JackViper Interview

December 28, 2007

Amongst all the new rock bands coming out of Europe these days there’s a band that is taking the UK by storm and gaining the attention of the rest of the free world. That band is JackViper (www.jackviper.com), one of the hottest new groups out of England. These self proclaimed sleaze rockers are hitting the stage hard and heavy, winning awards for ‘Best Front Man’, ‘Best Live Band’ and ‘Best EP’, is just the beginning. They’ve traveled twice to the United States in the past few months to play Cruefest Hollywood and the first ever New York Cruefest 2007. Kathy got a chance to sit down with the band before they hit the stage and tore the roof off of Don Hills in NYC. They’re a lively group consisting of Jay R (vocals), Eddie Shredder (guitar), Mister Kiss (bass) and Dan Ferlanger (drums), and here is what they had to say:

Sleaze Roxx: OK we’re talking with JackViper from London. Thank you very much for joining me guys. I’ve got everybody with me?

Jay R: Yep!

Sleaze Roxx: I wanted to know, how you would describe your sound?

Mister Kiss: Sleaze rock, punk.
Jay R: We’ll break it down. It’s sleaze rock with lashings of punk and metal.
Mister Kiss: Motorhead meets Guns and Roses. That’s how we’ve been described. I think it’s pretty accurate.
Jay R: With a touch of the Sex Pistols.

Sleaze Roxx: Who writes the music?

Jay R: All of us, collectively.
Eddie Shredder: Yeah we basically just get in a room and thrash it out so it’s quite a nice mix. That’s how we write.

Sleaze Roxx: I want to congratulate you on the Rock Awards. Jay, you won ‘Best Frontman’?

Jay R: Yeah. [laughter]
Mister Kiss: He’s not so bad!
Jay R: I do earn my living.

Sleaze Roxx: What was that like for you?

Jay R: It’s good! Basically what it comes down to is the fact that any time we do a show, we always give people bang for their buck! So when people pay money to come see us, we’re not going to just stand around on the stage. We give a show every single time. So yeah, I won ‘Best Frontman’, but it’s because we all give the show.
Mister Kiss: And what was nice was that it was done by fan votes. People come to the shows, pay their money, buy the merch and they also want to vote for us as well…
Jay R: And we won ‘Best Live Band’ this year in England.
Eddie Shredder: Yeah, there was a New Music Awards ceremony. It was quite a big thing in London and we won ‘Best Live Band 2007’.
Mister Kiss: Like Jay was saying, it’s quite a nice confirmation that we give it 100 percent in our live shows.

Sleaze Roxx: As for rock & roll, did you see the American Music Awards? It’s all hip hop and Beyonce…

Jay R: Yeah it sucks! [laughter]
Sleaze Roxx: We’re not represented at all. I don’t get it. I want to know where the awards are for metal!

Sleaze Roxx: And you’re endorsed by Marshall Amps now. That must be really nice.

Eddie Shredder: Real nice! [laughter] They’re the greatest amp company in the world. When you’re a kid you know Marshall is like the one! That actually came about after the Vixen tour we did. We were on tour with Vixen and Marshall sort of got wind of that so they took us up which is really good!
Mister Kiss: If it’s good enough for Slash and Lemmy then it’s good enough for us.

Sleaze Roxx: All right! So you’re preloaded onto the new range of Creative Zen MP3 players?

Jay R: Yeah all across Europe and Russia!
Mister Kiss: Which is nice! [laughs]
Sleaze Roxx: No, I’ve been there in the winter and it’s not so nice.
Mister Kiss: Oh yeah? [laughter] I can imagine.
Jay R: We are the first unsigned band ever, anywhere, to have a full track preloaded onto a commercially available MP3 player!
Eddie Shredder: And it was actually half a million copies produced.
Mister Kiss: Yeah, to be approached by them as well it was just great.
Eddie Shredder: Quite a lot of the other bands that were on there were signed, big names, and we’re the only unsigned band, so it’s a bit of an honor.

Sleaze Roxx: So how are you enjoying New York?

Jay R: We love it! Yeah we love it, it’s cool.
Mister Kiss: I think we’re going to move here!
Eddie Shredder: Great city!

Sleaze Roxx: Yeah? Usually everybody wants to go to Los Angeles.

Jay R: We’ve been to L.A.
Mister Kiss: Well the weather there is quite nice. But I think we fit in better in New York.
Eddie Shredder: The sound that we have…
Jay R: Yeah we were saying the sound in L.A. is more glam and in New York it’s more sleaze. We’re NY style, but we love L.A. as well. Yeah we’ll get an apartment in each and spend six months in each. [laughter]
Sleaze Roxx: I’d like to do that too.

Sleaze Roxx: I was going to ask you how it differs from Cruefest in Hollywood as opposed to New York?

