Interview with West Bound, Tango Down and Resurrection Kings frontman Chas West

INTERVIEW WITH WEST BOUND, TANGO DOWN AND RESURRECTION KINGS FRONTMAN CHAS WEST
Date: March 6, 2019
Interviewer: Olivier

Photo by William Hames

HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN SAY THAT THEY HAVE PLAYED WITH SUCH GUITAR GREATS AS GEORGE LYNCH (IN LYNCH MOB), JAKE E. LEE (IN RED DRAGON CARTEL) AND MICK JONES (IN FOREIGNER), OR WELL RESPECTED ARTISTS SUCH AS DRUMMER JASON BONHAM AND GUITARIST ROY Z? SINGER CHAS WEST HAS PLAYED WITH ALL OF THESE GREAT MUSICIANS AND HAS A BRAND NEW BAND CALLED WEST BOUND THAT JUST RELEASED ITS DEBUT ALBUM ‘VOLUME I.’ WEST BOUND CONSIST OF WEST ON LEAD VOCALS, ROY Z AND JIMMY BURKARD ON GUITARS, JASON CORNWELL ON BASS AND DAVE “CHILLI” MORENO ON DRUMS. WEST IS ALSO THE FRONTMAN FOR RESURRECTION KINGS AND TANGO DOWN, AND THE LATTER GROUP’S LAST STUDIO ALBUM ‘BULLETPROOF’ LANDED AT #2 ON THE SLEAZE ROXX’S TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 2016. SLEASE ROXX CAUGHT UP WITH WEST TO LEARN ALL ABOUT WEST BOUND AND GO OVER HIS IMPRESSIVE MUSIC CAREER. 

Sleaze Roxx: How did West Bound come together?

Chas West: After I finished recording the vocals for the Resurrection Kings record, Serafino — the president of Frontiers — contacted me and said he would like to do something with just me. He said he loved my voice and my ideas and wanted to do something separate with me. So I contacted my old friend Roy Z and asked if he would be into it and he was. So there you go! The rest is history, as they say!

Sleaze Roxx: The band name appears to be derived from your last name. How did the band name West Bound get chosen and which other names were in the running?

Chas West: Well it’s my deal, my band, so my name! Ha! Originally, I was just going to call it ‘West’ and then Roy Z suggested that we go to ‘Westward Bound.’ I stuck with that for a bit and then that evolved into ‘West Bound’ because I thought it was straight to the point and made more sense.

Sleaze Roxx: A lot of people associate Roy Z with slightly heavier material as the guitarist was part of the Halford and Bruce Dickinson’s harder edged solo stuff. How did you guys come up with the West Bound sound and who writes the songs?

Chas West: Some of the stuff we were originally writing was very bluesy and heavier, but we presented that to the label and they liked more of the melodic type of sound with hooks. We had to scrap a few songs — for now — and we went and wrote new ones that were more in that vain. Everything was written by Roy Z and myself with some help from a couple of friends, including Dave “Chili” Moreno. He helped us on the first song we wrote called “Dance of Life.” We were all just in the same room together. There are two songs on the record that I wrote with my friend and bandmate Brian Tichy [Whitesnake, Ozzy, Billy Idol]. Those were two we did completely by ourselves. He played drums and guitar and bass. He is multi-talented. So that is basically how the process started and how it changed and evolved into something different from what we originally had in mind!

West Bound‘s “Dance of Life” video:

West Bound feat. Chas West – “Dance Of Life” (Official Music Video)

Subscribe To Be Alerted When We Add New Videos – http://radi.al/SubscribeFrontiers | From the album “Volume 1”. Get your copy NOW: http://radi.al/WestBoundVolume1 Follow the “Newest From Frontiers” playlist on Spotify to keep up with all the new songs we release each week: http://spoti.fi/1rQz5Zm West Bound feat.

Sleaze Roxx: What are your favorite song on West Bound’s debut album and why?

West Bound — Photo by William Hames

Chas West: I like a lot of the songs on the record. I guess off the top of my head, I’d say “Dance of Life.” Roy Z, Dave and I found ourselves in a room together and that was the first song we wrote for the record. It has a great hook and a great positive spiritual message, you know, without being religious. And I love “Never Surrender.” It’s got a real anthemic feel, which really showed the other night when we played it live for the first time. People in the audience had their fists in the air, pumping and I was like, “Alright, yes!” “Ain’t Gonna Drown” has got that really cool Aerosmith bluesy feel to it. It’s a song Tichy and I are wrote together. As for the ballads — you gotta have a little beauty with the bombast! The second one — “Turn To You” — I wrote about my Mum who passed [away]. “Keeper of the Flame” is a great anthemic song also. And of course “Traveller” — I love that song. Both the lyrics and the melody are influenced by a lot of the bands that used the keyboard type sound in the ’70s — Rainbow, Zeppelin, Deep Purple. It’s all about taking a journey across the universe and while you are taking that journey, you somehow save mankind and humanity. So that one is dear to my heart and I dedicate that to all the stoner kinds, like myself in junior high school [laughs], who would lay back on the floor of their bedrooms with their headphones on listening to whatever their favorite music was and floating off into the sky and having big dreams about where their futures were going to go.

