So now we're in late 1991, early 1992. Guess you met a lot of people in the USA when you were seeking a suitable vocalist for KCD.. How did you met Davy Vain and been asked to join the band ?
The odd thing was that you were staying at Steven Adler's house who -as you've just said- used to play with Davy Vain in Roadcrew .? How did it happen ?
Yes, that is true. Adler had rented a bungalow and already paid the rent on it for another year. Davy was living there and Steven was just such a gentleman about it all and did not mind me living there as well.
There are all these rumours about Steven, but I have not seen a bad bone on him. He was more than generous to me and we later became friends.
When we played the Whiskey a GoGo in L.A., he came to the show and we hang out and got along great. So when the band went back to San Francisco, Steven invited me to stay on and we spent 3 days hanging out. On the 3rd day, that big 90's earthquake hit L.A. like at 4am (just after we finally went to sleep, partying for 3 days non stop). I remember all his gold records flying off the walls. We jumped in his car and drove straight through town, cuz all the phone lines were down and Steven was worried about his girlfriend. You would not believe what we've seen, driving through L.A. at this point ! It was like in a movie. no traffic lights...cars crashing into each other, people looting stores and running all over the place in the dark and every 15 minutes another tremor. Quite a scary scene and I was happy enough to hitch a ride back to San Francisco the next day.... what a trip. Something I will never forget. Adler stayed calm and cool though throughout the whole thing. He must've been used to that sort of thing... lol
How long before the recording of Move on it did you join the band ?
I auditioned and after a couple of songs they left the room and came back smiling 10 min later. They offered me the job and we took it from there... that was maybe 9 month before we recorded Move on it.
Did the band rehearsed a lot to put the songs in shape ?
Yes absolutely. We rehearsed a hell of a lot and they (especially Davy) were very set in what they wanted from me.
Not only did I have to get the parts of previously recorded material spot on, but the feel of the drummers playing them as well ! (which is hard to do). It was a challenge for me and again, I learned a lot. But when it came to new songs, they left me a lot of freedom to do my own thing and I took the chance and infused some of the grooves i'm known for to their sound. I think I managed to add an extra dimension on a rhythm level to the band's texture.
Eventually you fell sick during the pre-production of the album and almost didn't make it, right ?
Yes... that is true as well. I got mononucleosis, a children illness like the mumps etc. Very dangerous for an adult !!
That illness is also called the kissing disease in America and I might have gotten it from a spliff or something. Since it is not really known in Europe, I never came in contact with it as a kid and it nearly killed me when I got it. I was sick as a dog for 6 weeks and lost so much weight that I ended up in hospital in an oxygen tent.
The band got worried I might not be able to meet the recording date and started to look around for someone to replace me. When I heard about that I got so upset that someone else will play the chops and drum parts I have figured out for the new songs that I willed myself back to health. Just in time to record. Think I did one rehearsal and then we went to record that great album.
To this day, I am very much proud of the fact that I managed to record such a killer album after such a heavy illness ! It is within my best drumwork... ever... I reached a peak back then, down to playing so much.
Have you recorded more tracks than the 11 which ended on the album ?
No, I don't think we recorded more tracks than the ones that ended up on the album.
I think that none of the songs written as Roadcrew have been used (several of them have appeared on the latest Vain album "Enough Rope"); is it correct and if so, do you know why ?
No, that's not right. Breakdown and Get Up are songs they already did with Adler.
What are your recollection of the recording process of this album ?
It went all very smooth as I remember. We just went in and did it. Nothing really stands out. There was no coke parties or girls hanging out, no dealers or guns... just a hard working band doing their thing. They were very focused. all total pro's !! A great band and every single member was a great personality. I loved them all !... Still got only warm feelings when I think of them.
And Davy is one of the funniest guys I ever met... great sense of humor and very passionate about his art. And he loves the ladies... like, a lot.....lol
Again... I think if that album would have come out still in the 80's, it would have been mega ! But now we were well into Seattle and grunch days and so it never even got us a new record deal ! Think it did alright in Japan where it was released first... but then... we're all big in Japan.....lol
He's got very high expectations of his musicians though, but that only made me work that little bit harder.
