Interview with Teenage Casket Co.; June 2007

1. I bought a copy of 'Dial It Up' at the gig but I know that it's also available via CD Baby (as I'm one of the few people to leave a review there). Did the CD achieve all that you wanted it to in terms of a) sales and b) getting your name and music better known?

RW - "Dial It Up" did pretty much everything we wanted it to do for us to be honest which was to get TCC's name and music out to the world. Obviously a major push from a good label would have been better, but the fact that we did the whole thing on our own made its success all that much sweeter. The album sold really well and far exceeded our expectations and the reviews were awesome all over the world. I can't think of a negative thing anyone has said about it and the opportunities that arose from the album were awesome.

JD - I genuinely have no idea how well it's sold, but it certainly did the job that it was supposed to do for the band. I think that it's still a solid piece of work and as Rob says, the fact that the four of us were solely responsible for all aspects of the production and the manufacture of the CD makes it all the more special.

2. The CD itself was a great memento of the gig and it was good to hear that your onstage energy translated to disc. My favourite track from 'Dial It Up,' has got to be 'Down of Luck'... Its combination of highly memorable melodies; a chorus that you can sing along to without it being trite, and that oh so subtle guitar riff makes for a perfect mid-tempo rocker. Were you happy with the way the album as a whole turned out, and what's you're favourite track?

RW - Yeah for the amount of time we spent on the recording and mixing I still think that it's a really good representation of what we're all about. Although having said that, due to the fact that the album was totally self-financed and we only had a certain amount of money to spend , the clock was literally ticking from the moment we stepped into the studio. The whole thing was recorded in about four days, so I think we did a really good job all things considered. A couple of months in the studio with Bob Rock producing would have been nice, but we still managed to get the two most important things across: The songs and the passion/energy we deliver them with. Two years on, I'm still very proud of every single track on that album, which I think says a lot. My personal favourite track would probably be "Down On Luck" too, mainly due to the fact that it was the first song we put together as a band and it kind of gave us our sound in the beginning. I still have a soft spot for "Bad Girl" too which really shows off my Hair-Metal roots and "Mirrors & Wires" too, which will always be an awesome Pop song.

JD - Mid-tempo? Christ, that's a really slow song to me! My favourite track on the album would probably be "Ain't Got Nothin' On Me". Energetic as fuck and also the first song that myself and Wylde collaborated on. I can't think of anything I'd change about that album to be honest. It's a perfect snapshot of where we were at in 2004/2005. Actually, I'd change the photos of Wylde on the CD. His choices were AWFUL!

3. I'm guessing that you all hold down full time jobs, so how do you find the time to rehearse, record AND tour? There must be times when you lose the faith and don't want to go on so how do you keep yourself motivated?

RW - It's tough there's no denying that!. We all just scrape through life by the skin of our teeth to be honest. The frustrating part is, that to be able to tour, record, further your career and generally exist as a band, it's totally impossible to hold down ANY kind of day job for any lengthy period of time. But due to the fact that doing this earns us fuck all money you simply have to work or do something just to survive, which is the hardest thing in the world!!! There's definitely times when we've all sat at home and wondered why the hell we do this and what's the point is and where are the rewards for starving/freezing and generally busting our asses etc. etc. Then on the flipside of that, you think about what life would be like without being able to create and perform music and that's a much scarier thought!! The only way to keep motivated is to constantly believe in what you're doing 110%.The day you stop believing in your music or your band is the day that you should hang up your instrument.

JD - Yeah, it's really tough. We've all been through dark days and the whole "loss of faith" thing, but like Wylde says, you've got to think of what the alternative is….And fuck that! Sooner or later you've got to draw the line though and start saying NO to the type of promoters that can't guarantee you any money and stop letting people short change you for all your blood, sweat and tears. People tend to forget that a lot of bands have literally sacrificed it all to travel 200 miles to the "Frog and Butcher" in Grubton, play their hearts out to a small crowd, lend all their equipment to the support bands, only to be handed a crumpled up tenner from a chuckles at the end of the night. We're not kids. This is what we fucking do for a "living"!! I'm getting down from my soapbox now.

4. (I know from reading an old blog of his, that Jamie was inspired after reading Deepak Chopras "Seven Spiritual Laws of Success" and he credited that with helping him dig himself out of a personal tough time. I'd be really interested in knowing if he still uses that as inspiration and if he uses that as part of his day-to-day life).

RW - Over to you jammy wammy I like spammy.

JD - He's such a simple creature isn't he? Thank you for reading my musings by the way. That particular book was my first step of exploring spirituality about seven years ago now. I've really started studying harder this last year though. Deepak Chopra and many other authors have been instrumental in me staying with my alcohol recovery programme and also helping me have a better understanding of how the universe operates. Life is beautiful and it can be so simple too if you allow it to be. You don't necessarily have to go to Hell and back to get into this kind of stuff either. "The Laws Of Attraction" and "Synchro Destiny" books in particular are fascinating and potentially life changing. There's also a DVD and book called "The Secret" which I can't recommend enough. It's a great starting point for anyone out there and it's become an essential life companion for me. It changed my life, many of my friends lives and probably millions more around the world too.

