The Hollywood Press Corps got a chance to meet up with legendary bass guitar player, Chris Wyse. Chris has played with Ozzy Osbourne, Mick Jagger, the Cult and most recently Ace Frehley. Chris played an amazing set of heavy metal with Ace. Here are a few questions that we came up for Chris while he was in Los Angeles with Ace to play one of the coolest venues in LA, the Saban Theatre.
Hollywood Press Corps (HPC):
So how is your latest project with Ace going?
Chris Wyse (CW): Ace recently told me he wants to get us in the studio after we return from the South American tour in March! I know he has a few songs started and it’s really exciting to venture into new original music. Anything can happen!
HPC: What is life like on the road?
CW: The shows have been really great! The fans really appreciate Ace and the bands high energy output. We have lots of fun. The fans have been really excited. It’s always great to tour the USA and it all just feels like home. Life on the road is good. We are all however looking forward to South America. Fantastic crowds down there. This will be my fourth tour of SA.
HPC: Is there anything new with your bass playing?
CW: Recently I have been playing an active Fender P Bass Elite. It has a different vibe than my passive basses and it has been fun dialing in such a powerful preamp on the bass itself.
HPC: How do you select what your next project is going to be?
CW:It all is based on inspiration for writing and playing. This is especially true for my band Owl since I guide the ship. I like to get back to the upright bass usually. Owltheband.net
HPC: Do you ever wish you would’ve played with anyone over the years that you didn’t get a chance to work with?
CW:I think Dave Growl, Zak Wylde and myself would make a sick band. I never played with either but I know Zak some and he’s very funny, such a killer musician. I love Dave’s drumming and talent as well.
HPC: Do you remember who your first guitar teacher was or your first bass teacher?
CW: Steve Harris really is my bass inspiration. As far as Double Bass or Upright Bass I studied classical bass in college with Michael Wicks of the Albany NY Orchestra.
HPC: Who do you think was the best bass player ever?
CW: Steve Harris for his huge impact on bass playing. I’m one of many that love Steve.
HPC: What was it like to be involved with so many legends?
CW:It has been quite the wild ride but I love it and find it rewarding to pour my heart into music. It is also is nice to be trusted by such fame and talent. I have learned so much from all the artists I have worked with. Being in the Ace Frehley Band is quite the honor. Ace is very experienced yet naturally. Always be you.
HPC: Do you have a good Ozzy story?
CW: Ozzy quote-“You are fucking gonna love me Chris because I love the bass loud and I love all the riffs you are throwing in!” That made me smile huge!! I really love Ozzy’s energy. He is an amazing artist and voice!! One of my faves.
HPC: Do you have a good Mick Jagger story?
CW: I was playing upright bass with a bow and Mick sort of did his Mick strut while I was playing. I felt transported to another place. It was great to have that experience to record with him. We drank fine red wine after and chatted for a couple hours over a great dinner.
HPC: What was the ultimate Cult show, where everything just sounded the best?
CW: I recall a show on Jimmy Kimmel on the outside stage in 2012 that felt great. It was in support of “Choice of Weapon”. We hit a new peak and I had some really cool bass bits on that album I loved to play. Playing on TV sounds sterile but this is really like a live mini set. It was fun. I once saw David Gilmour at the Kimmel Show and hung out with my buds The Trailer Park Boys just to hang out. Great show and green room!
HPC: What is one thing that would surprise people to know about you?
CW: I do Yoga and I’m still striving in my bass playing, singing and writing to always get better. I am going back to some of my sonatas from Vivaldi lately with the bow. There are two bows for upright bass. I play German preferred over French bow but play both. I have been teaching bass guitar and upright bass with in depth theory and techniques. It keeps me sharp and open to other peoples taste.
HPC: What does the future of 2017 look like for you?
CW: New Ace original music and more touring! Owl will also have a return with new music!! 2017 will be full of new music!
Thanks for Chris for taking time to answer our questions. It’s so interesting to hear about a professional bass player who plays “Detroit Rock City” and Vivaldi! Check out Chris with Ace Frehley on his Space Invader tour and Chris’s project called Owl!
