An Interview with
Drummer of Hollywood Metalheads ‘Enrot’ & The Graham Bonnet Band
that took place at O2 Academy Sheffield, Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
Interviewed by Glenn Milligan.
Glenn: How was your flight getting over?
Justin: It was good. It was long. I watched a ton of movies. I watched ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ again and can confirm that that is the best movie I have ever seen in my whole life. Even with a tiny little screen with headphones it’s the best I’ve ever seen.
Glenn: How was your jetlag?
Justin: Oh not bad at all because I do a ton of stage work back. Like building stages and lights and sound. You do a ton of overnight shifts so I stayed up 24 hours and I was fine.
Glenn: Cool. So how did you land the gig with Graham?
Justin: Actually I’ve been friends with Conrado the Guitar player. He was one of my first friends when I moved to L.A. So he’s been playing with Graham for years. I’ve been lobbying to get the gig and the stars aligned right before this tour and it happened. I had only been with the band two weeks before we left for the tour. It was super short notice.
Glenn: So basically you found out and you had to learn the songs as quickly as possible.
Justin: Yeah. They gave me a set list and I got a copy of ‘Down To Earth’. They sent me all the rest such as the Alcatraz song and we’re doing one more which is Graham’s solo tune. Then we have two brand new ones. We do a song by The Marbles which was Graham’s band back in the 60’s. So we try and cover the whole career.
Glenn: What songs have you liked so far most that you’ve been playing and why have they stood out to you?
Justin: I actually like a lot of the tunes. One of the best things about playing with Graham is that as a drummer you cannot play loud enough for this guy. So that works for me. I like to be pretty loud. But man, I love ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’. I get to sing backups on that. I love ‘All Night Long’ – it’s a great tune. Obviously, ‘Lost In Hollywood’ is like super-fast – that’s a great song. One of my favourites is actually Conrado’s original tune. Graham gave us some time to do some solos and some original stuff and it’s called ‘Seven Deadly Sins’. He actually played that supporting Steve Vai in LA or San Diego. It goes from 7 to 4 to 7 to 4. It’s a pretty cool tune.
Glenn: What would the main difference is working with Graham than working with Quentin (Lead Vocalist of Enrot)?
Justin: It’s like night and day. Graham has years of experience. He’s been a Rock Star since the late 60’s. He’s been everywhere already. He’s done everything and he’s gracious enough to take us along for this ride. We are busting our asses but it’s been a blast. Working with Quentin is obviously very different. Quentin’s a little bit younger than me even so the experience level is obviously different. The musical style is totally different. But I think the main thing is that me and Graham are close. We are friends and we work together. We’ve only known each other a little while. Quentin and I are brothers. . I call us Ricky and Bret. So yeah, we’re bros. We have pet names for each other. We’re the silliest dumb and drunk dudes you’ll ever meet.
(Photo by OZZFestAmy)
Glenn: So what are your thoughts to Skinny's Lounge in North Hollywood since Enrot has played there?
Justin: We love Skinny’s. The main dude there on Wednesday night, Skum Love is a great guy. He’s taken a real liking to Enrot which is so great. He’s a big time guy, he’s a Schechter Rep. He’s been everywhere & he’s done everything. Just a great dude. We llisten to his stories and learn from this guy. He is very cool. Skinny’s is awesome.
Glenn: Yeah. So what have been the highlights so far of Enrot?
Justin: Definitely the CD release show. That was kind of like a breakout thing. I think that was our 6th or 7th show with me in the band and it was one of the best shows. We actually packed Loaded which I hate to say was surprising but it’s like, ‘Oh you’re a local band’ and L.A. is a tough place to do it. We totally packed the bar. Everyone was screaming along and digging it. We got mosh pits going and all that fun stuff. We've been playing all over. We did a web-show and we played our whole set on it. That was supposedly going out to like a few hundred thousand people, so that’s pretty amazing. Then just getting tight with people. Like the dudes at Loaded are amazing. We’re friends with Bill Metoyer now.
Glenn: Oh he’s a great guy.
Justin: It’s like whose life am I living? I’m friends with these amazing people.
Glenn: Yeah Bill was the Engineer for some of the early Slayer albums and worked with many well known artists over the years.
