INTERVIEW WITH EX-QUIET RIOT AND CURRENT WESTFIELD MASSACRE AND RATT (BOBBY BLOTZER) SINGER SEANN NICOLS
Date: July 23, 2017
Photos: First and ninth photos by Lim Sang Photography, fifth photo by Shark Bait Photography, sixth photo by Immortal Affliction Photography, seventh photo by Deep Image Photography
ONE OF THE MOST INTRIGUING MOVES THIS YEAR HAS BEEN QUIET RIOT’S DECISION TO REPLACE LEAD VOCALIST SEANN NICOLS WITH AMERICAN IDOL FINALIST JAMES DURBIN EVEN THOUGH THE GROUP HAD FINISHED RECORDING BUT NOT YET RELEASED A BRAND NEW STUDIO ALBUM ENTITLED ‘ROAD RAGE’ WITH NICOLS. SINCE THEN, NICOLS JOINED BOBBY BLOTZER’S VERSION OF RATT AND PLAYED ONE SHOW WITH THEM BACK ON MARCH 18, 2017 BEFORE THE GROUP SEEMINGLY WENT ON HIATUS. IN MID-JUNE 2017, NICOLS JOINED WESTFIELD MASSACRE AND EMBARKED WIHT THE METAL GROUP ON A MONTH LONG EXTENSIVE TOUR OF THE USA. SLEAZE ROXX WAS PLEASED TO BE ABLE TO SPEAK TO NICOLS ABOUT ALL THE CHANGES THAT HE HAS UNDERGONE IN THE LAST YEAR AND TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED FROM HIS POINT OF VIEW DURING HIS TIME IN QUIET RIOT.
Sleaze Roxx: Obviously, you’ve gone through a lot of changes this year. Why don’t we start with Quiet Riot. How did you get involved with the band?
Seann Nicols: Alex Grossi contacted me about singing for one of his side projects called Hookers & Blow. That was his project with Dizzy Reed. He told me that since Dizzy got hooked up with the Guns N’ Roses reunion, he would need someone to fill in for that gig and that he thought that I was the perfect guy to do it. He also said that they would perform some songs by Quiet Riot and that it was possible that if we did the Hookers & Blow thing together, that there might be an opening for me in Quiet Riot as well. So he sent me a couple of Quiet Riot songs and he said those were the hardest songs to sing — the highest register to sing or what not. He asked me to record my voice to Quiet Riot music and I went ahead and recorded those tracks. He sent those tracks to Frankie Banali and then Frankie Banali contacted me shortly thereafter and offered me the gig in Quiet Riot.
Sleaze Roxx: In terms of timelines, when would that have been?
Seann Nicols: I think it was last August . When the announcement came out that I had joined the band, we had already formalized our working relationship about a month and a half earlier — maybe two months earlier.
Sleaze Roxx: It looks like you went directly into the studio before playing live with the band. Is that correct?
Seann Nicols: Yeah. I have my own recording studio so within a week or two of meeting Frankie Banali, he started sending me music to write lyrics and melodies with my voice in my own studio.
Sleaze Roxx: So in terms of the music, was it already written for you and you just had to put the lyrics and melodies?
Seann Nicols: Yeah. The music was already recorded and so I went ahead and took those raw music tracks and wrote songs to their music — wrote the lyrics and melodies, which are considered the songs. Without lyrics and melodies, it’s not a song.
Sleaze Roxx: Fair enough. And when did you record your parts for the album?
Seann Nicols: I did all that in 2016. I got the tracks in August, September, October… I got the tracks sometime in late August and I had the whole thing finished by late October. I had written and recorded 15 songs for Quiet Riot by the end of October.
Sleaze Roxx: You were slated to replace Jizzy [Pearl] in January 2017. Eventually, I believe that you played five shows with the band. How did those shows go according to you?
