Greg Chaisson recalls his fractured relationship with former Badlands bandmate Eric Singer
Former Badlands and current Atomic Kings bassist Greg Chaisson was recently interviewed by Andrew DiCecco for Vinyl Writer Music. Chaisson played on all of the Badlands album releases — Badlands (1989), Voodoo Highway (1991) and Dusk (1999) — along with singer Ray Gillen (Black Sabbath) and guitarist Jake E. Lee (Ozzy Osbourne, Red Dragon Cartel). Badlands‘ debut album also featured Eric Singer (KISS, Alice Cooper) on the drums.
DiCecco asked Chaisson how he managed to have a tight knit rhythm section with Singer in Badlands when they had a fractured relationship and tension between them. Chaisson replied:
“Well, Eric never wanted me in the band, and he wasn’t too shy about his dislike of me being in the band. Eric’s kind of stubborn that way. When we would rehearse, Eric wouldn’t pay any attention to me; he would just play to Jake. I never actually played with a drummer that did that, so what happened is, he would just ignore me and play to Jake — which is what he does with every bass player — it wasn’t anything personal, it’s just that he doesn’t pay much attention to anybody but the guitar player. So, I started tailor-making my parts. Once Eric started developing the parts that were gonna stay the same, I developed my bass parts based on what Eric was doing. I had been used to playing with Jeff Martin when I lived in Arizona — Jeff is one of the most all over the place drummers that you can play with — so Eric was actually not that hard for me to play with, I just had to figure out how his mindset worked, and fit myself in with it. Then live, as we got going, we would change stuff around a little bit. Well, by then, I kind of knew what Eric’s repertoire of chops was, and when he would start something different, I knew what it would be, and I would change my part on the fly to fit in with it.
I thought we were a great rhythm section. We ended up becoming friends in the last six weeks or so of the tour. Then we were friends for quite a long time; he was a very good friend of mine. When I would go to L.A. after Badlands to do records, I would stay at his house. We were great friends. Then when Rock Candy put out the reissues of the first two records, they put a big, 16-page booklet together. And in that 16-page booklet, I did an interview under the guise that everyone would do an interview. Well, I found out the only guy stupid enough to do an interview was me. Then they put a lot of quotes “from me” that I didn’t say; there was some derogatory stuff against Eric, there was even a derogatory statement made about Jake that I supposedly made. So, when I read these booklets, which I was supposed to have an approval over, I told the guy, “Look, you’re gonna cost me my friendship with Eric.” And I’ve never talked to Eric since. I tried to call him and say, “Hey, look, I didn’t say any of this crap.” And he wouldn’t talk to me, and that’s fine. But I did call Jake and say, “Hey, look, I didn’t say this.” And Jake knows me and he said, “Yeah, I know. That’s just a bunch of bull. Don’t even worry about it.”
So, I have never spoken to Eric again. I tried to speak to him for the first couple of years. I don’t wish him any ill-will; he’s a famous Rock Star, I run a guitar store. He’s worth $20 million and I’m worth $25. [Laughs]. It’s all good. As bad as bandmates as we were at first, we ended up becoming that good of friends for quite a few years, probably over 10-11 years. Actually, when we fired Eric from Badlands, I actually voted that we keep him, which surprised Jake, and Ray because they knew how bad our relationship was. I mean, I used to be a flip of the coin every week; beat up Eric, and get kicked out of the band or put up with Eric’s crap. So, I managed to put up with his crap. He’s a great musician, and I totally respect what it is he does. Great drummer, great feel, really funny guy. I was glad that we never got into it because I enjoyed the friendship I had with him, but that was then, and this is now.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Greg Chaisson at Vinyl Writer Music‘s website.
Badlands‘ “Dreams In The Dark” video (from Badlands album):