‘The Summit’ Interview w/ members from Little Caesar, Circus of Power, Junkyard & two more

THE SUMMIT INTERVIEW WITH MEMBERS FROM LITTLE CAESAR (RON YOUNG), CIRCUS OF POWER (ALEX MITCHELL), JUNKYARD (PATRICK MUZINGO), RETURN OF THE COMET (JOHN REGAN) AND ROUGH CUTT (CHRIS HAGER)
Date: December 2019
Interviewer: Ruben Mosqueda

I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN A ‘TOP’ THIS OR THAT LIST OF 2019, WHICH SLEAZE ROXX IS DOING TOO BY THE WAY, BUT I WANTED TO MIX IT UP A BIT. I ROUNDED UP FIVE MUSICIANS WHO I’VE SPOKEN TO BEFORE, WITH FOUR OF THEM NOT FOR THIS SITE. IRONICALLY, THREE OF THEM WILL BE PLAYING SHOWS TOGETHER, WHICH I DID NOT KNOW WHEN I REACHED OUT TO THEM. THEY ARE PART OF REUNITED ’80S ACTS THAT SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN MORE LOVE BACK IN THE DAY. ONE GENTLEMAN HAS PLAYED WITH PETER FRAMPTON AND RECORDED WITH BILLY IDOL, THE ROLLING STONES, DAVID BOWIE AND ACE FREHLEY, AMONGST OTHERS. SO KICK BACK AND ENJOY THE SLEAZE ROXX YEAR END SUMMIT.

LITTLE CAESAR FRONTMAN RON YOUNG:

Sleaze Roxx: There’s been a little bit of a Little Caesar resurgence. You’re signed with Golden Robot [Records]. you released a great record ‘Eight’ in 2018. Will there new Little Caesar tunes in 2020?

Ron Young: We never know when a creative streak will hit us and we write a collection of new songs. We are hoping to breathe more life out of ‘Eight’ as we only released one single from it and would like to release another.

Sleaze Roxx: What’s your take on the two most popular ways that people consume music in 2019, vinyl and streaming?

Ron Young: I love that vinyl has now surpassed CDs in music sales. It tells me people want a ‘warmer sound’ than what CDs can give. Though streaming has diminished revenue for artists, I think that the ease of it brings new music to fans. It’s a two edged sword.

Sleaze Roxx: What’s a couple bands that you discovered in 2019? Who are they and what do you enjoy about them?

Ron Young: I like Dirty Honey who are from L.A. and have a great blend of ‘old meets new’ vibe to them. I also like Red Sun Rising. The singer actually sings and they have a great sense of melody.

Sleaze Roxx: What are you most looking forward to 2020?

Ron Young: I am really excited about getting back out on the road. We took most of 2019 off as we became uncles when Pharoah and his wife had twins. We will be hitting a lot of markets in the U.S. this coming spring and we’ll be going back to Europe next fall. There will be a few exciting announcements that we can’t make just yet with some other great dates in 2020.

Sleaze Roxx: Any reunions that you’d like catch in a 2020?

Ron Young: I’m glad that Bang Tango are getting back together for some shows. Kyle Stevens is a buddy and I love his guitar playing. I hear Circle Jerks are getting together to do some shows and always loved their live energy.

Sleaze Roxx: Fans scream ‘cash grab’ when bands reunite for a decent payday. What’s your take if a band comes out of retirement but has lost a step or two?

Ron Young: We all lose a step or two as we age. The key is to work hard on behalf of the fans to get in the best shape possible for their continued reverence and to be able to deliver the goods for them. It bugs me when bands say “this is our last tour so you better come out to see us,” then do several more runs. I think that’s fraudulent and exploitative.

Sleaze Roxx: What was mandatory on your rider in the 80s? What’s mandatory in 2019?

Ron Young: We never had anything ‘mandatory’ either then or now. We are a very ‘low maintenance’ band and like to be surprised with what folks give us. Eating and drinking the same old crap everyday gets old. We usually just give general requests like ‘decent hot meal’ and cold beverages and see what happens. We can fend for ourselves pretty well. Venues are having such a hard time keeping the doors open these days, we try to be as easy going as possible.

