy. I actually came to New Mexico --which is where I'm from-- and did a couple radio spots to kind of keep people abreast while CC was out on the road.

Minnesota? Krys, that sounds.. exciting.

KB: I was back there taking care of business. Everything I could have done out here, but had family and everything back there.

CC: But he happened to find someone, too! He went there by himself but he came back with two. There's a scene in "The Freshman." No one tells this guy that someone is going to go with Matthew Broderick. So all of a sudden he shows up and there's two people, and the guy's very nervous. And he goes. "Wait a minute.. he says he leaves with one --but he comes back as two!" He does that for about 15 minutes, and it's very funny. That's what I was doing. "Krys left as one, but came back as two.. " But it's a good thing.

KB: It's very spiritual. I came back with two personalities!

So, in all of LA, you couldn't find someone --but you did in Minnesota?

CC: You don't want to find anyone in LA!

KB: You don't wanna.. Believe me. I think we've all run the gamut out here.

CC: You know what? That's it. In LA, it's the warning sign. The women in LA are wonderful, but they're.. The women in LA are as close to a "man" as you get. An LA woman is like a man in any other place. They know what they've got, and they're players. You can't blame them. If you move to LA, you were usually the good looking girl in Muskingum, MI. So you move to LA. And you realize your attributes have a timeline. So you have to make sure you're doing the right thing at the right time --because you don't have much time to do it. By 30, you have to be married.. and hopefully by someone that's a mover. In LA, it's just a melting pot for people that are older, that have a lot of money and women that are pretty and don't have any drive or anything. So there's a marriage there. But for me, it's very difficult because I'm older and have no money. So once they skip the facade that I lost everything in the "Crash of '29", they realize, "Oh, my God! I didn't even know you were that old --AND I didn't know you were broke!" So they immediately run off to someone else. It's very tough in LA. They're very streetwise and they know what they've got. But in Minnesota, it's like you show up at their house in a 4x4 truck, and, as long as it's washed, you make a good impression on the family.

Come on. You guys are touring the country. The women have to be plentiful.

CC: Oh, yeah.. sure.

FR: They're definitely out there.

CC: I've got so many opinions on that. This is a men's magazine, and I know this is really the gist of the whole thing, right? The thing is, they always say the grass is greener on the other side. While you're touring, and while it is wonderful, you usually don't have time to have anything more than an encounter. There is no time for anything to develop. I know it's going to sound like I'm a prude because I'm saying, "Gee, I want something do develop", but as far as "meeting someone", it's very hard when you're on the road. Everyone has their game face on. The girls have their game face on because they want to get backstage and meet the band. So they're going to be looking hot. The band just finished playing, so matter what you do after they see you on stage, it's going to be a let down. You just played your ace. It's very hard to come offstage and just shut up and have that "aura."

FR: And not only that, but now days because the internet is so prominent, you have to think about whatever you do --if you do have an encounter --you're going to be able to read your own review on the internet the next day. So, you know, you're basically not having sex --or your encounter-- with that one person, everybody is going to be in on it.

KB: Both performances are going to be reviewed!

< All laughing. >

CC: And now insurance has gone up since the internet, too. Basically you judge how popular you are by the number of death threats you get from stalkers. I have to tell you, I'm hitting an all-time.. I'm either really, really popular or I'm just pissing a lot of people off! I've never had so many people hating me and wishing me dead in my life. '

< All laughing. >

What has the fan response been to your music and shows?

FR: The response from the fans has been great. Of the shows we've played, it seems like 90 percent of the people in there know every word to every song --which is pretty amazing, especially for a debut record. It just goes to show the record is great and people are clicking in to the lyrics and what the band is all about. That's something we're very proud about. We just need to get the record out to more people. If it has that affect on the people that are coming to the shows now, it can be really, really huge and we're looking for the time when it gets that kind of exposure.

