Interview with Romeo's Dead

Romeo's Dead is four glittering punks who probably emerged out of a trashcan in some sleazy backyard somewhere in the San Francisco area. With hearts pumping punk and on a permanent bubblegum diet, their future seems very bright. I reviewed their first demotape "A Beautiful Mess" in the previous issue of Glitzine, gave it 80 out of 100% with the motivation " Romeo's Dead are the best thing from San Francisco since the mighty Vain. A combination of 70-glitterrock, punk and pop. Could it be better?... These four glampunks has made a very good tape and if this is the direction they're going in, I'll follow just one step behind. Don't let this one pass you by!”

Their presskit was one of the most professional I've ever seen, filled with stars and ribbons. How can one help but fall in love with a band that actually sends a Barbiedoll to you? My belief in this band is not based on lies and bribes though but on the material on their tape and their ambition to succeed. There are too many bands around that doesn't walk like they talk and they all fail to break through irrespective of the quality on their material.

Romeo’s Dead has recently finished the recording of their new single with Davy Vain as producer. I thought it was about time that Glitzine dug through the trashcan to see what's inside. I found bassist Jayson James...

What is your musical background?

I grew up on bands like Kiss, Motley, Bowie, the real flashy hooky stuff. I listened toHanoi Rocks, Ramones, Kiss, Motley Crue. Bands that were fast, flashy, and cool - 100% of the time. I wasn't really influenced by much else. I'm pretty narrow minded when it comes to stuff I like I always like looking cool. I started playing when I was about 11 which was right after I got "Shout at the devil". Everything pretty much changed that summer for me.

How was it like to grow up in San Francisco? How's the glam/sleaze/punk scene?

Forrest (drums) and I were the only ones that grew up here. Zane (vocals) and Aaron (guitars) grew up in Denver. But, the scene back then in San Francisco was really pretty cool. It was very different that L.A. I thought our bands were more real. Bands like Jetboy, Vain, Sybil, etc. I knew them all as people so, that probably made the difference. I liked it because it seemed more aggressive than L.A. It wasn't all "shaking your ass" and stuff. It was real.

The L.A. scene is supposed to be "sunshine and surfing'" while San Francisco is more the town of art etc. Do you think that has any affect on glam/sleaze bands?

Probably. San Francisco seems more "dirtier" if you know what I mean. It just seem more alive, more like a home I guess. I mean growing up here was really great. Forrest and I would go see Vain & Jetboy for like 5 bucks. And the places were always packed.

Wow! Can you please introduce, for those not familiar with the band, to the members of Romeo's Dead and tell what everyone brings to the band?

Well There is Aaron Lee Harvey (who goes by The Kid) is the guitar player. He grew up on Punk and I mean punk. He loves the Clash, Ramones, GBH, Exploited, but he also loves stuff like Kiss, Hanoi Rocks and stuff like that. He is the perfect guitar player - he knows when to play, how much to play, and when not to play.

Now Zane - how does one explain Zane. Zane is totally intense, fueled by 100% passion. You can tell that by his lyrics. We aren't a "cock rock" band. Zane sets us apart from all that.

What do you mean? What does he do?

His lyrics are and his vocal style aren't "typical" by any means. We don't have "boy loses girl, boy gets girl" songs. He makes our songs real, real attitudes, real experiences, real life.

Forrest is the drummer. I honestly can't say I've played with a better person. Forry makes it all real. Just when think the song is going to go into some wimpy chorus, Forry well surprise by beating the shit out of those drums of his. He writes as much of the songsas all of us. He has great song structure and really knows how to write parts well.

Now for Me - I just look cool. No really - I sing all the backups and write a lot of the melody lines with Zane. We all spent very little time "in the room" if you know what I mean. We write songs - not flashy crap that shows how fast we can play ya know? that stuff is all garbage. Our songs mean something to us and the people who listen to them

Has any of the Romeo's Dead's members made a mark with previous bands? In that case, which?

Well, Zane and Aaron played together in Denver in Dollhouse. That band was pretty popular there. Forry and I were in Shotgun Wedding together and some other bands, but none really made a "huge" dent like Romeo's Dead will. This is the band the four of us have been waiting for our whole lives....

How did you get together?

I hadn'tt been playing in about 5-6 years because no one in S.F. really had a clue. Then one day I saw this ad in a local magazine, and it said " guitarist and vocalist seek bass player and drummer in Hanoi Rocks and the Ramones". I never saw that here before. I called and the rest is history. I mean I knew Forry would dig it, so I made the jump and called. We actually formed the band at a Groovie Ghoulies show.

When did you meet? What were your ambition with the band?

It's kinda ironic that Zane and Aaron have played together for about 10 years and so have Forry and I. We just fit well together, we all get along like brothers and we write very well together. We got together about a year ago. Our ambition is to be the as real as possible, no faking it here EVER! If I told you we didn't want to be rock stars, I’d be lying. We want it all. All the success life can bring us with this band, which is a hell of a lot.

Did Zane and Aaron move to San Francisco from Denver?

Yeah, Aaron moved first and Zane followed about 3 months after. S.F. hasn't been the same since.