Motörhead producer Cameron Webb talks Lemmy, working with the band and capturing their unique sound in new video with Warren Huart’s ProMix Academy
Coming up on the one year anniversary of Lemmy’s passing, Motörhead producer Cameron Webb and producer/engineer Warren Huart (Aerosmith, Ace Frehley, The Fray) are set to release a digital video today Friday Dec. 16th at 6pm PT. through ProMix Academy Mixing Motörhead with Cameron Webb. In the video Webb gives ProMix Academy a breakdown of Motörhead’s song Electricity, takes us through the mix and gives us behind the scenes insights into the making of the song.
The video is an educational mixing course, but this one is unique in that it is also chock full of insider stories and recording and production insights. On recording Motörhead, Cameron says in the video: “It was never normal with these guys, it was never normal with Lemmy… They did what they wanted to do. Kind of… My job as a Producer was to push them to their limits, physically and emotionally ” He adds, “I never wanted to change them I just wanted to help make them the best Motörhead they could be: they are unique, they do something special. Don’t destroy it.”
Webb first worked with Motörhead on their album Inferno (2004) and has since worked with the band producing, engineering and mixing a total of eleven live and studio albums over 12 years. Webb’s credits also include the likes of Pennywise, Social Distortion, Megadeth, NOFX, Sum 41, The Aquabats, Godsmack, Buckcherry and Danzig.
“I chose to work with Warren because he has a true love and respect for Motörhead, and he is breaking new ground on how to reach out to the public and present a side of music that has always been hidden behind closed doors,” Webb says.
In addition to his work as a producer and engineer, Huart aims to help people make great music by sharing the knowledge and experience he’s accumulated over his near 30 years in the industry through Produce Like a Pro and ProMix Academy. Huart explains: “I want to demystify the recording process and show that there really isn’t a difference between the ‘professionals’ and home recordists. We all share the same passion for music creation and our aim is to break down barriers and democratize the music industry.”
View an excerpt from the video at Produce Like a Pro, and find the purchase link to the full video course including access to the multitrack sessions from the song here;
(Venice, California) Motorhead Music recording artists Budderside (www.budderside.com ), along with one of music’s hottest young acts Cassette Culture (www.cassetteculture.com) form a unique night of music this Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 8:30 pm at the Venice Beach Bar Live located on the Venice Beach strand and Rose Avenue.
Budderside recently completed a tour of Europe where they played before 80,000 people at the famed Wacken Festival in Germany. Cassette Culture, the fast-rising group of teen performers has been one of Los Angeles’ most buzzed about new alternative rock bands.
The show marks the continued coming out of the Venice Beach Bar, a historic location on the famous Venice Beach strand, as it transitions to one of Los Angeles’ premier Westside music venues. Operating under the umbrella of Venice Beach Bar Live, and curated by well known Los Angeles music executive Noelle Kim, the location once served as housing for Jim Morrissey in its upper floor. The venue is the only live music facility on the Venice Strand.
Showtime is at 8:30 pm and there is no cover charge for patrons. Venice Beach Bar is located at 323 Ocean Front Walk. Patrons can find it easily by taking Lincoln to Rose Avenue, and head west until Rose Avenue dead ends at the beach. There is parking at the beach, just steps from the venue.
For more information please visit facebook.com/thevenicebeachbar, facebook.com/budderside, or facebook.com/cassettecultureband.
(Hollywood, California) – Ultimate Jam Night, (www.ultimatejamnight.com) the long-running weekly free music show held at the famed Whisky A Go Go will turn its upcoming Tuesday night edition on November 15th at 8 PM PST into a live broadcast fundraiser honoring AC/DC rock icon Malcolm Young and benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association. The event will be broadcast worldwide via Zinna.TV.
Young struggled with the onset of dementia for a period of time prior to being admitted to full-time nursing care in Sydney, Australia beginning in 2014.
A collection of well known rockers will participate in a more than 2 hour “jam” of AC/DC songs. Included among them will be former AC/DC drummer Simon Wright.
