INTERVIEW WITH ADAM BOMB
Date: February 12, 2020
ADAM BOMB IS A MUSIC ARTIST THAT HAS REALLY INTRIGUED ME OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS. I KNEW OF HIM WAY BACK IN THE MID-1980S WITH HIS DEBUT SOLO ALBUM ‘FATAL ATTRACTION’ BUT LOST TRACK OF HIM UNTIL IRONICALLY WHEN HE WAS INTERVIEWED BY ANOTHER SLEAZE ROXX CONTRIBUTOR BACK IN 2011. IN RECENT YEARS, I HAVE FOLLOWED ADAM BOMB’S INTERESTING JOURNEY WHERE HE IS SEEMINGLY CONTINUOUSLY TOURING THROUGHOUT EUROPE. IN MID-2019, BASSIST KOZZY HAVOKK AND DRUMMER LEO CAKOLLI JOINED ADAM BOMB’S SOLO BAND, WHICH SEEMED TO BE A KIND OF RESURGENCE FOR THE WELL TRAVELLED GUITARIST / SINGER WHO HAS PLAYED WITH A WHO’S WHO LIST OF MUSICIANS OVER THE YEARS INCLUDING FORMER HANOI ROCKS FRONTMAN MICHAEL MONROE AND LED ZEPPELIN BASSIST JOHN PAUL JONES. ADAM BOMB AND HIS BAND WILL BE COMING TO TOUR THE USA LATER THIS YEAR AND IT SEEMED LIKE THE PERFECT TIME TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ENIGMATIC GUITARIST.
Sleaze Roxx: You’ve announced some “End of The Line” tour dates for Europe after being what I can only describe after touring pretty much non stop throughout Europe for many years. You’ve also announced your intention to return to tour in the States. What has prompted your return to the States, and will Leo and Kozzy be coming with you to tour the States?
Adam Bomb: Back in September 2018, when I first started this latest “comeback” tour, if you told me it was going to last 18 months overseas, I would’ve told you to shoot me. At that time, I was hoping to get a touring situation going on, finally my daughter Blaise was finished with school and I had all the time in the world to go back on tour, but I didn’t really have a band. I settled on a couple of mercenaries but it became obvious that they were only in it to bleed me and take whatever they could get.
All I ever wanted since I first saw Van Halen was a real band, but reality is that most musicians don’t know what that is. Throughout this tour when it started, I watched my life fall apart. My girlfriend of six years split and took our dog. Through those first months on tour, my eldest daughter stopped speaking to me again, I could see that life back home as it used to be was coming to an end. I just wanted to go on tour and just let it all blow up in my face. Touring again reminded me of the endless circle I’ve been doing for the past decade, and it’s very easy to get lost and caught up in it, hoping some event would fuck up everything and change my life. It’s like the Anti-Christ version of success. Chasing tragedy. But something happened along the way that I wasn’t expecting. Kozzy and Leo came into my life.
All of a sudden, I had this real band. It gave me hope and pulled me through this death-wish roller coaster I was getting stuck on. All of sudden, I had a family again — this little gypsy-on-the-road adorable family. I wasn’t sure if it was going to last beyond New Year’s 2020, and after I got this going, I didn’t want to kill it by just keeping us running in circles playing the circuit as a job. I wanted to give them hope that maybe there’s something great in the future. When I came up with the name of this tour, it was a takeoff on KISS’ ‘End of The Road [World Tour]’ and a song called “End of The Line” that I wrote with TKO. I figured the reason why will reveal itself. It’s not a farewell. I was just hoping for something to change. If I died on this tour, or burst into flames in one last blaze of obscurity, or if I just completely failed, lost everything, and walked off into the mountains, I’d wait to find out when it ends.
When I left [manager David] Krebs, I chose to tour Europe because I thought rather than play shitty bars in New Jersey, I’d like to go play shitty bars all over Europe. You can meet a lot of amazing girls in shitty bars. Everything would seem exotic, like I was on holiday in another world. Now after 15 years and 2,000 gigs later, I find that driving down the New Jersey Turnpike sounds exotic to me. America was no great plan, I really just thought it was time for me to go back home, but I didn’t want to lose my little family. So I made a promise to them that we would play some gigs in America. Even if I didn’t get a decent gig, I’ll bring them over and we’ll drive across it and end up in Hollywood. Try and find a place to play along the way. That’s a dream that I could make true for them.
Sleaze Roxx: It was recently announced that you signed with Brad Lee Entertainment. How did that come about and why hook up with a management / promotion company after doing it seemingly on your own for so long?