Justin: Also getting to hang with my new friend Carlos from Madlife who are managed by Dave from Ill Nino. I actually went on tour with Ill Nino as a supporting act with my old band in Chicago, ‘Fashion Bomb’. There’s all these weird little connections. Opening for ‘All Hail The Yeti’ – how can I forget that! At the Viper Room, playing the Whisky A Go-Go. Then hitting all these legendary clubs before they close which is cool.
Glenn: I’ve heard that as well actually about the rumours of The Viper Room closing and all sorts of stuff.
Justin: I haven’t heard about ‘Viper’ yet and I haven’t heard about ‘Whisky’ yet but I feel it’s inevitable man the Sunset Strip is going down.
Glenn: I’ve seen it on facebook and it’s like you are killing Hollywood if you do that.
Justin: Well here’s the thing, you see you’re from out here but I’ll tell you. Most of the clubs out there, like most of the big legendary clubs now are all ‘pay to play’. We don’t do that. We played that old boat. We are a punk rock band – that’s kind of where of motto is. We live by this punk rock lifestyle so you can’t ‘pay to play’. You can’t do any of that kind of stuff. For us, if the strip closes… Well let’s put it personally, I work in stage work, so you don’t want to see a club close, you don’t want tosee people lose jobs – that obviously sucks.
But on the other stem, if ‘House Of Blues’ closes in West Hollywood, somebody on the East side of Hollywood near the train is gonna say, “I can open a club and make a lot of money here”. It’s gonna happen. I’m not sweating that all these clubs are closing and there’s going to be no more rock scene. There is no way the rock scene in Hollywood is gonna die. You can see that at Skinny’s and you can see that at Loaded. Because of the train, all the bars are kind of moving east I really think that happened because drunk-driving became illegal in the 80’s or late 70’s. Now people are taking the train everywhere.
The scene is not dying. It might be a little sick. It might be hurting a little bit but there are good bands like Enrot & Madlife. Guys like Skum at Skinny's & Fran at Loaded who are booking great shows and are not doing ‘pay to play’. There will always be a scene. I feel like we are a small part of building back up the Hollywood Rock ‘N’ Roll, Heavy Metal Scene’.
The other band, 'Blackpool Republic' – a straight Rock ‘n’ Roll band. They are really good dudes. There's a guy named Eric. He partnered with a dude named Kevin and they made their own production company. These guys are making incredible videos for every band in L.A. and they’re working with us. We’ve got another dude, Eric Brasher, who you’ve probably seen his pictures of us up on Facebook all over. This guy’s an amazing talent and he’s helping us out. The scene is still there. You just have to find the right people and work the right way and it’ll build back up.
Glenn: And you’ve got some help from Cold Cock too.
Justin: We’ll see how it goes. We definitely hope to be. We’re not going to turn down free whisky. They’re good company. We’ve got a lot of good friends over there too. I really feel that people look at it a lot as if it’s limited right now but there’s no limit to what can be done. With the way bands put out their own material now you need less and less money to put out actual good stuff. Oh shoot, look at our E.P. We did all the production in-house. Luckily, obviously luckily Russ is a massive Producer and he’s got his own studio so we got to do all that in-house. Ruben is an amazing artist. He did the cover.
Glenn: It’s a cracking cover.
Justin: Thank you. Kevin which we talked about, Kevin Miller did the Photography for that, for the back.Russ actually designed it and put the wordson the back and photo-shopped it.Iit’s awesome the way of D.I.Y. It’s back when I started it again in punk rock in the early mid-90’s dude. We were literally taking markers and cutting out bed sheets and writing the band name and using safety pins on your hoodie. Now the stuff you can do is unbelievable. That’s the thing, I teach all my students too because I teach a lot. I really try to install that D.I.Y. thing. What else are you going to do? The way I look at it, you have three options, you can do it yourself, you can pay somebody else to do it if you have the money or third is that it just won’t get done. So we don’t have the money to do it and we obviously have the drive. We’re gonna make this stuff happen so D.I.Y. to me is the way to go.
Glenn: Will it be a permanent thing working with Graham or is it like a one tour only? Are you going to be doing a new album with him?