West Bound‘s “Never Surrender” video:

West Bound feat. Chas West – “Never Surrender” (Official Music Video)

Subscribe To Be Alerted When We Add New Videos – http://radi.al/SubscribeFrontiers | From the album “Volume 1”. Get your copy NOW: http://radi.al/WestBoundVolume1 Follow the “Newest From Frontiers” playlist on Spotify to keep up with all the new songs we release each week: http://spoti.fi/1rQz5Zm West Bound is a hard-hitting new rock band formed in the L.A.

Sleaze Roxx: This feels like the first project that’s really your own. Do you feel that way too and how is it different from your past and other current bands?

Chas West: First off, I want to reiterate that this is just not a “project.” It is a band. It’s my band but it’s a band of brothers. That is really important to me to get across. It feels great. With it comes more responsibility and pressure because I have the final say no matter what. In the past — my first break was with the Jason Bonham Band — Jason obviously had the final say. He would sometimes ask our opinion on things, but ultimately it came down to him. Same with George Lynch in Lynch Mob. I plan on doing the same, but at the same time, the buck stops here. I’ve got the final say.

Sleaze Roxx: Speaking of some of your past bands, you were the lead vocalist for the Jason Bonham Band. How did you end up in that band and what was your time like in the group?

Chas West: It was a classic case of being in the right place at the right time and always being ready. I got a call from a guitar player friend of mine who I played with and he said, “Hey, Jason Bonham is looking for a new vocalist” and to be honest I think he was interested in HIS singer at the time. I am not going to say who that is! But anyway, he said, “You should check this out.” He said I should contact the guy who managed the Troubadour at the time. He knew the info. So I did and he referred me to the manager who, ironically, became MY manager. I got very tight with him — Phil Carson. He asked me to send in a demo so I did. I guess I passed stage number one. Then he wanted to get together because he wanted to play some songs that they had been writing and have me work on that. So I did. I sent it back and they were impressed with that as well.

Timing is everything. I hadn’t heard anything since the end of the year and now it was the beginning of the year. I just decided to call one day. Phil answered the phone and was like, “OMG, Charles, there must be something in the air. I was just about to call you and a couple others. Jason and the band are in town. Why don’t you try to get together with them?” And I was like, “That would be great!” Eventually we got together and ended up jamming. Then within about two weeks, my whole life changed and I got to live a lot of my dreams and goals. And fantasies, ha! Jason believed in me and gave me my first break. I’ll always be grateful to him for that. We played to upwards of 50-60 thousand people at some festivals. We were signed to a major label so, yeah, I will always be grateful for that experience. I learned what to do and what not to do in a lot of ways.

Sleaze Roxx: It’s been more than 20 years since the album “When You See The Sun” was released. What do you think of it now?

Chas West: I still think it sounds great. I was just listening to it just in the last few months and I hadn’t heard it for years — the whole record anyway. It IS great. There are some great tunes on there, some that really shine. I would love to see it be remastered and re-released. That was a different time, a different technology. I mean we were using Adat machines on that record.

Sleaze Roxx: You are listed on the internet as having played in Foreigner but I am not too clear on exactly how long you played in the band, etc. How did you end up hooking up with Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones and how was your stint with him and/or that iconic band?

Chas West: That was through our former manager, Phil Carson. He contacted me and said that Mick Jones wanted to reform Foreigner and wanted a vocalist and he thought of me. Jason was already in as the drummer so he asked me if I could “record some Foreigner songs and put your vocals on them.” So I did. Mick heard it and loved it. So we got together and got on really well. It was a great experience. I learned a lot. He is a great guy. I always joke and say, “I was in the band for about five minutes.” It was a little bit longer than that, but because of their over 40 year career they’ve had, it’s about equivalent to that [laughs]. Would I have liked it to last longer? Absolutely. But I’m very grateful for the time I did have with them.

3 Legged Dogg

Sleaze Roxx: You were also part of the “supergroup” 3 Legged Dogg that included Carlos Cavazo, Jimmy Bain and Vinnie Appice. You guys released an album that sounded a bit like Soundgarden. How did this group come together and what do you think of the album “Frozen Summer” looking back now?