Sleaze Roxx: Back when you were a young band duking it out in the clubs, what bands treated you like equals and who tried to knock you down a peg?

Ron Young: ‘Back in the day’ in L.A., there was a much greater sense of camaraderie than there is today. I won’t mention any names, but there’s a few older bands that seem to have gotten way more adversarial and competitive. I think its insecurity more than ego. We let the music do the talking and stay away from the petty, back biting stuff. There are a few bands from ‘back in the day’ that could use a good smack down. Sometimes, we find ways of letting karma be more of an immediate bitch.

Sleaze Roxx: You’ve been open about your sobriety. Did you seek treatment or did you use an alternative approach?

Ron Young: I went to rehab for six weeks back in 1997. I couldn’t get clean no matter what I tried. In hindsight, it was because of my attitude that it was difficult. You think ‘you are ready’ yet still hold on to a lot of negative and defeating thoughts. I am really grateful life kicked [me] in the nuts as hard as it did. The things I find priceless now against then is totally different and I am mostly grateful for having that awareness.

Sleaze Roxx: Can Democrats and Republicans co-exist?

Ron Young: It won’t happen until both sides get the fringes to sit down and shut the fuck up. The chaos is so vast now that I believe it’s the folks that see how counterproductive to the point of it being a cancer, that it’s folks with moderate viewpoints that can get us back to open mindedness, compromise, acceptance and the needed flexibility in order to get back to having some unification of our country.

Sleaze Roxx: What’s a rock tune that you wish would have written?

Ron Young: “Freebird” — Back then, everyone in a cover band could hate me and I would be rich enough to not care [laughs]!

Sleaze Roxx: What’s the definitive Little Ceasar song and why?

Ron Young: That’s so hard for me to say. The greatest gift to a songwriter / performer is to get to hear what your music means to others. They take what you have created and it gets woven into their lives and consciousness on some level. To hear a listener tell you about that process is the greatest gift. There are so many styles of music we adore and pull from as we write and record. It’s very hard to say. We never ‘broken any new ground’ musically. We try to pay tribute to various forms of music way before we try to create one. We are fans of music way before we are makers of it. We try to celebrate music more than innovate music.

Little Caesar‘s “Time Enough For That” video (from Eight album):

Little Caesar NEW video World Exclusive “Time Enough For That” from EIGHT there new album

Little Caesar NEW video World Exclusive Time Enough For That from EIGHT there new album out now worldwide on Golden Robot Records. Itunes / Spotify / Amazon Little Caesar touring Europe in May / June 2018.

Circus of Power frontman Alex Mitchell:

Sleaze Roxx: Alex, Circus of Power issued ‘Four’ in 2017. The album is still fresh. That record really grew on me over the months of listening to it. I initially thought it was a ‘good’ record but it’s a ‘great’ record. Is there a chance we’ll see another Circus of Power record in the near future? What is the status of Circus of Power at this point?

Alex Mitchell: Thanks for the kind words on ‘Four!’ We need another million fans like you! [We’ll be] releasing an EP soon called ‘The Process of Illumination’ [which] is the working title. That or ‘You Want White Trash, You Got It.’ Circus of Power is still very much alive and well.

Sleaze Roxx: What’s your take on the two most popular ways that people consume music in 2019, vinyl and streaming?

Alex Mitchell: Vinyl rules. Online is okay as long as you pay for it. Pandora, YouTube, Spotify etc. are ripping musicians off big time. That’s what happens when you don’t regulate capitalism. The fat get fatter and the workers get shit on.

Sleaze Roxx: What’s a couple bands that you discovered in 2019? Who are they and what do you enjoy about them?

Alex Mitchell: I didn’t have any ‘come to Jesus’ moments this year when it comes to new bands, but I got into some bands I had dismissed in the past. Amongst them Tool and Slayer. Both fuckin’ great!

Sleaze Roxx: What are you most looking forward to in 2020?

Alex Mitchell: As a band, growth and prosperity. As a human, the same thing. It’s the highest form of spirituality, or religion, whatever you want to call it, and the most political thing you can do.

Sleaze Roxx: Any reunions that you’d like catch in 2020?