Justin: Oh yeah. We actually recorded two songs on drums when we were in Spain. We did a couple of demos for that. The songs that we are playing on tour are the ones that we demoed in Spain – in Barcelona at Motor Music Production. They are great dudes over there in Barcelona and we’re talking about more tours – Asia and South America, Europe again… This tour is a month long but we don’t have as many shows as we would like. We did three shows in Spain, one in Holland, not Amsterdam because I know what everyone’s thinking (we laugh), then 5 UK shows. There’s a whole continent there that we haven’t hit yet so there’s a lot more to do with Bonnet for sure.
Glenn: What countries you’ve played in so far have struck you the most and really got your attention on this current tour and why?
Justin: Well for photography, I can definitely say Holland. A huge stage, massive lights and shoot, I wish I could say who it was but some dude took a lot of amazing pictures. think we got great sets everywhere. For me personally, Barcelona was kind of… man I’ve never a drum solo… I mean, everyone plays drum solos but I’ve never done it in front of an audience before. So my first drum solo was in front of a big audience - 600 people in Barcelona and it was kinda like I started… ‘Holy Crap.. Am I really…? What’s going on here? And it was clean. I surprised myself how good I played. I love Madrid. I love Bilbao. Bilbao was the first night we partied on the tour. We went out and checked out some of the night life. Oh man, London was great. People in London knew all the tunes from way back. They were requesting songs from The Marbles which was his band in the late 60’s. That was awesome. Really, everywhere we go - just seeing the magnitude of it all. Before the tour I knew ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ but of course everybody knows that tune. But to get out here and see it. I think it was Barcelona, we had a couple of people crying. To see the power of what this guy meant to people is pretty amazing. It’s rad man – it’s humbling to be a part of it.
Glenn: And you say he’s such a down to earth nice guy anyway because he’s been there, he’s done it and….
Justin: Yeah Graham is such a sweetheart. He’s such a good dude. He's really one of the nicest people I’ve met in this business for sure.
Glenn: What places would you love to play if you got the chance?
Justin: oh definitely the dream is Japan and it looks like we’re gonna make it. In 2015 I think we will be there.
Glenn: That’s awesome man.
Justin: But yeah, the Mecca of Pro-Wrestling and Heavy Metal. (I laugh). It’s the place to be.
Glenn: Is Mr. Udo putting that one together?
Justin: I have no idea.
Glenn: He’s the man from back in the Motley Crue days and that, it’s always Mr. Udo who is the promoter for a lot of the shows in Japan. What would you say the differences for you when you play in the (United) States compared to where you’ve played over in Europe? Much difference in audience?
Justin: Well the size of the audience is much bigger out here. Playing with Graham is obviously a much larger fan-base than with Enrot. I’ve played with a million bands since I’ve been in L.A. and I’ve played with every band in Chicago. We opened for Mushroomhead once in Chicago and that was pretty massive. That was over a thousand people which is pretty eventful. Basically it’s the audiences but it’s the size. The energy is the same – the rocking out or whatever you wanna call this is the same. Then for me, man I’m the drummer so from my point of view no matter where I am, I’m gonna sit in this chair and I’m gonna play behind this group of circles. I’m gonna hit them the same way that I always hit them whether there is 1 person out there where there’s lights in my face or whether there’s 700 people. The way I learned those tunes, I just memorise them to the point where I can play every song without anyone else. By the time I get to the show all I have to do is the same thing I’ve already done a million times by myself on the rubber pads. Shoot dude, if you can play on rubber pads with no drum sounds you can play these songs.
Glenn: So there’s nothing really daunting when you get up on stage anymore, it’s another gig but I don’t mean that to sound blasé but it’s just like, ‘Right, auto-pilot – boom!’
Justin: Yeah and you know I actually talked to somebody about this yesterday and they were saying, “If you’re not… people say if you’re not nervous before a gig like you don’t care or whatever”, but to me, it’s not that. There is no ‘just another gig’ but it goes on auto-pilot but the intensity is always still there. Before shows I pace around, I do my ‘Ultimate Warrior Psych-Up. I give it whatever I do and I just get myself pumped up so it doesn’t matter. We played shows at Skinny’s for 15 people (in Enrot) and we played Barcelona for 600 and I did the same warm-up for both and I do put the same intensity in the set for both. I guess that’s one of the main differences I’ve got to say playing shows with Graham – I sing back-ups.
