INTERVIEW WITH EX-BABYLON A.D. DRUMMER JAMEY PACHECO – PART 2 OF 2
PART 1 OF SLEAZE ROXX’S INTERVIEW WITH FORMER BABYLON A.D. DRUMMER JAMEY PACHECO COVERED HIS REASONS FOR LEAVING THE BAND AND THE GROUP’S LAST STUDIO ALBUM TO DATE — ‘REVELATION HIGHWAY‘. IT ALSO COVERED PACHECO’S NEW PROJECT, DURAN DURAN DURAN, WHICH IS A PREMIERE TRIBUTE BAND TO DURAN DURAN BASED OUT OF LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, USA, THAT HE HAS BEEN RUNNING FOR THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND RONNIE WAGNER. PART 2 OF SLEAZE ROXX’S INTERVIEW HAS PACHECO ADDRESSING VARIOUS TOPICS INCLUDING THE DEATH OF HIS BROTHER ERIC, BABYLON A.D.’S LINE-UP CHANGES DURING THE LAST FEW YEARS AND BABYLON A.D.’S RECENTLY RELEASED LIVE RECORD ‘LIVE LIGHTNING’.
Sleaze Roxx: There wasn’t really an official announcement that you had left Babylon A.D. by that point [in late 2019], was it?
Jamey Pacheco: No, no, but it was on my Facebook. I said to myself — I was really pissed that my brother didn’t get an opportunity to put that last thing out — I didn’t talk to any of those guys for a long time, until my brother passed. When my brother passed, everyone was like, ‘Jamey, Jamey, Jamey — C’mon, you can’t ignore me [laughs].” And you know, of course I caved, because my brother is their brother. We kind of got tight again but it was short-lived [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Jamey Pacheco: I had my other thing going on [Duran Duran Duran] and just being around the whole dynamics of — because I wasn’t around as I had moved to [Las] Vegas — it’s a whole different thing here. I go back and it’s just — I’m glad I just grew and started experiencing different things. It’s been quite a joy.
Sleaze Roxx: How did your brother [Eric] pass away? I never knew that part.
Jamey Pacheco: Yeah, you know, he was starting to have really bad back problems. He used to wrestle in high school and play football and shit. And then he had a motorcycle accident. He broke his leg. He got hit and really fucked his back up. He struggled for a lot of years in a lot of pain. He was on the opioids and he was getting addicted and shit. So he started getting on this other shit and he was still having these weird problems where his discs were all fucked up. He was always in pain. He finally got sick of it and it started taking a toll on different parts of his body for compensation. You know what I mean? It was fucked up and he was not feeling good. So they started doing all these tests to him and he did some sort of blood transfusion where it would help bone marrow grow and some other bullshit — I don’t know for what. And they put him on Prednisone. Prednisone — it’s a steroid and it just makes your circulation go quicker. Well, they are having to do that like six times a day! And he already had diabetes, high blood pressure and all this shit. He friggin’ had cardiac arrest man!
Sleaze Roxx: Oh no!
Jamey Pacheco: Yeah, and he’s younger than me dude. Eric would be 55 right now — 54-55. And it fucking sucks because he had so much more to do. To me, I am just going to leave that chapter as is because I was hoping to continue on one more [Babylon A.D. album] with my bro and that would have been completely worth it but not anymore bro. I don’t know man. I just can’t put any of myself into that band. I just can’t and I separated myself from them. I have a great life. I have a great career.
Sleaze Roxx: Do you still keep in touch with anyone from Babylon A.D.?
Jamey Pacheco: Errr, I try not to.
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Jamey Pacheco: Danny [De La Rosa] and I — we’re really good friends and, me and John Matthews are great friends. Oh, and Robb [Reid] and I had a conversation the other day. Well, I guess that leaves two guys, huh?
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] I guess so.
Jamey Pacheco: [Laughs]
Sleaze Roxx: Were you in Babylon A.D. when they started switching guitarists like crazy in 2019 or were you out by then?
Jamey Pacheco: Yeah dude, I am a founding member. I am the only member that is fully tenured. I never left for a project. I never quit. I never did nothing. I am the only guy who never fuckin’ left the band [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: OK. So what happened in 2019? All of a sudden, there was line-up after line-up change.
