Interview with Babylon A.D.’s frontman Derek Davis — New album in September 2017

INTERVIEW WITH BABYLON A.D.’S FRONTMAN DEREK DAVIS
Date: October 29, 2016
Interviewer: Olivier

THE NAME BABYLON A.D. SHOULD BE FAMILIAR TO MOST SLEAZE ROXX READERS AS THE GROUP’S NO FRILLS ROCK N’ ROLL IS EXACTLY WHAT SLEAZE ROXX LOVES TO COVER. ON DAY TWO OF THE ROCK N SKULL FESTIVAL, DECIBEL GEEK EDITOR RICH DILLON INTRODUCED ME TO BABYLON A.D.’S FRONTMAN DEREK DAVIS WHO WAS HANGING OUT WITH THE FANS AFTER BABYLON A.D. HAD PUT ON ONE OF THE FESTIVAL’S BEST PERFORMANCES THE NIGHT BEFORE. TO MY SHOCK (AND PLEASURE), DAVIS REVEALED TO ME THAT BABYLON A.D. WERE GOING TO BE RELEASING A NEW STUDIO ALBUM IN 2017! THIS LED TO THIS IMPROMPTU INTERVIEW BECAUSE ANY NEW ALUBM FROM BABYLON A.D. SHOULD BE CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION!

img_0199Sleaze Roxx: So, I have heard some fantastic news that Babylon A.D. will actually be releasing a new album! So please tell us about that.

Derek Davis: Yeah! We are going to start recording in December [2016] or January [2017]. It’s probably going to take us eight weeks, nine weeks, to record the record and it should be out I’d say by September [2017]. That’s the date we are setting. September 1st — what would you call it? That’s the date that we are shooting for. And we’re supposed to deliver the record by June 1st [2017] so the material has already been written and it’s ready to go. We just got to get in the recording studio and record it. We’ve got the demo tapes all done and everything like that. Everybody’s just tightening it up. We start rehearsals for the record in about three weeks from now. Right before Thanksgiving, we start going into the studio, tightening up and getting the songs real tight. We’re looking forward to it!

babylon-a-d-album-coverSleaze Roxx: Cool! And how long have you been thinking of doing a new album?

Derek Davis: We’ve actually been thinking about it for about two years. I’ve had quite a bit of songs that I have written myself. And Ron [Freschi] and Dan [De La Rosa], they’ve also had a lot of stuff that they have sent me over the last year or two. Yeah. We have been thinking about it for a couple of years. We wanted to see how the latest record came out — the ‘Live@XXV‘ — see how it peaked fans’ interest. So we kind of put it out there as a teaser — you know what I mean — to get everyone interested in the band again. This one is going to be really cool! We’re actually going to have some songs that we did on ‘In The Beginning.’ We’re going to have a few of those songs on there and we are redoing them like 25 years later or whatever. A lot of people asked us about that — badgering us — like “Man, you guys have to put out ‘She Likes To Give It’ or ‘I’m No Good For You’ but do it nowadays.” You know, let’s hear the sound now because we were just kids with an eight track and we didn’t know what we were doing then [laughs].

Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]

Derek Davis: But they were great songs! We got signed on those songs. They just never really got promoted or put out so we are going to do a few of those songs as well as new material that we’ve even writing.

Sleaze Roxx: How many tracks would you have for the new album?

img_0211Derek Davis: Well, we’re shooting for twelve. We want to do ten at least but we’re shooting for twelve and we’re probably going to record like eighteen [songs]. That’s what we are thinking. That’s what’s on the agenda to do and accomplish. That way, we can make another record and follow it up pretty quickly. We don’t want to wait like two more years or something like that. We’re trying to make a record every year. You know, once a year put another one out so that the band keeps moving along. 

Sleaze Roxx: Do you have any touring plans once the new album comes out?

