The band's been up since '83 and toured the world. We took a little break from '93 to '97 and then we're back.
Did you decide to pursue other avenues?
Yeah, I did. We had another band. One of my favorite kinds of music is the '70s glitter rock so I formed another band called Diamond Dogs. We played around L. A. and had a great time. We worked so much material so we're going to record those albums. I have a recording studio now.
I've heard about that band.
Yeah, we got a lot of press from it but it was during a time when you had Nirvana and then Green Day. There wasn't any room for a glitter rock band. Now glitter rock's all the rage so I was a little too early I guess.
You were a little before your time. You've done eight albums and you've had sellout tours all over the world and you're still going strong.
It's hard to put on a big show in a midlevel arena. It's easy to do it in arenas but when you're doing it in clubs and stuff like that, it's a challenge. Also trying to write good albums that I like to listen to. That's a challenge to because I listen to some of my older stuff and I just can't listen to some of it. It's a challenge to try and make a record you actually like.
Do you feel you've matured as a songwriter?
Oh, definitely. I'm 10 times better of a songwriter then I was way back then. Only because I push myself to explore different things instead of just doing what comes naturally and what's easy. I would really get bored if I did that so it's always difficult challenges that I'm looking for.
Even if you can't stand your old stuff, at least you grew from that.
Well, there's people like AC/DC who keep putting out the same type records throughout their whole career and that's what everyone wants from them. That's what they like to do and that's great. It's not for me. I'm trying to do different things always and trying to change. Trying to create stuff that just blows my mind. I'm getting close to that every time.
What goes through your mind when you work on a new album?
We're doing one right now. We're 30 percent done. What's going through my mind is this is a very different record. The Deal With The Devil record, I knew that we hadn't put out a record in a while and I knew it was going to be '80s influenced. It was going to be influenced by my own past. I knew that was going to happen. We did it mainly for Europe because Europe is still real into that. Now since I've done that and it got critical acclaim, I kind of feel like I have the right to do anything I want now. This is the record I'm doing which is really different for me. We're having a great time. It's really mind boggling how much fun we're having recording. Usually it's a dread. Most people don't record. They re-record. You do demos, you practice, you rehearse. All you do is put down what you've already done. Some surprises come out but mostly you know what's going to happen. This record, I've no idea what's happening.
You're doing it raw.
No rehearsals, no nothing. We spent a week in preproduction. We said forget it. Let's just push record. That's what we're doing. We just come up with a bit, record. Come up with a part, record.
That sounds more fun than, okay, let's put that on there that we already did last week.
Right. It is so much fun because no one knows what they're doing. Marten's on bass. He comes in and he'd never heard the song before and doesn't know nothing, and he just starts playing. It's wild but it's really coming out good.
I think that's going to be pretty cool.
I'm anxious to hear it myself.
What do you think about the music scene of the past 10 years?
I think it was a necessary evil. It had to happen. It had to go into a nosedive from the '80s because it was such a joke at the end. It was like businessmen with hairspray. That's all it was. Music was long gone but it had to go down into that thing. I love where's it's going now. I think a lot of innovative stuff is coming out that I'm interested in and that I like. I love where it's going. The mid '90s, I was listening to CDs during that period. Not a lot of radio.
You hosted Headbanger's Ball at one time. Do you miss shows like that and feel that they should come back into vogue?
I heard that they were talking about bringing back some form of Headbanger's Ball. Doing that show, it was such a depressing thing because it wasn't run the way I thought it was. I had done interviews with MTV a few times but I never hosted the show. Going on and hosting it and finding out that really you have nothing to do with it. They pick all the songs. They run everything. You just go on there and read off a TelePrompTer. I tried to bring my show, the way I like to do it, but they didn't have time for that. This is like a total corporation business. From this period to this period you're going to talk on the TelePrompTer and then move on to the next thing. It was kind of disappointing. I've done shows in Japan where they say "what do you want to do? Let's do it. You want to talk for 20 minutes? Okay." They really build sets and everything for you but MTV's not like that. I do hope that they bring back some form of Headbanger's Ball. That was a great place for people that liked this kind of music to go. You got maybe one video that you liked because it was picked by other people.
