Kelv Hellrazer talks to Adam Bomb
Q1. Cast your mind back to your musical beginnings when you were appearing in various line-ups, among them 'TKO', tell us a little about those times.
to 1981, I had just graduated from high school and I used to frequent
this club called 'Mister Bills'. I was down there one night and I bumped
into the guys from 'TKO'. They were going through a few changes, having
just lost their deal, shortly after the 'Let it Roll' album, and Tony
asked if I would be interested in replacing him, as he had other problems
of his own. So I did, but actually just prior to this, I played in a
band called 'Tyrant' where Jeff Tate was the lead-singer and other bands
around at that period were 'Joker' and 'The Mob' who went on to become
'Queensryche' as they are now. 'Joker' was Chris DeGarmo, Mike Wilton
and some other dude. For a short while I was even in a band with Eddie
Jackson and Gary Thompson before that, called 'Spectrum'. We did this
Battle of the Bands type thing and we lost in the finals to this band
called 'Ridge' who featured Chad Pilot and the drummer was Ken Mary
who went on to play with 'House of Lords' and 'Alice Cooper'. They played
poppy type material whilst we were playing stuff by 'Judas Priest',
'Queen' and 'UFO'. Anyway, back to 'TKO', after a year went by and we
hadn't got a deal I decided to leave. I went to California and became
friends with the guys from 'Black n' Blue' who were then called 'Movie
Star' and they remembered me from a gig when they had supported 'TKO'
you see. They tried to help me get into a band but I couldn't seem to
get into a band as a guitarist to save my life. So, I wound up doing
only two gigs that year in '82. One was with a band called 'Steeler',
just after 'Yngwie Malmsteen' had left and the other was with Dan Levitan,
Mark Edwards and Brad Sinsol at the Troubadour, but after that I went
back to my apartment in Hollywood and started writing. I wrote 'Shape
of the World', 'Russian Roulette' and this song 'Primeaval'. So anyway,
I managed to find somebody who would let me have some studio time, I
recorded this demo and then looked in BAM Magazine, on my return to
LA, to try and find somebody who wanted to make a video, you know an
up and coming video director/producer who might be willing to share
the cost. Anyhow, as luck would have it I met just the guy and two and
a half months later I got my video for 'Shape of the World'. I was real
fortunate too, cause it was sent to me whilst I was in San Francisco
and I was at this club called The Old Waldorf and decided to take my
video along to see if they would play it.
Well, also there was David Grebbs of the famous 'Lieber & Grebbs' partnership, rock promoters. So, I ran up to him and pleaded with him to check out my video. He signed me to a contract and this enabled me to complete the rest of the prepared album. I finished the album, that was 'Fatal Attraction' as we now know it and managed to record a couple of extra songs too. These may be included on a re-release of 'Fatal Attraction' later this year.
Anyways, I then had to get a band together. So, I bumped into Gregg Gerson who had played with 'Billy Idol' and then he told me about a guitar-player called Jimmy Crespo and I thought yeah, let's get him. So, finally we got ourselves a band. We re-located back in LA having established a deal with Geffen Records and did some shows, Sandy Slavin replaced Gregg Gerson on drums and we released our album. We did a mini-tour, but I knew that it wasn't going to last. Sure enough, before we knew it we were off of the label. David Crebbs told us not to worry as we could go back to Phonogram. But, they were no longer interested. We were still contracted out to do another album however, with Geffen, and they honoured the contract. That was the 'Pure S.E.X.' album, which was recorded during 1986/7.
In fact, I didn't come up with that title until I'd made my trip over to England, when I befriended the guys from 'Sigue Sigue Sputnik' in fact.
I got talking to their singer Martin Degville at a party for 'Prince' and we went back to his place later and messed around with guitars and synths and exchanged ideas. He told me about a store that he'd worked in called 'Pure Sex' and I thought that it was a great name for a song. When I got back to New York I was keen to get a sound that played with some of the newer ideas, like 'Sigue Sigue Sputnik', but with a lot more guitar y'know.
