I know that as well as being a singer you’re also a guitarist. When did you start playing guitar, who were your influences?
Well I’ve been playing guitar since I was about seven, seven or eight is when I got my first guitar. I’ve been playing guitar my whole life and singing my whole life, basically. As far as picking up the guitar and why I picked up the guitar, I have a lot of different influences as far as guitar is concerned. I could mention all kinds of ‘em, but my first ones would probably be from when I just started listening to stuff- like John Fogerty, Peter Frampton, Humble Pie, Pete Townsend. Cats like Jeff Beck really influenced me when I first started.
You started in music when you were really young, obviously, but something not everyone may know is that when you were about my age you were the guitarist in Ozzy.
How did that all happen?
It came about through one of my mentors, probably the mentor that brought me into the business, by the name of Gregg Giuffria. He was in Angel at the time. He actually introduced me to Ozzy because he had talked to Ozzy and Sharon about me and they happened to be in his home one night and he told me to come over- they wanted to meet me, so to come over with my guitar and play. And I did, and we had a blast. He picked me to come and play in his band.
You were like, young when this happened- you were my age. You’re like my Ozzy right now!
What was going through your head as a seventeen year old getting to play alongside Ozzy for that brief period of time?
It’s a lot of different things. Excitement, there was reservation, there was nervousness, but I was really able to crunch down on all the stuff Randy did. Brad Gillis was in the band prior to me getting picked to join the band, but I was very very fortunate to have known Rudy Sarzo and his wife Rebecca. They were there for me, guiding me through the whole process that was going on. And Ozzy and Sharon were just amazing, very very kind, really sweet, really helpful. Ozzy bought me a couple of guitars and we went and hung out. He’s just an amazing cat, man.
You were in Ratt after that, right? How’d you get that gig…Stephen Pearcy?
Yep, me and Stephen and Robbin were very close friends. When that whole thing fell out with Ozzy, Stephen asked me to join Ratt.
So you were in all those things, you’re in Ozzy, you’re in Ratt- how do all of those lead to the BulletBoys?
Well, I would also like to mention Motown because I was also signed by Motown for some years. I gotta say I learned a majority of my musical prowess when I was signed with them, they really taught me about becoming a songsmith and learning how to really work on material as an artist, following the path that you felt you were supposed to do. Just very disciplined, being part of the Motown family taught me a lot about discipline and about really following through, learning the ropes of the business. But the BulletBoys started basically with myself and Lonnie, we started the band in his moms garage in Torrance, California. We were kind of the scout players working with King Kobra which we did for a while because they needed a singer and a bass player, but we kind of grew weary of what that whole band was so we decided to branch out and start our own thing. We pulled Mick along with us and the rest is history.
You guys form in like, ‘87ish.
So by ’88 the first record is out, which is one of my all-time favorites. So again, what’s going through your mind at this point? You just release this one record and “Smooth Up In Ya” and “For the Love of Money” really just blew up.
Thank you! And we were just working really really hard and trying to take our prowess to another level. We were just really fortunate. We hit the ground running and we kept playing everywhere and anywhere we could play, we were touring with tons of amazing artists- we just kept on pushing it. We broke huge on MTV which was a huge catalyst for our band; we were number one on MTV for almost two years. So it was great, once that was done “For the Love of Money” went to number one so it was this constant thing for us.
Why did you guys decide to cover “For the Love of Money” anyways? Out of all the songs that are out there.
Just from my R&B background, being signed with Motown and loving The O’Jays and just loving that song. We had been playing around with it sometimes and Ted thought it’d be a great idea if we laid it down.
So it’s the 80’s, you’re young, there’s a lot of things at your disposal. Did you ever have a time where you were like ‘woah, I’ve gotta slow down’?
Oh yeah. Absolutely. That moment was what put me in rehab.
Really? How long have you been sober, thirty years?
Yeah. And almost, a little over twenty-seven.
Good to hear! Because you know everyone was going hard or going home in the 80’s so I wanted to hear it from you because at that time you either had to slow down or you really didn’t make it.
