I first met Adam 8 years ago (time flies!) during the first AMERICAN HEARTBREAK tour. I quickly noticed quite a few similar tastes about music while we were talking in my old car on our way to dinner at my band’s rehearsal place. We then met again for the epic 2003 LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH tour as my band SPARKLING BOMBS was opening for the French leg of the tour.
Later on, I saw him play with The BLACK HALOS both in the US and in Europe but this time, Adam is comin’ back to the old continent with his own band The LUSTKILLERS. So don’t look no further, you’ll know everything you need to know about the band after reading this interview…
So, let’s start from the early days… What made you pick up a guitar and what or who got you into rock’n’roll?
My mother’s youngest brother was a real degenerate and young enough to be more like my older brother. He was always into trouble, wrecking cars and getting arrested, so to me that was normal. He fed me a lot of rock n roll. He was also responsible for getting me my first guitar. It was a cheap white telecaster. Kiss Destroyer captured my imagination. I started playing guitar after my first concert, Motorhead.
You were in L.A when the whole Sunset Strip scene was big, what bands did you play with there? I know you don’t have only good memories from those times, but can you give us a few good ones?
I was too young to be taken seriously by bands when I got there, so I never found a gig. I was finally being courted by this band Damn Yankees(Not the 90’s supergroup) but they split up. They became Kills for Thrills with Gilby Clarke. By the time I got their call, I had moved back to Chicago and gave up guitar. The LA rock scene got really into shredding and I wanted nothing to do with it. I ate drugs and went dark into the goth/industrial thing. It was a shame because when I got to Hollywood there was so much great rock. I was at GnR’s signing party at the Whiskey knowing that I was witnessing history. Faster Pussycat were playing parties nude. Hangmen were playing Raji’s. I was catching Jane’s Addiction and Human Drama at Club Lingerie. Blah Blah Blah. I could see the end coming when Warrant and LA Guns were getting interest. Oh yeah and Filthy Phil Animal nearly puked all over me hanging out in the Rainbow parking lot. Really big deal to a kid like me 😉
You then moved back to Chicago to play in darker bands, right?
Before LA, I was in bands and bad shit with older guys by 16. Kids now don’t even start bands til 22? I was too young to be doing what I did out there in Hollywood. I came back to start over in a different scene but I got even worse because everything was at my disposal as a “Goth” in Chicago at that time. To me guitar was a tool to write music, not crap all over it with a solo. I was primarily singing and programming, writing some really great dark wave stuff and then industrial with John Soroka of Ministry.
What about your San Francisco days? You played with AMERICAN HEARTBREAK there, did you know the guys before or just decided to move there and found them?
I’d seen Jetboy in LA. They actually opened at The Whiskey GnR signing party. I’d been playing as a hired gun in the SF Bay, so people knew of me. When Curtis left American Heartbreak, it seemed the entire scene expected me to just step in. They were right.
Didn’t you live in New York too?
I did nearly 3 years of NYC before SF. It was awesome times with a lot of great rock and bands spilling into the streets everywhere, every night. D-Gen had just signed and I made great friends with a lot of great people. Bands like Devil Dogs, NY Loose, LES Stitches, Radio Zero, Spitball, Sulfur, Pillbox. There was a little bit of everything going on and all of it good. Especially, the band I landed in, The Heartdrops. Heartdrops were a fantastic band, with great songwriting. Once again, the scene nearly destroyed me and then the scene was being destroyed. Clubs started closing. I have noting but fond memories of NYC. I miss it everyday of my life. Sadly, it’s not there to return to.
In 2003 you joined the LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH for their reunion tour and recorded the “Hang On” album with them. Tell us how all of this happened. Will you record some songs again with them in the future?
Just spoke to Brian (James) a couple days ago. Every month we compare notes and pursue leads to work together again. He’s still very keen on writing new Lords material and I have songs and lyrics he’s really into at the ready. In 2002, mutual friend/photographer, Devorah Ostrov, suggested to The Lords that LustKillers open a US Tour. When they received the LK demos (now released as “Black Sugar Sessions”) they changed their minds and enlisted me to sing for The Lords. When the US Tour didn’t happen, The Lords flew me out to Brighton to sing on 10 new songs they had recorded. Those songs “Hang On” and the 2003 Lords EuroTour were hjacked by a person who trademarqued The Lords logos and band name. Even with the help of Attorney David Quinton (Stiv’s “Disconnected” drummer) The Lords were held hostage for 4 years before reclaiming their trademarks. Halloween 2007, The Lords played their 25th Anniversary in London. It was brilliant. So many long time friends of Stiv and the band were there to see us. I’d never seen Brian so happy and he and Dave have been eager to continue The Lords ever since.
