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In The Hands Of Fate: An Exclusive Interview With Bassist JOHN REGAN Of FOUR BY FATE

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Sunday, June 12, 2016 @ 12:34 AM


"None of us began playing music because we thought, 'we’re going to do this, we’re going to go and be really successful, we’re going to be famous'."

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Interview By Cynthia Fields-Jalil, Jalil Photos Rock

I recently had the great pleasure of chatting with Grammy Award Winner & Nominee John Regan, Bassist/Producer/Co-Producer for FOUR BY FATE. John joined Peter Frampton as his bassist two years after Peter's release of Frampton Comes Alive. John's stint with Frampton lasted over three decades and even today they remain close friends. John has also worked on various projects with several world renowned notable artists and various producers including Nile Rodgers, Eddie Kramer, Mick Jagger and David Bowie for "Dancing In The Streets", benefitting Live Aid.

After finishing his work with Peter Frampton, John along with his former FREHLEY'S COMET bandmate and friend Todd Holwarth decided to put together a supergroup consisting of close friends and fellow musicians who have had their own fair share of success working with some of today's most prominate artists including CHEAP TRICK, SKID ROW, POUND and PETER FRAMPTON. FOUR BY FATE has relentlessly forged ahead through several traumatizing & challenging incidents including the loss of their first drummer, Stet Howland (WASP), due to debilitating injuries sustained in a major automobile accident, and suffering and working through the loss and untimely death of AJ Pero (TWISTED SISTER), who suffered a heart attack while on tour with ADRENALINE MOB. Fortunately AJ's drumming can be heard on the first six tracks of FOUR BY FATE's forthcoming EP. For the record, the tracks ARE the last known tracks that AJ Pero recorded before his death. And now those treasured drumming tracks will live on forever thanks to FOUR BY FATE's perseverance, brotherly bound & determination to bring us their appropriately titled debut EP, Relentless.

KNAC.COM: How did the formation of the band take place and is the band’s name indicative of its creation?

REGAN: Absolutely! Todd Howarth and I met back in 1985-1986 when Todd toured with CHEAP TRICK quite extensively back then and I was working with John Waite and we did a co-headline tour one year. We just became very, very good friends and I was astounded at his keyboard work and his vocals. He was kinda off to the side of the stage, but I kept an eye on him and said to myself ‘this guy is really incredible’ and then I come to find out that he was a great guitar player. So, we basically hit it off well and we hung together that whole tour and we kept each other’s numbers.

I had always looked forward to putting something together with Todd. And so, in 1987, we started recording the first FREHLEY'S COMET record. We basically cut that record three piece with Anton Fig on drums, Ace and myself on bass. Eddie Kramer was co-producing it with us and goes “We could really use another voice, another musician” and I said "have I got the guy for you!” So, we got ahold of Todd and he flew out, played us a couple of his songs and that’s it, he was in the band. We ended-up crediting two of his songs on the first record, “Something Moved” and “Calling To You”. That was a two to three year period where we did a lot of work together with Ace. Todd is just one of the hardest working men I’ve ever met in show business.

The fate part, as fate would have it - I am going to fast forward about 27-28 years - I had just finished touring a 31 year stint for the most part with Peter Frampton. And it was astounding every place we went, South America, Australia, how many people would come up to me with all of these FREHLEY'S COMET records. I had figured that long ago everyone would forget about it but fortunately they had not and when I got back and kind of finished up my work with Peter, it was around the 25th anniversary of the first FREHLEY'S COMET record being released. And so, I tried to get ahold of Ace — I wanted to do about 10 shows. He really wasn’t in to it, the amount of money he was looking for, there was no way we were going to get that. And so, that kinda told me that he would rather pass on it and so I kinda let it go. And then one day I was on Facebook and a Canadian Rock Journalist by the name of Mitch Lafon was doing a KISS tribute record for Canadian Hospice Cancer Hospital Research which was a very, very noble cause. And I basically said I’m happy to donate whatever I can to this project because I really feel strongly about the people who do that work, they are like angels on earth. I ended up recording a few tracks for that and then Mitch said “Why don’t you and Todd get together and do one of the FREHLEY'S COMET numbers and I said; “Well, I would love to!” So I called Todd and we re-cut "Break-Out”, which was one of the first songs that Todd sang with us in FREHLEY'S COMET on the first record. And it came out great and it just felt so good to work with him again.