5. I'm absolutely stunned by the bands that you credit with inspiration on your 'Eat Your Heart Out' EP - D Generation and Shampoo in particular. Personally I loved Shampoo - they just made me howl with laughter (for all the right reasons) and frankly they made a mint in Japan so they were definitely onto something but what inspiration did you take from them?

RW - I discovered Shampoo thanks to Jamie. He played me a ton of their stuff whilst we were travelling round on tour last year and I fell in love with them. I love the whole snotty, tongue-in-cheek attitude and their songs are pop rock gems with killer hooky choruses. "Don't Look At Me Like That" from the "Eat Your Heart Out" CD was totally inspired by listening to Shampoo. I think we'd do an awesome cover of one of their tracks although I'm not really sure anyone would know who it was originally by!

JD - You shouldn't be so stunned by our influences. I'm a massive EMF fan. I also like Pink's new album. I'm down with Public Enemy too. We're an eclectic bunch of idiots I'll tell ya….

6. I also noted that you covered a D Generation tune. They got more bites at the cherry than many but still never made the big time despite some great tunes. Any ideas why they failed to crack the big time? (And whilst I'm here please can I request a TCC cover of 'No Way Out' or 'Waiting for the Next Big Parade'?)

RW - Yeah covering "Hatred" was Jamie's idea as he's a big fan. To be honest the rest of us really didn't know much about the band until he introduced us to them. Upon listening to their albums and totally digging them, I have no idea why they didn't amount to all that much especially with the major label backing they got. I guess it was the age-old story of "bad timing". It's hard to imagine them fitting in with any musical trends in the mid 90's which was maybe their downfall.

JD - D Generation. A band way ahead of their time. In my opinion, one of the greatest bands of all time too. I like to think that we're a modern day version of them. They knew a good tune and a good chorus when they heard it and liked to mix up their glam rock with their punk rock. Like all good boys should! As to why they didn't technically "make it"? Yes, they seemingly got a few bites of the cherry as you said, but you have to question the idiots that signed them in the first place. Why would major labels sign a band, invest time and money on them, get them to record great albums and then shrug their shoulders and say "sorry, we don't know how to market you". Where was the plan? Who was in charge? It's just typical of the major label stories that we've all heard and read about. Many a great band has been "lost in the shuffle". Yes, probably bad timing for them as well, but thank god that bands aren't as reliant on major labels as we all used to be with regards to obtaining "success" these days. Besides, is touring Europe with Green Day and playing Madison Square Garden with Kiss really "failing"? I'd love to cover another D Gen tune. "No Way Out" is my personal anthem, so you never know….

7. I know from reading other interviews that you have a passion for classic 80's hair metal. You've mentioned bands in interviews that made me smile with remembrance - Swingin' Thing, Star Star and even Shy Tiger! Like you, Bang Gang were one of my favourite bands so I've got to ask - did you ever get to hear 'Vanity Kills' and if so what do you think of it?

RW - Yeah, unfortunately I did! To be honest it kind of tarnished the memory of them, although having said that, back in the day "Bang Gang" were one of the leading lights of the Glam scene around 1991/1992. Along with "Danger Danger" of course, who both deserved so much more recognition and success than they got. Maybe if both bands had arrived 3 years earlier it would have been a different story.

JD - I like a bit of glam as much as the next fruit, but Wylde takes it all to the extreme….

8. And whilst we're on the nostalgia trail… which album, currently unavailable, would you like to see re-released and if you had a time machine, which band would you like to have seen in their prime?

RW - "Love Kills" by Bang Gang and "The Big Noise" by an English band called Blue Blud. Remember them? I'd love to see both of those babies re-released. I'd also love to see "Want Some?" by Roxy Blue and "Not A Pretty Sight" by Skin and Bones re-released too. As for bands I'd have loved to have seen in their prime....I was totally gutted that I missed out on seeing Danger Danger open up for Kiss in arenas back in 1992 as I was away on holiday at the time. I would have loved to have seen them back then. I'd also have loved to have seen Poison in their early days and a Kiss show circa 1977 just for the hell of it!!

JD - I'd go back to the early 80's LA punk scene and go and see Black Flag and The Germs playing in their prime. Hopefully The Misfits (with Danzig) would be hanging out in Hollywood at the same time too. Fuck yeah!

9. I draw comfort from the fact that many of the smaller bands from that era are getting their demos and such like re-released and I've also managed to get some classics via trades with people from the net. After nearly 10 years of hunting I finally managed to get old of some classic material from Ruby Slippers and I was crushingly disappointed. Ever had any similar experiences?

RW - Ha Ha yeah.....I remember as a teenager buying Roxx Gang's
"Things You've Never Done Before" on vinyl and loving it. I think back then I bought most albums on the strength of how cool the band looked and not necessarily how good they actually were. This point was proven recently when I spent a fortune on Ebay buying the same album on CD. God, does that album suck or what?! The same thing happened when I bought the Cats In Boots CD "Kicked and Clawed". And D'Molls first album. All I can say is neither were quite how I had remembered them!