Seann Nicols: The performances were great. I mean — I say that with a grain of salt. The experience touring and working with Frankie Banali was an absolute nightmare. I don’t even know how to describe his behaviour but it was not professional and it was not conducive to any type of inspiration or anything that you would associate with being in a creative team of any type of lasting quality [laughs]. From the very first rehearsal, he was cold and bitter towards me. He wouldn’t address me. He wouldn’t even look at me in the eyes. He wouldn’t shake my hand. He was just very cold. I don’t even know the right words to describe it. It was just very uncomfortable. [During] our first rehearsal, he played every song almost twice as fast as it was on the recording and I almost felt like he was testing me to see if I could remember all the words and keep up with them, which I did [laughs]. He barked at me a few times. He raised his voice at me. He insulted me for minor little things like… It was the first time that we had rehearsed together and I asked if we were going to play the wrong song like in order. We were going down a setlist and I did not have the setlist in front of me. I said, “Okay. So we’re going to play this song.” I can’t remember which song it was. Maybe it was “Sucks To Be You.” He was like, “Ooohh! What do you mean? You’re going to skip right over ‘Thunderbird’?”
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Seann Nicols: [Banali stating] “What are you thinking?” I’m like, “Well sorry. It’s our first rehearsal. Sorry. I said the wrong song. Let’s play ‘Thunderbird.’ No problem Frankie.” That type of thing [laughs]. Just minuscule nitpicking and just looking for something to jump on me for. Just ridiculous anal retentive behaviour.
Sleaze Roxx: How was your relationship with Alex [Grossi] and Chuck [Wright]?
Seann Nicols: At that time, it was great actually. Alex was very encouraging. He was like, “Listen man, don’t sweat it.” He said that Frankie had treated him that way when he had first joined the band and that it had taken six months for Frankie to acknowledge him or give any type of smile or any type of encouraging sign of affection that, “Hey, we’re in a band together and it’s all good.” Chuck was more concerned about hammering out little details. He was very meticulous wanting every note to be spot on. He actually provided a lot of helpful sequences for me to hone all of my parts to prepare for our first performance. I would say that Chuck was supportive. He was also though somewhat kind of a glass half empty guy. You knock out 98% of a set in rehearsal and he was just really focused on just the 2% that needed work. There wasn’t a lot of praise for all the things that were going right. He was more focused on what was wrong about any given situation. He tended to focus on what was going wrong and not what was going right.
Sleaze Roxx: When did things fall apart between you and Quiet Riot?
Seann Nicols: That’s a good question man [laughs]!
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Seann Nicols: Because I’m not too sure about that either. I think things started to fall apart when I approached Frankie Banali about the record that I had written and recorded for him, and let him know that I wanted to be compensated for my work. That’s when he became very adversarial and started making moves to edge me out of situations. After approaching him in the most sensitive professional way possible, he instantly got lawyers involved and everything had to be in writing on his terms. He refused to take phone calls and this was all before we had even done our first rehearsal. So I think that it was really greed and an effort from Frankie Banali to have me work for Quiet Riot without any form of compensation for the record that ultimately caused my involvement with the band to come to an end. Now that being said, the way that Frankie Banali acted and behaved from day one that we got together for the first rehearsal and the five shows that we played was absolutely horrific. I don’t think that there could have been anything that he could have done worse in that situation other than resort to physical violence. I mean, he was just emotionally a nightmare to work with. He was verbally abusive. Every possible thing that you can do to make a person uncomfortable, he did it and it was really terrible.
Sleaze Roxx: In terms of the album [‘Road Rage’], there was one song that was released with you on vocals and shortly after, you were out of the band or it seemed that there were some big rumours that James Durbin was going to take your place in the band. What happened there?
Seann Nicols: I don’t know exactly what happened but I do know that I had delivered all of the vocals for the songs to Frankie, and he had Neil Citron mixing and engineering the album. Frankie Banali was technically producing the album. I had made efforts to get involved with that. I’ve been producing albums for twenty some odd years and I had every intention of helping the band to make the album as good as it could possibly be. I was quickly informed by Frankie Banali that I would have no technical input and no creative input beyond the writing of the songs and obviously the recording of the vocal tracks. He made it very clear that he was the producer and whether I liked it or not, he was going to do it his way and he had all the faith in Neil Citron to make it sound like it needed to sound. I quickly saw that things were not moving in the direction that I felt would lead to a high quality output product but I was cut off quickly at that process. I think I got a little sidetracked.
