INTERVIEW WITH JASON MCMASTER OF BROKEN TEETH / DANGEROUS TOYS
Date: September 11, 2015
MANY SLEAZE ROXX READERS LIKELY FIRST FOUND OUT ABOUT JASON MCMASTER WHEN THE SINGER WAS FRONTING DANGEROUS TOYS BUT OVER THE LAST SIXTEEN YEARS, THE MESMERIZING FRONTMAN HAS FOUND HIS NICHE WITH BROKEN TEETH. SLEAZE ROXX CAUGHT UP WITH MCMASTER LESS THAN TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE RELEASE OF BROKEN TEETH’S LATEST EP ‘BULLDOZER’ TO DISCUSS MANY TOPICS INCLUDING THE NEW RECORD AND TO GET HIS VIEWS ON THE ENTIRE BROKEN TEETH DISCOGRAPHY.
Sleaze Roxx: What made you decide to record and release a Broken Teeth EP at this time and how did you come up with the songs for it?
Jason McMaster: We have slowly been working on new material, and after releasing a couple of singles over the past few years — we felt like a couple of cover songs and some new stuff would be good for a vinyl release. The label, Texas Metal Underground Records, and I coordinated to do something fun for Broken Teeth’s first ever vinyl release. It’s also out of a need to gain some momentum and book a few shows for fun, but the sessions, and getting all back together to work has been good.
Sleaze Roxx: When can we expect ‘Bulldozer’ to be released and will there be any tour dates outside of Texas in support of the EP?
Jason McMaster: We expect the record street date to hold firm to Oct. 23 . We will play some release party shows that weekend in Texas. Tour dates sound great, but we would rather play events and festivals more than just our own club dates. Sometimes you have to, because there’s isn’t anything brewing. We would love to do something out on the road again, but those calls are not coming in so, we will write and record and play to the best offers.
Sleaze Roxx: Broken Teeth have had a tendency to include already released tracks or re-record songs on subsequent releases and ‘Bulldozer’ is no exception. Why does Broken Teeth do that?
Jason McMaster: If you have four or five new songs, and you feel like you have waited a while to release something, instead of just putting out those four new tunes, it’s better to stack them with a couple of different versions, or other material to justify as close to a full-length as you can. Better to have a snack instead of a crumb. We feel lucky enough to have three full-length releases and now four more that are special collections and or live recordings. There is not any other answer as to why. It’s more like, why not?
Sleaze Roxx: Is there any significance behind the title ‘Bulldozer’ and if so, what is it?
Jason McMaster: The original idea of having this huge earth moving digger/bulldozer thing on the cover of something, was exciting to us. We had this as an idea, but without a title, and that was gonna be it. Then we started coming up with ideas about what if we called it what it is? So we did! No real brain behind it, just good rock n’ roll that makes the earth move.
Sleaze Roxx: I understand that you have been writing material for a new album and that you have enough material for a full-length Broken Teeth album. When do you expect to record the new album and have it released?
Jason McMaster: We do indeed have lots of songs written, but not yet recorded. The ideas come and they sit for a while before we even make a demo of them. We have just about done the writing and recording session every way possible. Write as many as you can as fast as you can, or I will write lyrics while the band writes song parts. It all takes about as much time to produce and the last, or the next batch of material. We all write the songs, so there is not just one way that works best. In answer to the real question, we have no idea when a new full-length will appear but we will not give in to any deadline someone may or may not have. We work at our own pace. We do this for fun and make sure we love the material we write. If we stay on it, maybe next year, we may have something.
Sleaze Roxx: Why has it taken so long to release a follow up to ‘Viva La Rock, Fantastico?’