Why did you choose the name "Romeo's Dead"? What do you mean by it?

That's a kind of a funny story. We couldn't really decide on a name - we were a different kind of band, so we were looking for a different kind of name. I was talking to a girlfriend and she was saying that she wishes life was simpler and stuff, like Romeo from Romeo and Juliet - I told that this was the 90's and Romeo was DEAD... And well Romeo's Dead !

How would you label your music, for those who haven't heard you? Can you compare to any bands?

That’s pretty hard, we don't consider ourselves a glam band at least not like L.A. We’re glam like T.REX, Bowie, D-Generation, bands like that. We’re hard and fast, loud and angry.

Well, I think that the common view of Glam is wrong. Glam isn't just flashy glitzy "Pretty boy next door" kind of rock n roll. It also has a more darker side. I mean, bands like T.Rex and New York Dolls are as much glam as Poison and Pretty Boy Floyd. People seem to forget it sometimes. My opinion is that you're a glittering glampunk band raised in the seventies school. Do you agree?

AMEN! We are everything parents love to hate. We’re sex in the back of a car. We’re cutting school. We’re angst . We are trash pop explosions!!! - I totally agree with your opinion, you are right on the money with it!!

Where and when did you play your first show? Any memories from it?

We played our first show last July or maybe it was June? oh yeah, it was killer. I remember it was pretty packed. We played with Dragonfly (ex-Vain) and American Heartbreak (ex-Jetboy). It was great, in my opinion, we stole the show and that was even before we really had a "live" show. Now we always do something "special".

Please expound what you mean by special"?

Well we always bring stuff like trash, glitter, shredded paper and crap like that and just toss shit everywhere. It is total mayhem, Zane brings a big felt pen and has people write shit all over his body. I love it, out of control.

How long do you rock? Do you only play your own songs?

Yeah we play about 40 minutes usually, were not really good at covers. We’ve tried a lot and they just never work out great. Were playing "pretty in pink" now and that one sounds good but we like to stick to our own stuff.

How does San Francisco fans react to a glitter/glamband as Romeo's Dead?

They were a little taken back at first. San Francisco. crowds weren't really used to a larger than life band and that is what we try to be 100% of the time. We’re all about everything they hate and love. Our crowds keep getting bigger so they must like us.

You said before that you write really well together. Could you tell me about Romeo's Deads' songwriting process?

Well that’s kinda hard. Sometimes I’ll come in with a riff or Aaron will, or Zane will come in with some verses or a melody line, or even Forry well play a beat that he thinks is killer and we just build off of it. We work great, we have no problem telling each other if a part sucks. I mean if it suck, then it sucks. We are definitely a band, we are just one person and riding off their coat tails...

Please describe your development from the beginning to the first release "A beautiful Mess" demo? Are these songs your first, the best or what?

We have really grown since then actually. We were together about 1 month when we did that. We had to have a tape to play live, so we wrote those songs and recorded them over a weekend. It is really great for what it is but our stuff now really kills it. We don't play those songs anymore actually. We’re more together now

I reviewed that tape in Glitzine and was really impressed but you don't intend to use those songs in the future?

No, our stuff now is that much better. When you hear, I'm sure you'll agree. You can see the growing process, both songwise and bandwise.

While we're talking about it. I guess the "A Beautiful Mess" demo is not for sale anymore then or is it?

We still sell it because people still really like and if someone in the crowd or one of our friends really wanted to hear one of those songs, we would play it for them. We actually still rehearse them. That is all Aaron's fault, he believes that we keep everything because you never know when you might need it. He is right!! It has paid off on a few occasions.

You'll soon release a 7" single. Could you give some information on that?

Yeah were releasing 2 songs (So Far, & Four) we recorded them at the Groove Room with Davy Vain - they sound amazing and experience was great. Davy really knows his shit.

We should be releasing it in late May

Could you compare this new release to your previous?

This one blows the other one away, it is so raw and so live. It just rips your face clean off, Davy has a great ear for tone and production. It just sounds killer and the songs are 100% better. I am totally happy with this release. We cutting it on vinyl and doing an actual "single" release, totally old school. I love it

Yeah, me too. How will you promote the single? Where can people get a copy?

Well it is going to be available in store here in San Francisco but we are going to try to send some overseas and stuff. It will be available over the internet also and we always pay the shipping....

Could you give the URL where it's for sale? Which is your e-mail?

www.geocities.com/sunsetstrip/club/3404 - I’m going to be doing a merchandise page for our shirts and stuff. Basically if you send me an email saying you want it - you got it!! The e-mail is: romeosdead@geocities.com

Please describe Romeo's Dead's near future?

We’re not going to stop until were dead. We will tour, we will record, we will do whatever it takes. A lot bands say that, but don't really mean it. We mean it, we aren't going anywhere. We’re going to be a household word and on the cover of 16 magazine and if people don't like us - that's good, because we wont like them.....

Last but not least, anything you think Glitzine's readers should know?

Just that we’re for real. We wear makeup because we like it, we swear because we like it and we don't like it - we don't do it. We are every parents nightmare and everyone's friend. Well be around for a long time and thanks for the support it means a lot!!!! Really!