The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

DEREK DAVIS

THE EX-BABYLON A.D. and AMERICAN BLUES BOX FRONTMAN IS BACK

AND HE's READY TO START A RE-VOLUTION WITH HIS NEW SOLO ALBUM 'RE-VOLT'

YOU WON'T BE DISAPPOINTED...

 

 

 

DEREK DAVIS
Interview with www.therockpit.net
FEBRUARY 2012

 

 

Hi Derek, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to The Rockpit.

 

 

Mark: The new album Re-Volt came out a few days ago on my birthday 30th January. It’s been a while to get out that first solo album are you pleased with the results?

 

 

Derek: Happy Birthday!  Yes, I am extremely happy with what we’ve released.

 

 

Mark: How does it feel as an artist to finally have the CD released? Talking to a lot of people on the subject there always seem to be two camps: those that constantly worry of who will hear it and who will like it; and those that feel a great sense of relief that it’s out there and can’t wait to start playing it live for people.

 

 

Derek: I’m just happy to be able to put something out that conveys some of who I am. I can’t worry about what people like or not. I mean, the critics hated the movie (Scarface) – And me and 50million other people loved it .

 

 

Mark: How is the response so far as the critics and fans are concerned?

 

 

Derek: It’s been amazing – I’m getting great response from ‘The Promise’; ‘Tied Down and Hammered’; ‘American Jihad’; ‘Desperate’ especially. The thing is you never know how songs are gonna be perceived. They are like small children when you put them out there and people need to listen a few times to let them grow. So if somebody does say something negative about your child you either smack ‘em up side the head, or say “Yep that’s my kid.”

 

 

Mark: How long was it in the making? Are you one of those musicians who have been carrying the songs around for some time looking for a home or is it all recent material?

 

 

Derek: The music on this CD took a span of about  3 years to write, perform and record. Also It takes a long time when you’re playing almost all the instruments, engineering, mixing. ‘Re- Volt’ and ‘Tied Down and Hammered’ were written and recorded around November of 2011, ‘Desperate’ of course was written back in 1989 with Jack Ponti and was on the first B.A.D. record. I always felt it never had its due and the mix/recording just wasn’t right. So I’ve tried to stay as close to the original as I could but with better vocals on my part and better production. Clive Davis loved this song.

 

 

Mark: Though we haven’t heard the whole album yet we love what we have heard: ‘Re-Volt’ the title track and ‘The Promise’ and snippets of a few others. There’s a really driving bluesy undercurrent but a thoroughly modern feel to the songs. But also plenty of surprises. To us it sounds like someone who has had the chance to make the album they wanted to make without pressure or influence from third parties. How would you describe the sound yourself?

 


     
Derek:  Balls out heavy rock with some revolutionary angst, and three great ballads is what I think of when I listen to the CD. But you can ask anybody that knows me, I really have no clue of what’s going on in the music world, who’s hip who’s not. ‘Cept for the Black Keys and that’s just because I seen them on the cover of Rolling Stone at the super market. I’m kinda in a bubble – I mainly sit in my studio writing and recording or go to movies – I don’t watch any American Idol crap or any of the popularity concept shows – I just write music that I like, and if other people like it, that’s cool – If not screw ‘em! Music is like food and there’s some food I like and some I just hate. – My wife says I have anger issues and that’s why a lot of my songs seem to say ‘F**K You’ to authority –but I’ve always been like that. Ask my 4th grade teacher!

 

 

Mark: Have you had the chance to play any of the new album live yet?

 

 

Derek: Our first gig is on Sat February 18th – We’re shooting a video and we’re gonna have a huge CD release party.

 

 

Mark: So how can people help spread the word so that more people out there get to hear the new record?

 

 

Derek: Well that’s what you’re here for right? My label Apocalypse Records is gonna be doing a lot of marketing and anyone can check out my website at www.derekdavismusic.com or www.apocalypserecords.net  to get the latest news or what have you. If people call in and request some of the tunes from their local radio that really helps to.

 

 


Mark: We’ve always been big fans of Babylon A.D. who we always thought stood head and shoulders above a lot of their contemporaries.  I got to talk to Ron early last year and he had some great and not so great memories of the early days. One of his highlights was the night you were signed by Clive Davis (no relation we presume!) what were your best memories?

 

 

Derek:  That was a 7 year trek of absolute mayhem, – I mean we must have got drunk and partied every fuckin’ night – Boozin, Bruizin, Ballin and Brawlin was the first Babylon A.D. Promo t- shirt we had made, and we lived and breathed it to the max! You gotta remember we were from the Hayward/Oakland CA area and then moved to Hollywood on Hollywood blvd, right down the block from the Sunset strip. Shit was happening every night. I remember choosing not to go out on Saturdays just because you could hardly move on the street, there were so many people falling out the clubs into the streets. And the road stories.  I could drown you with ‘em!

 

 

Derek: A lot of people did not understand the ways of our band. We were more like a gang that had 5 guys with 4 road crew and a lot of people from our area that all grew up together hung around us, we all came from the same neighbourhood – We fought all the time, either with each other or with people we ran into at gigs or what have ya. Our record company knew we had a reputation, but we were way beyond what they bargained for, because we were from the fuckin’ outskirts of Oakland and Oakland don’t take shit from nobody! Even a record company. But really in the end with Arista, it was us getting into trouble and landing in jail a few times, on the road, where they just said:  Fuck it, these guys are out a control, they beat the shit out of our staff, won’t play the single we want them to play in front of all the radio programmers we fly out, ect, ect, ect. But it was still a great ride while it lasted. Looking back now, I guess we should have kissed some ass, then, maybe we’d still have that massive machine behind us. Hmm, did I just say that?