And then when Mitch put the album out he started getting a few calls from promoters saying would I and John be interested in putting a band together? So, I said; “Well, I don’t know, let me do a little research.” So, I got ahold of Danny Stanton from Collier Entertainment and I said “Danny, what do you think about this? You tell me right-off if it is not doable.” But he did a little digging around and he goes “Yes, let’s put a band together”. So, we ended up with Stet Howland from WASP on drums, that was Danny’s suggestion, and through Mitch Lafon a fellow Canadian guitarist Sean Kelly was brought in. Sean had a band HELIX and CRASH KELLY and also worked with Nelly Furtado. That was the first incarnation of FOR BY FATE and it just kinda happened that it was by fate and then a bunch of other stuff happened to get us between that point and the release of our first record Relentless, and I’ll stop now! (laughing)

KNAC.COM: That is a great story! I’d like to first take a minute to remember the late great Aj Pero (TWISTED SISTER), who although he wasn’t the original drummer he did ultimately step in as a permanent band member after Stet Howland’s automobile accident. He actually recorded the first six tracks of the forthcoming EP Relentless. What was it like working with him and how difficult was it to have to replace him?

REGAN: Well, the difficulty was Todd & I were attending a KISS Convention in New Jersey two days before we were due to start recording in New York and Todd had flown in from San Diego so the studio was booked, everything was paid for. Todd was in and one of our friends at the Convention came up with a look like she saw a ghost on her face and she goes ‘look at this’ and there’s a picture of Stet Howland in a hospital bed with a neck brace on in Florida - he had just gotten into a very, very bad automobile accident and was hospitalized along with his family. It was terrible and so it was like ‘uh oh, what do we do now?’ We can’t cancel because we’ve gotta cut these tracks, they were all written by Todd. So again I got ahold of Danny Stanton and said; “Danny help! We need a drummer, we can’t blow this whole thing off, it will just set us back so far!” He goes, “There’s only one drummer I can think of who’s in the area, that’s AJ Pero.”

Now, I had known AJ from TWISTED SISTER as we all do and I knew the kind of music we were going to be recording and it was not quite in that wheel house. I said “Let me just quickly talk to Todd about it.” In the meantime, I went on YouTube and there was a very current clip of AJ performing at the Bonzo Bash. When I heard him playing that stuff and the groove and the feel, I called Danny up and I said; “Please let’s get him in!” So, we came back here, back home after the KISS Convention, Todd sent AJ the songs, he said he was up for it. He had 24 hours to basically to absorb six songs that he’d never heard nor had any of us except for Todd who was the composer. Todd and I make our way to the studio and believe it or not, we get a call from AJ saying; “You are not going to believe this, I am two blocks from my house, I just got into an auto accident!” I said to myself “This can’t be happening again!” Fortunately he wasn’t injured and so we sent a car around to pick him up and we got him to the studio a couple of hours late. And he came in and we had never meet him before but as soon as he walked in the room and sat down behind that drum kit, it was like we had played together for 20 years! Anyone that knows him obviously from his playing knows what an incredible drummer he is. But I don’t know if that many people know what an incredible human being AJ Pero is and was unfortunately but, the difficulty was not in any of the mechanical aspects because his playing fit like a glove! Like I said, it felt like we had been a band together for decades! The difficulty was we were kinda shellshocked by the whole Stet thing so as soon as we started recording the first song, it was a giant relief because Todd and I just looked at each other and just said “Thank God, this is exactly what we needed right now”, and he came in and cut six incredible drums tracks and we’re honored that we captured those tracks and he is apart of the project and he will be forever!

KNAC.COM: What was the creative process like? And did you all write together and then record or did you all dabble and record at the same time?

REGAN: No, we came up the old fashion way, everybody in the room and you just hit record and play together (laughing)! So, we cut three piece. We had cut a song in those first six recordings, actually one of the tracks was written by a friend of mine, Pat Gasperini. He had a band POUND & FLYWHEEL and was very successful in the 90’s and he had hired me to play a session that he was recording. I played on a song called “Follow Me” and as I am playing on it, I am thinking this sounds exactly like what we wanna do with FOUR BY FATE, so, I sent it to Todd and Todd said; “Yeah, absolutely let’s cut this track”. So before Pat was in the band — he is now our guitar player, singer, song writer - he was kinda in the band before he was in the band. And that’s also one of the tracks that AJ played on. So what happened was we finished those six tracks and we have no idea what was going on with Stet as far as if he was going to be out of commission for months. Fortunately, I believe he’s bounced back to almost perfect. But we needed to finished the record and so we asked AJ if he would consider doing the next six tracks and he said “Absolutely!” because we got along great and in 48 hours we felt like we had known each other & played with each other all our lives. He was due to come in and finish-up the record with us and lo and behold I was over in the UK doing some touring with Billy J. Kramer, we were doing a 50th Anniversary of “The British Invasion Tour”, and right before I left, I spoke to Todd and I said; “Just double check with AJ to make sure he’s ready to go into the studio as soon as I get back." And I was over there for a couple of days and I got the call that AJ had passed away while on tour with ADRENALINE MOB. That was another slap in the face! Todd and I honestly at that point had a heart to heart talk and said “Do we wanna really continue this?” I know it sounds cliched but it never fit more perfectly. AJ would have wanted us to finish this record and the tracks that he cut deserved to be heard, being known as his last recordings and how amazing he played on them. And so, we decided to forge ahead (laughing sigh of relief).

