September 1, 2014
Websites: www.rusted.ca – www.facebook.com/rustedrock
The 1980s produced some of the greatest hard rock and metal albums of all-time and helped define and cement that musical genre. There are many bands trying — unconsciously or not — to recapture the ’80s sound and just about no one does it better than Rusted with their excellent ‘Rock Patrol’ CD, released last year. If ‘Rock Patrol’ had been released back in the ’80s, Rusted would quite simply be a household name. Sleaze Roxx caught up with all of the Rusted band members during the tail end of their first big US and Canada tour to discuss everything from the funny tale of how guitarist ManiaK joined the band to the next video they will be releasing.
Sleaze Roxx: You guys have been on tour with Hessler for the last month or so. How is the tour going?
Mark Shark: It is going pretty well actually. We have been touring the United States. Those guys are pretty nice. We are having a lot of fun. We have been playing some nice venues too so we had the crowds going.
Tony Rust: Actually, I am pretty surprised that the tour is going so well. For us, it is our first big tour like this and Hessler are like close friends to us now. I think we are going to do it again soon for sure.
Tom Eagle: So yeah, it was really cool. We were able to play a bunch of venues in the States where we really were not expecting much out of it and it turned out really well. We got to meet great people, great fans and made some good contacts so I think that is a great stepping stone for us for the next one.
Sleaze Roxx: What has been the highlight of the tour so far?
Tony Rust: New York City! New York City was the highlight for us because it was our first time playing such a big city. Ware from Quebec and that is a dream come true to play that place with so many rockers and well, history. That was really cool actually.
ManiaK: It was an amazing night in New York! It was totally one of the craziest nights we had. Even after the show, we hung out with the Hessler guys in Times Square and it was amazing! It was just like Tony said — like a dream come true for us. New York was an amazing time!
Sleaze Roxx: You guys have a very ’80s glam metal sound as well as look. Is it a conscious effort, sort of like a Steel Panther, or is this what naturally came out?
Tony Rust: It actually came out like this because D.Izzy and I started the band like back in 2007. We just wanted to play some rock and roll. We were just starting a band, playing some songs and writing some stuff. Then after a couple of months — after seeing big bands play live like KISS, Def Leppard and Motley Crue — we were like, “these guys know how to put on a great show.” So we started to put more effort into it by bringing some stage clothes and putting on a bigger show. That is how it came out.
Tom Eagle: I think the Steel Panther thing is a bit of a downside now for us because, as much as we love them, they kind of reflect upon us and people think that we are a parody sometimes when that is clearly not the case. So it can be kind of a good thing and kind of a bad thing. We got to open for them which was really great — but to be kind of put into the same box that they are, I do not think that is something that we really want. But at the same time, we do not want to shy away from what we do because we enjoy having the costumes and we enjoy having the stage presence that we have. I guess that look is something that we want to have but we do not like that Steel Panther has ruined it for us (laughs by everyone).
Sleaze Roxx: Tony and D.Izzy — you guys started the band but I think that you had two other guys with you at the beginning. What happened to those two guys?
Tony Rust: (laughs by everyone) Actually, when we moved altogether — the four of us — to Montreal, D.Izzy and I, we were like, “that is really what we want to do — play music and move to Montreal.”. We were excited about it but the other two were more… I don’t know how to say it.
D.Izzy: It just was not their dream.
Tony Rust: Yeah, it was not their thing. It was mostly our dream and not theirs, so when we moved they were like, “I am not sure I really like Montreal.” We are from a very small town so it was kind of hard for them to make the move.
Sleaze Roxx: Tony and D.Izzy, I understand that Rusted was your first band but the guys that are now in the group have quite a bit of experience compared to you guys. Was it a conscious effort to recruit people with more experience?
D.Izzy: We were looking for friends most of all.
Tony Rust: Yeah — people to get along with.
D.Izzy: And they can play, so it was pretty easy for us.
Tom Eagle: I remember my kind of “audition” if you will. The guys, they were definitely looking more for people that they could gel with then just straight up stock musicians. I think that all of us kind of fit into that thing. I was there before the other two guys, and then when Bruno showed up, and when Mark showed up, I guess there was a chemistry that easily unfolded.
Sleaze Roxx: What was the reason from going from a four piece to a five piece for your band?
Tony Rust: Bruno imposed himself (laughs).
ManiaK: Actually, I had just moved to Montreal and found that this band was looking for a guitarist. They pretty much had the same influences of cool ’80s stuff so I just had a jam with the guys — but just with Tony and D.Izzy. They were like, “Okay, if you can learn the songs from the demo you can come with us and play next weekend in Toronto.” I was like, “Well, yeah! That is cool.” So I learned the songs and then I showed up the Friday after. They did not expect me to show up like that, learning the songs and stuff. So I am like, “I am coming with you guys tomorrow,” and they were like, “Uhhh… yeah. I don’t know” (laughs by everyone).
