JASON MCMASTER INTERVIEW:
June 12, 2005
Dangerous Toys was one of the best of the ’80s sleaze bands, and vocalist Jason McMaster is still dishing out good old rock ‘n’ roll. Currently he is focusing on Broken Teeth, and band that sounds like AC/DC waking up on the wrong side of bed. Jason talked about his old Dangerous Toys days and also what lays ahead for Broken Teeth.
SR: After only two studio albums, why did you decide to release a live Broken Teeth album so soon?
JM: Too easy of a question. We put out a live CD after two studio releases to say we have a lot more energy when we play live. The upgraded versions with a complete band, and after we have been playing the songs for a while, have definitely gotten harder, played with more fire than on the studio tracks. The result is the live CD Blood On The Radio. The show was recorded live while it was being broadcast on the air, KLBJ 93.7 Rock in Austin has a show called “Local Licks”. We were invited to play, they gave away tickets on the air and the in studio audience was all ticket winners, etc.. Then we threw down, recorded everything, audio and video, released a CD and a DVD of the show and called it Blood On The Radio. Get it at brokenteeth.com and perrisrecords.com.
SR: Are you currently working on material for a new studio album?
JM: We are writing stuff for a new studio CD, yes.
SR: How did Broken Teeth come together?
JM: Paul and drummer Bruce Rivers wrote a record they were to record. Looking for a studio, they were talkin with Perris Records about an offer to record at Perris if Paul and Bruce agreed to write another set of songs in the vein of AC/DC, Motorhead, and old school nasty garage rock stuff. They agreed and I heard about it and got involved, called it Broken Teeth, and recorded the first CD with me, Paul and Bruce. I played bass and we created a name of a second guitarist and bassist. When the CD sold well enough, we had to form a band to play live. The line-up is rounded out with Brett McCormick on bass and Jared Tuten on guitar.
SR: For people that might not have heard Broken Teeth, SSIK, Gahdzilla Motor Company or Dangerous Toys, explain how each band is different then the other.
JM: SSIK is a KISS cover band, Gahdzilla Motor Co. is super heavy sci-fi Metallica/Slayer with doom sprinkled on top, and Dangerous Toys is a hard rock band worshipping at the alter of fun rock from metal to glam. The Toys are into the Sex Pistols and Prince, coming thru with Aerosmith, ZZ Top and Foghat thrown on top of AC/DC and Van Halen. Pretty much a metal band, a cover band, and a fun rock n roll band. I would say Broken Teeth is trying to be in the middle somewhere of all that mess, without being a cover band of course, but we definitely borrow from a style.
SR: Did you ever get to see the female fronted Onyxx band that would later become Dangerous Toys? If so, what was your first impression?
JM: Of course. Onyxx, the band, would come see my band Watchtower play downtown as early as 86 and 87. They borrowed our drum riser a few times. But I saw Onyxx a few times. She was a good singer and had some good licks.
SR: How difficult was it to walk away from Watchtower to join Dangerous Toys, and what were the main reasons you switched bands?
JM: Pretty hard, I felt like I was leaving school to go home to bad news. Billy White leaving Watchtower made a lot of things change for me. I felt like when Tower had to replace Billy that something may have gone with it that made me start to look at other styles. If it were up to me, I would’ve liked to have done both bands. A tough time adjusting turned into a great time of experience. I got to work with some great people, see the world, and make some fun rock n roll. I toured with my idols, after and during that. Watchtower and other projects flourished from my involvement in all of it. I had stayed in touch with pen pals from years of tape trading in the metal underground. It was great to go and meet people over seas, who I had been writing for more than 5 years.
SR: Looking back, do you find the lyrics on the Dangerous Toys debut to be a bit childish?
JM: That is kind of the idea, its cock rock. It’s about sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. As well, I believe that some of it as story telling, was pretty good stuff. Bones In The Gutter, Here Comes Trouble, some of the earliest lyrics we had, were all tales of gore and funny innuendos, which took it into an Alice Cooper thing. Made up, childish, silly? Sure it is. It’s what we were trying to do.
SR: How do you feel about the Hellacious Acres album? It seems to get some bad press, but I personally like it.
JM: I hate it. Our third, Pissed from 94, should’ve been our second release. We were touring with the Cult, we were selling well, and all of a sudden we were forced to go home, write a record and record by the summer of 91. Our first CD was out summer 89. I still to this day do not think we were ready to make a record. Anyway, the songs came, just too late. So Hellacious turned into a CD of about 5, maybe 6, songs that I like, and that’s being nice. Pissed in 94 was too late.
SR: After dedicating Scared to Alice Cooper, what was it like to be able to play with him and other great bands on the Operation Rock’n’Roll tour?
JM: Touring with bands I had grown up listening to, had covered all their songs, had their posters on my walls, and had bought many tickets to see them live when they came thru my town? It really put it into perspective and made it all real, it was a blast, the best times!! I hung with Lemmy the most, hung with Halford and hung out with Metal Church. All are good people, memories for life.
SR: Why do you think that tour failed to generate much interest?