Chas West: That came about because we were doing an All-Star cover band called The Hollywood All-Stars at the time, all of us. We were touring around the states with that — fly out dates and so forth and so on. We thought why not see if we can get together and write? I mean the musical chemistry was there and we got on well. And it worked. We shopped it, but it was a weird time in the industry then. Most of the labels had folded and it was after Napster came along so the most we were able to get was this little, small deal. You know, ‘Frozen Summer’ is a great record — especially considering the small budget it had. Had we had a bigger label that could’ve put more money into promotion, I think that record could have done something. It’s another case of a great record and band that never got the credit it deserved. As far as the performances go, I co-wrote every song. I am very proud of it. Vocally, I’m very proud of my performance. So who knows? Maybe some day some label will want to re-release that one.

3 Legged Dogg Promo Video:

3 LEGGED DOGG

Commercial for 3 LEGGED DOGG

Sleaze Roxx: Obviously, you and Roy played together in Tribe of Gypsies. How did you end up joining that group and why did you end up leaving?

Chas West: I’ve known Z since he was playing with the Bruce Dickinson Band and I was with the Jason Bonham Band and we toured together in South America in the late ’90s. Because we both lived in Southern California, we stayed in touch and saw each other around — some jams, some bars — we’d run into each other. So he rang me up and said, “Hey I’ve got this new Tribe of

Tribe of Gypsies

Gypsies record to do for JVC in Japan and they’ll probably be a tour in Japan afterwards. Would you be into it? We’ll get together and try to write?” And I was like, “Okay, let’s do it!” So we did and it clicked and went well. We wrote some great songs and he had some songs that had been on the back burner so we re-used/re-did some of those and it came out great. I never left the band! Ha! We went to Japan and we toured with KISS and Alice in Chains and Paul Rodgers and did some festivals. We came back to the States and we were going to do more– because the record had only been released in the Asian countries — and then he got really busy with Halford and then after that Bruce Dickinson and then I got involved in Resurrection Kings and of course now West Bound, which he ended up producing and co-writing with me. So here we are now, but the future is wide open. I’m sure we are going to wind up working together in one capacity or another.

Sleaze Roxx: You recorded one album “Dweller On the Threshold” with Tribe of Gypsies. What was the recording of the album like and what do you think of the album now?

Chas West: Most of the writing was done at Roy Z’s house and then the recording was done there and also Richie Podolor’s studio because he was producing, which was quite a thrill and a great learning experience with the man that produced/worked with Steppenwolf and Three Dog Night. I think he co-wrote with them too. That was really something. Those bands were a little before my time but I was definitely aware of them and admired them greatly. He had an amazing studio and incredible equipment and, boy, did he know his shit. He and Bill Cooper engineered. It’s a great record. I listen to some songs now and then. Unfortunately, it only came out in Japan and the Asian countries. Had it come out worldwide, it might have done something more. Our whole idea was that Z had his Latino background and influence and he wanted to incorporate the Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses, and U2 influences all in one and put it in a blender. It could have probably could have gone further, but it just wasn’t in the cards back then.

Sleaze Roxx: You were part of Lynch Mob from 2011 to 2012. How did you end up joining Lynch Mob and how was your time in that band?

Chas West: I have been in Lynch Mob twice now. The first time was in 2004/2005. It was great. My friend Marten Andersson was playing bass. Jeff Pilson referred me even though he wasn’t in the band at the time. We had fun. George is a phenomenal guitarist with a very dry sense of humor. We got on great. I have nothing but fond memories. And then again years later, my friend Robbie Crane was playing bass with them and he rang me up and said George and Oni had a little falling out and he wasn’t going to do this tour and would I do it? I did a last minute fly out thing. It was great. We were out — on and off — for a few months. We would do some summer dates and then take a little break. Do some fall dates and then take another little break. It was fun. Like I said, I have nothing but fond memories.

Lynch Mob w/ Chas West on lead vocals performing “She’s Evil But She’s Mine” live at Neisen’s Sports Bar and Grill in Savage, Minnesota, USA on November 20, 2011:

Lynch Mob (with Chas West) She’s Evil But She’s Mine – Savage, MN 2011

11/20/11, At Neisen’s Sports Bar and Grill in Savage, MN Chaz West (vox) Robbie Crane (bass) Scott Coogan (drums) Set List was: Breaking the Chains / River of Love / Into The Fire / Hell Child / The Hunter / She’s Evil But She’s Mine / Kiss of Death / Mr Scary / All I Want / When Heaven Comes Down / Let the Music Be Your Master / Wicked Sensation / Tooth & Nail

Sleaze Roxx: You had a rather short stint in Red Dragon Cartel when Jake E. Lee seemed to be doing live gig auditions with various singers. How did you end up hooking up with Red Dragon Cartel, how many shows did you end up playing and how did your time end there?

