John Deservio - Black Label Society, Pride and Glory, Lita Ford, etc. - Back
Interviewer: Cameron Edney -

This time last year Australian audiences finally got to witness one of metals great bands live for the first time. In recent years talk of a Black Label Society Australian tour was hot topic and on some occasions dates were announced and for one reason or another, the tours would wind up cancelled. Once Black Label Society finally landed in Australia they played to sold-out crowds in all cities and received rave reviews. Twelve months on Black Label Society fans reminisce on what was an awesome experience and BLS continue to tour the world on the success of their most recent release "Shot to Hell". Released on Roadrunner Records "Shot to Hell" sold just under 32,000 copies in the United States during its first week of release last September. Earlier this year Black Label Society announced there departure from Roadrunner and most recently announced their plans to play three exclusive shows in the United States. Bassist John DeServio is best known for his work with the mighty Zakk Wylde in Black Label Society and Pride and Glory but has also shared the stage with eighties metal queen Lita Ford, Vinnie Moore and Bon Jovi's cousin Jodi Bongiovi. Last month I caught up with Black Label Society bassist John DeServio to chat about the bands first Australian tour and his thoughts of Australia almost a year on. We also spoke about the bands most recent album "Shot to Hell", writing, the possibility of a new Pride and Glory album and more! Lets take a walk through the "Concrete Jungle" with John Deservio!

Metal Fanatix: Hey JD how are ya mate?

John Deservio: Hey, all good!

Metal Fanatix: Firstly I want to thank you for putting some time aside to answer the following questions for our readers! I want to congratulate you on the success you have received over the last year with the release of ‘Shot to Hell’. Both fans and critics have praised the album. No doubt you were happy with the outcome!

John Deservio: Totally! It was a lot of fun mauling the record.

Metal Fanatix: JD, ‘Shot to Hell’ has been out for some time now; looking back is there anything you would have changed?

John Deservio: Nah, I'm pretty happy with it.

Metal Fanatix: When it came time to record, did you approach it in a different way to albums you have worked on in the past?

John Deservio: Well, the tunes were written right there in the studio, so it was a fresh experience.

Metal Fanatix: Mate, in a few words can you tell us the first thing that comes to mind when I mention the following tracks from the latest album ‘Shot to Hell’:

John Deservio:

Black Mass Reverends: Great rock tune.

The Last Goodbye: The best ballad BLS ever wrote

New Religion: Killer groove

Sick Of It All: Love the Motown back up vocals we did.

Metal Fanatix: JD, you guys have been out on the road touring extensively on the album! Have you found time to begin writing for the next Black Label Society album?

John Deservio: No, no writing at all.

Metal Fanatix: Mate I want to go back to your musical beginnings… As a bass player many people may be surprised to learn that you also play a number of other instruments such as drums, piano, and guitar! What was the first instrument you learnt to play?

John Deservio: Actually my first instrument was an acoustic guitar, but i got a bass a year later.

Metal Fanatix: Oh cool! Besides yourself are there any other members of your family that are musicians or in the industry?

John Deservio: No none.

Metal Fanatix: Your first touring experience was with Bon Jovi’s cousin Jodi Bongiovi. JD what comes to mind when you look back on those early touring experiences?

John Deservio: That was another lifetime ago! It was a learning experience for sure!

Metal Fanatix: JD, I wanted to ask you about your first tour outside of the U.S.A. In the bio you said it was “life changing” how so?

John Deservio: Just the cultural differences! America's so tight assed about a lot of things, where Europe wasn't.

Metal Fanatix: Throughout the years you have had the pleasure of working with some amazing and talented artists such as Steve Ferrone, Vinnie Moore, Lita Ford and Zakk of course. Has these experiences helped to develop the playing techniques that you are using today?

John Deservio: Oh of course. I learn something from everyone.

Metal Fanatix: As many fans are aware your work with Zakk goes back further than Black Label Society. You both worked together in Pride and Glory, tell us about your very first encounter with Zakk?

John Deservio: We met in a club in Jersey when we were seventeen. We both loved music and could shred on our instruments. Instant friendship!

Metal Fanatix: It’s awesome to see that all these years on you guys are still making albums together! Black Label Society is certainly a different entity to Pride and Glory. Do you think you guys will ever do more Pride and Glory work?

John Deservio: Probably not.

Metal Fanatix: JD, I want to talk to ya about life on the road; last year you guys finally got to Australia after a few cancelled tours. What fond memories do you have from the Australian tour!

John Deservio: The kangaroos in Perth! They were amazing!

Metal Fanatix: The million dollar question is can we expect to see you guys returning any time soon?

