Stevie Salas / Matt Sorum Interview November 26th, 2008

Interview by Laurie Lonsdale

Images provided by Stevie's management

Main image is by Jim Steinfeldt

 

www.steviesalas.com

www.mattsorum.tv

 

Stevie Salas - guitar virtuoso, vocalist, songwriter, and producer has an outstanding career history, and is considered to be one of the top fifty guitarists of all time. Self-taught and known to have created his own rock genre of dark punk-funk, Salas has worked with a never-ending list of impressive artists over the years, some of which include Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, the late Michael Hutchence (INXS) and Jeff Healey. Incredibly, the list goes on and on and reads like a veritable “Who’s Who” of music. He has released 9 solo albums, and has written, played on, and/or produced over 80 major label releases. He is the musical director for American Idol, and he even did the guitar score for the movie Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Yet, as remarkable as this all is, it doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of his amazing resume.

 

Salas was in town this week for the Canadian Aboriginal Awards, as well as his November 29th show at the Sound Academy. And, along for the ride was drummer Matt Sorum (The Cult, Guns n’ Roses, Velvet Revolver), who planned to support Salas live for the first time.

 

As a genuine fan of Salas’ work and as an admirer of both of these exceptional performers; would I pass on the opportunity to field an interview with both of them? NOT ON YOUR LIFE! So, get real comfortable, take a deep breath, and read what these illustrious musicians had to say during our extended conversation of November 26th.

 

Both:

Assorted greetings and pleasantries.

 

Laurie:

Okay, so let’s start at the beginning - you relocated from San Diego to Hollywood in the early ‘90’s, and got your start with George Clinton. Was it working with Clinton that pushed your style in the direction of funk, or was that a part of you and something you had adopted long before meeting him?

 

Stevie:

I grew up in San Diego, near a military town on the beach, so I would hang out and play football and baseball and surf everyday, and where I lived was all kinds of black kids, all kinds of white kids, every kind of culture. So, in high school, we were very much rockin’ to Led Zeppelin, but also we were completely exposed to the Commodores, Earth Wind & Fire, and these types of bands, as well. It was always around, and at high school dances we’d get to hear both, we’d hear it all. So, for me, I loved Heat Wave by Earth Wind & Fire equally as much as songs by Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin. So, it wasn’t so much that it was a part of my style, but it was almost as though it was a part of my genetic make-up for music. So, when I met George Clinton, I completely understood the realm of rhythm, but I also knew that he didn’t need me to be playing any funk guitar, because the guys he had playing funk guitar were the best guys in the world. So, I thought to myself, “If I’m ever going to have my own niche, I need to do something different.” I knew I just had to find something in the cracks, where I could stand out. So, I started playing those funky rhythms with a real heavy sound, and I thought I was being real original, because I wasn’t up on the old Funkadelic catalogue. But it turned out Funkadelic was doing that all along. But my approach may have been a bit different. It’s hard to explain. Anyway, it got to the point where Funkadelic really got me right away and rock guys got it right away, and it seemed like black guys got it right away, too. So, I kind of fell into a weird crack and that’s how it happened.

 

Laurie:

So, from Clinton you went on to another eclectic group with Was Not Was, and worked on the What Up Dog? album. The first thing I think of when I hear of Was Not Was is the song and video for “Walk the Dinosaur”, so I looked it up on You Tube because it’s been years since I last saw it, and I was trying to pick you out in the video. Was that you in the suspenders with the wildly big hair?

 

Stevie:

Yeah, that was me. (Laughing together). I was really into Steve Stevens; he was my idol.

 

Laurie:

Billy Idol’s guitarist?

 

Stevie:

