INTERVIEW WITH SLEAZY ROXxX BASSIST JAN VANDERVELL
Date: March 25, 2017
MANY BAND LEADERS PROBABLY SOMETIMES DREAM OF GETTING RID OF ALL THEIR BAND MEMBERS TO START ANEW. FOLLOWING SLEAZY ROXxX’S ALBUM ‘DANGEROUS OBSESSION’, BASSIST AND BAND LEADER JAN VANDERVELL REPLACED ALL THREE REMAINING BAND MEMBERS. THAT ENDED UP BEING A GREAT MOVE BECAUSE SLEAZY ROXxX CAME BACK STRONGER THAN EVER WITH THEIR NEW STUDIO ALBUM ‘TOPLESS SUICIDE.’ SLEAZE ROXX CAUGHT UP WITH VANDERVELL TO DISCUSS THE MANY IMPROVEMENTS THAT SLEAZY ROXxX HAVE DONE.
Sleaze Roxx: Why are you the lone member left from the line-up that recorded ‘Dangerous Obsession’?
Jan Vandervell: You know, three guys left — three reasons. Drummer George O’Lingerie had been inactive since early 2013 because he suffered a serious hip problem, just after he recorded the drums for ‘Dangerous Obsession.’ He definitely left the band in summer 2014 when emerged another health problem with his spine, which prevented him from drumming for another two years. But now he is fit and back in his original band. Guitarist Steve St. James left because of his business career later that year and the singer Lee left in the summer of 2015 because of his serious drug addiction.
Sleaze Roxx: Really?
Jan Vandervell: Lee has probably drawn inspiration from the ‘Heroin Diaries’ thinking “It is cool, because Nikki Sixx did it” — and he did make it happen. And he wasn’t the only one I’m afraid. In my eyes, Nikki Sixx is just a stupid and irresponsible guy, who obviously published his pandering drugs glorifying book for some money and popularity. However, Sixx was likely unaware that there are thousands of fans or musicians following his example.
Sleaze Roxx: Was it difficult finding a brand new line-up and how did you end up finding your new bandmates?
Jan Vandervell: Believe or not, it wasn’t. Drummer Vinnie Cage was in after 10 minutes. Guitarist James Dinner asked to join on his own by coincidence about a month before Steve left the band. After we split with Lee, Paulie Weston was found and recruited by James. He was the one and only singer asked to join, and even though he didn’t know us at all, he agreed instantly.
Sleaze Roxx: I found that there was a marked improvement in the songs on ‘Topless Suicide’ compared to ‘Dangerous Obsession.’ Do you agree or disagree, and why?
Jan Vandervell: I agree and there are several main reasons. Despite that there were two songwriters in the band — me and Lee — I was the only one capable of finalizing the songs in terms of final structure, lyrics and/or production. However, I am neither a brilliant composer, nor producer. The music and sound [on ‘Dangerous Obsession’] were far from being perfect, but not bad as well and I am proud of it. Another reason are the vocals and the singer itself. Why is there whispering rather than power in his voice? The reason is the same as why Lee left the band two years later. Lee recorded his vocals in the midst of coming down and recovering after several sleepless nights. Due to that background, ‘Dangerous Obsession’ is dark and evil to me. ‘Topless Suicide’ on the other hand was recorded with joy and we know we did our best. James Dinner is a great composer bringing heterogeneity in our music. Vinnie Cage has great ideas when necessary and Paulie Weston — well, everyone can hear the difference.
Sleaze Roxx: What are your favorite tracks on ‘Topless Suicide’ and why?
Jan Vandervell: “Let’s Roll” and “Share The Space” just because I enjoy listening to them. “Crystal” because the song sounds way better than I expected and “Galaxy Rider” –- I like its atmosphere.
Sleaze Roxx: How did you come up with the name for the new album?
Jan Vandervell: It has no meaning at all. It just sounds cool to us [laughs]. I just wanted to have the word ‘suicide’ there with some cool adjective… ‘Cocaine Suicide’ — awkward, ‘LA Suicide’ — bullshit, ‘Topless Suicide’ — why not? The combination hasn’t been used before — bingo!
Sleaze Roxx” How did you come up with the sexy cover?
Jan Vandervell: Any better idea how to portray ‘Topless Suicide’ [laughs]? The girl is an old friend of mine who is currently a pole dancer. But the rest is fake. She was sitting in front of a green screen on the plastic cooling box and holding whipped cream spray instead of a bomb. God bless the 21st century!