Jason McMaster: While we toured the ‘Electric’ album as well as after, we were writing many songs. “Raining Fire” from the new record was one of those songs. ‘Viva La Rock, Fantastico’ was a turning point, a full-length of all new material. We were in the studio recording that and it was a bit of a struggle for us. I was playing bass because Brett, our bass player, was busy with opening a club, and then the last week of studio sessions, Brett finally came in and re-recorded all of his bass parts. It was a bit stressful of a time. So, we finished the record, and then did a run of shows, including a rock cruise called “Shiprocked.” Brett had a responsibility he was called away to take care of (i.e. jail), and so we were stuck with a record we had to tour/promote. Perris Records was making it happen for us, Tone Deaf Touring was doing the booking, and we had a great run of shows with new bassist, Travis Weiss. To shorten the story, Travis tragically passed away after almost three years of playing with us. He recorded a few songs with us, one of them being the song “Devil On The Road” which was originally released in 2013 and now featured on the new EP ‘Bulldozer.’ Travis is sadly missed. Our current bassist, Robb Lampman, has been with us about three years and plays on ‘Bulldozer’ with us. So, in answer to your question, there is a lot to consider in how times were testing Broken Teeth.
Sleaze Roxx: I was hoping that we could go through each of Broken Teeth’s albums and you would provide your thoughts on each album. Let’s start with Broken Teeth’s debut self-titled album. What do you think of it at this point in your music career?
Jason McMaster: The debut had its shining moments. “Undertaker” is still the biggest fan fave. In my opinion, sonically, it isn’t my favorite out of all the releases. Some of us find it to be like a classic record in the way that it sort of began the format and style of song Broken Teeth is almost now commanded to write and perform.
Sleaze Roxx: What about the next album ‘Guilty Pleasure?’
Jason McMaster: Once again, some great stuff here: “Devil Money,” “Crashlanding Affair” — fun songs. We were still reeling from the idea that we needed to have the AC/DC sound as obvious as we could without almost covering their songs, which honestly, I thought it was kinda cool. The feel of simple, almost one note song writing, became a passion.
Sleaze Roxx: And how about ‘Blood On The Radio’ which is a live album that was released after only two studio records?
Jason McMaster: We had one new song called “Bonfire” finished, and had not recorded a studio version of it until ‘Electric.’ It was a sort of bonus song, yet included in the live show for a true live recording. The video footage and recording was supported and broadcasted live on air by a local Austin, Texas radio station for the event. It was a perfect setting in a small recital room at a music school. Tons of fun!
Sleaze Roxx: Next up is the studio record ‘Electric.’ What is your take on that album eleven years later?
Jason McMaster: This one is a fave of mine! The re-recorded versions with a line-up change and a slightly angered version of the older material set the tone of what we would eventually write. The sound of this record is great and in my opinion, stands up well today, and sounds as good as anything I will ever record in the future.
Sleaze Roxx: What about ‘Viva La Rock, Fantastico’ which featured Danko Jones on two tracks?
Jason McMaster: The fact that Danko agreed to sing with me on those songs still makes me smile. We are all big fans of his, and he has been a supporter for years. This record was fun to explore. As I said before, we had been writing for a couple of years for this and had many styles of songs, different grooves, and funny as well as serious lyrical content. We never stopped writing up until the last day of recording.
Sleaze Roxx: Although Dangerous Toys have previously played the Monsters of Rock Cruise and recently the “Cathouse Live” Festival, the group has not taken part in many other ’80s type hard rock festivals? Why is that and which rock festivals do you think that Dangerous Toys would fit in well?
Jason McMaster: I think the Toys fit on any of the rock festivals. I don’t think that people know that the phone doesn’t ring off the wall with offers, but when they do, we consider what they’re offering and make sure it works with our schedules. We hate cancelling anything just to do something that may not be fruitful.
Sleaze Roxx: Is there anything that we have not covered that you would like to add?
Jason McMaster: You’ve mentioned a lot of things Broken Teeth here. I am happy with that!
Sleaze Roxx: Last question — what are your top three favorite all-time albums and why?
Jason McMaster: I’ve got four — Elton John’s ‘Captain Fantastic [And The Brown Dirt Cowboy],’ Queen’s ‘News Of The World’ and Willie Nelson’s ‘Red Headed Stranger.’ Every song on all three is gold emotion. The fourth is Kiss’ ‘Alive!’ — my second worship after Elton and Queen.