Yeah, right, and I was really into Siouxsie and the Banshees, so I had my hair like hers, so yeah, that was me. I put that band together, actually. The thing about Was Not Was really was that it was a fluke. I was working at that time with Bootsy Collins on his record for Columbia Records. I went to a meeting with Bootsy to meet Don Was, and they were talking about Don maybe producing some tracks for Bootsy. So, Don and Bootsy listened to these four-track demos that I had just worked on at my house for Bootsy, and Don really freaked out and called me and asked if I would come play guitar on the record. So, I went down and started playing on the album, which was the What Up Dog? Album, and it turns out that he asks me to produce it. So, ironically, Don was meeting with Bootsy about producing Bootsy and it ended up with me producing Don. So, all of a sudden this weird record that we did comes out and becomes #1 in Europe. So, I was all broke hanging out in 1987 in LA; doing pretty good, but not by any means a rock star, and here I am flying to London every six weeks and travelling around in limos, doing Top of the Pops and hanging out with Bananarama and George Michael, who was a big superstar by then, and then coming home to LA and sleeping on my friend’s futon. And then the Was Not Was record came out in America about a year and a half later and it was #1 again. So, in the band it was all my friends, and we were just a bunch of struggling guys and gals. And it’s really ironic that in that video, it’s Carla Azar that went on to be the drummer for the Waterboys, Winston Watson, who was a Colorcode drummer, went on to become the drummer for Bob Dylan, and then “Amp” Fiddler who went on to play with Parliament Funkadelic. So, we were all just a bunch of young people hanging out back then, but back then everybody really had to know how to play. It’s not like now where musicians really don’t know how to play their instruments.

 

Laurie:

Actually, it’s funny that you’d mention that it’s not like now, because one of my questions deals with your view on the changes to the music industry. But, before we get to that, how did you go from there to playing stadiums with Rod Stewart and then Mick Jagger later on?

 

Stevie:

Well, it was really bizarre, because back in 1987 when Was Not Was became a hit, I also scored with this movie called Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

 

Laurie:

You did the riff for George Carlin’s part, right?

 

Stevie:

Yeah, I did that; that was me. I also did the whole guitar score and I’m actually in it at the end. But that was like another weird thing, because the movie didn’t have a distributor. It lost its distributor, so we never knew if it was actually going to come out. Stephen Herek the director, who’s now hugely famous, used to come to my house and we’d watch scenes together, where he’d say, “Okay, I want something like Led Zeppelin here”, and then I’d come up with a riff. He’d ok it, and then I would just go over to the studio and cut it. It was so organic and simple back in those days. There wasn’t a bunch of people involved. So, the movie got hot, Was Not Was got hot, and by then I was starting to get hot with my band and playing gigs. I had a buzz going on around town and all of a sudden I got an offer to play with Thomas Dolby. And then I got an offer to play with Andy Taylor (Duran Duran), and I ended up getting both gigs. I chose Andy Taylor because he was going out to play arenas and I was dying to play arenas. I liked Thomas’ music better, but Andy was going to play with the Psychedelic Furs and I really wanted to do that. Andy was managed by Rod Stewart’s manager. Well, Andy turned out to be a prick and he fired me right before the tour, but Rod Stewart’s manager really liked me, so a few months later when they were going to put Rod’s band back together, he called me to come audition. I definitely was not qualified to be in the band, ‘cuz it was all David Bowie’s band and the Power Station band, and they were all my heroes – Carmine Rojas and all those guys. So, I guess the Gods were on my side, ‘cuz Rod just liked me and he put me in the band. Eight days later I’m playing stadiums and flying in private jets with him. And by the time he realized that I was under qualified to play half the songs properly, it was too late to fire me. But it was a good thing, because then I really had to learn to do it, and then it was awesome.

 

Laurie:

Excellent, so then later on you went with Mick Jagger?

 

Stevie:

No, Mick Jagger came a long time later. The odd thing about Mick Jagger was that, when I was putting a band together in ’87, I had gotten a call about doing it, and I also got a call to do George Michael’s Faith tour. But I wanted to have my own record contract and I told everybody that. Well, the word around town was that I had turned down $10,000 a week to do the Mick Jagger tour, because I wanted to do my own thing. It was all a lie, of course, but it went all around Hollywood and I never denied it. So, everybody thought that I was on fire, but the story wasn’t true. So, I almost got to do Mick Jagger, but Joe Satriani did it, and I ended up doing Rod Stewart. But when I was a kid in San Diego I used to say that I was only going to play guitar for Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, and David Bowie, so it’s really ironic that I ended up working with Mick and Rod. So, Mick came years later for real, it was in the year 2000, when I was kind of retired. I’d had a good run in the ‘90’s. I’d been around the world, had sold a couple million Colorcode albums, playing with some big people, and having a good time, so I was sort of burned out. And then I had a tragic thing happen where my girlfriend passed away, so I was down and out. Then suddenly the phone rang and it was Mick Jagger. It was like a gift from God. He put me in charge of his band and it got me re-energized. I watched his work ethic and just the whole thing brought me out of the real dark place that I was in. It kind of got me going again, and everything started going good again after that.