Mister Kiss: I think the other bands on the bill are slightly different.
Eddie Shredder: There are more glam bands in L.A. which is cool. You’d expect it really.
Jay R: I think this bill is more rock then the L.A. bill was. It’s more hard-core rock…
Mister Kiss: They’ve got slightly bigger hair in L.A. as well.
Jay R: I think for the first NY one it’s…
Eddie Shredder: Legendary.
Mister Kiss: Very cool yeah.

Sleaze Roxx: How do the women differ from New York, Los Angeles and London?

Jay R: [laughs] There ain’t no difference! [more laughter] Rock & roll girls are rock & roll girls, what can I say! Great women. [laughter]

Sleaze Roxx: You’ve had a lot happen to you in a short period of time. You’ve had tours with Tracii Guns, Slunt and Vixen. Did they come out and watch you every night?

Jay R: Yeah. We loved it, we’re still in contact with them.
Mister Kiss: They’re over in the UK. I think they played last night so they sent us a message saying, “You’ve got to come out and party with us, it’s going to be great.” We had to say, “We’re in New York!”
Eddie Shredder: It was nice on that tour with Vixen, they really looked out for us.
Jay R: One cool band.
Dan Ferlanger: Great bunch of people.

Sleaze Roxx: And House of Lords designed a logo for you?

Eddie Shredder: Yeah, well Chris the bass player actually did a really wicked logo for us but we’re still trying to chase him up to get a hold of it. [laughs] We’re still trying to get it!
Jay R: It was fucking good wasn’t it? We’ll have to fucking get it.

Sleaze Roxx: So who was the most fun on that tour?

Mister Kiss: Everyone was cool. You mean band wise?
Jay R: Or personally?
Eddie Shredder: We’d have to say the roadie Ed.
Jay R: Yeah he was a good guy, man.
Eddie Shredder: He looked after us on the tour.
Jay R: Yeah he was cool, we were up at five o’clock in the morning with him having coffee and croissants.
Mister Kiss: All very rock and roll. [laughs]

Sleaze Roxx: How’s the scene in London? Are there a lot of clubs? A lot of people coming out?

Eddie Shredder: Yeah, it’s getting better. There are three or four clubs up in Camden…
Jay R: It is happening over in the UK. There are a hell of a lot of bands and the scene is growing all the time.
Mister Kiss: Since we came out like a year and a half ago there’s a lot more bands coming out now. When we came out there was not a lot of people saying, “We’re a sleaze band.”
Eddie Shredder: No one really talked about sleaze rock and then we came out and just said we’re a sleaze band and then a lot of other people started coming out as well.
Jay R: Yeah and that’s cool.
Eddie Shredder: Yeah it means the scene is boiling up and there’s a lot of interest for all of these bands and there are lots of clubs starting to spring up all around.
Jay R: But we had the balls to go there and say it when it wasn’t fashionable.
Mister Kiss: It definitely wasn’t fashionable!
Jay R: It’s still not fashionable but it’s getting there.
Eddie Shredder: If you look at the fashion in London everything is changing. People are starting to take it to the next level…the sleaze fashion! The signs are good.
Sleaze Roxx: Yeah it’s here in NY too, finally!
Eddie Shredder: It’s about time I say!
Jay R: It’s time for rock to come back. Sleaze rock, yeah! [laughter]

Sleaze Roxx: A lot of the European bands come to London first right?

All: That’s right, yeah.
Sleaze Roxx: I’m sure there’s not a lot of places to play in Russia, Sweden and some of these other places. Well except Sweden, there’s a lot of places in Sweden.
Jay R: Sweden’s got a good scene.
Mister Kiss: Well there’s a lot of history to it. You’ve got a lot of good bands historically that came to London, so I think it’s like for us, NY and LA. There’s places we want to go play because of the history behind it. London is the same for European bands.
Sleaze Roxx: And when you ask American bands where you want to play they say NY, London and LA. That’s it.
Jay R: London is a tough place. It’s such a big city so there’s a lot of stuff going on.
Mister Kiss: On any one night that we play there are usually like three big bands playing so you’ve got to work really hard to bring in the crowd, which we’ve done which is quite cool.
Eddie Shredder: So yeah, it’s like there’s Motorhead playing down the road or Buckcherry, so you struggle. You’ve got to work hard to get your fans in there. I think that’s one of the things we’ve managed to set ourselves apart from the other bands out there.
Sleaze Roxx: You really put on your show!
Mister Kiss: Every night yeah, we have to!

Sleaze Roxx: I was reading that you did the soundtrack on an Axl Rose DVD?

Mister Kiss: Yeah that was one of the first things we did.
Eddie Shredder: We were contacted by this guy who was doing the first ever Axl Rose DVD and he wanted to take a couple of our tracks and put it on the sound track. It’s a good DVD you should go out and buy it!!
Mister Kiss: Axl Rose dancing around to JackViper, now what more could you ask for?!

