|Donal Finn - Flash Bastard - Interview Exclusive|
|Written by Ben Hughes|
|Sunday, 04 December 2011 05:00|
Flash Bastard are one of the most exciting bands we here at Uber Rock have heard this year. Their debut album 'Rock N' Roll Must Be Destroyed' is a '70s inspired slice of sleazy glam punk and, quite frankly, a bastard of an album. It has finally been unleashed after being shelved ten years ago and we recently caught up with vocalist Donal Finn to get the lowdown on all things Flash Bastard. Will he dish the dirt we all wanna hear? You bet your ass he will! Read on to discover tales involving Nikki Sixx, The Scorpions, pitchforks and generally upsetting anyone in the band's path! We find out the real history of the album and what the immediate future holds for the band.....hold on its gonna be a bumpy ride!
Hi Donal, first of all I would just like to say how much we here at Uber Rock like your album; to me it's the perfect combination of trashy, punky rock n' roll. I feel it will feature in quite a few of our 'Albums of the Year' lists. Although 'Rock N' Roll Must Be Destroyed ' was recorded ten years ago it still sounds fresh and vital today - how much tweaking have you done to it, or is it pretty much as it was recorded back then?
Well, might as well come clean (no pun intended)...we re-recorded the WHOLE THING! The fact of the matter is this: You can only make so good of a record when your blood toxicity levels are on par with Michael Jacksons's autopsy report. We wanted to give fans every inch of the ragin' slab o' rock we thought they deserved, and that meant starting from scratch. It's hard work being a bastard! Don't let anyone tell you any different ;)
What were the recording sessions for the album like, were there as many over the top antics in the studio as there were on the stage?
Oh god! I was sooo out of it when we made that record. I remember there was this studio runner whose job it was to make sure I showed up to do vocals. He would come to my place to pick me up and I would decide I didn't want to go. He'd pound on the door and I would scream "Leave me alooooooone!" Another time he was at the front door so I took off running out the back. He jumped in his car and chased me down the alley. It was like an action/chase scene from The Bourne Identity or something. I finally lost him by jumping over some dumpsters, I was walking down the street laughing thinking I'd lost him, then he comes peeling around the corner at 50 MPH and the chase began again! I finally gave up and went to the studio, I think I recorded 'Printed N' Cuffed' that day, hahaha!
The album has a real '70s glam rock feel to it; I hear The Sweet, New York Dolls and bits of Bolan going on in there as well as the Rocky Horror influence. Musically or otherwise who are your influences?
I really think you guys nailed our influences in that review. The artists you mention were definitely our inspiration. It's part of our mission to carry the torch for what we consider to be REAL glam rock (or glam/punk). The term glam rock was misappropriated in the '80s and used to describe hair metal bands. No disrespect to those bands at all, but to a REAL glam rocker, calling a hair metal band a glam rock band is highly disrespectful. The genre is in need of redemption and part of our motivation for releasing this record was to give true glam/glitter rock and its fans something to get excited about.
We here at Uber Rock love a good bit of dirt digging, so what was the deal on the Crue/Scorpions tour then; were relations really that strained with The Scorpions? Feel free to dish the dirt!
Yes they were. I had heard that Spinal Tap was based on the Scorpions prior to the tour. My first words to Klaus were: "Hey Klaus! When does the puppet show start?" I'm not sure he got the joke but he certainly didn't look amused. We also had a very confrontational live show at the time where we would insult and antagonize the audience. Often they would hate us and throw things. The thing is, our gear was set up in front of the Scorpions so whenever we would get things thrown at us the Scorps gear would get pelted! Hahaha! Then of course there was the whole pitchfork incident. Klaus wanted us off the tour so I grabbed a pitchfork backstage and chased him into his dressing room threatening to kill him. I went back to our dressing room and within minutes the Scorpions road crew showed up to kill me. Nikki told them that he would take care of it. He came into the dressing room picked me up and slammed me into all four walls of the room screaming "DON'T...EVER...DO...THAT....AGAAAAIN!" Nikki was probably about 210 lbs at the time and I was about 100lbs. It was kind of like riding a rollercoaster except that I crashed on every turn. Kinda fun! Now please don't think that I am condoning my behavior; If I met myself today as I was 10 years ago I would want to beat my own ass and I am sorry for the way I treated people back then, but you asked for the "dirt" so there it is!
So did you stay in contact with Nikki Sixx or did relations break when the band folded?
We exchanged a few emails after I got things sorted out in my own life, but I haven't spoken to him in ages. I have heard through the grapevine that he loves the new record though, and that's good enough for me. Nikki is actually a very smart/funny guy and I am glad to hear that things are going well for him these days.
You say you take full responsibility for the demise of the Americoma label, did you really single-handedly make them bankrupt?
Hahaha! Did I say that?!? I never said that!!! I didn't start WW2 or the AIDS virus either!
Are Flash Bastard back for good? Are there plans for album number two?
Definitely! We have a lot of really exciting things coming up so stay to tuned!
I mentioned in my review that your history reads like pages torn from The Dirt; you came out with a pretty notorious reputation, have you guys calmed down these days or are you up for more rock n' roll excess?
Don't know if we've calmed down, but as far as our former lives and reputations are concerned those days are over. Flash Bastard back in the day was more of a performance art project than a band. Our entire focus was on creating chaos and discord by confronting the audience, not playing music, the music was just the soundtrack to the chaos. At this point in my life I have no desire to pump anymore negativity into the world. I would rather entertain audiences than antagonize them. I would rather put a smile on someone's face than a look of shocked horror.
You guys have kept busy since the break up of the band with session work, producing, etc - what made you decide to reform Flash Bastard and release the album now?
We played a reunion show recently where we were able to exorcise a lot of the demons I just mentioned. We WERE able to entertain an audience without antagonizing them, we WERE able to put a smile on people's faces. It was an incredibly cathartic experience for me and convinced me that Flash Bastard had a holy mission to redeem the genre of REAL glam rock in 2012 which is exactly what we are doing :) It's hard because Pete and I both produce bands and compose for TV and film, which is a demanding career. But we realize we are on a holy mission and make time accordingly.
Your recent EP 'Fractured' is a slight departure from 'RNRMBD' in that it has a more electronic feel yet still retains the Flash Bastard sound - is this the way you see Flash Bastard heading?
I think there is huge crossover between glam and electronica, and I think you can definitely look for Flash Bastard to be on the forefront of taking glam into the future! Pete and I are cooking up some things right now that we can't wait to drop on the unsuspecting public, we think people are going to be shocked and excited! Stay tuned!
So what's the future plan for Flash Bastard, is world domination on the cards for 2012?
Yes indeed, and to all our glitter solders in the UK, get your sequined, rhinestoned whatever ready! You may be needing them in the near future!
The band have been rehearsing recently are there plans then for some live action, maybe even a tour? We would love to see you in the UK.
Glitter was born in the UK! As were the greatest of all glam punk bands (The Sex Pistols...yes, they WERE a Glitter band!!) I think it's time for the UK to reclaim what rightfully belongs to it! With a little help from us of course! Stay tuned ;)
I see you have released 'RNRMBD' on vinyl and download only, I feel rock fans will always want a product to hold in their hands but digital makes it so much easier to get hold of. What's your thoughts on the download culture of today?
Having worked with a lot of younger bands I can honestly say that, to kids, downloads are everything. However, I also agree with what you say about REAL fans wanting something more. And to all our fans in the UK that something more is coming very soon.
What is on your stereo at the moment? Is there any band we here at Uber Rock should be checking out?
The Scorpions of course! "Here I am.....rock you like a ....YA YA YA YA!!!"