CC: What happens-- and, again, I'm a little cynical in the world --sometimes, now with the internet, in the old days you'd know if the album wasn't in a neighborhood or region, you'd go to a show and the people that were there would just have a blank look on their faces. They wouldn't be anti the band, but they'd just be trying to get the lyrics and what the band is all about. Now with Napster and the internet, you can see that people understand the band because they've been exposed to the music. The bad part is that when you look at what you're Soundscanning, it doesn't match up. You're Soundscanning maybe 10,000, maybe 15,000 records every two months. The people that are hearing it are just three or four times that. It gets frustrating in that respect. The label is saying, "Well, you don't seem to be selling as much as Madonna", you know? And I'm like, "Well, yeah, but you don't understand. Everyone seems to know it." If you can get it on the internet, I don't think people are going to buy it. It's that double-edged sword.

So, you are against Napster?

CC: In the beginning I wasn't, but now that I'm being bitten by it a little bit, I'm starting to change my view. I wouldn't mind if they'd be able to download one song, and then if they liked it, they could go buy it. Because attention spans tend to be so short, people will download a CD -- as part of a group of maybe ten CDs --and then spend all week listening to it. Then it's very hard for them to come back and say, "Gee, I really like that" and then go buy it. In that respect, I feel that in a new band especially it's difficult. Everything goes upon how many records you're selling and what the priority is on the label. So when we're fighting as hard as we are, every record we sell it's important it's noted. When it's downloaded, you don't really get that credit. Even if we weren't getting the money, but we were getting the [credit for it], at least the label would know there was something going on.

FR: I think the idea behind Napster is not so bad. I think it would be better if there would only be one song on there. Or, like some record stores, when you can go listen to CDs, they'll only play up to the chorus of some songs.

CC: I'm not opposed to listening to something before you buy it. God knows how many times you've gone to a store or heard a song on the radio and went and bought the record, and the rest of the album is shit. You might as well have gone and bought the single. Unfortunately, with S7, there's not a bad song on the CD. It's very hard to talk good about hings when it's your product. You always sound like an asshole. But the fact of the matter is it's a really strong CD and it's a strong song-oriented thing. If you like one song off the CD, you're going to like every song. I think it's a really well-done record. I wish people would just take a chance and buy the CD because I haven't heard anyone yet that has said, "God, I hate this CD."

I stumbled on it by fluke at a Tower Record listening station. After hearing it had CC, I was interested. After hearing "Framed", I wanted to buy it. Everyone that I've let listen to it has been pleasantly surprised.

CC: I know. If you say CCDeVille, you have a different idea of what it's going to sound like.

Does it ever get frustrating that the group is viewed simply as your "solo project" away from Poison?

CC: Yeah, that's been an infinite source of frustration. It's been the one thing that is painful. Sometimes people will ask me this question --and get me on the wrong day --and I'll start ranting and raving about Poison. And I don't mean to rant and rave about Poison. Poison was a very good thing. It was a very necessary thing. The thing with the S7 band is not like a solo record. My whole heart and soul, and I can speak for the other two, are in this. Moreso than any Poison record. With Poison, you couldn't even get that far into it! Someone else would be changing it. There would be four people constantly changing it. It'd be a nightmare. With this record, it was like a labor of love. It's very frustrating. I think it's also more telling, it's more revealing, and there's a little bit more depth. I tried to strip off the myth of the rock star in a lot of the lyrics because I thought that was just more refreshing. How many times can you sing about the same party? The party is fine, but things happen.. Then again, I've always liked Woody Allen better than George Clooney, and I feel like the S7 record is a Woody Allen movie than a George Clooney movie. Poison was George Clooney. S7 is a little more cerebral.

So, Krys, Francis, do you ever feel completely in the shadow?

KB: No. People have asked that before. I think they get that impression because CC was in Poison, and they did what? 20-some million records or something? So you would think it would be like that, but it's not at all. Of course he's going to get more of the "center of attention." He's the lead singer. He's the writer. And he was in the spotlight for all those years.

CC: But when you see the show, you see how strong everyone is. Everyone in the band is really strong.