To donate to The Alzheimer’s Association and the Ultimate Jam Night Walk to End Alzheimer’s team, simply go to act.alz.org/goto/RockOutALZ and click on “donate” and then scroll down and click on “donate to the team”. Monies raised support local programs of the Alzheimer’s Association California Southland Chapter, as well as funding research and advocacy efforts.
“Malcolm Young created not only music, but an era” said Ultimate Jam Night founder and Quiet Riot Bassist, Chuck Wright. “According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and other related dementias, so this terrible affliction affects many more like Malcolm” said, Wright.
For up-to-the-minute news about the event please visit facebook.com/ultimatejamnight for updates leading up to Tuesday’s 8 PM showtime.
ABOUT ULTIMATE JAM NIGHT
Ultimate Jam Night is a long-running free weekly show currently in residence at L.A.’s famed Whisky A Go Go. Founded in 2015 by Quiet Riot’s Chuck Wright, the show features a rotating cast of the world’s finest musicians assembled in an entirely unrehearsed setting. The show features live music, performance art, comedy bits, walk around characters, and community and charitable giving. More information can be found by visiting www.ultimatejamnight.com.
ABOUT THE ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. The organizational mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Its vision is a world without Alzheimer’s®. Visit www.alz.org/socal or call 800.272.3900.
ABOUT ZINNA MEDIA
Established by Mike Zinna, Zinna.tv brings Hollywood action to the world via broadcasting and original content. Current programs include Inside Metal, Geeks Scape by Jonathan London, Absolutely Jason Stuart, Drumsmack, and Spill the Tea among other shows.
It’s 3 days, 145 concerts, 15 venues and 81 conferences for professionals.
If you love music more than running a marathon, then you are probably like everyone else. And thanks to the MaMA Festival, you will be able to have your own marathon; that is to say dance the night away to diverse and incredible musical performances.
With 15 venues you won’t have to run a mile to get to (they are all located in the same area of the neighbourhood of Montmartre and everything is within a five minute walking distance), the MaMA offers a unique live music experience. Moreover, you get some fresh air between concerts, talk business or if your feet get tired dancing there’s also the Metro 2 you can ride and bars to keep you hydrated!
The best part of the MaMA festival is that there is always a concert scheduled somewhere. Conveniently, there is an app you can download on your smartphone. You will have all the information about the artists and the schedule. Picking a random venue and letting yourself be surprised by a new band or singer (you will now be obsessed with!) is exciting.
I had the chance to go to the Festival for The Experience Magazine. Here’s my experience:
Day 1: Jazz, electro, guitar acoustic, reggae… a night to remember
On the first day, Gaspard Royant showcased his smooth dance moves and jazzy tunes at the Cigale.
The Slow Show gave the crowd chills with heartfelt and emotion filled songs at the Divan du Monde.
Nouvelle Vague electrified the scene with passion and devilish lyrics.
In a softer atmosphere and more private venue, Siv Jacobsen at Au Petit Moulin and Charlie Cunningham at the Theatre de L’Atalante transported us, playing acoustic guitar and putting us in a mellow mood.
After that, the Legendary Tigerman’s mad rock and roll performance and Biga* Ranx’s fast pace rapping and reggae hip hop style turned our heads around, making it a night to remember.
Day 2: The marathon continues with rap music, electro, disco pop…
Youssoupha, a well-known French rap artist, performed in front of an admirative and playful crowd. He shared so much energy and emotion with the crowd in celebration of the record label BELIEVE’s ten year anniversary.
Then, a beer in hand and Shannon Wright on stage playing piano and singing enchanting melodies was the ideal setting to relax.
The duo Tambour Battant took everyone back in a party mood. Electronic sounds and drums shook the whole venue of La Boule Noire.
Kumisolo played with the Kung Fu Boys at Le Bus Palladium. She’s a lovely singer that blends disco pop and French songs beautifully and humorously. Her soft voice and upbeat songs were a splendid way to end the night.
Day 3: The grand finale: French and British gems
On the third day, jazz player Guillaume Perret fired up the stage with psychedelic saxophone harmonies and gave a powerful visual experience.
Pogo Car Crash Control, a young energetic French rock band performed while flipping their hair to the beat of the drums and bass guitars.