Jamey Pacheco: OK. I’ll tell you. My brother was in the band. It was Ron [Freschi], John [Matthews], my brother [Eric Pacheco], me and Derek [Davis]. It was good. It was a good unit man. Like I said, there were some people that hung around the band and shit, that got involved with some band business and shit, and Ron got really fuckin’ pissed off once. He had had it. He just said ‘Fuck it’ and he walked out. So Eric’s friend — this guy named “Spyder” — Marc Webb. He was the first guy. This guy is fuckin’ bad ass! He is super cool. He’s a killer guitar player but he’s one of those guys that he has to have it his way. He forgot that he was in a band that had a brand, that had [been around for] 35 years. When you’re the new guy, you just don’t go around saying how it’s going to be. So that was short-lived. And then, we brought this guy Nick Hernandez in. After we fired Spyder — well, we didn’t fire him — he got let go. It was funny because of how it went down. It was just really bad. It wasn’t cool.
Sleaze Roxx: Well, what happened?
Jamey Pacheco: Well, it was weird. I think Spyder was trying to have a say in some of the things and it rubbed a couple of people wrong, and so he was released. He just didn’t respect his boundaries. You just don’t do that when you get in a band. You kind of be cool and you try to fit in. You get worked into the system eventually. I mean, that’s what professionals do. Without going into detail because he’s a good friend of my brother’s, he’s a good friend of my family, and I am a good friend of his, but in a situation like that — I even tried to get him into my Duran [Duran Duran tribute band] but it didn’t… We didn’t even practice with him. I could just tell that it wasn’t going to be for him. It wasn’t his thing.
Then we got Nick [Fernandez]. Spyder was released and we got this guy Nick Fernandez. I played with him in a [Led] Zeppelin tribute band. All of us guys in the band watched Nick grow up because his dad was a good friend of ours, and he used to come out for some gigs with us back in the day. So we practiced with Nick for awhile but we could tell it wasn’t an absolute fit like it should be. And so then, that’s when the brakes got put on because it was just me, my brother [Eric Pacheco] and John [Matthews]. We started working on new material. We had some already in the can. As a matter of fact, one of them — the new drummer [Dylan Soto] mentioned one of the songs “Heartbreak” or something like that, we rehearsed that song and shook it out at practice. I would say we had about — we were looking forward to making our next record for Frontiers [Music Srl]. We were really looking forward to it and I think we already had about six songs in the can. I don’t know if they would have made the record or not but we had some good shit!
Sleaze Roxx: Do you still have those songs somewhere?
Jamey Pacheco: I think they’re working on some of those songs right now.
Sleaze Roxx: So what brought Robb [Reid] and Ron [Freschi] back in the band then?
Jamey Pacheco: Back? Well, Robb didn’t come back into the band. Never. After he was released, he never got to come back into the band.
Sleaze Roxx: OK, because I think the promo photos for ‘Live Lightning’ give the impression that the original band is back.
Jamey Pacheco: I know! Exactly! OK, I play on it. We all play on it. That’s the rationale, OK? Derek’s on it. Robb’s on it. All the guitar players [Ron Freschi, John Matthews and Danny De La Rosa] are on it. So it was just a compilation of live things that I wasn’t even aware that we were recording to be honest with you. That’s kind of like how that came about but when I started kind of raising my voice a little, it was at the point when I started seeing in interviews… The question would be, ‘Well, the line-up is the same.’ [The answer would be] ‘Yeah, yeah, it’s great. It’s great man.’ Alright dude. Now fuck this shit you know! I’m not in the band! After Derek did about three interviews of shit like that — I have things booked, right — so promoters are calling me asking ‘Hey! Are you back in Babylon A.D. because it says here that you’re in the band and you’re going to be touring?’ I’m like, ‘Fuck no!’ So I put out a press release and shit like that. All I said was two things. “This is Jamey Pacheco who was featured on ‘Live Lightning’ — Babylon A.D.’s ‘Live Lightning’ — but will not tour or record with them now or in the future.” I got shit for that and I told the truth [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: OK [laughs]. And what was the rationale behind releasing ‘Live Lightning’ at this point? The line-up is not there.
Jamey Pacheco: I don’t know man. We just released a fuckin’ live record in 2015 [‘Live@XXV‘] or something like that. How many God damn live records do you have to fuckin’ release? I guess it was to create some buzz for this new studio record.