Then you played with the BLACK HALOS (from Canada), was the distance a big problem as you were in Chicago? What’s the situation with them now? Are you still in the band?
Distance is no problem when you are serious about your craft. Problem is, there are only two real reasons to do something, Money or Passion. You can’t just do things to be cool.
Black Halos was swell but now the swelling’s gone down.
Let’s talk about your own current band now, The LUSTKILLERS. For how long have they been around? It seems like you had many problems to find the right line-up, tell us a bit about the new guys.
The LustKillers were firing on all cylinders in SF until I left to do The Lords. That sent the bassist and drummer out touring in Swingin Utters. I’ve always filled the LustKillers with available friends. All you leave this world with is memories, this way I make the best I can. The players cum ‘n go ‘n cum again. We’ve become quite an extended family, this LustKillers Kult 😉 Bryan, James and Roger are comin’ ta Europe!
Bryan’s the young gun on guitar. The kid’s gonna be a star. He’s got B.L.A.M.F. tattooed on his arm and he’s full of charm.
James loves the ladies. He’s got southern drawl and pull. He hits things with sticks. Roger Rags was in Trashlight Vision and most recently with Sorry and the Sinatras.
Your “Black Sugar Sessions” songs got released by Swedish label Nicotine records. Were you planning on releasing them on a record? How did it happen?
In just 9 months of SF, The LustKillers were headlining the larger clubs on a Sat. night. This created a lot of interest, so a lot of people came to our studio to record us.
The only thing meant for release was gonna be a single recorded by Chip Hanna (One Man Army). When that didn’t happen we never expected anything else to see the light of day. We referred to the demos as “black sugar” because we were convinced nothing good could come from them. I gave some of the demos to French Journalista Thomaxe Goze, whom I’d met in Marseille on Lords Tour. He loved em but I ended up joining Black Halos and all my energies went to writing/recording/touring albums for them. Last year when Halos had everything stolen on the Canadian Tour, Thomaxe arranged the LK deal with Nicotine Records. Two months later when Halos toured Europe, Nicotine brought me the product! So cool to see it released and very cool when TornadoRide Records pressed the vinyl.
I suppose you’ve got a lot of new songs now. How would you describe them compared to the “Black Sugar Sessions” ones?
The next material is like the Black Sugar stuff but just harder in each direction. What was fun is more fun and what was dark is darker. Let’s face it, as long as I’m singin’ it, it’s gonna sound like LustKillers 😉 We tried out 11 or so new songs on the SouthWest audience and they really got off. Some cellcam bootlegs made it to youtube I think.
The LUSTKILLERS have been touring in the U.S. quite a lot lately,… how was your South West tour? Highest and lowest points?
LK are extremely productive when together. We pulled off 6 shows in 10 days, finished 15 songs and covers, tracked acoustic versions of stuff, appeared in a Reality TV show and Recorded all the shows and videoed. We also gigged with The Hangmen and reunited their guitarist Rane with his old SMACK bandmate Mika.
Low Points… none that I can name. We were disappointed the cold nights prevented us from filming a video for Culture Clash. Also we all went home extremely sick from the final gig. It was outdoors at night in the courtyard between a bar and Chinese take-out restaurant WOK STAR. They had no permits. We played every song we knew and twice as many we didn’t know 😉 It was late and freezing and turned into a boozefest of toiletpaper and blood. I have the audio bootleg, can’t wait to see the video.
You’re coming to Europe in April/May. You often toured here with your previous bands but not with The LUSTKILLERS. Is it more exciting for you? More stressful maybe?… Have the other members been to Europe before?
LustKillers will be the 4th band I have toured Europe with. I’ve outlived ‘em all. It’s what I do. Painters Paint 😉 I’m very excited to share LustKillers with Europe because it is all mine and me. My songs show off the players playing them, so I can be me and tell my stories. Only thing stressful is the business of it. I’ve always attempted to keep LustKillers sacred from all of that. Guitarist Bryan is young but he’s a road dog. He’s gonna love touring Europe. James is a vegetarian, he might not 😉 hahaha. Roger can’t wait to return.
