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Punk And Roll With Acey Slade

By Mick Stingley, Contributor
Monday, February 19, 2007 @ 3:24 PM


“I think most frontmen suck.”

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"Rock like fuck!" is the motto by which he lives and whether it better suits the senior quote from his high school yearbook or his tombstone, Acey Slade walks it like he talks it. It's a call-to-arms for the colorful rocker and his kitchen-sink kitsch... for Acey Slade paints a pastiche of musical styles on a tattered canvas. Glam-metal scuzz-rock punk-n-roll would be an apt way to describe it, though it's somewhat difficult to hang a name on his music.

Acey came to prominence with the industrial/metal rockers Dope. As the bass player in that band, he performed on perhaps the most well known of that band's efforts, Life, (which featured "Die Mother Fucker Die" as well as "Now Or Never," a song which Acey co-wrote). Following his departure from Dope, Acey re-emerged as a replacement killer guitarist for the Murderdolls. Acey toured the world with the ghouls gone wild (some of his efforts can be seen in the video portions of the CD/DVD reissue of "Beyond The Valley Of The Murderdolls"). When that project folded, Acey became the second guitarist for Amen on the tour which had Casey Chaos' five-piece opening up for the then newsworthy Brides of Destruction (which featured Tracii Guns and Nikki Sixx). Acey was in good company, at the very least for having a great rock name; but he managed to hold his own as Chaos and company careened across stages, cementing his status as an exciting live performer.

But the mercenary guitar-slinger was not content to merely be a hero-for-hire and shortly thereafter, he began looking at prospects to form his own band. With childhood friend Steve Haley on lead guitar, and fellow Philadelphians Lenny Thomas on drums (he’s the one with the giant mohawk) and Roger "Rags" Segal on bass, Acey had found his new band... and Trashlight Vision was born.

Trashlight Vision is an incredible live act. For the past two years this four-piece has been rocking New York and Philadelphia and making time to tour the US, the UK and Japan with very little save MySpace and a handful of songs. With strong material such as "Allergic To You;" "Black Apples;" "Dead Waves On The Air" and the Ramones cover "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down", TLV built up a respectable fan base spanning three continents. In the late summer of 2006, Acey and his cohorts in grime signed with Undergroove to release Alibis And Ammunition, a collection of punky metal blasts showcasing fat riffs and crashing drums in the spirit of Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, Iggy Pop, the Sex Pistols, and 80's glam-metal by way of Zodiac Mindwarp and Love/Hate.

Because the deal with Undergroove only covers the UK and Japan, many of Acey's fans started uploading live videos of the band on YouTube, most of which feature elements of the band's signature live show (and can still be seen there). Whether paying homage or blatantly ripping them off, Steve, Roger, Acey and Lenny own stages with all the jumping and guitar-flipping of bands like Cinderella and the Stooges. And though his vocals don't always match when they cover GNR, when Acey dons a peaked SS-cap and Aviator sunglasses, he looks more like Axl Rose than Axl does now.

After being sidelined by a head injury in the late spring of 2006 (opening for 45 Grave), Acey and TrashLight made a triumphant return to form at Don Hill's in New York City on January 19th with a promise to kick out the jams. Though he was reluctant to discuss plans to release Alibis And Ammunition in the US this year, Acey made time after the show to sit down with KNAC.COM and share a little bit of the how and why he rocks like fuck!

KNAC.COM: All right... we're rollin'... how you doin', Acey? That was a great show tonight, nice to see you guys back.

SLADE: Oh, thanks, thanks!

KNAC.COM: Now, the last time people heard from you, at least on the Internet, was back in the summer of last year, you got jumped after a show and someone knocked you out and...well tell me that story.

SLADE: Well, I mean, basically, we did this show in North Carolina, and there was this guy at the front of the stage and during the show he looked like he was having fun. I had no reason to be on guard or anything like that; so we got done with the show, packed up our gear and went over to the merch booth...and pow! This dude just jumped me with a beer bottle...

