Cameron Edney - http://insideout666.mysite.freeserve.com
Jeff Pilson is one of the most down to earth musicians you will
ever meet. Jeff a long time member of Dokken has gone on to play Bass
guitar for other greats such as Dio, The Hollywood Allstars and Foreigner
to name a few. Jeff is a well respected musician who has also tried
his hand at acting, with a starring role as the bass player for Steel
Dragon in the movie Rock Star and laying down the bass tracks &
backing vocals for the soundtrack. I recently had the pleasure of
asking Jeff a series of questions about his time in Dokken, the Freddy
Krueger photo shoot, Rock star, The new War n Peace live album, The
Hollywood Allstars, Vh1 Metal Mania petition which Jeff has signed
and many other things. I hope you all enjoy the interview!
Metal Fanatix: Hi Jeff, First of all thank you for
putting some time aside to answer the following questions for all
of our readers. I would like to talk to you first about one of the
latest projects in your life, War n Peace. Can you tell us how this
all came about?
Jeff Pilson: WNP has kind of been my long time personal outlet
for melodic rock, especially now that I'm no longer in Dokken. Well
after releasing the last record (The Walls Have Eyes) in Europe on
Z Records, the label wanted me to come over and play, which meant
forming a Live band. This resulted in me getting together with Mitch
Perry (amazing guitarist and long-time friend), Michael Frowein (drummer
from the L/P CD and also great friend), and Brad Lang (bassist/background
vocalist extraordinaire- and now great friend!). The band clicked
so well and the chemistry was so strong that it just became a passion
to play more live shows and to eventually write and record a record
Metal Fanatix: I believe the live cd is due to be released
Jeff Pilson: Yes, probably more like September in
the real world!
Metal Fanatix: Are you currently working on any other projects?
Jeff Pilson: I'm also involved in producing a lot
of other artists. I'm also playing occasional shows with Foreigner
which is a real kick. That and finishing the WNP Live, and getting
ready to start writing with the band for another WNP studio CD!
Metal Fanatix: You have grown up influenced by some of the
greatest bands in rock n roll history such as the Beatles & Led
Zepplin. Do you feel you have played a large role in influencing many
of today’s hard rock acts?
Jeff Pilson: Not a large role, but perhaps a selective
Metal Fanatix: As a Bass player many people may be surprised
to learn that you also play a number of other instruments such as
keyboards, cello & acoustic guitars. What was the first instrument
you learnt to play?
Jeff Pilson: The cello.
Metal Fanatix: Over the last twelve months you have also
been playing with The Hollywood All-stars. Along side the likes of
Carlos Cavazo (Quiet Riot) & Vinny Appice (Sabbath/Dio), I Believe
this project started when you all decided to play at the great white
fire tragedy, to raise money? A few months back I spoke briefly with
Vinny Appice about this but I would like to know if you guys plan
on taking the project outside of the U.S.A. & can we expect to
see an album released anytime soon?
Jeff Pilson: I've had to cut back on my Allstars
work just because time is getting sparse! I do enjoy the gig, but
it often conflicts with Foreigner. It was always meant to be a fun
jam-type thing, so I'm sure I'll do more stuff with them at some point,
but it's hard to predict when or where. Those guys are all great friends
of mine so it's hard to envision not doing something with them. Vinny
and Carlos have an original band with Chas (vocalist) and Jimmy Bain-
one of my all-time favourite bassists! They may do some recording
at my studio- I hope so, that'd be fun.
Metal Fanatix: Over the years you have worked with Dokken,
M.S.G. and Dio among others. From all the albums you have appeared
on what one would be your favourite to listen to & why?
Jeff Pilson: That's nearly impossible to answer-
I'm too close. But if I were to pick something other than the real
personal stuff like WNP or Lynch/Pilson, it would probably be the
Strange Highways record by Dio. I'm so proud of that record and have
such fond memories of making and touring it.
Metal Fanatix: After all these years of writing and recording
how do you constantly come up with new fresh sounding material without
falling into the trap a lot of other bands do by repeating themselves?
Jeff Pilson: I'm very picky when it comes to writing,
and frankly it takes a lot of time and energy. I love music so much
and the art of creating it is my biggest creative fix. You have to
allow things to evolve with the inspiration, and sometimes that is
tough. Mostly, though, it's trusting your instincts and always staying
a fan yourself.
Metal Fanatix: Dokken released the hit single Dream
Warriors which was written for the soundtrack to A nightmare on elm
st # 3. At the time there was a lot of promotion done for the movie
which included photo shoots & video promos with Dokken & featured
Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger). Can you tell us what it was like
to do that photo shoot with Robert?
Jeff Pilson: Hilarious- that guy was so friggin funny!
He's a character and doesn't take himself seriously at all. I think
he really enjoyed being Freddy as well.
Metal Fanatix: Are you a fan of horror movies? If so what
are your all-time faves?
Jeff Pilson: Not a big one, no.
Metal Fanatix: Over the years you have shared the stage with
so many great bands. Who have you enjoyed touring with the most &
could you share a funny road story with us from the tour?