John Deservio: Hopefully.

Metal Fanatix: Over the years you have shared the stage with so many great bands. Who have you enjoyed touring with the most and could you share a funny road story with us from the tour?

John Deservio: Every tour has been amazing! There’s been too many to pick just one!

Metal Fanatix: You’re certainly no stranger to playing festivals. Do you enjoy doing the festival shows such as Ozzfest or would you much prefer to be out doing your own headline shows?

John Deservio: I like our own shows.

Metal Fanatix: When the time comes to work out the set list, do you find it hard to choose the right songs, I mean there will always be fans who want to hear the old stuff & the occasional obscure song and of course you have to play some new tracks. Do you find it hard to make a set that makes the fans happy as well as yourselves?

John Deservio: There are eight albums to choose from now, yeah it can be.

Metal Fanatix: If you could go out on tour with any band who would it be and why?

John Deservio: Ozzy! He's the best!

Metal Fanatix: Every artist has had some kind of crazy shit happen to them onstage, what's the strangest/funniest thing that has ever happened to you on stage?

John Deservio: First note on Ozzfest last year my bass was on standby! Everyone was freakin’.

Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] Do you do anything specific to warm up and prepare for a show?

John Deservio: Drink!

Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] That is the best way to warm up [laughs]! What was the first bass you owned?

John Deservio: A Danelectro.

Metal Fanatix: Using no more than five words JD, how would you describe your bass playing?

John Deservio: Hopefully inspiring.

Metal Fanatix: Mate, after all these years in the business what goals have you set for yourself these days?

John Deservio: Keep getting bigger and better

Metal Fanatix: Has there ever been a point of your career where you personally lost hope and thought everything was over?

John Deservio: No never.

Metal Fanatix: I wanted to ask you about the film clips you guys have made. There have been some great clips such as ‘Suicide Messiah’ and ‘Fire it Up’. Many bands openly state that they hate making clips but as we know it is a must in this business. Take us through a typical day on the set of a Black Label Society clip?

John Deservio: Lots of drinking!

Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] Mate I don’t think I’d expect anything less [laughs]! JD, what’s the craziest rumor you had ever heard about yourself and or the band?

John Deservio: I haven’t heard none.

Metal Fanatix: Tell us something about the other guys in the band that we may not know!

John Deservio: We're all gay! [Laughs].

Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] oh too funny [laughs]. A couple of months back you did some recording for the latest Vinnie Moore CD, tell us how that all came about?

John Deservio: I toured with Vinnie back in 92. We've been bros ever since.

Metal Fanatix: What advice would you give to up and coming rock/metal bands?

John Deservio: Practice mother fuckers!

Metal Fanatix: There has been so many highlights in your career, what would you say have been your greatest achievements to date?

John Deservio: Playing Madison Square Gardens.

Metal Fanatix: From all the albums you have appeared on what one would be your favorite to listen to and why?

John Deservio: Has to be ‘Hangover Music’. Cool shit!

Metal Fanatix: I have read that you love to teach music and I believe you are now taking on students in the Jersey area! Is this a field of the industry you want to explore further?

John Deservio: I’ve always taught! It’s up to the kids to carry the torch now!! I'm pointing them in the right direction.

Metal Fanatix: That’s awesome dude! I have read on many occasions that Randy Rhoads would give guitar lessons in every town he played, can we expect to see you doing lessons on your next European and Australian tours?

John Deservio: Randy took lessons wherever he was! I would love to teach everywhere!

Metal Fanatix: Mate I only have a couple more questions for ya today, what's your take on this downloading and file sharing? Do you think it hurts artist like yourself or do you look at it as a great way to get your music out to so many more people around the world?

John Deservio: Oh both, it hurts and helps.

Metal Fanatix: What is the one band you never want to hear again and why?

John Deservio: I hate everybody! They all suck!

Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] can’t argue with that [laughs] JD, I want to thank you again for takin’ the time out to answer these questions, it’s been a true pleasure to interview ya! Do you have any last words for our readers?

John Deservio: Stop eating the kangaroos! They’re my buddies!

To keep up with all the latest news & much more on JD and Black Label Society check out the following websites: - Official John Deservio Site - Official Black Label Society Site - John Deservio MySpace Site - Black Label Society MySpace Site - Inside Out 666

Check out JD this killer 2007 Bass Player Event in New York

October 27th and 28th in New York City at the Millennium Broadway Hotel, J.D. will be appearing at 3 o'clock on Sunday the 28th in clinic room 3.

© Cameron Edney June, October 2006 Not to be re-printed in any form without written permission.