WILLIE BASSE - The Back Sheep of Real Estate Page 2
by Martin Popoff
Back to the reason to fire up this wide-ranging chat in the first place, I asked Willie what the mission was with the grooving, melodic but ultimately raw, crunching and '80s-retro solo album at hand. "It's a continuation of the same. I mean, this is sort of like what I do."
And when I prompt him for more, bringing up a certain Dokken and Ratt sound to this varied but ultimately mostly anthemic record, Willie lights up... "Dokken?! It's funny - that's really cool, man (laughs). A lot of people don't know it, but George Lynch was in my band right before he went to Germany with Don. So there is a lot of influence from George that rubbed off on me in the early days. Like, the title song on the Black Sheep/Enigma album, which was 'Trouble In The Streets', we had written that together, and then when George later got established with Dokken, on their second or third album, the same riff showed up with different lyrics (laughs). So you know, George is phenomenal, man, and I think Eddie got a lot of the flash and the publicity, but George was definitely a major influence, or force in the LA metal scene."
So if George was in Black Sheep before Dokken, that means the band was up and runnin' in '79, '80 already, no?
"Well, we weren't exactly calling it Black Sheep yet," explains Basse. "But I had another guitarist named Peter Castle who was from La Canada, he rivaled Eddie VH in high school, and sort of mentored Chris Holmes on guitar. All those guys came out of that area, Lita Ford and also the guys from the band Odin, the Duncan Brothers, they're all from La Canada, and Chris ended up playing with Blackie Lawless in W.A.S.P. You know, all those guys were from La Canada, and what's really strange is that, you know, some of their parents were f**king like Hells Angels and straight-up like white supremacists (laughs), and I'm like this black guy rocker, like ET or something, and they never ever gave me any kind of problem or shit about it. They were just... back then it was all about the music, man, and it was so cool. And even in that movie Decline Of Western Civilization, you see Chris Holmes' mother and stuff (laughs)... you know, they were cool, man. We shared a basement with W.A.S.P. before they really got known and stuff. We used to rehearse in a basement with W.A.S.P. just as they became W.A.S.P."
WILLIE BASSE - The Back Sheep of Real Estate Page 3