I used to think that the only video that Slayer ever released was "Seasons In The Abyss" because that was the only video of theirs that I ever saw on that program. I was like "damn don't these people have any other videos?"
There used to be a show on cable called Night Flight. They were innovative. They played stuff from the early, early past to brand new stuff. They did features on bands and I thought it was a really, really good show. MTV I think probably bought them to get them out of the way.
Back when I was a kid, they had that show on a local network and I'd stay up late to watch it.
Yeah, that's another part of it. You'd get to stay up late and wait for this one show to come on and see what they were going to feature. That's kind of special.
You've had songs on a couple of soundtracks. Do you enjoy providing material for these?
Yeah, we really did. There's a song on Deal With The Devil called "We Only Come Out At Night". We tried to get it on the Blade soundtrack but then they decided they were going with hiphop so there was no room for a band like us. It would have been perfect I thought. Lyrically speaking and musically. I thought it would have been really cool to be on that but yeah, I love soundtracks. I'd like to be on one.
You were a guest of Alice Cooper's at the Reading Festival in London. Have you ever had an opportunity to tour with him?
No, but we've done another show in California at the Orange Pavilion. 6,000. It was great. No touring with him though. They treated us so great when we played the show. During soundcheck they moved everything back. Their whole giant props, everything, just so we'd have enough stage room for us. They treated us really great.
They put on an incredible show.
Yeah, the Reading Festival was great too, to be on that. That's 50,000 people. It's just wild.
That would be a cool tour though. Alice Cooper and Lizzy Borden.
He'd never have it. They wanted to put me and him on the cover of one of the big magazines in the '80s but he said no way. They didn't do me or him. If it wasn't going to be both of us, it wasn't going to be either of us, which was a drag.
You were on the PMRC hitlist at number two as the most dangerous band in the world. Aren't you kind of pissed that you weren't number one?
Yeah, I hate coming in at number two. It's a drag. I don't even know who's number one. They didn't have their facts right. I should have been number one.
Talk about a group of people out of control. How did you manage to become a guest on the pilot episode of The Jesse Jackson Show? Is that the Reverend Jesse Jackson?
Yeah, he did a show like the Oprah show. The same thing and he had every rap star that you could imagine there. They were all out in the audience but onstage it was me, Ice-T, Jello from Dead Kennedys. It was about censorship. That's what it was and we were being hit by the PMRC so they got us to do it. It was very bizarre because the whole thing was rap stars and one punk and one metalhead. I've never even actually seen the show because Jesse Jackson couldn't speak clearly enough. He did his run through about 10 times and who could understand him? They changed his big show into a small little talk show or something. It was weird.
You were supposed to tour with Yngwie Malmsteen but that didn't quite work out.
We did tour with them. Last year we were supposed to do 40 dates and we did 30 because his band broke up. This show was the first night here and we didn't play the show because they wouldn't let us do anything. "You get nothing. You're going to get no soundcheck. You're not going to use any stage props. Any staging. Anything at all." We had already had the understanding that we were going to able to do this stuff. He just changed his mind the last second when he saw some of our staging. He just didn't want it to happen so we didn't play this beautiful club in there that night and we were going to leave the tour. Then we decided that it would have taken another few weeks, another few months, to put together a new tour. We said let's just bite the bullet and do it and we did it. We made it as far as Cleveland and he did the same thing to his band. His band quit on him.
He tends to piss people off.
Yeah, he's a delusional human being.
But people love him. How long have you been on tour and how is it going so far?
This is the fifth show I think. It's a month long tour. It's just because after that we went through three different agents. We were supposed to go to Europe. We were supposed to do all this stuff so all the touring for Deal With The Devil got tossed around. We were waiting for Europe and then Europe got too late to do because of the festivals. The whole thing got screwed up and we went through three different agents. We finally found an agent. Then now that everybody wants the new record because we've got a huge European tour happening next year, I've got to work on the record.
