An Interview with
Photo Credit: Jessica Chase
The Guitarist of many acts over the years including Life, Sex & Death, Richie Ramone and now Enuff' Z' Nuff as well as Frontman/Guitarist of the legendary
that took place on 11th March, 2019
Interviewed by Glenn Milligan
Glenn: Ayup Mate, how you doin'?
Alex: Good! I appreciate this!
Glenn: No problem. I actually forgot about the change of time. Jonesy (Steve Jones of Jonesy's Jukebox on KLOS 95.5) was on about it on Friday!
Alex: It's funny because I remember being a kid looking forward to the time change because you had the 'Oh look forever' with the time change. I went on social media – whatever the hell it was and I saw everybody was saying, “Hey, don't forget to change your clocks”. I thought, 'Oh thanks, there goes my buzz overnight liability out the window!”
Glenn: (I laugh) Yeah, it's a nightmare!
Alex: You know what I mean?
Glenn: Yeah! I don't see the point to it. It's to do with the farmers and the kids not having to go to school in the dark in the morning. But it's so irrelevant now.
Alex: Even the roosters are looking at the kids and saying, “Oh what the f*ck are you doing dude? I'm sleeping still bro!”
Glenn: Oh I can tell what this is going to be like! (I laugh)
Alex: They are there saying, “Our ambition is to construct the man bro!”
Glenn: I mean, I don't want to go full biography (on the interview) with you because that is like Wikipedia type sh*t but I was interested how you went from Chicago and came to L.A. originally?
Alex: To a certain extent, the Readers Digest version. Me and the guys in 'Life, Sex and Death', we had a band in Chicago at the time called 'Bottoms Up'. One of us, I don't know if it was the result or the experience of being in the band with the rest of us, but one of us ended up going to become an Analyst – Dave. He went on to become a Doctor. He had the Porsche to prove it, by the way. We're still really good friends. Four of the five of us started 'Life, Sex and Death'. That was the band in Chicago. This would have been around 89/90. We got as big as we could get in Chicago. We reached that point diminishing returns.. well when we played, it wasn't necessarily that people weren't coming bit it wasn't moving upward, it was moving sideways.
Alex: Not being the stupidest people on earth we thought, 'We'd better get the f*ck outta here before these guys get sick of us too'. At that point we all said, “That's it, we're packing our sh*t. We're moving to L.A.”
Glenn: Sweet! So that's what happened?
Alex: That's exactly what happened. “We're packing our bags, we're moving to L.A.” And off we went! I do also have to say that we were always, invariably, the first band into rehearsal and the last band out for sure.
Alex: Always, all the time. That was our western work ethic presenting itself.
Glenn: Yeah I remember about Life, Sex and Death by reading about you guys in 'Metal Edge'. Then of course later, 'Beavis & Butthead' made you stars on MTV. How did that feel when you became a 'Beavis & Butthead' role model or something...
Alex: Oh yeah, 'Role Model' (We laugh). Well there's a few fun facts associated with that. For starters, the album had been out not that long. It had been out briefly. We'd sold x-amount during the course of that time through hard work, touring and being out there every single night. We played every single gig we could. Our first tour in the States was actually in a station wagon. That's what it was like to be signed. I remember the very first tour we ended up doing. There are so many stories. It's endless. It was for however many months – I'd say about two and we'd sold x-amount. We constantly were on tour.
Beavis and Butthead got hold of us. I remember, I was at home - I was dating a stripper at the time because you couldn't get a record deal without doing it. I was thinking, 'Look argghhh! I've got the short straw!!'. No offence to strippers anywhere by the way. I was laying around watching whatever the equivalent Netflix was in back in the day with her. In one month, we'd doubled our sales over months and months. It could even be six months of touring.
The strength of what the visual medium was to be able to get to eyeballs and as a result in the earholes, Beavis and Butthead literally within the course of a month, with me just sitting around at home doing whatever, doubled our sales. It didn't stop our work ethic. We were still out there grinding away for sure.
Glenn: Talking of touring, what other tour stories can you tell?
Alex: I remember on the 1st tour that AntiProduct had, which is the band I started in England. To this day, I feel it's my most important thing that I've done. Anyway, it died on the way to our first gig – the Winnebago. We did the first gig and it bombed in the Appalachians. We spent three days in a truck stop in the Appalachians rather than going on tour with Wednesday 13. We managed to work it out and and we got back on tour after three days in a U-Haul and a rental car. We rebuilt our stuff on the road after the Winnebago blew up right away.
I put it up on E-bay before we did the second tour. Someone actually buys this thing – I couldn't believe it! It was thirty feet long and just a piece of garbage. We drove it from Ohio where we were storing it, where it died the 1st time to somewhere on the East Coast where the tour began. We felt we had wound up good fortune.