Samba de la Muerte introduced fascinating experimental sounds at the Divan du Monde.
At the Cigale, the venue turned into a club thanks to the electronic mixes of La Fine Équipe. Then, French dandy singer Christophe enchanted the crowd with his velvety voice full of emotions.
Two Londoners performed at the Boule Noire. First, Jelani Blackman, a rapper and saxophonist. Then Jake Isaac, who recently signed a record deal. Both were immensely talented. Especially Isaac who took his acoustic guitar and sang among the crowd. His last song, performed a cappella, was poignant and heavenly. The perfect notes to end the marathon and head to bed.
Of course there are so much more concerts I did not get to attend but my ears, eyes and heart are pleased with the ones I saw.
As the MaMA Festival is mainly a professional event, this is the business playground to go to for people working in the music industry. It is a great opportunity to network and discover new artists. But curious people and music enthusiasts are welcome too. It’s a breathtaking event everyone has to experience!
(Hollywood, CA) Ultimate Jam Night (www.ultimatejamnight.com) the long-running weekly free show currently in residence at Hollywood’s famed Whisky A Go Go, today unveiled a proprietary electronic payment system for Ultimate Jam Night performers.
Using a downloadable app from Bravo Tip or Pay (www.trybravo.com), performers at Ultimate Jam Night will now be able to receive direct real-time tips or payment from fans anywhere in the world.
Payment is transferred directly from fans to performers without middleman interference.
The app is simple to use for both performers and fans alike. The app is downloadable via iTunes or The Google Play Store. Performers and fans enter information into their very own accounts. Then, on the night of an Ultimate Jam Night performance, fans simple go to the app, search Ultimate Jam Night, select their favorite listed performer, and instantly send them an electronic tip or payment.
“This is another example of bringing fans and performers closer together” said, Ultimate Jam Night founder and Quiet Riot Bassist Chuck Wright. “For the first time fans throughout the world can directly reward a performer in real-time during any Ultimate Jam Night. Since our show is broadcast live via Zinna.TV fans from around the globe can tune-in, take part, and say thank you to performers.”
Payment amounts vary, and are often as little as a single dollar. The exclusive system has been successfully tested at Ultimate Jam Night with two recent real-time charity events.
(Hollywood, California) – Ultimate Jam Night, (www.ultimatejamnight.com) the long-running weekly free music show held at the famed Whisky A Go Go, announced creation of a season-long broadcast live-stream deal with Zinna.TV (www.zinna.tv) for worldwide broadcast of its show. The broadcast allows real-time viewership on any mobile or internet-connected device.
Weekly broadcasts officially begin this Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at 8:30 PM PDT when Ultimate Jam Night also unveils the new line-up of the band Philm with guitarist Gerry Nestler, bassist Pancho Tomaselli, and drummer Anderson Quintero.
“Zinna.TV gives music fans around the world the opportunity to experience Ultimate Jam Night live each Tuesday” said, Ultimate Jam Night creator and Quiet Riot bassist Chuck Wright. “We believe it’s the first unrehearsed weekly live music show broadcast” said, Wright. “Our goal is giving music lovers a chance something fresh to experience on the live music scene.”
Broadcast each Tuesday beginning at 8:30 Pacific Time from Hollywood’s famed Whisky A Go Go, Ultimate Jam Night features a rotating line-up of the world’s best musicians playing covers and original tunes in a completely unrehearsed setting. Many of the musicians take the stage have never even met each other before playing together. Often inserted into the weekly line-up of players are one or two well-known bands.
This week’s show introduces the music world to the new lineup of Philm. The band parted with drummer Dave Lombardo amidst some controversy in January of this year.
Formed in 2010 as a progressive power metal trio, Philm began as an ambitious project combining the talents of Civil Defiance guitarist Gerry Nestler, WAR bassist Pancho Tomaselli, and Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo. Lombardo is being replaced by young Latin sensation Anderson Quintero. The new lineup debuts on the September 20th edition of Ultimate Jam Night.