Sleaze Roxx: Well, yeah. I think the song was called “The Seeker” and it was released and then shortly after, there were rumours that James Durbin was going to be in the band. It was odd that one song was released with you on vocals and then a couple of days later, it seemed that you were sort of out of the band.
Seann Nicols: Well, yeah. When Frankie decided to cut me out of the band, I had communicated to him in an e-mail and he said that the plan was that we were just going to release the ‘Road Rage’ record with me on it. That was the original plan. So when “The Seeker” came out, there was still a plan. It was agreed by Frankie and I am assuming the label [Frontiers Music Srl], which I did not have any contact with the label at this point. But the plan was to just put the record out with me on it and then, they would bring James Durbin in and they would do their touring and stuff. They would maybe make another record with James Durbin down the road, but at some point I guess, Frankie and the band decided — and the label or what not from their statement — that they were going to re-record all the songs with new lyrics and melodies with James Durbin, and they were going to wipe me off the entire record. This was a big injustice because I wasn’t properly compensated for my work to begin with, and they were also going to try to edge me out of any type of royalties or writing credits that I was legally entitled to, which is just unethical and flat out illegal [laughs].
So basically, I had to get an attorney to protect myself on this issue. Look, if you work on a song with somebody, you become a co-writer. And then, if you take that same song and you rewrite it, you can’t just cut the person who wrote the original draft out of the equation. The fact that James Durbin is rewriting the lyrics and melodies does not eliminate me as a co-writer and co-author of those songs. So I know that Frankie Banali is making efforts to try to cover his tracks, saying he never played James Durbin my versions of those songs, but the entire record that I recorded was already released — at least in Japan — and I know that there are copies of it circulating all around the world now because it was leaked on the Internet. And like you said, “The Seeker” had already been released. While I was very disappointed with the mix that those guys ended up putting on it, it was still enough to hear the lyrics and the melodies that I had written. Therefore this attempt by Frankie to put a different coating on these songs and put it out there as an entirely different project without giving me proper credit or compensation is appalling to say the least.
Sleaze Roxx: Would you be interested in having ‘Road Rage’ released with you on vocals and having a proper release of that album?
Seann Nicols: I mean, I think that’s really — I don’t know. That’s really kind of a loaded question [laughs]!
Sleaze Roxx: It wasn’t meant to be but… [laughs].
Seann Nicols: I get it. I get it. I mean look, after I heard the production values that those guys were putting out, I can honestly say that I would be embarrassed to have myself out on a record sounding like that. The mix on that song [“The Seeker”] was terrible. The production value was very low grade, unprofessional and it was embarrassing. In a way, I am happy that the record didn’t come out because it would probably be one of the worst sounding recordings that I would have appeared on in my career [laughs]. That being said, I am proud of the songs that I wrote with Quiet Riot and I think that if they were properly produced, properly mixed and properly released, then yeah, I would love for those songs to be in the world and have fans of that music be able to enjoy those songs. Absolutely.
Sleaze Roxx: One thing that Frankie has been stating in interviews is that you weren’t the first choice or second choice but you were the third choice to be the singer for the band [see recent interview by Frankie Banali with Just A Rock N Roll Junkie]. Did you know that at the time or is this just being revealed now in Frankie’s subsequent interviews?