Adam Bomb: I asked some friends back home for help, and some of my more connected friends tried but getting gigs in the USA for me was an impossible reality. I wrote an email to the Whisky [A Go-Go] / Rainbow [Bar & Grill] booker and asked to get on a Labor Day bill in the Rainbow parking lot. I got no response. I didn’t tell anybody I did that. This January, I was hanging out in Spain. I only had one good money gig in Marseille [France] booked so I hung around for that, but all I did in Spain was what you might expect a guy like me to do with a month off — exploring vices and avoiding parking fines. I stopped being an online gig chaser a long time ago. I used to do a lot more gigs years ago by rebooking myself six months in advance but this time, I just let time pass me by to see if something happens or changes, or maybe it would all just fall apart.
I was reading a post in Metal Sludge — something I do once every six months — where people were commenting about me and one guy said, “I hear he’s trying to play at the Rainbow gig in April. We’ll see.” I never mentioned that to anyone so I was curious how that guy whose name was DJ Will, knew that. I tracked him down, contacted him, and he got back to me a few weeks later and said he didn’t even remember writing that but he took my word for it. He mentioned that I should try and hook up with some agents like Chuck Bernal from Artists Worldwide, but Chuck would never book me because I’m just not in that Hollywood ‘cool club’ like the MTV Headbangers Ball bands he makes his living off of. It also might be personal with Chuck. DJ Will mentioned a couple of more names I never heard of. Brad Lee was one of them. I said I’d give it a shot and Brad got back to me and took an interest. I liked what he had to say and he seemed to think we were on the same page, so I decided to give it a shot. So I’m bringing the band over on May 1st for a couple of months after we do this big biker festival in Riga [Latvia] on April 25th. I got an offer I couldn’t refuse so I’m flying in for that. Vague plans always seem to work out for me. I’ve made a lifetime career out of vague plans.
Sleaze Roxx: A while back, you posted on Facebook some of the cool stuff that you have experienced over your years in the music business. Probably none of those really made you rich monetarily but those are priceless experiences from a life perspective. In terms of your KISS audition, you ended up playing four songs with Gene [Simmons], Paul [Stanley] and Eric [Carr] but you indicated that you felt that you didn’t get the gig on your way out of the building. Were you awe struck of who you were auditioning with that fateful day, how did you manage your presumed nerves and why did you think that you didn’t get the gig?
Adam Bomb: That post was just something I did as a joke because my daughter made a crack about comparing me to other musicians doing this tour circuit by saying, “Did Izzy Stradlin live in your apartment and jizz on your pillow?” That post got a lot of attention, so Blaise has her mother’s press skills in her even though she doesn’t know it just yet. Hanging out with Johnny Thunders in England, Sweden, and New York was an amazing lesson in life. I idolized him. I didn’t really discover what he was to rock and roll until 1987. After meeting him, I just thought he was the coolest New Yorker ever. It took a lot of unlearning but from him I realized what Ace was inspired by when KISS started.
As far as KISS in 1982, of course I was awe-struck. I was also a child. Those guys were grown-ass adults. I knew in my heart that I would not be the child guitar player in KISS, way before I ever got on the plane. But what it meant to me was that my life was starting. This rock and roll life I dreamt of having. I felt I was born in the wrong time. I was too young and I missed out on Led Zeppelin and the real masters of rock. Kids from my era just couldn’t create music like those guys did on guitar. Close, but not like Jimmy Page at age 27. I thought you had to be really something special to be a rockstar and truly be successful. But I was wrong and now the world has Poison. That’s what playing with KISS that day represented to me — the start of my life. An 18-year-old kid going to Hollywood alone for the first time. Staying in the Tropicana hotel, going to the legendary Starwood, and going to SIR Studios on Hollywood Blvd to jam with KISS.
I have a lifelong history with KISS. Just recently something caught my eye that I brought to the attention of KISS. I was able to connect a person who had lost his daughter in a car crash to KISS because they spent their last time together going to a KISS show. They even took their last photo together at that KISS show. Just when this guy was losing hope in everything because his whole world died when his daughter Hanna was hit by a motorcycle going 120+. Somehow, some voice told me to react by doing something. Instead of saying, “Sorry for your loss,” so I actually did something about it. I became his friend. I brought the story to the attention of Tommy Thayer who invited him to KISS show. The story got to Gene who I definitely know is a guy who really loves his kids. This story touched Gene Simmons’ heart. My friend met Gene, who he said was nearly in tears and really shaken up when they talked about Hanna. Can you just imagine? The God of Thunder in full makeup, shedding a tear and giving my friend a hug?
