INTERVIEW WITH STACEY BLADES AND CHRIS VAN DAHL OF ANGELS IN VEIN (PART 2 OF 2)
Date: June 23, 2016
PART 1 OF SLEAZE ROXX’S INTERVIEW WITH ANGELS IN VEIN’S GUITARIST STACEY BLADES AND FRONTMAN CHRIS VANDAHL WAS POSTED LAST WEEK. IT’S NOW TIME FOR PART 2 OF THE INTERVIEW WHICH HAS BLADES AND VANDAHL TALKING MORE ABOUT ANGELS IN VEIN, THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AS IT STANDS TODAY AND VANDAHL’S THOUGHTS THAT THE L.A. GUNS ALBUM THAT HE PLAYED ON SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A L.A GUNS RECORD.
Sleaze Roxx: Obviously, both of you have L.A. Guns in your legacy.
Stacey Blades: [Laughs]
Sleaze Roxx: Arguably, that will probably follow both of you for the rest of your respective careers. Do each of you think that’s a good thing or bad thing?
Stacey Blades: I’m proud of that you know. Chris had a little bit of a shorter time in the band than I did. I was proud of those ten years that I put in with the band and I really thought that I put my blood, sweat and tears, and my life, into that band for a long time. It is unfortunate that things turned out the way they did but life is full of walking on new roads. I don’t denounce it ever. I am proud of it.
Sleaze Roxx: What about you Chris?
Chris VanDahl: Well, for my part, I just covered this in an interview. Somebody asked me a similar question. They were some of the best and most challenging experiences in my life to date. When the guys asked me to join the band, Phil [Lewis] had already left. And they were getting ready to start to disgroup. Tracii [Guns] had gotten knees deep with Killing Machine when he saw me perform. He was like “Look man, if you join the band, we’ll keep it together. We’ll do the record and we’ll move it forward. But his vision for the band and what I thought I was getting into time, I think were two different things. I was a fan of L.A. Guns long before I was ever a member. I was playing their stuff — kind of before everybody knew who they were back in the club circuits in Detroit. So I had this idea in my head on what it was going to be. I think that the objective was to reinvent the band to try to get ahead of the curve because the entire music scene was changing at the time. All the Seattle bands were stating to gain prevalence, you know — starting with the Nirvanas, the Pearl Jam and the Soundgardens and the Alice In Chains. I think that Tracii was trying to reinvent the band and modernize it. And I think that’s what he saw in me. So what we did in my mind was never a L.A. Guns record. I am proud for having been part of the band. It’s nice to be able to say, “Yeah. I was in L.A. Guns.”
But, Phil actually recently sent me a message and I agreed with it. He said, “I think that the record would have done so much better if you guys had not called it L.A. Guns.” You go back to the politics. Who wants to sign a new band without the name? Everybody wants the brand because it has already been established. So they can slap L.A. Guns on an album, it doesn’t matter whose on it. That’s what they are going to do because they know that they are going to sell x amount of units and make a certain amount of money. I think that’s where it went terribly wrong but that being said, amazing musicians, fantastic times. Even the harder stuff, I learn from. It was a great experience. I am glad to have had it but I spend more time looking forward than behind me. Right now, there is no bigger priority than Angels In Vein. And I can tell you that this band — from a musical perspective — is ridiculous! There’ a reason why Stacey was asked to join the band and he was with them for what? Fourteen years or something dude?
Stacey Blades: Yeah, ten [years]. Well, L.A. Guns was ten [years].
Chris VanDahl: But it felt like 14?
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Stacey Blades: Yeah and then some!
Chris VanDahl: There’s a reason that each of us have been asked to do the things that we do. Troy Patrick Farrell, our drummer — he plays with Gilby Clarke. He’s been with White Lion. He tours with The Raskins. He’s the guy everybody calls when they’ve got a major tour and they need a drummer. This is something different. This is, I guess, all the replacement guys — and if you don’t know what I mean, read Stacey’s book Snake Eyes…
Stacey Blades: [Laughs]
Chris VanDahl: He’s published.
Sleaze Roxx: I love that book!
Chris VanDahl: All the replacement guys are the stray bullets, as I like to call us, that have come together — with the exception of maybe Eric Stacy who was in Faster Pussycat from the very beginning and contributed greatly to that — have come together and said, “Alright. This is ours.” People are going to be pleasantly surprised, if not blown away, by what they’re getting.
