Interview with Dangerous Toys and 99 Crimes (and former Dirty Looks) guitarist Paul Lidel

INTERVIEW WITH DANGEROUS TOYS AND 99 CRIMES (AND EX-DIRTY LOOKS) GUITARIST PAUL LIDEL
Date: November 7, 2018
Interviewer: Olivier

THE NAME PAUL LIDEL SHOULD BE SYNONYMOUS FOR MANY SLEAZE ROXX READERS WITH TWO OF THE MOST UNDERRATED BANDS IN ‘HAIR METAL’ HISTORY — DIRTY LOOKS AND DANGEROUS TOYS. ABOUT TWO YEARS AGO, LIDEL STARTED A NEW GROUP CALLED 99 CRIMES WITH BASSIST JEFF LYNN AND DRUMMER CHIRS JORDAN. 99 CRIMES RELEASED THEIR STELLAR DEBUT SELF-TITLED EP ABOUT A YEAR AGO AND IT IS NOW AVAILABLE VIA PERRIS RECORDS. 99 CRIMES SEES LIDEL FRONTING THE BAND HANDLING LEAD VOCALS AND GUITAR DUTIES. SLEAZE ROXX CAUGHT UP WITH LIDEL TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT 99 CRIMES AND PARTS OF HIS STORIED HISTORY.

Sleaze Roxx: How did 99 Crimes come about?

Paul Lidel: Our drummer Chris Jordan and I had played in a band previously. Chris is kind of like John Bonham and Tommy Lee rolled into one, so when I decided to start a new band, I knew I wanted him to be the drummer. Our bass player Jeff Lynn and I met when he sat in at a gig that I was playing. I was blown away by both his bass chops and his vocal ability. I was in the process of writing a solo album, so when Chris and I first got together with Jeff, we started off with some of that material. Right away, everything kind of clicked and we started writing a lot. After about six months, we started playing live. Our EP came out about a year after that, and we’ve recently released a video for the first song on the EP — “Coming Down Like Rain” — which is on YouTube. Our EP is now available at perrisrecords.com. We’ve been a band a little more than two years now.

99 Crimes‘ “Coming Down Like Rain” video:

99 Crimes – “Coming Down Like Rain”

Austin original hard rock band, 99 Crimes, performing “Coming Down like Rain.” Filmed and produced by Steve Miller @ AustinVideoSpecialist.com Filmed at the “1885 Gonzales County Jail” Special thanks to Sandra Wolf for use of the jail. Contact Sandra Wolff for jail dates and ticket information: 830-263-4663 or jail@gonzaleschc.org

Sleaze Roxx: There must be a story behind the band name 99 Crimes. How did you guys come up with the group name 99 Crimes?

Paul Lidel: We wanted a name that would be easy to remember the first time you heard it. I’ve always thought that the number 99 was easy to remember, and 99 Crimes seemed to sound like a good name for a rock band.

Sleaze Roxx: It must feel different being the frontman for a band after all your years as a guitarist for Dirty Looks and Dangerous Toys. How do you like being the band’s frontman for a change?

Paul Lidel: I have been lead vocalist/frontman for several bands over the last 20 years, so it is a role that I am very comfortable in. I recorded a solo EP in 1992 when I was still in Dirty Looks, at Jack Pyers’ studio, during which I played all the instruments including singing lead. That EP helped me get the gig with Dangerous Toys, because they needed a guitarist who was also a strong vocalist. In 1999, I was lead vocalist in a trio called 20 lb. Buzz, which released one album. Since then I have been the lead vocalist in several of the bands I’ve played in.

Sleaze Roxx: Do you find it difficult to pull double duty as the singer and lead guitarist?

Paul Lidel: Well, I’ve been singing and playing guitar for many years. I do play guitar a bit differently when I’m the only guitarist. I’m comfortable in the trio format, because I’ve done it a lot. Many of the bands that influence 99 Crimes are one guitarist bands like Van Halen, Ozzy, Black Sabbath, Dio, Rainbow and Deep Purple.

