Jay R Interview

April 23, 2006

The new generation of sleaze is upon us, and few bands are as impressive as England’s JackViper (www.jackviper.com). They have managed to take the best of the 80s Sunset Strip and put their own twist on things. The band recently appeared on the latest Hollywood Hairspray compilation, and according to vocalist Jay R in this exclusive interview, are looking for a label to sign them.

SR: I see you recently landed on the Hollywood Hairspray 5 compilation, this must be a big deal for you guys.

JR: Hollywood hairspray is a big step for us after only nine months to be on a respected compilation from a label we really like, is fucking cool and shows we’re heading in the right direction. This is another way of spreading the Viper around the planet.

SR: You’ve released three mini EPs at the moment, do you have any other songs finished up?

JackViperJR: Hell yeah! We have a shit load of songs all finished and ready to record and are writing new stuff all the time. At our last show on London on the 24/2, we debuted three new tracks. We could record the debut album tomorrow with completely new stuff, in fact that is what we wanna do and then re-record all the demo songs for a bonus e.p. for people who didn’t get it the first time around but until we sign the plan is to record another couple in March/April for a single release.

SR: Do you have any labels wanting to sign you right now?

JR: Let’s put it this way, there is some serious interest from a couple of good name labels but until ink is on paper we can’t say shit about who it is, but we can say we are fairly confident that a deal will materialize some time this year. It sucks at the moment cause we really want to put the debut album out there, because it will make people sit up and take notice of sleaze again, but the deal has to be right. We won’t piss this away with a back alley label.

SR: Will you continue putting out EPs until the right deal comes along?

JR: Yeah! Don’t worry about that, we will still put out a regular sleaze fix until the deal is set in stone. We are toying with different formats, like double ‘A’ side singles and such as opposed to just shoving out EPs. The next batch are ready to go…probably gonna be three tracks with one being a really dark ballad!

SR: I see you also have a DVD out called Dirty Pictures. What all is on it?

JR: Yeah! It’s basically a collection of the Viper’s favourite girl on girl action!…HA!HA! Seriously it’s some live bootleg material taped by fans and friends of the Viper. Sort of a taste of what ya can expect from the full on car crash live show! Mainly for fans who haven’t had the chance to see us live yet but we are trying to rectify that by getting to as many places as possible this year.

SR: Where would you like to tour the most?

JR: We really want to get out to North America this year and are working with our street team in the states on putting something together for the summer. We are also going to be back in Europe and hopefully Sweden later in the year. There are also some other big support tours on their way in the U.K but no official announcements yet. We aim to sleaze up as many venues as possible and meet up and have a couple of drinks with all the cool sleazebags supporting us!

SR: You were supposed to open some gigs for Stephen Pearcy. Do you have any idea why that tour got cancelled?

JR: We have no idea why the Pearcy tour was cancelled. It was a shitter because we were really looking forward to playing with Pearcy and the Beautiful Creatures, but we had an excellent time with Robin Black.

SR: Who have you opened for in the past and how have they treated you?

JR: Well, we’ve only been together just under a year, so far we supported L.A Guns in Germany in October of last year. They were really cool guys and we hung out after the last show and had a few drinks and shared some banter. Needless to say that after they split to their hotel the Viper got completely blitzed and had to be thrown out of the venue at the end of the night but that’s what happens when ya give us a free bar. Other than that we are playing with a lot of the bands in the growing U.K. sleaze scene.

SR: Besides your own band, who are some of your favorites of the new groups?

JackViperJR: We are really into The Beautiful Creatures, Crank County Daredevils, Vains of Jenna and a couple of the other new breed bands out there. We all have slightly different preferences but we all dig the darker edged bands cause they are pushing sleaze into grounds that the kids of today can relate too. If the scene is to bust out of the underground, it needs that edge and we don’t think it’s gonna be long before a couple of the bands bust the fucker wide open!

SR: Is the scene in your area starting to grow?

JR: Oh, yeah man! The sleaze/glam scene has really started to grow in the last year. There are shows almost every week and it’s not just in London, all over the U.K a new scene is starting to emerge. And it’s not just the die hard scenesters, there is a new breed of kids coming into the scene and a lot of folks who didn’t have a clue about sleaze are coming to shows cause at the end of the day its good fucking rock ‘n roll! We often have people coming up to us saying “Man! its so good to see someone playing kick ass rock again!”

SR: Is it hard work getting people to come to the clubs to watch a newer band?

JR: Yeah you have gotta put in the leg work if you want people to come and check you out. We are all over the net promoting our shows and hit the streets for weeks in advance giving out flyers. Lucky for us we have had a vibe from the get go and have pulled decent crowds from the very first gig. As the hype grows then the crowds get bigger and in a city like London you are competing against a lot of other events. We are seeing more and more people coming down and are seeing a lot of regular faces now as well, which is way cool because when you get loyal fans it shows you are on the right fucking track! Our advice to bands is don’t be fucking lazy, it doesn’t matter how good you are if people don’t hear about you…then you ain’t going nowhere!

SR: How about the women, does a band like JackViper get its share of groupies?