 

Laurie:

So, how is that while you’re playing with all these major names, and producing and putting together bands for other people, you still manage develop a solo career, in which you’ve released all of these albums?

 

Stevie:

I’d have to look online to see how many albums it is, but some of the albums are tricky because I’d be selling a shitload in Japan, so then when they would release it in Germany they’d release it with different artwork and a few different songs. So, maybe they’d be the same album, but one would be called Vive La Noise and the other would be called Alter Native. So, it’s probably like 9 solo albums, and then there’s bootlegs and different versions of albums from different countries. But I’ve just always had a record deal, and if I get a chance to sit in a room with Matt Sorum or with Dave Abbruzzese (drummer Pearl Jam), or Bootsy Collins, or any of those kind of guys, they bring a whole other level of stuff; then I can sponge off of it and develop new stuff and it becomes exciting again.

 

Laurie:

Makes sense. I read somewhere that you had over 80 guitars at one point. Have you since thinned out the collection, or has it grown?

 

Stevie:

I got rid of a ton of them. I gave some away and sold some to the Hard Rock Cafés, so I got down to about 60. But I think I’m probably close to a 100 again, because every time I do these American Idol musical director things I get more. They hire me to come in and assemble and teach, and hire and fire, and get the guys ready. I have to teach a band how to be rock stars in 10 days as opposed to 3 years like it used to be in the old days. I mean, I put together a band for David Cook and 10 days later we’re doing Saturday Night Live. It took me 10 years to do that with Mick Jagger. Ten years of knowledge of what to do and what not to do, yet they just put themselves up there to not blow the opportunity. But because of that, every gear company in the world that knows I have access to these massive things that ship a million records in a week, so they’ll give me things, and there’ll be a new guitar for me to try out, or drum sets and stuff. So, now I’m back at about 100 guitars.

 

Laurie:

So, how did this gig with American Idol come about?

 

Stevie:

It’s real simple - I know how to do it. The musical director thing is something that’s a niche I really figured out how to do years ago. I started as a musical director for Terence Trent D’Arby back in ’93, and once you know it, you know it. It’s kind of like being a record producer, except for the live aspect of the gig. So, you still deal with budgets, you deal with who you hire, who’s playing what parts, and even what sounds they’re going to use. So, I got good at it. I belong to this little clique of music business executives; I’m the only musician. The rest are all agents, managers, lawyers, and it’s a private little group and we travel around the world to surf. We’ll go to Hawaii or Costa Rica and it’s called a business trip, but all we do is sit around and drink cocktails and talk about the music business. So, one of those guys in this clique became a big manager for Chris Daughtry, so when Daughtry was coming out, he said, “Steve I need you to do this, and make it real.” Once Daughtry came out and sold 5 million records, instantly Idol had me do Jordan Sparks and now David Cook, so I became their guy.

 

Laurie:

But speaking of TV, you also have a show from Winnipeg called Arbor Music, featuring all aboriginal music. When do you manage to fit all of that in?

 

Stevie:

It’s called Arbor Live, and that’s something new. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while now. I like to develop native talent, because I’m a Native American. I thought maybe I could start helping guide the careers of some of these kids and people. But I realized there’s not a lot of ways to promote these records and these artists though, so I thought we should get a television show, because we’ve got this network in Canada called APTN (Aboriginal People’s Television Network) and get this stuff going. Then I found out that a lot of my big rock star friends were really into the cause and would help out. So, right away we get Matt Sorum from Velvet Revolver and Tommy Lee and Motley Crue and guys like that, who want to be involved and want to help. So, we put it together, pitched it, and have these live concert shows. But to tell you the God’s honest truth I haven’t had a moment’s rest since I started, because I’m flying back and forth to Canada, and then between Canada and all my record production stuff in Costa Rica and around the world that I do, and then there’s the Idol stuff, so it’s been crazy.

 

Laurie:

So, tell me about your most recent release, Be What It Is.

