INTERVIEW WITH PLATINUM OVERDOSE FOUNDER AND BASSIST LANCE V.
Date: August 2, 2021
PLATINUM OVERDOSE FEATURING LEAD VOCALIST STEVE PHILBROOK, LEAD GUITARIST RICK MEAD, RHYTHM GUITARIST MATT THORR AND BASSIST LANCE V. ARE BACK WTH THEIR THIRD STUDIO ALBUM ‘STANDING ON THE EDGE OF THE NIGHT.’ THIS IS THE THIRD ALBUM IN THREE YEARS FOR THE GROUP WHO PREVIOUSLY RELEASED THE RECORDS ‘MURDER IN HIGH HEELS’ IN 2019 AND ‘BACK FOR THE THRILL’ IN 2020. THE LATTER ALBUM FINISHED AT #9 ON THE SLEAZE ROXX’S TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 2020. SLEAZE ROXX CAUGHT UP WITH PLATINUM OVERDOSE’S FOUNDER LANCE V. TO FIND OUT ABOUT THE NEW ALBUM AS WELL AS WHAT LED TO THE RELEASE OF ROUGH CUTT’S NEW RECORD ‘III’ VIA THE RECORD LABEL DDR MUSIC GROUP. YOU CAN PURCHASE THE ALBUM ‘STANDING ON THE EDGE OF THE NIGHT’ VIA DDR MUSIC GROUP’S WEBSITE (ON CD) OR BANDCAMP (DIGITALLY).
Sleaze Roxx: Three quality albums in three years! It seems that Platinum Overdose are taking everyone back to the glory days of the ’70s and ’80s when bands were releasing great albums every year and sometimes two records per year! Did you find it difficult coming up with great songs for albums two and three considering some of the tracks on the debut album were written some time ago?
Lance V.: Not difficult at all. Writing and recording is what we do. If it were up to me, we would put out three albums a year! Yes, we are definitely bringing it back to that era. Recorded music is the key to everything and I am a studio junkie for sure. I could live in a recording studio with zero complaints. Chris Lord-Alge — if you need someone to live in the studio, give me a call! Live shows are great from time to time to get out for the night and see your favorite band but what will people be playing 20 years from now? “Kickstart My Heart”, “Strutter”, “Youth Gone Wild”, “Round And Round” — that’s ultimately what bands will be remembered for. With the technology today, there is zero excuse to take three, four or five years to release a new album. When I talk to someone about Led Zeppelin or the Sex Pistols which was a bit before my time, we talk about the records and the songs, not a performance from 1977. It’s all about the records and always will be. It’s definitely time consuming but if you love what you’re doing, it’s not work at all so I don’t find it difficult to do it once a year. I love it and I know everyone else in this band loves recording and writing records as well.
Sleaze Roxx: How does the songwriting work within Platinum Overdose?
Lance V.: I would assume it’s similar to most bands these days. Everyone in this band can write songs, so we just demo up stuff in our own studios and then send them to each other and Steve will put his spin on it, Matt and Rick will do their thing, and I lay down all the lyrics and we go into pre-production. My dear friend Ariel Stiles still contributes songs — “Rebel Heart” is a beast on this record — and we still like to get a song in from my mentor Chester from Champagne Suicide to keep his legacy alive.
Sleaze Roxx: How do the songs differ on ‘Standing On the Edge of the Night’ compared to the first two Platinum Overdose albums?
Lance V.: Not too much. The only difference I was going for on this record was I really wanted more of the ’85 – ’87 sound and Rick really stepped up to the plate big time on that idea, writing some wicked riffs. Matt — as I like to call the prodigy — did his part to perfection as well as our main man, Mr. Philbrook. Steve sang his ass off on this record. I’m very proud of everyone and their contributions. We just write what we write and then produce it into my vision. So far so good, I think.
Platinum Overdose‘s “Generation Fire” single (from Standing On The Edge of The Night album):
Sleaze Roxx: Yes, so far, so good! The first two Platinum Overdose albums had semi-obscure covers from Motley Crue and Def Leppard respectively on them. Is there a cover song this time around and if not, why not?
Lance V.: Yes, we covered “Tonight Tonight” by Tuff Luck. Todd Kelly was my first music teacher as I started out on drums growing up in New Jersey. He was really great to me and I had never heard of his band at that point and he gave me a cassette and I was blown away. It’s tragic and heartbreaking how Todd passed away so I wanted to honor him with doing that song. Who knows? We might have another Tuff Luck cover up our sleeve.