JD - Speaking of Roxx Gang….When I was on tour with LA Guns in 2005, their guitarist Stacey Blades wore a pair of Roxx Gang pyjama bottoms every day on the tour bus. They were cool. I wanted a pair. I think he said that only Roxx Gang band members where in possession of said nightwear.

10. Which are your favourite three albums of the year so far?

RW - Kill Hannah "Until There's Nothing Left Of Us", Warrant "Born Again", Veronicas "Secret Life Of The Veronicas ".

JD - This year: Jesse Malin "Glitter In The Gutter" is the stand alone masterpiece. Last year: The Loved Ones "Keep Your Heart", Dead To Me "Cuban Ballerina" and Danko Jones "Sleep Is The Enemy".

11. Name your dream festival line up. No more than 5 bands - still going or split up.

RW - Poison, Kiss, Danger Danger, Kill Hannah and TCC.

JD - Swingin' Utters, The Loved Ones, Dead To Me, Social Distortion and D Generation.

12. I know you do cover versions, but you largely seem to write your own material. Have you ever considered getting in any outside writers? For example, if Desmond Child or Dianne Warren offered you a song that would suit your style would you use it? Who outside of the band would you really love to co-write some songs with?

RW - Both Desmond Child and Diane Warren are my two biggest influences when it comes to songwriting and I'd love to work with either of them. Maybe even both at the same time like Bon Jovi did back in the day. We'd definitely come up with something pretty special that's for sure! Erik Turner from Warrant is a huge fan of TCC and recently sent us a bunch of songs he'd like us to consider recording for our next album. We've pretty much decided to go with a song called "Girl" which Erik wrote with Butch Walker in the late 90's. It sounds exactly like something we'd write and having both their names on the CD can't hurt can it? Steve and Bruno from Danger Danger have also expressed an interest in working with us at some point which would be awesome as I'm a HUGE fan of their writing and production!

JD - If the opportunity arises, we're more than open to co-write with "outsiders". I've recently been experimenting with song writing with various friends. With the right people, it can really make you broaden your horizons creatively. For instance, I recently jammed with a friend of mine who was in my first ever band from back in 1992. He had no knowledge of any kind of "popular" or "mainstream" music from the past few years or so, so we ended up with something pretty unique at the end of the session. Sometimes you can subconsciously box yourself in creatively. And that's rubbish.

13. I know that this summer you have a major UK tour planned. What's the scene like for bands like yourselves? Is it tough getting gigs and are people going to hear any new material?

RW - It's always been tough out there and it never shows any signs of getting easier to be honest. But there's not a lot that you can do about it. You just have to get on with it and acccept it. We've all been playing long enough to know that without a good label behind you and without management, it's always going to be a struggle as all the work lands on your shoulders. Financially it's a fucking nightmare and we've all pretty much gone bankrupt trying to keep the dream alive, but hey, this is what we do!

The tour in August will be a bit easier as a promotion company (Riot Promotions) have handled it which basically means that all the arrangements have been dealt with which leaves us free for the first time in our careers to concentrate on what we do best, which is to put on a killer rock n roll show without having to worry about every minute detail that goes along with it. We'll definitely be showcasing a bunch of new songs in the set. More than likely we'll probably drop about three new songs into the set which has been totally revamped and given a new lease of life. We're also going to be adding a couple of songs that we haven't included in the set for quite a while. The stour is going to be awesome this year!!

JD - Yeah, Riot Promotions have really taken the pressure of us this year by handling the oh-so-irksome "business" side of our affairs. Also, the tour headliners Sign, are getting a lot of publicity recently in magazines like Kerrang which can only be good news for all involved. The transport will also be a lot cushier than what we've become accustomed to, so basically, we have no excuses if we don't manage to kick arse every single night. Check press for details people! Yeah, it's tough getting gigs and tours, but haven't you made me bitch and moan enough already?!

14. Any city/country/venue you'd really love to play but haven't yet?

RW - I'd personally just love to spend a lot more time in the USA. We've completed two tours over there but so far we've primarily concentrated on the East Coast. I'd love to see how we'd fare in the LA clubs. I think our music would really fit into that scene. I'd also love to go back to Italy for a full tour this time round and I've heard good things about Sweden too!

JD - Newcastle! We've got mainland Europe and Scandinavia right on our doorsteps and we've barely scratched the surface….There's offers and there's talking, but we really need to find the right people to work with first and THEN hit Spain and Italy and Germany and so on and so on….

15. And finally… what message do you have to give to your fans and anybody else thinking of attending one of your gigs this year?

RW - My only message would be "come out and see us on tour!". We're more fired up than ever before with new songs and a new set that will totally blow your fucking minds!

Thanks so much for everybodies support so far and we can't wait to meet you all on tour so we can thank you all in person. Thanks for your time!

JD - Don't THINK about it, fucking DO it!

Interviewed by Phil T.

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