 

Stevie:

Be What it Is came out at a time when the Japanese had been bothering me to put out a new album ‘cuz I hadn’t created one in a long time and the Europeans were kind of on me about it, but I just wasn’t ready to make a new album. So, I was trying to figure out a way to recapture the energy of my early records, but also trying to do something new and groundbreaking. I don’t worry about trying to make hit records anymore; it’s not my game, but I really didn’t know what to do with the new album, and then I came up with the track “Be What It Is”. I was in New York City and hanging out with some friends, so I went into a studio and it came and I realized, “Okay, I’m onto something now.” Then the songs just started coming again, so I knocked it out, went and played a couple of stadium shows in Korea and Japan, and had a good time.

 

Laurie:

But speaking of making records, you touched on earlier that it’s not the same today as it was years ago, and we know that the digital age has contributed to that with the advent of ProTools and online promotional outlets and such, which musicians now consider to be the norm. But based on some of your earlier comments, it sounds like you have an opinion on these changes that have taken place. Are you happy with the face of music today?

 

Stevie:

You know, you should ask Matt Sorum that same question, because he’s really getting up on the whole digital media and stuff. I think about kids that make records in their bedroom, and it used to be that when you made a demo, you’d think the demo was the best thing ever. But then years later when you found a real record producer and a real studio, you’d go back and listen to the demo and realize that it sounded like shit. But what happens now is that people just make what I could call their demos and then they just put it out, so they just flood the market with shit. It’s not quite as great as when a band would have to make a record as though their lives depended on it. Now they can just make it and say, “Ah, let’s go do another one.” So, now you’re the guy on the radio station and say on Tuesday you get a stack of 50 CDs, and then you try to listen to them to see who to add, and maybe there’s one jewel in there that’s maybe #28, but the guy can’t even get through CD 1-10 because it’s just all so mediocre, and the good stuff is going overlooked because there’s just so much shit. I think there needs to be more record producers again. Too many people producing their own records is not a good thing. So, I think the digital age makes it too easy for somebody to put out a record without being held accountable for it being absolutely stunning, like a piece of work that will hold up for a lifetime. Like, for example, Led Zeppelin 1 – kids listen to that now and it’s just as powerful to them as it was to me, as probably it was to my father. And now, you don’t have that urgency. Mediocrity is running rampant in the arts. And now it’s all about hit singles. You don’t have the development of album rock anymore.

 

Laurie:

But you know how to do that, and so many other things, as well. You’ve done so very much in your career, do you feel as though you’ve accomplished everything you can or want to, or do you feel like there are avenues you still want to explore?

 

Stevie:

There’s always stuff to explore. I’d like to do a traditional native album with my guitar, with perhaps some amazing world musicians. I’d still like to work with David Bowie. He’s the only person left that I haven’t worked with that I really wanted to, and I’d love to work with Mick Jagger again. I miss playing football stadiums and arenas, I must admit, so I’d like to have one last big run at playing arenas. And I’d like to develop more television. I really enjoy the experience of television. I’ve got Arbor Live now and that’s pretty cool, and I work with a guy named Spike Ferenstein, who’s got a show on Fox on Saturday nights called “Talk Show with Spike Ferenstein”. He wrote “The Soup Nazi” – he was a Seinfeld writer, so I write all the music skits for his show. I really enjoy that experience of seeing it and getting it done. On January I’m going to be on his show with him and Dana Carvey and we’ll be doing some stupid song we’re doing for Will Ferrell ‘Laugh or Die’ project. So, TV is kind of fun and different. But at the end of the day, my favourite thing to do is to get on stage with some big rock n’ roll boys and bring the real muscle.

 

For the next twenty or so minutes Stevie and I discussed a never-ending list of subjects, some of which had to do with the music industry, while some did not. It’s impossible for me include the conversation in it’s entirety, as this piece would run on forever, particularly when Part Two of the interview with Matt Sorum is still yet to come.

 

But let me assure you that, just because I have eliminated a section of our conversation does not mean that it was any less interesting. As a matter of fact, some of the stories Stevie shared with me had me shaking my head with envy or awe…..everything from his interest in surfing around the world, to his love of wildlife and oceans. I learned of his fascinating trip to Guadalupe Island where he dove with Great White Sharks (see Stevie’s MySpace for some amazing pics), and got a sense of his upcoming expedition to Alaska, where he plans to meet the people and check on the state of the wildlife. He also spoke of his efforts with Camp Rock, wherein he works with 200 kids in August of every summer, at a camp in Muskoka, Ontario. He says he unexpectedly fell in love with the kids, and working with them gives him hope for the future of music.