KNAC.COM: Was it difficult to create together initially or were you all able to take inspiration from essentially what truly is a melting pot of musicianship and brilliance?

REGAN: Well, thank you! It was a natural fit because again, Todd and I kinda had the same musical upbringing and roots and you know, we are all a sum of our parts. As you mentioned, I was very fortunate over the years to work with people that I only dreamed about ever even seeing in concert and have been a thrill for me. And you take something from each one of those situations and each one of the amazing producers that worked on those records like Nile Rodgers, Keith Forsey, Steve Lilywhite, Eddie Kramer. You just try to be a sponge an absorb as much of that brilliance as you can because you know you’re pinching yourself — I find myself still. You know I get to work with people like that and it's almost like a dream to me. I’ll get on the phone to my wife after the session and go ‘I can’t believe I just got to experience this!’ We’ve all been fortunate in the fact that we’ve had those experiences and you basically carry that along to whatever you’re doing at that particular time and you are just a sum of your parts of three decades of working around this. The creative process came very easily and it was absolutely very organic, we just got in and ran the songs a few times and put them on tape. We didn't really wanna over-produce anything, we wanted them to sound like the records that we grew up loving — which they had a very real sound, it didn't sound like they were over processed or overworked. And I think we’ve achieved that and as co-producer of the record, that’s what I went for. And I am really, really happy with how it turned out!

KNAC.COM: What is your favorite track and what is the inspiration behind it?”

REGAN: Oh boy! Well, you’d have to ask the composer Todd Howarth. But my favorite track is a track called “I Give”, and that's tracked with AJ playing drums on as well. And what I like about it is the lyric. It is what I’ve known Todd to be for 30 years, he gives everything! If anyone gives something 120 percent it’s Todd, he does it at every aspect whether it’s writing or playing or singing! And that’s what the lyric is, you know he gives his blood, he gives his heart, he gives his soul but there is something very, very… I just love the groove of the track the way AJ played, for myself as a bass player it was a dream to play along to his drumming. There’s also a track that we re-cut from the FREHLEY'S COMET days called “It’s Over Now” — which Todd had written for CHEAP TRICK and played it for me when we were recording with Ace. We did it on the Second Sighting album when we recorded that. That album never really got any kind of recognition so I always wanted to re-cut it. So we did, we re-cut it on the Relentless album. Another one that I really loved is a song called “Amber Waves” which Todd wrote which is basically a tribute to, especially with Memorial Day coming up, our country and the brave men and women that served and gave their lives for us. There’s a lot of good stories on this record.

KNAC.COM: Will any portion of the proceeds from this album go to them?

REGAN: Actually I’m in the process of trying to get ahold of Gary Sinise because he’s deeply involved with Veterans Affairs and helping out all of those amazing people that need all the help they can get right now. And I believe Todd has a mechanism in place to donate some of the proceeds from that track. Nowadays, you really gotta vet these people to make sure the money is going where it’s supposed to go. Like KISS, I know that Gene and Paul do a lot, “We’re all a bit long in the tooth”, as the British say, but that means we came up around the greatest generation. We saw the sacrifice first hand whether it be World War II, Korean War, Vietnam, and what’s going on now. Our priorities have always been in the forefront for me. Ya know a lot of time it kinda irks me when I hear whether it’s an athlete, an actor, a musician, or people refer to them as heroes. They're not heroes, they’re celebrities. Heroes are the men and women in the Armed Forces, EMS Workers, Firemen, Policemen, people working on cures for cancer. Those are the real heroes in this world, Us that get to apply our craft to something that we do if you manage to get some kind of a notoriety, that’s celebrity that’s not hero. Yeah well I make sure I bring that to the forefront many times. I have to say it, because I truly believe it! But then when you hear people are doing stuff like Gene and Paul, that is heroic in a sense because there’s not a lot of fanfare around it and that’s the right way to do it. There's a reason they’re still around and still viable, there’s a lot that goes into that formula, and it’s not just musicianship.