Babylon A.D.‘s “The Kid Goes Wild” (from Live Lightning album):
Sleaze Roxx: That’s fair enough. What would you consider your highlights while you were in Babylon A.D.?
Jamey Pacheco: Ummm. The day that Clive Davis signed us. It was so cool! It’s like American Idol without the audience.
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Jamey Pacheco: You know, it’s just the three suits. You got to get up there and kick ass, and do good and be spot on. Clive had seen us once before in San Francisco at a private showcase and he liked us but he wanted to give us a test. He wanted to see if we could bring in outside songwriters and work with them ’cause he is one of those kind of guys. He’s just got to have his…. He said, ‘You guys are almost there but I need three or four smash hits. I want to go that deep with you guys.’ That was one of my favourite moments. We were working with him in San Francisco. We did a private showcase in San Francisco with him about six months before. We moved to LA. We were there for a week and that Saturday, he wanted to see us. We moved in on a Wednesday. We were still moving in. We had to get ready for a showcase for him like on a Saturday. So we moved there to LA. We did the showcase on Saturday. Like I said, it’s like American Idol with no audience. Five songs in, he stands up and puts his hands up, and just says, ‘Come over here you guys. Come over here.’ I was like, ‘Oh no!’ He was like, ‘Let me give you a hug! Welcome to the family! Welcome to the Arista family!’ That was wild! That was so fuckin’ cool man. I don’t know one person on this planet that ever had an experience like that. Maybe Troy Luccketta with Tesla because he did with Tesla and shit. They got signed by Geffen Records, right. A lot of bands I know never — it was like a Cinderella story — it was just the way it was supposed to be. It’s very rare for somebody to experience something like that.
Some of the other things — on our first tour when we were playing in Wisconsin, Milwaukee Music Fest and stuff — I mean, there was like 40,000 people to see us. We hadn’t released “Desperate” yet. We played there a couple of times and it was just really cool. When we played the bigger gigs, it was fun. Hanging around with the guys from Saigon Kick and Enuff Z’Nuff was a lot of fun too. We toured with them. We toured with Warrant, Saigon Kick — it was fun! Those guys were cool. There was a lot of great times. Even when we did the [Monsters of Rock] Cruise, that was friggin’ monumental. When we released ‘Revelation Highway‘, I just thought, ‘This is it! It’s going to happen!’ You know?
Sleaze Roxx: Yeah [laughs]. But you must have been aware that the current environment is quite different from when you [Babylon A.D.] released your first two albums.
Jamey Pacheco: Oh yeah! Of course! But those songs and stuff, they seem pretty timeless to me.
Sleaze Roxx: I think the songs on ‘Revelation Highway’ are killer songs. There is no doubt about that. Did you find that Frontiers [Music Srl] supported you properly for that release?
Jamey Pacheco: At first, they were all in, and like I said, then some sort of business deal or something behind closed doors — whoever was representing — I don’t know what happened. We were promised a tour to Italy and all these things, and then something went down, which I have no idea what it did but something obviously did — and then they just kind of lost interest. They just said, ‘Fuck you guys’ basically.
Babylon A.D.‘s “Crash And Burn” video (from Revelation Highway album):
Sleaze Roxx: It sounds like your relationship with Derek [Davis] has strained over the years. When do you think it started not being as cool between the two of you?
Jamey Pacheco: Ummm, I don’t know man. I think we both respect each other so much that we argue, butt heads and shit. Once I grew up a little bit — I met him when I was like 15 years old [laughs] — when we started running the show, we always butted heads. It’s weird because we are really like tight partners and stuff like that, but you know when you have lives; you get married; have kids; family and all that shit; bills, responsibilities and shit; you grow apart from people. And when you get back and try to get on the saddle again, it’s just not right anymore. Sometimes you have disagreements and shit but — the strain — I just decided that I didn’t need to be around that type of stuff, that environment. I did like being around him for a long time, but just because of the negativity, I don’t dig it. Don’t get me wrong. We all had a blast together. It was fun but there were a lot of times when it wasn’t and I am sure that every band has the same fuckin’ story. So right now, I just don’t care to talk to him right now. I really don’t.