FR: We're doing this because we really love the band. Irregardless of how certain parts of the industry try to perceive us as a solo project or a side project, something that's just a little project on the side, we don't think it like that. No musician [wants] to be in a band that's just a side-project, none of us want to do that. We all put our entire hearts in this. That's what's kept the band going, and will continue to regardless of what radio stations or anybody else wants to think. The fans love it, and we love it. As long as that stays intact, it can keep going.

CC: You know, I think [S7 is] just more viable at this juncture than Poison is. Without a doubt. The band sounds really refreshing, and I'm not sure how refreshing the Poison stuff sounds. It's hard to sound refreshing when.. there are a lot of variables in that situation. With this stuff, it's coming back to the roots and doing what I really love. It's bashing it out and not being so political. There's less thinking involved --and I mean behind the scenes thinking and posturing as opposed to just doing the songs and stuff. There's always got to be a committee meeting to do a photo session with Poison. Everything has to be thought out and go through this "How should we do this?" thing. It's just a nightmare sometimes.

If it's so political, how did you end up back on tour with them?

CC: <´quietly > Financially.

Ahh.. It comes down to that so often, doesn't it?

CC: You have to understand, when S7 goes out on the road, there's no label support. We have to foot that bill. Until the album breaks.. In other words, as if we're on the road, we don't have day jobs. I would love to be able to pull into a town, work in the daytime --I mean sell shoes or be a checkout guy --and then do the show at night and have some money to do it. But that's not how it is. There's got to be money coming in until the label says "Here this is how it's going to go." So it's a necessary evil to fund that.

You're going to be on the road this spring with Great White. How did that happen?

FR: It's actually just going to be in Europe. We're on the same record label, and a lot of the different people we deal with are the same. It's kind of a communion that happened by knowing family, basically. It was convenient and everybody was just happy to do it. It's going to work out nicely.

KB: And it's a good opportunity for us to get over to Europe and get the record out over there.

FR: And the other thing is that Great White can go to Europe and play. And S7 can go to Europe and play. But if we go together, then we can play in front of more people and in bigger venues, so it just works out for everyone all the way around.

When listening to the record, the influence from CC is very obvious. It gave me flashbacks to some of the stuff I jammed to in high school. How intentional was that 80s rock 'n' roll sound?

CC: Personally I think we tried very hard not to be 80s! I tried not to have a chorus/guitar tune and not to solo. There was no singing over High C, there was no posturing and posing. Everything that was bloated in the 80s, I took out. So I'm totally devestated when you say you heard that 80s thing. I'm saying to myself, "Why? Where the hell did that come from?"

FR: I think it's kind of the opposite. I think CC..

CC: When I think of 80s, I think of Slaughter --and there is no way this sounds like friggin' Slaughter. Or any of that.

When I say..

CC: Which is fine, but to me this album sounds like The Ramones meets The Police meets The Offspring meets The Marvelous Three more than it sounds like Def Leppard or The Scorpions.

In no way did I mean you sounded like Def Leppard or The Scorpions. When I think of you from the 80s, the one line I think of is "CC, pick up that guitar and talk to me!" and then the solo from "Talk Dirty to Me." There were a couple of times when I heard that.

CC: Well, there's my guitar style. But my guitar style is not an "80s style." I sound more like a country guitarist. There isn't even a whammy bar anywhere on this album, is there?

FR/KB: No.

CC: No. There's not one "Weeeoowww" on the thing. My style is like.. I'm more like a Chuck Berry than any other thing. If you hear my style, that's me. I can't help that. It's me. My style in the 80s didn't really fit the 80s. When we had our cross-over hit with "Talk Dirty to Me," that was a retro song. "Talk Dirty to Me" sounds more like S7 than it does Poison.

< Krys agrees. >

CC: That's really the breakout thing, and that's what defined Poison. As it went on, it got darker and less fun and less light.

Yeah, I think that was actually the problem. It got less fun and less 'light'.

CC: Yeah, me too --that's what I think, too.