 

A few more famous names were dropped, such as Jimi Page and Ronnie Wood, and I commented on how his cell phone contact list must be priceless. Ironically, that triggered a humorous yet unfortunate story, whereby Stevie told me of an experience he had last year while partying on Catalina Island. Apparently someone slipped something into his drink, and he was later found adrift at sea in a rubber dingy. Still asleep during the rescue, Stevie was taken by the Coast Guard to the hospital, and when he woke up the following morning he was still delirious. Though he attempted to tell his story to the police that were now present around his hospital bed, it seemed that their main focus was firmly fixed on the cell phone they’d found on Stevie, and they were completely wowed by the famous names they were finding in his contact list.

 

After so many stories and laughs together, Stevie took a break and he passed the phone to Matt Sorum, who then continued on with me.

 

Matt Sorum - photographed backstage at the Sound Academy. Photo by Laurie Lonsdale

 

Laurie:

Hey Matt, how are you doing?

 

Matt:

Hello.

 

Laurie:

Well, this is an unexpected surprise. The way things had changed, I didn’t think I was going to have the opportunity to speak with you after all.

 

Matt:

Well, Stevie pretty much said it all for me, so I comply. Everything he said, I agree. (Laughing)

 

Laurie:

Okay, that’s great; then I guess we’re done here.

 

(Laughing together)

 

Matt:

No, just kidding, go ahead.

 

Laurie:

Well, how is it that you and Stevie got together? You play on his current CD, right, and now you’re touring with him, too. So, how did you become involved?

 

Matt:

Me and Stevie have known each other a long time.

 

Stevie in background – He was the first guy I met when I moved to LA.

 

Matt:

Yeah, we met a recording studio years ago. He was working with George Clinton on the other side of the studio and we ran into each other in the hallway. I think we were both in our early twenties at that point, and over the years we’ve crossed paths. But recently we got more musically involved. I have a recording studio, and he came over and was working with some other artists and ended up recording a lot of his last record there. I just happened to be in the backyard, because it was out back of my last house, and he said, “Hey, what are you doing?” So, I went in and played a couple of drum tracks and it was just really cool. The vibe there at my studio was just about making music, no time restraints really. So, it was really casual, and I think that when you’re making music, if the vibe is good then it’s going to come out on record as being good.

 

Laurie:

So, you went from there, just because it worked?

 

Matt:

Yeah, right, to now where this show in Toronto is really going to be my first live appearance with him. Stevie’s such a great musician, so this becomes more of a musical challenge for me to step up. Not that I’ve gotten lazy or anything, but I’ve been in Velvet Revolver for the last five years and if they were to say we’re touring tomorrow, I’d probably know the set pretty well and I’d say let’s go. But we’re on hiatus right now, so I’ve got this thing with Stevie and some fun being with Camp Freddy on the side. I don’t know if you know much about that.

 

Laurie:

Actually, no I don’t. You want to tell me a little bit about it?

 

Matt:

Well, that’s a thing I do with Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction), Billy Morrison (The Cult), and Donovan Leitch, who is the son of folk singer Donovan. So, we have this band, and if you want to check it out it’s on www.campfreddy.net. So about five years ago we came up with this idea of doing a party band and we started by just playing covers. Before we knew it we were the band to hire for the local party, like PlayStation and X-Box and corporate events like that in Hollywood and Las Vegas. And it’s turned into quite a sideline gig for me. Next month I’ve got six shows with them, and while I’m on hiatus and not working with Velvet Revolver, it’s a real good experience. And the thing I like about it most is that we get to go back and play all those songs I really love playing, like Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. We have big guests that come like Ozzy Osbourne, Macy Gray, Cypress Hill, Slash, guitarist Steve Stevens, and Steven Tyler even – everybody from Lisa Marie Presley to Robbie Williams.

 

Laurie:

Wow! Those are some major names.