When are we getting the new record?
They want it for October. It's right around the corner. I've got to finish this tour and then head back and work and try and get it finished. It's a long way from being finished. Like I said, it's a dream record for me because I don't know what's going to happen so every day there is exciting.
Do you even have a name for it yet?
No. I have a lot of potential names but nothing that's really just thrilled me yet. We'll see. Usually I'm a stickler for figuring out every detail of everything that I do. You just do that for so long that after a while you're not surprised. It came out just like the way you thought it would. I'm in a position where we have our own recording studio and I don't want to work that way anymore. I want to just be surprised and have fun in the studio every day and that's what's happening. All I have to do now is hope everyone likes what we come up with. It's heavy. It's heavier than anything we've ever done which is interesting.
What kind of show does Lizzy Borden put on?
It's a theatrical show. What we do is build up that theatrical wall and then I spend the whole show busting it down and trying to get the audience involved in what we're doing so it's more of a live theater for everyone, not just people onstage. It's a theatrical little creation. It's more a script in my head than anything else. I think if you connected the dots you would see some sort of a script in there somewhere but really, you don't have to. You just back and enjoy it and have fun with it. I want to do a show like that one day where it's a complete storyline all the way through. We'll see.
It's still in the future.
Just to do a show like this is getting expensive. To do a show like that would be unbelievable. I'd have to really have a Top 10 record to get that kind of money.
Deal With The Devil was released about two years ago?
It was October of 2000. It's what, a year and a half? Something like that.
Can you elaborate on the album? I understand it deals with the seven sins or something like that.
Seven deadly sins. It deals with a lot of different things. Almost everything that I do is about human nature. If I write about murder, it's really about the human brain leading it to that point. Not really about the murder. I'm always about the human side of things. Deal With The Devil is the same thing. Everyone's got a little devil on their shoulders and he just sees what will push you in that direction you don't want to go in or you shouldn't go in but you do want to go in. We used the seven deadly sins in it. Lots of different things that deal with that sort of thing. The devil is really the face I put on it but it really has little to do with the devil. More to do about human nature and the flaws of human nature. What brings the people to do the things that they do. I've always written about that in almost every record.
Is that where Lizzy Borden sprang up from?
I think so. Just the name itself and the history behind it. It's the same thing. Was it an injustice? Was it just? Who knows. No one will ever know and I think it's the greatest thing to be able to be in a position where I'm writing lyrics under this banner and being able to keep that same thing going on throughout all my work.
How many of your albums have you re-released?
Two. We just started on doing the whole thing but, because I'm doing a lot of it, we've only done two so far. There's so many other things that we've had to deal with. We're also recording the new record and after this one we're going to do a Diamond Dogs record. Right after the Diamond Dogs record, we're going to start the next record and then we've got two tours in Europe and probably Japan and the States and doing it in between all that. Planning all of this and Deal With The Devil was just the beginning of the whole new meaning for us.
You have a huge following in Europe and Japan?
Yeah, we've done two festivals there since '99. The first one was about 15,000 and the second one was about 40,000. Kind of like over here. They band together over there to make it possible so you're playing with all these great people. Deep Purple and all these other great bands all on the same bill. It's just heaven.
We have the Dio/Scorpions/Deep Purple tour on it's way.
And that's a good thing. I think that's a good thing for music. We try to do the same thing. We tried to do it with WASP. We tried to do it with a few other bands. There's just not enough money to support slot situations in the club level so it's very hard to put something like that together. In the arena situation I think it should always be that way. Even in a club situation, it's hard to get other bands that can work. That's what gets people coming out. It's a smart thing. It's a great thing to be able to do it. It makes an event more than "oh you want to go see the show?" It's like okay, I already know about this event. It's gonna happen. You're going to go to it months in advance. It's a big deal and that's the way it used to be. I think it's more fun that way. It creates a scene.
Everybody gets to walk around and see the bands they want to see and sit out the bands they aren't interested in seeing.
Any other thoughts or comments?
Have a good time at the show and get close so I can get some blood on you.