Glenn: That’s pretty awesome really isn’t it to sing with such a legend like that.
Justin: Yeah dude. It’s pretty amazing. For sure.
Glenn: When it comes to Enrot, what are your favourite songs?
Justin: I love every song but ‘Haunted’ for sure because we’ve only just released that one so I haven’t listened to it 20 gazillion times yet. We have ‘Rent For The Left’, two new ones in the bag. We played one of them at a couple of shows. Right now it’s called ‘Question Mark’ and the other one is called ‘The News’ because the real working titles are way too dirty to tell you. (I laugh). But yeah, ‘Question Mark’ and ‘The News’ because they are brand new are still super exciting. ‘Wings Of Blood’ – you don’t do the same thing more than twice in that whole song as a drummer – it’s phenomenal. I’ll say that too, Russ and the drummer before me Francis - they wrote a lot of that stuff. Russ programs a lot of the drums – not live. So he writes a lot of the stuff and I play off his ideas. For the new, new stuff I’m writing all my own parts but Russ and Francis do a phenomenal job putting these parts together and orchestrating these songs and arranging all that stuff. I really love playing all those tunes and I get to play a lot of notes which is fun.
Glenn: How would you describe the drumming style of Justin Lack?
Justin: I had so many influences and they really range. One of the things about me, it could be good or bad, I don’t know but I never really learn peoples names in bands. Two of my very biggest influences - I have to say Marky Ramone would be one of the very, very top. When I was in high school I did what every high school idiot does and I was in a punk band. I got a couple of crash cymbals and I just started playing these sweet god-damn notes. Like huge! It was horrible. I was a jazz guy too so combine jazz with punk and you get just way too many notes. My guitar player forced me for over a month and I could only listen to Ramones - literally only Ramones. So if you know Ramones drums, it’s phenomenal and it’s minimalist – very minimalist. That sticks with me today.
A couple of other people that kinda changed my, well not really changed my life but changed my outlook on drummer for sure. First was when I first heard Cradle Of Filth, I think that probably a lot of people’s kind of introduction band to metal or they were in the early 2000’s or whatever. So when I first heard that band I said, “Holy Sh*t! You can sound like this? Wow!”. So then I started getting way into metal but I didn’t play it for a long time. Joey Jordison is a massive influence. But I also like pop music. I like everything. Whoever the heck is playing with Taylor Swift is great. Paul McCartney’s drummer is awesome. Every Phil Collins song is amazing. I listen to a lot of Beatles and old Rock ‘N’ Roll, Motown guys & a lot of old funk.
One thing I’m trying to do is first to be in a band like Enrot where I can play a million notes because I’m allowed to. I try and make a groove. A lot of it, I guess they call it stream drumming or stream metal drumming or something like that. They are amazing players. These are so fast and they’re in time but I don’t really feel a groove with it. I try to mix a Cradle Of Filth with a Tommy Lee feel. So you can still nod your head or bang your head or whatever you want to it but it’s still very musical at the same time.
Glenn: Do you have a favourite kit you like to play or is it one kit you’ve always played or do you have several?
Justin: I play whatever is in front of me dude. One of the first things I learned from my amazing, amazing drum teacher, Phil Stanger. This guy, he goes way back. He used to play with the whole rat pack – Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jnr and all those dudes. Actually, I don’t know if a lot of your readers know who Bozo the Clown is. Way, way back Bozo the Clown had a TV show and he had a full orchestra on the show. My old drum teacher was the timpani player for this orchestra for a kids show on Saturday mornings. Pretty Crazy (I laugh). So he told me, "You need to be able to play every single song or every drum you hit soft and quiet, loud and fast and slow and you need to be able to play it on any drum kit". So I made sure I could go from his drum kit to mine at home to the really horrible thing we had a high school where the tom would move all around because they were missing all the screws. Just being able to play on everything. My favourite kit is definitely my own. I have a Toma Artstar I from 1998 that I’ve had forever and I love that. It sounds great. The drums themselves are pretty massive. My middle tom is 14 by 14 and I know a lot of dudes have that for a floor tom right now. I like these big giant drums. Everyone’s using them. It's the trend now.I guess it’s because it’s easier to lug your stuff around but they are trying to use a lot smaller drums. I don’t have a huge drum kit and have a lot of cymbals or have a lot of drums but I have big drums (I laugh).