ABOUT ULTIMATE JAM NIGHT
Ultimate Jam Night is a long-running free weekly show currently in residence at L.A.’s famed Whisky A Go Go. Founded in 2015 by Quiet Riot’s Chuck Wright, the show features a rotating cast of the world’s finest musicians assembled in an entirely unrehearsed setting. Integrating live music, performance art, comedy bits, walk-around characters, and community and charitable giving it has established a loyal following. More information can be found by visiting www.ultimatejamnight.com
Established by “media mad scientist” Mike Zinna, Zinna.TV brings Hollywood’s coolest events to the world by broadcasting original content you cannot find anywhere else. Current programs include Ultimate Jam Night from the Whisky, Inside Metal, GeekScape, Absolutely Jason Stuart, Drumsmack, Reef Madness, Spill the Tea, Just Like You, Grand Theft Audio, and more. Check out the line-up by visiting: www.zinna.tv.
Tuesday night at the Whisky A Go-Go was more than just 70’s night for The Ultimate Jam, it was also founder Chuck Wright’s (Quiet Riot) Birthday bash.
The show opened on Tuesday with Precious Metal featuring founder and original drummer Susette Andres, original bassist Alex Peterson, vocalist Leslie Knauer, guest keyboards/sax Aviva Maloney, guest guitarist Jeff Mattern, and featuring lead guitarist Janet Robin.
The second opener from Los Angeles, combining elements of both classic, alternative and modern rock with soul, blues and funk was FIRE.
In typical fashion, The Ultimate Jam Night was packed full with talent, energy and excitement. Paulie Z performed along side Wright for a Grand Funk Railroad iconic 70’s song, An American Band.
Another classic from Led Zeppelin and the 70’s rock movement was Dazed and Confused, recreated beautifully by the incredible Debby Holiday. So many fabulous songs from the era were represented, including two Journey classics, Lovin’ Touching’ Squeazin”, and Wheel in the Sky. The night concluded with the biggest hit of the decade, and still a favorite of every rocker, and Eagle’s mega hit, Hotel California.
The Ultimate Jam Night rock stars delivered another knock out evening of pure entertainment.
Hollywood, CA – Tuesday, August 23rd marked the powerful, 75th edition of The Ultimate Jam Night at the Whisky A-Go-Go with a touching, heavy-metal tribute to Ian Fraser Kilmister, better known as Lemmy of Motorhead. He passed away from cancer on January 28, 2015 but he has remained in the hearts of fans and friends alike. His everyman demeanor and pure raw honesty made him a rock legend with a flair for rebellion.
This special Ultimate Jam event was masterfully cultivated and magnificently performed by some of the metal worlds greatest artists. A true delight for classic heavy metal rock enthusiasts.
The evening began with DIRTY MACHINE, an American, New Metal Band with a powerful edge that combines abrasive lyrics, sonic experimentation, DJ spins and brash drumming.
The second opening band formed in 2009 when a record company was seeking a band that was classic metal with a hint of Bon Scott of ACDC. Kraterface has made a name for itself locally and has had its music constantly heard in Television shows like “Happy Endings” , “Raising Hope”, and “Reno 911” and feature films . Their music even appeared in Guitar Hero 2.
As the tribute jamming began, the house band brought the heat with Mr. Big’s Matt Starr on drums, Ben White from Magnetico on bass, the legendary Tracii Guns from LA Guns and Walter Ino from Survivor on guitar. Up front was the prodigious Vocal master Paulie Z doxologizing the grungy lyrics of the song Motorhead.
The stars continued to appear on the stage as more Motorhead classics were belted out by vocal phenoms such as Howie Simon, Sean Nichols and Patrick Stone.
Crowd favorites Okai Sisters, Courtney Cox, Ira Black, and Stephen Chesney were shredding their guitars through the night, with mind blowing speed and incredible rhythm.
Debbie Holiday brought us all on the Crazy Train with her vocal talents as we paid homage to Lemmy and his collaboration of work with Ozzy Ozbourne. Crazy Train was a song that symbolizes the relationship between the two men… and it was brilliantly performed.
The night continued to rock and roll forward with so much metal it was like a fortress of music. Once again, The Ultimate Jam Night starring our favorite front man, Paulie Z was a huge raging success and a beautiful tribute to a fallen rock legend. Nowhere else on earth was rocking as hard as the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood California on Tuesday night.