 

Matt:

Yeah, and it’s turned into this crazy thing, because music wise the record business is this weird, fading experience, and it seemed like for us this was the right thing to do. It’s so difficult to put together a new idea and try to get it out there. If it’s a fresh, original idea it’s practically impossible these days. Especially for us, I mean, not that we’re old guys, but it’s just hard. Velvet Revolver was very lucky to be able to put that band together and find another big name singer, and so it became acceptable. But initially there were a lot of doubters out there. The only guy who really believed in us was Clive Davis. He could see that we had the talent and the star power to re-invent, and I think that was the feather in his cap. But back to Camp Freddy; the original idea behind that was not to stress trying to make a record, but just to go out and play music that we liked playing. And that backs up to what I was saying about Stevie’s thing, because it was just a really great experience to play on his album because it was a challenge and I liked it.

 

Laurie:

I wanted to ask about that, because your background coming from The Cult, and Guns and Roses, and Velvet Revolver is so much different than Stevie’s funkier kind of style. So, given your experience, what do you bring to the table that’s different for him, or do you follow his lead?

 

Matt:

I’ve always been the kind of drummer that takes direction really well and I’ve worked with a lot of big producers. So he cracked the whip on me pretty good in rehearsal and I was cool with it. I think when you work in an environment like that, you need to talk to each other like that and don’t take it personally; not like an ego trip, it’s like I wanna get this right, you know what I mean?

 

Laurie:

Certainly, it’s a common goal.

 

Matt:

Exactly, you wanna do the best you can for the song, and I want the songs to sound as close to the record as possible. Even being the guy that stepped into Guns n’ Roses, I tried to stay true to the original vibe of the original drummer, and it was the same in The Cult because I had to do that with a couple of drummers that came before me. I took what I got from those original records and tried to put my own interpretation on them, without making them sound too much different. So it was interesting, but then when Velvet Revolver came along I was able to be completely myself. The songs and the way they went down was everything that I brought to the table, because I didn’t have to be representative of another drummer before me. That was really nice for me finally to be in a group where I was an original member.

 

Laurie:

So, you’re on hiatus right now, but Velvet Revolver is coming back, right?

 

Matt:

Yeah, well, we’re looking for our new singer, ‘cuz Weiland went back to STP. But it’s pretty exciting because now we can think about where we want to go musically. The first album came out fairly aggressive and kind of punk rock. I guess there may have been elements of Guns n’ Roses, but not really. But at that time we didn’t feel that we could be a retro band and get away with it, or rest on our laurels from where we’d been and come out with this riff rock, almost retro-sounding kind of stuff. With the producer that we chose and everything we did at the time, it sounded a little bit more modern than my liking. There was more compression, and we had the guy that mixed Lincoln Park, but he also did Nirvana and other big bands. But it worked, so I can’t say why that is. Then we went with Brendan O’Brien and we wanted to make that kind of a record again. But on our second outing, something happened in the mix again where we didn’t have the fire of the first album. So, I think the second record came off a little bit soft. I think there were some good songs, but with Weiland being gone now, I’m very excited about it. I don’t want to say anything bad about Scott, but I think we wrote more for Scott on the second album.

 

Laurie:

Now you’re going to be able to write what you want.

 

Matt:

Yeah, even with Guns n’ Roses when we wrote the Use Your Illusion albums, Axl was never around. So, we wrote the heaviest riffs and the best stuff that we could come up with while thinking about a vocal. It was the same kind of thing in Velvet Revolver, where Weiland wasn’t always around when we were writing. But when it came to our second album, Weiland wanted to go a little bit trippier and more artsy on it, and looking back in retrospect, maybe we should have just done something similar to what we did on the first album, which was to write a bunch of shit, give it to him, and see which ones he liked. For the first one we had 50 riffs and he came in and chose 13 or 14 of them that he thought he could lend his voice to and make something cool out of them. On the second album he was around more and saying he didn’t like this or that, and I don’t think it worked as well. So, I’m real excited about our third album, because we’re going to be able to do more of what we do with me, Duff and Slash.

 

Laurie:

I’ve just got one more question if you’ve got time, mainly because Stevie asked me to re-direct the question to you, and it concerns the change of the face of music in the digital age. Do you see more changes coming?

