An Interview with Troy Patrick Farrell,
Drummer of Pretty Boy Floyd & White Lion that took place at the Coporation, Sheffield, Friday, Dec. 4th, 2009 by Glenn Milligan
Glenn: What started you off playing drums?
Troy: What started me off playing drums was my 1st concert Dio – Vinny Appice – that was it. My brother Shawn’s a bass player and my other brother Scott played guitar but it’s not why I play drums – it was that 1st Dio concert – that was it. Probably about a month later after that 1st show, I got my 1st kit.
Glenn: What was the 1st kit?
Troy: A Ludwig with a 20” bass drum. Got it for $75, sold it for $125. Had a Ziljian 22” ride, a little 6” crash and a set of hi-hats and that was it – 1st kit. I wish I would have kept it.
Glenn: Yeah. What were your 1st gigs and what put you onto doing a few gigs when you first started playing?
Troy: When I first playing, I started playing in the high school band and there was like a jazz band and a marching band and stuff and then there was the choir band. So I would play in the band for choir and maybe do shows - Saturday Night Fever or whatever. So I would play in that, you know, do more rock and stuff and my 1st real band was called ‘Blazon’ and we did like Dokken covers.
We played this ‘Battle Of The Bands’ in the park on a big tractor trailor and yeah, I was 12 and had this like big old kit that had like different drums in it and it was cool. So yeah that was my first gig experience man playing in high school, playing rock for the choir, battle of the bands or whatever I could get in.
Glenn: Yeah cool. Who would you say your favourite drummers are now – has it changed much since Vinny Appice?
Troy: You know, not really man, I still... Bun E.Carlos from Cheap Trick – still a huge fan of his. Vik Foxx from Enuff Znuff – he is in The Veronicas now. I mean I love Tommy Lee and all that stuff but you know Bun E.Carlos & Vik Foxx, you know those two together really kind of make the perfect drummer to me.
Glenn: What got you to make it to the big-time circuit – being signed with bigger bands?
Troy: You know, I think a lot of it is just luck. Time and the place – you know just being in the right place. I mean, you know obviously when you go for the audition if you have your sh*t together you got a good shot in getting involved and you never know who you are gonna meet in maybe years from now – somebody that you met years ago, so always be kind and always be respectful and always have your sh*t together. Get a reputation that will precede you so – I want some guy, even though if I haven’t talked to him in 2 years and someone says to him, “Hey, do you know a good rock drummer”, I want him to think of me because he’ll go, “F*ck, I know this guy Troy from a couple of years ago – he’s solid, you know he tries to stay in shape, always a nice guy, really pro’ cause you never know, you know? And I think that’s pretty much been it.
I mean, I was fortunate enough to play with a lot of the guys I grew up listening to – Mick Swader from Bullet Boys, Tod Howarth from Frehley’s Comet, Mike Tramp, you know, Jani Lane from Warrant, C.C. Deville – you know I’ve been so lucky... Dizzy Reed from Guns ‘N’ Roses, Gilby Clarke and it’s just you know but some of it’s kinda like somehow getting your way in the door and just half being there and they go, “Alright, we’ll take you”, you know and then you end up doing a couple of things and they go, “Hey this guy’s got his sh*t together” you know and then maybe 2 years from now Gilby will call me and go, “You wanna play a show?”, and I’ll be there for it.
Glenn: I guess it has its big advantages when you are living in L.A. as well?
Troy: Yeah I mean it certainly helps. You know you can’t be at the right place at the right time if you are not in the right place. I mean it certainly helps. I mean over the years, you know, I’ve kinda considered that I don’t have to totally be in L.A. you know, because I have networked enough that I hope that, you know that if I live in Vegas or Nashville somebody could still go, “Hey”, because they know I’d come out there,you know, but L.A.’s been home since ’92 – it’s been a long time so it’s still kinda home and I’m there and everybody’s still there and you never know when you’re gonna get a gig, you know?
