Aaron Perrino has always been one of my favorite people to interview. I first met Aaron when he was fronting The Sheila Divine, a Boston-based indie band that somehow ended up on a primarily metal label (Roadrunner). The band made a few stops in Columbus in the late ’90s as both headliners and as support on tours with bands like Our Lady Peace.
As was par for the course for many of the bands that formed during that time period, the economics of a rock n’ roll lifestyle didn’t work out and The Sheila Divine quietly disbanded (at least I think it was quietly). Perrino formed Dear Leader which has been pumping out new music on a pretty regular basis and that band’s music is very much in the same vein as The Sheila Divine’s stuff.
Well, here we are 8 years after The Sheila Divine last recorded new material and they’ve made the announcement that they are getting back together (Perrino on vocals and guitar, Jim Gilbert on bass, and Shawn Sears on drums) to record a new album. That’s where you (and I) can help out. Here’s an excerpt from the band:
“Since the age of record labels is over we are looking to our fans and friends to help us fund this exciting new project. In return for your participation and generosity we want to offer many unique experiences, opportunities, and gifts.
Whether you donate a dollar or many more we are excited to share the making of this album with you. We want to stream live feeds, have conversations, and collaborate with the Internet to make something extra special.”
With new singer Robert Mason (Cry of Love, Lynch Mob) in tow, ’80s hair metal giants Warrant show no signs of hanging things up anytime soon. Currently doing shows on weekends at both clubs and as part of festivals, Warrant’s working on new material which they hope to release sometime in early 2011. Of course, it’s the hits the fans want to hear as the band makes stops across the U.S. and Warrant doesn’t disappoint, playing songs from their first 3 albums (the only 3 to feature guitarists Erik Turner & Joey Allen, bassist Jerry Dixon, drummer Steven Sweet, and singer Jani Lane) – Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinkin’ Rich, Cherry Pie, and Dog Eat Dog.
There is no doubt that there have been highs and lows during the history of Warrant, the most recent low coming in 2008 when the band tried to reunite with Jani Lane (this coming after a 4-year stint with ex-Black N’ Blue singer Jamie St. James leading the helm and producing an album called Born Again). Booking a short tour to see how things would go, Jani had a tough time keeping his demons in check and it resulted in what probably is his final chance ever playing live with Warrant. But Joey Allen isn’t looking back when it comes to that brief reunion. Instead, he, and the rest of the guys, are still happy to be out there doing what they love to do – playing in front of fans.
Judging by your tour dates through the end of the year, it looks like you’re continuing to do the Weekend Warrior thing. Is this a good lifestyle for you – getting to go out and play with the boys on the weekend or does it ever wear on you?
The travel schedule is brutal but the shows more than make up for that. We are so “on” right now, the band hasn’t sounded this good since I can remember!
Had I asked this in 1989, you probably would have answered, “Hell yeah.” Had I asked in this in 1999, you probably would have answered, “Hell no.” Let’s see how you answer it now. Would you have ever believed that in 2010 that bands like the Scorpions, Warrant, Great White, Ratt, Cinderella, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses, Trixter, LA Guns, Bang Tango, Danger Danger, the Bulletboys, etc. would be touring?
For the most part, yes. Most of these bands are out kicking ass and it is good for the fans that they are.
I remember seeing LA Guns years ago at the Alrosa Villa. These two dudes positioned themselves right in front of the stage before the band went on. They asked one of the roadies if they were standing on Tracii’s side of the stage and the roadie said, “Tracii hasn’t been in the band in years. Keri Kelli is LA Guns’ guitar player.” These guys turned around and walked out of the club, not even stopping to ask for a refund. Are there still people showing up to Warrant gigs expecting to see Jani Lane? Have you ever had to deal with upset fans who want their money back?
That hasn’t happened since we attempted the reunion and Jani decided it was more important to get blind drunk at 9 out of 11 shows then it was to put on a professional show. He has NEVER made a public apology to the fans and has certainly never taken responsibility for his actions in any way, shape or form with the band. Maybe he feels no remorse!?! I think that Warrant fans see we tried with him, he took a different path. Robert Mason is a pro and delivers an A+ show night after night.