KNAC.COM: So is FOUR BY FATE a side project for all of you? Or is this a band that you all are committed to and one that we can expect to see on the road soon?

REGAN: No, we’re completely committed to it and what happened was after AJ passed, we needed to finish the record, so at the same time that AJ passed, the guy who was playing guitar, Sean Kelly, is Canadian and he works with Nelly Furtado as well, and he can only get out of the country “x” number of times on work permits, so this wasn’t going to work for him. So now we had to find a guitar player and a drummer. and that’s kind of where the title Relentless came in, we were laboring over a title in the studio just doing our final mixes and we had all these titles written down on a piece of paper. At some point, someone says 'We had to be relentless to get this finished’, and we just looked at each other and said, ‘That sounds like a good title, because it fits!’ It really required that so when Sean Kelly said he really wasn’t going to be able to continue on, Pat Gasperini - who had contributed the song “Follow Me” to the first recording, was the perfect fit. He came in with about four or five incredible songs for the remainder of the record, and he recorded the last six tracks with us. And he is now a guitar player/singer in the band along with Todd.

I had known Rob Affusso from the SKID ROW days and Pat was also friends with Rob. So, we need a drummer and Rob, Pat, and I live basically within twenty minutes of each other. So, he said; 'What do you think about asking Rob because he is here?’ I said 'See if he wants to do it?' And he was excited about it and then Rob came in and cut the remaining six tracks with us as well. The band as it stands now is solid.

To answer your question directly, this is not a side project, we want to work this. Now the dilemma is, we are an unknown entity as a band, some people will know us from our different exploits over the years, but we’re breaking a brand new band and in this day and age, I don’t have to tell you that’s not an easy thing to do. Especially, the age group that we fall into right now, but I’ll tell you that it doesn’t matter. And you know this from dealing with musicians, I’m sure Gene and Paul are perfect examples of this. When you get on stage you’re fifteen years old again. None of us began playing music because we thought, we’re going to do this, we’re going to go and be really successful, we’re going to be famous. I have never spoken to one musician that said that was the modus operandi from our generation. We just wanted to play. When young musicians come up, they say, “Oh this’ll be great, I get to play in front of a lot of people…Is that why you play music?’ I’m speaking for myself, but I really hope this sinks in when I talk to some of these kids. The only reason to play music is because you can’t not play music. It has to be like breathing air, eating, and drinking, it has to be apart of you. And the other thing I tell them is, I don’t get paid for the two hours I play, I get paid for the twenty hours that I wait around and spend away from the people I love. The playing part, that’s the joyous part, you do that for free. It’s the traveling, and I don’t care how often you’re staying at The Ritz-Carlton, it’s still not your own bed. That’s the way I approach it (laughing). And that’s the way I try to pass it on and they look at me like I am from Mars (laughing), that’s the reality of it.

One thing I’ve noticed, and I hope I won’t get into trouble with my fellow American musicians, through the course of my career, I predominantly work with British artists and the one thing I could tell you is across the board if you look at their priorities, the musician, the musical part is above the rock star part. It seems to flip when you get to the American artists - which shall remain nameless. But, that’s just from my experience and having been around it I’ve always felt that was the case. We’re in the “Land of Plenty” and I think people get jaded by that! Europe is smaller, Asia is the same way. You go over and play in Asia and these people will know records that you played on that you don’t even remember that you played on, they are students of music. When I was growing up if you were in high school, you had two choices: you were either a jock or a musician, that’s it. We didn’t have internet, we didn’t have video games, you immersed yourself in those two things. But now, there is so much vying for their attention . I see it with my own grandchildren. My children grew-up in the 80’s and so, not as much then but now, I don’t even know how you focus right now!

But I wanna say one thing, and I’ve always said this because I’ve attended many KISS Conventions and because of the FREHLEY'S COMET connection the KISS fans are the absolute best fans on the face of the earth, bar none. They are dedicated, loyal, I can’t believe it. Again, when I was traveling with Peter Frampton in 2010, to see these people come up with all this FREHLEY'S COMET stuff astounded me that they would even care twenty-five years later. It’s an amazing anomaly in the music fan entity that the KISS Army is as strong as it is. I’ve never experienced it with any other artist that I’ve worked with, not even close! They are dedicated, warm, just great people - I’m honored to be a part of the family tree, they really accept you. It is really the only entity that I know of that treats anyone that was involved in KISS and the extended family as if you are one of them. And so, I am deeply appreciative to every KISS fan out there!

KNAC.COM: If and when you do decide to hit the road, how soon do you think it might happen and will it be in the States first?”