Tony Rust: We were like, “We haven’t talked to the others.”
ManiaK: I had not jammed with the other guys but I think that I had cancelled something else to come so I was like, “I am going with them — I am going to stick around.” I wanted to go with them and I ended up in a van with Tom that I had never seen before and never jammed with before. It was a really cold atmosphere (laughs by everyone). At the end, it ended up well.
Sleaze Roxx: Quebec is often considered a good province in terms of being receptive to hard rock, metal and stuff like that. Metallica filmed their DVD in Quebec City. What do you think of the hard rock and heavy metal scene in Quebec?
ManiaK: I think that the funny thing is, in Montreal for example, you have maybe 30 or 40 bands writing music and touring in the death metal or extreme metal scene. Hard rock or the stuff that we play, there may be just three or four bands. That was one thing that surprised me coming to this town, because in Europe it would be the other way around. It is still a really interesting scene and a lot of stuff is going on.
Mark Shark: In Montreal sometimes it is pretty hard to get the kind of bands that we are playing with because it is not really the same style of music that we are playing. Most of the time there is — in a night of four bands — going to be really one band that fits with us. Sometimes, it is hard to bring the crowd to cheer with you because those guys are not really listening to your music or your style of music. They are very much looking to hard core and all that stuff because there is way more hard core bands in Montreal than there are ’80s or glam metal bands like ours. It is pretty hard in Montreal actually for that kind of music — that style of music. But in general, music in Montreal is like — I don’t know — it is like a dream that you can just say. We got all those television shows too in Montreal like Star AcadÃ©mie, The Voice and all that stuff and people really listen to that. It goes on TV, it goes on the news, it is everywhere and people listen to that stuff. Most of the time, people won’t come to the show because they pretty much want to listen to The Voice thing on TV.
Tom Eagle: One thing that surprised me on this tour is that I think, similar to Montreal, in every city that we have been there seems to be a sort of dormant or slightly hidden hard rock and glam little population waiting to come out and see shows like that. Although Mark and the other guys said there really is a more predominant hard core and extreme metal scene, there is definitely people all around Montreal and in every other town that we have been in that have just been waiting for something like this to happen. We see that at the different shows when the people — they do not necessarily come out in huge numbers but when they do come out — you can have 25 people in the crowd and they will be jumping and going crazy. We have played shows where there were 100 to 200 people and it was not the same — the energy was not the same. I think there is something to be said for that.
Sleaze Roxx: Rusted sort of started evolving from French to English. On your Facebook site, it was almost all French at the beginning, then you started doing French and English, and now you seem to have more English. Is that a conscious effort from the band?
Tony Rust: The thing is that at the beginning, there were only people from Quebec following us but now we are more “worldwide” with Facebook, YouTube and everything we have. Most of our fans now come from outside of Quebec so we don’t have the choice to just change that — to reach all the fans. I want them to understand what we are saying so I think that is a good point.
Tom Eagle: Yeah, I think that coming from Quebec there is definitely a little something — there is always this uneasiness with the French and the English languages. I guess it is always present. It is conscious in a way but at the same time I guess it comes with the territory. If you are a banker you can bank in Montreal in French for a little while, but if you want to go international you will have to become an English speaking banker. We are a band and we can communicate to a certain extent in Montreal in French but if we want to go to the next level we do not really have a choice but to make that step. I think that is the main reason why.
Sleaze Roxx: At the beginning, were there any thoughts to singing the songs in French?
Tony Rust: We never tried really, because for me rock and roll is in English — like how it sounds. All that I have ever listened to is singing in English so it was just all natural.
Tom Eagle: Before I was in the band, apparently these guys used to do “Born To Be Wild” in French (laughs by everyone).
Sleaze Roxx: You have a bit of an international flavor to your band since ManiaK comes from France. ManiaK, I understand that you had some visa problems last year. What is the status of your visa in Canada and how is it impacting the band recording wise in the future?
ManiaK: Yeah I had quite a problem last year, being kind of kicked out of Canada for a visa problem. Of course, it impacts the band in that we could not work together and practice a lot but I managed to get a visa for this summer for the tour. I am still waiting for my papers to be a permanent resident of Canada and to finally come back this fall with no more problems — with my freedom to travel everywhere I want. It is pretty amazing, what a pain in the ass it is to cross the border in countries like the United States and Canada just as a musician not even making enough money. I remember as a musician touring in Europe how easy it was. I remember showing up with a band that was touring at the Athens airport in Greece — five guys with long hair, leather coats and guitars. It was like, “You guys are in a band?” We were like, “Yeah”, and they went, “holy, you got a CD or what?” I think that is the way it should be. Those guys that want to play music, let them. It is such trouble for musicians in Canada. It is getting easier a bit, and hopefully it will change in the future and will open to more independency and to playing around.