The Hollywood Press Corps got a chance to interview Lucky Lehrer from the iconic punk band the Circle Jerks. Lucky also has a popular YouTube show called “HARDCORD DRUM SESSIONS.” You can see Lucky playing around Los Angeles at the legendary Whisky A Go Go for Ultimate Jam Night, Soundcheck Live and in the San Fernando Valley at Palladino’s for the show that features Lucky with Kris Olsen and the Elevators.
Hollywood Press Corps [HPC]: Could you tell us about your title from Flipside Magazine as being the best punk rock drummer of all time? Were you a fan of Flipside back in the days before smartphones?
[Lucky]: As far as my musical past goes, this year marks 50 years of playing drums. I still take drum lessons and I still give drum lessons. It’s something I’m passionate about, an instrument where the learning and technical improvement never stop. I practice the basics, I work on the intricate and spend half my time with a metronome. It’s rarely drudgery when you’re doing something you love. But I’m not a huge fan of solo drummers, it’s fun to play with other musicians. I don’t know if you can say I’m “affiliated” with Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot) or Steve Ferlazzo (Avil Lavigne) but I am sure to thank them for each opportunity they afford me to perform all kinds of music with a cast of amazing people on their stages.
[HPC]: I’ve seen you play at Lucky Strike Live and Ultimate Jam Night. I was just blown away by your energy and playing. How do you pick a new project to work on?
[Lucky]: Ultimate Jam Night is hosted by Chuck (Wright) Tuesday nights at the Whisky A Go-Go on the Sunset Strip. Steve puts on Wednesday nights’ Soundcheck Live at Hollywood and Highland. If you get s chance to attended some of these live shows, they are some of the most exciting things happening musically in L.A. I’ve gotten to play with all kinds of bad ass muscians including Mitch Perry (who played guitar with Edgar Winter) and hung out with some of my favorite drummers including Matt Starr, Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffit (Michael Jackson’s drummer), Glen Sobel (Alice Cooper), Brian Tichy (Whitesnake), Mark Schulman (Pink). I’ve seen one-of-a-kind performances by some of the best musicians in the industry, all for free…..what’s not to love?
[Editor’s Note: Here’s a message from DAVE LOMBARDO from the band Slayer]:
Your recordings we’re my touchstone, it fueled my youth and created who I am today. Are you still playing? I’m out of the loop.. been working on my own music and can’t seem to catch up on some pleasure listening…
[HPC]: Who was your drum teacher?
[Lucky]: Before my folks split up in the early 70’s they used to hang at a nightclub next door to the Whisky called Sneaky Pete’s. I wish there here hip lounges with dark lights, groovy beats and good fettuccini like that nowadays. They got friendly with drummer, Dennis LaPron, I took lessons and Dennis taught me the most. He introduced me to the fundamentals of Latin beats like the Mambo, Samba, Cha Cha, Rumba and Clave. That’s what he was playing at the night club and some of those early beats made their way into Circle Jerks’ songs like BACK AGAINST THE WALL. Dennis also hipped me at a young age to big swing and the lighting fast drumming of Buddy Rich. I still hear Buddy’s one of a kind drumming in my head. I was in the elementary school orchestra and the stage band in Middle School (where the music teacher was a hot babe) but where most people were grooving on the Carpenters, I was all into Buddy Rich. By 9 or 10, I had met Marty Fera (who loved Louis Bellson) and we became good friends. It was no surprise years later when I saw Marty touring with Glenn Frey. Through Marty, I met Kirkee B. (Sarah McLachlan’s drummer) and Kirkee B. brought me into the DW fold, but that’s another story [Lucky is endorsed by DW Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Toca Latin Percussion, Remo Drum Heads, and Lewitt Audio microphones and has his own signature Speed Stick by Ahead].
[HPC]: What was it like to be involved with the LA punk scene?