Jeff Pilson: If you mean with Dokken, I enjoyed the
Dio tour we did in 84-85 the best. I also loved the Aerosmith tour
of 87-88. The last night with Aerosmith was the funniest last gig
with a band I've ever seen. During Aerosmith's set George dressed
up like an Angel (wings and all) and on the song Angel he got the
Aerosmith lighting crew to suspend him from the lighting truss. He
flew out during the song and Steven Tyler couldn't stop laughing-
it was great. Then he started serenading George- which was hilarious.
Then George, who despite the warnings from the lighting crew, was
spinning around in the air which proceeded to get him stuck. It took
several songs to get him down- but you should have heard the ovation
he got when he finally made it down- it was brilliant. The best stunt
I've ever seen a band pull!
Metal Fanatix: What is the most ridiculous thing you have
ever asked for on a tour rider?
Jeff Pilson: Me, nothing. But I remember there was
a period where George used to request a dozen hard boiled eggs every
night. That was the weight-lifting period, I believe. God that was
disgusting. We would all run hiding from the smell- which attacked
from several places!
Metal Fanatix: It has come to my attention that more than
1700 rock/metal fans worldwide have united and signed a petition.
Artists such as Judas priest, Don Dokken & yourself to name a
few are among those in favour of a Vh1 Metal Mania Channel with no
“nu-metal” to be played. Many fans & artists believe
that VH1 & MTV will never approve this, not because of ratings,
but because of the genre of music which would be featured. Can you
share your thoughts on the matter?
Jeff Pilson: Well the main reason it may not fly
is that the audience it would attract is older, and advertisers want
that young demographic to sell their products. I do think, however,
that eventually someone will realize that there is a large ratings
share to be gotten by filling the void left for hard rock fans. I
just hope it's sooner rather than later.
Metal Fanatix: In your honest opinion what do you think about
the direction that Hard Rock & Heavy Metal music has taken over
the last few years?
Jeff Pilson: I think, like always, there's some great
stuff out there- and there's some crap! I think there's an undercurrent
of new heavy bands that might inject some life into the scene. I think
there will be more melodic stuff coming out- even from new heavier
bands- which I think is a positive. It's really a question of someone
having the creative inspiration and the ability to connect with an
audience. If it could come from a young band, all the better. I feel
Metal Fanatix: What do you like the most about touring?
Jeff Pilson: The shows, of course.
Metal Fanatix: What are you favourite songs to perform live?
Jeff Pilson: With Dokken it was always Too High to
Fly and Its Not Love. With WNP it's probably a trilogy we do of Desperate
Hearts, The Line in the Sand and Finale (from the Walls Have Eyes
CD). With Foreigner it's definitely Urgent- what a groove!
Metal Fanatix: Do you ever act on suggestions coming from
Jeff Pilson: Sure, why not?
Metal Fanatix: What is the strangest question a fan has asked
Jeff Pilson: If I'll travel a couple thousand miles
to have dinner and a beer with them.
Metal Fanatix: Using only five words: How would you describe
your bass playing?
Jeff Pilson: Groove-oriented, melodic, gritty, songwriter
Metal Fanatix: Over the past 10 years you have recorded
tracks for various albums paying tribute to some of rock & metals
greatest acts such as Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne & Ac/dc to name a few.
Is there one song that you would like to cover but have not had the
chance to do as yet?
Jeff Pilson: I would love to do a Grand Funk song-
Paranoid, Foot stomping Music, Inside Looking Out, etc.
Fanatix: When I think of a loud hard n heavy movie soundtrack
only one really comes to mind “Rock Star”. How long did
it take to record the songs for the soundtrack?
Jeff Pilson: We did most of the work in a few weeks,
but some of it lingered into the filming which happened several weeks
later. The rehearsals were two weeks, if I remember correctly.
Metal Fanatix: Are there any funny stories you can share
with us about the time you spent with Zakk Wylde, Jason Bonham etc
while recording the songs for the soundtrack and/or from the movie
Jeff Pilson: Seeing a drunken Jason Bonham make the
mistake of attempting to kiss Zakk- which resulted in him being thrown
into a garbage can! Pretty funny stuff!
Metal Fanatix: It’s no secret that the movie Rock star
was loosely based around the life of Judas Priest. What did you think
of the movie?
Jeff Pilson: I thought it actually came out much
better than I was expecting. It's very entertaining, and I thought
everyone did a great job. I first screened it nearly a year after
filming it, so I was very happy when I saw it.
Metal Fanatix: If you could put a band together consisting
of musicians passed and/or present who would they be and what would
you call the band?
Jeff Pilson: Jimi Hendrix, John Bonham, Ronnie Dio
and Keith Emerson. It would be called "Clust-her-fukk!!!"
Metal Fanatix: Jeff thanks again for your time do you have
any last words for our readers?
Jeff Pilson: Just thank you for everything, and hope
you check out and enjoy the Live War and Peace CD when it comes out.
Thanx and take care.
Check out the following sites for all the latest jeff pilson
© Cameron Edney April 2005 Not to be re-printed in any form without