Tom Eagle: I just want to mention, while Bruno was gone for almost a year, we had Justyn Vynn replacing him. We would really like to thank him. He was a great sport. He helped us out a lot so that we could continue playing shows and have a presence around regardless of the fact that Bruno was not with us. So thank you Justyn (Interviewer’s note: All of the band members thank Justyn at the same time)!
Sleaze Roxx: Speaking of finances, it is tougher and tougher for bands like yourselves to eke a living playing music. One thing that brought it home to me was when I bought your CD and it was $10 plus $3.50 for shipping, but when you sent me the CD it was actually $9 for shipping. It was almost as if you guys were taking a loss when you were actually sending out the music. How do you feel about that and how tough is it to make a profit with a band?
Tony Rust: It is nearly impossible for real because every time we sell CDs, merch or whatever, we reinvest all the money in the band. So we have never made any profits, but sometimes we break even. That is where we are at. Yeah man, we are so proud that we are breaking even from this tour. Just once for this tour, we are breaking even. It is very incredible for us.
Tom Eagle: With Hessler on this tour, we have had some conversations with them. They have done a few tours similar to what we have done this time around and sometimes a little bit longer, so I asked them how it worked out for them. I think what we have got to strive for right now is we have got to be able to at least find that break even equilibrium — that balance. Once we have that kind of set so that we can say our recordings, our gas, our hotel rooms, all that stuff can be paid off — I think that is the thing to shoot for now. After that, maybe we can hope for better but I do not think we have any illusions about the music industry today. We are doing what we do because we love it — not because we think we are going to eke money out of it (laughs).
Sleaze Roxx: In the tradition of going old school, Rusted actually released “Young, Wild & Free” as a single on cassette. It sold out so obviously you did very well with it. What were your thoughts on releasing it on cassette when in these days, even CDs are sort of thought of as obsolete?
Tony Rust: It is because all the bands that I ever listened to had some cassette tapes and we just wanted to do the same. Motley Crue have some cassette tapes, Bon Jovi have some, and we wanted Rusted on cassette tape too. It is the same with vinyl — we really want our album to be on vinyl soon.
Tom Eagle: We didn’t think about it really but it is a great marketing ploy. People dig the nostalgia of tapes — we didn’t really bank on that but they flew like hotcakes (laughs).
Sleaze Roxx: You recently released a video for “Rock Patrol” but I noticed that last year you actually were thinking of releasing one for “Last Stand”. Whatever happened to that video?
Tony Rust: We just took our time with “Last Stand” because we finally wanted to release it after the single “Rock Patrol”. “Rock Patrol” was the title track of the album, our first single, then the title of the tour and everything so we just wanted to release it first. This fall, we are going to release “Last Stand” for real — it is a promise.
Sleaze Roxx: We are going to switch to French for a few questions for your French speaking fans.
Tony Rust: Cool.
Sleaze Roxx: Donc votre CD ‘Rock Patrol’, je pense que vous aviez deux parties pour les chansons. Une partie des chansons Ã©taient dÃ©jÃ prÃªtes quand vous Ãªtes arrivÃ©s au studio. L’autre moitiÃ© des chansons, vous les aviez composÃ© au studio. Donc quelles chansons ont Ã©tÃ© crÃ©Ã©es dans le studio?
Tony Rust: Si je me rappelles bien en fait, les chansons que nous jouions en live et que nous avions travaillÃ©, cela faisait peut-Ãªtre un an que nous les jouions live. Nous avions les chansons “Just A Dream”, “Screaming In The Night”, “Wanted Man Boogie”, “Last Stand” et “Rock Patrol”. Pour l’autre moitiÃ© des chansons, en fait, les chansons que nous avons beaucoup travaillÃ© en studio Ã©taient “Too Much Is Never Enough”, “Tsunami”, “True Eyes Of Love” et “So Far So Strong”.
D.Izzy: “Devil In A Dress”.
Tony Rust: “Devil In A Dress”, “Partners In Crime” and that’s it! Je pense que c’est Ã§a.
Sleaze Roxx: Est-ce que vous pensez qu’il y a une diffÃ©rence entre les deux groupes de chansons, celles que vous aviez pratiquÃ©es en premier et fini comparÃ© Ã celles que vous aviez faites en studio?