You said in an interview on your site that one of the reasons S7 was formed was to bring fun back to rock 'n' roll.

KB: Yeah, that was more reflecting on some of the things that came out --and it was a lot of great stuff --in the grunge movement where everybody seemed just so damn depressed all the time. I think this record gives music..

CC: It's a light-hearted record.

KB: Yeah, it gives it a shot in the ass.

CC: We normally are funny people. I've always been a little.. funny.

< Krys is laughing. >

CC: It's hard not to have a sense of humor in this business. Very few people get critically acclaimed, so you don't understand why. If you don't develop a sense of humor and some thick skin, you're gonna definitely be on the Prozac Plan in no time. It's that type of thing. I'm glad to see that there's some funny --not as in wreckless, but fun --in some stuff. Like when you see Blink 182. Even the new Offspring in that "Prankster" song. There's a certain freshness that I like. As opposed to the whole bloated situation of rock 'n' roll in the 80s. That's why I say Kurt Cobain was a musical enema. People don't realize it was so refreshing to go, "Wow! Fuck! You can just go and sing the fucking song! Who'd have thunk it?" I think the Nirvana influence on this band is amazing. Especially in "Hanging On to Jane" and the whole approach to my singing. Without Kurt Cobain, there would have never even been a second part to my life. That was a turning point. There was "Before Kurt" and "After Kurt."

It's funny you say that. Nirvana is attributed with killing "glam rock", which is where you were making your living at the time.

CC: Yeah, but you have to understand I bailed out of Poison in '92. Nirvana came out at the end of '92. If Poison was still doing what they were doing in '86, it would not have been the death of anything. It might have been the death of "glam," but it would not be the "death" of bands that were good. What happened was everything got on that "just find the band that puts make-up on" [philosophy]. Every time there's a trend there's a million bands that come after. There are the Nirvanas, and then you have your 50-million bands that come after. Well, there's only one Nirvana. You have your Poisons. Then you have your Warrants, and your Firehouses and your.. Then you throw the baby out with the bathwater. The fact is, the music scene was stagnant. In '86, '87, '88, that scene was pretty refreshing. After that, it was just a different dog doing the same tricks. The Nirvana thing.. I just couldn't believe it. I was led to believe that you couldn't even do it without the bombs and lights and lasers. It was like, "Wow!" I was told people aren't going to get it. You've got to have your three-ring circus. When Kurt Cobain came out, it was like, "Fuck! I'm going to do this!" That's why I started the S7 thing --< said very quickly > when I got sober a couple years later!

< Krys is laughing. >

You're really into reintroducing fun and wit into rock music. The recent "Billboard" review of your "Framed" single is crazy about the fun lyrics. There's the same wit and humor throughout the album.

CC: It's a self-effacing thing. I realized once you stop telling people how great you are, they think you're great. For the longest time, I felt like nobody was getting me. Nobody's getting it. I would be doing these things that would be really, really funny --and it would be over people's heads. I stopped saying to people, "HEY! This is good!" There used to be a joke in town: "Is CC Good?" "Yeah, just ask him." It's that type of thing. You just have to let people find it on their own. The sense of humor helps me. I was on the butt-end of some awful, scathing reviews.. Which hasn't happened at all with S7. I think we've had one review where the guy had a hard-on for 80s bands in the first place. But where they listened to the band open-minded, I haven't seen a bad review yet. There was that one in Vegas, where they just took me to task --they lambasted me. They put an apple in my mouth!

KB: I thought's the one you were talking about.

CC: Yeah. They put me on the rotisserie. But you could see that it was so venomous that there was an underlying thing there. Probably someone in my old band had fucked his girlfriend or something because it was just too much hate for someone simply not liking the record.

You guys say you're all pranksters and like to have fun. On your website it says that Krys and Francis, the first time you played together you were onstage wearing nothing but women's G-strings!

KB: Yeah.. That was with John Christ from Danzig. We did a show with him and the Legendary Cheese Boy. They were getting a little bit too serious, so as the curtain came up, the clothes came off.