Glenn: It needs to be loud though to get the volume over some of the bands and some of the venues are massive as well.
Justin: Yeah. Well when Fashion Mob did the tour with Ill Nino their sound guy was Steve Laguni who is another amazing dude who works with God Forbid. He did work with Metallica so I don’t know how you can get much bigger than that. One thing he told me and this is a while ago, he said, “You played well but if you hit harder I can make you sound better”. So I took that to heart man. I got A) Heavier sticks and B) I started working out a lot more. Now everybody likes how I sound, so there you go.
Glenn: So when you aren't involved in music, what do you like to do?
Justin: I teach music, I do stage work &I play in a bunch of bands. I sit on the couch, I watch shows, I hang out with my dog. I say the word party all the time – I party with my dog (We laugh). I just sit around on the couch watching Netflix with the dog – that’s all. Nothing crazy. Big time Rock Star life right?
Justin: Sitting on my couch in North Hollywood watching muesli cartoons.
Glenn: So what would you say the future holds for yourself or for Enrot and working with Graham? What would you like to achieve overall.
Justin: As far as playing, I would love for Enrot and its fan base to keep growing and growing. We’re doing it super-slow, super-organic. We don’t wanna try and extend our reach. I’ve seen a million bands do that and you try to get too big, too fast. You end up spending too much of your own money. You go broke or you can’t get fans here and you just book tours immediately. We are trying to really go against the grain in that aspect and just let it happen nice and slow. None of us are in a hurry anyway. We’re not going anywhere so let’s just keep making great metal and hopefully people keep digging it. With Graham, keep on touring man and do these big international deals. I’m having a blast out here – it’s amazing.
So if I could see the world with Graham and hopefully with Enrot too that’s a dream come true right there. The big one that I tell everybody is that I need and anyone out there that is reading, I need a super rich person that wants to open a music school. I need to be in charge of it. We will make a million dollars and if you already have enough left over for the music school, it may not be enough for you but we will make more than a million dollars. (I laugh). But yeah, essentially I want my bands to do great and I would really love to run my own music school.
Glenn: Yeah. That’s cool that.
Justin: Yeah My whole life changed when I started working with kids seven years ago back in Chicago. It was like I didn’t realise what true happiness was until I got fired from this awful hospital I worked at and I got hired at this music school. They actually put me on full time. I had 45 students a week and I was there six days a week. Sometimes seven because I would put in extra hours doing stuff. It makes everything in your life so much more positive and especially with teaching you get to give these kids back after half an hour. (I laugh). So to me, kids are nice and clean and polite and they just laugh all the time and it’s great. I don’t have to see any of the badness.
Glenn: You get the buzz because they’ve achieved something from learning from you and they come along with their little style as well. It’s like for you, ‘I created that’, so to speak.
Justin: I have a couple of students back home and actually I’ve just had a couple of parents e-mail me from Chicago. I’ve been gone for two whole years, thanking me for teaching their kids and that I was the influence for that. That to me is so amazing.
Being a good influence for me is a really important thing. I know a lot of bands don’t give a crap about that and that’s fine too. I’ve heard people say, “Yeah you know you’re in a Heavy Metal band, you need to drink beer and do this and that”, and you know whatever… I have a drink here and there, I party or whatever but to be a good influence on kids that are young and know I have a positive force in their life – not just musically. It’s a pretty amazing thing.
Music specifically, I have one kid right now. He started off and he was really talented. He practiced anyway but he’s like a little seven year old and he’s slightly short for his age anyway. This dude and I call him a dude because he is a little dude. This kid when I first saw him, his first tune was ‘Back In Black’ and he smashes those drums. I can tell that this kid is gonna be like me. He’s gonna be a hard hitter. He’s gonna be massive. So after AC/DC I force every kid to do ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ because they are just two easy songs on drums to learn.