JM: The changing of the buck, the dollar bill moving on, the Gulf War, all this shit, music was changing. The televisions and ads were turning a leaf. Bon Jovi and Skid Row were not number one anymore. I don’t have all the answers, but there was a turn of face by the entire planet to a new generation of style and fashion, and it made me sick how it was all of a sudden a new thing, and not the old, why not all of it? Then I got to thinking, for people to be so fake and sell their Judas Priest records and just buy music from Seattle because the media says it’s cool, is sad. But fans who are true, never left, they’ve always been there. Most of them didn’t get it, you have to press play on your stereo when the radio doesn’t play what you like, turn on the CD player. Honestly, Operation Rock ‘N’ Roll drew fine in my eyes, only a few dates fell off and the Toys made new fans at every stop.
SR: I think Pissed is Dangerous Toys’ best album, were you disappointed that it went largely unnoticed?
JM: It had bad distribution by the time we were deep into it, but it actually sold twice what Rtist 4merly sold.
SR: Do you think The R*Tist 4*Merly Known As was too much of a departure for most fans?
JM: Rtist was way to fast in showing our belief in a shake at really letting influence come thru. Slower songs than our previously slow and faster and heavier than our previous fast and heavy songs was the goal. No generation gaps shown thru, it was a seamless record in my opinion. We lost people with the release of it, all anyone wanted to hear was the first record. We felt like we had really crossed into ourselves especially with the writing. Then the label went belly up and so did the oncoming reviews of the CD.
SR: How did Michael Hannon join Dangerous Toys and what was he like to work with?
JM: Mike Hannon was great. Mike Watson left for personal reasons after the recording of Pissed, I think he was just burnt out. Two weeks before a 200 date tour, Mike Hannon, an old friend, came to Texas, learned 20 songs and we hit the road. It was awesome, Hannon was a mean rock n roll son of a bitch, we had a blast with him. Interesting enough, we already knew we were gonna write some different shit when we got home. A lot of things had changed and we were more pissed when we got home than we were when we started a tour called the Pissed tour, ha.
SR: Why did Dangerous Toys break up?
JM: Dangerous Toys never truly broke up. No official break-up was released at all. We all got busy with other projects. Paul Lidel and I actually wrote a batch of songs after the Rtist 4merly tour. There are lots of unreleased Toys songs that are floating around. The chance of a new Toys release isn’t really a topic that comes up that much. Going out on top is better than making another CD that could bomb.
SR: Does Paul Lidel ever mention what it was like working with Dirty Looks’ front man Henrik Ostergaard?
JM: Paul had some good experiences with Henrick, but you’d have to talk to him about stories if any. I love Dirty Looks, that’s some good rock.
SR: What are your thoughts on bands like Asphalt Ballet, Kix, Sea Hags, Johnny Crash, Salty Dog and Cats In Boots?
JM: All are nasty bad ass rock n roll bands. I have most of the releases from all of those bands, good stuff.
SR: What is the most outrageous thing that has happened to you on the road?
JM: My zipper broke, I fell off the stage, fell thru the stage, the roof fell in, pretty typical Spinal Tap stuff.
SR: How big of an effect has drugs/alcohol played on your career?
JM: Very little problems with drugs and alcohol, no addictions to mention. It’s been nice to take a little and come back and know what it’s about, and dabble again if I feel it. But for the most part, pretty straight, have a drink, have a smoke, but party as a lifestyle. It’s hard to perform wasted, for me anyway.
SR: With SSIK it is obvious that you are a KISS fan, so what are your thoughts on their current line-up?
JM: Whatever KISS has to do to be their best. Tommy Thayer is the best Ace I have ever seen/heard and Eric Singer is a drum god. Peter and Ace have to be burnt out by now, I am scared believe that, but I saw them thruout the reunion comebacks and they were a little loose. Gene and Paul don’t like to be a little loose.
SR: Did you know Dimebag Darrell, and how has his murder affected how you interact with fans?
JM: I knew Dime the way his fans knew him. I am sure that I could call him a friend, and I spoke with him as a friend, and I will miss him in the same ways we all as fans will miss him. The way he was killed can happen to anyone, this person was crazed. There are shootings going on all over the place, so to change the way I approach people or to be cautious isn’t really at the top of my mind. I just try to do my best for people and hope the crazy out there are heading the other direction. Long live Dime!
SR: Do you think hard rock/heavy metal is starting to make a comeback?
JM: As I was saying a little earlier, it never left. The fans just follow the media like cattle, the true fans never left. I am a fan of the same stuff I was 20 years ago. Making a comeback, from what? Fashion and style change with the way the models dress. Britney Spears is big because of sexual frustration and sells more Pepsi than songs. How fucked up is that? To pay attention too closely can result in a bad car wreck, and the spoon-fed world is in a body cast. The media controls what they eat. Long live rock.
SR: What can fans expect to see in the future from Jason McMaster?
JM: I really am happy making records and releasing them with no budgets, on my own terms and hitting the road with people I respect. Not wearing a costume, rockin the fuckin house wherever I go and will continue to do so. I am possessed by the music, and make the kind of music that I want to listen to, makes sense to me this way. I feel lucky to have people into my stuff and appreciate it very much. Come see Broken Teeth, and look for a new CD soon.
Thanks to Jason McMaster