 

Matt:

I think something is gonna pop soon, because it has to. I’m really excited about it, because I’m feeling a real rock n’ roll thing coming back. In the time of a recession, which we are in, rock n’ roll rides it out. If you look at AC/DC, they’re selling out in four minutes. Then there’s Metallica, even the Chinese Democracy album finally coming out – it’s interesting about the timing. And I see one good thing happening and I think it relates to a game called Guitar Hero. I think that maybe in the next five or six years, you’re going to see a generation of young guitar players that are coming from a game that has nothing to do with a guitar (it’s not about strings, it’s about buttons), but what’s happening is that these kids playing Guitar Hero are now coming up listening to the bands that we grew up listening to, like Aerosmith and Gun n’ Roses and AC/DC. These kids are just getting hip to it now, but through a game. So, it’s gonna inspire them to play guitar hopefully and create a next generation of real musicians. ‘Cuz I think a lot of musicians get lazy with things like ProTools and cutting drum tracks together with this thing called Doctor Beat. But where we come from you had to be good to go out and play, you had to look good and you had to have it all together. You had to be a pretty serious musician to get the gig, and fairly flamboyant and present, and now kids have lost that a lot. But now, these kids playing these music video games, in a few years will be inspired to put their little band together and imitate these bands like AC/DC, and Guns, and even Led Zeppelin…‘cuz if it goes a little further back like that, that would be even better.

 

Laurie:

I hope you’re right, ‘cuz I’d love to see a whole new onslaught of rock.

 

Matt:

Me too, so that’s my take on things, ‘cuz we have to reinvent ourselves.

 

Laurie:

Well Matt, I thank you so very much for taking the time to speak with me. I really appreciate it. But it’s getting kind of late and I understand that your flight from LA was delayed today, so you must be starving by now and I should let you go.

 

Matt:

Yeah, I am. Stevie and I are headin’ out for a steak dinner, but it was good talking to you. I’ll see you Saturday night. We’re gonna rock.

 

Laurie:

It was good talking to you too. Thanks again.

 

But just when I thought it was over, I heard Stevie in the background say, “Hang on a minute, I want to say something else.” Then he returned to the phone with another amusing story.

 

Stevie:

There’s one thing I forgot to tell you when you asked me about the Be What it Is album.

 

Laurie:

Yeah, go ahead

 

Stevie:

Well, one of the coolest things about making that album in the 90’s was that I could always dance on all sides of the fence. I could hang out with the black musicians, or the Rolling Stones, or the real hard rockers, and the Pearl Jams and Nirvanas type of thing, and Kurt Cobain in his dressing room, and in all of that was the biggest bands of the 90’s which were Pearl Jam and Guns n’ Roses. And when I was sitting in Matt’s studio when we were recording last year, Dave Abbruzzese was coming out from Arizona to do some tracking. So Matt said, “I don’t think that guy likes me. He hates me, I think” and I said, “No, he doesn’t”. But then Dave Abbruzzese said to me, “Are we really gonna work in Matt’s studio, ‘cuz I don’t think he’s gonna like that. I think Matt hates me.” So with Matt being in Guns and Dave in Pearl Jam, both such big bands, there was some weird war that wasn’t even real. But then they both show up at the studio and Matt’s like “Hey” and Dave’s like “Hey, let’s go”, and after a couple of hours we’re in there rockin’ on some track and I’m sitting back watching as Dave’s playing drums and Matt’s playing tambourine and they’re both working and rockin’, and it just made me laugh my ass off, ‘cuz here’s two guys from the most iconic bands of the ‘90’s who swore that they hated each other, but here they are, rockin’ on my little record and having the time of their lives. So it was pretty awesome to see.

 

Laurie:

That’s great! So you were the glue!

 

Stevie:

(Laughing) Yeah, I guess so.

 

Laurie:

But the rift was based on nothing.

 

Stevie:

On nothing, absolutely. Isn’t that funny?

 

Laurie:

It’s adorable. Very funny. Well, I’ve got say that I’ve enjoyed this interview from beginning to end, but I know you’re stomach must be growling by now and Matt’s waiting for you to go out for that steak dinner, so I’m gonna let you go.

 

Stevie:

Yeah, we’re very hungry. But thanks, and I look forward to seeing you Saturday night.

 

Laurie:

I can’t wait. Thanks so much.

 

Stevie:

No worries.