INTERVIEW WITH MARQ TORIEN OF BULLETBOYS (PART 1 of 2)
Date: September 18, 2015
Interviewer: Metal Headz Media
2015 SAW A NEW ALBUM FROM THE BULLETBOYS: ‘ELEFANTE’ WHICH WAS THEIR FIRST ONE OF ALL ORIGINAL SONGS SINCE THEIR 2009 RELEASE OF ’10 CENT BILLIONNAIRE.’ I WAS ABLE TO INTERVIEW THE BAND’S FRONTMAN, MARQ TORIEN, PRIOR TO HIM HITTING THE STAGE AT PICKLE PARK IN FRIDLEY, MINNESOTA. TORIEN TALKED AT LENGTH ABOUT THE EXCITEMENT OF THE NEW ALBUM AND WHAT IT TOOK FOR HIM AND HIS BAND TO SURVIVE ALL THIS TIME. IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY DONE SO, CHECK OUT THE BAND’S NEW ALBUM. YOU’LL BE PLEASANTLY SURPRISED TO HEAR HOW TIGHT THIS LINE-UP SOUNDS!
Marq Torien: Sleaze Roxx likes our records!
Sleaze Roxx: Yes!
Marq Torien: Honest? Sleaze Roxx likes our records?
Sleaze Roxx: They reviewed it [Elefante] and said it was really good! Definitely a step up and you guys are…
Marq Torien: Yeah! We’re getting nothing but accolades off of this record and it’s been an amazing beginning of the flight! This flight is just starting, just taking off and we’re rebranding the whole thing, We’re just really happy! I like Sleaze Roxx. I read some stuff from them every once in a while.
Sleaze Roxx: Very nice!
Marq Torien: Yeah man!
Sleaze Roxx: So, about the new album, what inspired that? Where did the writing come from? Was it mainly you doing all the music and the lyrics?
Marq Torien: Yes! It came from a perspective of… of faith, of struggle, of pain, of happiness… — all those crazy emotions that we go through as musicians. It was just time for us to put out something that was solid, that had teeth. We’re a band that doesn’t look through the rearview mirror. We’re a band that looks through the front windshield of the car and we continue to move forward. So, it was time for us to step up as a band and take some risks and do something at a high level for this little band called BulletBoys out of southern California.
Sleaze Roxx: Right! So when you speak of band — I know you had a lot of line-up changes — how long has this band been together?
Marq Torien: We’ve been together for over six years. This is the longest incarnation of the band that we’ve been together.
Sleaze Roxx: And this is the first album with this band?
Marq Torien: Yes.
Sleaze Roxx: Awesome!
Marq Torien: Yeah man!
Sleaze Roxx: The reviews have been positive. All of the fans…
Marq Torien: Yeah! 10s out of 10s. We just got our first billboard from what I understand and it was 4.5 stars out of 5. That right there just is the most humbling thing. We heard that from a very good friend of mine out of New York. That was at our show in Chicago last night he came and told me. We almost started crying. He was hugging me. We were hugging him. It was just like “WHAAAT?!?! We’re going what? No?” I was trying to talk to somebody. I couldn’t talk. I didn’t know what to say. So then everybody back home was trying to find this thing. It’s just been… for me… I just explained to the first interview I’ve taken a lot of bashing in my career and I don’t ever pretend to be the victim. I’ve taken some bashing in my personal life. I’ve made mistakes. I’m a fallible person. I’m not a perfect specimen. I’ve never claimed to be. This record, this body of work, is a labour of love that we’ve put all of our prowess into. To try to take this band up to a different level and to put together a record that we actually weren’t hearing from anybody in our supposed genre, which is sad because for a lot of us in our supposed genre, there is a fear factor about writing stuff. Because they don’t want to infuriate their fans, or do this, or… You get the different artists, they’re like “Oh. I don’t even know. I’m not going to write our records. We’ll just keep on playing the same stuff.” But, the music dies that way. If you’re not creating, if you’re not making a new dinner or a new breakfast — you know I’m trying to use different analogies. If you’re not trying to upgrade yourself, you stay in this lull of obscurity. For all intense and purposes, we don’t want to roll like that. We’re very blessed we’ve taken our game to another thing.