Something tells me I’ll always have a little bit of KISS in me and maybe there’s even a little bit of me in them. This is something much more valuable than being a member or ex-member of a band. I got to get a real peek behind the curtain of the Wizard of Oz over the course of a lifetime.
Sleaze Roxx: Were Gene, Paul and Eric in make up when you auditioned with them? If not, how did it feel seeing them without makeup?
Adam Bomb: No. they were not in makeup. I’d seen Gene, Peter, Ace, and Paul without their make up years before, backstage at the Seattle Center, Coliseum and Gene earlier that very same day at the Edgewater Hotel. I was a hard core rock fan as a kid. All the kids could recognize them even though nobody had seen them without makeup. We knew them so well from the music and the magazines, so you just knew who they were when you saw them. KISS would probably say that about the time too. They were just these three New York guys, wearing expensive boots and cool clothes. I think I charmed them. They remembered my audition years later. I was the kid who sneaked past through the height detector to go on the KISS ride at Disneyland.
Sleaze Roxx: A while back, you proclaimed David Krebs as the “greatest rock manager of all time.” When and how did you first hook up with David and what has he meant to your music career?
Adam Bomb: I don’t know how kids discover the music business today because there are no more legendary music hosts. Don Kirshner, Alan Freed, Wolfman Jack, Casey Kasem — these were the guys that fed kids music, and if you were a kid that wanted to be a rock and roll star, those guys or other big name music guys were the ones you needed to get to if you wanted to get your ‘big break’. There used to be these names all over backs of record albums — Robert Stigwood / RSO, Bill Aucoin / Rock Steady, Peter Grant, Colonel Tom Parker, Andrew Loog Oldham, Malcolm McClaren — there was always a name on the back of a record, [and] sometimes a New York City address.
David Krebs — Leber/Krebs! That name was on more albums by more groups that I loved than all the others combined. There was a mystery to who these star-makers were. Teenage dreamers trying to figure out how the magic was made looked for any clue that was provided in a album. I met David Krebs for the first time in San Francisco at a Michael Schenker Group concert. Michael is still one of my all-time great guitar heroes. David was his manager at the time. I had just made my first solo video to “Shape of The World”, and had finally gotten a VHS tape of it after two months of waiting. They played the video at the club that night, after the support act, like it was some random video clip. I was so happy. The whole club seemed to stop what they were doing to watch it. I went front row to watch Michael. This was a show put on by Bill Graham, a very famous rock promoter, probably the most famous name of them all. It was Bill’s club called The Old Waldorf. I was only 20.
Adam Bomb‘s “Shape of The World” video (from Fatal Attraction album released in 1985):
Esta Canciòn Es Del Albùm “Fatal Attraction” Del Año 1985
After the gig, I saw Bill Graham having a conversation with a guy holding a metal Haleburton briefcase. All the rock stars like Van Halen used these metal Haleburton suitcases. The point is, as kids, we studied everything. We knew everything that these rock stars used and did. What their tools were. I asked somebody, “Who was that guy talking to Bill Graham with the metal briefcase?” When I heard the name David Krebs, I flashed back to my first drummer’s bedroom looking at all his album covers. There was this mystery man, this name that I wondered about for years. I got my video back, went up to him nervously, and gave it to him. That was the night, I just knew it. That was my big break. It took months for him to finally call me. But I just knew it was going to happen.
He ended up being my personal manager for 18 years. He helped me grow to become what I wanted to be, which we both did not know at the time. Managers look for the next big thing. That’s what everybody expects when they get signed and every artist hopes for that. Music managers make deals. When I got signed to Geffen, I wanted to hang out at their offices to see how they operated. A kid like me wanted to see how it worked. The one thing I remember that I didn’t get the opportunity to do was be nutured. They used this word a lot with other artists. Nurturing. They sign an artist like Maria McKee or Edie Brickell and spend a million dollars on her in three years before she ever puts out an album. Getting her ready. Letting her become the artist she should be. It doesn’t happen over the course of a day. Most record companies at the time had no clue what it took to make a rock star. They were a pop star factory and they really had no clue about what real rock and roll was. If anything they were against that sort of behavior because drugs and decadence has caused so many casualties in the ’70s, but it’s still a huge part of any real rock band.