The whole band and everyone were literally less than a mile from the guys house. “Hey buddy, we're just coming up the street, we'll be right with you”, “Yeah, no problem”, “Okay, Bye”. I literally turned round to may assembled troops and I knew when I said it and I regret it to this day, “Guys, I can't believe it but we actually pulled this off”. We're only a mile from the guys house. Everybody in the van, all younger than me – all less experienced. They all go, “Oh my God, I can't believe you just said that”. We go to start it up and sure as sh*t, it doesn't want to start up. I had already told this guy, “Hey yeah, we are just right around the corner”.
Now 5 minutes turns into 15. “Oh the girls are peeing – you know women” - just excuses, “Oh we stopped to get some drive-thru”. We're just sitting there. He said, “Hey listen, I have to go and get something from the store so I'm gonna leave”. We're all sitting in this thing going, “Oh Jesus Christ, please don't drive past the broken Winnebago” because it was a tiny little town, like four streets.
Initially somehow the thing did start up again. It doesn't even want to go 50 mph. It will on go 20! We said, “Okay, we're in residential streets”. After about an hour and a half after I told him we'd be there in 5/10 minutes... it's like in the cartoons where the thing just lurches into the driveway, then the tongue spills out of the grill, the axles come off, the headlights fall out... Like out of a cartoon!
They weren't there to greet us. I think it even let out a 'Poooarrrhhh' – the gas had air in it when it died. He ended up f*ck*ng me on the cheque – (he paid me) not the entire amount, only half of it!!! The moral of the story is, whenever you need something to work.... (it doesn't)!
Glenn: (I laugh) With regard to Life, Sex and Death & AntiProduct, I always thought those two bands were way ahead of their time. I remember being sent a couple of the Anti-Product albums back in the day... featuring songs like 'Better Than This' and other incredible tracks. Those were two bands, a bit like what Faith No More – bands that were irreplaceable. A void was left. It's just amazing how you created those bands. Especially AntiProduct!
Alex: Well there's nothing I'm more proud of than AntiProduct. Really and seriously. If you're a rock and roll guitar player and you say you are doing it for the money... no you're not. All you can do is take pride in the sacrifice of all this sh*t you're doing everything for. I really appreciate what you say. It means a lot. That's great because I am more proud of that than anything I've ever done.
Glenn: Yeah! No-one sounded like you. Especially AntiProduct. I mean, I was watching the 'Better Than This' and the 'Bungee Jumping People Die' Videos on YouTube last night. It's almost like The Beach Boys but instead they are female backing vocals, there's amazing melodics but also a nightmarish bad trip that's going along at the same time, if that makes any sense?
Alex: That does. You don't have to explain it to me. I can tell you from my vantage point – that's exactly what was going on there. It was actually a very sinister band. A very, sort of subtlely political as much as having three women in that band. We were playing Heavy Rock all over the World. People talk about 'Women's Day' – let me tell you, every single day with those girls – that was 'Woman's Day'. They were very great and strong, f*ck*ng resolute and unintimitable. Just really, really great strong people. Beautiful women aesthetically – I'm just talking about their character.
While I may get a lions share of the credit because I was the dictator. I was the Svengali dictator. Without not only their musical talent.. we practised five days a week, five hours a day minimally and some days even more because there was so much covered. I mean, we covered 'Good Vibrations' live. We killed it. We f*ck*n' ruled that sh*t. What we did and the same old truth for Life, Sex and Death – both bands – we practised our asses off so people that didn't know better wouldn't realise how good we were.
They would get caught in the visuals of it and not be aware of (the musical side). They'd say, “Holy f*ck, these guys are doing 'Good Vibrations' live right now!” or “What are they doing?” Before they were saying, “These guys wear clown make-up”, but now, twenty years from now, Slipknot are going to be chasing me down the street for a selfie, so I don't know what to tell you! (I laugh).
It was at one of those Ronnie Dio bowling events but it was funny. Corey Taylor came up and I didn't know it was Corey Taylor. He said, “Oh man, I've got to get a picture with you “. 'What a nice guy!', I thought. “We were both growing up in the Midwest”, he tells me. “So I see you're from the Midwest buddy?” I said. I was thinking I was talking to a fanboy and everyone around me has got their jaw on the ground.
I was thinking, 'What the hell did I do wrong now?' Later they said, “Do you know who that was?”, I said, “I have no idea but he's really nice and I like his taste in music.” They said, “That was Corey Taylor, the singer from Slipknot”. Of course, I didn't recognise him without the mask.
