By STEVE MASCORD
“Camera’s got them images,
Camera’s got them all,
Showed me everybody, naked and disfigured,
– From “Ted, Just Admit It”, Jane’s Addiction
PERRY Farrell may not be a weirdo. He may not be a freak, a pseud, a genius, a madman or a lunatic. By his own admission, he may not even be a singer. But he is one thing, and that is a liar. Because some things are shocking. To me, Perry Farrell is shocking.
When I first heard the debut album from a bunch ot Los Angeles underground space cadets, I didn’t understand it. When I read
the accompanying prees biography, it made no sense. It wasn’t shocking.
Reaching for another Motley Crue tape, I figure this was all a bunch of pretentious pseudo-artistic compost. At least it you sing
about being drunk and bored. you’re honest. Farrell says his song ‘I Had A Dad’ is about God. What does that make him?
On a boring Saturday morning, Farrell calls me tram Los Angeles and talks. And talks. And talks. He convinces me of my own naivety. Suddenly, it all starts to make sense
“It’s kinda frustrating for me,” he confides in a weird hybrid New York-Florida-Californian accent, “cause I see a lot of faces in the crowd now that I just know I could never be friends with. I look at them and go ‘what the f— are they doing here at 1am in the morning giving me the number one sign?’ It’s like, they don’t understand me and I don’t care to please them. It gets ready frustrating, but what can you do? You know, as a man you have to keep progressing. I’ve slummed it and I’ve been f—king down and out and it’s a great experience and I know I’ll be down and out again, because you’ve got to keep trying things and taking risks.
“I ready don’t went to be accepted. I don’t want to be popular and I want people to like my music but I don’t want everybody to like my music. It’s a bad sign to me.” Farrell’s frenetic thoughts are reflected by his expansive, often rambling speech. He appears to undergo a painful process of self-evaluation with each quote, , almost as if he’s not so much worried that I will find him out will find him out as that he may find himself out.
A former medical student with a tested IQ of 139 (“What does that mean anyway? IQ tests don’t fool me”), Farrell was brought up in Queens, New York in the early seventies before his family relocated to Florida The result Is a muffled, almost wacky speaking voice.
He took off to California as a teenager in 1980, forming a band in LA he describes as being “like The Cure, fring stuff. It was called Psi-com. That band was oven stranger than this one. It was made up of , like, really odd people. We had a guitar player from the
Philippines who weighed about 80 pounds. They all got into the Krishna trip. They all ended up going off to a Krishna farm in Arizona. How sad.”
BEING alternative Is sometimes the best way of becoming mainstream. Perry looks gawky. with bushy eyebrows, plaited hair, and a ring through his noticeably protruding snozzle. Guitarist David Navarro, bassist Eric A and drummer Steven Perkins don’t dress like Guns N’ Roses. But then again. Guns N’ Roses didn’t dress like Ratt.
Nothing’s Shocking is strangely unfriendly to the ear but stimulating anyway. Hypnotic? There are songs about being as fat as an
ocean, about a mass murderer, God, and standing in the shower thinking. If that’s what they really are about.
The cover shows two female Siamese twins, joined at the shoulder and hips, naked
sitting down with earrings in their nipples and their hair on fire. As you’d expect, it was banned from someAmerican record stores.
Then Perry told them it was artistic, not pornographic, and they stocked it again. America’s like that.
“I don’t give a shit about what’s happening in rock’n’ roll,” the man of the moment volunteers.
“In fact, I’m not impressed with rock n’ roll those days. I just go after what makes me laugh. I bet everybody’s got the same emotions, jt,et that nobody’s taken time to come out and say ‘I’m not gonna give them the same billshit snare sound’. That was last year. As a result, everything on the radio is so safe. If you try and you don’t sell, look what happens? You lose your recording contract. You’re in your twenties, you don’t have a band, you don’t have any money. Luckily, for me. I’m half out of my mind so it never really bothered me. I never started to think “Holy shit, what am I doing?”
DRUMMER Brian Tichy and guitarist Rob Caggiano have quit Whitesnake and Anthrax respectively on a seismic news day for hard rock and heavy metal.
