INTERVIEW WITH PLATINUM OVERDOSE FOUNDER & BASSIST (AND DEMON DOLL RECORDS PRINCIPAL) LANCE V.
Date: July 19, 2019
WHEN DEMON DOLL RECORDS PRINCIPAL LANCE V. APPROACHED ME ABOUT SLEAZE ROXX PREMIERING HIS NEW BAND’S EIGHTIES SOUNDING DEBUT ALBUM, I WAS A LITTLE SKEPTICAL. WHAT IF IT SUCKED? THERE WAS NO DOUBT THAT LANCE V. HAD THE PEDIGREE TO PULL IT OFF HAVING MASTERMINDED HIS AMAZING LABEL, DEMON DOLL RECORDS, FOR MANY YEARS BUT COULD THE MAN ACTUALLY PLAY AND WRITE GOOD SONGS? ONE LISTEN TO PLATINUM OVERDOSE’S SINGLE “RISE UP” TOOK CARE OF WHATEVER HESITATIONS THAT I MIGHT HAVE. PLATINUM OVERDOSE CONSIST OF LANCE V. ON BASS, MATT THORR (ROUGH CUTT, JAILHOUSE) ON RHYTHM GUITAR, STEVE PHILBROOK (BRASS KITTEN) ON LEAD VOCALS AND RICK MEAD (SYRE) ON LEAD GUITAR. I AM CONFIDENT THAT ANY LOVER OF ’80S TYPE ‘HAIR METAL’ WILL REALLY DIG WHAT PLATINUM OVERDOSE HAVE TO OFFER. PLATINUM OVERDOSE’S DEBUT ALBUM ‘MURDER IN HIGH HEELS’ WILL BE RELEASED ON AUGUST 30, 2019 AND IS AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER VIA DEMON DOLL RECORDS AND BANDCAMP.
Sleaze Roxx: Congratulations on the formation of Platinum Overdose. You let me hear a couple of the songs [“Rise Up” and “Red Light Rhythm”] on the band’s upcoming debut album and they sound great! I am going to assume that you are the architect behind the band. How did the band get formed and how long has this been in the making?
Lance V.: Thanks Olivier. I could not be happier that you like the two songs I sent over. Yes, I am the architect behind the project and I produced the album. It really started from me listening to some old demos of someone I worked with back in the early ’90s who passed away, and I thought, “What a shame it is that these songs never got recorded or saw the light of day.” So it started off with just wanting to record a couple of songs and put them out. I also really wanted it to sound ’80s. I wanted that Ratt, Dokken, Mötley Crüe guitar sound, big drums layered in reverb — just that big over the top type sound and feeling I got from listening to all the great ’80s bands.
I’ve been friends with Matt Thorr for nearly 20 years and have so much admiration for his work in Rough Cutt and Jailhouse as well as co writing Ratt’s “Back For More.” I approached him first and once he agreed to join me on the journey, we were off. I don’t think people really know how talented Matt really is. There isn’t much he can’t do and I was floored at what a great rhythm guitar player he was. In my mind, he is a musical prodigy. After the first two songs were rough mixed, I knew we had something good and we decided to go for a whole ten song album. We worked on it for nine months and finally got it where I wanted it to be and we as band are all very happy with the result. We hope the listeners will enjoy it.
Sleaze Roxx: Obviously, you have access to a wide range of late ’80s / early ’90s era musicians. Why did you end up going with Rick and Steve as well to be part of the band over the many others on your label roster?
Lance V.: Steve is so many things to me. It’s hard to break them all down. I always loved his voice and what he did with Brass Kitten but I think he was a little rushed in that project and I knew he was even better vocally then what was on those records and I believe I was right. You’ll have to listen to the whole album and tell me if you agree.
Sleaze Roxx: Well, I did say in my review of Brass Kitten’s debut album ‘E-Z ‘N’ Pretty’ that the big standout on that album was Steve’s amazing voice and range, and that I could listen to him sing all day, so I can’t wait to hear the entire Platinum Overdose album!
Lance V.: I think Steve’s voice is even better now than it was and is going to get even better on the next album we do, as we are not stopping here. He’s also a really great guy in general and really great to work with so I’m very happy he decided to join the band. Rick is another great guy and I love all the guys in Syre. They’ve always been really supportive of Demon Doll Records and when I watched a few videos of Rick playing on YouTube, I knew I wanted him for the project. The man can play the guitar and has great feel for the songs and when to let loose and when to hold back. That’s a talent all in itself. There are hundreds of talented guys on my label and I’d love to work with a lot of them but these three were the best fit in my opinion as they understood what I was trying to accomplish and brought passion and personality to the record. It’s been honor to work with them.
