A few days ago I had the pleasure of interviewing a great rock band out of Vantaa, Finland, Shiraz Lane. These guys were a lot of fun and despite a little hard time understanding them, the interview was great. I spoke to lead singer, Hennes Kett and guitarist, Jani Laine.
Me: This is Misti with the Manamal Streaming Radio and I’m talking to Finland’s very own heavy metal band Shiraz Lane, thanks for joining me guys!
SL: Thank you for having us.
Me: So, I’m going to start off with the cliche question I’m sure you get asked ALL the time. How did you all meet?
SL: (Jani) Well, Ana and I have been best friends from childhood. We met Kennes in 2011 & started the band up in 2011. We met Joel a year later then in 2014 we met Miki via the internet.
Me: We are seeing a lot of rock bands coming out of Finland. What makes you stand apart from all the rest?
SL: Our chemistry.
Me: Not every band has chemistry, but it is evident that you guys really do.
SL: You’re right, that’s what sets us apart.
Me: Now, do you all participate in the songwriting?
SL: It’s very much a group effort. Someone will come up with and idea, say a riff or beat then we just come up with ideas for our individual parts and roll with it.
Me: I think it’s great that you all are involved.
SL: Makes you a better band we think.
Me: So, are most of your songs from personal experience?
SL: Yes, ALL of them.
Me: I know some bands write from experiences their family and/or friends go through too. Are some of the songs written for others, or just the band’s personal experiences?
SL: We have had enough crazy experiences individually to keep our band going forever.
Me: Do you guys have anything new in the works?
SL: We have several ideas being tossed around right now. We’d love to do something like MTV Unplugged, when MTV was still cool.
Me: I hear that! What type of music do you listen too?
SL: Mixed genres. Heavy metal all the way to pop. I think you need to be open minded to ALL types of music to be great.
Me: What made you want to stick with the vintage sound reminiscent of 80’s metal?
SL: We didn’t strive to have a specific sound, but that is just what it ended up being. We love that music too. It’s nice to be compared to some of the great 80’s rockstars.
Me: How does the music scene in Finland differ from the US?
SL: We really can’t answer that. We have never been there. We were in Canada for 5 days a couple years ago, but just haven’t made our way to the US.
Me: What is your personal favorite song you’ve done?
SL: (Hennes) Reincarnation but then sometimes it’s Harder to Breathe.
SL: (Jani) Yeah, both of those songs. I go back and forth. But, ALL of our songs are great!! (*snickers*)
Me: What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you as a band?
SL: Honestly, it had to be going on tour for the first time. We didn’t know what to expect because up until that point, it was local gigging. That was the most amazing feeling in the world hearing fans screaming our name. Very surreal.
Me: I know your time is valuable guys, so I guess my last question to you is, if you could let you fans know ANYTHING about the band, what would it be?
SL: What you see is what you get. We love our fans, and wouldn’t be here without them. We love meeting our fans and we just want them to know that.
Me: Great ending to a great interview. Thanks so much guys for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us here at the Manamal Streaming Radio. Keep up the good work! Looking forward to hear more from you guys soon.
SL: oh, one more thing. American girls voices are hot, whoa!
Me: If you are referring to mine, I’m so beyond “girl”...I’ll be 50 this year. Lol
SL: There is no way! Well, you sound good!
Me: Thank you. Take care guys.
SL: Thank you too! Bye from Finland!
Congrats to the guys in Permacrush on their new release today. We were intrigued by a Facebook post and reached out to Chris Crush to find out more about this "Sunset Strip" band and their music. We've already discovered that I get a bit flustered when talking to artists so thankfully Chris had a busy schedule and we came up with doing an email interview instead of me attempting to stick to a scripted list of questions. This is actually a win for me, because no matter how prepared I am I always forget to ask one question or another. This gave me a chance to sit down and send a series of questions and allow Chris time to look over them and give me the answers he wanted to without me interrupting him or heading off in another direction! So, y'all enjoy, and add Permacrush to your playlist now!!!
Q. Permacrush- how long have you guys been together and what are the members names and instruments?
A. I ran Permacrush out of the Midwest from 2005-2012. I moved to San Diego in 2012. Tried to run it from the beach in SD but Hollywood pulled me in. Moved to West Hollywood in Dec. 2017. PERMACRUSH is: Chris Crush - Lead Vocals, Guitars - Brett Baugh - Lead guitar - Harley Duggan - Bass, Vocals - Alex Tuccio - Drums, Vocals.
Q. One of the things that most interested me about your band is the Sunset Strip aspect. Who are your influences and how did you start playing the Strip? On that same note do you think the Sunset Strip scene has changed since the days of the previous generation of hair bands like Motley Crue, London, etc.