Tichy, who dislocated a shoulder in a mountain biking accident before New Years, wants to devote more time to his Something Unto Nothing (SUN) project with Sass Jordan – but bassist Michael Devin will continue to be a member of both Whitesnake and SUN.
Whitesnake vocallist David Coverdale said in a statement: “We are truly sad to see him go, but, we fully support the pursuit of his ambitions and sincerely wish him well. His fearless drumming brought a relentless driving edge and to our music that we fully embraced. Good luck, Brian. May the SUN shine brightly on you!!”
Caggiano, meanwhile, wishes to become a fulltime producer – an area where he has already had some success. In his statement, he said: “I’m extremely proud of my time in Anthrax.
“This is an extremely difficult and emotional decision for me to make, but my heart is just steering me in a different direction right now. I’ve always been one to follow my heart in everything that I do and while this might be one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, it feels like the right one for me at this time.”
Anthrax later announced Jon Donias, formerly of Shadows Fall, would tour in place of Caggiano.
BLACK Sabbath have completed recording on their new album, entitled 13, and released in June.
Guitarist Tony Iommi says it’s the first completely sober album the Birmingham pioneers have done. It’s also the first album the band has done with singer Ozzy Osborne since Never Say Die in 1978. There are 16 songs, Rick Rubin was the producer and the work was done in Los Angeles.
Sabbath also have Australian and New Zealand tour dates coming up, with Shihad in support. They are:
April 25 – Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane, 27 – Allphones Arena, Sydney, 29 – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne.
May 1 – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, 4 – Perth Arena, Perth.
CONFUSING lineup changes in the Queensryche and Ratt camps. Drummer Bobby Blotzer initially quit the latter to join Geoff Tate’s version of the former, only to recant.
Upon signing with Cleopatra Records, the Tate-fronted band announced a line-up of Rudy Sarzo on bass, Kelly Gray on guitar, Robert Sarzo on guitar and Simon Wright on drums.
A statement said Blotzer had returned to Ratt as “as an integral part of the band that made him famous.”
The Todd Le Torre fronted version of Queensryche, meanwhile, plans to release new material in the coming months.
JUST days after it was revealed Angels singer Doc Neeson has a brain tumour, bassist Chris Bailey was placed in paliative care with jaw cancer.
Bailey, also a founding member of Gangajang, has been battling the disease for some time. “John and Rick Brewster, Dave Gleeson, Nick Norton and Sam Brewster are deeply saddened to learn that our bass player, Chris Bailey, has an aggressive, life threatening cancer and is now undergoing palliative chemotherapy,” the band said in a statement.
Sam Brewster, son of John, will fill in on bass for upcoming dates.
OUR gig of the month was Stryper, with special guests, at the House Of Blues in Anaheim during NAMM.
WARREN DeMartini is, to many, the most important rodent in Ratt.
When vocalist Stephen Pearcy, bassist Juan Croucier, rhythm guitarist Robbin Crosby and drummer Bobby Blotzer are pictured at outrageous Hollywood parties in fashionable L.A. rock gear, DeMartini is rarely in sight.
No fluffed-up hair, usually pictured in a black t-shirt and old jeans, DeMartini and his far-out fingers give Ratt their bluesy, funky, sexy X-factor, the thing that makes them so subtly unique.
Not known for punctuality, he calls early — he has to rush off for rehearsals, you see. I fumble with my tape recorder…
Anyone who can remember American rock before Guns N’ Roses will recall the shockwaves – and we’re not exaggerating, are we oldies? — that Ratt’s 1983 six-track EP sent through decibel-obsessed circles. And you’ll remember, no doubt, how many record buyers across the world sunk to their knees in unashamed praise (and that’s only a slight exaggeration!) at their debut LP, Out Of The Cellar.
However if you’re a Ratt fan like me, you’ll no doubt be trying to forget how they haven’t hit that mark since.
Which, inevitably and predictably, brings us to the Ratt’s new album, Detonator. They say — and ‘they’ includes some well-
respected hombres — it is their best since that li’l EP all those gigs ago. They say it rocks more, is more balanced and is just plain f_kin’ better.