I know it’s probably not in your nature to slag Jani and I’m not trying to stir anything up. But, I’m curious, when he rejoined the band and you booked a tour with him, how confident were you that the tour was going to run through to completion? I’m guessing that – because, if I remember correctly, you had Robert waiting in the wings – had you had to bet on Jani making it through the tour, you would have bet against it.
We have made a point in not slandering Jani since we let him go in 2008, no one in this band wishes him bad will. In fact, it is the opposite. We let him go so he didn’t have the temptation of being on the road. When we did tour with him we removed all alcohol from our rider, keep it out of backstage all together. We hired a highly regarded “sober coach” at a high price to shadow him 24/7. There’s so much to that story no one knows, it is really no one’s business but ours.
I recently read an interview that Jani did and he admitted that being on the road is not healthy for him but that he’d like to continue to someday team back up with Warrant and write songs. Is this something you personally would be open to? Is this something that, as a band, Warrant would be open to?
Plain and simple, we already tried that. We have moved on and are very happy with the band as it is.
I remember getting Esthero’sBreath From Another from a Sony college rep back in ’98. The languid trip-hop sound complimented the jazzy vocals and the group of us who were into Lamb, Hooverphonic, the Sneaker Pimps, etc., at the time ate this one up like it was an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. These days, the singer is collaborating with artists like Timbaland and Kanye West.
2. oOoOO Pitchfork describes the witch house genre of music as “a group of young, geographically scattered artists concurrently exploring ghostly, slow-moving electro-pop, each with their own unique spin”. I stumbled upon oOoOO somewhere on the web and was intrigued by the dreamy vocals and synth-pop. I’m particularly fond of “No summr4u”.
3. The Posies
Two years ago Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow did a 10th anniversary tour for their 1998 pop classic Frosting on the Beater and it was during this tour that the duo started planning Blood/Candy (due in stores on Sept.28). The album is loaded with guest stars ranging from Kay Hanley (ex-Letters to Cleo) to Hugh Cornwell (ex-Stranglers). “License to Hide”, available as a free download, features guest vocals from Lisa Lobsinger (Broken Social Scene).
4. Jerry Garcia – All Good Things (box set)
I’m slowing coming around to Garcia and the Grateful Dead. That’s a strong admission from someone who once said that if the Grateful Dead and Jimmy Buffet performed a co-headlining gig somewhere in the middle of a corn field, I’d drop a bomb just to rid the world of the sound of those artists. This box set is comprised of Garcia’s solo material and is surprisingly contemporary despite being anywhere from 20 – 40 years old.
1. The Graviators
Sweden rules! It’s as if the only reading material available in the country are back issues of Hit Parader magazine circa 1981 – 1991 and all the upstart bands think that metal from that decade is still cool around the world. There are as many sleaze/glam bands coming from Sweden today as there were from the Sunset Strip in LA 20 years ago. There are also tons of Sabbath-inspired bands, like The Graviators whose sludgy, doomy metal would make Ozzy and Tony Iommi proud.
2. Gamble House
In anticipation of an interview I’ll be doing with Ben Becker, Gamble House’s self-titled debut was in constant rotation on my iPod. Comparisons to Grizzly Bear appear in every review I’ve read though I don’t know Grizzly Bear well enough to know if the comparisons are accurate. I love the ’60s/’70s paisley-pop sound, the unexpected instruments, the languid, breezy choruses. “Central Park” is one of the best opening cuts I’ve heard on any album in 2010.
3. Ministry – “Filth Pig”
I think I probably stopped buying new Ministry albums just before Filth Pig came out in 1996. I caught the title song from this album on the Liquid Metal station on XM last week and the guitar riff sounds like Helmet’s Page Hamilton covering Faith No More’s “Last Cup of Sorrow”. BROOTAL!!!!
4. Judge Jackson – “Radio”
Kaytea at XO Publicity sent me a link to download this song so I figured I’d check it out. Nothing wrong with a free MP3, right? Knowing nothing about Judge Jackson, it takes all of 3 seconds of “Radio” to figure out that these guys would be great on a tour opening for everybody from Buckcherry to The Black Crowes to Velvet Revolver. Straight up rawk n’ drinking music roll.
5. Dead Confederate – “Giving it All Away”
At first listen, it sounds like these grungy southern rockers may have found a shower and washed away the mid-90s Seattle influences found on their last album. Still, this song grew on me the more and more I listened to it this week. The new Dead Confederate CD comes out at the end of the month.