Sleaze Roxx: It seems that 99 Crimes’ debut self-titled EP was first independently released early this year and then released and distributed through Perris Records in August 2018. Am I correct in that regard and if so, why did you decide to go with Perris Records?

Paul Lidel: I started working with Perris Records back in 1999, with 20 lb. Buzz and Broken Teeth. My band Adrenaline Factor also released an album on Perris Records so I’ve had a good working relationship with them for a long time.

Sleaze Roxx: Why did 99 Crimes decide to release only five songs rather than a full-length album?

Paul Lidel: Since we are self-financed, we had to decide whether to go into a less expensive studio and record a full-length album, or go into a good studio and record only five songs. We chose to record five songs. We have been putting all the money that we’ve made from the shows back into the band, so we are going back in the studio again soon to record another five songs. We have performed 24 songs live so far and have several more songs in the works. We are always writing new material. You can expect some more music in early 2019. We also plan to do another video.

Sleaze Roxx: That’s great news! Who’s in charge of the songwriting in 99 Crimes and how does the songwriting process work?

Paul Lidel: We approach it in several different ways. Sometimes, we just jam at rehearsal and songs come out of that. Other times, either myself or Jeff will have a song idea that we present to the band, and then everyone collaborates and puts their ideas in. I get a lot of lyric ideas from Chris.

Sleaze Roxx: Whatever happened to your band Adrenaline Factor?

Paul Lidel: Adrenaline Factor had a good run. We got quite a bit of radio play. One of the songs on the album was the most played new release on local radio station KLBJ. We also did a couple of videos.

Adrenaline Factor‘s “Ride” video:

Ride by Adrenaline Factor

From Austin, Texas it is Adrenaline Factor with the video for the feature track “Ride” from their new album Adrenaline Factor out now on Perris Records.

Sleaze Roxx: What about your band 20lb. Buzz?

Paul Lidel: After we released our album, that band morphed into the band Broken Teeth, with Jason McMaster on vocals.

20lb. Buzz performing “Trouble Knockin'” (1:25), “Burnin’ A Hole” (4:55), “Slight Of Hand” (8:49), “Soul Satisfaction” (12:16), “Scar” (16:34), “Anything At All” (20:45) and “Perfect Day” (25:49) on local access TV on January 15, 2000:

20lb. Buzz Live on Capzeyez 1-15-00

20lb. Buzz live on local access TV 1-15-00 0:00 – 1:25 – Intro To Show 1:25 – 4:55 – Trouble Knockin’ (20lb. Buzz) 4:55 – 8:49 – Burnin’ A Hole (20lb. Buzz) 8:49 – 12:16 – Slight Of Hand (Lidel/Parker) 12:18 – 16:05 – Soul Satisfaction (20lb.

Sleaze Roxx: How did 20lb. Buzz morph into Broken Teeth and why did you end up leaving Broken Teeth after a couple of albums?

Paul Lidel: Broken Teeth started when Perris Records approached me with the proposition that If I write and record an album in the style of Dirty Looks, that my band 20 lb. Buzz could record our album for free. I quickly wrote the music for several songs and when I told Jason about it, he said he wanted to be involved. At that point, the project became really fun. We actually were not intending for the band to play live, because this style of music was completely out of fashion in 1999. But when we did finally play live, people loved it and we started playing regularly. After seven years, I left the band on good terms — all of the guys are still close friends — and started Adrenaline Factor.

Broken Teeth‘s “Devil Money” video:

Broken Teeth “Devil Money”

SHOT IN 2004 AND PRODUCED BY MAVERIQUE TONGUE MEDIA, THIS IS THE FIRST MUSIC VIDEO FOR AUSTIN’S NOTORIOUS BROKEN TEETH.

Sleaze Roxx: You were a part of Dirty Looks when the band released some of its most well known albums such as ‘Cool From The Wire’ (1988) and ‘Turn Of The Screw’ (1989). Were you surprised when Henrik [Ostergaard] decided the disband the band back in 1994?