Me? I like “Shame, Shame, Shame”, “Loving You Is A Dirty Job”, “Hard Times” and a couple of others, but I’m not sold. It’s a good record
— one of the five or 10 best since last Christmas — but it isn’t up to Ratt’s lofty standards. Indeed, “Top Secret” is probably the most banal song they’ve ever recorded, and Detonator is my least favourite Ratt record.
Then again, Dancing Undercover and Reach For The Sky were my favourites. and they bombed! The signs are good so far.. “There’s no doubt we’re touring Australia on this tour,” DeMartini assures me by way of starting off. “What’s January like there?” Hot, we hope.
‘O.K., January. I want to go surfing!”
The talk of “starting all over” is more than empty new-album rhetoric, in this case. A split with Milton Berle’s management company, the premature cancellation of their last tour, the abandonment of regular producer Beau Hill… this is clean slate time.
Warren has no hesitation in discussing all of this and more.
HM: You haven’t toured overseas much at all. Is that going to be a new approach for you now?
“Definitely. We kind of rearranged the people who handle us now. The management we were with before were not interested in us playing overseas, and that was one of the reasons we changed. We’re very interested in playing everywhere.”
HM: Were you a little tentative about working with Desmond Child?
“A little bit. The last album he did was Trash with Alice Cooper, and while I think that’s a great album, it was really a little bit of a change in style for him. We weren’t looking to do things that were a change in style for us and were, I suppose, a little bit concerned he might try to do that to us, but it turned out to be a collaboration in the true sense of the world because he worked with us, not on us. I think every song on the album sounds like a Ratt song; I don’t think there’s a Desmond Child song. He mainly helped with the arrangement of verses — we had the songs, and his input was in pre production.”
ANGRY Anderson is intently thumbing through an English heavy metal magazine. It’s the one which described him, following the release of soppy 1988 Neighbours hit ballad “Suddenly“, as “mildly annoyed Anderson”.
His suspicious eyes stop at a centrefold depicting Guns N’ Roses’ Slash, who is shirtless and has a smoke drooping decadently from an otherwise curl- shrouded face.
“These guys are hysterical,” Anderson says. “They are such weenies!
“I mean in real life, when you go over there and meet them,” he adds, looking up. “I’m not putting shit on them, they’re nice blokes. But when you are 40-plus-years-old,
everyone is a kid. They’re trying so desperately hard to be bad — and I’ve been bad all my life trying so desperately hard to be good!
“Anyway, that’s life. All the goodies want to be baddies, and all the baddies want to be goodies.”
Angry shrugs his rounded shoulders and quickly dismisses the topic, for now. He speaks with a coarseness that would make Mike Tyson wince, and is wearing a black T-shirt with the words Life’s Tough, So What! screaming across his chest in rude seven- inch tall letters. There’s a bandana around his compact neck, earrings in his ears, a broken tooth in his mouth, and not a follicle of hair in sight on his head.
We’re sitting in a cubbyhouse turned interview room at Mushroom Records’ Sydney headquarters. The overhead lights have been turned off because they are too hot, but Anderson’s words almost visibly hang in the air.
The pocket battleship who once fronted all- time Oz rock heroes Rose Tattoo is stern and unflinching in manner.
With a new single, “Bound For Glory”, on release, and solo comeback LP Blood From Stone at the starting blocks, he may well be on the verge of achieving the commercial success Rose Tattoo deserved, but never really gained. His return, with Tatts axeman Rob Riley in his new band, comes in the most spectacular fashion imaginable — on the Pump tour supporting Aerosmith, a band Rose Tattoo toured the US with in 1982. And we all thought Anderson and Riley weren’t on speaking terms…
“It was just one of those cute little lies some of us people in rock ‘n’ roll make up to entertain journalists and the public,” he comments coldly. “There was never any serious rift between me and Robin.”
Angry has often stated his distrust for music journalists. He is initially apprehensive, but eventually lurches forward in his seat and sends our interview sailing past the hour mark. It is early on when he confirms rumours that his deal with US giant Atlantic Records, for whom Blood From Stone was recorded with the American market in mind, is over. However several rival labels have weighed in with substantial offers, and Angry bluntly admits he’ll go to the highest bidder.
“I went as far as I was willing to go with Atlantic,” he says.
“They (Atlantic) were keen to be involved, but what is happening with them signing their acts is that there’s very little rock ‘n’ roll (involved). I mean, look at their most recent ‘bad boys’ signings — Skid Row???