Sleaze Roxx: Once again, Platinum Overdose does not have a drummer listed. I am going to start thinking that you have something against drummers [laughs]. Who’s handling the drums on Platinum Overdose’s new album and why hasn’t the band found a “permanent” drummer as of yet?
Lance V.: [Laughs] Nothing against drummers, Tommy Lee was an idol of mine. Now if only I could get him in the band somehow [laughs]. We’ve tried several permanent drummers and a couple guys were in the band for a brief stint but it just didn’t work out, so I write a majority of the drum parts and Glen drives them home and adds to it and records the albums. ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it’, as they say. If the right fit comes along, we’ll take him but we’re happy with our set up at this point.
Sleaze Roxx: As the principal for the DDR Music Group, you seem to initially promote albums somewhat differently from other record labels by releasing albums with no to very little advance notice. Platinum Overdose’s latest album is a good example and as well as Rough Cutt’s new one ‘III.’ Why have you chosen to go that route with no “pre-order” phase?
Lance V.: In my opinion and again it’s just what I’ve noticed, labels that do pre-orders do them for two reasons. One is they are not confident in what they are releasing and trying to hedge their bets on how many to order ahead of time. The second reason would be to chart on Billboard as all pre-orders count towards the charting and unless you’re releasing a new Ratt or Mötley Crüe record, you’re never charting. So, both reasons seem pretty silly to me and thus why we don’t do them. The element of surprise is key. Things are much different today but labels still want to market like it’s the ’90s.
Every day, sites post 50 different new songs that were released. Who has that kind of attention span? Back in the day, radio would add five songs a week. Now, we have 500 hundred rock songs a month being uploaded to YouTube. The best example I can give you was the last Whitesnake record — by the way, I love the record — but the roll out was so absurd. I can’t remember it exactly but the label was rolling out a single every six weeks for six months. By the time it came out, many people that I know lost all interest as it took so long to finally put the whole album out. It’s just not our scene. We don’t believe in it. We’re confident in what we are releasing and we have no delusions of charting on Billboard at this point in time. We drop it and hopefully the fans will like it enough to grab a copy right then and there.
Platinum Overdose‘s “Rock N’ Rodeo” single (from Standing On The Edge of The Night album):
Sleaze Roxx: The new Rough Cutt album ‘III‘ was a very pleasant but rather shocking surprise. How did that come about?
Lance V.: I will speak about Rough Cutt but any of my opinions are mine and I am not speaking on behalf of Paul [Shortino], Matt [Thorne] or Amir [Derakh]. It came about as the two other guys [Chris Hager and Dave Alford] decided to go behind everyone’s back and trademark the name, while tying Paul up in court with Rough Riot, as it seems someone’s brother is a real estate lawyer in San Diego, so they get some free legal work. As they had Paul looking one way, they sneakily tried to grab the trademark with no one being any the wiser. As you have already seen the letter Paul posted that was sent certified mail warning them not to do it and obviously this did not sit well with the big three. One of the two other guys signed for the letter, the other hid from it. They did an interview saying they are transparent as they locked everyone but themselves out of the Facebook page and announced a new band never telling anyone what they were doing. Transparent to whom? Themselves? Needless to say the main three were not pleased again.
Then they took a song Matt wrote 80 percent of and recorded it and wasted a ton of money on a video — although it was nice to see Priya [Panda] make her acting debut, she’s a talented woman and the best part of that video and version of the song — it ultimately was the final straw. Matt called me and Paul and Amir, and we went to work. We got Carlos Cavazo involved which was a home run! It was great to watch these guys work — total professionals — and I think the album came out great. I’m proud to be a part of it and the Rough Cutt fans love it as you can see by the hundreds of comments on Facebook and Youtube attesting to that fact. Matt had a great thing he told me when we were in the middle of cutting the record. “If you cheat on your wife and get caught, you’re going to get thrown out of the house, and then she’s gonna take the house.” That about sums it up perfectly. There is only one Rough Cutt and that is Paul, Matt and Amir.
Sleaze Roxx: Has there been or will there be litigation between the two Rough Cutt camps over who ultimately owns the band name / trademarks? If so, where does the litigation currently stand?
Lance V.: Paul, Amir and Matt have the trademark filed for everything. It is not currently in litigation, in speaking with DDR’s attorney, it costs in around $20,000 to oppose it. If these guys are willing to take $800 to do a show, I don’t think they are jumping off their bank book. So, I guess we’ll see if their brother will hand out free legal work to that amount and Paul, Matt and Amir are ready for court when and if need be. I will say this, when a judge hears what these guys did, how they did it and having the big three being the majority, they will lose. It would be best for them to call it day and walk away. The fights already over. Just read what the fans have to say.