[Lucky]: Going back to the height of the L.A. punk scene, the then-popular Flipside Magazine conducted a poll. I was humbled being named everyone’s favorite punk drummer. I think Greg Ginn (Black Flag) won for best guitarist, Darby Crash (Germs) for vocals and Diane Chi (Alleycats) for bass. Honestly, I’m not a fan of polls or contests, or even drum offs. Everyone has their own style and, if they’re serious about their craft, they have something to contribute. Everyone likes to be recognized and I’ve been especially fortunate to see my drums, behind glass, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas next to drum sets of The Doors, Jimmy Hendrix, Van Halen and Avenge Sevenfold. Recently, they put my snare drum up at the Rainbow Bar which was especially touching since I associate the Rainbow with a lot of great L.A. bands. The Rainbow was also the Lemmy’s (Motorhead’s) favorite watering hole in his later years. I was honored to have been invited to Lemmy’s funeral, his music, especially the song ACE OF SPADES, mean a lot to me.
[HPC]: What was it like to be the drummer for the Circle Jerks? Do you have good memories of recording albums like “Group Sex”?
[Lucky]: Looking back, recording the album GROUP SEX will always be memorable because of the two hot babes I dragged into the studio. [Editor’s Note: GROUP SEX is considered one of the definitive recordings of hardcore L.A. music, 16 songs in 16 minutes]. I was already in good spirits from my adventures with them the night before. When the other 3 guys saw the female audience on the other side of the studio glass, it brought out the best in all of us. These chicks claimed they were sisters the way some enticing 17 year olds claim to. These were little punk wet dreams, and we wrote the song GROUP SEX right on the spot, invented out of thin air, just from looking at them. We played it back and decided to have them sing the chorus of the song. All this spontaneous improv, the heat of the moment. A great album recorded in 6 hours, mixed in another 6 hours, the studio time exchanged for one pound of cheap Mexican dirt weed.
[HPC]: Wow that’s crazy! Do you have any stories of being on the road?
[Lucky]: It’s sort of surreal, right? I have plenty of road stories but the key thing is that everything seemed so normal back then. Sleeping on people’s floors, dealing with the cops, backstage with underage chicks whose boyfriends are stuck in the audience, fancy hotel rooms with nutty women twice our age living out their groupie fantasies. Stolen amps, rented vans, busted guitars, lost keys….venues in the South that were strip clubs by day and rock venues at night, free clinics for penicillin shots, overdose wards on Christmas, opening bands that were fascist impersonators, Sex Pistols imitators, jail cells in New Orleans, homicide busts in San Francisco (we eventually got off but we saw it all!)
I met Darby Crash and Pat Smear (Foo Fighters) in high school but we were anything but friends. I was sort of a DB to them. I got thrown out of the high school jazz band for sticking my hand too deep in this chick’s saxophone, but I learned a ton from my high school teacher, John McGruder. He would let us come to his house on Wednesday nights to watch his own big band perform. That’s where I leaned ideas like “trading fours,” which is exactly what you hear on the Circle Jerks’ song, RED TAPE. So it was sort of ironic playing with Darby and Pat a few years later in the Darby Crash Band. I guess it showed a willingness to put high school pettiness and different musical tastes aside. They were seriously into Bowie to say the least. Again, I admit I was on the wrong side of some dumb stuff.
[HPC]: What makes a good drummer?
[Lucky]: The word “influential” has been associated with my name by drummers I look up to like Dave Lombardo (Slayer) and Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) and I’m honored. One of my most famous drum students is Bobby Schayer, who went on to play in Bad Religion, as did I. Today, the drummers I learn from includes Joey Heredia, Brian Tichy, Matt Starr, Mark Schulman and Bruce Becker. I just watched a Glen Sobel clinic at DW. Glen is the only drummer I know that makes me want to quit in disgust because he’s so good. Fortunately, Glen is a friend and eventually I manage to muster a smile; I admire the prowess he’s worked so hard to achieve. When it comes to teaching, there’s so much stuff on YouTube teaching people how to be better drummers. I’ve seen a lot of it and it’s mostly all okay. I wanted to do something different with HARDCORE DRUM SESSIONS, a lighthearted intersection where instruction meets entertainment and comedy. My plan is to do more of these over the summer. I was contacted by one of the funniest comedians in L.A. who happens to be an aspiring drummer. I’m not going to tell too much except to tell drummers get ready to laugh and learn.