Sleaze Roxx: Your band line-up does not mention a drummer. Why is that and who is the drummer that played on the debut album?
Lance V.: When I initially started with the two songs my mentor wrote, I didn’t have an idea of how far this was going to go so I got a session player for the two tracks. He did such an amazing job [that] I just kept rolling with him and I think he crushed it. His name is Glen and I can’t thank him enough for jumping in and hammering the songs out. The drummer is always the back bone of every band and he’s one heck of player. I really wanted my best friend Robbi Black from Alleycat Scratch to do this project but he was tied up with other things and the timing for us both just wasn’t right. Maybe album number two Mr. Black? I’ll keep you posted if anything breaks but for surely in my opinion, Robbi’s one of the best drummers I’ve ever played with — but on this record, all the credit goes to Glen.
Sleaze Roxx: There must be some significance with the band name Platinum Overdose. How did you guys come up with it?
Lance V.: I came up with the name. I’ve known a few friends that went platinum and I know a few friends that overdosed and aren’t on this planet anymore. When you live in Los Angeles for 25 years, there isn’t much you don’t get to see and or experience. It’s not literally speaking of one person or one incident but more of my love affair with the city of Los Angeles. It can take you to the top and kill you at the same time. The songs I wrote on the record are essentially love letters to Los Angeles and some of the amazing women I’ve spent time with in the city. Nashville may be music city but Los Angeles will always be ‘Rock City’ in my opinion. When you spawn Mötley Crüe and Guns N’ Roses to name just two, it’s hard to debate that.
Sleaze Roxx: The songs that I have heard from Platinum Overdose so far have a real ’80s feel to them. A lot of bands try to recreate that sound but it’s easier said than done. How difficult was it to come up with great sounding ’80s type songs and who handled the songwriting?
Lance V.: Easier said than done is exactly right. In producing the record, I spent a lot of time listening to Dokken, Ratt, W.A.S.P. and Mötley Crüe (which I do anyways on a daily basis), but I really dug in to what they were doing. I think the biggest thing in my opinion on ’80s sounding records is the layering of the music. There is just one layer after another after another. One song we have 40 tracks of Steve singing, another song 28 tracks of him and so on. Guitars are doing different things in stereo. Listen to Guns N’ Roses panned to the left, and Slash is doing one thing and listen to it panned to the right, and Izzy [Stradlin] is doing something completely different.
There are a lot of intricate things going on in those layers and it is very time consuming to come up with them and get them right thus why it took us nine months of working on this album everyday to get it in the ’80s arena. I know Steve probably wanted to choke me for making him sing a part ten times but I think it all came out pretty good. Time and effort is the key and having an engineer like Matt to get the tones just right, it was a tough job but one we will do again for sure. The songwriting was done by a few people. As I had mentioned before, it all started wanting to record some demos Chester Olsefsky — from Champagne Suicide, the first band I was ever in — wrote back in 1990. Steve wrote one track. I wrote two tracks. Matt, Steve and I wrote another track and when it came to this type of music, I had to reach out to a very dear friend of mine Aeriel Stiles. I asked if he had anything for me and he was more than happy to get involved with the project. He’s a great songwriter and an even better person, so he’s got two tracks on the album and we co-wrote another one together.
Platinum Overdose‘s “Rise Up” single:
From the debut album ‘Murder In High Heels’ available August 30, 2019 CD available: https://www.demondollrecords.com/products/platinum-overdose-murder-in-hig…
Sleaze Roxx: Many people will recognize the names of the other guys in the band but what about you? What’s your background as a musician and producer?
Lance V.: Yes, I am the behind the scenes guy. I started making trips to Los Angeles starting in 1990 and I would crash on floors and couches and stay for three or four months until I ran out of money and head back to the east coast. I did that for three years and finally moved here for good in 1994. I was glad I made those extended stays back in the day as I got to experience the entire Sunset Strip scene and so many great bands. I originally started playing drums and was the first member to join Champagne Suicide in New York City but eventually decided I wanted to play bass so unfortunately, I wasn’t in the band long enough to play on the records and the bass gig had already been filled by my childhood friend Troy Nations, so I just practiced and wrote until I finally got to Los Angeles full-time.