Glenn: (I laugh) Yeah, I've been sat with Wes from Puddle Of Mudd in the Rainbow a few years ago . I didn't know it was Wes. We just sat with drinks and just chatting away and shooting the sh*t as normal guys do.
Alex: Yeah you realise or find out after. I remember the first time that I came out to California. I saw the guitar player from Kingdom Come walking down the street. I was thinking, 'Wow! - this is the big time!' I think it was '87 so they had that song on the radio.
Glenn: Was it 'Get It On'? (and I sing the line).
Alex: Yeah! That was a kick ass rock tune. I'm not going to lie to ya. It's funny because people are sh*tt*ng all over Greta Van Fleet at the moment. saying, “That's just Led Zeppelin of 2019 – it's like John Bonham's children born again”. I said, “Yeah but you bought the Kingdom Come record all those years ago! Shut the f*ck up! They had the same record collection you did. That's why you liked it so much”.
Greta Van Fleet – their folks did good parenting – it's not bad music. They make out that sh*tty 80's Zeppelin is better than Greta Van Fleet somehow? No, don't get me wrong, I like the Whitesnake album. I grew up listening to that. It's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is, it's not Zeppelin, it's hardened, superficial, over-rehearsed, professional adult, demand-a-dime version of Zeppelin. Nobody was f*ck*ng sharks in Whitesnake. Then they come in. That's okay. They get a pass and they get to sell millions of albums. Kingdom Come gets to sell millions of albums because whatever the f*ck...
But along come these young people who are playing music in the same genre with more integrity and better tunes than Kingdom Come or whatever other band. But no, they don't get a pass because you know what it is, it's older people being all afraid because the future is nigh, so accept it. Support these dudes because believe me, for being as young as they are they're really f*ck*ng good. For one, what are they gonna be like when they are done with puberty and second of all, “Well would you rather have the new Nickelback?” You know what I mean? Or whatever crap that I don't...
Glenn: Yeah there's a few of them and they are all produced by Chad....
Alex: The rock 'n' roll that they play on the radio which is basically 'Hannah Montana' except with different guitar sound. It's different subject matter. Don't get me wrong, I love Hannah Montana but she wasn't trying to pretend she was an all and all mofo. It looks better on her than on Nickelback. If I had the option of that, I would much, much much rather have that rock 'n' roll space be taken by Great Van Fleet. These kids are playing rock 'n' roll. Let's just applaud that and shut the f*ck up!
Photo Credit: Snow Smith
Glenn: Anyway, here's a humorous question for you. Are bungee jumping people still dying?
Alex: Oh if only it could be more selective. I think we've found far more effective and stupid ways to kill ourselves right now. There's a war going on now, but it's not in the way we know – it's on social media where they try and get us to hate each other.
Glenn: Agreed. Are you still in touch with AntiProduct and do you plan to get back together and have a reunion?
Alex: I want to. I'm in touch with everyone other than Clare (Pproduct). Clare and I haven't been partaking friendship which is not to say that that will be forever. For the time being, I think it's best we give each other a bit of breathing time and hopefully that will change one of these days. Whether or not that would occur, I already have somebody specific in mind that would be a suitable replacement. Particularly for the fans, they would love this girl. They may even know already who she is. I've been talking about it for a while. Now the reality of this situation is that I'm a middle-aged man now and I've realised bills and everything are real. Just like Life, Sex and Death – both of these bands are all or nothing. If I go AntiProduct, I've physically got to get in incredible shape.
I'm Iggy Pop as far as I'm concerned. I'm definitely not the Vince Neil (We laugh). Well actually, I'm neither of those guys. They are both more of a big deal than I am. I'm fully aware of that. For the few people who give a sh*t if AntiProduct actually did come back, I would want to make sure that everyone was proud of us rather than a little bit embarrassed. We're not going to do that. It's not like there's enough money in it where we would be saying, “Wow, look at all the millions of dollars we're gonna make”. The reality of what it is, I would love it. Frankly, without being megalomaniac even more so that I sound but I wrote those songs, I put them together, I produced it, arranged it- all the background vocals – if you want a better analogy, that's my Nine Inch Nails. It's my world.
Glenn: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. I mean, I saw you at Corporation, Sheffield in September 2003 supporting Hanoi Rocks and also at the Rock and Blues Fest at Ripley in July, 2005 as well. Both times I was blown away by the sheer musicianship and everything on stage – the vocals, the action and everything else – it was A1! What can I say?
Alex: I love it! My goal was to very much make my favourite band. My bond if you didn't know is for Cheap Trick. I've loved them since I was 12 years old. When they hit, it was perfect. I lost my virginity to 'Dream Police' which is why I think there's so many of us in my age group like myself, Ginger (Wildheart) and Ryan Roxie – all of us dudes that are approaching our mid 50's, I think we all lost our virginity to Cheap Trick. That's why there's not enough Cheap Trick on earth for us.