So I tried to figure out what he wanted to learn next. “So do you like Green Day?”, “I don’t know who Green Day is”. “Do you like Foo Fighters?”, “I don’t know who Foo Fighters are”, Really you don’t know Foo Fighters? Do you know who Dave Grohl is?”, He goes, “Oh I know Dave Grohl”, “You know Dave Grohl”. I was like what? He goes, ‘Grohl’s my best friend’s dad” (We laugh). He says, “How do you know Dave Grohl, did you teach him drums?”, “No, he kinda taught me drums but he doesn’t know it”. But yeah man, LA is an amazing place like that. This sort of stuff happens like all the time. These are best friends of this person or that person and all that.
Glenn: I find that myself. You’ve got to be so great and polite with everyone because you don’t always know who they are, who they know…
Justin: Oh yeah.
Glenn: You just never know who people are when they walk into a bar. It’s like when you meet someone like Bill (Metoyer).
Glenn: And he’s the most humble guy in the world.
Justin: I would never know who he was. I was at the Rainbow and the Rainbow is like the place to be over there. We were just partying and we were talking about gigs. Me and some people and they were arguing about do you take the really low pay when you are brand new or do you try to hold out and get big time stuff? or whatever. This dude behind me on another table just turns around and he says, “Oh yeah, you gotta do this and that and whatever”, and I’m like, “Okay”. We start talking and he just kinda drops in the conversation. Turns out he’s the bass player from Powerman 5000 and he’s just been in a million other bands. It’s like ‘Holy Sh*t’ like ‘Oh my God”. You really never know who the heck you are talking to in LA. People just run into you or you just run into people.
Glenn: Yeah Powerman 5000 are playing in January at the Whisky when I am over in there. They have some amazing shows there.
Justin: The Whisky and Viper are kind of the last rock clubs on the strip right now and the Rainbow’s still the place where everybody hangs out. But the Rainbow is also the kind of place where everyone goes, “I miss the way it used to be!” And you know, hey, Rainbow’s wonderful and I’m sure the strip was. I didn’t get to be a part of it but I’m sure it was completely incredible. But we’re doing it on the other side. We’re not doing it as crazy as Rainbow used to do when you hear some of those stories. We’re doing it on the other side of Hollywood now. We’re doing the same thing, building it up and Loaded could be the next Rainbow.
Glenn: I love Loaded.
Justin: Burgundy Room is another great bar. They don’t have bands but it’s another Punk Rock & Heavy Metal bar that’s a cool place to go. Bordners is a really nice Rock club. They have a super Goth really crazy night every Saturday night. They always have Rock & Goth and other styles of bands playing. There are some places downtown that I haven’t even been to because I hate downtown in every city.
Glenn: It used to be once a month didn’t it and they’ve made it weekly now.
Justin: Yeah I know. Every Saturday. It’s packed. It’s kind of a wild place. I mean it’s not as wild as the mid-west. If you go to the mid-west where people are just dying to go crazy – they go really crazy. But Bar Sinister is a lot of fun. A lot of crazy folks. That’s why we have a love for Hollywood! You cannot look weird in Hollywood.
Glenn: Hahaha – there’s no way. Last time I was there which was July. I went over in July for OZZFestAmy’s Birthday and there was a homeless guy in a wheelchair dressed as a gorilla smoking a cigarette. (We laugh). No sh*t!
Justin: Oh yeah.
Glenn: It was on Hollywood Blvd. I thought to myself, “I’ve got to get a photo” and the guy said, "I charge a dollar for one”. Hollywood is one hell of a place.
Justin: Yeah dude. Go to Loaded on a weekend and you’ll see. It looks like people in costumes and I’ll see them and somebody walks in with tattoos and all that… Oh one thing man, when I was in Chicago I had a lot of tattoos. When I moved to LA, all of a sudden I have like no tattoos. (I laugh). Well I have, I have the same number…
Glenn: Yeah there are walking tattoos basically down there.
Justin: The tattoos and piercings are the thing now. I don’t even verify everything that ever happened. Everything that will happen is going on in Hollywood right now. People dress like 80’s hair band and also very 70’s – it’s ridiculous. But people dress like hair bands. You go to the Rainbow on a given night and there’s like three or four Axl Rose’s walking around and almost literal infinity Nikki Sixx’s. Short, tall, fat, skinny. Every kind of Nikki Sixx you could ever think of.