By that time, the Strip was dead and it was either grunge or punk, so I started a punk band and we played every club in town. We did have Robbi Black on drums from Alleycat Scratch and Derek Kennedy on guitars from Champagne Suicide. For a couple months, we had my good friend Paige Haley on guitars as well who was also demoing songs with Orgy at the time and as you could imagine, he took that gig instead. Can’t blame him on that one. That played itself out and then I started producing artists and wound up with a couple tracks on NBC from a very talented female singer / songwriter. After that, I had my own club night at the Dragonfly in Hollywood and the Cat Club on the Sunset Strip called “Club Fiend” and I did that for a few years. Essentially, I dabbled in all sorts of things music for a long time and now I’m back producing, writing and putting bands together, I guess everything comes full circle.
Sleaze Roxx: I love the artwork for the single “Red Light Rhythm.” How important do you think that artwork is in terms of selling the ’80s type brand of music?
Lance V.: I think it’s of critical importance. The ’80s wasn’t just the music it was a lifestyle and the artwork was a big part of it. The covers for ‘Out Of The Cellar’ and ‘Invasion of Your Privacy’ were amazing. Mötley Crüe have a bunch of great ones. ‘Look What The Cat Dragged In’ is one of favorites and so many more. We definitely try to take the artwork as seriously as the music. I think they work hand in hand, although a great record doesn’t need a great cover. A bad record won’t be saved by a good cover either. It was a different time and walking down the aisles of the record stores, it was the album covers that caught your eye first, then for me it was the song titles and the look of the band. If you nailed those three, then you had my money.
Sleaze Roxx: How did you guys come up with the album title ‘Murder In High Heels’?
Lance V.: I’ll make this one short. It’s the song title of the closing track on the KISS record ‘Animalize’.
Sleaze Roxx: I knew it [laughs]. I should have came right out and said it [laughs].
Lance V.: [Laughs] To say I love KISS would be an understatement and to go one further, I know I am probably in the minority on this but I liked them better without the make-up. ‘Lick It Up’, ‘Asylum’, ‘Crazy Nights’… amazing albums. If I get started on KISS, I’ll never stop so I’ll move onto the next question.
Track List for Murder In High Heels:
01. Pretty & Punk
02. Rise Up
03. Need Your Love
04. Red Light Rhythm
05. Young And Wild
06. Bye Bye Baby
07. Black Widow
08. Out On The Run
09. Broken Boulevard
10. Girls On Fire
Sleaze Roxx: I can totally get that. KISS were my favourite band for the longest time. Are there any plans to play any shows in the future?
Lance V.: No plans on any shows at this time. It took a lot of energy to make the record and now we’re working on a three-song EP as we speak to release next. If someone hits us with the right offer that appeases everyone and fits their schedule, it’s possible but right now I’m focused on making the best music we can and so are the other guys.
Sleaze Roxx: Many Sleaze Roxx readers know you as the man behind Demon Doll Records. What’s the history behind Demon Doll Records and how do you unearth all these great but often forgotten albums / bands from the late ’80s / early ’90s?
Lance V.: I guess we could go all the way back to my first concert being Judas Priest and Dokken at the Meadowlands in New Jersey and let’s just say I was hooked for life on this type of music but we’d be here for a week going though all that. I was the guy out of all of my friends that bought every record the minute it came out. I had thousands of cassettes at that time and my friends would always say I would have a radio show or a record label. I guess they were right! Demon Doll Records has always been a passion project as I feel this music never should have gone away and all the bands that were on the verge of coming out kind of got shafted by the industry. I’m not taking anything away from any other style of music but there was room to keep this type of music alive and personally I wasn’t ready for it to go away.
I think a lot of great bands or potentially great bands didn’t get their shot and it’s been a pleasure to release a lot of them. In my opinion, Swingin’ Thing should have popped and hit MTV and they had the record deal but it didn’t happen and it’s been an honour to get them, Blackboard Jungle, The Glamour Punks, Wild Boyz and so many others music out there. I love all of our artists. All that being said, I could not have done it in the beginning without the help of my brother Robbi Black and over the last four years, my A&R guru Shane Martin is the best in the business in my opinion. Shane is an amazing human being and I could not be luckier to have him on my team and working for Demon Doll Records. Without the help of Robbi and Shane, we probably wouldn’t be here today, so thank you to those guys, I love them both. It is a lot of work finding the bands, finding the members and getting it all polished up and released. It’s a total team effort.
Sleaze Roxx: Demon Doll Records as far as I know caters mainly to artists from the past. How do you think that it will be different promoting a brand new band like Platinum Overdose?