Photo Credit: Michael Shillitoe
Glenn: What gave you the idea to put the clown make-up on? Was that an individual thing to get people interested and make you stand out against other people and bands around?
Alex: That was obviously an end result of it but it wasn't by design. To tell the story briefly, I was in a band with Bam from Dogs D'Amour and Share Peterson from Vixen called Bubble. It was like an Arty Punk Rock band.
Glenn: Yeah, I saw Bubble at Corporation an couple of times. I've got an album that the guys from Faster Pussycat were on (Brent Muscat - Guitar and Eric Stacey - Bass) and I got a later one as well.
Alex: Yeah that's right. They've made a few. We made a couple of EP's and albums. It was really, really fun. They were really. The momentum of that band wasn't there but I love them dearly as friends. I was playing bass in the band at first because Share was on guitar and then we got Brian Perry in.
To make ends meet, somebody had an in with Porno movies. Now I'm not a big fan of strip clubs or pornos. I find that the exploitation thing is kinda sad and I can't really watch that. That's just how I feel about that. My single Mum raised me so I've got a certain perspective on the reverence that I hold women in. I don't think that they should be pornographied. Whether or not they say, “I'm empowering myself” - that's just slaves saying that they're not victims. They do not have to face that reality but in fact they are being exploited.
I'm not really into that stuff but to make ends meet there were some movies. We were the token rock band in these pornos. I remember the first one I did. I think it was 'Ass Mans Pool Party' – it was the fourth or fifth of the franchise which was filmed at a drug dealer mansion in the styx somewhere. Literally it was just sperm flying through the air.
Everybody was f*ck*ng everywhere. It was literally the grossest thing I had ever been surrounded by. It was everything I hated about everything. I remember, I was talking to this one girl. It was her first porno. I said to her, “I hope you're okay. Are you sure you want to do this?”. I guess she hadn't done anything. I said, “Okay, you're ready”, and then she went over and did the most f*ck*d heinous weird ass sex scene on camera with everybody staring around watching everywhere. Then she came back and she said, “It was no big deal”. I was thinking 'Wow – she's down for it'. She's gone now.
I didn't look at anything but the thing that I did do... It was like a force field of some kind. I put that smile on for the first time – you know what I mean, that big ass smile that masks across half of my face?
Alex: That was the first time I ever did that. I remember I was wearing blue cling film and this smile. I was walking in the midst of Sodom and Gomorrah in cling film film with my painted soon to be AntiProduct smile. We were the token rock band at the party and everybody was looking at me. They've got dude's up their asses and they are looking at me. Five dudes are f*ck*ng them and I walk by, they literally stop filming and look at me like I'm the f*ck*d up one. (I laugh). I thought, 'That's really funny. What a powerful force-field this is. All of these people at the porno and they are looking at me like I am weird. Wow!'.
So, I was the freaky weirdo at the thing. I remember thinking, 'It really is like Ingrid Bergman or some filmmaker.' You'd have to picture me in black and white walking with the big smile wearing and the cling film through this sex scene where everybody's f*ck*ng everyone and they're looking at me. If it was a photograph it would win some kind of prize.
I thought, 'Holy f*ck, wait a minute, I need to get a band together.' I didn't know what I was doing. So, Clam Abuse, the band I did with Ginger for a second, we wore make-up and I thought, 'That would be a cool theme to keep going with once it came time'. We did a show with Rachel Stamp and things didn't go over. It was actually our first show outside of London. They hated us. I thought, 'Alright, I've got to do some different sh*t right now'. The next day, Robin Guy actually helped me with the make-up. You know who that is?
Glenn: Yeah, yeah. Let's hope he is okay and gets through the big C.
Alex: Yeah, yeah. I spend a a lot of my time being vocal for that. So Robin actually helped me with the very first time I applied the make-up and the show went amazingly well. I thought, 'Alright, I'm going to just go with that'. That went through evolutions. I did different versions of it. It all stemmed from that porno thinking how appropriate it was because a product as in 'A Product of Society'. The super power that I found I had at the porno then caused the product that would continue on in that fashion like he lived beyond the porno shoot.
Photo Credits: Left - Clam Abuse - James Tomlinson
Right - AntiProduct - Chris Monahan
Glenn: Yeah. You became the AntiProduct of the product.
Alex: Yes exactly. I haven't put it into place but I can definitely see a possibility where most of the people that were in AntiProduct could end up on a stage together playing for a bunch of really awesome people. I can see that happening.
Glenn: Yeah. A one-off or a couple of shows at the Whisky or somewhere like that?