This is the first time we’ve been in a bus in eight years, so we’ve done a lot of touring in vans, RVs, cars and Explorers… you name it. We’ve had brutal, brutal tours in the snow in the winter time. I’m sure you’ve seen us out there where there will be like five or six people at the show and we’re just like “What is going on?” But we look at each other and go it’s coming. You know, just keep on doing what we’re doing, just keep on doing what we’re doing. And now, we’re here and now we’re in a position to where we have and are rebranding the band. There’s a short process and a long process. I’m into the long process because I want to have some longevity. You know with this record, I think that we’re going to be able to work this record for a long time, at least a year. Because people are still finding out about it. We’re going to be releasing vinyl here in the next month to Cleopatra’s deadline — [we are] really, really excited about that. Radio just picked it up and I believe that KLOS is going to be starting to spin “Rollover” in Los Angeles. You know you get a radio station like that. We actually had the great Bob Coburn who spoke in our video. He was the voice in our video. Right there, I was just like “Are you kidding me?” My girl was like “Mark, I was freaking out! Oh my God!” He’s like this hero of ours in LA – to have a cat like that actually doing our record.
Everything has been such a humbling experience. I know people will hear me say that in the videos and be like “Yeah, whatever dude!” But it is, and when you go through what we’ve gone through in our personal lives — all four of us — and musical lives, when you take a risk like we did on this record and you take the time and you take the bashing like we did through internet… “Oh yeah. He thinks this… or they think that…” We don’t think anything! We just wanted to put something out that was strong musically that we haven’t heard from any of the bands in our genre — not one! You tell me who and I’ll say yeah — not one! I haven’t heard from any of the bands. We’ve been waiting for a long time for, for somebody like — I love him to death — like Axl to come out with something, because he’s such a brilliant writer but it’s never coming to fruition. We see a lot of these guys, but maybe there’s a fear factor of being afraid to step into that — but we did! We walked past and said that even if nobody hears this record, let’s do something that we all wanted to do the four of us. Let’s do something really special for our families. First, it was for our family — for our immediate family — because if anybody is going to hear it, at least our family is going to hear it and be like “Man, this is great you guys and thanks for doing it for us.” But then, it’s moved out of the family aspect to the whole world so it’s really scary sometimes because you’re going “Wow! You know. Awe, they’re just going to rip us a you know what for this one!” Because that’s the way the internet is now for us that we’re achieving these accolades, it’s just mind boggling and I can say it’s very, it’s extremely humbling.
Sleaze Roxx: I can definitely tell you’re excited about it!
Marq Torien: Awe yeah! So much! You know we’ve waited a long time to be doing something like this. I’m the lone wolf that been carrying this BulletBoys flag. At some points, it feels like I have Godzilla on my back you know. It’s been like that but now I don’t feel like that. I feel very free and you know, [that] really excites me about the future. You know, I’m always excited about music. I always try to stay positive. I was just explaining that sometimes, we try to be like angels swimming in a sea of devils. We’re not perfect. We’re angels with dirty faces. We’ve been through so much but when you’re rolling out here, you’re able to roll like how we’re rolling. We have the wonderful Killer Bee from Sweden out here with Paul Chapman out here. We just revere Paul for playing in UFO when we were young kids. We got to see him play and we’re like “Oh Shit!” And it’s out here talking. I wake up and there [are] like Rudy Sarzo and Tracii Guns. It’s so great. We’ve know each other for a long time and you know he’s trying to do some new stuff with his band Gunzo and they’re finding their way out here. Sometimes, it takes a little time. Every night, they come up to us and go “You guys just killed it! I don’t know how you’re doing this every night? You come out here and the place is like going berserk now. Every night, you’re taking your performance to…” I said “Well, we’re taking our performance to about seven! Don’t make us take it to ten!” ‘Cause we don’t want to be around if he takes it to ten. We’re very competitive. Right now my band can go — I don’t care who it is — we’ll even play in front of Slipknot. I don’t care. I don’t care.
Sleaze Roxx: You just want to be up there playing!
Marq Torien: Those type of bands love us! I love them! You know Corey and the guys from Slipknot and Vinny from Hellyeah and all the guys from Five Finger Death Punch, I see these guys that are out there just slaying it. When I went to Knotfest, I was so in love with all the bands there and I was just like “Oh my gosh! This is just brilliant!” I never go to those kind of things. But you know to be able to walk up to some of these guys and they’re coming up to me like “Man. You’re my hero. You’ve done this thing.” And if someone calls you that and you’re like “Holy shit! No, I’m not!” “Yes, you are!” “No, I’m not, trust me!” and “Yes, you are!” You have no idea and they tell you exactly what [is] going on [in] these huge rock stars and it’s just like “Wow!” It’s just an amazing experience some of these cats and how excited they are. Hollers out that were getting from anybody from Slayer to Motley to Mark from Sugar Ray and their camp.