Derek Davis: It looks like we will be in Europe for at least two, maybe three weeks, right when the record comes out. Of course, we have a lot of offers for festivals right now and things like that. I think that our first show for 2017 is around March and we did that on purpose because we have to be in the recording studio recording! We don’t have a lot of time to start playing one-offs here and there but we’ll be playing basically the same kind of stuff that we are doing right now. You know, a festival here, a festival there — that kind of stuff. And for us, that is the funnest thing to do. You know what I mean [laughs]? It’s like the more people, the merrier. We get to play for an hour and then we party two days [laughs] or three days! Yeah, it’s like we’re on vacation the whole time.

babylon-a-d-photoSleaze Roxx: One thing special about Babylon A.D. is that you still have the original band members. 

Derek Davis: Since 1989!

Sleaze Roxx; Yeah, which is probably very rare in this time. So how special is it to play with the same guys that you played with on the debut album?

Derek Davis: I think it’s cool due to the fact that we know each other so well. We all grew up together in high school and stuff like that. So you just have four or five guys that are brothers. We’ve been playing together for so long. We’ve known each other for so long. We can still get in a fist fight and the next day, go “Whatever man, we’re all brothers.” You know what I mean? We’ve never nitpicked or backstabbed each other or any of that kind of stuff. We’ve always been together so I don’t know — a lot of bands I guess don’t have that kind of personality. We all grew up in the same exact area. Two different high schools and we all grew up the same way smoking pot, drinking, going out with chicks and wanting to be rockstars [laughs]! You know, so we have a big gigantic thing in common. We still do. We like to play and then we like to party. And both of them, we like to do hard [laughs] and sleazy!

img_0203Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] What about the new album? Are you guys going to self-release it or through a label?

Derek Davis: We have distribution through Europe right now. We’ll have distribution through an American subsidiary but it will still be predominantly on our label. We’ve had our label now since 1999. We like to keep it that way, basically so we can control — have more control. Because once you say, “OK. Yeah, you guys have control, well, there goes all your iTunes money, There goes all your…” And then they say “Well, here’s a piece of what you get.” And you’re like, “No man! I wrote this song. I don’t wanna…” -You know what I mean.? I’m the one who is playing it. I am the one who writes it. It’s not like the others where you get 10% of your records. You know, if you can control it, well we get 100%. And then we tell the distributors, “You get this amount. We get to dictate the terms. So it’s a lot different than it was. Sure, you’re not going to sell as many records as you did in those days since there are not as many fans as back in those days. But the fans that are around — they are hardcore and they will buy it. It’s mainly to just keep the brand going and have a good time on why we are doing it right now. You know, here we are the Rock N Skull. [Jack Russell’s] Great White is getting ready to get on. This could have been 20 years ago [laughs] you know what I mean, and it’s still “This is fun.” So that is awesome!

derek-davis-photoSleaze Roxx: And what about the new tracks? Obviously you have a couple of old ones that you are going to re-record. What are the new tracks going to sound like? 

Derek Davis: Well, you know — its’ going to be vintage Babylon A.D. There’s nothing that is really going to change or anything like that. That’s all I can tell you. It’s not like we are like, “Let’s detune the guitar. And let’s go this phase or that fad or whatever, It’s going to be Babylon A.D with a melodic twist and something I think all the fans would dig.

Sleaze Roxx:  Last question for you — what are your three favorite albums of all-time and why?

Derek Davis: Oh man! That’s a hard one. I’d say ‘Rocks’ from Aerosmith. That really helped me to train my voice I think listening to Steven Tyler so often. I could say… I could go on and on. oh my God! Let’s see — James Brown — the Godfather of soul man! “The big payback! That’s were I land.” That taught me a lot how to sing. And early Rod Stewart — one of his early. Yeah, Old Rod Stewart — ‘Faces’ — Right when he came out of ‘Faces.’ There’s too many records to list man! I could go forever. There’s not three. The Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road.’ I could go on forever. The ‘White Album.’ The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’ you know. Each one of them imprinted something in me — songwriting as well as vocals — everything!