Alex Mitchell: I like reunions if they include some new, solid material. Otherwise, I don’t know. Something’s missing. Sometimes you have to bury the dead.

Sleaze Roxx: Fans scream ‘cash grab’ when bands reunite for a decent payday. What’s your take if a band comes out of retirement but has lost a step or two?

Alex Mitchell: Well, you can’t tell an old boxer to stop fighting, you know. That’s what he knows. The folk singer Gordon Lightfoot is 80 and he still plays at a high level, he still looks cool with long hair and stylish clothes. [Joe] Perry collapses twice on stage. [Steven] Tyler falls and breaks something, but they get back up there and hit it. That’s rock and roll.

Sleaze Roxx: What was mandatory on your rider in the 80s? What’s mandatory in 2019?

Alex Mitchell: I don’t remember our rider. It was nothing special, funny or stupid. Now, if they just let us in the club to play, I’m happy [laughs].

Sleaze Roxx: Back when you were a young band duking it out in the clubs, what bands treated you like equals and who tried to knock you down a peg?

Alex Mitchell: We have been pretty fortunate in that we’ve gotten along with the majority of the bands that we have toured with or that we’ve played shows with. A boring answer, I know, but it is true.

Sleaze Roxx: You did some gigs with Danko Jones headlining. Are you a Danko Jones fan? How did that Circus of Power go over with that audience?

Alex Mitchell: Yeah the shows with Danko Jones were great. He’s a good guy. The gig we played at the Viper with him, we just went up and destroyed. The crowd loved it.

Sleaze Roxx: Can Democrats and Republicans co-exist?

Alex Mitchell: My simple answer is no, for a lot of reasons, which I won’t get into here [laughs].

Sleaze Roxx: What’s a rock tune that you wish would have written?

Alex Mitchell: There’s so many, I can’t pick just one [laughs]!

Sleaze Roxx: What’s the definitive Circus of Power song and why?

Alex Mitchell: If I had to pick, I’d say “Call of The Wild.” It has a unique riff, a recharge on the drums, and a mystical vibe…I’ll go with that!

Circus of Power‘s “Call of The Wild” video:

Circus Of Power – Call of the Wild

Music video by Circus Of Power performing Call of the Wild. (C) 1988 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Junkyard drummer Patrick Muzingo:

Sleaze Roxx: Junkyard have been fairly active since relaunching a couple of years ago. You have a new album coming [Old Habits Die Hard’ that was released on November 22, 2019]. Give us the details on that and also how Junkyard was relaunched?

Patrick Muzingo: Well, I’ll take the second part of the question first. We had started off doing it to get a ‘vacation’ out of it. The first time was five shows in Japan in 2000, then it was one festival in Spain in 2003, then we did some bopping around the West Coast from 2004-2007 and then in 2008 we did an eight-show tour of Spain. We were still riding the praise that we got playing the Serie Z festival in 2003 so the shows did great, then we made a bit of a mistake, we went back to Spain the next year [2009]. We didn’t have anything to promote except maybe a new shirt design so the shows didn’t quite do as well as they did in 2008.

Maybe about a 20% drop off. Still packed but not like 2008. We also hit France, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. It was our first time there as Junkyard — a few of us had been there before in other bands — so we didn’t do as well as we did in Spain. There were still people coming out, but it wasn’t as rabid as Spain. After that run, we kind of took some time to figure things out. We had toyed with new songs (‘Tried And True’ EP) in 2004, but this time we were like “What do we do next?” “Where is the next vacation spot?” “Should we entertain the thought of getting a booking agent?”

So around 2013, we got an offer from a label to do a full blown new album. That was the spark we needed and from there we started writing what ended up being ‘High Water.’ I have to say right around 2016 was when we got a booking agent and started hitting places in the States we had not been to since the old days. In late 2017, as bands tend to do, we switched agencies, and then we really got busy! Now, the new album! We really weren’t too happy with the bootlegs that got out there of ‘The 3rd Geffen Release Demos’ also known as ‘Joker’ and ‘XXX.’ Those songs were only meant for us, the label, the management and a producer to hear. Somehow, they all leaked out, not even mastered and without artwork, and we finally had to get them off of the Amazon / Apple purchasing platforms. We had an idea, along with our label [Acetate] and our management [Status Global MGMT], that we should get this out there and curate it as the ‘3rd Album.’ That way “we” can put a pin in it and remaster it — we really took out time doing that — and give it some proper artwork. We really think people are going to dig what we were doing back in 1992 and we know that our hardcore fans are going to eat this up. I am stoked to get it out there the proper way.

