REVOLUTIONARY SOUL is a very ambitious LP in a time when people are releasing EPs and singles these days. The fact that it’s an LP is an accomplishment in itself.
Yeah. People have suggested to me that I just release a single instead of an album and I’m like “What’s that?” A single is not a work of art. I could put out one of those once a week. I grew up on albums. I can’t see myself doing a single at a time.
And now that the album is out there for everyone to hear, how do you feel about the finished work?
I listen to a lot of stuff. There are some parts I’d do over again but all in all I’m really happy with the album from start to finish. I’m also happy with some of the critical responses . I had let people that I’ve known for years listen to the album before it was released. If any of them said “I don’t know about this”, I wouldn’t have released it. But everyone thought it was great . You never know if something you’ve been working on is only going to resonate with others but this album is a universal soul, funk, rock type of a thing. I’m very happy with it.
Have there been any reaction to the album that have surprised you or that you didn’t quite see coming?
It has been strange. Everyone who has reviewed it has their own favorite songs. Every critic has their own favorite set of songs. I thought RAPTURE was the song and a couple of other people thought so too but the critical responses seem to be saying otherwise. Everybody has got their own response . One LA critic said the album was like JANIS JOPLIN-meets-JAMES BROWN-meets-GRAND FUNK RAILROAD. That was puzzling to me. I don’t hear JANIS JOPLIN at all on this record.
It’s one thing to be the performer and another thing to be the producer but you’ve straddled both duties on this album. Is that easy or difficult?
I love it. I’ve got a recording studio in my house, so I’m dialed in. I’ve got some great recording gear and I write all of the time. At the moment I’ve got 15 songs ready to go for another album but I can’t just keep releasing an album every three months. I’ve got to let it sit for a year or so. I play all of the instruments because I know what I want to hear. It works better than hiring people and telling them what I want to hear. For live shows I’ve got a fantastic band backing me up called THE RVOLUTIONARY SOULS. These cats can play. I almost wish they had played on the album . They’re so good. They come from that JAMES BROWN, AL GREEN kind of school. When we play, people go “Wow!” The album is great but this is even better. The players I have are just unbelievable. They play this stuff so good. I may be recording the next album with these guys.
How is this album different from your other solo work?
The last album REVOLT was really heavy and dark with D-tuning and stuff like that. It also had three ballads on it. Some people were like “What are you trying to do here? You’ve got three ballads and all of these other songs sound like you are going to kick somebody’s ass.” My thinking is, I like THE BEATLES and if they can play whatever they want, why can’t I play what I want? Why be pigeonholed into one thing? But some people didn’t get it. I loved the album . It was a good album, but this one reflects the music that I grew up with. I grew up on artists like MARVIN GAYE, JAMES BROWN, THE SYLISTICS and THE SPINNERS before I transformed into a hard rock singer. I grew up in Hayward, outside of Oakland. It was the stuff that people in my neighborhood listened to. As I got older, and was in high school, playing in bands, people weren’t playing that kind of stuff anymore. It was stuff like LYNYRD SKYNYRD, LED ZEPPELIN, AEROSMITH and AC/DC. I conformed to that and I still love all of that stuff too. I always wanted to do a soul-type of record. People have always told me that my voice fits that. It’s always been there at the back of my mind. Last year, I started writing guitar chords foe these songs and started adding 7ths, Major 7ths and Diminished 7ths and before I knew it I had some soulful sounding stuff. I’ve always wanted to make this kind of album and I did. I did a blues album about three or four years ago. called MOONSHINE and it was completely different from BABYLON AD. As I got older, I find that I want to do all kinds of music.
Before the interview you were telling me that you were working on a new BABYLON AD album?
Yes. the new BABYLON AD album will be out in September or October and we’re going to b doing a European tour and stuff like that. It’s a super-good record. If you play REVOLUTIONARY SOUL and then play this new BABYLON AD record, you’d go “What the hell?” because they are totally different genres. You have these heavy drums and screaming guitars on BABYLON AD and the wah-wah guitars and horns on REVOLUTIONARY SOUL. Right now I’m really excited. We’ve finished all of the drum tracks on BABYLON AD. All we need to do is give it to a label and off we go. I’ve also go these 15 other songs and after the BABYLON AD album, I’ll be putting those songs out. Those songs are more of an acoustic thing. I have no idea how anyone is going to take that one, but the people who’ve heard it – females in particular – think it’s beautiful and that I’ve really got to put it out. Th two things that I’m never, ever going to release are rap and country.