“Sebastian Bach of Skid Row thinks he’s a bad boy, but it’s not a way of life to them, it’s a business. Can you honestly tell me that Sebastian Bach doesn’t represent a middle- class American kid to working class, poverty- stricken Americans?
“When you join a band and get yourself tattooed ‘Youth Gone Wild’, who are you trying to convince? In America, I didn’t see anyone outside of the rock industry who looked like the guys in those bands.”
Angry Anderson was — for real — the rock ‘n’ roll bad boy to end all bad boys. During a decade spent fronting the Tatts, the reputation he forged was so savage I won’t degrade it by using the clichés used to promote Guns N’ Roses, the Row and dozens of others.
He and his cohorts used to head butt the amps until their heads were split open on stage. Angry also used to boast how he drilled his own teeth.
Maybe the latter boast was just a rock’n’roll fib, but there’s no denying Rose Tattoo’s influence on the likes of Guns N’ Roses, L.A. Guns, and any number of other stylized Hollywood cowboy booted corporate rebels. But it is on TV, and as a commentator on a wide range of issues facing Australian society, that Anderson has made his name in recent years.
Just as the music industry didn’t know how to take the colourfully-decorated rock n’ roll outlaw, sections of the Australian community have recoiled at Angry’s controversial views on immigration, and his friendship with arch-conservative Victorian RSL boss Bruce Ruxton.
“I am a racist, as is everybody,” he says with a voice which resembles the sound of titanium being shined with gravel. “The people who pretend they’re not are liars.
“The people who aspire to be less racist, less violent in their racism or more tolerant, they are the triers. They are the people who want better and strive for it. I am one of those.”
The thick veins in Anderson’s neck are much more noticeable, and his voice is raised. He says the U.S. looks after its own first, and we should do the same.
“If you’re going to compassionately welcome refugees from another country, even though you can’t even economically support your own population… if you’re going to extend your compassion to an extent where it’s eventually detrimental to your own welfare… I can’t see where that’s smart thinking!
“I mean, I’m a sympathetic person, and I’m a compassionate person, but I’m not an imbecile! I think we should take care of our own, first and foremost.”
Anderson doesn’t stop. He’s almost more used to expressing his anger through sharpened, barbed oratory these days than through music, although a phone call from L.A. super-producer Beau Hill (Ratt, Winger) not so long ago changed that balance. Hill wanted Rose Tattoo to reform to make an album with him. Angry refused. “So he said, ‘Will you do an album?’. I said ‘Yes.”
Soon Angry was in L.A., writing material with an English guitarist by the name of Michael Slamer, who also ended up producing Blood From Stone.. The result is a slab of plastic that just glistens with contradictions. Blood From Stone features slick — some would say even generic — production, defiantly untamed lyrics, but with some heavy social comment lurking not too far below the surface.
“He (Slamer) was able to create what the executive producer wanted, which was a palatable, white rock album acceptable for a middle-class, white American market,” Anderson admits frankly.
People don’t exactly identify the words ‘marketing’ and ‘palatable’ with Angry Anderson though, do they?
“No, but is it fair that other people can tell me what I am?”
But isn’t it a rather convenient time to record another album? A lot of people might say you’re cashing in on the success of bands who you’ve inspired…
“As far as the guys from the Gunners go, when it comes to standing in a bar with six or eight straight tequilas in ‘em, they’ll tell you the truth. They’ll say ‘This wouldn’t be happening without the Tatts’. And it wouldn’t!
“But if they think they’re a Nineties representation of what Rose Tattoo was about, then they’re misguided.
“Anyway, I don’t care what people say about my motivations!”
If Blood From Stone proves anything, it’s that Angry is not just living off his Rose Tattoo reputation.
And when he hits the road for the Aerosmith tour, Angry will be fronting a whole new outfit whose impressive line-up includes the afore-mentioned Riley plus American Bobby Barth on guitars, Jim Hilbun (formerly with the Angels) on bass, and former Venetians/Divinyls drummer Tim Powles.
I ask if all this means Rose Tattoo is finally dead. Angry still owns the rights to the name, and used it on the Beats From A Single Drum album because of contractual restrictions, even though he now describes the album as a “solo project”.