At that time, I was impatient, so was Krebs. I wanted to be a pop star, be in magazines, so I tried to adapt to that record company world. It taught me a lot. Their involvement in me was the greatest, most expensive act of nurturing in history that any A&R record company ever put together without even knowing it. So in the end, I was the one who took full advantage of the million dollars plus they blew on me.
Throughout the years with David, we became closer than just a typical manager/artist relationship. We became family. It’s why we are still close today. He’s the only one I still have left as I’ve lost all my real family and my music family like the Keefers in Hawaii. Everybody’s gone but my two daughters. These were the people that helped give birth to Adam Bomb. Krebs and Keefer created me. In some ways, my music career started the day I was released from Krebs. I had passed my nurturing. I had learned everything I could possibly learn from him and the people he connected me to. So I applied my knowledge into going on tour in Europe and did 2,000 shows.
Sleaze Roxx: It’s been a long time since you have released a studio album of original material [dating back to ‘Rock On Rock Hard Rock Animal’ released back in 2012], and it’s probably your longest stretch without releasing one. How come and are there plans to release a new Adam Bomb studio album of original material in the future?
Adam Bomb: Making a record takes inspiration, time, and money. Since my wife Claire died, and I wrote “One Punch Can Change The Fight” — it was such a powerful and emotional song — I really didn’t want to write anything after that record I did with Paul Del Bello and Violet Cannibal. It took so much out of me. Claire had to die for me to write that song. Life gets to be too overwhelming and putting it to music can drain your life force. I got briefly inspired to write a song called “They Only Love You When You’re Dead.” I had to record it because when I write something, I have to record it.
But yes, I want to make an album with my new band. I wanna see if I can capture that young energy that Leo and Kozzy bring to the table and maybe we can make an old school album like I did when I was in TKO. I just been living my life instead of trying to describe it inside music for the past nine years, but I got a few things I could scream into a mic, so I’ll give it a shot.
Adam Bomb‘s “One Punch Can Change The Fight” video:
It’s been some time away, but it still hurts just like yesterday…One Punch Can Change The Fight. In memory of Claire O’Connor Brenner
Sleaze Roxx: If you had to choose your three favorite Adam Bomb albums, which one would they be and why?
Adam Bomb: I love ‘Third World Roar’ [released in 2003]. It was my last full album project with Rick Keefer. It created itself, and it sort of marked the passing of the torch from Rick to me that I really knew how to make and produce an album. John Paul Jones had just put ‘The Thunderthief’ out and I was massively inspired to do a political album with music that was inspired by [Led] Zeppelin, Rush, and The Who. We had so much fun doing it and Hawaii was so nice in the summer of 2002. It was the best time Rick and I ever had together making a record. In certain songs, you can feel the essence of Hawaii in it. It was the only album I did that was completely written in Hawaii and recorded at the same time.
‘Get Animal 2’ [released in 2000] is my classic rock album. Having Verne Troyer on the cover was a crazy idea that I made happen with a little help from Claire. The album was done very quickly, two days in New Jersey at SST studios, and I went to Hawaii for three weeks to do some vocals, a few overdubs, and mix it. It was just fun to make a record that came together so easily and came out so good. These records still hold up today. YouTube really does put you all over the world and to some, a lot of my songs get discovered for the first time. For others, they stand the test of time. They are classic Adam Bomb songs from an artist they can feel is their secret that the rest of the world doesn’t know about.
[I also love] ‘New York Times’ [released in 2001] because of the period in my life that I made that. And all of the people that made it with me. And the life I was living and the person I had become at that point. I was so far away from being a little kid in Seattle, going to concerts and trying to meet rockstars. I had become one. And I was also hanging out with a lot them and taking drugs with them [laughs]. That was really a project that drummer Bobby Chouinard and I dreamed up. We had done a lot of gigs together. He taught me so much about how to go out and gig. I always used think we had rehearse before a gig. Bobby was the one who taught me how unnecessary that is. Working with Nicky Hopkins was just unbelievable. Whatever he played just worked. It was also the culmination of years of hanging out with Steve Stevens and finally getting into a real studio with Jack Douglas and Jay Messina at the board. That was the production team that did ‘Toys In The Attic.’ [To] do that was a pretty big deal to me. Many of those tracks have yet to mixed or released. Unreleased masters with Steve Stevens, Nicky Hopkins, and Bobby Chouinard. Maybe someday Jack will finish what he started.
Sleaze Roxx: Although sometimes you appear to play some pretty small clubs in Europe, you always bring a lot of visuals with your glowing guitar and amps, your guitar spitting out fireworks, and recently, Kozzy blowing fire. How important is the visual aspect of playing live to you?