REGAN: Danny Stanton handles some booking for us and he also works with TWISTED SISTER. There’s a big three day bash going on, their last big go round in the tri-state area: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut in October. And I know one of those three days we’re on the bill. Ace Frehley is playing, just a giant bunch of rock bands that are gonna celebrate forty years of TWISTED SISTER, but we’re looking to get out a lot sooner. Therein lies a slight dilemma, but we need the right booking agencies to start looking at that. I think the record comes out on June 3, The End Records a label that we were really fortunate to be signed to in New York. And we’ve started to get some very good reviews, this seems to be a nice buzz, and again I have to thank a lot of the music in general, where is it headed? We’ve got to prove ourselves, we’re all very humble people. Everyone in the band has the same mindset, as a matter of fact, when we put the band together initially, the modus operandi was no primadonnas, it’s just has to be fun. If it’s not fun, everybody would rather stay home. So far, so good!

KNAC.COM: With the latest craze to what some say is overindulgence of social media and with the fans wanting more interaction with the bands that they support, how accessible do you and the other band members plan on being to your fans?

REGAN: I have always been and will continue to be, along with the rest of the band, as accessible as the people want us to be. Without them we don’t get to do what we love to do, and that’s the bottom line. If you talk to my wife, I’m sure she’ll tell ya I’m on Facebook way more than I should be. But I pretty much handle the FOUR BY FATE Facebook page and everybody else chimes in. The bottom line is, I don’t like to call them fans, I like to call them friends because without them we don’t get to do what we love to do, that’s it. It all begins and ends right there. Everybody has had to have other jobs while they were in high school and stuff, and to get to play music for a living is a gift.

KNAC.COM: Which producer, lyricist, vocalist, bassist, and/or band inspired you the most? And which one inspired you enough to seek out your own journey and musical path?

REGAN: Oh my god! Hmmm, how many hours do you have? From my era, it all started with the Ed Sullivan Show and THE BEATLES. That was it, I can close my eyes and picture sitting in that living room and watching them come on the first time. It was like wow, you can be in a band and girls will like you? It was a win-win situation, it really started with THE BEATLES and the STONES, and the whole British Invasion.

Personally for me, producer wise, because we’d had a chance to work together as co-producers on the FREHLEY'S COMET record, Eddie Kramer, especially with the work he did with Hendrix and ZEPPELIN and all those amazing records. A lot of times we’d be sitting side by side working on a project together, joking around, we’re very good friends, and I would catch myself drifting off looking at him thinking, ‘You were there when you and Jimi invented those sounds for “Purple Haze”. There was no blueprint then, they were pioneers. People like Eddie Kramer, Glyn Johns, all of those amazing producers from that era that were coming up with all of the sounds that we have machines to duplicate but it’s never the same. Again, THE BEATLES, the STONES personally, bass player, anything McCartney ever played. But then I started to really get into Ronny Wood when he was playing bass with Jeff Beck, that Truth album and Beck-Ola hit me so hard when that time in my life when I was making the decision that I wanted to try to play music as a career. Then you get into Chris Squire, the late Chris Squire. We toured with them in 2010 when I was with Frampton and I just sat there every night on the side of the stage and my jaw was on the floor. He was incredibly inventive, he could play so melodically but then he was fierce. He could rip your head off with his tone and his attack. Of course (John) Entwistle from THE WHO, but then you can’t forget guys like James Jamerson, all that Motown stuff. Another pioneer, he played bass the way no-one had ever played bass before. His choice in notes remain to be the most inventive of any bass player that ever lived. And then there’s Larry Graham with SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE. We were so fortunate to come up in a time that we did when every release was like another Christmas morning and it was stuff you had never heard before.

It’s kind of tough to come up with anything new after this much rock and roll has been under the bridge. There’s just so many, vocalists, I go all the way back to Billy Holiday, the stuff that moves me. And Sinatra of course, I’m Sicilian I gotta love Sinatra. I know my name sounds Irish (laughing), but that’s another story — since I’m Sicilian (laughing). It's so mental I can’t even tell ya! But you know, they were the first pop stars, before we had a pop star! Actually Al Jolson was the first pop star, he was the first guy who didn’t just stand up there and sing. He actually gave everything for the audience. I just love it all: Johnny Cash, George Jones, the old country stuff. Here’s something that’s going to sound overly simplistic, but it’s the same feeling that I still get when I’m on the 747; ‘How does this thing get off of the ground?’ You know, I get these thoughts. But every bit of western music that we’ve ever heard; let's go back to Beethoven and all the way up to the record that’s coming out tomorrow, it's composed of twelve notes. That’s all there are, twelve notes in a scale. When I think of it that way, it’s astounding — thats all there are, there are only twelve! I don’t know if that hits you the way it hits me when I think about it, it’s everything.