Alex: In Britain. I would only do it where it would work.
Glenn: Yeah because we are the audience for you guys aren't we?
Alex: Yeah. We did okay here but as far as people that maintained a relationship with the band by far – England. No question. It's weird. Anyway, I don't know if you know but I'm working on four records right now. Also, just today, I joined Enuff Znuff for starters. That's very exciting. I'm looking forward to playing with the guys again. The first show is Thursday so I've got less than a week to prepare for it.
I'm working on a Shark Island album right now which is very dear to my heart. I'm putting so much of myself into this. I can't lie, with everything that we're recording, we're thinking, 'Is this good enough to be on the Rock 'N' Roll album of the year? Just now, the thing I was recording when I said, “Hey, let's talk in five minutes”, I was recording a cowbell, because, Do you know why?
Glenn: Because cowbells sound great. They are like the pinnacle of a song aren't they at times?
Alex: And you know what, thank you, exactly! I already know I am speaking to one of the brethren of the family of Rock 'N' Roll just by you saying that foremost. Secondarily, because f*ck you 'Saturday Night Live', you don't get to say what we use on a rock 'n' song. You take cowbell out of 'Mississippi Queen'...??? I'm here to tell you I'm taking cowbell back for Rock 'N' Roll from the comedians. They can grow their hair like we do and get tattoos like we do, wear eyeliner on stage like we do but they don't get to tell us whether or not we get to play cowbell.
Glenn: (I laugh) I know, imagine 'Don't Fear The Reaper' without a cowbell'?
Alex: Imagine 'Mississippi Queen' without a cowbell or imagine 'Honky Tonk Women' without a cowbell. Now, am I gonna let the comedian tell me, a guy who is rock 'n' roll where to put a cowbell? F*ck No. I'm bringing the rock 'n' roll cowbell back! Taking it from the comedians and putting it in. When I say I recorded rock n roll cowbell for the new Shark Island, I mean god damn it, f*ck*ng rock n roll cowbell is not taken from us Will Farrell. No matter how much I love 'Anchorman'.
Glenn: Sweet. You've also got a band called Pump5 on Chavis Records as well. How did that come about? How did you become a part of that?
Alex: Well they're a great band. They kind of sound like Foo Fighters but a little more Cheap Trick. It's very Cheap Trick. Somebody had seem me play at one of those jams that we do out here.
Glenn: Yeah, you got Ultimate Jam, Soundcheck Live...
Alex: And there's another one called Sunset Jam. Those are the ones I do the most. One of the guys saw me play at one of those. We got along great, played great together and they asked me to join the band. Right now, Steve's writing songs for what will hopefully be the second or next Pump5 album. When it comes out, I don't know. These things, they take forever nowadays. We are starting to compile demos and get songs together and everything like that. They are great guys. I can't wait to see what happens next with it.
Glenn: Sweet. That's awesome. I mean, you've been in quite a few bands. You've played with Richie Ramone and Little Caesar as well. You've been all lover the place haven't you? You are like the alternate Keri Kelli or something.
Alex: Well, Keri's a good friend of mine. A brilliant musician and a great guitar player. A cool f*ck*ng m*th*rf*ck*r on stage too. When I moved back from England and once I wasn't playing with Richie anymore, I said to myself, “You know what, I've got to be like f*ck*ng Keri”. That's exactly what I said to myself. Where if it's a cool band that I believe in, that are cool dudes and it helps me earn a living doing this stupid rock 'n' roll thing and they are legit, I'm gonna do it”. As a result, yes, I play in as many projects as my schedule will allow. For one, I've got to stay alive – if I don't play, I don't eat so I've got to play. I'm just like everybody else.
Glenn: You've got to pay the rent!
Alex: Yeah, I've got to pay the rent. I need some food inside of me.
Glenn: That's what it boils down to at the end of the day. If you are good at what you do and also you like what you are doing, you always do a good job and you've got a good reputation there. It makes sense.
Alex: Yeah that's the thing. You're never late, you never waste it, you're never unprepared. You've got to respect the situation because the situation doesn't need you. You need it. For staying grounded and just working hard... I work hard just like anyone else that works hard. That's what we all do. Some people are good with their hands. I'm not but I'm okay at making Rock 'N' Roll so that's what I do.
Glenn: Yeah. It makes sense. How did you get involved with the Ultimate Jam Night? What have been your favourite nights? I know you do it quite a lot – the Ultimate Jam at the Whiskey.
Alex: Oh Jesus! My favourite night... That's impossible. When I played with Mike Watt at a Benefit. He, myself and Clem Burke are going to be making an album of experimental punk-fusion..
Glenn: It sounds mad!