Tom Eagle: Je pense qu’il y a dÃ©finitivement une petite diffÃ©rence. Peut-Ãªtre que pour certaines affaires, ‘it was crunch time’. Il ne restait pas beaucoup de temps. On devait arrivÃ© avec quelque chose. On a fait ce qu’on avait Ã faire. Je pense que le rÃ©sultat est super bien. Mais je pense qu’il y a un petit Ã©lÃ©ment peut-Ãªtre un peu plus mÃ©tal, un peu plus ‘power’ avec ce qui avait Ã©tÃ© Ã©crit avant. Donc “Just A Dream”, “Scream In The Night”, “Rock Patrol”, comparativement aux affaires qui sont peut-Ãªtre un petit peu plus rock, ‘classic rock’, ’80s — les autres tunes qui ont Ã©tÃ© plus Ã©crites en studio. Je pense que le blend des deux — en tout cas, moi quand je l’Ã©coute, je trouve que c’est ‘seamless’ quand je l’Ã©coute. Mais moi je fais partie du band (rires de tout le monde).
Sleaze Roxx: Alright, let’s switch back to English. What was your favorite band to open for to date?
D.Izzy: Well, Steel Panther! Big crowd — people went nuts — sold out — had fun!
Tony Rust: Steel Panther of course for me because — not that I am such a big fan of the band — but it was just an amazing evening. A sold out show as D.Izzy said and they were so cool with us. We were supposed to play at eight PM in front of nobody because we were opening when the Steel Panther guys came to us. They were, “Hey! You guys want to play in front of a sold out crowd?” and we were like, “Of course!” “You are gonna play at nine and we’re gonna play at 10” and we were like, “Thanks so much guys” — and they bought us some t-shirts, they gave us food and alcohol backstage off their rider and everything. We were like, “Cool! Thanks so much guys!”.
Tom Eagle: I also want to mention that we opened up for Pat Travers in Montreal and that musician is incredible — his band as well!
ManiaK: I think Steel Panther was definitely the best. The biggest show we have ever played I think, in front of a sold out crowd. Yeah! I was really frustrated because I broke my leg one week before so I could not run around like those guys but still it is a great memory.
Mark Shark: Steel Panther is pretty much one of the best shows and people were cheering too at the end. I don’t know if you guys heard that after the show people were cheering our name for us to come back, but we were like, “sorry”. Pat Travers was also really awesome. We played with L.A. Guns too. Yeah, those kind of musicians were really awesome too.
Sleaze Roxx: Which one is your favorite Rusted song for each of you and why?
Tom Eagle: “Scream In The Night” because I get to sweep (laughs by everyone).
D.Izzy: I’ll say “Partners In Crime” — I don’t know — because I love it.
Tom Eagle: Sweep (laughs by everyone)!
Tony Rust: I think now “Last Stand” is my favorite on the CD to listen to. But to play live, my favorite song ever is “Tsunami” — just because the feel, sharing in that moment with the crowd, everybody singing, shouting with us the “yeahhh yeahhh” part. It is really cool.
ManiaK: I can’t choose just one — I can’t just pick out one. There are so many songs I love to play and I enjoy playing. I could say “Rock Patrol”, “Tsunami”, “Partners In Crime”. I cannot take one, I refuse! I want to play them all. I love them all.
Mark Shark: We all love them all anyways. We all recorded those songs so whatever, but I will go for “Two At A Time”. It is pretty much what I think is rock and roll and I love those bass parts, so yeah.
Sleaze Roxx: Last question — for each of you, which are your top three records of all time?
Tom Eagle: My picks are going to be completely different from everybody else but ‘Animals’ from Pink Floyd, — and these are in no particular order — ‘Ã†nema’ by Tool and ‘Siamese Dream’ by Smashing Pumpkins.
Tony Rust: It is really really hard to choose but I think if I have to choose three I would say ‘Slippery When Wet’ from Bon Jovi, ‘The Number Of The Beast’ by Iron Maiden and probably ‘Get A Grip’ by Aerosmith.
Mark Shark: That is a good one! I will go for some weird picks too. I will go for ‘Selling England By The Pound’ from Genesis, Rush’s ‘2112’ and I would say a Primus album. The ‘Brown Album’ is awesome too. Those are my picks, I am a bass player so…
D.Izzy: Any records from Metallica between ‘Ride The Lightning’, ‘Master Of Puppets’ and ‘…And Justice For All’. Or Iron Maiden, like the early years in the ’80s. Or Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Appetite For Destruction’ or even ‘Use Your Illusion’ — well, those three bands (laughs).
ManiaK: I would say AC/DC from the beginning to ‘Highway To Hell’ — maybe — ‘Highway To Hell’ is hard to pick. Maybe ‘Blackout’ from Scorpions. I can’t pick three, there are too many of them (long pause). ‘Killers’ from Iron Maiden. No! ‘Powerslave’ — it is like heavy metal at its purest and finest form. ‘Powerslave’ from Iron Maiden.