KNAC.COM: What kind of beer was it? (laughs)

SLADE: (laughs) I don't know... but the fluid in my ear ended up getting infected, so we did two more shows after that, but the infection got so bad that we had to stop the tour. You know, I've been lucky enough and fortunate enough to be touring for the last seven years of my life, so the way that I choose to look at it is- seven years, one dickhead. Whatever.

KNAC.COM: Who has been the worst band to tour with?

SLADE: Hands down, Cold. I guess it was more the singer, Scooter than the band. The drummer, Sam, was real cool. But, I mean, here we are, I was in Dope and both bands in about the same place popularity-wise, on the same label, playing 500-1500 capacity venues together, and selling out a lot. Those guys were always playing little headliner-arena rock games, though. We got kicked off the tour on a daily basis and it became a joke. It was like fleas fighting with each other over who owns the dog.

KNAC.COM: Okay- so tell us about Trashlight Vision.

SLADE: I actually started Trashlight at the last Murderdolls show. Steve is an old friend of mine, and Roger is an old friend of mine and they came out to the last show and we just started talking. It started very organically. Just, "Hey, dude, what's up?" And that's how I wanted this band to be. Steve called me up when I got back and said, "Hey what are you doing? How 'bout you bring your guitar over?" I figured, well- I'm in New York City. There's musicians everywhere, right? And frankly every other guy that called me was just an asshole, "I hear you're putting a band together How much do rehearsals pay? Who's your manager? What's the label?" And it's like, who wants that? Why don't you come over and listen to some music and maybe jam a little? And Roger and Steve were the only guys who weren't like that.

KNAC.COM: Tell me a little something about each of the members of the band.

SLADE: Lenny plays the drums and drinks a lot of Jack; Roger –Rags plays bass and sings backup and drinks a lot of Jack... and Steve plays lead and drinks a lot of coffee.

KNAC.COM: And the band has been together for how long now?

SLADE: Two years.

KNAC.COM: You've been playing around NYC and Philly for a while now, and you've toured the UK and Japan, been around the country a bit in that time. You're building up a solid base. What are your plans now?

SLADE: Uh, right now, we're just writing stuff for our next record. Our record came out in Japan, came out in Europe... we had a deal with an American label that lost its' backing. So that kinda stalled things for us here. But- we're starting to plan right now. We're kinda rebuilding to an extent, we got a new manager, new songs working... so we're really optimistic about what's going to happen. We've been writing so much now, some of this new stuff is the best stuff we've written together as a band.

KNAC.COM: With the record out overseas, is there a feeling of frustration though since you're not officially released here?

SLADE: Well- yes and no. You've gotta look at it this way: in America music is just such a useless commodity. No wonder people are downloading stuff like crazy because all the radio stations are owned by big corporations that program everything, and one company who owns all the live houses and booking... so they don't want to take a chance on anything new. That's why all the crap you hear in America sounds exactly the same. I mean- you have Internet radio, satellite radio- KNAC, which is great- but the simple fact is that not everyone listens to or has access to that. So we might as well be in a time machine to where things were ten years ago, because, really, what's the difference? It's flattering that more forward-thinking places like Japan and the UK can embrace this more; it's frustrating because, you know, we'd like to break. But honestly, when we do a show- nine times out of ten, we're the most original band there. The irony is that we're not that original, we're just a fuckin' rock band. (laughs)

KNAC.COM: Tell me about the RoadRunner:United project- the RoadRunner 25 concert...

SLADE: Yeah- that was cool, man! It's really weird, because, I'm not a metal guy, to the extent that, compared to the caliber of people who participated and who were there. I'm sitting between between Glen Benton from Deicide and Andreas Kisser from Sepultura... I have the first Deicide record, and I have, like "Roots." (laughs) You know? And I know that, to a lot of their fans... just being on stage with people who are that influential- I'm certainly not that influential of a person- Sepultura...I mean- if it wasn't for them playing metal - real metal - when that wasn't popular... and they kept playing it straight through... it was just real flattering and real crazy to appear at that show.

