INTERVIEW WITH MARQ TORIEN OF BULLETBOYS (PART 2 of 2)
Date: September 20, 2015
Interviewer: Metal Headz Media
PART 2 OF SLEAZE ROXX’S INTERVIEW WITH THE BULLETBOYS’ FRONTMAN MARQ TORIEN HAS HIM DISCUSSING MANY TOPICS INCLUDING HIS THOUGHTS ON STREAMING, THE IMPACT OF GRUNGE ON THE BULLETBOYS, GENE SIMMONS’ COMMENT THAT “ROCK IS DEAD” AND A SONG FROM A WELL KNOWN BAND FOR WHICH HE DID NOT RECEIVE SONGWRITING CREDITS.
Sleaze Roxx: With Spotify being so huge, what’s your thoughts on streaming?
Marq Torien: Love it! Get the music out there! Get everything out there! I’m a person that still believes in the hard copy — hard copy CD. I think a lot of people are — these days as in life — they want to see the album and everything. I’m a HUGE vinyl fan. At home, I listen to nothing but vinyl. I have a lot of different things on vinyl. I was even listening to Taylor Swift’s record on vinyl. I think she’s amazing. I was listening to a record on vinyl the other day. I was telling my girl, “Are you listening to this?” She was like “This is fucking amazing!” So, I listen to a lot of new music, whatever it be — hip hop, punk rock, country, whatever — a lot of vinyl these days.
Sleaze Roxx: Gene Simmons recently said “Rock is dead.” What are your thoughts on that?
Marq Torien: You know, it’s a double edge sword when you kind of try to answer that question. In some aspects, he’s right and in some aspects, he’s wrong. I think Gene actually just put it out there so people can still be talking about Gene. I love Gene. He is one of my mentors from when I was a young child, a kid. Him and Paul came and I was almost a guitar player for KISS. I’m in the KISS book.
Sleaze Roxx: I did not know that!
Marq Torien: Yeah man!
Sleaze Roxx: That was during which period?
Marq Torien: When Eric Carr was in the band still, I came and auditioned for the band and they wanted me to play in the band.
Sleaze Roxx: Was that when Vinnie Vincent was in there?
Marq Torien: Yes, right when he left. I’m not sure exactly what had happened. You know — Gene and Paul — I love them with all my heart. Since I was a kid playing in my high school band at the Troubadour, they would come to see me play. One of my first mentors for getting into that was Gregg Giuffria. He is an angel. I have to give him all the credit for bringing these amazing rock stars into my life because he thought that I was really, really talented and he wanted to bring people to see me to get me signed, to help me with my career. The people he would bring around were just these incredible guys. They were all older than I was so here’s this teenager hanging out with all these guys. They were like “Just sit over here and shut up!” So that was me, “OK? Sit over here?” So, I got to see a lot of that.
To have Van Halen in my life when I was very young, coming to see me at the Troubadour — that’s how I first met David [Lee Roth] and Alex Van Halen. It was on Alex’s birthday. David and Alex were sitting there enjoying the show and they invited us over to have a couple drinks with them and that was it! There was a kinship that we found together and I was able to be blessed to be around Van Halen — the mighty Van Halen — when they were ruling the airwaves and ruling the world and when they were at the top of their game. I was allowed to be back there and see all of these things and to be a part of that. I tell people these stories all of the time. It’s so funny, I tell Tracii [Guns] and he goes “What? I know I’ve heard of some of these stories, I know they’re true. Fuck wow! They’re crazy.” There have been so many people that have helped me, that have been there for a positive influence and negative influence and through love. The cats that are there were the real cats.
I could never say anything bad about Gene or Paul. I love them with all my heart. I revered Gene Simmons more than you could possibly imagine. I just hail him. So anything that he has to say, he knows a lot more than I do. He’s been in the business a long time. I think some of the things are shock value but he’s a brilliant man. Some of the things people have to realize are that some of these things aren’t just coming flying out. They’re well executed and well thought of and they’re what he truly believes. And for all intense and purposes, he’s pretty right but not on the grand scale of things. That’s the problem. Sometimes, I know Gene does what he does but I don’t think Gene has been to Knotfest or any of these other metal fests that are going on where rock and metal is alive and well. And well…
Sleaze Roxx: You know Corey Taylor is outspoken about his thoughts that…
Marq Torien: I love Corey! I hail him! I’m such a…. He’s one of my heroes in this business because he doesn’t know the word quit and [he] has taken his band to such a high level. His vision — their vision — of the band where everybody else scoffed at him and he said “Scoff if you want. I’m still, I’m here. You guys can be over here but I’m here.” I just love him man. Don’t get me started on him. He’s the best.
Sleaze Roxx: So the KISS one was new [to me], but rumours had it that you were in Ratt for a while and you were trying out for Ozzy?
