INTERVIEW WITH LAST CALL MESSIAHS
Date: October 4, 2016
Photos: Formont Photography (photos 1 and 6)
BACK IN DECEMBER 2014 AND WITH LITTLE FANFARE, A NEW SLEAZE ROCK GROUP CALLED LAST CALL MESSIAHS EMANATING FROM NORTH CAROLINA, USA UNLEASHED AN AMAZING FOUR-SONG SELF-TITLED EP THAT WENT ON TO REACH THE #9 POSITION ON SLEAZE ROXX’S TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 2014. AFTER SOME LINE-UP CHANGES THAT SAW TWO OF THE BAND’S ORIGINAL MEMBERS LEAVE FOR VARIOUS REASONS, LAST CALL MESSIAHS ARE BACK STRONGER THAN EVER WITH A NEW FULL-LENGTH ALBUM TITLED ‘SERMONS OF DEBAUCHERY’ WHICH IS AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER AND WILL BE RELEASED ON OCTOBER 21, 2016. SLEAZE ROXX CAUGHT UP WITH ALL FOUR OF LAST CALL MESSIAHS’ BAND MEMBERS — LEAD VOCALIST AND RHYTHM GUITARIST CHRIS CLARK, LEAD GUITARIST JEFF YOUNG, BASSIST BILL JACKSON AND DRUMMER DEE WILLIAMS — TO DISCUSS THE NEW ALBUM, LINE-UP CHANGES AND MORE!
Sleaze Roxx: Congrats on your debut full-length album! Chris, when I spoke to you back in July 2015, you had indicated that Last Call Messiahs were planning on releasing an EP. When and why did the plans change concerning an EP to a full-length album?
Chris Clark: We’d been wanting to go back into the studio for awhile. Due to financial restraints coupled with the loss of Chuck [Tipton] and Steve [Blasko], and the addition of Bill [Jackson] and Dee [Williams], we really only planned on recording one or two songs. But when we got into the studio, the entire process went so smoothly. Trey Richardson with Metal-Ward, LLC — who recorded and produced ‘Sermons Of Debauchery’ — was so helpful and accommodating with costs and in the end, we were able to sit down and put down five new songs in a relatively short manner of time.
Jeff Young: We really can’t say enough about how talented Trey is. This is the first album he has recorded and produced and we think he is just as proud as we are. ‘Sermons Of Debauchery’ would not be without him.
Sleaze Roxx: Speaking of the new faces in the band, why did Last Call Messiahs’ co-founders Stephen Blasko and Chuck Tipton leave the band?
Jeff Young: With Blasko, it was purely to spend more time with his family. He’s got two boys who are getting to that age where hunting and camping and being a great father really needed to take precedence over the band. We completely understand and respect his decision to leave both Last Call Messiahs as well as his tribute band, Mostley Crue. As far as Chuck, Olivier, you will have to ask him.
Chris Clark: Chuck is one of the best drummers out there. He’s kick ass, but his departure was pretty sudden and we weren’t given much of an explanation. We were open to any sort of discussions but unfortunately that just didn’t happen. But we wish him the best of luck with The Fifth from Fayetteville [North Carolina, USA] and hope to share the stage with them again in the near future.
Sleaze Roxx: How did you find Bill and Dee?
Jeff Young: Ironically, Chuck found and recommended both of them. Dee originally wanted to play bass with us but we moved on Bill so quickly, Dee didn’t even have a chance to audition. When Chuck left, Dee immediately jumped on the opportunity to audition for the drummer position where he fits in perfectly. We are so happy to have both of them in Last Call Messiahs. We feel like we finally have the right line-up to move forward, play more shows, and hopefully put together a tour in the near future.
Sleaze Roxx: Did you have any thoughts about calling it quits when Stephen and Chuck left the band?
Chris Clark: I did. I really did. I really thought about folding up everything. But I thought there was so much left for us to do. There was too much good material left to record and to play and that we had just scratched the surface of what we could be.
Jeff Young: I wasn’t going to quit. I knew we would find the right bass player and drummer to continue on.
Sleaze Roxx: Last Call Messiahs decided to remaster the four songs off the debut EP to include them on the new full-length album. Why did you decide to remaster and include the EP songs rather than include more new material?
Chris Clark: It was mostly a financial decision. We would have loved to have recorded four new songs, but at the same time, we were never completely happy with the production on the EP — especially considering what we got with Metal-Ward. The tracks on the EP were rushed through production and then we never heard from the guy again.
Jeff Young: Things we wanted fixed were left and he never provided us with the finished masters. We really felt we got screwed on our first four songs. When we heard “City Of Trash” on the Star Struck CD, we were blown away. It sounded amazing so we felt something could be done to give the fans a little something better. Trey was able to take what we had and worked his magic and the remastering has really brought out some of the nuances of the lows and highs and in general, they just sound better.
Sleaze Roxx: How does the loss of Steve and Chuck as well as the introduction of Bill and Dee impact the new album?
Chris Clark: “Man’s Ruin” and “Hollywood Screamin’” were “original” songs written with Blasko and Chuck that we felt needed to be recorded. “Body Electric” was also a song we were working on with the original line-up and one of our favorites.