Seann Nicols: I had no knowledge of that when I joined the band and as far as I know and as far as I am concerned, that story is a fabrication. To my knowledge, I joined Quiet Riot before James Durbin ever came into the fold. From what I understood, when I joined the band, Alex had already hooked up with James Durbin and was working with James Durbin on their solo thing — [Map to] The Hollywood Scars deal. So James Durbin was clearly available at the time that I had joined Quiet Riot ’cause he was working with Alex [laughs] right? I think that what most likely happened is that after Frankie realized that I was interested in being compensated for my work and that I was asking questions pertaining to the band’s business, he quickly went in to some type of a back up plan mode and that’s when they approached James Durbin about replacing me in the band. I don’t think that they had James Durbin as their first choice. Alex Grossi had gone out of his way to tell me that I was his number one choice of singer to work with in Quiet Riot. He told me point blank that I was the best singer he had ever worked with and that if he had it his way, I would be the last singer to sing in Quiet Riot because he wanted me to go the distance.
Frankie had talked with me and told me that he had spent months checking me out, watching videos, talking to people that I had worked with, talking to Alex and that he was sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was the right guy to be the permanent lead singer for Quiet Riot moving forward. They weren’t just taking into consideration my performance ability, they were also taking into consideration my ability to write, my history — I’ve got a lot of history. My path criss-crosses with Quiet Riot in so many ways. My dad worked with Kevin DuBrow back in the early eighties. They were actually in a band together.
Sleaze Roxx: Oh cool!
Seann Nicols: Kevin DuBrow actually visited my house when I was a young child [while he was] working with my dad in the studio and live. We just have this intricate path, this connection that brought us into communication with and ultimately into working together. So there was a lot more behind our union than just me being a singer, being available, and being able to fill it. “And oh, we would have taken James Durbin if he was available but we got Seann instead.” That’s a complete fabrication. I don’t know why they felt the need to cover their tracks that way. Maybe Frankie just felt embarrassed because he was unable to get along with me, because he was unable to be an ethical businessman about the whole situation. The bottom line is that Frankie Banali just made a very poor management decision in the way that he chose to handle me and the way he chose to handle the whole situation with the record deal. It was just his inability to manage the band and manage the situation ethically that led to the demise of our relationship.
Sleaze Roxx: Fair enough. How did your time end with Quiet Riot? Was it Frankie who told you?
Seann Nicols: Yeah. I received a letter by certified mail and an e-mail but I got that after it had already been announced in an interview that came out — I think it was in Germany. So, I actually found out from Frankie after it had already been publicly announced.
Sleaze Roxx: That’s terrible.
Seann Nicols: …which was even worse.
Sleaze Roxx: So when you found out through the interview from Germany, did you contact the guys or did you just leave it?
Seann Nicols: I just left it and then shortly thereafter, I got the notice for the letter and then I got several e-mails from Frankie wanting to get receipt of, “Hey! Did you get the termination letter?” It was a day later, I responded, “Hey! I got the termination letter. It’s all good.” I just wrote those guys a letter and I said, “Look, I tried my very hardest to make it work out. Sorry it didn’t work out. I wish you guys the best.” I said, “Hopefully, there’s a way that we can spin this thing that will look good for everybody involved.” I just really wanted it to be an amicable split. I never wanted there to be any animosity or any trouble the way it turned out to be. This whole debacle that has unfolded, I really put the blame squarely on Frankie Banali and his overinflated ego. He really — I don’t know why — I can’t imagine being in his position, that veteran status that he holds and trying to take advantage of people at any stage in their career, especially those who were willing to step up to the plate to help him further his vision for Quiet Riot. I am 25 years younger than him. I was getting back into the music business after a long hiatus and I couldn’t understand why he would want to try to hinder my progress in any way other than just bad intentions. He would repeatedly make negative and disparaging comments about me and my education, pitting his 40 years of experience in the music business against my status as a college degree holder in Business Administration. Sorry Frankie, but no amount of experience can make up for a lack of critical thinking skills.
Sleaze Roxx: Eventually, you released your own version of the song “Road Rage.” Why did you end up doing that and what problems have you encountered because of that?