I don’t like to name drop because it’s really fucked up. I don’t like to do that, but I’m just saying, our friends are people that take that time that don’t really need to take that time. It’s like “Awe. Mark’s doing this. I love you Mark.” I’m like fucking right! Even today, I was talking to Stephen Pearcy. We’ve become very, very close this past year and I just love ’em to death. He’s been through so much and he just called me today and we’re talking and he was like “Man, you’re on my mind and it’s so weird every time I’m thinking about you and you’re thinking about me, and you call and “How’s it going out there? Your fucking record’s blowing up. I’m so proud of you. You did something in the face of everybody that said you couldn’t do it. You did it. That’s the shit!” Stephen’s a survivor man, you know, so when you’re getting it from that, I’m like “No Stephen!” And he’s like “Listen to me man.” When you get that, it’s like “OK. I got to listen, you know.” No matter what you want to say about these cats — you can say whatever you want — but they ruled stadiums and ruled arenas and I’ll just look to the next person, “Did you ever do that? When was your time? Don’t say anything about my friend. I don’t care what you have. That’s my friend. I’m not going to hear that. Go take that somewhere else.”
Sleaze Roxx: So, what about doing a full length as opposed to a lot of bands that are just doing EPs or singles? Why do a full length album?
Marq Torien: Because we had to. It was just time for the rock and roll world and everybody else. We haven’t heard a record we need to hear. What’s anybody doing? Why isn’t there new records? Why is everybody playing their old grooves? We’ve never been like that. You know, each one of our records was different in our catalogue. We’re always trying to move forward. We’re not a band that’s happy and copasetic and staying and writing and rewriting the same song. This is where people get stuff wrong. They don’t think their fans, friends and family want to hear something new. They consider them like these people that just want to hear old stuff. That’s not the truth. That’s so far from the truth.
Our fans, they want to hear new stuff. I mean, we’re on stage and they’re screaming “Tsunami” and “Saving You from Me.” It’s like are you guys really want to hear ‘Elefante’ and so we go this one’s called “Saving You From Me.” And we’re like [singing the guitar licks] and they’re like “Ahhhhh.” The crowd goes berserk. They’re singing the words. Now that’s trippy! That’s crazy! For us, that’s like are you kidding me? We go onto “Rollover” and it’s insane! You’ll see it tonight. It’s amazing for us! It’s like “Wow! This is really cool!” So yes, I do want to play all new music. Songs that we play [are] our hits. I make sure to play our hits. I’m not going to cheat the audience by not playing our hits, but they don’t even want to hear those anymore. They want us to play ‘Elefante’ in its entirety. “Bro, are you playing the whole record in its entirety tonight? Dude forget that. I want to hear this!” So you’re going, “Wow! It’s really touching people.” You know that when you get teeth. That’s when people are going “We want to hear this. Maybe we don’t want to hear “Smooth Up In Ya.” I’d rather hear “As Dumb As” or I’d rather hear “Superhuman.”” I heard this every night. You know, we hear it all the time. We looked at each other tonight and Nick, he goes “You know we’re going to have to get rid of the songs and play the whole record though its entirety.” I was like “I know, but not on this tour.”
Sleaze Roxx: That was one of my questions. With all these bands going on tour playing their full length- albums, it sounds like you guys are considering it?
Marq Torien: Mm ‘mm.
Sleaze Roxx: Are you going to do like two albums and do a longer set or just one album and then some hits thrown in like Extreme did?
Marq Torien: We do a little over an hour in our set. It all depends you know. Sometimes, we get up there and we just keep on going. Sometimes and other times, we don’t. I gage it on the audience and how they’re feeling these days. That we’re able to hold the attention of a whole audience and stay there — young or old — that they’re giving us their time, is big time for us. Because, when a human being gives us their time, which is very special to each one of us as individuals, time is our most important thing. When somebody gives you that time, it’s very special to us — extremely. We want to make sure that we’re not only making ourselves happy but that we’re making our audiences happy too.
STAY TUNED FOR PART 2 OF SLEAZE ROXX’S INTERVIEW WITH TORIEN, WHICH WILL BE RELEASED ON SEPTEMBER 20, 2015 AND WHICH SEES TORIEN ADDRESS A NUMBER OF VARIED TOPICS.