Q&A with Stephen Pearcy
Sheila Rene': Hello Stephen. Long time no see.
Stephen Pearcy: Good to find you again.
SR: What's up with you?
SP: I'm getting ready to do a solo project that will feature many great guitar players I've played with over the years. Al is included, of course. I'm just waiting to find out if these people want us to actually do some shows around as Vertex. I don't know how far those shows will go. I know that we'll be heading to Japan.
SR: Is Arcade still viable to you?
SP: Ratt is still an open possiblility for me. We've got some surprizes for everyone in early ‘97. Until then, everything is open. I have great possibilities. There's still some Arcade material out there. I'd love to put out an A3 of songs that we demoed. Then I did a project on my own indie label, Top Deal Records, of a band I was having a great time with called Vicious Delite. I'm still looking for good distrubition for that. Vertex just came around and working with Al was incredible. We wrote half this record in one day.
SR: Obviously you connected.
SP: The drummer, whose project this is, actually opened up for Arcade and that's when he told me he'd like to work with me on a project, so here it is. I had time and they sent Al out to my studio. We tweaked those first six tunes and then finished up the writing of the rest of the material. It's good. It's different for me and that's what makes it special to me.
SR: I see that Bob Daisley played on tracks five and seven. Does that mean the bass on all the other tracks are samples?
SP: Bob's working with Warren DeMartini on a solo record right now. No, Al played bass on all those tracks. They left out a lot of that kind of information. Al is one talented guy and still considers himself a member of Savatage.
SR: I've been asking everyone what their take is on all the '70s and '80s bands who're coming out again?
SP: My take is that it never left. It just means that people are getting bored with what they thought was new and exciting with this alternative stuff. Granted some of it was alternative and great, but as inveall original things there tends to be many copies and businessess like radio, MTV and the labels follow the trends. I grew up listening to Aerosmith, Zeppelin, Blue Oyster Cult and Black Sabbath then in the '80s I was part of it. I took a big break in 1991. So it's not that we left and when we do something it's not that we came back to re-establish. Hey, this is what I do to have fun. It was very successful and it's my king of music. And for the younger fans, there's a guy named Hendrix. Forget Bush and Oasis. They're some great American bands. Radio deals out a little bit of Sabbath and Zeppelin or even a Hendrix. I had a program director from KNAC in Los Angeles before they exploded and sold out tell me that Arcade's second release, which was more along the lines of what was happening in '94, after years of being played by them with the Ratt material that Hendrix was what was happening and he didn't want to add Arcade. That was the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Hendrix is always happening. They're not doing anyone any favors when they blow off groups who aren't sharing new music with bands that have been around for a good portion of the '80s. It's quite amazing.
SR: It's just incredible how radio and MTV have broken down.
SP: They're just following a trend It's too bad that these people, in order to keep their jobs, have to do it. There's a station here in L.A. KLOS. They're playing everything now. They started to follow the trend and then decided 'hey, this might bite us in the ass.' They're one of the only stations we have left out here. KROQ has the alternative music and to me, it's just all rock music. A lot of these band who call themselves alternative, it's just a ridulous word, are all being called Modern now. Alternative was bands like Berlin and all the bands in Los Angeles around the late '70s and early '80s when modern was almost like classical stuff like Yanni. Now it's modern alternative to give it what? Another label.
SR: My favorite tune on this album is "Synthetic Flesh" with words like china is white and so are you.' Indian rhythms open it up.
SP: I am very happy with the outcome of that song. Al had some ideas and brought them to me and I had those lyrics just came so easily.
SR: Is that one of the six songs you wrote right off.
SR: "Time And Time" again another one I'd think you wrote with Al. And perhaps "Fight."
SP: Yep, that came quickly. We asked Hiro what his intentions were? What was he looking for? He said he wanted to be industrial metal. We said, 'hey we can do that.'
SR: There's a real resurgence of those industrial metal bands this year.
SP: It's too bad that radio and even record companies have helped spawn some great bands out to work on their own labels. You can do your own thing and make great money doing it and not owing anybody anything. It's like when I did the second Arcade album, they didn't want to do a video and they didn't want to do this or that. I'm saying 'In all the years I've been here, this is totally unheard of. Why sign a band if you're not going to work it? If you play a little out of tune and have some screwed up female singer or something that's not even interesting any more, you'll get signed immediately. These bands, God bless 'em, enjoy your fifteen minutes. It's a great tax write off, I guess.
SR: Core v.1.2.0 is surely a tip of the hat to the whole computer thing.
SP: That last song I had nothing to do with. Hiro went to Japan so that's someone else singing on that one. Some chick is yodeling away. I don't even have a copy of this CD yet. I'd be interested to find out how we'd sound live. I know what to expect. There would be computers and synthetic music with real guitars and my style of singing.
SR: Vertex is going very well on the charts.
SP: Hey, that's good news. I'm curious to see how this project shakes out. I'm staying very busy in the meantime. It's been a great experience. Al's a great person and writer. He'll be working on my solo album with me and Warren DeMartini, Dweezil Zappa, Tracii Guns and a lot of other super guitarists.
SR: You'll always be playing in the traffic.
SP: Of course, that's why I've treated my own indie label, Top Fuel Records. I've developed bands and write with them and get them into the studio. Vicious Delite is on that label. I'm trying now to hook with with a major or a minor, perhaps with a distribution company to help me develop projects. Hopefully, it'll happen soon. It's a very difficult thing to start and get going and get respected for.
SR: Are you interested in getting demo material from other bands?
SP: Of course. I'll get you the address. I like the business, I just don't like what we've had to go through to learn it. I'm more than happy to help folks through my experiences. I'm able to help set them up better. It's fickle out there but you can retain a career whether a label thinks you're in any more or radio thinks you're in anymore. Music withstands the test of time.There's no one out that that's going to tell me what people like. If people don't hear it they're not going to know it's there to like. It's great that there are computers out there which enables people to get your music from there. You can go just fine working within that context.
SR: A couple of bands have been signed by sending there demo via computer to labels like Roadrunner and Metal Blade.
SP: I talked to someone at Roadrunner yesterday. I'm supposed to meet with someone from there today.
SR: What's the hardest lesson you've had to learn?
SP: Regardless if there's success in a band through the trials and tribulations, you have to be excited by it all, in order for anyone else to be excited. It's a lesson of staying power. Keep on doing it and if you believe in it, it'll happen. Thank you very much for your support.