He swivels his head from side to side. No, the Tatts are not dead.
“As romantic as it sounds, I think Australian kids need bands like Rose Tattoo,” he says, adding: ”I believe that with all my heart. They need people who remain unbowed and with an element of truth.
“As egotistical as it may sound, I know there is truth in this album. Actually, Blood From Stone — symbolically — means life through truth. It’s just reflections on some truths I’ve discovered in my life.”
Slowly it becomes apparent that Anderson has set his new band a harrowing, some would say impossible, task: they have to BECOME a reincarnated Rose Tattoo. “I want to see all the beautiful things that Rose Tattoo represented rise again,” admits Anderson, “like the phoenix from the ashes.
“Rose Tattoo was always more a heartbeat, a soul, than the work of any one person. There is a snorting, blood-letting, ball-kicking band in existence that deserves and wants to be called that, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be.”
Welcome back to the streets…
Filed for: HOT METAL
ELVIS is dead. It’s official.
The sightings may still be flooding in, but Living Colour have announced on their album, Time’s Up, that the King is, in fact, no longer walking among us. The song which breaks the news is called “Elvis Is Dead” (what else?), and goes something like this:
“When the King died, he was all alone/I heard when he died/He was sitting on his throne.”
Yeah, real subtle. However, after legendary Dread Zeppelin frontman Tortelvis got a rap over the knuckles from Presley’s estate for pretending to be Elvis’ son, Living Colour may find out shortly that Elvis’ lawyers are still very much alive.
“I don’t know how we are going to get in trouble for stating the obvious,” Corey Glover says down the line from his Brooklyn home. “I don’t see it as any revelation saying that Elvis is dead. He is dead!”
But surely singing songs about a decomposed Elvis going shopping for fruit isn’t being very nice to his fans? Glover is unrepentant…
“The song isn’t so much about Elvis as about a symptom of society’s ills. It’s like, for some, there was no wrong in the world when Elvis was around. They turned his story upside-down, stretched it. and elongated it into this whole thing where Elvis cannot die, because if he does, the whole era dies.
“You don’t have that with other people. You don’t have people saying, ‘Hitler was down at the 7 Eleven!”
If you think this is all a cheap shot at the King from the band which turned hard rock on its ear almost three years ago with their debut album Vivid, then you’re wrong. You see, it just so happens Corey Glover, guitarist Vernon Reid, drummer Wil Calhoun and bassist Muzzy Skillings are black. And, as Little Richard once theorised somewhat immodestly, “If I had been white, there would have been no Elvis!:
“Yeah, that’s true,” Corey admits. “Like I say, he (Elvis) crystallzed a special moment for white Americans. because theywere at their happiest in the late Fifties. There was a clear right and wrong then for them, but for me and mine it wasn’t the same.”
Time’s Up going to surprise, disappoint, enchant, and impress a lot of people in its effort to follow up the multi-platinum Vivid. While Vivid was a Godsend in the way it introduced black musical influences to wha was essentially uncompromising hard rock, Living Colour have tried their hand at exploring just about every genre you can think of on Time’s Up.
At one one end of the spectrum, there’s dirty alley thrash, and the album continues right through to something which almost sounds like elevator muzak.
The first single, somwhat ironically, is called “Type”, about the evils of typecasting people – and bands, presumably. For despite this band’s unique nature, Glover won’t rule out the theory that Living Colour have already been pigeon-holed by some.
“If we have, I think this record is going to dispel anything that has to do with us being typecast,” he says.
“As far as metal goes, I think we have enough of it on this record for people to go, like, ‘yeah!’ ‘Information Overload’ is like, serious metal, as is “Time’s Up‘, and even ‘Pride’.
“I think we’ll keep our metal fans, I hope they get into it.”
The album, with Ed Stasium once again at the controls, explores a whole gammit of social issues, from AIDS and self-awareness to education. Rap queen Latifah even makes an appearance on “Under Cover Of Darkness”, a funk-driven exploration of the politics of sex in the 1990’s.