Seann Nicols: The reason that I did that is because I wrote the song [laughs] and I have every right to do that. After they had released “The Seeker” with that terrible mix, and people were just slamming it, I really felt an obligation to properly represent myself and show people, “Hey! This is what I am really capable of.” And in the right circumstances working with quality musicians with quality production talents, this is what it could sound like. And this is what I wanted to do for Quiet Riot. This is what I represented to Quiet Riot, which was an opportunity to bring Quiet Riot into the modern day in a way that still represented their legacy so that there was something there for all of their fans and an opportunity to make new fans with an updated quality sound. I felt like releasing the “Road Rage” single, that was my way of showing the world the possibility that I stood for being a part of that band. That was really the motivation behind releasing that.
Frankie Banali and Neil Citron quickly tried to silence it by issuing false take down notices to YouTube, iTunes, Apple Music and my digital distributor Tunecore, and having the song removed from all those outlets. And I had to get an attorney and legally respond to them and challenge those notices to get the song and the video reinstated on all those outlets. So it was a legal battle that I ultimately won because they were not willing to actually pursue it in Federal Court because they don’t have a case. That’s what happened. It was very upsetting because they knew that I had not copied their music, yet they came in and said that it was an exact copy of the Quiet Riot music, which — when they release their version with James Durbin which I am sure they will — it will probably have different words on it and different melodies, but people will be able to hear the music to “Road Rage” and be able to hear the night and day difference. There’s very little musical resemblance between their version and the version that I released and that was very intentional.
Seann Nicols‘ “Road Rage” song:
AVAILABLE NOW ON ITUNES: http://itunes.apple.com/album/id1226110513 Video By: Chris@ForwardMotionLabs.com
Sleaze Roxx: What’s left in terms of dispute between you and Quiet Riot? Is it just your compensation for the ‘Road Rage’ record?
Seann Nicols: Yeah. What’s in question is the fact that I am a 33 1/3 co-writer — at least a 33 1/3 co-writer — of every song on the ‘Road Rage’ record. Whether they change the lyrics and melodies I wrote or not has no bearing on the fact that I am a co-writer and a co-owner of those songs and I am entitled to royalties on every copy sold. In addition, I am contractually entitled to a 50% writer and publisher royalty, which they are now telling me through legal communications with their attorney and my attorney that they will not be honouring any of my ownership interest or any of the royalties that I am due on that record.
Sleaze Roxx: Alright. Well, I guess that we’ll be staying tuned for that. After Quiet Riot, you surfaced again very quickly but this time as the new lead vocalist for Bobby Blotzer’s version of Ratt. How did that come about?
Seann Nicols: It was just a serendipitous occurrence. Literally, as I was receiving the termination notice from Quiet Riot, I was receiving a phone call from Bobby Blotzer and the rest of the band about learning the Ratt catalogue and doing the show in North Dakota [at the Prairie Knights Casino & Resort in Fort Yates, North Dakota, USA on March 18, 2017] with Bobby Blotzer’s version of Ratt. It just kind of fell in place. It was a total serendipitous occurrence [laughs].
Bobby Blotzer’s Ratt with Seann Nicols on lead vocals performing at the Prairie Knights Casino & Resort in Fort Yates, North Dakota, USA on March 18, 2017:
I Don’t Own Anything All Rights Go To Someone Else Ex Quiet Riot leader singer Seann Nicols on vocals The real RATT features Stephen Pearcy Juan Croucier Warren DeMartini Lay It Down Live at Prairie Knights Casino and Resort in Fort Yates North Dakota
Sleaze Roxx: Alright. What’s your status with the band?
Seann Nicols: The status is the same as it was. Bobby and I are still in communication. I know that he recently underwent back surgery so he’s in recovery and he is just working on feeling better. He’s obviously got a lot of legal issues that he’s trying to sort out with the trademark and fighting with the other guys from Ratt. But from what I’ve seen, it seems that Bobby does have legal ownership over the trademark and it’s just going to take some time for him to get it all sorted out in court. So that puts his business with Ratt on hold while he gets that sorted out.
Sleaze Roxx: So the plan is still to continue with his version of the band then?