Adam Bomb: I think the name bands that I see in clubs lately are so boring. Just because some guy has a name, they think that’s all they need to do is show up with a guitar in order to give somebody a show that would blow them away. Maybe they do if they are extremely talented, but I try to give people something that they’ve never seen in a club before. I’ve collected little schticks through my life like say an artist like Michael Jackson might collect little tricks, and things [I] did in shows over the years. I just put them all together in a 90 minute rock show that doesn’t get boring. Especially now since most rock guys are a fragment of what they were and look nothing like they did when they were young and happening. The last thing I want to do with my life is be some old man that looks 100, playing in a bar with other old men on a tiny stage in front of a audience of old men. So now at least I’m playing with some younger guys on the stage. Two out of three ain’t bad!
The lights developed from an idea that Michael Monroe did with me at a show when I was his guitarist. We bought some rope lights for his bedroom studio when they were a new technology one day in Helsinki. I’m pretty sure he still has the same studio in that room in Turku. We brought the rope lights on stage at a New Year’s show in Turku. That’s when I first got the idea to use a firework too. After seeing a birthday cake sparkler at someone’s reindeer dinner at a Turku hotel restaurant, I had them give me three drink sparklers to go and I did “Auld Lange Syne” at the gig with the firework at midnight.
After Michael [Monroe] and I split, I took the ideas and some of the songs I liked with me. Then I thought about getting more, bigger, and cooler fireworks that I could tape to my guitar neck, fireworks like I used to love when I was a kid. So why not overdo it with the rope lights as well? The only problem was they always became broken so quickly, they would only last a few shows. When I discovered LED technology it became the permanent solution. Then I thought, “Oh why not put them all over the guitars like Van Halen stripes? That would not be copying Eddie. That’s how I could do that and still not betray my promise to Edward to not copy him.” I do this show for me. If anybody else finds it cool or whatever, awesome. But all the lights, fireworks, and crazy fire and guitar shit, I do because that’s what [I] like to see.
Adam Bomb performing live at La Scène Michelet in Nantes, France on September 13, 2019:
Subscribe to my Channel to watch more live concerts : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrrRkQyYD2cyXpgr4Dz_AoA/?sub_confirmation=1Copyright ADAM BOMBAvec l’a…
Sleaze Roxx: How did you end up hooking up with Michael Monroe, how was your time with him and why did you two part ways?
Adam Bomb: Michael and I knew each other in New York City. He wanted to get involved with Krebs after Hanoi [Rocks] split and his Polygram solo deal fell apart. We never were friends in New York. I became more of a black sheep to the musician crowd because I was supposed to be the next big thing, and I wasn’t. I also was still doing amazing things with amazing people. I had this huge wedding in the city and my wife was a big part of nightlife in New York City. A lot of music stars knew us and we partied a lot. But I was not considered a success like some of the bands that made it, which drove that drug fueled celebrity scene in Manhattan. But I had access to everything and practically everyone I ever wanted to meet. Krebs always wanted to get Michael and me together, but to me he was like a name guy who probably thought I was a dick because of the people I hung out with. I only was friends with a few people in the New York local music scene like Johnny Ricco of Warrior Soul. We are still friends.
My interest was getting out of the New York scene. It’s a very false praise over there. They drool over people that just pop into town, just because they were a person of the moment, and have nothing to do with their lives. A lot of people that were instrumental in creating that old New York City rock scene are dead, or a million miles away from the city. Since social media gave everybody a chance to make their own press articles, many people who were just slightly involved or worked at these clubs doing menial jobs ended up trying to take credit for the whole thing. That is this New York City cool club. There’s really nobody left. It’s all once upon a time and not exactly real, but they try and have these reunions or get out for the occasional gig. If you’re in New York City now, there is nowhere cool to hang out except one place — Duffs. Maybe KGB very late. I feel sorry for the people that missed the party or are actually still in New York. But I only have the same couple of friends in New York City that I’ve always had.
Michael Monroe and I had a lot of the same friends, but we never hung out in New York. But I was more known as a rock singer than a guitar player. That’s how I was known in New York, this pop rockstar thing I was into to get press. Like a heavy metal kid guitar player without a hit record. Only guys like Steve Stevens, Bobby Chouinard, and Johnny Thunders knew how really good that I was on guitar. When I was on tour in 1999, I ran into Michael at a festival in Spain, [and] we became friends. When you meet up with people you used to know in some far off place in the world, the dynamic changes from “Oh that guy” to “What the fuck is he doing here?” We connected and hung out until the morning doing drugs and talking.
