SOUL is a very ambitious LP in a time when people are releasing EPs
and singles these days. The fact that it's an LP is an accomplishment
People have suggested to me that I just release a single instead of
an album and I'm like "What's that?" A single is not a work
of art. I could put out one of those once a week. I grew up
albums. I can't see myself doing a single at a time.
now that the album is out there for everyone to hear, how do you feel
about the finished work?
listen to a lot of stuff. There are some parts I'd do over again but
all in all I'm really happy with the album from start to finish. I'm
also happy with some of the critical responses . I had let people
that I've known for years listen to the album before it was released.
If any of them said "I don't know about this", I wouldn't
have released it. But everyone thought it was great . You
know if something you've been working on is only going to resonate
with others but this album is a universal soul, funk, rock type of a
thing. I'm very happy with it.
there been any reaction to the album that have surprised you or that
you didn't quite see coming?
has been strange. Everyone who has reviewed it has their own favorite
songs. Every critic has their own favorite set of songs. I thought
RAPTURE was the song and a couple of other people thought so too but
the critical responses seem to be saying otherwise. Everybody has got
their own response . One LA critic said the album was like JANIS
JOPLIN-meets-JAMES BROWN-meets-GRAND FUNK RAILROAD. That was puzzling
to me. I don't hear JANIS JOPLIN at all on this record.
one thing to be the performer and another thing to be the producer
but you've straddled both duties on this album. Is that easy or
love it. I've got a recording studio in my house, so I'm dialed in.
I've got some great recording gear and I write all of the
At the moment I've got 15 songs ready to go for another album but I
can't just keep releasing an album every three months. I've got to
let it sit for a year or so. I play all of the instruments because I
know what I want to hear. It works better than hiring people and
telling them what I want to hear. For live shows I've got a
fantastic band backing me up called THE RVOLUTIONARY SOULS. These
cats can play. I almost wish they had played on the album . They're
so good. They come from that JAMES BROWN, AL GREEN kind of school.
When we play, people go "Wow!" The album is great but this
is even better. The players I have are just unbelievable. They play
this stuff so good. I may be recording the next album with these
is this album different from your other solo work?
last album REVOLT was really heavy and dark with D-tuning and stuff
like that. It also had three ballads on it. Some people were like
"What are you trying to do here? You've got three ballads and
all of these other songs sound like you are going to kick somebody's
ass." My thinking is, I like THE BEATLES and if they can play
whatever they want, why can't I play what I want? Why be pigeonholed
into one thing? But some people didn't get it. I loved the album . It
was a good album, but this one reflects the music that I grew up
with. I grew up on artists like MARVIN GAYE, JAMES BROWN, THE
SYLISTICS and THE SPINNERS before I transformed into a hard rock
singer. I grew up in Hayward, outside of Oakland. It was the stuff
that people in my neighborhood listened to. As I got older, and was
in high school, playing in bands, people weren't playing that kind of
stuff anymore. It was stuff like LYNYRD SKYNYRD, LED ZEPPELIN,
AEROSMITH and AC/DC. I conformed to that and I still love all of that
stuff too. I always wanted to do a soul-type of record. People have
always told me that my voice fits that. It's always been there at the
back of my mind. Last year, I started writing guitar chords foe these
songs and started adding 7ths, Major 7ths and Diminished 7ths and
before I knew it I had some soulful sounding stuff. I've always
wanted to make this kind of album and I did. I did a blues album
about three or four years ago. called MOONSHINE and it was completely
different from BABYLON AD. As I got older, I find that I want to do
all kinds of music.
the interview you were telling me that you were working on a new
BABYLON AD album?
the new BABYLON AD album will be out in September or October and
we're going to b doing a European tour and stuff like that. It's a
super-good record. If you play REVOLUTIONARY SOUL and then play this
new BABYLON AD record, you'd go "What the hell?" because
they are totally different genres. You have these heavy drums and
screaming guitars on BABYLON AD and the wah-wah guitars and horns on
REVOLUTIONARY SOUL. Right now I'm really excited. We've
finished all of the drum tracks on BABYLON AD. All we need to do is
give it to a label and off we go. I've also go these 15 other songs
and after the BABYLON AD album, I'll be putting those songs out.
Those songs are more of an acoustic thing. I have no idea how anyone
is going to take that one, but the people who've heard it - females
in particular - think it's beautiful and that I've really got
to put it out. Th two things that I'm never, ever going to release
are rap and country.
the songwriting process for you.
happens in different ways. It can happen when you're in the studio
with a guitar playing riffs and when you're not paying attention ,
something will sound pretty cool. That is how an idea gets sparked
and from there, a melody will form in my head and I start getting an
idea for a chorus and then I get an idea of what the song is about.
It happens really fast. If it's laborious, I know that the song won't
be any good. When it happens fast I pick up my phone, put the voice
mail on and sing the melody into the phone. Other times, it happens
when I'm half asleep. I'll get out of bed, run to the studio and
start recording something. If I've got a song in my head, I can't
just let it sit there.
did being a multi-instrumentalist come from. Were you brought up in a
musical family or did you learn all of these instruments along the
started out on drums when I was seven years old and then i picked up
the guitar. I got really good on guitar really fast. There
a lot of great guitar teachers in the Bay Area. Within a year, I was
playing lead guitar and playing in bands and writing my own stuff.
Years went by and whatever instrument I needed to play I just figured
out. I just practiced until I was good at it.
AD was signed to CLIVE DAVIS' ARISTA RECORDS back in the day. How was
it that you guys were able to capture the ear of CLIVE DAVIS?
was famous for having signed WHITNEY HOUSTON and a lot of soul stuff.
When we were coming up we were offered several deals from
labels, but CLIVE really believed in us. He sold us on the fact that
they were going to put all of their efforts behind us and gave us the
best deal. We had a great deal on a great label but this wasn't a
label that was in the rock mold that could call up rock stations and
get them to play our music. They were pushing WHITNEY HOUSTON and
KENNY G, whereas GEFFEN and other labels like them, were more geared
toward hard rock. Those labels had no problem getting their artists
on the radio. That's the way the business is. It was a great rid
though. It still is. We're still riding it.
sound like there were too many heartaches with BABYLON AD.
me, it's about being creative and being happy with you've put out
there. I don't ant to put out anything that I'm gonna be embarrassed
songs off of REVOLUTIONARY SOUL have you the most excited to get
people to hear and why?
of the coolest songs on the record is a cover of the BOBBY WOMACK
song THE WOMAN'S GOTTA HAVE IT. That's the coolest one for me. I love
the orchestration and the layering . It sounds like being in 1971 and
driving through New York City. Looking at it form a producer's point
of view, RAPTURE is a great song and I'm surprised that a lot
of people aren't talking about that song. It took a long time for me
to figure out how I was going to approach doing a soul type of record
after all of these years of being a known as a rock
When you put an album like this that's not in your wheelhouse. people
don't know what they hell you're thinking. That can be scary. I
didn't know if people were going to say that about me or not. But now
that it's out there, with the reviews it's been getting, it's been
would you like for people to come away with after they hear
people listen to the entire album they're going to find that there
are a lot of different moods to it . It's kind of sexy , kind of
heartfelt and very danceable. I just hope that come away with a good