A. I have always loved the 80's Rock and Metal music. I was just about 10 years too young, to get in on that scene and by the time I had joined serious bands that genre was dead. So When I decided to start my own band, Permacrush and give it one last shot, I knew what kind of band it would be. Arena Rock. Big Guitars. Big Drums. I love Guns N Roses, Motley Crue, Van Halen, Ratt, Poison, I could go on... ;) I started playing the Whisky when I moved to CA in 2012. It was always a goal of mine. I never wanted it to be a bucket list thing. I wanted to do it multiple times. Live it... I was driving up from San Diego to do shows. Now we have played there a dozen times opening for bands like Quiet Riot, Stephen Pearcy, Faster Pussycat, Don Dokken, Rough Cutt, Pretty Boy Floyd, Jack Russell's Great White, Bulletboys and more... so it was time to move closer and not have as far to drive home... It has definitely changed but the spirit and the history is still there. You can still feel it on a sold out night at The Whisky. There is magic in that place and I love tapping into it. It will never be the same but bands are still getting it done and will always kick ass on Sunset.
Q. Tell me about Honey... what can we expect from this new tune and what is the inspiration behind it?
A. Ha! This one is about an ex - and instead of posting my relationship problems on facebook, I write songs. So the chorus is "This song will tell them how you done me, (Honey) Let them know just how you wronged me, (Honey) Situation's getting sticky, (Honey) Feeling broke but I'm so money"... The song was recorded at Dave Grohl's Studio 606, Northridge, CA. Written by Chris Crush. Produced by Matt Starr(Mr. Big, Ace Frehley), Drums and Bass: Matt Starr - Vocals, Guitars, Bass: Chris Crush. I try to make light of a really bad situation. The songs help me cope. Instant therapy. Moving on.
Q. Where and how can fans find and listen to your music?
A. We are on most of the major music retailers and you can always find us at www.permacrush.com and Youtube.
Q. Future plans? tours? taking over the music world??
A. We are currently doing some more shows in Los Angeles, playing some new venues, The Canyon clubs. Really nice. We will be doig some ticket deals for those events soon. Working on a tour and we are close to securing a sponsorship to help promote the band and the new single, Honey.
Q. Anything specific you want our listeners/site visitors to know...
A. Find us on Social Media, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Subscribe to our channel on Youtube. Thanks for checking out Permacrush!
L.A. Guns fans were shocked a few weeks ago when the band issued an announcement that stated Michael Grant was leaving the band. Grant had been added as a guitarist while Tracii Guns was not involved in the band. If he was going to be booted out we all expected it would happen when Tracii returned. Instead the lineup continued with both great guitarists until a few days ago.
L.A. Guns official Facebook page featured this announcement:
Michael Grant Leaves L.A. Guns, effective March 5 LOS ANGELES, CA (March 7, 2018) – Michael Grant announced that he left L.A. Guns effective March 5 to pursue other interests including his solo project, Michael Grant & The Assassins. L.A. Guns thanks Michael for his contributions, and we wish him all the best with his future endeavors.
Michael Grant appeared on the Eddie Trunk show on Monday March 19, 2018 for an interview. Of course the topic was his leaving the band, since that's been on music website headlines since the post appeared on the L.A. Guns Facebook page. From Michael's telling of the story everyone in the band was sad that he left except for one person- Phil Lewis. While the band released an announcement that Grant was no longer with the band, Grant claims it wasn't his choice, he was fired from L.A. Guns and it had nothing to do with Tracii Guns being back in the band.
Looks to me like the band was trying to allow him a bit of respect and not make a full disclosure of the story behind his leaving the band. Apparently Michael Grant wasn't satisfied with that and wanted to tell his side of the story. You can listen to his interview with Eddie Trunk in the video below.
The comments section on both the L.A. Guns announcement and the Eddie Trunk YouTube video of the interview are filled with fans that have expressed anger, dismay and support for both sides of this happening. While we, as fans may be shocked by lineup changes, the band members themselves face difficult decisions and many times when someone leaves a band it is like breaking up a family. We experience that vicariously from the outside, and no one is scared to share their opinion on the internet so before you visit the comments sections pop some popcorn or mix yourself a drink.
Despite interviews and reports that get one side of the story or the other, there is always what happened behind the scenes to consider. We don't know why Grant was fired, but we do know that L.A. Guns is a band that is back on the upswing with their newest album and the reunion of Lewis and Guns. We wish Michael Grant the best but can't help but wonder why he wouldn't take the graceful out that he was offered.
Metal Sludge offered a follow up post to their original report of Grant being fired with more details and a list of possible transgressions by Grant that may have led up to whatever the most recent thing that happened being the last straw with the other members of the band.
Y'all know that "Charming Devil" is one of Tango Down's songs right? Not that I'm calling him a devil but Scott 'Rif' Miller is definitely charming! I had the opportunity to have a little chat with Scott a few days ago. He's a very busy guy but he fit me in between parenting, recording,, cooking, and entertaining guests.... so, besides being one helluva guitar player he also a well rounded renaissance man! Seriously y'all he's in two bands... Tango Down and Romeo Riot- not sure when he sleeps!
I've got to admit that just a few weeks ago I had no idea that Tango Down even existed. One of our team members is a fan and he shared a post with me and also reached out to the band about doing an interview. Since I'm one of the bloggers, that means I get to do the interviews too! This job does have it's perks!! Not only do I get to check out new music I get to meet rock stars!