Marq Torien: Yes, I played with Ratt. Ozzy… I helped [Ratt] write their first big song “You Think You’re Tough” with Robbin Crosby and Stephen [Pearcy]. Yes — penned that with them. Never got any credit for it (laughs). I miss Robbin very much. He was a very close friend of ours. I miss him very dearly. He was a beautiful talented man. He was the best.
Sleaze Roxx: So you have love for different types of music. If you could create your own bill — be it a day festival or just a headline in an arena — what bands would you include on that?
Marq Torien: I would say co-headline — Van Halen all originals with the Foo Fighters. Tupac Shakur [would] also [be] on the bill. Elton John, Amy Winehouse… Man, I have such eclectic taste. I’d love to put Queens Of The Stone Age on there, Fu Manchu… I want nothing to do with that bill. I just want to be sitting in the sidelines watching. Man, I don’t know! Slipknot… I don’t know. It’s such a crazy bill but I’d love to see Van Halen with all originals. I love Michael Anthony to death — no disrespect to Wolfgang at all or to Ed or Alex — I mean this with my whole heart. I know some of us have, we’re families and things happen in our inner families, band families, but maybe one of these days, there’ll be some forgiveness found because we are getting older and one of these days that we’ll be able to see that. Like I got to see that back in my day. I love the Foo Fighters. They’re my favorite band in the whole world! I love David Grohl, Pat Smear, Taylor Hawkins — all the cats, all the guys. I revere David Grohl. He is one my heroes, if not the top hero, in his musical prowess.
Sleaze Roxx: No pun Intended?
Marq Torien: None whatsoever — just the truth. Anybody that isn’t saying that has issues because he’s an American icon. He’s struggled so hard even after Nirvana. People have no idea. That’s where, when I was going through my personal things, I really opened up his music and really would play the lyrics and live his lyrics and melodies over and over again because they just touched me. I felt like I needed to do something in my career to broaden my horizons because we’ve been so fortune and blessed we got to record at Foo Fighters’ Studio 606. We just recorded a new song for a double LP. I think it’s going to be called the ‘Pizza Diaries’ — it’s a punk rock vinyl two LP from some of the great punk rock bands from L.A. and the Valley. We were asked to be a part of that for Rock For MS Foundation. It was just a very humbling experience to be in that studio. The minute you walk in there, it’s just covered in the Foos! It’s like “Holy cow!” You can just feel the magic permeating out of the walls. I haven’t been in a studio like that — very simplistic — you can feel it. You can feel the music in that room and it’s just unbelievable.
Sleaze Roxx: Speaking of Nirvana, since it did kind of kill the ’80s scene and bands such as yourselves, what got you going?
Marq Torien: No — not really — it didn’t kill us. We did a lot of touring in the ’90s so… I mean to me — Fuck! I love Nirvana. Always have. Always loved any of those bands — Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, The Melvins… I love all that music and I have no… Maybe there are some people that didn’t. But I say again we weren’t the cookie cutter Warrant and Poison band — no disrespect to them — I don’t mean that disrespectful at all. I mean that we were not in that, maybe we were lumped in that genre. But the four of us, we were always listening to different music constantly, all the time. We loved our label mates: Jane’s Addiction, Perry [Farrell] and David [Navarro] and the fellas. We still see each other. I see Perry all the time. He just loves on me and I love him. There’s a guy that stepped up and did something that was at a very high level — “I’m not listening to anybody. I’m going to do this.” It would be great — I’m going to change the subject — if we could get a festival where we had all the bands from that time. That festival would be played where we could all enjoy each other’s company and all that stuff.
Sleaze Roxx: I would love that too! “When Pigs Fly” — who is that song written about? I have to know!
Marq Torien: [It’s] about this gal that was a very close friend of mine and she put me through some hell.
Sleaze Roxx: I can tell from the lyrics!
Marq Torien: Oh my God! She just would… and you know what’s so ironic, she was a very close friend of mine. But she was also a drug addict and drugs seem to bring some crazy things into relationships.
Sleaze Roxx: Well, wrapping it up here. The future sounds like you’re going to be touring for a while with the new album?
Marq Torien: Yes! As long as we can. As long as God blesses me with my voice and blesses our travels and with great people to talk to and share our music and ideals with and see how far that goes. We love our fans, family and friends with all our hearts. That why we’re out here. We’re here for our fans, family and very close friends. I was just with my sister and her wife last night. It was an amazing experience. We brought her up on stage. She’s my hero. She’s a double mastectomy breast cancer survivor and I look at her as just an angel beyond angels. Her and her wife Gina. They’re just beautiful people and we had such a great time last night. They’re on a tour right now. Gina took my sister out on a tour of all the baseball stadiums in the country. Isn’t that rad? Isn’t that cool! They were just at the Cubbies game last night.
Sleaze Roxx: Target Fields got a lot of ups!
Marq Torien: They were actually there at the Phillies game and saw the home boy throw the no hitter! It was really cool to see them. We had a great time.
Sleaze Roxx: I appreciate your time!
Marq Torien: Yes! Brother absolutely!