JR: Oh fuck yeah! More than our fair share. If you check our myspace profile about half our “friends” are women and we don’t lack for eager Viperettes to submit their pics. The shows are always crammed with hot chicks… they love a bit of rough rocker!

SR: How did the band first come together?

JR: It was almost a year ago now. Shredder, Mr Kiss and The Ferlanger were looking at getting a real edgy sleaze rock band because they were sick of all the bland indie shit that was out there and thought the time was right for exciting/dangerous rock to make a come back. I had played in a sleaze act in South Africa and after taking a bit of time out from music was ready to put together a straight up sleaze band with a modern edge. The guys placed an ad in Kerrang and I responded but I made em wait about a month before getting to an audition. From the first song I think we all knew that it was going to be cool! Three months later we did our first gig and released “Sleazy Listening” and it’s been a mad fucking ride from that moment on!

SR: What was the name of your South African band and do any demos exist from them?

JR: The band was called Beast of Eden and there are a couple of demo’s knocking about but I don’t think ya can get them anywhere. It was a cool band but went through too many lineup changes and wasn’t 100% where I wanted to be musically. The Viper is dead on target with the sound I always wanted to get!

SR: I’ve always considered JackViper to be a cross between Faster Pussycat and Bang Tango, what do you think of those comparisons?

JR: Yeah that’s a pretty cool description. Both of those bands fucking rock and are an influence on us. I do think that we are bringing a slightly modern edge to the style as well. And we would be way happy to be like Pussycat or Bang Tango and still be having a career fifteen years down the line. We’re just carrying on the sleaze tradition and won’t rest until we’ve shoved it down as many throats as possible!

SR: What bands influenced you most?

JackViperJR: We all have slightly different influences but the common ones are Van Halen, Guns ‘n Roses, Motley Crue, Junkyard, Faster Pussycat, Motorhead, Love/Hate and loads of others. We tend to like bands with attitude and take small influences from each one and then throw them into the blender and see what comes the fuck out! I don’t think you can not be influenced by someone, the difference comes in whether you take that and let it inspire you and do your own shit or if you blatantly rip off a melody or riff. When I listen to us I can hear the influences but it always sound 100% Viper!

SR: With so much music being written over the years, is it hard to come up with something you feel is original?

JR: I don’t think there’s been any truly original music for ages. Everyone has been influenced by someone but it’s all in the end product. You can still have your own identity and I guess that makes you original nowadays. If someone hears one of your tunes and instantly knows who it is, then job done. Too many bands are trying to emulate other bands and in the end it comes through in the tunes. Good music may remind you of someone else but always has its own character.

SR: What is the most outrageous thing to happen to JackViper so far?

JR: Dude, there are far too many to mention but one that happened a couple of weeks ago was pretty fucking classic. We were playing at The Clapham Grand in London with a whole bunch of shitty pop/rock bands. We were headlining and so had a couple of hours to burn before the gig. Needless to say we hit the bottle pretty hard and hit the stage as drunk as fuck. The sound sucked and we were a fucking shambles. By the end of the show I was fucking crawling around the stage and the guys had to stop me from trying to kick the sound guy’s ass! I gotta say after only a year we have a bucket load of cool stories including strip joints, losing our drummer, breaking into hotel rooms, verbally attacking Brit-pop icons in front of their own crowds, groupies and an absolute ocean of booze.

SR: How do you lose your drummer?

JR: HA! It was the last night of the L.A. Guns tour and there was an open bar for the bands (always a mistake). After we played we set about drinking the place dry. After a couple of hours of hanging with the Guns and fans we noticed that Ferlanger and Mr Kiss were missing. We found Kiss in a strip joint called the Tittie Twister but he didn’t have a clue where Ferlanger was. We figured he would turn up and got totally wasted. When we dragged ourselves back to the hotel we found Ferlanger passed out in the bath. Turns out he was so wasted, he thought he was still in the U.K and had gone wandering off. He couldn’t remember how he got back to the hotel or who brought him there. We suspect some sweet German girl had dragged his ass back to the hotel and then left when Ferlanger passed out. He still can’t remember what happened.

SR: Where do you hope JackViper is in the next few years?

JR: Dude, in a couple of years I hope that we are recognized as one of the main bands to bring back a revival of loud sleaze and the return of the fucking rockstar! I have no doubt that JackViper will be making a big noise in the industry for years to come. After only a year we are overtaking bands in the U.K. scene who have been around for ages and are now making serious headway on a worldwide scale and all this without any label support. You ain’t seen nothing yet…we’ve got big fucking plans.

SR: Is there anything you want to say to the fans?

JR: Firstly, thanks for the interview dude, we really appreciate it and we just want to thank everyone who is giving us their support at the moment, if it wasn’t for all the fans, websites and press who are giving us fucking great support we wouldn’t have made the impact that we have. For all our North American fans, we will be out there at some stage this year. Stay tuned for some big developments in the next few months. As a stop gap before signing we are gonna release some more songs in May (and ya can still get free shit from our site) and we are putting together dates for the “Murder Cities Tour” at this moment. Hide yer women, lock up yer booze and spread the word… the JackViper electric sleaze machine continues its relentless march in 2006.

Thanks to JackViper