It isn't supposed to happen the way it did. With the year of 2008 winding down, and the Pope and I starting to prepare our year end's Best of Heavy Rock list, I thought I'd had it all figured out. With all the great music coming into the Ripple, we were flush in quality metal and hard rock releases, then Roadsaw's See You in Hell disc dropped onto my desk and all my best laid plans were tossed into the trash. See for yourself. Not only did See You in Hell knock another worthy band off the list, but it shot right up near the top! Needless to say, we couldn't wait to get the the boys to stop on by our infamous red leather interview couch and shoot some questions their way about crafting such a fricking stunning disc.
When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkle, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.
What were your music epiphany moments?
My parents were folky hippy types so i had a lot of early exposure to a lot of Beatles and Dylan growing up. Later, two records were pivotal in my early teens both as a listener and as a player. Sweet's "Desolation Blvd." and Alice Cooper's "Killer" had a huge impact on me. I spent endless hours on my first bass trying to play the opening to "Dead Babies". And Sweet had the best pop metal hooks ever, not to mention great musicianship. Later as my musical tastes broadened Queen became very important to me. David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" blew my mind upon first listen. Thin Lizzy too helped me advance as a bass player.
Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?
Its always different. But for me songwriting IS a process and its something i put alot of work into. Im not someone who sits around getting high waiting for something to just fall out of the air, although sometimes that happens. Usually i will sit down a simply play. I also carry a notebook with me to write down ideas for lyrics or titles for songs. I dunno. For a while I would dream entire songs, wake up in the middle of the night and run to my tape recorded with my guitar.
Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?
Hard to say. it seems organic for me. Certain drugs can help.
Genre's are so misleading and such a way to pigeonhole bands. Without resorting to labels, how would you describe your music?
Roadsaw definitely has an FM classic analog heart to it. Dirty, thirsty and over 30.
What is you musical intention? What are you trying to express or get your audience to feel?
Its about the motion not the message.
In songwriting, how do you bring the song together? What do you look for in terms of complexity? Simplicity? Time changes?
We have a smart/dumb chart we shove every song through to measure for the perfect balance of both.
The business of music is a brutal place. Changes in technology have made it easier than ever for bands to get their music out, but harder than ever to make a living? What are your plans to move the band forward? How do you stay motivated in this brutal business?
We do what we do how we do when we want to. Its the only way to survive when you decide to swim with the sharks.
Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?
Phoenix Arizona: Riggs is standing on the drum riser as we kick of the first song. When the drums kick in , Riggs attempts a David Lee Roth style leap and splits his head wide open on the roof rafters and nearly knocks himself out. Dazed and bleeding , the show continues.
Where do you see you and your music going in ten years?
We'll show up on some K Tell stoner rock oldies compilation and the band will come out of retirement to play some half-assed package shows at county fairs across the mid west.
What makes a great song?
If i knew, all our songs would be great, wouldn't they???
Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?
A silly Kiss rip-off about some hot blonde in high school i wanted to finger bang.
What piece of your music are particularly proud of?
Our third album "Rawk n Roll" has some of our best songwriting on it. "Buried Alive" and "Your own Private Slice of Hell" in particular.
Who today, writes great songs? Why?
Country artists still have the best songwriters, hands down. A very long tradition that knows exactly what its audience wants.
Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?
I have an extremely deep record collection that still sounds better than other format.
What's the best record store in your town?
If i still lived in LA, Amoeba would be my first choice. In Boston, In Your Ear still rules.