Interview with Platinum Overdose founder and bassist Lance V.

INTERVIEW WITH PLATINUM OVERDOSE FOUNDER AND BASSIST LANCE V.
Date: July 27, 2020
Interviewer: Olivier

AROUND THIS TIME LAST YEAR, PLATINUM OVERDOSE SUDDENLY RELEASED THEIR VERY GOOD DEBUT ALBUM ‘MURDER IN HIGH HEELS’ WHICH RECEIVED RAVE REVIEWS AROUND THE WORLD INCLUDING BY SLEAZE ROXX. HOW GOOD WAS PLATINUM OVERDOSE’S DEBUT ALBUM? WELL, THE GROUP WAS EVEN MENTIONED IN CHRISTOPHER HILTON’S BOOK ‘THE RISE, FALL & REBIRTH OF HAIR METAL’ WHICH WAS RELEASED EARLIER THIS YEAR. PLATINUM OVERDOSE IS THE BRAINCHILD OF THE DDR MUSIC GROUP (FORMERLY DEMON DOLL RECORDS) FOUNDER LANCE V. WHO HANDLES THE BASS GUITAR IN THE BAND. PLATINUM OVERDOSE’S SOPHOMORE ALBUM ‘BACK FOR THE THRILL’ IS SET FOR RELEASE ON AUGUST 5TH (AVAILABLE IN CD AND DIGITAL FORMATS) AND SLEAZE ROXX CAUGHT UP WITH LANCE V. TO FIND OUT MORE! 

Sleaze Roxx: Platinum Overdose are back in record time with their sophomore album since it’s been just over a year since the debut was released. Was that always the plan or did the Covid-19 pandemic speed the process up?

Lance V.: It was always the plan. The pandemic actually slowed down the process for us a little but we battled through it and it didn’t hinder us too much as we are right on schedule with what we wanted to do. We want to go back to the ’70s mentality and release an album in some capacity every year. I realize it changed in the mid ’80s to every couple of years to give bands the opportunity to tour and write the next record, but I find it astonishing that bands now take three or four years or longer to release a record after their previous release. I will never understand why this has become the norm. I like that L.A. Guns and Stryper seem to be pumping out new music on a fairly regular basis these days. It’s great to see that. I just don’t see any excuse if you are a true musician and songwriter on why it takes so many years to make a record especially with the technology available today. So you can expect new music on a consistent basis from Platinum Overdose. We all love to write, record and get music out there to the people that want to hear it. We realize they are what matters and the reason we get to do this.

Sleaze Roxx: Yeah. There are a lot of bands that take way too long to release new material! Who is playing on the album? Do you have a permanent drummer now [laughs]?

Lance V.: It’s the same exact group. We hopefully will keep our core band together for as long as possible. We don’t want to be a band with 40 members coming in and out [laughs]. I do understand that some people need to leave due to personal reasons but the numbers on some of these artists is mind numbing and being in this business for many years, I know factually that more times than not, it’s about ego and money which is too bad.

Matt Thorr [rhythm guitar], Steve Philbrook [vocals], Rick Mead [lead guitar] and myself [bass, producer] did all the recordings and we brought in Blake Hastings from Lixx Array to do duel lead guitars with Rick on the opening track “Psycho Suzi.” We thank him for partaking in the Platinum Overdose journey as he is a great player and an even greater guy and we truly appreciate his time and effort. We used the same drummer for this album but yes, we now have a permanent drummer. We’ll be announcing who that is very shortly. He is in the studio working on the drums for our third album as I am doing this interview and I couldn’t be happier to have him in Platinum Overdose. Of course, we will let Sleaze Roxx know first when we make that announcement.

Sleaze Roxx: Thank you! How did you come up with your album title ‘Back For The Thrill’ this time around?

Lance V.: The new album title came from a lyric from a song on the record called “Back In Your City” that Aerial Stiles wrote. I felt like it definitely captured our feelings regarding the new record — that we are in fact ‘Back For The Thrill.’ We were a bit overwhelmed with the reception the first album received and how many people really liked what we were doing and it honestly is a thrill for us and hopefully it will be for the fans that we are back for round two.