Alex: ...Which I'm really, really looking forward to. He's going to send me some bass tracks. Then I've got to write some weird ass sh*t on guitar around it. I may be bringing all my Adrian Blue... all my weird sh*t. I'll need to curtail a bit to make it work for Mike and Clem. All of that stuff will be loosed when I play with these two guys.
I'm also working with a guy named Juro actually. One of the coolest dudes I know and has so much integrity. What a man of honour! His word is his bond. 100%. No funny business. I respect and admire Juro greatly. It's kind of a punk rock thing. He and I played with Richie Ramone. He's in with Mickey Leigh, Joey's Brother. He's part of that part of punk rock family. He's really tight with Clem Burke as well.
Clem Burke also played on Juro's album and a couple of songs that I wrote with Juro for the album. It's coming out some time this year. Great stuff. What a great player. A nice guy. Clem Burke. I am telling ya! Enthusiastic like a ten year old and we were playing live in the studio when he was recording his drums. Drummers are the heartbeat of the band. If your drummer sucks, your band's dead. With Clem Burke it felt like big time.
Glenn: Yeah! A major name.
Alex: I was thinking, 'Wow - A big leaguer in the house.' His kick drum was like riding a horse. It was going and you'd better know how to hold onto it. Seriously that dude pounds the hell (out of it) – old school. There's maybe ten years of that guy left, I don't know how much but ride his playing while you can because that is a bad m*th*rf*ck*r! He is the American Keith Moon and nothing less.
Glenn: Yeah he's done some shows over here with a Blondie tribute (Bootleg Blondie). That probably sold out because he's Clem Burke.
Alex: Well you know what it is, he and I are very similar in the sense of pride since we both played with members of The Ramones. We played in different durations. They know that when they stop the ageing process starts. They know because they've never stopped, they are like 24. Both of those guys take great, great care of themselves. He blows my mind because although he's technical he's old school thudder or whatever you want to say – An American Keith Moon – that's Clem Burke!
Glenn: Awesome! How was your time at NAMM? Did you enjoy NAMM much?
Alex: (Long Pause) Nah. I'm over it. I'm over small talk. First let me say, none of this is about people that I do work with that help me do my job – that's Will Young at Whirlwind. One of the greatest dudes I have ever met. He saved a man's life on the side of the moon. Blackstar have been there – an English (amplification) company. I play with them any chance I can.
A lot of these dudes (at Namm) if they don't know who you are, they kind of think they can be a little bit dismissive and shitty. I think, 'Hey maybe you don't know who I am but maybe you do know who Nuno (Bettencourt) is. Just because you don't know me doesn't mean that all these other people don't know me. Don't make me feel like a nobody because I actually do what pays your bills.' That part of it is gross.
I like seeing all my friends that I haven't seen for quite some time throughout the course of the year. Playing the jams is always a blast. Again, you get to hang out with some of your best friends and play rock 'n' roll so there's no downside there. But I'm too busy for small talk. Talking about bullsh*t and whatever. That aspect becomes real tedious real quick. I try and limit my exposure to people that I know very well.
Glenn: Yeah! You are kind of British like that. You can't be doing with bullsh*t can you? You want something that's real.
Alex: And you know what I mean. Yeah dude! I'm not going to get morbid but last year I buried three of my friends. They were actually just around my age, maybe a little bit younger. You think to yourself, 'This is not really a forever thing is it?'. As a result, I have become more conscientious about how I choose to spend my time.
Glenn: Yeah. I'm the same. I keep losing friends in America. Not as much here but it seems they are dropping like flies in Florida right now. It's crazy.
Alex: Yeah I know. I don't even know what's going on anymore. (Laughs) To be honest.
Glenn: Here's a question for you! These days you play more guitar with others than being the frontman like you were in AntiProduct. Do you miss being the frontman? or, Is it good to take a back seat and play more guitar these days?
Alex: Well basically, frontmen are like the prostitutes to the guitar player pimp. That's a joke, I am kidding. But in a way it's true. Robert Plant was the prostitute. Jimmy Page was the pimp. Saying to him, “Go perform for me, monkey boy”. Then Page could sit back and chain-smoke on cigarettes and do god knows whatever else. Then step up every once in a while and say, “I know you can't believe you're in a room with me right now!”. (We laugh) It's the same with Joe Perry and Steven Tyler. “Yeah sure man, you go and be the frontman bro or whatever... it's all good. Don't worry about it.”
Glenn: Yeah. I guess you enjoy being a guitarist as opposed to having to be a frontman?
