Interviewer: Cameron Edney - http://www.myspace.com/insideout666ints
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
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’:
Black Mass Reverends: Great rock tune.
The Last Goodbye: The best ballad BLS
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
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
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
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
Metal Fanatix: Has there ever been a
point of your career where you personally lost hope and thought everything
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
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
Metal Fanatix: From all the albums you
have appeared on what one would be your favorite to listen to and
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
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
Metal Fanatix: What is the one band
you never want to hear again and why?
John Deservio: I hate everybody! They
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
© Cameron Edney June, October 2006 Not to be re-printed in any
form without written permission.