Sleaze Roxx: Considering your current stance on drummers in Platinum Overdose [laughs], I take it that you do not think that Chris Hager and Dave Alford’s version of Rough Cutt is legitimate? Why is that?
Lance V.: They keep opening their mouths and they are so petty, when people mention it’s not Rough Cutt without Paul, their classless response is “Fuck that.” My response to them is dream on. Only one band comes to mind who pulled it off and that’s Van Halen and these guys are no Van Halen. Paul is the man and he’s an amazing human being to boot. He has an incredible voice not matched by many. No Paul, no Rough Cutt. Look, I don’t say they don’t have a right to say they were a part of the band as they were absolutely there from the beginning — although rewriting the Wikipedia page and trying to change history isn’t cool. It’s like [guitarist] Scotti Hill and [drummer] Rob Affuso — whom I have nothing but respect for — starting a new Skid Row without [guitarist Dave] Snake [Sabo], [bassist] Rachel [Bolan] and [singer Sebastian] Bach. Huh? To me it’s just laughable. I do like their new singer and new guitarist. I’m not sure who the bassist is. I would strongly advise them to leave the band and get a different drummer and guitar player and call it something else. The three new guys should carry on under a different moniker, those three guys have some talent.
Sleaze Roxx: Getting back to Platinum Overdose, now that things are opening up again, will you guys finally play any live gigs and do you think that there’s a market for that for a new group like yours?
Lance V.: Yes, there is a market. We’ve been offered several pretty good gigs that we turned down due to logistics. If we do anything, Steve says it will be in 2022. So we’ll have to wait and see.
Sleaze Roxx: If Platinum Overdose had a live setlist of ten songs, which ones would you play?
Lance V.: Good question, let’s see, I would need to confer with the guys on the set list but I would go with:
01. Pretty And Punk
02. Rise Up
03. Need Your Love
04. Red Light Rhythm
05. Back In Your City
06. Rockin’ America
07. Generation Fire
08. Rebel Heart
09. Rock N’ Roll Rodeo
10. Psycho Suzi
Platinum Overdose‘s “Psycho Suzi” single (from Back For The Thrill album):
Sleaze Roxx: I love the cover on Platinum Overdose’s new album. It seems to have a bit of a KISS influence to it. Who came up with it and how did the idea come about?
Lance V.: Thank you. Glad you like it. I came up with the idea, the concept and did the graphic design. I think we’ve discussed this before but KISS is a major influence on me personally, I wanted to come up with a signature mark, which is now that makeup, to put on everything we do. I believe I accomplished that goal, so you’ll be seeing that on every album going forward in some form.
Sleaze Roxx: What’s your inspiration for the lyrics on the songs from the new Platinum Overdose album?
Lance V.: My inspiration has always been and will always be Los Angeles. Spending 27 years here, I’ve seen it all, and there is nothing that could shock me. I’ve seen people walking other people like a dog in leather bondage down the street in broad daylight. I could tell you hundreds of those types of stories but to keep it short, L.A. and Hollywood are my home. I’ve been coming here since 1990, lived the Sunset Strip scene, lived on people’s couches for a half a year at a time, spent a good few months living with a strip band whom I will not mention but it was so nuts. We had seven people crammed in a one-bedroom apartment and the girl with us had a newborn. It was a circus. It’s a dark and gritty place, as Vince Neil said once “You can be anything you want to be. Anything you can think of, you can be in Hollywood.” So, my lyrics are based off of my life experiences in the city of angels. I love it here and they will bury me here when my time comes to an end.
Sleaze Roxx: What can we expect in terms of future releases from DDR Music Group?
Lance V.: Great stuff! As you know we don’t talk names, but as you might have noticed we’re moving more into newly recorded music releases. We got a great new band with two pretty big names we’re releasing this year as well as a covers EP from Platinum Overdose. So you’ll get two Platinum Overdose releases this year. Got a great reissue that’s never been put out in the US with some heavy hitters in that band and a great Sunset Strip band and their lost songs coming out. Going to be a great year for DDR and next year will be even better.
Sleaze Roxx: Is there anything that we haven’t covered that you’d like to add?
Lance V.: Just wanted to say thank you to you Olivier for doing such a great job covering the genre day in and day out. I know how much work it is to run a business or two, and you are here every day delivering the goods. My hats off to you and thanks for having me for this interview.
Platinum Overdose‘s “Pretty And Punk” single (from Murder In High Heels album):