Alex: Oh no, I wouldn't say that. I view them as a different expression. The inspiration stems from the same place actually. I do whatever propels me personally as a human. Whatever I'm doing on guitar is also because I feel the same kind of energy if I was fronting. It's the same engine. I don't like one more than the other. I do know this for a fact, it is tougher to be a frontman than to be a guitar player. It's physically more demanding. You never really during the course of a gig.. you don't have the luxury of saying, “Hey, I'm just going to lean against my amp for a second.” The way I do when I'm a guitar player. You're out there. You're the whole thing. If you start losing focus or whatever, the show's done.
Glenn: The people in the audience are thinking, 'This guy's not interested so why should we be interested?'
Alex: Yeah exactly. 'Now I'm bored' and they are thinking like us. Where you're thinking, 'You know what? I'm going to be dead soon. I'm not gonna spend it and waste it on this bullshit, watching this bull!'.
Glenn: It makes a lot of sense. I caught you live while in California. We got talking at El Cid in Los Feliz that was Happenin' Harry's Benefit night. How did you originally meet Harry because he was talking about that fact that you were one of the original 'Haptones' if my memory serves me right while he was on stage?
Alex: Yeah. I've heard him say that. I know that we jammed together but I didn't know that I was an official Haptone or anything to be honest. I didn't know but it could very well be true. If he says so, it must be true. I'm just unaware that I was a founder member (laughs). I love Harry!
Glenn: He's awesome. He looks after me. I make sure to share his posts and do what I can for him.
Alex: I love Harry very, very much and I look forward to him being 100% healthy again.
Glenn: Yeah I think we all do. He's such a nice guy. I met him back in '09. Apart from Bjorn Englen, he was the first guy who I actually got talking to in Hollywood when he had that night at The Cat Club on Sunset. I thought, 'This guy's amazing!'. Such a lovely bloke.
Alex: Yeah. He really is. I've known him since I was 14.
Alex: I know Harry.
Glenn: Yeah! We could talk forever but what things in your career apart from AntiProduct are you most proud of and why?
Alex: Life Sex & Death and that I'm still going for one – first and foremost. I get more work now than I ever have had in my life. I was told that once you're 30 you're dead but that is far from the truth. That has nothing to do with the truth whatsoever. If you actually believe that you are thinking like a f*ck*ng hippy! I have no problem with hippies. Don't get me wrong. I would rather it be a hippy than a Nazi any day. (Laughs)
Glenn: What are your thoughts to the scene in Hollywood or Los Angeles overall? Has it got a scene now or is it more a jam night and people/bands just travelling there and coming back?
Alex: It's mostly the jam nights nowadays. That's the cool thing for me anyway. That's the most happening thing that's going on right now. The audiences for all the jams are always there. There's definitely people excited about.
Photo Credit: Nanci Sauder Rust
Glenn: If you could work with anyone you've not worked with, who would you like to work with in the future if you could and why?
Alex: Well I've worked for Alice Cooper, Gene Simmons, Rick Nielsen & Robin Zander. I'd like to work with Dave Grohl for sure – that'd be awesome. Jeff Lynne. I'd really like to work with Jeff Lynne a lot. That would be amazing. Jeff Lynne would be brilliant. There's a couple of people like that. I'd like to do a song with Roy Thomas Baker. Not a record. That would become insufferable but a song would be great. Mutt Lange as well – he's still one of my favourite producers.
Glenn: You've got some great things on Facebook about what you overheard in the van. Do you think you will make a book out of that some day? Like an autobiography in the similar style of that?
Alex: I haven't really considered that, I'll be honest. In as much as it's on Facebook, it kinda is the book. If people want to copy and paste the stuff, they are surely more than welcome to. I've been horrendous through my whole life finding any way of exploiting anything that I do for short of playing the guitar. That's all I really know what to make up. I can see that there is a time that I write some kind of book. Yes – absolutely! I don't know what kind of book it would be. I've always loved the language and the use of things – lyrics being a case of point. You knew know! Now I've got to get four albums done so that's really what I'm focussed on.
Glenn: You're as busy as hell. I never realised you were a Studio Engineer, a Masterer and a Producer as well. We all just assume that you are the guy that gets on stage now and again joins every other band like Keri Kelli. I've learned a lot just recent about your good self which is great.
Alex: Well thank you very much. I only work with bands and artists that I find inspire me. I'm pretty fortunate that way. I'm not out there saying, “Hey, I'm a Record Producer and I'd like to work with your band”, because I don't want to work with your band. I do know what I'm doing. The Shark Island album for example, that one.. the Juro album – I'm all but finished with what my contribution to it is. That is a lot of singing and a lot of melodic guitar playing and some of the production done. I'm not on all of the songs though.