I know you’ve got a lot of records. can you name 5 that you listened to more than 500 times? Give us a few description too, what they mean to you.
Jim Carroll – Catholic Boy. Anyone can die. Jim’s a survivor. His voice is poetic and true.
Lords of the New Church – Is Nothing Sacred. They wrote this album for themselves and it shows so many of the Lords influences….. I thrive on variety.
Devil Dogs – I throw on Devil Dogs when I’m feeling low. I guess I feel low often?
Manic Street Preachers – This is My Truth… This album blew me away emotionally.
The Figgs – Sucking in Stereo Maybe only 400 times. The Figgs are the last of the real songwriters. They throw away songs that are better than anything I could imagine writing.
What’s wrong with most bands today?
Go look at videos on youtube of The Runaways or Generation X. You tell me. They were so young and fresh and playing from their hearts. Everything now looks rehearsed and considered. Players don’t even move naturally now. No ones found themselves.
Albumwise, in the Corporate Industry, they hide behind over production and compression. If we are talking about rock on the club circuit, I see too many bands playing loud, hard and fast. To me, only two bands did that proper, Motorhead and Ramones. I prefer dynamics and integrity in my rock. Give the ears a moment to consider what they just witnessed then hit em again. I guess I’m just no longer fond of “the hard sell.”
Have you seen any good live bands lately?
ahem…. THE GODFATHERS. Peter Coyne still has so much focus and conviction live. It really made me realize what I’ve been missing in new music, not to mention the Cynicism! The Figgs wanted me to roll with last tour but I only caught 2 shows. They are masters at taking risk live with brilliant songs and 2 incredibly honest voices. Polyphonic Spree was so powerful live. 23 + players up there all smiling and rocking hard on every instrument. Not one single person on that stage wanted to be anywhere else. I guess heart goes a long with me.
You once told me that you considered Wendy O. Williams and Lisa left Eye Hopes as the most important women in music, can you explain?
They both Lived and DIED by their own rules, which is extremely rare for females. Lisa even more so than Wendy. I dare you to name one person Male or Female in the Corporate Music Industry since Lisa, that stood up for themselves. Lisa publicly took on her own Label, Mgt and Band to get to the truth. Her Boyfriend cheated on her and Lisa Burrrned the House Down! Wendy O and Left Eye both accepted the limit of their talents. They embraced their sexuality and were empowered by it rather than victimized.
I know you’re also a MANIC STREET PREACHERS fan. What are your thoughts on Richey? Do you think he’s still alive?
It’s still a very fascinating and intriguing tale. I rarely have much respect for people who throw their lives away, so I prefer to believe he’s starting over elsewhere. Unfortunately, there’s not one indication in his personal past strengths to believe he didn’t just cash it in.
Any good books or movies you’ve enjoyed lately?
I was quite impressed with “the Assassination of Jessie James.” It was historically great.
The dialogue was smart and the camera work impressed me.
I really enjoyed “Choke” so much more than the book.
I had to stop reading books. They were ruining all my movies 😉
Tell us a bit about your love for bikes…
Before there was a guitar, there were dirtbikes and motorcycles. I had to sell my XS650 Classic Twin when I lived in SF. I had a back surgery while in American Heartbreak, needed to pay bills and never thought I’d be vertical again.
After cancelling the Halos Eurotour to open for Social Distortion, I shaved my head and spent the summer training to race cyclocross. I have an addiction for speed. It was aggressive, incognito and had absolutely nothing to do with rock n roll. How very Stiv Bators of me, eh?
Anything else to add?
Thank You, Laur for almost loving music as much as I do.
I encourage those reading this to join us and participate at http://www.myspace.com/lustkillers
FaceBook seems like the cool place to be now so add up LustKillers at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-LustKillers/81689005186
We are still filling EuroTourdates at http://www.teenageheadmusic.com/tours/lk.html
If You want LustKillers to play Contact: Manny@teenageheadmusic.com
Buy your LustKillers CD at http://www.nicotinerecords.eu/music.htm
Start Spreadin the Nooooose THE LUSTKILLERS ARE COMIN TO YA
Lust n Daggers,