I tend to be a little bit skeptical when someone tells me I need to hear a band. Very few people know me well enough to know what I will really like. Since we've all been working together building this site and the station my team members have a pretty good idea. So, Robert who hooked me up with Scott for this interview was definitely right. I really like their catchy melodic metal sound that is not exactly "vintage" but still makes me think of 80s music. Tango Down has been rocking for several years and it shows in their seamless execution of songs such as "Bulletproof" and "Give Me a Reason".
Not only was Scott courteous enough to chat with me about Tango Down and music in general he also sent me some amazing pictures that I'm thrilled to share with y'all in the slideshow below this post.
Now I need to tell y'all that this interview, wasn't like an interview. I decided to go with an unplanned chat to learn about the band. Because as a newly converted fan, I hadn't done a bunch of research I'd just listened to as many songs as I could find. So, our conversation began a bit awkwardly and I have a terrible sense of timing and ended up cutting him off several times. Honestly, y'all I do know how to communicate with people, although anyone I've interviewed might tell you differently. But really a phone conversation with someone you don't know, who is a freakin' Rock Star... that's like the scariest blind date ever right? I did enjoy chatting with Scott and learning about the band. He was very nice and I loved how enthusiastic he is about his music.
I think what I liked best is that while there is always competition in the music world, Scott and several other musicians I've talked to don't put other bands down. They all know that in this day and age "our" kind of music, is either from the old bands that are still kickin', or a new generation but either way they have to work together to keep giving the fans what they love. I personally had no idea until the past few months that there was even a new generation of 80s style metal happening. I just assumed that with the introduction of grunge that it was over and done. I have never been so happy to be proven wrong!
Scott, Axel, Keith, and Chas are still rockin' hard and will be producing another album this year. In the meantime go grab Bulletproof and give it a listen!
To keep up with what Scott and the guys are doing and where you can see them, go give their Facebook page a like!
*All photos courtesy of Scott 'Rif' Miller.
When you visit the Babylon Shakes website you will find this description:
"Lead vocalist and guitarist Chris Clark is no stranger to sleaze rock. As the songwriter and frontman for bands like Smashed Alley and Last Call Messiahs, he delivers catchy, dirty rock n roll songs with a distinct Hollywood rasp. Babylon Shakes rhythm section includes veteran musicians Gary Jordan and “Morty” Jeff Mortimer. Each with over 30 years of experience touring, recording, and performing live. Make no mistake despite the extensive experience, they haven’t slowed down one bit since they began playing music at an early age. They each still play with a chip on their shoulder with much still to prove, feeling energetic and ready to Rock! These two have rocked the stage together countless times with bands such as Kage, Bought by Blood, and most recently Last Night’s Villain. Their dedication to their musicianship and stage show is as entertaining as it is musically euphoric to the audience."
So, now you know who Babylon Shakes is. What you don’t know is that they are funny and nice and this music is something that is coming from deep in their souls. Having spent so many years in different bands having these guys come together at this stage in their lives, when there is a whole new generation of “new blood” in the hair metal scene, is bound to shake things up a bit. As a fan of hair bands, sleaze metal and all the amazing bands that rocked my youth I am thrilled to find that the music I loved is still going strong.
I gotta tell you I had planned to do a podcast of the interview I did with Chris, Gary and Morty. I dutifully recorded our conversation so that I could edit and air it on the station. Yeah, I discovered that I do NOT have a voice for radio and I might have been a bit nervous because it seemed like “uh-huh” and “yeah” were all the words I knew. So, nope, you don’t get to hear my interview with Babylon Shakes. But I will tell you that even though they rubbed it in that I haven’t been able to go to M3 yet, we had a very nice conversation about the music, about their plans and the fans.
I’ve been playing Velveteen Libertine over and over then the guys sent me a copy of their next single to put on the station and it has been added to my new favorites. Sunset Striptease- you’ll hear it playing often on The Manamal Streaming Radio!!! The sound of Chris’ voice does remind me of Faster Pussycat back in the day- that Hollywood rasp that made me fall in love with songs like “No Room for Emotion” and “Cathouse”. But he also has his own sound that blends magnificently with the music. Each song I’ve heard feels like a full story- you hear a few notes, you get sucked in to the lyrics, you are rewarded with guitar riffs and in the end, you know it’s done but you still want more. There’s a sense of wildness just barely restrained in the music and it rocks me down to my soul. I have no problem classifying Babylon Shakes as a vintage sleaze band right up there with the bands from my youth. I’m thrilled that one of the “new generation” bands is actually a group of guys with experience, with age, who know the value of “our” kind of music.
So, while Babylon Shakes is a new band on the metal scene they’re not inexperienced kids just getting started. They know how to reach people, they are dedicated to putting out only their best efforts and I can tell you now that they are going to have a huge following. Be sure to grab their 5 song EP out next month! Check out their video below, and then go like them on Facebook to find out where they will be performing and keep up to date on releases, videos and merchandise!!