Sleaze Roxx: What’s your take on the two most popular ways that people consume music in 2019, vinyl and streaming?

Patrick Muzingo: Vinyl is so much fun. C’mon, everyone from 18 to 78 loves holding it in their hands. For the younger crowd, it must be strange to see this “thing” show up at Urban Outfitters… Hell, even cassettes are making a comeback! From an artist’s standpoint, streaming blows. From a consumer standpoint, it’s amazing so I both hate it and love it!

Sleaze Roxx: What’s a couple bands that you discovered in 2019? Who are they and what do you enjoy about them?

Patrick Muzingo: Charlie Bonnet III, Sh!tl!st, Heathen Apostles, Ryan Hamilton & the Harlequin Ghosts, and Giuda to name a few. Well, that’s more than a few! They are each so damn good at what they do. Charlie Bonnet III is one hell of a songwriter and performer. We did a run over the summer with him and those songs are still stuck in my head. Sh!tl!st is a brand new band. They have been sending me their demos and they remind me of my youth. Heathen Apostles — I sit in with them from time to time. They have great songs that are Gothic Americana / Bluegrass and their singer’s [Mather Louth] voice is so beautiful and haunting. I had also been wanting to play with Chopper Franklin [The Cramps, the Mau Maus, The Joneses, Charley Horse, Nick Curran & the Lowlifes] since 1982! Ryan Hamilton & the Harlequin Ghosts, Great power pop punk. Giuda… what’s not to like? The new ‘Hangmen’ album is great too.

Sleaze Roxx: What are you most looking forward to 2020?

Patrick Muzingo: Heading back to Spain, hitting the road in the summer and having my old band Speedbuggy as direct support. Needless to say, that run is going to be pretty damn fun. Having brand new Yard stuff out. We have been writing and so far, it’s sounding epic. Some may go what the fuck? Why are these guys changing things up again and not regurgitating ‘Sixes, Sevens And Nines’? And to those we say, we did that! I kind of like what Lee Ving of Fear used to say “Let’s see a little motion up there. This ain’t no fucking country club.”

Sleaze Roxx: Any reunions that you’d like catch in 2020?

Patrick Muzingo: Probably the [Black] Crowes for personal reasons. The last time I saw them was their last show when they opened for us in 1990. Other than that, the rest of the reunions seem pretty boring to me.

Sleaze Roxx: Fans scream ‘cash grab’ when bands reunite for a decent payday, what’s your take if a band comes out of retirement but has lost a step or two?

Patrick Muzingo: Well, it is the ‘business of music’ so a cash grab at any age is great. It’s hard for an artist to ‘retire’ unless you have a backup plan. Some bands / artists will lose a step here and there. It’s called getting old, but that being said, some acts end up sounding better ’cause with age comes wisdom and in some cases, sobriety. It’s hard as hell to run around a stage like you did when you were in your mid ’20s! ‘Retirement’ for an artist has totally been a great marketing angle for years!

Sleaze Roxx: What was mandatory on your rider in the ’80s? What’s mandatory in 2019?

Patrick Muzingo: [Laughs] In the ’80s, we had five cartons of cigs and five black t-shirts and five tube socks on the rider — along with the typical cases of booze requests. These days, it’s been scaled back because we are adults and if we want something special, we will just get it ourselves. But for the most part, it’s just maintenance beers. We can’t get too drunk ’cause we’ve got to get up early to get to the next show or to the airport.

Sleaze Roxx: Back when you were a young band duking it out in the clubs, what bands treated you like equals and who tried to knock you down a peg?

Patrick Muzingo: I started off in punk rock bands in the early ’80s so were all equals. Once I started playing in the ’86 Hollywood scene, the bigger the hair, the bigger the asshole. There are some bands out there that I would rather not name who treated Junkyard like shit in the beginning but for the most part, we stayed in East Hollywood and only travelled to West Hollywood when we had to meet up with Geffen.