We’re really fortunate to be at this point in our lives and still be able to work the craft that we love. How successful it’s gonna be, no one knows that. Success for us was getting this record completed with the tragedy that occurred and the pitfalls. Just getting it to the point where we finished felt like a victory, Honestly, if the main thing that comes out of this is we get to do another one, I’ll consider it a very, very big success. I still love the creative process in the recording studio, I love playing in front of people, but I like starting with a blank slate and then coming up with 'okay, here’s what we’ve got.’ I remember, my grandmother, typical Italian family, my grandmother lived upstairs, I can remember being a little boy and going up and she’d have the radio on and she would be happy, and smiling, and singing. I really think that’s where I got my love for it. I just noticed that it made people feel good and it still makes me feel good. You can use music. When you wanna be a little melancholy, you throw on some Sinatra torch songs that will rip you to shreds but sometimes that’s a nice feeling and sometimes that’s necessary. But then it could also be the most elating experience you can have. Or a song will come on that will bring you right back to a day that you’ll never forget from 1967 or something like that! It all comes flooding right back. So, when I listen to Harry James or Benny Goodman, it makes me think of my mom and dad. They're not here anymore, but when I hear that, I can picture them.

KNAC.COM: Which of today’s artists do you personally admire and in which direction do you think today’s music is headed?

REGAN: I’m gonna say that I’m guilty of not paying a lot of attention today. Anton Fig,an amazing drummer, and I had a conversation once about especially in the years we were doing a lot of session work, you almost didn’t want to listen to anything for the fear of it coming out of your fingers. With those same twelve notes, you’re trying to come up with something that’s not a direct copy of something else. Especially when I’m working on a new record, I tend to not listen a lot. I’ll listen to older stuff, I’ll listen to those artists I mentioned, the Motown stuff, the British Invasion stuff, the roots of where I got my playing from. Fortunately I can say Dave Grohl, because he just seems like he is everywhere — thats what I see. Believe it or not, I don’t know if the rock people are going to like this, but I really like that Pharrell Williams song “Happy”. I really like it. When it hits that chorus, it just feels good to listen to!

I had the good fortune of working with Nile Rodgers on a few projects. Nile Rodgers, not to belittle any of the other producers, but I have to say he is my favorite. He is amazingly talented, and the most down to earth musician. He is a musician like Louis Armstrong was a musician. One of my most amazing experiences was one day I got a call from Rob Sabino, who is a keyboard player that worked on all of Nile’s stuff, all of the Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” and all of the MADONNA stuff, all of that. So, he said listen, ‘I’ve got a session for ya. Nile Rodgers is going to be producing it, it doesn’t pay any money.’ I said, 'Nile Rodgers is producing it, I’m there!' So, I go to the session in New York and basically what it was, it was Jagger and Bowie’s version of “Dancing In The Street” for Live Aid. They needed the bass part replaced, they weren’t happy with the tone or something. So I go in and I replace the bass part, but as we’re getting ready to record, I’m in the control room with Niles, and first of all I’m absolutely over the moon that it’s Nile Rodgers and he couldn’t have made me feel more comfortable. But in walks Jagger, so now I’m like okay I’m gonna wake up at any moment, this can’t be happening?! And he walked in and right as we were getting ready to do the take, and it was the only time that I’ve ever done anything in one take, I just concentrated so hard. And I was in the control room because the track was already cut, the vocals were cut, so I’m playing to pretty much the finished record. And we just had the speakers cranked-up and it was like we were in Studio 54 or something and out of my peripheral vision, I’m playing and I’m concentrating as hard as I can and trying to do the best job I’ve ever done in my life. But as I am playing and this track is playing, I’m watching Mick dance around behind me like a kid on his birthday! And I’m trying to process this in a four minute period here and I'm playing and I remember going 'that's why he’s still who he is', because there’s no audience around, there’s nobody to see this, it’s not a show, but the music moved him to that point. That really was a profound moment for me, this guy is doing it for all the right reasons.

KNAC.COM: Wow, that’s an amazing story. I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall!