“The politics of sex today is very, very, interesting,” Glover says. “You were told when you were younger sex was supposed to be wonderful, but also that making love was supposed to be very dangerous, like every emotion tied up into one. Now, in this age of AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, sex has become very sterile, very different. The song is about how you pit your fantasies against your reality. You say. ‘I’d like to do this as a fantasy, but the reality is I can’t, because I would die.’
“Another track, called ‘Pride’, is about relating to me as an individual with my own history, background and past. I’m no Bill Cosby — I’m Corey Glover! There’s a difference y’know. Not all short black people on TV are the same, not all black rock bands say the same thing, not all white rock bands say the same thing.”
For lovers of audio entertainment of a more brain — rattling variety, “Time’s Up” and “Information Overload” will keep you very interested in Living Colour, especially the latter track, which boasts a monstrous, seductive mutha of a rift.
The Time’s Up album is a cosmopolitan follow-up to Vivid, the LP that sent Living Colour on the road, playing the globe’s biggest stadiums as support for the Rolling Stones. Their rise up the charts was all the more remarkable for the complete absence of a hit single. There was only a hit video, for “Cult Of Personality“, and a rumbling vibe about the group that kept spreading.
A cosmic bill pairing Living Colour with Anthrax in Biitáin, plus other support shows with Robert Palmer, Cheap Trick, the Ramones and Bad Brains, elevated the foursome to the status of being industry darlings.
Glover is a former actor, who played a role in the Vietnam movie, Platoon. However, he admits he thanks rock ‘n’ roll and a two-year tour’ to thank for opening his eyes to many new discoveries.
“Actually it (touring) made us a lot more optimistic, because we saw that for all the people who close their eyes and let things slide, there are just as many who are willing to open their eyes, experience something new, and do something about it.”
Glover claims that “None of us got swelled heads or anything like that” about all the attention being paid to Living Colour.
“My life has not changed one iota. The only tangible thing that’s changed for the four of us in our lives is that we’ve moved out of our parents’ houses.
“I still get followed around in department stores (by security men) because I look kind of different. Not because I’m Corey Glover of Living Colour, but because I’m a black man walking in a department store.”
Last time we spoke to Living Colour, in Hot Metal #10, drummer William Calhoun told us that, during their Los Angeles dates with the Rolling Stones, he was planning to have a quiet chat to Axl Rose about Rose’s reference to “niggers” and “faggots” in Guns N’ Roses now-infamous song, “One In A Million”. However, according to Glover, that discussion never took place. “We didn’t have that much to do with Guns N’ Roses.” Glover says, not sounding as if he is particularly worried.
They were only on the tour for the Los Angeles shows, and we never saw much of them. Except for their soundchecks. they just came and went.
“We still have questions about ‘One In A Million’ that he hasn’t answered sufficiently enough for us. The fact that he’s made no apologies is probably the worst thing. He wrote the song. so what did he have in his mind? He hasn’t learnt that you don’t call people names, and you don’t refer to people in a way that’s derogatory.”
Living Colour now don’t expect to make it to our shores until the middle of 1991, when the band expect to be ‘peaking” says Glover, “We’d like to work our way up to the arenas, play some supports and get our sea legs again. On the last two tours, we went from playing small clubs and theatres to stadiums and completely bypassed arenas. We want to work our way up.”
Of course, funk metal is all the rage now. Den Reed Network, Steve Salas Colourcode.,. even Faith No More, are all earning big bucks by merging styles. Perhaps Living Colour’s first album was more of an adaptation than a merger, but Time’s Up is nothing if not on the cutting edge of hybrid rock.
However, while Living Colour’s subject matter is almost unexceptionally heavier than those of the afore-mentioned acts, Corey Glover rebuts accusations that the band is “too serious”.
“We sing about having a good time,” he exclaims. “You come to our shows and you’ll see we’re having a good time. But we like to think that you can have a good time and think at the same time!
“If you’re a well-rounded human being, that means you get up in the morning and think about all kinds of things. You don’t only think about love, having a good time and partying. You also think, ‘Am I going to wake up tomorrow? Is somebody gonna drop a bomb on my head?’ You think about all kinds of things…”
I suggest that in fact it would take a bomb to stop Living Colour’s progress. Either that or Elvis showing up at one of their gigs. “I’d like to see that!” Glover says in parting…
Filed for HOT METAL