Sleaze Roxx: You just released a video for “Let’s Roll.” Was it difficult choosing which song to shoot a video for?
Jan Vandervell: It wasn’t. The song rocks and it isn’t long at all — hardly three minutes. The lyrics are about a gig we played in Hamburg last year. The gig was awesome. The local Rock café is simply cult — red light district all around. We returned there later to make some shots to bring its genius to our music video. The video is simple, and that’s exactly what we wanted to make. No story, no scenery and almost no crew. Just the screenplay within one sentence with editing and post production where the magic happens.
Sleazy RoXxX‘s “Let’s Roll” video:
https://www.facebook.com/sleazyCZ http://www.sleazyroxxx.com http://www.bandzone.cz/sleazyroxxx Second single from the 2016 album “Topless Suicide” Screenplay: Jan Vandervell Cinematographers (Hamburg): Sleazy RoXxX, Pierre Bade, Kateřina Chlumská Cinematographer (Prague): Michal Hnojský Cast: Sleazy RoXxX & the Reeperbahn crowd Editing: Vinnie Cage Special effects: Vinnie Cage Post-production: Vinnie Cage
Sleaze Roxx: Your band name Sleazy RoXxX is awfully similar to a website that I know and love. How did you come up with the band name Sleazy RoXxX?
Jan Vandervell: Yeah. Before the first review [of ‘Dangerous Obsession’] on the Sleaze Roxx website in 2015, I was expecting more likely some trans-atlantic legal battle. But there wasn’t any! ThanXxX! The name is of course ideal for such a website and not really ideal for the band. My favourite comparison is to imagine a heavy metal band called ‘Heavy MetaLLL.’ Back in 2009, I ‘invented’ the name Sleazy RoXxX in the pub while drinking a fifth Pilsner beer with the goal of ‘the more spectacular-the better.’ The band was formed just to have some fun and provoke back then. We were called either “Emos” or “Homos” or “ symbols of decline”. Someone also mentioned the Sleaze Roxx website. If there weren’t band t-shirts already manufactured, it could have been a good reason to reconsider our name. But t-shirts were quite expensive… There were no ambitions to spread our music worldwide. We hadn’t expected our music to be listened in North America, France, or even Germany and of course there were lot of negative as well as positive reactions, especially towards the band name and stage names. But there was nothing to lose and this kind of a silly name is able to catch attention better than something conventional. Thus the name Sleazy RoXxX has been really helpful.
Sleaze Roxx: What are Sleazy RoXxX’s plans for the rest of 2017?
Jan Vandervell: Our plans are to release ‘Topless Suicide’ worldwide via our German label City of Lights Records. The contract is signed and the release date is going to be set soon. Our plans are also to finish the last round of negotiations, announce and successfully realize our tour with Snakebite in September and October throughout the Czech Republic, Germany and Belgium. Of course, one of our primary goals is to have fun! Personally, I want to lose some weight.
Sleaze Roxx: What are your top three all-time favorite albums and why?
Jan Vandervell: Sorry, I am going to have to name six! Motörhead’s ‘Bastards’ — it’s the last album with two regular guitarists. It’s really raw rock n’ roll and they are my number one band. The Offspring’s ‘Ixnay On The Hombre’ — I loved it as a teenager. I love it today. It’s a timeless record. Def Leppard’s ‘Hysteria’ just on the strength of “Women,” “Rocket” and “Animal.” Crashdïet’s ‘Rest In Sleaze’ — I know that Dave [Lepard] wasn’t a top singer and the sound is just above average, but… you know… Paul Stanley’s ‘Live To Win’ which is modern rock versus the voice of KISS. Metallica’s ‘Garage Inc.’ — ’96, ’97 and ’98 is the most underrated era and that album had a great portion of rock and great covers.
Sleazy RoXxX‘s “Catch The World” video:
https://www.facebook.com/sleazyCZ http://www.sleazyroxxx.com http://www.bandzone.cz/sleazyroxxx First single from the upcoming 2016 album “Topless Suicide” Screenplay: Vinnie Cage, Jan Vandervell Cinematographer: Michal Hnojský Cast: Michal Hlavinka, Petr „Joey” Šebela, Petra Zaorálková, Jiří Kašík Jr., Jiří Kašík and the Sleazy RoXxX Edit and post production: Jiri „Partyspirit” Duchoslav and Michal Hnojský