REGAN: You know, when you mention the fly on the wall thing, that’s something I really want to incorporate when we get out and about with FOUR BY FATE because we’re going to be playing not just our original music, but we’re going to be honoring the people that we’ve worked with over the years. We’re gonna do a CHEAP TRICK song, we’ll do Frampton’s stuff, we are gonna do SKID ROW down the line, but we also want to tell stories of about our experiences with that because all of that brought us to where we are in 2016. We’re all a sum of our parts and I think that’s important. And I know that people really enjoy hearing those stories. Anybody can get up and play a bunch of songs. I know Frampton just recently did an acoustic tour, where it was just him and his good friend Gordon Kennedy and I went to see him. And it was fantastic! I knew the stories from spending thirty years with Peter, but watching the audience listening to him tell about how he wrote “Baby I Love Your Way” and “Show Me The Way” in the same day at a beach in Nasa or something it's great! That fly on the wall thing, there’s a lot to that I think in presenting a show today.

You know the other thing is everybody is like 'oh the business is this bad and that bad’. It is, in the old sense that you’re not on a big label selling millions of records. But a lot more people now can get their music out there to be heard. You can make a record on your iPad with a garage band. A good song is a good song, it can be made on a harmonica, it doesn’t matter. It’s a good song, and good lyric, it's good no matter what you’re hearing it through. You’re not going to have the opportunity, I don’t think, to have a big, inflated ego because you’re out there playing football stadiums and selling multiplatinum, but there is now a venue to get your artistry out there that we’ve never had before. If your ego is in check and you’re doing it for the right reasons, there’s a way to do it now! Again, I don’t know the names but I’ll be finding obscure stuff like on Facebook. I don’t know who they are but I’ll listen and I love it. I feel a little bad that I don’t know what current rock/pop is all about, but I still listen, and a lot of the stuff is off the radar and it’s wonderful.

KNAC.COM: Where do you think music is ultimately headed? Gene Simmons has said that rock and roll is dead. Do you feel the same way or is just that its something we don’t necessarily agree with because it is headed in a direction that we are not use to. Or is it that we are just more comfortable in dealing with our own genres and personal favorites?

REGAN: We just spoke about bands doing big arenas, big shows, unlimited budgets. I worked on the Billy Idol Whiplash Smile record. I remember hearing that budget came in at $800,000. You'll never see that again, that’s gone, that is gone, gone, gone. So, I think maybe Gene was thinking that whole over-the-top, one artist galvanizing the whole country. For instance, I worked with the perfect example of that. Peter Frampton, I joined the band two years after Frampton Comes Alive came out. He was still huge. He was ‘the focus’ for a couple years. Then you have Michael Jackson who was 'the focus' for a couple of years. I don’t think that will ever come back. I don’t know what would bring that back. THE BEATLES were 'the focus', there’s just so much now. There’s so much to divide people’s attention whether its social media or video games. It used to be exciting to buy that concert ticket and you had to wait to see that band. Now, mom and dad’s got a 65” high definition, surround sound system. You pop in a DVD or go on Netflix and there’s the band in your living room. We didn’t have that before, so I don’t want to say it’s dead, I never want to think that, but I think I understand the context of it. That really, really just in-your-face over-the-top thing is probably on the way out. And I think a lot of that just has to do with the finances of it. You put on a show like that on the road like the STONES did with a 200 person crew, you’re going to have to charge an insane amount for tickets and I think that’s gonna do a lot of damage right there because I believe that’s happening more often than not now. Some of these meet-and-greets are $1000, that’s crazy! I think the days of 'one entity, one band' being really the spotlight and the focus, we won’t see again. The last one being Michael Jackson, I think with the Thriller album with one hit after another. I don’t think rock and roll is going to die. I was just reading an article yesterday and I can’t remember where, but heavier rock and metal seems to be coming back in record sales. I think people will always want to see musicians on a stage playing, I don’t think that will ever go away. Because there’s nothing like when a band is on fire and they’re up there and you’re in the audience, and you become a part of it, that’s a feeling money can’t buy. It’s gonna be a smaller circle, but more people will be able to be heard. The rule isn’t going to multimillion dollar budgets and all that stuff. Live music is coming back, not as much here, we got issues with D.U.I.’s and things of that sort, the cops are trying to fill the cellars of the police department up, that keeps people from going out. We used to have a brilliant, genius marketing plan. It was called “Ladies Night on Thursday”, the girls drank for free. Now what would a guy want more than a room full of girls that are drinking for free? Places were packed, and then the drinking age went up to 21 and that kind of put a kibosh on it! But, I see a lot more open mics. and that type of stuff going on. It may not be so great for your ego, but I think everybody gets a chance now when maybe they didn’t earlier on, there was less opportunity for that.

KNAC.COM: Are you going to be a part of the upcoming deal with THE WHO, the STONES, Dylan…?