Seann Nicols: Yeah. Absolutely. I know that for me, it’s a lot of downtime to wait for all that so I’ve gotten involved with Westfield Massacre, which I am very excited about playing with these guys. I know that other guys like Brad Lang — he’s doing other performances. Stacey Blades — he’s doing stuff and looking for other opportunities. Mitch Perry, I’m sure, is working on several projects ’cause he’s always involved in something really cool. So yeah, everybody is doing their own thing but when Bobby is ready, if and when the time is right, then we will all come back together and we will do it again.
Sleaze Roxx: And when you joined up with them for that one gig in North Dakota, did you know that it was just going to be one gig and then there was going to be some time off or did you think that it was going to be moving along a little bit faster?
Seann Nicols: I was informed that it would be the one gig. I was clearly aware of that. I was also made aware that there were some legal issues happening and depending on the outcome of those legalities, that we may or may not be touring for the rest of 2017. So clearly, the legal process is moving slower than Bobby would have wanted. To my understanding, there is an appeal on the horizon. There was a [motion for] summary judgment that went against a judgment that was made several years prior so Bobby’s attorneys now have to go through the litigation process to get that summary judgment overturned. That’s my understanding of the situation so if/when that happens, I’m ready to go and I know Bobby is very excited to play. He strategically planned his surgery around this legal stuff so that he could heal up and get the whole legal thing settled so that he could be prepared to go out and play again in 2018. So everybody is still moving in the direction of playing together again in the near future.
Sleaze Roxx: Has there been any talk about working on a new album?
Seann Nicols: Yeah. We talked about working on some new material. We actually haven’t started writing or recording anything but Bobby has said that he’s got a lot of songs that he would like to work on and I know that the rest of the guys also have material that they would like to bring in. And of course, any music that those guys bring to the table, I am ready and able to write lyrics and melodies and songs, and work together as a team to put together an amazing album.
Sleaze Roxx: And what about your gig with Westfield Massacre? How did that come about?
Seann Nicols: Westfield Massacre came together through my friend Ira Black [current Westfield Massacre and former Metal Church, Lizzy Borden and Vicious Rumours guitarist]. Ira is actually how I connected with Bobby Blotzer. Ira has just been a very dear friend of mine for almost ten years now. Westfield Massacre was going through their own struggle. Their singer [Tommy Vext] quit the band and they had a tour already booked and scheduled, and they were getting ready to release an album. So they were in a predicament [laughs] and Ira contacted me and said, “Hey man, I think that you would be the right guy for this project. Would it be alright if I sent you some songs to sing on? So I went through the recording process. I recorded my voice on some of their original songs where I sing the same exact vocals as their previous singer and then they sent me some new tracks where I did some original lyrics and melodies just so we could get an idea of our collaboration styles. Everything was clicking so we decided to make it official. We made the announcement and now we are about three quarters of the way through our first US tour and things are going fantastic.
Sleaze Roxx: Cool! So what is the plan going forward for you and Westfield Massacre? Will you be staying in the band or are you just a temporary fill-in?
Seann Nicols: At this point, I am permanent with Westfield Massacre. We’ve all clicked. It’s one of the greatest groups that I have ever been in. Everybody in the band is professional, talented, motivated and driven toward making great original music and touring and doing whatever it takes to take this music and get it out to people all around the world. We are, after this tour, planning on working on new material and recording a new record that will come out either later this year or sometime in the first quarter of 2018.
Sleaze Roxx: If Bobby Blotzer’s version of Ratt comes back, will you be able to juggle both?
Seann Nicols: As of right now, that would be the plan. If there were to be a scheduling problem, or there was any reason why I couldn’t do the Ratt thing, then I would be more than happy to tell Bobby to find someone that could take over my position in that band but as of right now, there’s no reason for me to think that I wouldn’t be able to do both. We’re just going to have to take it step by step. I mean, the music business is very unpredictable. Anything can happen at anytime, but as of right now, I am more than capable of handling both bands.
Sleaze Roxx: So obviously, the songs from Westfield Massacre are quite different from the songs from Quiet Riot or Ratt. Which one do you prefer?