Sleaze Roxx: For Platinum Overdose’s debut, it appeared to be a collection of songs sometimes dating from different eras and written by different people including an outside writer in Aerial Stiles. How did the songwriting go this time around?

Lance V.: We took the same approach — and always will — that a great song is a great song, whether I wrote it in 1992 or Aerial wrote something in 1986 or Steve wrote something last week. Chester and Aerial are our fifth and sixth band members so they are as important to the band as every other member. Steve and myself wrote a bulk load of the material with Matt contributing musically on a bunch of tracks as well as Chester and Aerial each contributing a track each. We’ll always try to pick the best songs we feel fit the vibe we’re going for and we have zero ego when it comes to bringing in other writers to work with us. In my opinion, it’s an honour to work with these men. For everyone who contributes to this project, it’s my pleasure to know them and work with them. They are very talented people and friends first and foremost.

Sleaze Roxx: What are your favourite tracks on the new album and why?

Lance V.: That a tough one. It’s like trying to choose a favorite child. I love them all but in honour of the question, I’ll do my best to break down a few. “Psycho Suzi” is a great album opener and has a killer riff Steve wrote and just really opens the album up with a punch in the mouth. “No Way Out” in my opinion has a real Dokken / Y&T vibe to it, which I really like and we did some cool octave changes at the end of the song. “Rockin’ America” is our feel good summer time ’80s rock track. I think Matt’s rhythm guitars are off the chain as well as Rick’s lead guitars. “Give The Night Away” seems to be a fan favorite so far from people that have heard it. It’s another one of my love letters to my home city of Los Angeles. Some have described it as eerie although I like that description as it  means we did something a bit different. “Back In Your City” is one of my favorites as it’s as ’80s as you’re going to get. I could go on and on with the other three tracks but I’ll let the fans choose their favorites.

Platinum Overdose‘s “Rockin’ America” single (from upcoming Back For The Thrill album):

Sleaze Roxx: After I did that initial interview with you last year, I had the chance to listen to Platinum Overdose’s debut album and thought that one song “Black Widow” sounded like early Motley Crüe. As it turns out, the song was written by Nikki Sixx. How did Platinum Overdose end up doing that song and get permission to use it?

Lance V.: I personally always loved that song. I remember buying it at a flea market in the ’80s on vinyl and knew it only as a demo, so we decided to take a crack at it. Since it was commercially released by the band on ‘Red, White & Crüe’, it becomes fair game for anyone to cover it and getting clearance to cover a song is a fairly simple process. So there wasn’t much more to it than I thought it was a cool song and we wanted to cover it.

Sleaze Roxx: One thing that struck me is that Platinum Overdose really did not advertise the fact that a Nikki Sixx penned song was being used on their debut album. In fact, you didn’t mention it at all when I asked you about the songwriting for the album last year. Why did Platinum Overdose downplay that song? Most bands would be using Nikki Sixx’s name to sell more records…

Lance V.: If Nikki Sixx had sat down and penned a song for us personally, for sure we would have been using that as a promotional tool but it was an old demo from the ‘Shout At The Devil’ sessions, and once it’s released commercially, which they did, anyone can cover it. On the new album, we do a Def Leppard song, but since it’s a cover we won’t be using it as a promotional tool. We just love the band and the song, and wanted to release our version of it in hopes the fans might dig it.

Sleaze Roxx: You’re also the principal of The DDR Music Group, which was formerly known as the Demon Doll Records. Why did you end up switching the name and especially with the brand name recognition that Demon Doll Records would have after all these years?

Lance V.: It was an easy decision as I wanted to change the name after being in business for about a year. I never really liked the name. The record company name always was kind of a spoof. Back in 2008, I was sitting with my soon to be fiancé and I decided to start the label and I asked her what I should call it. She didn’t have anything in mind and I happened to have a Gene Simmons doll that her mother just bought me sitting on the table in its box. I looked at it and said, ‘What about Demon Doll?’ and she said ‘Sure.’ So we were off to the races but I’ve disliked the name for years, so I finally just did it for no other particular reason than I wanted to. Our fans and customers know it’s us, and now I’m much happier with the name.