Troy: You know although the scene in LA is not what it was 20 years – it’s still LA and there’s still a scene there and there’s still a little bit of a.. you know, a core group of people that, you know when you are there, you’re there. Sometimes like out of sight out of mind, so maybe perhaps if I did move to Nashville, they’d go “Well, he’s over there, I’ve gotta fly him in”, or whatever so they go and pick somebody else local, so I still enjoy being there. I’m still working on working my way up. The stuff I’ve done with White Lion has been huge. I’ve done some really big festivals – 50,000 people but we’re still a small little speck - still trying to hang on to the past repuation of those bands. I’m just happy to be a part of it. I’m just lucky to play with these guys.
Glenn: What’s been the major highlights so far with anyone at all?
Troy: Well I mean the biggest thing that really left an impression on was going to India with White Lion and that I was sat there with a new band I have – it’s a cover band called ‘Lost Angels’ with Jack Robbie, Eric Dover and Muddy Stardust who plays Bass for Gilby (Clarke) and so I’ve been for India twice and they’re the most gracious people. They are totally into rock ‘n’ roll and it’s pretty major to travel 30 hours to a gig and be exhausted the second you get there and then you go right to the venue and you see all these guys building the stage out of bamboo and hanging lights from bamboo trees and instantly you are just wake up – it is unbelievable.
Glenn: Yeah I am the same when I got to Florida or LA – it’s like ‘Right, I’m going out partying now!’
Troy: Yeah I know you’re like, ‘Where did it go?’ and something happens man and your body chemistry rocks, so yeah, I mean, you know, I’ve done a lot of stuff with White Lion, doing Swedish Rockfest, Goth ‘N’ Metal and I’ve done ‘Bang Your Head’ twice and those have been awesome. We’ve also played little clubs in Baltimore in Halloween where it’s f*ck*n’ killer.
Troy: Yeah. Every show has some sort... I mean sometimes you just go, ‘Yeah it was a cool show’, you know other times you just go, ‘Wow – F*ck – Awesome – Glad we were here’.
Glenn: What would you say your favourite hang-outs in LA are?
Troy: The Cat Club’s been an old watering hole of mine for about 10 years and of course and of course the Rainbow – everybody loves The Rainbow.
Glenn: Yeah the owner’s a cool guy and then there’s Happening Harry.
Troy: Happenin’ Harry – I love Happenin’ Harry – he f*ck*n’ rules man. You know Harry to me is like Kevin Bacon. Have you heard of the six degrees of Kevin Bacon?
Troy: Well Kevin Bacon is an American Actor – he was in ‘Footloose’.
Troy: You can link every actor in Hollywood to Kevin Bacon in 6 degrees or less – meaning this guy was in that movie and that movie. So Happenin’ Harry is sort of the Rock version of Kevin Bacon where you can somehow get linked to Harry in six steps or less – it’s unbeleivable – the guy knows everybody and he’ll be the 1st one to tell you too.
Glenn: So how did you get the job with these guys then?
Troy: Well I saw Kristy outside ‘The Key Club’ and we were checking out an Adler show – Steven Adler and we kinda bumped into each other and my buddy Phil Varone was actually gonna be playing with them and Phil and I talked and he said, “Yeah, I’m doing the Floyd”, and there was a date in Mexico and Phil was tired and he didn’t wanna open up for his other band. So anyway, I ran into Kristy and we said ‘Hi’ and we know each other from other circles and he was like, ‘Floyd’s looking for a drummer, oh sh*t, we should have called you”, you know it’s something you say when... and then next thing I got a call from Phil and so Phil was like “my comedy”, Phil’s now doing comedy so anyway, he was like, “Hey mate, maybe you can, maybe you can do this gig. He goes “I got my shows on Saturdays – they are playing every Saturday – it was just gonna be a big conflict of commitment”, and so the next thing you know, he (Kristy) and I got in touch and he said, “Will you learn these 3 songs, come on down, let’s see if you can play”, and here I am in England talking to you.
