Editor’s Note: Welcome to V7, an all-day series on May 15, 2020 that celebrates Vanyaland’s 7th anniversary. We launched back on May 15, 2013 with a brand new publication and a livestream (yeah, before it was cool), and to celebrate the day, Vanyaland’s editors, senior writers, and publisher have offered up their own personal favorites from the world of music, film, and comedy. Below is a contribution from Senior Writer Michael Christopher.
Seven months after the May 2013 launch of Vanyaland, I did a year-end retrospective looking back at 13 of the best things that year’s interview subjects had to tell us. From Bar Rescue’sJon Taffer to Pantera’s Phil Anselmo to Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan, there was no shortage. Now, seven years later, we’ve got quite a few more quotes, to say the least. Billy Duffy from The Cult got bent at me, Aerosmith jumped on a plane with Barack Obama, and Slayer’s Kerry King will sing the Jackson 5 with you. Here’s what they and a few more had to say.
Aerosmith meeting Obama? ‘Shit happens.’
I was chatting with Joe Perry for a scheduled interview when he off-the-cuff mentioned he and fellow Aerosmith bandmate Steven Tyler had just gotten off Air Force One where they had a private audience with the then President of the United States, Barack Obama. Their own “Aero Force One” had been circling the tarmac, delayed by the real deal.
“It was pretty flipped out — and it was definitely worth the wait,” the guitarist casually told us of the meeting that would soon become worldwide news. “It was one of those things where if we planned, something would’ve screwed up. But after a month in South America? Something like that? Hey – you know? The ‘Bad Boys from Boston’ you know? Steven and I have had some pretty cool adventures, but this one is right up there. Sure enough…shit happens. In the ’70s we couldn’t get anything but arrested. Now it’s like, were so respectable.”
The Cult’s Billy Duffy gets pissed at Vanyaland
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve interviewed the two core members of The Cult, Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy. The latter I chatted up on a couple of occasions and thought maybe we had a rapport. Nah. As Vanyaland EIC and co-founder Michael Marotta told me after a shitshow with the latter, “He’s not your friend.” The guitarist told us his band would be opening up for a recently reunited Guns N’ Roses for a few dates, which was huge news at the time. When we reported it, Duffy was furious; his publicist said he thought we “sensationalized” it. Backstage a few weeks later at the Citi Shubert Theater, I went up to say hello and was met with, “Oh, you’re the bloke who made the Guns story news,” before he stalked off. No mate, you’re the one who made it public knowledge by telling me.
“We’re all still buddies, and I believe that we’ll be playing with them at a couple of shows that are not in the United States – I think I can say that I believe. I just found out. So there’s definitely a lot of friendship between the two bands after all the years.”
Boston Pops conductor crashed a wedding with David Lee Roth
Then former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth was the star attraction for the Boston Pops 4th of July celebration in 2004, and when I caught up with conductor Keith Lockhart a decade-and-change later, I needed to find out if he had any good DLR stories. He did not disappoint.
“The funniest anecdote I have about him is afterwards, we used to have a wrap party at our official hotel — which was Copley Plaza at that point — and I happened to come over in the same limo or simultaneously with David, and I was walking him through the lobby on the way to the rooms we had for our little get together. And there was a wedding reception going on, in the ballroom, and just as we’re coming in – I swear to god – the cover band playing the wedding reception started into “Jump.” The smile on his face was, “Mom, they’re playing my song!” kind of thing. But he said, “Oh, I gotta do it, I gotta do it!” He handed one of his handlers all of the stuff he was schlepping and he ran in to the reception and ran up onto the stage.
Kasabian says fuck those clowns
Kasabian are one of the many British bands we love here at Vanyaland, and frontman Tom Meighan had quite a few things to say about his hate for clowns when he chatted with us, especially those showing up during screenings of It.
“Did you hear about clowns showing up just sitting in movie theaters with balloons and shit?” I told him. “[Turns serious] Yeah — that’s not funny. That’s fucking sad. I mean, that’s not funny. I don’t find that funny. I like Stephen King in general mate, you know what I mean? But that’s really fucking sad isn’t it? You don’t do that. I mean, come on – how far do you want to take it?”
Sebastian Bach and Savage Animal!!!
We’re also big Sebastian Bach fans up in here, and when discussing his memoir 18 and Life upon its release, he let us know there’d be no Skid Row reunion, despite the hope at the time. But what he also laid out how when he was on the single season of VH1’s Supergroup, the name he picked to dub the band was, by far, the best one. Savage Animal.
“You’d be surprised at how many people love that. Even Scott Ian, who – I don’t know what’s up with him — he even came out and goes, ‘You know what dude? Savage Animal was by far the best name [laughs]’. People like that, and everybody gets a chuckle out of it. And it does roll off the tongue…Savage Animal!! Savage Animal!! It’s unreal how good that name is — you know? It’s a fuckin’ good name. It’s a lot better than ‘Godwar’ – are you fucking kidding me? That’s an awful name.”
Vinnie Paul did not like Pantera ‘remixed’
It was a sad, sad day when Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul died at the way too young age of 54 in 2018. We were lucky enough to catch up with him a few years prior, and one of the things we chatted about was those official remixes of Pantera songs by the likes of Godflesh and JG Thirlwell. Simply put, Vince was not a fan.
“We had no idea what they were going to do with it because they said ‘remix’ and we were like, ‘Let’s see what happens.’ I really thought that what they meant by ‘remix’ was remix; I didn’t know they were going to rework the songs and almost turn them into dance grooves and stuff. I don’t think any of us were too thrilled with it and of course the record companies do what record companies do and put it out whether you like it or not, so that’s kind of how that happened.”
Slayer’s Kerry King will sing the Jackson 5 with you
Thrash metal monsters Slayer have reigned (ha!) down some of the heaviest tracks of all time, most of them led by riff master Kerry King. When I nailed down the guitarist for #617 and asked him about the legacy of another “king,” Michael Jackson, I was more than surprised how, while copping to it not being “my style,” could sing along to the Jackson 5.
“I have mixed emotions about that — big time,” King told us. “Was he a talent? Yeah, absolutely. Were there things severely wrong with him? Absolutely. I guess it’s better to remember the… better stuff; the early Jackson 5 stuff when he sang like a bird and it was awesome. Then, later in life, Thriller came out which is one of the biggest records of all time. It’s not my style, but if one [of the songs] came on, I could probably sing the fucking lyrics right along with you.”