Glenn: When I first came across in 2009 every f*ck*n’ other guy looked like Nikki Sixx.
Justin: Yeah I guess over here they got the clothes and everything. I know that there’s three Axl’s that hang out at Rainbow and I think they've got to be friends.
Glenn: There’s two Jimi Hendrix’s.
Justin: Are there? Yeah, there’s everybody. There’s a lot of originality going on too. I love Hollywood. I make jokes but I really sincerely love Hollywood.
Glenn: It’s a crazy place and it’s actually mindful just to like hear all the crazy stuff that is around.
Justin: Oh yeah, One thing I know, I’ve missed out on a lot of parties for the simple fact that I don’t use cocaine. It’s a crazy place. Just going there and being in the middle of the Rainbow or Loaded or go to Whisky. Go to any show - it’s wild. There’s a massive punk rock scene going on too – an underground deal. Everything you can ever want out of a rock scene is still happening in Hollywood.
Glenn: You just gotta search it out.
Justin: Yeah. You just have to find it.
Glenn: Or just ask OZZFestAmy.
Justin: Yep. Just walk around. The way when I tell people about the Rainbow – is it’s part Hard Rock Café (inside) and part Amsterdam Red Light District (outside).
Glenn: It’s true.
Justin: It’s that hard Rock Café thing. They just wanna go there just to look at Lemmy. He goes once in a while but as soon as people.. what happens is that Lemmy will show up and as soon as one person sees him like they write on twitter or whatever ‘Lemmy’s in the Rainbow’ and then the place is packed and he’s gone so quick. He don’t wanna get bugged. He’s been there done that. He doesn’t have to… he doesn’t have to put up with that anymore.
Glenn: I can’t fault him for that. It’s not relaxing for him is it?
Justin: Right. You want to be in the bar and have a drink with your favourite bartender and just hang out for a minute and then all of a sudden you’re mobbed because he’s friggin’ Lemmy.
Glenn: They are queuing up to have a photo with him.
Justin: They really are. He’s trying to sit there and I’ve seen people tap him on the shoulder and he doesn’t even turn around.
Glenn: It’s so annoying for him isn’t it.
Steve: That’s just so rude.
Glenn: It is. That’s what they’re like.
Glenn: What are you most proud of?
Justin: There’s a lot. Well this tour - that’s a huge one – my first international tour. The tour with Fashion Bomb was my first big national. We did all America. We covered all the whole country in a month – 27 shows in 31 days. So that was a pretty serious accomplishment. With Enrot, having that CD release party. I feel it in my chest that the best is yet to come. We are brothers in the realist sense of the word. We fight and all that – everybody does but it’s sure over quick. Everybody’s cool and apologises and we hug it out like a bunch of wussies. (We laugh).
The same thing with teaching. Back in Chicago I helped literally build up ‘The Rockhouse’. It's a music school and I actually helped build that from the ground up. I was one of the very first employees before they were even open. I wrote books for that. I’ve a lot of things that I sure have accomplished but there’s a lot left to do. You can never be done.
Glenn: So I guess you have the potential and the urge to write the book about everything?
Justin: Let’s hope. Hopefully if anybody wants to read it.
Glenn: Touch wood so to speak. Talking of wood – what lead you to Hollywood?
Justin: Oh man, I like this story too. (We laugh). Me and my ex went to see Iron Maiden/Alice Cooper. The tour they did a couple of years ago. They were in Chicago. She met this dude, Happenin’ Harry who you guys know.
Glenn: Oh I know Harry.
Justin: She already knew him so he got us backstage. I’ve played in every band in Chicago but only local bands to say a couple of hundred people at a time in the clubs. But Happenin’ Harry gets us backstage with friggin’ Iron Maiden. So we met Michael Kenny. We met all these crazy people and one of the things Harry said and I’ve never even met him before was, “You think you’re pretty good at drums, LA is the only place to be”. He’s a Chicago guy so, “Like alright”. I asked a couple of other people what they thought about it and we basically got rid of the apartment and were on the road two months later. We started planning that night. As soon as he said it I look at her and I said, “What do you think about going to LA and pursue it?”. I was lucky, she was all about it and we were off. That was it. It was total impulse and a little bit of planning. It took two months to figure it out. It was like you didn’t even need to think about it. It was, “Yes we are moving, that’s it”.