A few weeks later I went to Finland and played some shows there. Michael came to see me play. I used his bass player and drummer from Tampere. Then Michael came up and sang a couple of songs. I think we started to do shows where I opened for him acoustic. Then we started writing songs together. It just happened naturally. I started really getting into his solo albums and the songs, but I couldn’t understand why he was playing with such shitty guitar players that couldn’t do the solos right. We became best friends. We used to talk on the phone for eight hours a day. We understood each other. It was hard to deal with the negative backlash of not being a rich megastar when you hold a talent like we have inside, and having to watch guys like Poison be compared to Led Zeppelin is mind boggling. The dark side of anti-success is an inspirational fun place to be sometimes but a hard place to be when you feel like you have to explain things to others in your peer group. Everybody wants to know why you’re not a millionaire.
Michael and I just hung out together, watched TV, listened to music, played guitars, and did gigs together all around Finland where I was his opening act. He was addicted to speed, so I started doing it with him. I became addicted to it too. It’s the most instantly addictive thing ever. We stayed awake for days, sometimes weeks. We were kind of attached at the hip for a while. We both just wanted a friend I think. I inspired him a bit, because I discovered how cool he was from him, and not from an outside source. So if he played me a video of him on Top of the Pops singing “Don’t You Ever Leave Me”, I was completely blown away.
Eventually, I had to replace his guitar player because I just couldn’t stand it that his guitar players sucked so badly. He didn’t even know how bad they were until I made him aware of it. He needed Michael Schenker, not some guy who was a step above a third-rate cover band guitarist. But that’s what his friends were afraid of. That I was going to push them out. It made them do whatever they could to try to convince Michael that he should not have me a friend. It was a constant battle. Even his wife Jude was starting to get jealous of the time we were spending together. And it was her idea when I met up with them in Barcelona that Michael and I should work together.
I got Krebs to be Michael’s manager. Krebs was very excited that Michael and were working together as he tried to put us together for years. I had visions of putting Michael back with Sami Yaffa and doing a one guitar band with Jimmy Clark or Thommy Price on drums. He was not speaking to Sami at that time and was afraid to call him. We did talk with Jimmy Clark though. Michael also thought his music required a second guitarist live. I thought all that did was hold his band back from playing anything we wanted. In theory, it would be great to have two guitars bouncing off each other but a two-guitar team like Hanoi Rocks takes years to develop.
Geography can hold some people back. The Tampere mafia guilted Michael into carrying on with them. I wanted to go to Hollywood and take over the strip. We even had a tour booked by an agent that Krebs got for us who booked 30 dates across America ending up with two gigs at the Whisky [A Go-Go]. But Michael cancelled at the last minute. He was too afraid to go on tour at the time probably because he couldn’t get speed. He might have gotten physically ill if he tried to quit cold turkey. It’s really hard to get off of it, especially if you still have access to people who sell it. It also eventually turns your brain to mush. I left my passport on a plane in Amsterdam flying back from Finland. I remember a smiling stewardess handing it to me while I was on a pay phone with Claire telling her I might be stuck at the airport in Holland for the next eternity. How that stewardess even found me still amazes me. Don’t do speed. It’s really a nasty drug. The tour was rebooked two more times and Michael canceled them both again just a week or two before they were supposed to start.
Michael’s wife Jude was doing speed too and there was a lot of negativity and arguing going on in their relationship. I thought it would be better if Jude didn’t sing onstage in his shows but Michael always insisted. I kind of got that. He loved her. He didn’t give a fuck what people thought. I wanted him to have a stronger rock band image but he truly wanted to be the only focal point of his band. I came back to Finland and we got this kid Mickey Crane to be a back up guitarist. He was a fan that Michael helped by producing his band and playing on his demo. Mickey’s girlfriend was a girl named Johanna. Michael and her talked a lot backstage at a gig that I did supporting Michael. I could tell back then he liked her. He ended up marrying her. I went back to America and Michael started playing with Andy McCoy, Mickey, and the Tampere bassist and drummer. They called it Hanoi Revisited. He always told me would never be a sell out and use the name Hanoi Rocks again. So that’s why it was called [Hanoi] Revisited.
