Everything comes to him who waits… But sometimes it can take a while, a long while! I got the first JUNKYARD album in 1989 after I saw the “Hollywood” video on Swiss TV and never thought I’d have the chance to see them live!
Twenty years later, my band is opening for the reunited JUNKYARD in Colmar, France so I took the opportunity to ask singer David Roach a few questions about the past, present and future of JUNKYARD.
How did you get the idea to get back together?
Well, it was never an idea. After we broke up we all went on separate ways and there was no need to get back together because the grunge movement was so big, nobody wanted to listen to rock’n’roll anymore for maybe 5 or 6 years, from 1992 to maybe 1996/1998. There was no interest and no reason to get back together.
Then the grunge movement began to die out and rock’n’roll became popular again. Well, not really popular but bands from those days like L.A GUNS were getting back together and there was a new opportunity for people to hear these bands again, not on a large scale like it was but still.
We started to get offers from Japan for instance or for a festival in Spain. We were getting phone calls asking us to get together and come out, do some shows or little tours like this.
Back in the day, how did you get signed to Geffen records?
Back then, they were handing out record contracts to everybody. Well not everybody of course but they were signing a lot of bands. There are still some great bands you’ve never heard of but a few bands like us did ok.
When GUNS N’ ROSES got signed, every other label was looking for the next big thing and we were just in the right place at the right time, playing the right kind of music.
I guess there was something about us that was special, different enough when everybody was pretty and everything, we were a little harder and a little uglier but still rock’n’roll so we got some attention and I guess that’s how we got it.
In those days, did you get the chance to tour outside of the US?
No, not back then. I don’t know why but we never did any tours outside of America though we went to England and play for a couple of weeks there supporting The ALMIGHTY. I don’t know whether the record label was not doing their job or there was just no interest for us over there… I don’t know what the problem was but it just never happened.
What are your best memories of those days?
The best memories to me. You know, I was just very young when I moved to Los Angeles from Texas so I had never seen anything like that before, never seen a city that big. Every single night, sunday, monday, tuesday, wednesday, every night there was a party and a good band to see. And then after the music, there was a party at somebody’s house every night, it was crazy and it was everywhere!
It was a very exciting time to be in Los Angeles and I don’t think it’s ever been like that since then. There’s no scene like there was the rock scene back then, it’s never been imitated or repeated by any other thing. During the grunge movement, other bands started to do their thing like GOLDFINGER or doing the CHILI PEPPERS thing but nothing ever became as big and exciting as that.
I remember those Axl Rose pics in Circus magazine, he was wearing a JUNKYARD shirt!
That actually came to be because we were playing in a small club and we just made some t-shirts at home, in our house so we brought them out and GUNS N’ ROSES came to the show to watch us and Axl was very impressed, and we gave him a t-shirt. The next day he had a photoshoot and he wore that shirt. He wore it live too so there are many pics of him with the JUNKYARD shirt. He probably lost it two weeks later (laughs) in a laundry or something but we got a lot of publicity just from that.
And you never had the chance to open for such big bands on a whole tour?
The biggest arena tour we did was with LYNYRD SKYNYRD and we opened for GUNS N’ ROSES a couple of times but we never went on tour with them.
Did the LYNYRD SKYNYRD audience liked you on this tour?
Yes, they did. I mean it’s a little bit of a tough crowd because their fans only want to hear “Free Bird” but since we sort have a little bit of Southern rock influence we went on pretty well with their audience.
The music business and industry has changed a lot, how do you see the whole thing with the Internet, downloading, etc.?
I’m so far from the whole music business thing, I don’t even feel qualified to even tell you. I don’t even know if record labels are necessary anymore, people doing it so much on their own. I guess you need distribution and publicity but everything is on the Internet now. It seems like people are discovering bands from MySpace more than they do from MTV which doesn’t even play videos anymore almost in America.
But that made it possible for us to do things like this tour. We also had a lot of unreleased things that we recorded for the record label that weren’t used. We could sell it from home on the Internet so in that way it helped us.
Do you also tour in the US since the band reunited?
We play a few shows in the US. We played in Oklahoma,Texas and California before we came to Spain last time but not like a regular tour where we go all around. Chris lives in Texas and the rest of the band is in California.
Any project for new material?
I would never say never because it’s possible but there’s no plan to right now. But the other thing with the Internet is that it makes it easier to write some songs when you live far away from each other, send things back to each other like song ideas and eventually record them.
Are you still in contact with Brian Baker now that he’s in BAD RELIGION?
Oh yeah. he and Tim, our guitar player who took Brian’s place grew up together in D.C. They’ve known each other forever so they talk all the time. I talk to Brian 3 or 4 times a year, we’re still a family.
Anything you want to add?
Just thanks for even being interested! It’s always a little strange you know, 20 years passed by and you think nobody cares anymore so it makes you feel good to know that something you did so long ago is still important to people, like when you said you waited for 20 years to see us!
It reminds me when I was a child, I grew up loving rock’n’roll and all the bands that I wish I could have seen like LED ZEPPELIN weren’t around by the time I was old enough to see them.
What band would you choose to open for if you had the chance to pick one?
That’s a tricky question, I would choose AC/DC but I don’t want to hear Brian Johnson. It’s gotta be Bon Scott but that’s not gonna happen!