There’s some stuff that I can’t tell you. It’s kind of like Bon Jovi when the bass player guy [Alec John Such] quit, he kind of broke a credo with those guys you know? Everyone says, ‘We’re going to fight inside. Whether you’re in the band or not, it always stays within.’ So I could say so much fuckin’ shit but I’m not. I don’t want to do that. I’m doing something different. I would tell the others that it might surface one day or something like that. I don’t know but it’s typically shit man. It’s typical. One guy thinks the business should be run one way and another guy thinks business should be another way. You have too many cooks in the kitchen. That’s why you have a manager. One guy in the band can’t be the manager too because it’s kind of a conflict of interest, don’t you think?
Babylon A.D.‘s “Hammer Swings Down” video (from Babylon A.D. album):
Sleaze Roxx: Do you have any regrets? ‘What if we did this’ or ‘What if we did that’ for Babylon A.D.?
Jamey Pacheco: No. I was done after ‘Revelation Highway’. Just how easy it was for some of the guys to turn the fuckin’ switch off. You know, you look back at all that fuckin’ work. Derek [Davis] put thousands of hours in the studio working on that album. I worked my ass off on all the web stuff. I did the web. I did all the fuckin’ merch, the packaging of all the product, all the shit. All that you visually see, I was in charge of it. He was in charge of all the recording and shit. The return for me to put that kind of stuff — because I mean I know how many hours that Derek puts into it — it’s his thing. I can’t do it no more man. I’ve got to put my money [laughs] into something that is going to be profitable for me. I can’t split a fifth with everybody that’s not doing anything. The guitar players — they play guitar. They bring songs to the band. I play drums [laughs]. This is what I do for a living. I am an art director. It’s like, when you’re doing great work and there’s no return, what’s the fuckin’ point [laughs]?
Sleaze Roxx: That’s fair enough. Is there anything that we haven’t covered that you would like to mention today?
Jamey Pacheco: Oh yeah! I am really proud of my new endeavour [Duran Duran Duran tribute band] with my girlfriend Ronnie Wagner. You can check her out at ladybassqueen.com. She has an amazing pedigree. Her dad was a concert violinist and her mother was an opera singer. Her dad is very famous. He did stuff in Amsterdam, all over Europe, New York Symphony, Dallas Symphony and then the San Francisco Symphony where she settled down. And when her mom and dad split up, she went to live with her dad in Belair and her dad went on to record and do shit with The Wrecking Crew. You know who The Wrecking Crew is right?
Sleaze Roxx: Yes.
Jamey Pacheco: Yeah, so the guy played violin on the Jaws theme [Pacheco makes the sound of the shark Jaws coming in].
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Jamey Pacheco: I mean he’s a very famous guy. Her pedigree is amazing. She’s an amazing musician. She sings. She is the Director of Communication for our brand and she also writes out our sets, and she scripts the show because we script the show. We have a script that we go by. We have tracks. It depends on which singer it is. She handles all that stuff so and I do my thing with all the social media and the website. I do all the branding, all the photography and all that shit. So we have a really fun entity that belongs to her and I, and we see where the money goes. We do our accounting. We are very, very cool to our players. Our players get guaranteed money like I told you earlier. So we built this wonderful brand. We’ve got some killer people. Things are going good. I mean, I don’t even have the time but people call me all the time. I run into people in [Las] Vegas and they want Duran Duran Duran. So it’s different and it’s exciting but it’s her and I. We’re a couple. We’re the rhythm section. We’re best friends! I’ve never had a situation like this. I am happy as fuck! Can’t you tell?
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] I can feel it all the way from the end of my phone.
Duran Duran Duran‘s “Hungry like The Wolf” promo video:
Jamey Pacheco: Right. I have no regrets. Can you tell that I have no regrets?
Sleaze Roxx: You sound like you’re in a good place. Thank you so much for doing the interview Jamey. That’s awesome.
Jamey Pacheco: I appreciate it man. One thing I want — you know what really pissed me off and I don’t know whether you want to bring it up or not. I wrote a really nice thing on the Babylon [A.D.] page and whoever the administrator was, and they probably know who it is, took my fuckin’ thing down! It had like 800 hits on it. And so, I am going, ‘What the fuck good is that?’ So it’s on my page and shit like that but I just thought that was in poor taste man.
Sleaze Roxx: Those are some of the issues that you’ve walked away from.
Jamey Pacheco: Yeah, exactly. I just want to have a happy and positive life. I’ve been experiencing it since 2019.