Paul Lidel: Yes, I was surprised. We had been touring much of that year with Gene Barnett back on drums and Brian Perry on bass. It was a great tour, with everyone getting along well. Good memories. We were supporting the ‘Five Easy Pieces’ album. Shortly after we got home, Henrik said he wanted to “call it a day.” About a month after that, I was fortunate enough to be asked to move to Texas to join one of my favorite bands, Dangerous Toys.

Dirty Looks‘ “Oh! Ruby” video:

dirty looks – Oh! ruby

from the album cool from the wire

Sleaze Roxx: You joined Dangerous Toys in 1994 when the band was starting to change its sound somewhat and kind of on a seemingly downward slope with grunge taking over. What are your memories in terms of Dangerous Toys trying to forge ahead with ‘Pissed’ (1994) and ‘The R*tist 4*mrly known as Dangerous Toys’ (1995) in a very different climate for rock and roll?

Paul Lidel: That was a very difficult time for straight up rock bands. Around that time, all of the rock and “hair” bands got dropped from the major labels all at once. We recorded the album ‘Pissed’ in LA shortly after I joined the band. We started recording right after a major earthquake hit California. There were some large aftershocks which caused parts of the ceiling of the studio to fall in! We toured extensively for that album, often doing 14 nights in a row. I remember being impressed at how well Jason’s voice held up doing that many shows. When we were writing for the next album, the rule was “nothing that sounds like what we’ve done before.” We got very experimental. We were all listening to heavier music at the time so that came through in the writing. We all still like that album. We were only on the road for about a month or two supporting that album when the label we were on went under, and we had to cancel the rest of the tour.

Dangerous Toys‘ “Pissed” video:

Dangerous Toys – Pissed

Video from Dangerous Toys’ 1994 CD Pissed Jason McMaster – vocals Scott Dalhover – guitar Paul Lidel – guitar and vocals Mike Watson – bass and vocals Mark Geary – drums http://www.sleazeroxx.com

Sleaze Roxx: What’s the status with the new Dangerous Toys album and when can we expect the album to be released?

Paul Lidel: We are in the writing stages right now, the stuff sounds really good so far! We all live in different cities in Texas which slows things down some. We don’t have any specifics when it comes to a release date, but it’s coming along well.

Sleaze Roxx: What prompted Dangerous Toys to finally work on and eventually release a new studio album after more than two decades?

Paul Lidel: We’ve been talking about it for many years. Now just seemed to be the right time.

Sleaze Roxx: Here’s a tough question for you. If you could only pick one band out of all the ones that you have played over the years including Dirty Looks and Dangerous Toys, which one would you choose and why?

Paul Lidel: Yes, that is a tough question. I’ve been very fortunate throughout my career to work with many wonderful people and amazing musicians. I am extremely grateful for that. It would be impossible to pick a particular group as a favorite.

Sleaze Roxx: Is there any chance that Dangerous Toys or 99 Crimes will ever play in Canada, and in particular in or near Toronto?

Paul Lidel: I hope so. It’s been years since I’ve had the opportunity to play Canada. I would love to play there again.

Sleaze Roxx: Last question for you. What are your top three all-time favorite albums and why?

Paul Lidel: Van Halen’s first album was a big one for me. When that came out, it made a huge impression on me. I think it still stands up today as having one of the best recorded guitar tones and overall vibe because they recorded all of the instruments at the same time. The first Ozzy album also had a huge impact on me. I spent countless hours learning Randy Rhoads licks. When I saw them live on that tour, it was life changing! After that concert, I started practicing six to eight hours a day, which went on for many years. Aerosmith have always been one of my favorite bands. The ‘Get Your Wings’ album has been a favorite since I was in sixth grade, and I still love it. Steven Tyler has always been a hero of mine, and Aerosmith’s style of bluesy hard rock has been a favorite of mine since I was in grade school.