 

 

Mark: Were the eighties and the rock and roll lifestyle that came with it all that it seemed to be at the time before Grunge sucked all the fun out of Rock and Roll?

 

 

Derek:  Absolutely, and more than kids today can even imagine. I mean, Hollywoods is making a movie with Tom Cruise as the lead singer of some band? (What a Joke) these people must not have been there and don’t even have a clue what it was like. Motley/Guns/and a few others brought the L.A. scene to the for-front and we caught the tail end. But we burned like a comet across the sky while we could. Then came Nirvana, who brought bleak destruction on the life style of us all. Kinda weird but I like that band. And the music biz just turned on a dime from sex, drugs and rock- n- roll, party all night to distraught depression music.

 

 

Mark: Unlike a lot of bands from those days (even some that are still touring) you all seem to be in touch and on good terms? 
Derek: B.A.D played a gig in September.  James the drummer plays with me and Danny the guitar player co-wrote three songs with me. So we pretty much still hang together – It’s just now we all have families and obligations to meet.

 

 

Mark: Do you keep in touch with many of your contemporaries from back in the day?

 

 

Derek: A few, but I’m kinda a hermit – I really was never a big marketing myself type a person so I didn’t get a lot of phone numbers. Or learn how to network to well.

 

 

Mark: American Blitzkrieg the last Babylon A.D. album had a heavier, meatier sound to it, a little more modern. Is there likely to be anything else out there with the Babylon A.D. name to it or was ‘In the Beginning’ likely to be the last recorded chapter (aside from the 2010 redux version of ‘Bang Go The Bells’ that is)?

 

 

Derek: That’s probably it, but one never knows. I kinda think my CD will take up that mantle of were B.A.D left off.

 

 

Mark: I see that you still play live as Babylon A.D.  with dates last year in California, did you ever get the invite to one of those US Festivals like Rocklahoma or M3 that sprung up in the last 5 or so years? 

 

 

Derek: Ya but they don’t pay shit! So we’re not  about to fly out and play for 45 minutes and get back home with no cash in our pockets – That’s just stupid vanity shit. On the other hand if some serious cash was offered then  my vanity and the bands would go out the window. Ha Ha!

 

 

Mark: We loved American Blues Box, the band you formed in 2004 with Jamie, man that was a great album we still play. Like the best eighties bluesy hard rock meets seventies Aerosmith. It really suited your voice beautifully. What happened?

 

 

Derek: Thanks - You know it’s just one of those fazes I went through – I listened to a lot of Son House, Elmore James and Muddy, and before I wrote and recorded the CD I was in a band called (Moonshine) which was very cool – We had an awesome guitar player Buzzy James, and we had some very good bluesy southern fuelled song writing with Creg DeFalco, me and Buzzy. We recorded a full blow albums worth of material at Eddie Van Halen’s house 5150 with Michael Anthony that never saw the light of day – I’m hoping to release that some day.

 

 

Mark: So were there any Blues Box recordings that didn’t’t get to see the light of day?

 

 

Derek: No, just the Moonshine stuff.

 

 

Mark: What sort of music are you listening to at the moment?

 

 

Derek: I’m not – I listen to talk radio most of the time or my recordings. Old Al Green – some early Aerosmith sometimes. My wife likes Dave Mathews, so sometimes I have to grin and bear that.

 

 

Mark: How do you see Rock Music heading in the next five years? There’s talk again of a big Melodic Rock resurgence?

 

 

Derek: That would be cool, but I really don’t have a clue on this. Far as I can see, Simon whatever his name is, took over the record industry with his TV contests. Look at Steve Tyler one of my heroes. That tells ya right there that music is becoming a cartoon show.

 

 

Mark: I feel the same Derek, I could not believe when he did that, it’s like Father Christmas saying he doesn’t believe in Christmas anymore!  Where can we go to keep up to date with your news and especially any live dates?

 

 

Derek: www.derekdavismusic.com  or join my face book page – It’s something like www.facebook/derekdavismusicrevoltcd  – I think? (It is).

 

 

Mark: If you could have been involved in the creation of any piece of music at any point in time what would it have been and why?

 

 

Derek: Ride of the Valkyries - The Heaviest piece of metal ever written. Get some guns going off – helicopters hovering over head and George C Scott doing Patton with Robert Duvall barking napalm commands and me sitting there, re- recording it all – That would be true amazing music to my ears. Or maybe just do an Apocalypse Now remake – I don’t know – I wish I could have watched Marvin Gaye record ‘What’s Going On’ - or Pink Floyd make ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ – That is what real artistic music is about. I don’t think that type of music can be made anymore – studios with pro tools? (Not).

 

 

Mark: What are you plans musically for the rest of 2012?

 

 

Derek: Play out in support of the record and promote the shit out of it.

 

 

Derek: And an easy one to close- what is the meaning of life?

 

 

Derek: The revolution is moving across the nation! Make it out alive, and the rest of your life is gravy!

 

 

 

Mark: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Derek and we wish you all the best with the new CD – our review will be up soon!

 

 

Derek Davis spoke to Mark Diggins February 2012