Sleaze Roxx: How has it been for The DDR Music Group with the Covid-19 pandemic? Was there any impact?

Lance V.: Not much of an impact at all. The only problem became shipping outside of the United States as our planes here in the US were hauling life saving gear across the country so a lot of packages were being sent by boat outside the United States. That caused a bit of a problem. Many packages were lost, which wasn’t surprising, so we shut down shipping outside the country for two months. Some countries were not accepting packages from the United States even if we wanted to ship there. Manufacturing time on records has slowed a little bit as well as delivery times to streaming platforms but overall it hasn’t affected The DDR Music Group very much at all. I guess we were lucky to be on the recording side of the business and not the touring side.

Platinum Overdose‘s “Back In Your City” single (from upcoming Back For The Thrill album):

Sleaze Roxx: You’re also the principal for L.A. Rock City Radio. How did that come about and what does L.A. Rock City Radio focus on?

Lance V.: It’s got a great mixture of ’80s and ’90s hard rock and heavy metal music and we essentially tried to get it as close to what Headbanger’s Ball was playing at that time period. It was a lot of fun to put together and it’s a blast to work on it every day. People really seem to like it, so I guess there was a hole in the radio market for what it turned out to be.

Sleaze Roxx: The DDR Music Group has released albums from many bands over the years including new and upcoming groups. How do you choose which bands to work with?

Lance V.: Obviously, it starts with the music and then it comes down to the people in the bands and who they surround themselves with. So a young band with a manager, we won’t deal with as they don’t need a manager until you have a major label deal and they just impede the whole process. There’s so many factors that go into it but mainly, it ultimately comes down to the people that were or are in the bands. If we’re not on the same page, we can’t work with them. If we are on the same page as far as packaging and sonic quality, we are good to go. We have had the pleasure of working with so many great bands and wonderful people and for them, I am grateful for their hard work and great attitudes, for without them, there would be no DDR Music Group.

Sleaze Roxx: Is there anything else that we haven’t covered that you’d like to mention?

Lance V.: You’ve got to let me get in more of my favorite and influential albums. Last time, I was only able get in three [laughs].

Sleaze Roxx: Alright [laughs]. Go for it!

Lance V.: So I won’t go into the every reason but to name a few more albums that made me into who I am today, I have to give shout outs to the following albums: Aerosmith’s ‘Rocks’, KISS’ ‘Asylum’, Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘The Ultimate Sin’, Dokken’s ‘Under Lock And Key’, Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Use Your Illusion I’ and ‘II’, Dogs D’Amour’s ‘In The Dynamite Jet Saloon’, Faster Pussycat’s ‘Whipped’, Poison’s ‘Look What The Cat Dragged In’ as well as Sex Pistols’ ‘Never Mind The Bullocks.’

Sleaze Roxx: Last question for you — who has been the biggest influence on you in the music industry and how has that person influenced you?

Lance V.: My two biggest influences for sure would be Gene Simmons and Nikki Sixx. Both of course are bass players I admire very much but I love their work ethic and business mentality even more. People forget sometimes that this is called the music “business”, not the music playpen or music funhouse. This is a serious and intense business and you’ve got to always be watching the data and following what is coming next and decide if it’s right for your business. I love how they both built their brands, took big risks and I derive a lot of inspiration from Gene’s books. I wish Nikki would write more of a business book for up and coming artists and bands but he’s given enough of his time and effort for sure. I had the pleasure of working with one of Vince Neil’s managers when he got back in the band for the ‘Generation Swine’ album, and he sat in on a business meeting with Nikki and told me he was the most brilliant business man he’s ever sat in a room with in his life. So in the earlier years of my life, they influenced a lot of my looks and playing and as I got older, they took it a step further in influencing my overall music and business decisions. I still turn to their philosophies all the time for inspiration whether it be musically or business wise.

You can purchase Platinum Overdose’s sophomore album ‘Back For The Thrill’ on CD directly from The DDR Music Group and digitally from the band’s Bandcamp page.

Platinum Overdose‘s “Pretty & Punk” single (from Murder In High Heels album):