Sleaze Roxx: Patrick, you position your snare drum in such a way that I haven’t seen anyone else do. It’s at an angle tilted forward. What’s the reasoning for that?

Patrick Muzingo: I get this question a lot. I had to do it because of a skateboard injury to my left wrist. After breaking my wrist skating a small bowl, I went to a sports medicine doc who had a few patients that are musicians. He asked me to show him my set up and immediately he asked if I started off playing jazz, which I did in high school. He gave me three bits of advice — raise your seat, lower your cymbals and angle your kit like you did when you were a kid. I did some research on it and chatted with some other drummers about how they tilt their kits and after about a year, I finally got comfortable with it. I ended up tilting everything forward, rather than sideways as most jazz drummers do, because it felt really made sense, at least to me [laughs]! I also got rid of a few cymbals and drums because they really weren’t necessary.

Sleaze Roxx: Can Democrats and Republicans co-exist?

Patrick Muzingo: You must have been high [laughs]! Who knows these days if anyone can co-exist? So many people have their head so far up their ass when it comes to politics. So that being said, I just go and skate a pool and let others tear themselves apart.

Sleaze Roxx: What’s a rock tune that you wish would have written?

Patrick Muzingo: “White Lines” by Grandmaster Flash!

Sleaze Roxx: What’s the definitive Junkyard song and why?

Patrick Muzingo: “Blooze” — it’s pretty much the theme song of our lives, even to this day.

Junkyard‘s “Hollywood” video:

Junkyard – ‘Hollywood’ (1989)

Junkyard, a hard rock band formed in LA in 1989, never really got the recognition they deserved. After a short-lived career, they disbanded by 1992. ‘Hollywood’ was the first song I heard from them, and it remains today one of my all-time favourite fun rock tracks of the era.

Return of The Comet and former Frehley’s Comet bassist John Regan:

Sleaze Roxx: Ace Frehley jumped on stage with Return of The Comet for a couple songs at the pre-party. There were some technical difficulties with Ace’s guitar and his mic. You and the band played on and tried to salvage the performance. That could have been really magical. What exactly went wrong? Would be open to doing something with Ace again in the future if the opportunity would arise?

John Regan: Honestly, that was a very avoidable situation, had Ace or someone from his crew had the courtesy of stopping by soundcheck for 15 minutes. I had requested that many times prior to day of show, and that request fell on deaf ears. We were all looking forward to a joyous reunion of sorts, and it was truly sad how we all left the stage that evening. That being said…I was proud of the performance that my brothers in Return of The Comet put on. Hopefully, we can get back to Miami next year and finish it up the right way. Joe D’Angelo, Neil Davis and their organization put on a spectacular two day KISS Pre-Party, one that I would be proud to be a part of anytime. As far as working with Ace again, if the situation presented itself, I would have to look at it very closely, and see if it is something that would be equitable to all involved.

Sleaze Roxx: What’s your take on the two most popular ways that people consume music in 2019, vinyl and streaming?

John Regan: I LOVE the resurgence of vinyl! Nothing can come close to unwrapping a new record, and looking at an album cover. As far as streaming, it’s the way of the world now, and we have to deal with it. What must be addressed is getting artists, songwriters and publishers the percentage of the profits they deserve. If that is not equitable, we will find the quality of the music being put out will decline. If you cannot make a decent living, then you leave the business.

Sleaze Roxx: What’s a couple bands that you discovered in 2019? Who are they and what do you enjoy about them?

John Regan: I discovered an amazing young lady, who plays some serious bluesy guitar by the name of Samantha Fish. She’s got it all going on! Of course, I have to mention my dear friend Pat Gasperini, and his new project The Patrick James Band. They are putting out some ‘high octane rock & roll’ with a bit of a country / blues twist. Very catchy tunes that are well played and produced.

Sleaze Roxx: What are you most looking forward to in 2020?

John Regan: I have always seen a new year as a puzzle, as the pieces fall into place, the picture appears. So, I’m looking forward to not really anticipating any one thing in particular, but rather being surprised as situations present themselves. Of course, I’d love to be as creative as possible, and play music with friends, old and new. One part of the world that I’d love to get back to is Finland and Sweden. Such great people, and they know how to rock! I’m feeling a new energy to get back on the road in 2020.

