Robert Sykes - Broken Toyz

February 26, 2002

Give me a little background on the band.

Broken Toyz is a little over a year old. A year old this summer. I ran into different people but it mainly came through Manny Charlton. He's the guitar player for Nazareth. He put us all together or connected us all in a way and gave us a start. Our first show was playing opening for Manny Charlton and Nazareth. Haven't dealt with him too much since then. It all clicked and went from there. I've known Brian, the keyboard player, probably longer than anybody. We played in a little cover band a couple of years ago together. We all just hooked up and fell into place. Things have moved rather quickly over the past year.

Can you tell me about Letchen Grey and Jekyll?

Letchen Grey was an '80s band. It was managed by Alan Niven who did Great White, Guns 'N Roses, Dokken. Jack and Alan and Michael Lardie actually engineered and produced my first Letchen Grey album, Party Politics. After we added a guitar player, we had a death of the guitar player and then our bass player, Tommy Caradonna, went on with Lita Ford after that. I left and started a band called Jekyll which lasted about a year also. I reformed Letchen Grey and that's when the metal scene kind of died out with Nirvana coming around so we dissolved that and I moved here to Dallas.

You guys seem to have the same setup that Great White had with the keyboardist/rhythm guitarist. Is that on purpose?

No. Jack and I have been friends for probably 20 years. Had the same vocal teacher. Lived together pretty much for a few years off and on after his relationships or mine or both and him and Alan Niven working with us. We toured together quite a bit and have the same style. Similar style. I've always liked a keyboard player and it just happened to be that Brian also plays guitar so it worked out that way.

That seems to expand the music quite a bit.

Yeah, we like that.

You released your new CD the same night you opened for Firehouse. Tell us about the new CD.

It was done at Maxamedia Studios here in Dallas. Engineered by a guy named Rick Rooney who's worked with everybody from Stevie Nicks to Stevie Ray Vaughn. He's been in the industry for a long time. Has a lot of connections with that and has actually helped us because he'd never seen us play before and once he heard us in the studio, immediately he hooked us up with several other venues and avenues with people who are in the industry. He's also helped us come a long way.

You and Chuck seem to be the main songwriters in the band. I guess Alan Niven was the one who co-wrote "Sexy Sadie"?

Right. That was released earlier on a Letchen Grey album. It went over real well then. Right when that started coming out is when the band was dissolved basically. The album had only been out a few months and because of deaths and other reasons the band was dissolved. Actually it was a #17 hit in Europe and Japan and we're hoping for a little more recognition this time around for it.

Who is the model on the cover of the CD?

Her name is Melissa Scott and she'll be here at the show Friday night signing autographs. That's kind of the concept of the album. Broken Toyz meaning like the car as being a toy and it's broken and she's a woman in need of help. On the back cover you can tell that we've all come to her rescue. That's the story about that.

Are you guys working on a full length CD?

Plans are to do another five or six songs just like that and we've recorded them with the same quality as the first. If we get a major label interested in us then we'll have enough with the two combined to make a full release. That's the plan. We decided to go for quality instead of quantity so we did five songs. We'll probably do another five or six here before summertime again. We'll be including a cover of a Deep Purple song that we do. "Highway Star" will be on that also.

I love Deep Purple.

I do too. That's another reason for keyboards in the group. We're all big Deep Purple, Van Halen, and of course Great White influenced. Great White's no more so it kind of opened the door for us actually. Went to their last show, New Year's Eve, out in L. A. this year. It's hard to see a band like that go. They never got the recognition I feel they deserved.

I've always loved that band. First time I saw them was in Austin right before I got out of the Air Force. I just totally fell in love with their stuff.

Jack to me is one of the best singers that's ever been. If you've ever seen them live, he does Zeppelin better than anyone I've ever seen.

He does Zeppelin better than Zeppelin. I don't even like Zeppelin but when he does Zeppelin, it's okay.

Jack is probably one of my favorite singers and fortunately enough I got to know him on a friend type level. He had a lot of influence on my life, not just as a singer, but life in general. He's a street guy and he's been through a lot of ups and downs in his life. I hope he turns around and gets back out recording again soon because the music scene's starting to change again. Everybody's tired of what we call the "angry music". It's all going back like with these radio stations like the Bone. I was in Phoenix and there was a Bone type station there and I was in New Orleans last weekend and there was a station called the Fox. They're all going to that classic rock that also includes the heavy rock of the '80s. We're hoping that it will take off even further and that will give us a chance.

That "I hate the world and I want to die" stuff is getting old.

It's getting old. I miss the lead guitar players, I miss the real singers. I'm sure there's a place for all that but I just think that 10 years of it is enough. I'm tired of the screaming. There's no melody lines. Everybody wants to kill or die or something like that. To me rock and roll is made to make you forget about those kind of things.

I like guys who have hair on their heads.

That's another thing. In the '80s you'd know who Vince Neil was. You would know who Tommy Lee was. Everybody had their own style, look, and character. These days I wouldn't recognize anybody. They don't stand out. Sure, there's a couple of them but it seems like everybody's in that same kind of mode.

I went to L. A. for my birthday so I could see cute guys in tight pants with hair. It was awesome.

It's coming around again. I think it's time. Not necessarily as heavy as the '80s was but I think that it's more going to be a '70s/'80s kind of thing. It won't be as glammy but it'll start to go back to the rock and roll basics.

What do you think of the Dallas music scene?

I think it's heavily saturated with alternative type of music. There's not a wide variety of music here. I think if you're into alternative music, this is the place to be. There's just millions of those types of bands and I think that's one thing that's hurting the Deep Ellum scene right now. There's not a variety of music. You go out to L. A., you can see a country and western band, you can see a glam band, whatever kind. If you go down to Deep Ellum, other than just a few exceptions of clubs, most of it's an alternative thing. To me it's starting to sound all the same. When it does that, that's when it hurts it the most because there isn't any separation of the music.

What kind of future do you see for Broken Toyz?

We have one major push behind us right now which is Harley Davidson of Sherman. That's actually helped us get started. We have other things in the works like we have a good attorney working for us now. We're going to shop the CD. In the meantime we're working on a second one. If we happen to get a major label deal and a bit of push, we'll go out on the road next. We don't want to get hung up in a club scene type thing. Once you get hung up in that, people expect you to play all the time and it's hard to break out of that. You make a lot more enemies that way and you're not true to yourself or building a following. We're probably going to do some more national act shows, which we like to do, and get out of town for probably a little while. Let our attorneys do the rest.

Any other thoughts or comments?

Just hope everyone enjoys the music as much as we like playing it. We'll see you in the next year if the music's heading in the direction we're hoping it does. If it does, we'll all have a good time and have fun. We want to put rock and roll back in it's place again. By what we've been seeing, it looks like our following is building up very rapidly. We hope it continues that way.

Broken Toyz