Seann Nicols: Well, I don’t prefer one over the other. They are just two different styles. Ratt is a legendary sound. It’s the ’80s rock that I grew up on and that I love so much. My dad was actually involved in the early stages of the band’s career, helping them put their sound together and working on their songs and stuff. For me to be in the band all these years later is another full circle type of event. I just love singing those songs. I love performing those songs and I am really honoured to be a part of the project at this point. As far as Westfield Massacre, it’s a lot more modern. It’s heavy. It’s aggressive and I get to express a different side of my talent. It’s challenging and demanding, and it’s everything that I look for in a band or the music that I perform. So I really get to have the best of all worlds having the opportunity to be in Ratt and Westfield Massacre at the same time.
Sleaze Roxx: In terms of singing the Quiet Riot material, the Ratt material and even the Guns N’ Roses material when you were with Adler’s Appetite, which one do you find the most challenging and which one is the easiest?
Seann Nicols: Ooooh. That’s tough. I got to say singing ‘Appetite For Destruction’ is no cake walk [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Seann Nicols: But then again, Kevin DuBrow is an incredible voice as well and talent. They are all challenging in their own way. There’s a different preparation and a different application for each of those styles. They are all very different and require a different approach. So I don’t know. It’s art right? So it’s hard to say which one is more challenging or which one is easier. At the end of the day, I think that they are all equally challenging and equally rewarding in their own ways.
Sleaze Roxx: Fair enough. And I have to hand it to you, singing all those different singers’ material must be very difficult and you seem to have done really well with it. Aside from Adler’s Appetite, I had not heard that much about you until you surfaced with Quiet Riot. What were you up to after Adler’s Appetite?
Seann Nicols: Well, I took a long break from the music business. After my last tour with Adler’s Appetite in 2009, I decided to pull back and settle down [to] more of a family life. I went back to school. I got my Bachelors Degree in Business Administration. That took me almost five years going more or less full-time to school the whole time. I am currently working on my MBA so I have decided to continue on with my education even while doing these different band projects and stuff. I am still working on my studies. So that’s really what it came down to. I just took a huge break from music. I had been going full-time, full steam ahead, with the music thing for about 18 years before I decided to just pull back. My hiatus ended up being almost eight years. However, during that time, I did manage to do a few recording projects like the Steelshine album with David Henzerling from King Kobra. We did a full record together. I did a few other recordings with Liberty N’ Justice as well as I had my own band Tarsha, which I put together a live band and we did some performances, primarily with Steel Panther at the House Of Blues on Sunset Boulevard before it closed down and then we opened up for Anvil at the Anaheim House Of Blues, which was an amazing experience playing with those guys. And at one point, I did a short little stint with a band called Icon where we did Rocklahoma and we also opened up for Queensrÿche at the Orpheum Theater in Phoenix. So I did a few things during that “hiatus” but my main emphasis was really focusing on family and education, and just living my life a little bit [laughs]. I was so consumed with music. It’s all I did for about 18 years and it was time to just pull back. I took up surfing. I really got deep into my yoga practice and meditating and doing a lot of things to sooth my soul and my spirit. It was nice.
Steelshine‘s “Laughing With The Sinners” song with Seann Nicols on lead vocals:
Henzerling/Kilzer Copyright 2013 Driver Wild Music, LLC All Rights Reserved Seann Nicols – Vocals David Henzerling – Guitars, Bass John Covington – Drums Produced by David Henzerling Mixed by Rob Beaton “Chase” starring Murray McQueen and David Henzerling was shot in Phoenix, AZ in 1973 using Super 8 film and camera.
Liberty N’ Justice‘s cover of Vanilla Ice‘s “Ice Ice Baby” with Seann Nicols on vocals:
Liberty N’ Justice “Ice Ice Baby” featuring Seann Nichols (Adler’s Appetite/ Tarsha),Eddie Ojeda (Twisted Sister), and JK Northrup (Liberty N’ Justice/ King Kobra/ XYZ). The song is on the new LNJ CD “The Cigar Chronicles” and being released on 2-26-13. You can preorder the CD at www.libertynjustice.net.