REGAN: I don’t know, again we’re shopping for agents and we’ve gotta prove ourselves a little bit. It’s kind of like 'The cart before the horse'. I don’t want to say Catch 22 but, we know what we have to do. But it doesn’t matter what we were a part of or what we had done prior. We've gotta get out and deliver now with something strong and I’m really happy with the way the band sounds and especially happy with the way everybody gets along. When we get an opportunity to get on stage, we’re going to deliver a very solid show. And I think it will be something that people will want to see more than once. We're just taking it one step at a time. It’s a different, different business now — I don’t have to tell you, you’re involved in it and it requires a different approach.

KNAC.COM: With the recent loss of three of today’s most iconic musicians: Lemmy Kilmister, David Bowie, and Prince, does that give you a pause to reflect on your own mortality?

REGAN: You do not know the day nor the hour. My grandmother, may she rest in peace, used to say, 'When you’re born, God lights a candle, you don’t know when that candle is gonna go out.' So, I’ve lived my life in gratitude, I’ve never thought I would make it. Not that I did a lot of abusive things, but I love that line by Keith Richards, 'If I knew I was gonna live this long, I would’ve taken better care of myself.' No one ever thought you were going to be pensioners and still playing rock and roll (laughing). It does make you, you know, this year is about as wounding as it gets, but that’s where we’re at. All of those people that were so important in our formative years that their music was the soundtrack of our lives, they’re gonna go. It’s not going to be easy, each one seems to be more shocking than the next, especially when they’re going in their 50’s and 60’s. You want to think everybody’s gonna make it to 90, but that’s not the case. The thing that gives me a little bit of pause is when the era of KISS, although I think KISS would be the only band in the history of music that can go on indefinitely as a Vegas or Broadway Show, there will always be an audience for that body of their work and with the make-up, I think they can go on forever without anybody in the original band still being in the band. AEROSMITH, the STONES, Clapton doesn’t work much anymore, when that’s all said and done and over with, these are acts that came up in the 60’s and 70’s. You’re not going to have acts, for example; FLOCK OF SEAGULLS isn’t going to be on tour in the year 2030. So, I don’t know, you’re going to lose that heritage. When THE WHO’s done touring, there’s only a handful now. I don’t know who’s going to fill the void or if the void will even need filling. We're going off on a whole bunch of little tangents, it’ll just be another thing, it won’t be the focus that it was for us.

KNAC.COM: What are your proudest career accomplishments and what do you hope your musical legacy will be?”

REGAN: Another wonderful question! My proudest accomplishments were the fact that I tried at any project I worked on, to serve the song and the artist, not myself. I can’t single out one accomplishment, there are so many, one being that I spoke of was that session with Jagger and Bowie for “Dancing In The Streets” and then subsequently, Mick calling me up to play some bass on the ROLLING STONES' Dirty Work album and then calling me up to come and audition when Bill Wyman left the band. Those are three surrealistic moments in my life, but I wouldn’t call them my proudest accomplishments. I think that I was on time, prepared, and sober, all the time, if that makes sense. And again, serve the song, and serve the writer of the song, and the artist. That’s what I try to impart like when I am producing a record for younger bands that no one’s heard of. But I try to tell them it’s a team effort, this isn’t everybody’s solo album. Legacy would be that I try to enjoy every project. The first album that I played on was a Country record, 1972. The artist was Chip Taylor who wrote “Angel Of The Morning”, “Wild Thing” and actually wrote “Rock Soldiers” with Ace Frehley. Chip’s Jon Voight’s brother, the actor, and Chip use to write for Waylon Jennings and he was trying to do Country music from Yonkers but he was a really successful song writer. So, the legacy would be that I got to play on all types of kinds of styles of records and I think why I really loved working with Peter Frampton for three decades, was within a set of Peter’s music, you had everything from HUMBLE PIE, which was as hard rocking as it gets, to Peter’s version of “Sign, Sealed, Delivered”, which was Motown, to “Baby I Love Your Way”, which is a beautiful ballad, and everything in between. It was really a musical Tour De Force each evening and you got to play a multitude of styles. So, it really fed into your musicianship and it was very fulfilling, and I treasure all those nights on stage. He's an amazing guitar player and we’ve been good friends for a long time.

KNAC.COM: Any parting words for your fans?

REGAN: Other than a heartfelt 'Thank You' - I just thank them so much! Again, we spoke about it earlier, if it wasn’t for our friends that are interested and support us and are interested in what we have done and what we continue to do, we would not be able to enjoy making money at something that we love doing. And my only hope especially if they buy the new record Relentless, is that they have as much fun listening to it as we did creating it. And just heartfelt gratitude, I really hope to see them on the road this year.

Don't have your copy of Relentless yet? Order one now right HERE and check out the new lyric video for "Moonshine" below!


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