When he started doing that, I went to Hawaii and recorded the songs we made together. That flipped him out. Our relationship got strained after that. We stopped talking on the phone every day. I was kind of pushed out and it pissed me off so I wasn’t gonna let a year of work get thrown away because the Tampere mafia, Andy McCoy’s brother and a few speed dealers had Michael brainwashed. I had some bitter talks with Michael, and Krebs was still his manager. But I saw it as the end of the magic between Michael and me. We stopped talking altogether. Then Jude died. I felt horrible for Michael. So I called him and we patched things up. Jude mentioned David and I in her last letter to Michael. I flew to Helsinki from Spain on September 11, 2001. We started working together again and made plans to record his album. I wasn’t pressuring myself to get the music down like I wanted it. I’d already done that in Hawaii so I was open minded about letting him do it the way he wanted, without musically fighting with him.
I went to back to Finland and saw Hanoi Revisited. They had a new guitar player because Michael and Mickey got in a fight and one of them hit one or the other in the head with a bottle. I think Mickey could see it coming and it was only a matter of time before something bad happened between them. Johanna left Mickey, and went with Michael. I think they will be together forever so I was happy for him. We did a few Michael Monroe solo gigs together, with a new second guitarist named Costello, and Michael still owed a solo album to SPV. Krebs was handling that for him, Andy’s brother was involved with the Hanoi side. We went into the studio to make the record on this island you needed to take a ferry to get to from Helsinki.
Krebs paid my plane ticket and hotels and we spent a month making the record of the demos we had done in Turku. Eventually Andy came around and stole a bunch of the songs for the Hanoi Rocks comeback album — ’12 Shots On The Rocks.’ Michael did what he said he would never do, and I could see it coming. As much as I wanted us to be that band we could of been when we were close, it just wasn’t meant to be. It was a very beautiful friendship we had. We had a lot of fun and laughs together and we had some big dreams but it ended like a sad movie. I remember catching a cab and saying goodbye to him on a 20 below zero black morning. He was in full makeup and no jacket. I said, “I’m sorry but I have to go. I can’t afford to keep coming back here. My family needs me, and as much as I wish it not to be true, as amazing as we are together onstage, I don’t think we were meant to be.” He looked at me with the saddest eyes and walked home in the frozen rain having me feel like I had abandoned him.
A year or so later I did go on tour supporting Hanoi Rocks. After that, David Krebs stopped being my manager and stuck with Micheal as his personal manager. Michael and I have only seen each other a few times since then. I called him at Claire’s funeral. But we never were the same close friends that we used to be during that year I spent with him in Finland. When I did ask him if he would ever use me on guitar again he said, “No, my band hates you and would never want anything to do with you.” I don’t even remember his phone number anymore. I used to know it by heart.
Michael Monroe‘s “Pirates of The Baltic Sea” video (single released in 2008 with Adam Bomb on guitar):
Michael Monroe’s new Pirates of the Baltic Sea music video featuring Adam Bomb, Kory Clarke, Dregen, Jussi69 and Hannu Leiden from Havana Black. The song is …
Sleaze Roxx: Michael Monroe is the artist that you ended up recording with and staying with the longest. What was different with him than other bands that you played or recorded with such as TKO?
Adam Bomb: Well, I loved Michael. We were closer than sisters, until it ended. I still miss him or the Michael I used to know. He might be a different person now. There was no love in TKO. Brad Sinsel was a very gifted writer/vocalist. But he had a very selfish attitude towards music and band members. Brad had a very limited knowledge of rock and roll and I learned so much from Michael about a music style that I didn’t grow up with — punk. I was in high school when TKO happened. Nobody had the capacity back then in Seattle to know what life was about. I knew I had to get out of there and be a part of the world.
Sleaze Roxx: It seems that you have met and hung out with just about everybody in the business — John Paul Jones, Steve Stevens, Tommy Lee, Eddie Van Halen, Mick Jagger, Steven Tyler to name just a few. You met many of them at a young age. Who did you have the coolest experience with, what was it and do you keep in touch with any of them?
Adam Bomb: Well, the coolest experience was probably going into Eddie Van Halen’s hotel room when I was only 15. That was before he became so famous. It was comparable to seeing Jimmy Page at the time he was about to write Stairway to Heaven. After that, working with John Paul Jones and having him take an interest in me still makes me very proud. It’s a validation that I’m not just some kid guitar player from Seattle. Most of the guys I grew up that became successful owe everything to a band just because they are a member in some platinum selling name that could replace them in a heartbeat and carry on. If they lose their job, they’re basically screwed. That’s something I don’t have to fear. I still try to keep in touch with John and his wife Mo. As much as I admire him musically, the thing that I respect most about him is how he maintained his family throughout his whole life and career. That is something truly to be admired.