Sleaze Roxx: Any reunions that you’d like catch in 2020?

John Regan: Frehley’s Comet… [laughs]

Sleaze Roxx: Fans scream ‘cash grab’ when bands reunite for a decent payday, what’s your take if a band comes out of retirement but has lost a step or two?

John Regan: You know, when we started playing our instruments in our first bands, money was the last thing on our minds. Maybe getting a few girls came into play, but for the most part, it was the kick we got playing music with our friends. I can’t speak for anyone other than myself when I say that the only reason that I would want to get onstage, would be to capture that same feeling. If the only motive is a ‘cash grab,’ I’m not interested. However, business is business, and I would only hope that those bands that are reuniting are still getting onstage and giving it 100%. If not, it’s a slap in the face to those that supported them throughout the years. I know that personally, Return of The Comet thoroughly enjoyed playing those songs again, some that were never played live before, and we did indeed give it our all each night we stepped onstage.

Sleaze Roxx: What was mandatory on your rider in the ’80s? What’s mandatory in 2019?

John Regan: [Laughs] Good question! In the ’80s, there seemed to be a very abundant selection of adult beverages on hand. Not so much these days. Mandatory today? Water, and perhaps a nice assortment of fruits and cheeses [laughs]!

Sleaze Roxx: Back when you were on tour with Ace and Frehley’s Comet as a support act, who treated you the best? Who was hard to deal with?

John Regan: I recall that Alice Cooper was a total gentleman and professional. He is ‘top shelf’ in my book, and nothing but great memories of our time touring with him. Iron Maiden left a bad taste, because they were constantly canceling their shows, and the way that Ace’s alleged business people crafted the contract, we did NOT get paid when they canceled! That led us to having to pull out of that tour. It was very unfortunate, and Ace took the brunt of the blame, although he and we were ready, willing and able to play every show.

Sleaze Roxx: Can Democrats and Republicans co-exist?

John Regan: For the sake of our children and grandchildren, they ALL better wake the hell up, and do just that. I’m honestly sick of the lot!

Sleaze Roxx: What’s a rock tune that you wish would have written?

John Regan: “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys.

Sleaze Roxx: What’s the definitive Frehley’s Comet song and why?

John Regan: For me, “Breakout” hands down! Because our dear friend Eric Carr co-wrote it, is a big part of my affection for that one… but I LOVE the groove and the attitude of the lyrics. Richie Scarlet had a great deal of input when it was written, and Tod Howarth sang his ass off on the recording. It’s just a gas to play live! I want to take this time to thank you for your support and friendship over the years, and to wish everyone at Sleaze Roxx and its readers Happy Holidays and a New Year filled with all your hearts desire. Oh yeah! And ROCK ON!

Return of The Comet performing “Words Are Not Enough” live in Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA on April 5, 2019:

Return Of The Comet – Words Are Not Enough Bridgeport, Connecticut April 5, 2019

Uploaded by Rock and Roll Experience with Mike Brunn on 2019-04-06.

Rough Cutt guitarist Chris Hager:

Sleaze Roxx: Chris, you just played a gig in Portland [Oregon, USA] supporting L.A. Guns to relaunch Rough Cutt. The show was a sell-out. How nervous were you about playing that first gig with the current line-up, not on your home turf? How did Portland become the place to christen the band? 

Chris Hager: Honestly, I really wasn’t really nervous at all as I have friends and fans in Portland and I pretty much figured it would sell out. Also the L.A. Guns guys are friends, so it all felt pretty familiar. I actually lived in Portland for four years back in the ’90s, and had played the same venue a few years prior while I was in Stephen Pearcy’s solo band. As far as Portland goes, we can thank Davie Jones at the Bossanova Ballroom for asking us to come up and do the show. 

Sleaze Roxx: What’s your take on the two most popular ways that people consume music in 2019 — vinyl and streaming?