Sleaze Roxx: OK, Eddie and Mister Kiss are brothers, does that ever cause any problems?

Eddie Shredder: No it’s cool. I think it helps, you know, with the song writing and stuff like that. Obviously you’ve grown up together and gone through a lot of shit together so it helps that you know what they’re thinking on stage.

Sleaze Roxx: What’s something else that would surprise us about you?

Dan Ferlanger: I like to eat raw wild boar. [laughter]
Sleaze Roxx: Now that doesn’t surprise me. [laughs]
Mister Kiss: Not a lot of people know that.
Dan Ferlanger: It’s one of my demands before a show.
Sleaze Roxx: There’s nothing else that would surprise me?
Jay R: Well there is but were not going to say what!

Sleaze Roxx: All right then what’s the most ‘Rock Star’ like thing you’ve ever done?

Jay R: Oh fuck! [laughs]
Mister Kiss: Have we got about an hour…??
Jay R: Take your pick.
Mister Kiss: Maybe collectively it was the Slunt tour. We got evicted from a hotel by riot police! That almost happened last night as well, [laughter] it’s kinda like a regular thing.
Eddie Shredder: We were partying with Slunt and basically it just got a little out of control and riot police turned up and everyone got kicked out on the street with all our stuff and it was pissing down rain. What the fuck do we do? So we slept on a building site, it was wonderful and weird! We went to sleep on the building site and we woke up…
Jay R: By a river [laughter]
Mister Kiss: We’re not quite sure how that happened.
Eddie Shredder: Quite bizarre, that was funny. [laughter]

Sleaze Roxx: What do you guys listen to?
Jay R: A lot of Hip Hop [laughter]
Mister Kiss: Jay Z, that kind of shit. [laughter] Seriously though, I think individually it’s slightly different but there’s a lot of common ground.
Eddie Shredder: For me I like my old school stuff like Guns N’ Roses and Motorhead and then Bullets And Octane.
Dan Ferlanger: I like Queen as well. Bands like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin, slightly more Classic rock.

Sleaze Roxx: Why do you play Rock & Roll?

Mister Kiss: Well why not, you know!!
Jay R: Because that’s what we are. I think it’s in your blood to play Rock & Roll. It’s part of who we are. I don’t think I could live if I didn’t play Rock & Roll.
Mister Kiss: It’s not a choice, it’s just what we have to do.
Jay R: And because it’s exciting and it’s thrilling and it’s fucking everything life should be. Not that dull shit that people listen to.
Dan Ferlanger: Yeah
Mister Kiss: Exactly man.
Jay R: And that’s why we do it.
Mister Kiss: And the chicks as well.
Jay R: Oh yeah and the chicks, that’s just a fringe benefit. [laughter]
Eddie Shredder: Hey man, I’d like to think that even if I didn’t play Rock & Roll that I’d get loads…
Jay R: No man you’d get nothing. [bursts of laughter]

Sleaze Roxx: Anything else you want to tell us about you? We Americans are ready for this kind of music, we are aching for it.

Jay R: Good, definitely thank God. [laughs] For me I would say that sleaze is coming back and now is the time a band or a couple of bands are ready to take this music to a new level and get it back to the public. I think the public as a whole, when they’re exposed to it, actually enjoy it. But they’re not exposed to it enough because the mainstream press and everybody else in the UK are trying to keep it down. But they can’t keep it down, its coming! There’s a turn around coming, you can see it in the fashion. Rock & Roll is coming back.
Eddie Shredder: And there’s renewed interest in a lot of the older bands who are coming out and selling out big arenas. Someone’s got to take notice!
Jay R: You can’t stop Rock & Roll!!
Mister Kiss: And I think people are sick of the bullshit currently out there. There have been a lot of shit bands coming out recently in the UK, like over the past ten years. Manufactured rubbish. What is quite good now is the main labels are being taken to task now with the downloading of tracks, they’re all going bust and the independents are coming up again. I think people are kind of sick of being force fed manufactured label rubbish!
Jay R: We want you to know that JackViper will be back in the US next year!
Mister Kiss: We should have a full length album maybe February or March. And then hopefully we will be playing LA again next summer and then hopefully after that we will come back to NY. Give the people what they want!
Eddie Shredder: Yeah keep checking out our website www.jackviper.com and www.myspace.com/jackviper05 to keep updated on all our news.

Sleaze Roxx: Very good. Thank you so much guys I really appreciate it.

Mister Kiss: No problem it was our pleasure.
Jay R: No problem.

For more on JackViper visit www.jackviper.com or www.myspace.com/jackviper05

Thanks to JackViper and Kathy F