Chas West: That ended up happening because I knew Jake’s manager at the time, Diana. She knew me from doing the Bonzo Bash and the Randy Rhoads Remembered shows on the East Coast and from NAMM. She was very impressed with my vocal ability and range. We got on well so I guess he contacted her — and she was managing him — and she contacted me and said, “Hey, Jake has his first record coming out. Would you be interested in doing this?” And I was like, “Absolutely!” Then I didn’t hear anything back for a few weeks and she told me that he was going to use this other guy first but that she would keep me updated because things could change. Then, sure enough, within a week or two, she asked if I would be available for certain months and I was able to work it out so I did. I ended up doing about a month’s worth of dates. Jake is another amazing guitarist. In the end, he ended up hiring [current Red Dragon Cartel singer] Darren [James Smith] back, his original singer, which — to be honest with you — I think was the smartest decision he made besides hiring me.

Red Dragon Cartel w/ Chas West on lead vocals performing Ozzy Osbourne‘s “Shot In The Dark” live at El Corazon in Seattle, Washington, USA on May 2, 2015:

Jake E Lee – Red Dragon Cartel – Shot In The Dark – May 2, 2015

El Corazon, Seattle Jake E Lee ~ Guitar Anthony Esposito ~ Bass Chas West ~ Vocals Jonas Fairley ~ Drums Posted with permission of RDC

Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] Fair enough! You released one album with Craig Goldy under the name Resurrection Kings. What was that experience like and what’s the status of that band?

Chas West: Well, there again, it was a full band. You had Vinny Appice on drums and Sean McNabb on bass. So no slouches! We had all played together before. It was great. The first single / video, I co-wrote with Goldy a few years prior and then he got busy with Dio Disciples. We were going to do something and he finally had an opportunity. We were able to use that song. As a matter of fact, we are going to do another record this year. He just sent me a couple of ideas that he and Vinny were working on. I sent him back some melody ideas and some lyrics so, yeah, that is going to happen in between the West Bound tour. I’m gonna work it out to do another Resurrection Kings record for Frontiers.

Resurrection Kings‘ “Who Did You Run To” video:

Resurrection Kings – Who Did You Run To (Official / Studio Album / 2016)

‘Who Did You Run To’ is taken from Resurrections Kings 2016 self-titled debut album.

Sleaze Roxx: That is great news! How did you end up joining Tango Down?

Chas West: I was doing some shows in Massachusetts at the time and their manager contacted me and said, “Hey, I’d love to have you do our next record and maybe more. Can we get together and talk about that?” So we went to dinner the following week. He said he had this record and it was on a small independent label. We worked out a financial agreement and then I met the guys. They drove up from New York. They were great guys. I’m originally from Jersey so I could relate right away to the East Coast/New York guys! I was like, “Definitely. I’ll do the record and I’ll do shows with you too.” So there you go. That’s what happened there.

Sleaze Roxx: I know that Tango Down are planning on releasing a follow up to the amazing ‘Bulletproof.’ Where are you guys at with that?

Chas West: I guess in between touring and promoting West Bound and doing the next Resurrection Kings record I’ll be doing the Tango Down record sometime later in the year. If I had to make a guesstimate I would say it will be more towards the end of the year.

Tango Down performing “Punching Bag” live at the Rock N Skull Festival in Joliet, Illinois, USA on October 30, 2016:

Tango Down – Punching Bag – Rock N Skull 2016

Tango Down playing their first song Punching Bag at Rock N Skull 2016 in Joliet, IL on October 30, 2016

Sleaze Roxx: A lot of the Frontiers Records projects never seem to tour behind their albums. Are there any plans for West Bound to tour?

Chas West: Absolutely! We just did our record release debut show the other night at the Whisky. Between the turnout and the audience reaction it was over the moon! They went nuts. We are going to do some shows on the East Coast in April and then when

West Bound

we get back we are going to do the Viper Room and Counts Vamp’d in Las Vegas. I’m in talks right now with a booking agent and we are getting stuff lined up for the summer into fall into winter and into 2020. Between the reviews of ‘Volume I’ and the audience reaction to the live show the other night — if that is any indication — 2019 should be an amazing year for West Bound!

Sleaze Roxx: What are your other plans for the rest of 2019?

Chas West: As I mentioned, I’ll be doing a second Resurrection Kings record and eventually I will be doing another Tango Down record. Besides that, my focus is going to be all about West Bound. Promoting ‘Volume I’ and touring with West Bound worldwide. That’s where my head is. I think it is going to be a phenomenal year for us!

Thank you to Dustin Hardman for facilitating the interview.

West Bound‘s “Beautiful Dream” lyric video:

West Bound feat. Chas West – “Beautiful Dream” (Official Lyric Video)

Subscribe To Be Alerted When We Add New Videos – http://radi.al/SubscribeFrontiers | From the album “Volume 1”. Get your copy NOW: http://radi.al/WestBoundVolume1 Follow the “Newest From Frontiers” playlist on Spotify to keep up with all the new songs we release each week: http://spoti.fi/1rQz5Zm West Bound is a hard-hitting new rock band formed in the L.A.