Sleaze Roxx: You guys have obviously been around the block in terms of the music industry. You have both indicated at the beginning of this interview that you were excited with the timing, or at least the reception that Angels In Vein is getting, what do you think of where the music industry is at at this point and what it takes to sort of make it?
Stacey Blades: Well, obviously, things have changed a lot and it’s kind of like the music industry has almost bottomed out so there’s only one way to go and that’s back up. As Chris was saying, I think that the timing is right and that’s why I think that there is such an excitement factor about us. It’s like we are doing something new but we are like these old hats. It has a nice shiny bow around it and I think that this band is going to be a kick up the ass that the industry really needs right now. We need somebody to fill in, to be bold again, to be a little dangerous…
Chris VanDahl: [Laughs]
Stacey Blades: You look at that band or whatever, and you hear that first part of that song, and you get excited. It’s all those elements that have been missing for years and I think that’s what we are hoping to do and will try to do.
Chris VanDahl: Yeah. It’s a ballsy statement. It’s a ballsy statement.
Stacey Blades: Yeah!
Chris VanDahl: It’s not just my opinion or you know what I mean, my impression. It’s what we are getting by what has been released already. Considering it’s not much and the response from the people, this is something that they want you know? They are absolutely ready for it. The record industry has pretty much folded in onto itself when the internet launched and now we are all trying to play catch up. We’re sort of back to the ’70s man where bands would make a great record and pretty much go out and tour, and pretty much sell it out of the back of their van. But the van now is the internet and if it’s good and if it gets enough attention and exposure, record companies are secondary. We can offer it ourselves at this point. I am not saying that we would not take a great deal if it came along. I just don’t know that anybody is doing that anymore. Nobody is developing bands. So we are developing this thing on our own. If and when we decide to sign, it’s only because record companies have already seen everything that e have already done and what we have to offer.
Stacey Blades: And I think the sound too, in a way, it’s like nothing is new or original or anything. Everything has been done. But I think what we’re doing sonically, it’s got a new sound. It’s got elements of like Velvet Revolver but it’s also got these ’70s elements too. But like Chris said, it’s got kind of a heavier new sound with different tunings and stuff like that so it’s not such an one trick pony. It’s really got a lot of cool stuff that is translating musically as well and I think that is going to go far.
Sleaze Roxx: Now, is there anything that we haven’t covered that you think we should have?
Chris VanDahl: For my part, thanks for getting in touch with us. We’re all about the fans and we are all about the people supporting the band. If there’s something that they want, if there is something that they are interested in, or they have an opinion, let us know what it is because at the end of the day, they ‘re the people that enable us to do what it is we would love to do. We’re listening and we re paying attention. Angels In Vein, type it into your search engines on Facebook. The website is up. We are on iTunes. Merchandise is already happening. T-shirts are going out the door [laughs]. Just thank you! By the way, it is V-E-I-N. It is a minor distinction but I don’t know where it will land you if you type it in wrong. Come find us, like us, follow us, share us. Help us get the word out about the band.
Stacey Blades: The single and video for “1973” should be out somewhat soon.
Sleaze Roxx: I have one more question for each of you. What are your three all-time favorite albums and why?
Chris VanDahl: [Whistling] Phew. That’s a tough one. Go Stace!
Stacey Blades: [Laughs] Ummm. Wow! I am going to say definitely Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Diary Of A Madman.’ It’s just a record that changed my life. I am a huge Randy Rhoads fan and there was just magic on that second record that still gives me goose bumps. Aerosmith ‘Rocks’ — I mean, that’s all you got to say. I would say Van Halen — between ‘Van Halen II’ and ‘Fair Warning’ just for that time at my age, being 12 or 13 at that time. Just a connection — really just a connection with those couple of records. The first Van Halen, you know I was ten years old when that one first came out so your ears aren’t quite there at that age. As ou get to be 12 or 13, then it really starts connecting. There;s so many other records. I was way into Cheap Trick and The Cars.
Chris VanDahl: [Laughs] You just took my first two!
Sleaze Roxx: What about you Chris?
Stacey Blades: Great minds think alike!
Chris VanDahl: Yeah. I think so. I think so. Those are great calls man. For me, I am thinking maybe Cheap Trick ‘Live At Budokan’, Aerosmith ‘Toys In The Attic’ and that’s really hard. Man, it’s kind of a toss up. The Cars’ first album and maybe Bob Seger’s ‘Live Bullet’ because those were the first things that I was exposed to that made me go, “This is what I have to do with my life!’ And I was a little kid when that stuff came out but those are the reasons for my choices. There’s so much great music out there. It’s really difficult to narrow it down to three.