Glenn: Awesome. How did it go last night at ‘The Underworld’ (in London)?
Troy: Ahhh cool man. I mean the band’s sort of in a groove from where we just got done with Tokyo, did 3 nights in Australia and then we had 2 days off in LA and then the flight over, same day... but it was good man, it was a good rockin’ crowd and the band was definately on the mark.
Glenn: What are you looking forward to most after the rest of the Pretty Boy Floyd Tour?
Troy: Well I think the biggest thing for us is to get home and start a new album – a first kinda real album although there’s been some efforts along the way. This will be kind of a new second coming of a legit f*ck*ng album that will come out with Kristy and then of course the DVD that we are putting out and just kinda establish us as the band, you know what I mean? That’ll be the most exciting part because you know, right now we are celebrating 20 years of ‘Leather Boys’ which is f*ck*ng huge – 20 years of anything is awesome but it’ll be cool to kinda like have some new songs. It’ll be nice to have some new songs to play next time around – something new that the kids haven’t heard yet. At the end of the tour and then Italy – it’ll be nice to go back to those places.
Glenn: So what hobbies and interests do you have outside music?
Troy: Well you know, as the wise man once said – it’s not a fashion – it’s a way of life man, one doesn’t get into this as a hobby. It’s gotta be, you know, so outside of this I work at a booking agency called ‘Artists Worldwide’ and we book some of those bands that we’re in (laughs) and I do web design and rent out gear for bands.
Glenn: What would you say your favourite kit you’ve got – would you say it’s the Rikki Rockett kit you’ve got?
Troy: Of course. RockettDrumworks.com – yeah, Rikki’s been really nice to me since 2007 – I’m one of the 1st artists he’s signed outside of himself. When you stat a drum company you’ve gotta sign yourself, yeah. But yeah, I’m a Sabian guy, a Rockett Drumworks theatre and I’m super loyal. I’m playing a Rockett drumworks kit tonight and actually I will be all over the UK.
Glenn: You are using Jon’s (from Silverjet)?
Glenn: What are your favourite kinds of sticks and why do you like to use them?
Troy: I play the Vater Fatback because I got a big ass ! It’s a signature stick – it’s a 3N and it’s a nylon tip and I actually have my own signature model – the Fatback. It’s a... you know I ran across Vater in a musical jam and I was probably at a Happenin’ Harry jam and the drummer had some Vater sticks and they... I play like a 2B or a little bit less but I don’t play like a 5B or a 5A because I usually break ‘em instantly. So these were like the 5’s and I played ‘em for f*ck*n’ like 6 songs – beat the f*ck out of them – didn’t break – wow – f*ckin’ Vater. Then the following year I met Chad Brandolini, he’s my artist rep and I said, “Bro, I need a stick..”, I described what I wanted and we came up with the Fatback and that’s a Vater Fatback 3N.
Glenn: What’s the craziest rumour you have heard abut yourself?
Troy: The Craziest Rumour about myself? You know, like with White Lion and with ‘Floyd I do most of the bunsiness because I enjoy it. With White Lion I do all the Tour Managing, I do all the business and help with the booking of the shows, deal with the hotels and so with that it’s very easy to become the *rs*h*l* because you are sort of the spokesman for the band and so it’s sometimes a little weird. I’m the guy that says, “It’s a little weird, let’s make it right”, but the weirdest rumour, honestly, that I’m an *rs*h*l* - I’m not an *rs*h*l*, I’m just the mouthpiece, you know, and I’m just trying to take care of my band and my team and I’ve never demanded anything, I’m never outrageous.
So you know, when you’re out on the road and you’re away from your family and you’re in another country, you’re at everybody elses, you know, you’re very vulnerable, so you have to have things in order and it’s very easy for.... other people can’t understand and forget the fact that we don’t live here. We’re travelling, we’re in hotels, we’re driving everynight and so, things have to be right to make this work. We are here because everybody wanted us.. we all wanna be out here and so when things go wrong and you kind of like say, “Hey Bro, let’s fix this”, they go, “Oh that f*ck*ng drummer’s an *rs*h*l*.