I wrote the song 'Pure S.E.X.' with the aid of a riff that Steve Stevens had given me and it sums up what I feel is what life evolves around, if we're really honest about it. The band now were down to a three-piece as Jimmy Crespo left, and I took over on guitar at this point.
Q2. So you've now completed and released the album 'Pure S.E.X.'. Tell us a little about this and the songs therein.
'Youth Will Lead the Way' is a song about these kids who were growing up and will one day be destined to be President, so speak out now. Let your feelings be known. The whole point of the album is encouraging self-expression and honesty however sleazy or frightening that may be. It's all necessary.
Q3. You did a video for 'Pure S.E.X.'. Tell us a little about that.
It's the perfect montage of life, as we know it. Everything from JFK to Marilyn Monroe, every missile and every expression on life, as seen through my political and natural eye is all there. It's the perfect amalgam of sex, politic and rock and roll. It's even got 'Sigue Sigue Sputnik' in there at one point. What more could you ask for?
Q4. Tell us about the one-off gig that you did at the Limelight Club on your last visit to these shores.
That was wild, because the Limelight had changed owners and I know the others from the American Club. But, these new owners in London decided that they weren't gonna pay me and the other support band decided to fuck with me as we had to borrow some of their gear. But, we weren't allowed to use their snare drum. I mean, what were we to do. So, the manager refused to pay us, but one of my friends had got me about fifteen free-drinks tickets. So, I just went up to the bar and ordered a quantity of Jack Daniels which I drunk in one big glass. This put me in a totally wrecked state of mind, but we did a forty-five minute slot with 'Amy Madden', a female bass-player who came over here to get married, this guy called Stephen who was 'Johnny Thunders' guitar player at one time who I'd met at the Marquee and some drummer guy. It was wild and not something I'd relish again really.
Q5. So what about your new record?
Right, well, the
new record's called 'New York Times', it'll probably be out around September
time. It was recorded at The Record Plant in New York, which is now
called 'Three Two One'. Jack Douglas agreed to produce us and we did
pre-production for about a month. Steve Stevens came down and helped
me finish a song called 'New York Child' and we worked together on a
song called 'Anxiety' too. We did pre-production on twelve songs of
which eleven should be on the album. It brought together a lot of my
old friends from the music business. We had Bobby Chouinard on drums,
on bass we had T.M. Stevens, the hottest baddest black funk-slap bass
player in town and he's worked with 'Billy Squire' and 'Joe Cocker'
too. Then, we ran into this guy named Nicky Hopkins who was in the 'Rolling
Stones' touring band and he agreed to play with us and in fact played
on no fewer than five tracks. He got in touch with Mick Taylor and he
came down and helped us out too. Steve Stevens contributed solos to
five of the tracks and he helped me out no end.
Then we got Flo & Eddie who are DJ's at K-Rock to come down and provide us with some backing vocals and they came along and sung on three of the tracks.
There's another song which they sung on called 'Frenchie's Dream' and it's a true story about this girl I knew who wanted to kill herself so as she could meet up with Marc Bolan, her hero. It's a scary thought to go to that kind of extreme, but it's nonetheless true. We had lots of other people coming in to guest on certain tracks, such as 'Billy Squier's' keyboard player who also did some backing-vocals and Chris Meredith, a friend of mine.
There's another track called 'MacDougall Street' which Phil Feit and I wrote about our old pal Gregg Gerson, but in an affectionate caring way y'know.
Q6. So, you never at any point got the feeling that maybe you should get back into the old group format, as with TKO and be 'one of the band'?
Nah, I'm a singer/songwriter/guitarist
with far too much to say for myself you see, so it's really hard for
me to even consider putting a permanent band together, around myself,
because I certainly don't require the input of a band and the bands
that I've been with previously have damaged a lot of good friendships,
that thankfully I've managed in most cases to sort out, but brought
about real serious disagreements. Gregg Gerson will probably never forgive
me because I fired him, but it had to happen.
Besides, the guys that have worked on my new record, I wouldn't want to treat in any other way other than first-class and when I'm able to do just that, then maybe we'll get together and take this whole thing over to England and Europe for you to check us out. I wouldn't expect anybody to struggle on my behalf, except me. That's the basis on which I work.