[Editor’s Note: Here’s a quote from DAVE GROHL from Nirvana and Foo Fighters]
“Now just watch this guy!” as Lucky tears into a live version of the Circle Jerks’ Red Tape in the DVD version of The Decline of Western Civilization.
[Lucky]: My own personal list of inspired drummers is a lot the same as my friends: Buddy Rich and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, duh, nothing original there. I also want to say Keith Moon, because he was the first I remember who played rock in a way that demanded attention. The drummer sits normally in back but the way he plays, it’s the first thing you hear and I think the CIRCLE JERKS songs are like that . On the other hand, a good player has to serve the song and serve the music. I like the phrase “give hard, take hard.” So when I’m soloing or playing a big fill, I play it like it’s important. If the spotlight is on somebody else, my ego should go bye-bye and I do my best to support them.
[HPC]: What does “punk rock” and “hardcore” mean to you?
[Lucky]: Punk is an attitude because I got into the L.A. scene early enough to remember pogo dancing and art students who acted in ways that are today called LGBT. Nobody cared early on, it was “be whoever you want to be” and that was fine. Punk arose from the ashes of glam, was the antithesis of the disco scene and complex electronic music that was going down. As the punk snowball got bigger my early appreciation for the fast playing Buddy Rich and the quick tempo of bands like The Dickies inspired me to push the music faster. Eventually, not just because of me but definitely with my help, a new punk sound emerged that’s referred to “hardcore.” Looking back, it was a mixed bag of nuts. Our music was the soundtrack for kids inventing the most amazing skateboard tricks in empty swimming pools. The birth of extreme music meeting extreme sports. Mostly it was cool people, alternative athletes who preferred blue Mohawks and skate parks to tennis and the football squad. But there were a few Neanderthals on Jack Daniels who got wound up on the music and caused mayhem.
[HPC]: How did you connect with Kris Olsen and the Elevators? Could you tell us about your most recent music project with them?
[Lucky]: Drums have allowed me to play everywhere, and that’s a dream. With one of my bands I’m now in, Kris Olsen & the Elevators, I’m in the opposite direction. Instead of arenas around the world, we’re starting from scratch and playing the most entry level places. We’re taking hole in the walls with no guest list. I have to pay just to get my drum tech in. I met Kris through Dave Henzsey, one of L.A.’s best sound men who learned from Andy Johns of Zeppelin fame how to mic a drum kit. I liked Kris’ voice and his music immediately. We have a situation we could called mutual admiration and Kris has brought along a rock solid bass player named Damian Valentine and a keyboard guy named Chuck. So we’re recording music, playing live and having fun.
[HPC]: What is your favorite band of all time?
[Lucky]: My list of favorite bands is too numerous and I’ve named some of my top favorites. On the punk side, the drum solo at the end of the song SEE HER TONIGHT by the Damned meant a lot and bands like DOA and the Weirdo’s informed me.
[HPC]: What is something that would surprise our readers to know about you?
[Lucky]: A lot of people don’t know it but my favorite students are “the little drum heads” that are just getting started and have all the enthusiasm I had when I was a kid. Check out a 9 year old named Alex Shumaker on YouTube to see what I mean. When these kids look up to me, I surprise them with things they definitely don’t expect to hear from someone their parents refer to as a “punk icon.” I say stay in school, don’t go too crazy with the partying, and if they read online about me I tell them to “use a condom.” They all want to know how to play drums at warp speed so it’s not the advice they expect. But just like Buddy Rich’s old roommate, legendary drum teacher Freddy Gruber used to say, “I just don’t want you kids getting hurt out there.”
[HPC]: What an incredible story! Thanks so much for your time Lucky! I can’t wait to see Lucky Lehrer at the next Soundcheck Live or Ultimate Jam Night. Check out his YouTube show called “HARDCORE DRUM SESSIONS” here;
[HPC]: Here’s a quote from DON LOMBARDI. Don is the Founder & President of DW Drums. “Lucky’s achieved legendary status for his lighting fast maneuvers, powerful stage persona and inventive approach to songs.”