CC: I have to tell you, had I been in the audience that night, I would have gone back there and said, "PLEASE let me in your band!" It would have been the type of thing, I'd have said, "Oh, my God! I get it. I'm not leaving until I get in the band. I'm going to follow you home."

FR: Yeah, we all played basically in the raw --except we couldn't find John anywhere. When the curtain went up, he was the only one wearing clothes --and it was, you know, the Danzig attire.

CC: Now you have to explain Cheese Boy so people get it. He's very big, a heavy fella.

FR: A very heavy, pale-looking guy. He went out there wearing women's G-strings.

CC: He's very flattering in a G-string!

KB: He could barely get them over his thighs. It was a sight right from the get-go.

FR: They didn't want to raise the curtain, actually, because there's obviously no pouch in a women's G-string.

CC: Mmm-hmm.. Oh man, that must have been fucking hilarious.

FR: He put 'em in as best he could, but obviously as the curtain went up the sack came out, too.

Does S7 have stories like that? It seems natural for a group fronted by a man that made his living for years wearing lots of women's make-up on stage and two men that wore women's G-strings to perform.

KB: This band.. No, we haven't done that yet --at least on purpose.

< Laughter. >

FR: The underlying humor is there. The fact is, none of us are taking ourselves that seriously. That's the other thing that's great about the wit and humor of the record. I think a lot of people are expecting that CC will want to prove to the world that he's a guitar hero or whatever. But it's just him being himself. That's what's great about it. It's not like Jim Carrey being a great comedian all of a sudden wants to do a drama to prove he's a great actor. It's not like that.

CC: Can anybody say "The Cable Guy"? If it's not broken, don't fix it.

FR: Yeah. That's what's great. [This record is] not trying to be anything. It is what it is. That's why I think the fans are really into it --the ones that have gotten it. They really like it because it says, "It's OK to like this. We're not trying to do anything. Just enjoy it."

CC: Exactly! "It's not a conspiracy! By you liking this, believe me, you're not validating me. I'm still an asshole. I still don't get respect. And I've got two guys in the band that, even though you they're wonderful, just because they're associated with me, are damned to hell. So don't worry! Publicly you can still say we suck! That's fine. By you buying the record, it does not, in any way, validate me." I go out of my way to put that message across. "I'm still an asshole. I still suck. I just got lucky again." They're like, "Oh, that bastard! That lucky bastard!" Not that I'm cynical.

On your site it says you participated in a "Skeet Shooting with Clay Pigeons" interview. What the hell is that?

CC: Well, before I got sober.. I took a sabbatical from reality for a couple years, and I was notorious for shooting my house. So I had an SP-89, which is an automatic machine gun, so the cops were up there at my house on Sunset all the time. I'd be shooting the TV and shooting the walls and stuff. So somebody got the idea, "Wow! CC's familiar with guns, so let's do this thing." Now, I don't really shoot the.. Then I was shooting at things I thought were there. Now I'm very controlled.

< YourMVP laughing. >

OK.. After the tour with Great White, what are the band's plans?

CC: After Great White I would like to go in and, depending on what's going on, start a new record. In other words, the process is already going on and the main thing is to just keep going forward. It's the type of thing that, if people need a second chance to understand it, that's fine. Yes, I would love this album to sell millions and millions of copies. But I also know that this band is very lucky about writing songs. They just happen. So if not this [album], then the next one. I don't want to stagnate and keep saying "Why? Why? Why?" I know that, if it's not on this album, there's got to be a couple development albums so people realize that the guitar player from Poison is actually a viable artist. That it's actually a good thing. That might take a couple records to do. I don't think the band has any problem with touring and doing another record.

FR: As long as I stay out of the street!

CC: We're going to get Francis some curb-feelers or something.

< All laughing. >

Thanks guys for taking time out for us. Since you just released "Framed" as the new single, hopefully this will give you a boost.

CC: Thank you, guy!