He's mainly a Producer himself but I'm a control freak. I'll say, “I'd like to do that” (laughs). I'm getting more and more calls to do it now. It suits me and I enjoy it very, very much. I don't have a five year plan. I work very, very hard all the time in hope that the universe appreciates the fact that I'm trying to make music that brings people together enough to allow me to continue. And...So far, So good.
Glenn: It's a case of one thing feeds the other. If that makes any sense.
Alex: In spirit it does. I'm not going to lie or be falsely modest. I'm a f*ck*ng kick ass performer. I'm all over that. Doing it as long as I have I'd be lying if I felt otherwise. I'm up there. I'm good. I serve the audience. They're the boss there especially contemporarily. The audience is my boss. The audience is my manager.
Glenn: When you up there I can personally tell when I have seen you that you are actually loving every second of it. It's just genuine.
Alex: I've got to say that everything I play is for the audience. I'm away from Netflix, come down and see something I'm involved in. I think people understand that of how grateful I am. Whatever I commit to, I'm going to commit to it 100% or it's not going to happen. I'm not going to get involved in it otherwise.
Glenn: Are you still in touch with Chris Stann or Stanley (Frontman of Life, Sex & Death fame)?
Alex: We probably speak once every two weeks.
Glenn: A million dollar question, can you see yourself doing a project with Stanley in the future or with Life, Sex And Death etc?
Alex: Never with Life Sex & Death because again that's an all or nothing project. I'm in no way passing judgement of being crazy or whatever but I'm the only guy that... I have a certain perspective and a certain expectation as well for what I can ask for from people that I've worked with. I would work with those guys. I would do anything. They would too.
We're still brothers but as far as doing 'Life Sex & Death' – only if it was serious, bad-ass 100% thing. I don't know if anybody is at that point of their life right now. I could see me and him doing some kind of project but not 'Life, Sex And Death' in a crazy experimental way.
Glenn: What could we expect from you two?
Alex: It would probably be something very, very old school. The most candid mental machine music like Lou Reed. If it's going to be me and Stan, we'll get it together just to show you where our brains are at. We thought about Life, Sex & Death'.. 'Oh my God', we thought, 'What a f*ck*ng sell-out move, dress like that?' I can't believe what whores we'd become. That is my perspective on the commercial marketplace.
Life, Sex and Death and AntiProduct were both like the valiant attempts at commercial success made by people that don't know what the mainstream wants. When you take those shackles or expectations off whatever music me an Stan may make it would definitely be unlistenable to all but animals. (I laugh) Well not all animals, only some.
Glenn: The ones that aren't extinct yet or that ones who want to become extinct after listening to you?
Alex: I'll take one dog over most ten people. I love animals. I love their purity. Particularly nowadays. The horrible, horrible cancer that we've become to this planet to ourselves and each other is absolutely... it's just wall to wall gross.
Glenn: We've talked about loads of things in the interview. Is there anything you want to chat about that we've not covered?
Alex: Well I'm really excited about a band called The Darbies. They are 17 to 22 years old. I've just co-produced their 1st E.P and I'm going to produce their second E.P. in a couple of months. They're unbelievable players. The guitar player, Ronny (Dave), he's been playing for four years – he's 18. I've never seen anyone in my life that was on a continued page. His 17 year old brother, Nico is the drummer and he's so musical. It's uncanny for a 17 year old beginning his musical journey. Joe the bass player belongs in the hardest core of fusion-punk ever. That kid's a brilliant musician and is as weird as they get.
Jani (Jakko), the 22 year old male model lives on the beach in his van with his girlfriend who is also a model. He's never sung before. He came down and went and auditioned and is such a natural frontman. It's unbelievable. We're just finishing up the E.P. which is their first time ever in the studio. It's their first batch of songs. They are not making any excuse about being this young which is great.
Also, L.A. Guns were kind enough to take them on tour in April. (It's) The Darbies first tour of the United States where they will be the support for the LA Guns. Hopefully, there will be a few more events signed up for those guys.
Glenn: Cool. Thank you so much for your time.
Alex: No problem buddy. Thank you very much for giving a sh*t. Tell everyone I know that Alex said “Hello” and “I'll be back very, very soon. Not soon enough!”
Glenn: Awesome. Well you take care Alex. Have a good day.
Alex: Alright Brother. Stay warm. I'll talk to you in a bit.
Glenn: You got it. See you later.
Photo Credit: Ben Kolton
Be sure to catch Alex Kane on tour with Enuff Z'Nuff!
All Photographs have been used with full permission of Alex Kane.
Disclaimer: We suffered a few sound drop-outs or should I say 'Winnebago Moments' while doing this Interview so the odd gap was filled in and I apologise for anything crucial that could be missing but as Alex himself states:
"Buzz liability is plausible deniability"