He's got his vision and direction in place and has a relaxed way of pushing you to your best performances. And yes, he always listened to our ideas and included them as he saw them fit. He let us be ourselves, as long as it would fit his vision of the songs we were working on.
Don't think I ever saw him in a bad mood. but then, he's a Californian and it is very hard to be pissed off, when the sun is always shining......lol
The musical direction for this record is more pop. Was it intentional or it just happened this way ?
Pop ? Really? Is that how ya see it ? Sounds like rock to me mate !
I think it is just a slightly more versatile rock album than the ones they did before... a progression in my mind. It is maybe a bit more melodic if that's what you mean. Yes, I think that came naturally with the choice of song material.
The promo pictures you made for this album are quite cool. Who took them and how did you decide which one might be the best for the cover ?
You like the pics ? Yeah, that's cuz we all looked hella cool..(if I might say so.....lol)
Can't remember who took them. Some pro photographer did it. I'm sure he was a known guy, but I can't remember his name now... All I remember is that we took pics for almost a whole day and there must be loads that I have never seen. Or don't remember cuz they were not printed out. In those days you still had negatives. In fact, the inner sleeve picture shows me checking the negatives.
As always... the last decisions were made by Davy and our manager Kat Sirdofsky (who used to work for Aerosmith). I had no input on what pics went on the cover, but Iam happy enough with their choice.
In 1993 the album was only released in Japan. Did you tour there and how was the public response ?
Japan ? No we did not go there while I was in the band. (whish we would have!)
In the US, the band's label Island records has been bought by Polygram which lead to the band being sacked. Not unusual since the rising of the Seattle scene. Did the band try to keep up for a while tho' ?
Yes of course, we went a long way without a record deal. We gigged quite a bit and generally worked our asses off, trying to proof that Rock was not dead and that the Seattle grunch sound was just another form of punk infused rock (really).
We actually all liked some of the grunch stuff. a good band is a good band no matter what style they do it in. If it grabs you by the balls and touches your heart, it must be good you know.
Finally Jamie Scott, Danny West and you left the band. How did it happen ?
Well, I think that happened cuz we ran outta work at the height of the grunch craze. Shame there could not be a place for every kind of music style, like it is nowadays... back then, it was always one city that was hip and they signed every last and stupidly bad band from that hip town and everyone else could go home. First it was New York, then L.A. and finally Seattle.
in my case, it was cuz the band could not pay me a wage anymore and I was not allowed to work any other job in the US. My working papers were only for working with Vain.
But even so, I hang in there for quite a bit after the wages stopped. Kat was kind enough to pay me for a while out of her own purse, but it reached the point where I just could not pay my way and so I had to pack it in.
I know that Davy was very upset when I finally left. And so was I, to tell you the truth. It's always painful, to see another few years of hard work going down the drain and you do get very close to other members when you play in a band. You always have to completely rebuild your life when a band falls apart and that can eventually take the wind out of your sails.
That's why it is so impressive to see bands that have a long history. Imagine all they've been through together. Something like that creates a certain magic !!
Any plans to keep playing with Mr West then ?
Mr. West ? Yes, actually....I'm working on an album with the concept of having every single guitarist, I ever worked with since coming to London in 84, on a song each !!
And they all agreed to do it !!!! (well, I still have to ask Davy and Shawn Rorie (Vain)
So yeah... I will be working on a track called Coming Home with Danny West. This is something I am really looking forward to do, as it gives me the chance to get back in touch with all of them again !
What happened next, did you stay in the US ?
Yes I did stay for another 3 years. I tried to get my own band together, but it never really happened and so eventually I ran outta steam. I tried out a lot of good musicians in San Francisco, but they all turned out to be somewhat flaky.....
And then I kinda lost the plot and had to move my ass back to Switzerland to get myself sorted out. It took me many years and for maybe 3 or 4 years, I could not see another rehearsal room and stopped playing altogether. (never thought, that this might happen !!)
When I got the urge to play again, I could not find a good frontman in Switzerland and decided to try and sing the lyrics I've forever been writing myself.
And that's why I'm a singer now.