There’s a lot of us that didn’t make it. And it’s not the point of slowing down; it’s the point of realizing who you are as a person- regardless of the music business, finding out who you want to be as a person. There was a lot of stuff at that time that was affecting different people. You see, I didn’t get into this business, Jaide, to party on; I got in the business to write music.
And that’s why I like you, as it should be.
I got in this business to perform, and for all intents and purposes to be the best artist you can be. As we go into the now, I don’t live in the past or constantly look into the rear view mirror. We just released ‘Elefanté’ last summer.
Yeah, on my birthday!
Aw, awesome! We’re just going along with what we do now. We’ve been together, you know, myself, Nick Rozz and Chad MacDonald for seven years at the end of this year. So we’ve been around and we’ve reinvented this band. We’ve been having an amazing time, we just signed a new deal with Frontiers and we’re going into the studio in November to cut our new record which will be out next year. Just doing our thing, doing a lot of European dates and we’ll be out with a couple major acts next year, too. So we’re just playing some select shows and finishing up the Long Hot Summer Tour and that’s about it. Going back home and then starting the new record!
By the fourth BulletBoys album, the original lineup was no more- it was just you carrying the torch of the BulletBoys. When did you know, if at all, that things were no longer going to work with the original lineup?
To be honest with you, I would rather not speak about that. I don’t think it’s fair to the original members, you know I speak to Jimmy constantly I love Jimmy to death- but I don’t think it’s fair to speak about those type of things. I think those moments are very private for me.
That’s perfectly fine; I totally understand why you wouldn’t want to talk about it. But fast forwarding to now, you guys released ‘Rocked and Ripped’ in 2007 which was covers and then last year you release ‘Elefanté’ with all original music on it. What made you want to start doing original music again?
Because that’s what we do. Maybe some artists don’t do it from my genre, but that’s what we do. We release new material and focus on new material; I don’t focus on the past I focus on the present.
I love that mentality. Especially in the music business you can’t really live in the past so much.
Thank you! And you’ve gotta reinvent yourself at some point. I’m not doing this for myself really, to be honest with you, I’m doing it for my family and our audience and for people who really love new music and want to hear new music from the BulletBoys. That’s what we’re doing.
And I commend you for that because now people don’t really buy new music anymore. Of course some people might, but when a new CD comes out no one’s really rushing to buy it.
And especially with my generation too everyone streams music, it’s rare that someone tells me they went to the store and picked up a new CD. I was wondering how you felt about that because I know there are very differing opinions on it because on one end it kind of takes away from the artist, I’m sure you know that the artist doesn’t get much money from it. But at the same time the exposure is great.
This is the thing; everybody can complain about this and complain about that. The bottom line to me, whatever vehicle is out there to get people to listen to our music, it is what it is. Now are we losing money? Yes we are. But I have a feeling that in coming years that that issue is going to rectify itself and artists, such as myself, can actually make more money putting out new music. I think new music makes you relative.
It does! It keeps you going.
Anybody that’s not doing new music, I don’t feel is really in the game. You gotta be in the game.
A lot of people who are here with us today in this building, you know Tom Keifer has got his new record out, Sebastian Bach does too- you’re all pushing forward.
Absolutely, and our record is a lot more different than those two artists, though. ‘Elefanté’ is an animal within itself. It took us two and a half years; we didn’t just toss stuff out. We don’t work with other writers, those cats work with other writers. I’m a sole writer, and you know, I don’t like to be lumped up with any other artist. We’re our own thing.
Yes, the BulletBoys have always been very straight forward in what they do.
My last question, and thank you so much for this interview, is what’s next? You’re writing a new record now?
Oh, anytime! And actually we’re already ready to go record it in November, and we should be ready to have it out by hopefully February. So I don’t know when the release date is yet or anything, but we’re working on a really great record for our fans. I’ve been writing and writing, so this record is going to be dedicated to the ladies out there. It’s gonna be a real funky, sexy, hard, punk rock record with a lot of twists and turns in it. I’ll have some softer songs on this one, and we’re bringing in the Pistolette’s to come and play on this record. And we might have a couple of guests, God willing, from my favorite band in the world. So we’ll see how that works.
Awesome, I’m glad to hear it!
I’m real excited for it.