Lance V.: It will be a little different but promoting an album is promoting an album. We try to get as many eyeballs and ears on it as possible and hope the fans like it and appreciate it enough to grab a copy and tell their friends. It is different in that a lot of re-issues we do, people have heard a lot of the material. Obviously, no one has ever heard these recordings so we are excited to get it there and see what people think of the album.
Sleaze Roxx: You definitely have a real passion for the ’80s genre. What’s your background beside what we have already covered?
Lance V.: As I touched on a little bit before, my first concert was Judas Priest and Dokken and I was hooked but before that it all started with MTV. I can remember being at a friend’s house watching the MTV countdown for the first time and catching at number three, “In My Dreams” by Dokken and it blew me away. Then number two was “Shot In The Dark” by Ozzy and that really grabbed my attention and of course the record holders were next at number one with “Home Sweet Home.” I knew at that point exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I then made trying to see every band possible my mission. Mötley Crüe on the ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ tour was an all-time favorite.
Sleaze Roxx: Seeing Mötley Crüe on their ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ tour was one of my first concerts and I loved that one too!
Lance V.: I saw Guns N’ Roses at Giants Stadium for the filming of “Paradise City.” KISS, Ozzy, AC/DC, Ratt, Van Halen, Poison, L.A. Guns, Skid Row, Bon Jovi, Electric Angels, Law And Order, Cinderella, Warrant, David Lee Roth and the list goes on and on. It’s just been undying passion of mine since I was a kid and for some reason it just won’t go away.
Sleaze Roxx: Where can people purchase Platinum Overdose’s debut album ‘Murder In High Heels’?
Lance V.: The pre-sale for the album has begun and people can pre-order the CD at the introductory price exclusively through Demon Doll Records. It will not be available anywhere else and they can pre-order a digital album download and get the first two singles immediately with that purchase exclusively at Bandcamp, which is also the only place the digital album will be available. This album will not be available as single track downloads or on any streaming platforms upon its release. All pre-orders will be shipped on the album release date which is August 30, 2019.
Sleaze Roxx: Is there anything that we haven’t covered that you’d like to mention?
Lance V.: I just want to say thanks to all the people that have supported Demon Doll Records and all of our artists. Eighties rock fans are the greatest fans in the world and I want to personally thank Chester’s daughter Tiffany for giving us the green light and her blessings to record two of her Dad’s songs. Having her supporting the project means the world to me.
Sleaze Roxx: Last question for you — what are your top three albums of all-time and why?
Lance V.: Tough question! Just three?
Sleaze Roxx: You got to cap it somewhere. I have a feeling that you could go on for a long time [laughs].
Lance V.: [Laughs] Okay, here we go. Mötley Crüe’s ‘Too Fast For Love’ — In my opinion, the best band that’s ever done it and it’s tough to choose just one of their albums but this one just has an edge to it. It has a little punk attitude. It’s raw and the first time I heard “Live Wire”, I was in awe. The album for me from start to finish is a masterpiece. Nikki’s songwriting is just amazing and the closer “On With The Show” is probably one of my favorite songs of all-time.
L.A. Guns’ ‘L.A. Guns’ — Another album that wasn’t over produced and was raw and had a ton of energy. I think it really captured Hollywood and what it was all about. Even the ballad wasn’t a love song. It just feels really authentic to me and great from front to back. I don’ think there was any doubt they loved Los Angeles, so I felt connected to that vibe and still love listening to the record all the time.
Skid Row’s ‘Skid Row’ — I grew up in New Jersey so the hype around this band in that neck of the woods was huge. It was a record I could not wait to hear. I believe they sequestered them in Wisconsin and kept them sober to make the album. That peaked my interest as a kid. I went to Sam Goody the day before it was to come out and I could see the box of cassettes sitting behind the counter and I tried to bribe the kid working the counter to sell me one and he wouldn’t budge, told me to come back the next day. That I did and upon my first listen to “Big Guns”, I was blown away — no pun intended. They delivered the goods for sure. I love the whole album front to back and still have not figured out how “Can’t Stand The Heartache” didn’t get released as a video.
If I can, I must throw an honourable mention to Poison’s ‘Look What The Cat Dragged In’ — another amazing album.
Thank you Olivier for doing such a great job with Sleaze Roxx and keeping it going strong and supporting what Demon Doll Records has done over the years. You’re a much appreciated part of the ’80’s metal world we live in today.