Chris Hager: Well, streaming is just a natural consequence of the technological times we live in. Unfortunately, It’s an atrocious deal for the artists, and I’m glad we have advocates such as ASCAP, BMI and Sound Exchange, who are working to make it more fair for the artists. An example is the new music modernization act just passed that finally allows artists get paid for broadcast [AM / FM / SiriusXM] plays. It’s mind boggling how long that took. 

As far as vinyl goes, I wouldn’t have predicted that one [laughs]! There’s definitely a difference sonically, and vinyl is certainly ‘warmer’ sounding than CD, but I’m not convinced that it’s not a ‘fad’ that will eventually fade away. The low end suffers a bit on vinyl as well. Who knows though? I wouldn’t go back. 

Sleaze Roxx: What’s a couple bands that you discovered in 2019? Who are they and what do you enjoy about them?

Chris Hager: Damn, there are so many I’ve started listening to over the past two or three years. Shinedown, In This Moment, Five Finger Death Punch, Three Days Grace, etc. I realize some of the bands have been around for quite a while, but they were new to me. I think anyone who says there’s no good music being made anymore just hasn’t been listening. I like the edginess, the hooks, the guitar sounds,and the production in general.

Sleaze Roxx: What are you most looking forward to in 2020?

Chris Hager: Well, the obvious answer is I’d like to see Rough Cutt doing shows and making a record. With a little luck, we’ll do just that

Sleaze Roxx: Any reunions that you’d like catch in 2020?

Chris Hager: None that I can think of off the top of my head. I’m not much of a concert goer to be honest. I’ve just kind of been there, done that. I’ve been known to hit one every now and then. 

Sleaze Roxx: Fans scream ‘cash grab’ when bands reunite for a decent payday. What’s your take if a band comes out of retirement but has lost a step or two?

Chris Hager: Oh, I don’t really see anything wrong with it. That said, sometimes it can get a little ridiculous. Also, I think that if your financial situation allows for it. It’s better to quit once you’ve already hit the top of your game.

Sleaze Roxx: What was mandatory on your rider in the ’80s? What’s mandatory in 2019? 

Chris Hager: [Laughs] It’s a bit healthier, and we no longer have the quart of vodka, two bottles of wine and a case of beer on there [laughs]”

Sleaze Roxx: Back when you were a young band duking it out in the clubs, what bands treated you like equals and who tried to knock you down a peg? 

Chris Hager: I‘ll tell you, Nikki Sixx was always nothing but supportive, especially in the early days. The Great White Guys [then Dante Fox], most of the Dokken guys, and naturally, Ronnie [James] Dio who was one of the kindest genuine star I’ve ever been blessed to know and work with. On the negative side, some of the bands we opened for once we were signed and touring we’re not so nice, or just indifferent, with the exception of Peter Baltes of Accept who was totally cool and would come back and hang with us backstage.  

Sleaze Roxx: Chris, you’ve been open about your past excesses. You pulled yourself out of it. What do you do to help maintain the new lifestyle? 

Chris Hager: Well, for one, you won’t find me in a club or bar unless I have a good reason for being there, such as performing or watching friends perform. Secondly, I always keep some sort of non-alcoholic drink in my hand that looks like it could be. That way people are less likely to offer me a drink, although sometimes shots can be an issue and I just have to say no, thanks. If I see people smoking or snorting substances, I just kind of steer clear. I’m more interested in the girls [laughs]! 

Sleaze Roxx: Can Democrats and Republicans co-exist? 

Chris Hager: Well that’s a tough one, they sure used to be able to, but politics have become sush a polarized phenomenon that I think it’s a lot tougher these days. If you’re talking about within a band, they can as long as it’s just not brought up much. Otherwise it can get stupid real quickly. 

Sleaze Roxx: What’s a rock tune that you wish would have written? 

Chris Hager: “Back in Black!” 

Sleaze Roxx: What’s the definitive Rough Cutt song and why? 

Chris Hager: You mean so far, I assume [laughs]? I’d say it’s a toss up between “Take Her,”  “Dreamin Again” and “Black Widow.”

Rough Cutt performing “Take Her” live at Bossanova Ballroom in Portland, Oregon, USA on November 29, 2019:

Rough Cutt live 11/29/19 Portland, OR – Take Her

Rough Cutt performs “Take Her” 11/29/19 in Portland, OR, USA.