Glenn: Yeah. If you can survive and make ends meet then that's good because it's so expensive isn’t it?
Justin: One thing that we talk about, me and Conrado on this tour is that it’s a lot harder to make a living in L.A. in music. But at the same time if I was in Chicago, I’d probably be making better money and I’d have easier hours. Well I know that I would because of the school I was working at. But I wouldn’t be in Europe, you know right now - I wouldn’t have had this opportunity. I certainly wouldn’t be playing with Enrot. I would never have met those guys. So you take the good with the bad and you’ve got to have faith. One thing I’ll always, always say is everyone’s got three demand. The three demands of Hulkamy – the fighters training prayers if you haven’t seen it. I am too much of a wrestling fan. That’s through loyalty and respect. But I say, work hard, be humble and be nice…
Justin: You can move worlds with that. You’ve just gotta stick with it and keep that attitude. II was in LA two years before I got this opportunity. A lot of people wait a lot longer than that. A lot of people quit after a year. There’s no set time limit on it. You’ve just gotta keep plugging away and plugging away and you’re not done until you die. You can’t say, oh I made it or I didn’t make it until you are in the grave because you never know what could happen. My old drum teacher is either 75 or 77 and he’s still playing in bands. So who the hell knows.
Glenn: It’s fate. You don’t know what’s gonna happen the next da or next five minutes do you? Especially in L.A.
Justin: Right. Just like we said. You go to the Rainbow, you go to Loaded or wherever you go like Skinny’s. How the hell did you know you were gonna meet big time names at Skinny’s? All the Schechter Reps are there, Bill Metoyer’s there, Madlife are there and all these people. All Hail The Yeti hang out there. We’ve seen Devil Driver hanging out there. It’s like dude, we party with Coal Chamber.
Glenn: Yeah it was the guy’s birthday from Coal Chamber the other week, Dez Fafara. He came down to Skinny’s.
Justin: Yeah. Skinny’s is a little place and it’s on a Wednesday night. So if that doesn’t prove that you never know what is gonna happen next in LA, I don’t know what does.
Glenn: It’s a cool place. I like the place. They had me up on stage and I was screaming ‘Highway To Hell’.
Justin: Oh you were doing the Karaoke.
Glenn: Yeah. I mean, look at Patrick Kennison. Working now with Lita Ford.
Justin: Gabbie Rae and now Lita Ford. Unbelievable. Actually when his band, Heaven Below started, I tried out for them and that was the first band I auditioned for. Obviously I didn’t get the gig that’s almost another thing too in LA, you almost never will get the first thing. It doesn’t matter if you play well or whatever. People want to know that you are consistent and that you are going tostick around. But you know, humility, be nice and work hard. I stay tight with those guys and I see them at Skinny’s. It’s like, “Hey we’re all bros and that’s how we are meant to be. We all play together at Skinny’s on karaoke night. We are all cool with each other.
Glenn: Yeah that’s awesome. So lastly, what would you like to say to the fans that have read this interview – your Graham Bonnet fans, your Enrot fans and the fans of your own?
Justin: Just a huge thank you for allowing me the privilege of living this lifestyle and being able to not have to wear a tie. I worked really hard for years and I never have to wear a tie again. But not on stage anyway we’ll see. But yeah, I don’t have to work in an office. I did the 9 to 5 thing forever. It’s you guys – the students, the fans, the people that support Rock music and Heavy Metal. They are literally allowing me to do what I love. You rely on the kindness of others for just about everything in the entertainment industry. It’s a lot more than any other industry because you’re getting paid to do a job but it’s subjected. They can decide if they like you or they hate you and so far they like me and I thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Glenn: Thanks for a great Interview Buddy.
Justin: Thank you Glenn.
Big thanks to Justine @ O2 Academy, the O2 Academy Staff, Steve Froggatt for taking the photos of me with Justin & chauffering yours truly, OZZFestAmy for the great photograph taken in Hollywood & of course Justin Slack himself for the excellent interview overall. Special thanks also must go to Graham Bonnet for allowing us to Interview in the bands dressing room.