I played an after-party for a Billy Idol gig in Vienna, Austria. It was in the same venue complex called Arena. It was formerly a slaughterhouse. I thought Steve or Billy might have wanted to say hello but they snubbed me. It’s fine. Claire would’ve told me to expect that. I think in their heads they still think their star shines like it did in the ’80s. Steve pretends he doesn’t know who I am now [laughs]. He posted a picture of us with a couple of other guys from New York, named them, and put a question mark by my face. He probably associates his New York City days as being a drug addict and doesn’t want to mix his past life and his wife with his past. I know too much dirt. But that was before I wrote my book. I didn’t have a problem feeling bad about writing things about Steve or Billy. It’s just the life and how relationships come and go and how hard it is to try and maintain them. That is what my books are about really. Anything I wrote about them is in reference to how somebody might lose their wife or family.
I still think Steve is amazing. He played with Michael Jackson. He’s one of the best guitarists from my era, ever. It’s just very hard to maintain your status in that Hollywood world they live in. It must be a very hard thing to live with, wondering if your greatest days are behind you. But Steve never had kids, and Billy and Perri have been divorced for much of their child’s life, so I don’t know how close of family they have or what life is like for them when they are not doing a three week European summer tour or playing casinos in the USA. I hope for them they are happy. I hope his son Willem is happy. I went to his christening. One thing I know for sure, the higher you get, the harder it is to deal with coming down. When Billy Idol sang at my wedding, he was the biggest star on the planet. I guess nobody stays that high forever.
Sleaze Roxx: For an artist that has released so much music and hung out with so many famous artists, it seems sometimes that you are not that well known by the general rock public. What are your thoughts in that regard?
Adam Bomb: I’m everything I wanted to be as a kid. I didn’t want to be so famous like Bon Jovi and be a slave to being a celebrity. You get in a lot of trouble if you’re that big and get caught doing dodgy rockstar things. I prefer to just be known enough that it allows me to get work. A guy that behaves like me at 56 can only survive off the radar. If I was a success and had to be responsible for 100 employees and their families, I’d have fucked that up badly. I still occasionally do too many drugs and politically incorrect things to be a role model. I wanted to do whatever I wanted and I kind of did that. I still do. I’d like to have an easier time getting my tours together and get booked on better shows, but that’s a job of an agent. I still feel like I might have another shot or two in me.
The one thing I did not want to be was a guy who’s life, musical impact, and knowledge, that peaked at age 21. They say be careful what you wish for. It might come true, but not as quite in the way you expect it to. I’m known all over. After driving straight from the mountains in France near Switzerland, I just stopped yesterday at a coffeeshop in Venlo, and some guy with no teeth asked me in Dutch if I was Adam Bomb? For me, it’s been like a never ending good old days. Most bands think there dawning was their greatest time. I’ve been dawning for quite a while. If I do eventualy break out and make it to a different level, that would be good way for my story to end.
Sleaze Roxx: Is there anything that you’d like to add that we haven’t covered?
Adam Bomb: It’s strange to think about it. I really did devote my whole life to rock and roll. I don’t know how long I have left but I will keep doing it until I die. I was lucky and smart enough to find a way to start and raise a family along the journey. If I died tomorrow, I wouldn’t have too many regrets, but I think life gives you enough chances to fix your mistakes. When I finally get right, everything right, then maybe there will be nothing left for me to do on this earth. Life, family, music, girls and women, vices, friendships, happiness, are all very fleeting. It could end in a flash. No matter how rich and successful you are or are not. It doesn’t matter. Without love, you have nothing. Don’t take the things you have or the people who love you in this life for granted. One day you may lose them. Or they might lose you.
Sleaze Roxx: Last question for you — what are you three favourite albums of all-time and why?
Adam Bomb: ‘Van Halen II’ and ‘Women And Children First’ — the guitars, the song riffs, and the memories. The soundtrack to the ‘Song Remains The Same’ live album, it’s the greatest live band recording of all time. It shows the perfection of a band at that was so good, they had the whole world awestruck. And side one of Rush’s ‘2112.’ That record changed my life. I saw my future when I heard it played live for the very first time. These are records that actually changed peoples lives. They are works of art.
Adam Bomb‘s “I Want My Heavy Metal” video (from Fatal Attraction album released in 1985):
A Monster of Rock
Thank you to Adam Bomb for the very comprehensive interview.