Jeff Young: I think we had played around with “So Far So Bad” and “Wonderland” but ultimately, they were fleshed out by the new line-up.
Sleaze Roxx: When I saw Last Call Messiahs play live back in April 2015, you played a lot of new material that did not make it onto ‘Sermons Of Debauchery.’ How did you choose what songs made it onto the album and was it a difficult choice?
Chris Clark: We really wish we could have recorded our entire repertoire of songs, and even re-recorded the originals, but unfortunately we didn’t have the finances to do so.
Jeff Young: I really felt strongly about having “Hollywood Screamin’” and “Man’s Ruin” on the album because they are such popular songs that we have played from the beginning and I really wanted to get them recorded. “Body Electric” was one of my personal favorites and I think the way it came off on the CD really shows.
Chris Clark: “Wonderland” was another song we really felt strongly about recording. It was one of the songs we all worked on together with Bill and Dee and we really wanted it on the album. Otherwise, it was pretty cut and dry. We all knew which songs we felt were the best to put down based on the crowd reaction from playing them live and how we felt as a band.
Sleaze Roxx: Last Call Messiahs have included one of its long-time fan favorites “Man’s Ruin” on ‘Sermons Of Debauchery.’ From what I understand, that track was around when the EP was released. Why include it now?
Chris Clark: We get a huge reaction from it live and people get really motivated and excited when we play it so we felt we had to include it. The song really was in its infancy when we went in and recorded the EP. We spent time on it and started playing it live, which allowed us to really work through it. It just had to be on the album.
Sleaze Roxx: For each of you, what is your favorite track on ‘Sermons Of Debauchery’ and why?
Chris Clark: It seems to change from day to day but right now “Wonderland” because it’s just so anthemic and heavy. It’s just such a really catchy chorus and driving riff. It really drives me when I listen to it.
Jeff Young: Mine would definitely have to be “Body Electric.” I not only love the driving riff of the song but the funky intro and main lick coupled with a chorus that is very melodic. It’s the best combination of rock guitar, vocal, and rhythmic sound. To me, it’s a perfect song because it’s heavy, melodic and funky. The best combination of everything. Whenever we play it, I feel it.
Dee Williams: “Wonderland” — It shows off the band’s individual influences. You hear the Crue, L.A. Guns, Jake E. Lee, Lynch etc. all in this one song. It is Last Call Messiahs!
Bill Jackson: “Wonderland” — I’ve got to agree with Chris and Dee… It just rocks!
Sleaze Roxx: What are Last Call Messiahs’ plans after ‘Sermons Of Debauchery’ is released?
Chris Clark: Just really play, tour, support the album, continue to write new material. We are really hoping we can use ‘Sermons Of Debauchery’ to launch us as a serious band and help get us to the next level. We intend to keep working on new material and playing shows.
Jeff Young: We’d love to make a video or two to put out there to support the record, but it all depends on finances. And we could use a great booking agency to help us with a tour so if there are any out there listening…
Sleaze Roxx: Jeff — Which do you prefer? Playing as Angus Young in your tribute band Thunderstruck or playing in Last Call Messiahs?
Jeff Young: It’s not even hard. I love dressing up in the Angus outfit and portraying one of my guitar idols in a tribute band. But the fulfillment that I get dressing up in sleazy atire and playing with my original band — nothing compares to that. When I’m playing with Last Call Messiahs, what you get is all me. But when I’m playing in Thunderstruck, I’m trying to do my best to emulate one of my heroes. And I love it! I’ve got nothing bad to say about it other than it’s tiring. But with Last Call Messiahs, I get to move as the music moves me and I get a completely different type of satisfaction out of it.
Sleaze Roxx: I’ve already gone through this with Chris back in July 2015 but for the rest of you, which are your top three all-time favorite albums of all-time and why?
Jeff Young: First is ‘Operation Mindcrime’ by Queensrÿche. It’s the mix of opera themed songs, storytelling and songwriting that makes that record the most epic record. Second is ‘Back In Black’ by AC/DC. It is simply the best rock album of all time. Third would be ‘Appetite For Destruction’ by Guns N’ Roses. It’s the best sleaze rock album of all time and I never get tired of it.
Bill Jackson: First would be KISS’ ‘Alive!’ just because it’s badass! My second would be Pantera’s ‘Cowboys From Hell.’ Rex Brown! Third would be Mötley Crüe’s ‘Shout At The Devil.’ Love the riffs!
Dee Williams: First is KISS’ ‘Alive!’ That album hooked me into the world of rock n’ roll. The image, sound, and the riffs! Second is Mötley Crüe’s ‘Shout At The Devil’ which has a huge drum sound mixed with Vince Neil’s vocals and Mick Mars’ solos. Third is Ratt’s ‘Out Of The Cellar.’ It’s high energy rock with killer guitar solos. Pearcy delivers one of the best vocals of that era.
Last Call Messiahs‘ “Body Electric” song from upcoming Sermons Of Debauchery album:
This is the first single from the upcoming “Sermons of Debauchery” CD by Raleigh, NC sleaze kings, Last Call Messiahs.