Sleaze Roxx: What brought you back into the music limelight?
Seann Nicols: Well, my life changed. My relationship ended — the one that I had been in for almost eight years. And I got a call from Ira Black and he really had been a mentor and had supported me through my hiatus. He never let me forget that I had talent and he appreciated and admired my talent, and he ultimately is the one that brought me back into the fold and told me, “Hey! Come on out and do this Ultimate Jam Night in Hollywood.” He wanted to get me involved with singing again. He actually thought that I would be a great fit for Stone Temple Pilots. He had some connections with that camp and he wanted to take me into the studio and help me record a couple of songs to audition for Stone Temple Pilots. So that was really the first thing that brought me back in after my long break ’cause I really had no intention of coming back. It was really Ira that encouraged me to use my talent and get back into the swing of things so I really credit him with my return to music.
Seann Nicols and Ira Black performing cover of Stone Temple Pilots‘ “Vasoline” at Ultimate Jam Night on March 2, 2016:
STP “VASOLINE” SEANN NICOLS, IRA BLACK, JERRY MONTANO, ACE VON JOHNSON, MIKE DUPKE @ULTIMATE JAM NIGHT 3/2/16
Sleaze Roxx: Great! And what was your time like in Adler’s Appetite?
Seann Nicols: It was great and terrible and everything in between [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Seann Nicols: It was a dream come true. Honestly, I went from singing “Welcome To The Jungle” in a karaoke contest to singing ‘Appetite For Destruction’ on tour for thousands of people with one of my idols from Guns N’ Roses. That was really my first big break and I’ll always have fond memories of that experience. I really bonded with [former Guns N’ Roses drummer] Steven Adler. I feel like he and I have kindred spirits or souls or whatever — however you say that. Yeah. I had the time of my life playing in that band. I still to this day love every one of those songs from ‘Appetite For Destruction’ and even earlier stuff like “Live Like A Suicide.’ Those songs are near and dear to my heart. No offense to the later stuff — the ‘Use Your Illusion’ stuff and all that stuff — but you know, my time with those early Guns N’ Roses classics, that’s near and dear to my heart. I had an amazing time. I got to play with a lot of great musicians. I got to travel the world and that was really my big introduction to performing at an international professional level. So I am very thankful and have real fond memories of all that.
Adler’s Appetite with Seann Nicols performing “Sweet Child O’ Mine” at Route 15 in Grenville, Wisconsin, USA on March 7, 2009:
This show was awesome! I got some really cool shots of Michael Thomas at this gig, his solos were right infront of me (I was front row)…obviously got tons of Steven, these guys not only kicked ass, but were cool as hell.
Sleaze Roxx: Has there ever been any talks of the band getting back together?
Seann Nicols: Actually yeah. When I joined Quiet Riot, Alex [Grossi] had planted a seed saying, “Hey! You know, it’s not out of the question that maybe we could get something together with [Steven] Adler again and do some more shows. I don’t know if it would have been as Adler’s Appetite. It might have been something different but now obviously, since things have gone south with Quiet Riot, Alex Grossi and I aren’t really on that good of terms anymore. I don’t know how realistic that is ’cause Alex as you know is booking Adler’s group right now. So I don’t know how realistic that is. It might be a political conflict of interest at this point for Alex to be involved with me in any way because of his involvement with Frankie Banali.
Sleaze Roxx: Is there anything you’d like to add that we haven’t covered today?
Seann Nicols: I mean that pretty much covers it. I’m just really excited to be playing with Westfield Massacre. We’ve been laying the groundwork for our music all across the country. We’ve just been playing show after show. The shows keep getting better and more exciting. More people are showing up. We got a great response going on social media. I couldn’t be happier right now. I feel so lucky to do music for a living and to use my gifts and talents to make a living in the world. Yeah, I am just really happy man! I am glad that I get to share my experience and share my story. And that’s about it man! I appreciate talking about it with you.