Troy: So that’s the biggest thing I think people don’t understand. It’s like you know, “The drummer’s a nice guy but the guy, the person’s an *rs*h*l*”, It’s like, “No I’m not man, I’m just trying to take care of my guys”, and so it’s a very fine line between. So that’s the craziest rumour.
Glenn: So tell us about the band, ‘Hookers ‘N’ Blow?
Troy: Hookers ‘n’ Blow, you know I started that with Dizzy Reed, Matt Star, Alex Grossi and this guy Curtis on bass. You know it started out as a cover band again out of ‘The Cat Club’ again Happenin’ Harry you know?
Troy: And you know it was a good run for a few years. We played some East Coast dates and did some fun silly stuff and it was cool but it’s kind of like sitting on the shelf right now. I kind of stopped doing that band a couple of years ago. It was kind of getting a little out of hand. I mean the band’s called ‘Hookers ‘N’ Blow’ – I get it, it’s supposed to be a little crazy but it started getting beyond you know?
Troy: It’s like kind of becoming embarrasing so I stopped doing ‘Hookers ‘N’ Blow’ but you know it’s like the ‘Hotel California’ – you know what I mean. You can try and get out of the band but you’ll always be a member of it – you’ll always be in ‘Hookers ‘N’ Blow’. But we had a f*ck*ng blast man– we played colleges, cafe bars, I mean all sorts of things – you know it was fun – it was.
Glenn: Was it cover stuff or original stuff?
Troy: All covers, all covers yeah.
Glenn: A bit like ‘The Big Ballstars’ – I was watching the clip with Phil Lewis where you do ‘Never Enough’.
Troy: Yeah it was like ‘The Big Ballstars’ but probably with more chock. You’ve never seen it have you (laughs). These guys at least have their sh*t together when they get up there. No I mean, It started off because Alex Grossi and this guy Matt Star were from the East Coast and so we all were hanging around that ‘Cat Club’ vibe, Happenin’ Harry so he introduced me to get up and jam and then Alex got up and so we all knew each other and Alex and Matt are like “We can put together a cover band with Dizzy from G’N’R and play on the East Coast because Alex is from there. He knows the Wested Theatre, you know all these places in Woucester, Mass. – Lucky Dog, you know, so we started like, we literally booked a run. Next you know, colleges heard that we were there so we started playing Colleges. They were like, “They’ve got a guy from G’N’R”, and you know we did it for almost 5 years and it was fun and the band made money and we got out and got to get silly and have fun you know – it was very cool.
I mean we’re driving, we’re driving to Virginia and it was very foggy out and we had just got off the show we had been doing and we were doing an overnight drive and everybody’s a little toasty, you know, so far a drive of course and Dizzy, Dizzy was so upset with the fog he called ‘The White House’, called ‘The White House’ and says, “Er Yeah, can you tell the President to turn the fog off’ so they said, “Okay Sir, Thank You, don’t call again”, so then he called again, he calls a second time, “Sir we are tracing your numbe we added. ‘Do not call ‘The White House’”, so no matter how silly it was and how filthy it was we had a lot of great times and we made a lot of friends. Kind of playing in like a silly rock band but it was a lot of fun man. He insisted that ‘The White House’ put the fog on.
Glenn: What do you miss abut the USA when you’re not there?
Troy: Oh you know, I probably miss my chick the most. Other than, I mean LA’s LA – it’s always there, it’s always rockin’ but it’s kinda like erm.. I mean America’s awesome – it’s amazing. In the music, in this kinda genre, you know, Pretty Boy Floyd can only do select dates. It’s a very different market whereas the bands can come out here once a year and you really have a lot of enthusiastic people. In the United States there’s so much competetion, there’s so many things – especially in LA – you can look in ‘LA Weekly’ and see that there’s in one night a hundred things going on and there might be like 4 or 5 rock bands and you know, this and that and the other – just very competitive. It’s a different market, you know, it’s tough touring the US – it really is – it is for a band like ‘Floyd.
Glenn: Well I know when I was there, you go to like ‘The Viper Room’ and ‘The Cat Club’ or somewhere like ‘The Rainbow’ and everyone is from elsewhere like Australia or whereever and people wanna think they can make it because they have been to LA.
Troy: You know, maybe for that like if somebosy comes out for a weekend or whatever, maybe it kinda seems... it’s all madness man – it’s f*ck*n’ great and if you know where to go on certain nights, ‘The Cat Club’ used to be Thursdays and Monday at ‘The Key Club’ which is no longer anymore you know, it’s awesome but you know when you’ve lived there over 15 years you kind of...
Glenn: Get tired of it?
Troy: Well you kinda realise, yeah you get used to it. So for somebody coming from Australia, England or Tokyo or wherever they come out for that small little weekend – it’s still f*ck*n’ exciting.
Glenn: What songs do you enjoy doing best in this band (Pretty Boy Floyd) or in any band like cover bands or whatever?
Troy: Oh sh*t, I would say in ‘Floyd’ ‘Leather Boys’ because you know, I’m not a double bass drummer and that song is pretty much all double bass. I mean right from the f*ck*n’ top it’s, you know 16’s on the kick drums and that’s pretty cool because that’s not really my style so I enjoy doing that because it’s something different. I mean plus the set, it’s such an exciting, fast paced set.
In White Lion, I like playing all the old stuff from like ’83 that first five albums – ‘El Savador’; ‘Fight To Survive’ just kinda all the old stuff and some of the ballads, although musically they’re not challenging, but like when you’re in India we played Shlong in India – 42,000 people – when everybody’s singing, ‘When The Children Cry’, you just go, ‘F*ck that’s huge’, you know so that’s exciting because that’s one song that connects the world to the band – no matter what language you speak, nop matter what race you are, you know what I mean, what your religious background is. ‘When The Children Cry’ – everybody knows it. I mean you kind of realise and go, “Wow”, everybody knows the song. Yeah that’s exciting.
Glenn: Awesome. What other people would you like to work with and why?
Troy: You know I’d like to work with Jani Lane again because he’s probably one of the most talented m*th*rf*ck*rs I know. I mean the guy’s awesome. I played with him for a few weeks a couple of years ago. He was having a hell of a hard time personally and had a lot of issues and stuff but he just wasn’t because he was focussed on a lot of other things, so I’d like to get him at a hundred per cent. I would like to play with Jani again where he’s f*ck*n’ rockin at 100% because he’s unstoppable... unstoppable.
Glenn: Yeah, so what are you mostly looking forward to in the future?
Troy: Doing some new music with the ‘Floyd guys because I think we have a nice group of people – it’s really cool. A lot of people are like... you know White Lion and Pretty Boy Floyd are 2 different bands although from the same area. White Lion’s a very melodic band although White Lion’s a hair band. It wasn’t the make-up. Floyd on the other hand were very glam, very visual and very anthem music. There was no ‘When The Children Cry’, there was none of that stuff but it was very ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll is gonna set the night on fire’ – big Kiss anthems so it’ll be nice to see what we come up with for a new album because it’s gonna follow up probably one of the biggest glam rock records in history. You know ‘Leather Boys’, say what you want about it but it’s a great f*ck*n’ album – it’s one of a kind and a lot of people are like, “This stuff must be f*ck*n’ easy, you must get bored”, it’s not, it’s exciting (makes the sound of a drum beat) and every second of it’s very exciting. So I look forward to doing a new album and it’ll just kind of make this bond a little bit cooler.
A Big Thankyou to Troy & all the guys in Pretty Boy Floyd, Stuart & Jon Hardcastle, Stephen Oxley (Great Photo's Dude!), Mark Hobson & the Staff @ Corporation, Sheffield