KNAC.COM: How was it working with Keith Caputo and Joey Jordison on the song, "Tired N' Lonely?"

SLADE: Joey was awesome, and that was cool, because that was the first time I'd ever worked with Joey in the studio. I'll be honest with you, I was a little nervous, because Joey's just this insane musician. Like, basically, with the Murderdolls, it's like, "All right! Destroy the stage! Destroy the dressing room after and destroy any girls that come within twenty feet of us!" (laughs) It's very easy to do, to be a Murderdoll. You just have to be a derelict! (laughs) But to actually play? (laughs) You know, playing with Joey and the 'dolls, it was cool, "Hey we're gettin' fucked up and havin' fun!" (laughs) But now- now I actually had to play. So I was nervous. But he was totally cool, man. He showed me the song, we went out and got pizza and the we came back and started tracking it. The hard part about playing that song was that there was no vocal track at that point. So, I basically got called to do it, the day before. Joey called and said, "I need you to fly out and record this song you've never heard before!" I asked him if he could send me an MP3 and he said, "Nope! 'Cuz there's no guitar anyways! I don't know what I would send you!" So I basically walked in to hear the song with no vocal track; but fortunately I'm a quick learner.

KNAC.COM: You didn't actually work with Keith until you played the song live?

SLADE: Nah, I wish I had. Nobody did, actually. Joey sent him all the tracks and Keith did that on his own.

KNAC.COM: Well, you sounded great when you played it on FUSE and when you did it live at the Nokia.

SLADE: Oh, thanks... yeah- Keith was great. You know, the whole "Life of Agony" thing was under my radar, so I had never been into them. I mean, there's only so many cds you can buy in a year... and I never got into them. Because Keith is kickin' live.

KNAC.COM: Great, great band. Let me ask you this- I have the Trashlight cd, Alibis and Ammunition- which you can get online. You're behind the artwork? Is that something you have a background in?

SLADE: Well, inadvertently. My mom always wanted me to be involved in the arts... artistic stuff, stuff she wanted. The first thing she had me do when I was a kid was to join the church choir. And the first thing that we did was, it was this thing called "The Passion Play".

KNAC.COM: The Mel Gibson thing? I haven't seen it...

SLADE: (laughs) It's like when they act out the crucifixion. That's when I started getting into music and rock n' roll. I mean- I was little confused because they had the cross, this live crucifixion, and Jesus was pouring blood. (laughs) I mean, to a kid- that's like "Whoa!" To a little kid, I didn't see the difference between him and Alice Cooper, to an extent. Because when I saw Alice Cooper, I said, "This guy's cool, too, right mom?" And she says, "NOOOOO!" (laughs) "But he's doing the same thing Jesus did, right?" - "NOOOOO!"

KNAC.COM: (laughs) I think Alice got more chicks.

SLADE: Right? But she got me into art, if you will. And I'm always working on things... I did the album, doing a video this weekend- I've never done a video before, but to me, I don't know, I think all that art is, to an extent, looking around and interpreting life in your own way- looking at other things and thinking "I can do this... "

KNAC.COM: Is that how you feel about your music?

SLADE: Well, it's not about actually doing it, or doing it better; but you've gotta let go of the results and get into the process.

KNAC.COM: Well- your live show, for example. You have some kind of problem with gravity: you're one of the jumpingest bands I've ever seen and so fun to watch...

SLADE: (laughs) Cool! Thanks!

KNAC.COM: Well, obviously you're all conscious of what you do, but was that part of the process or a sought-after result?

SLADE: I think for us... it's just how we let the music move us. Let the music do the talking...

KNAC.COM: Very nice. It works.

SLADE: Well, I think most frontmen suck.

KNAC.COM: Who do you like?

SLADE: Uh... Steven Tyler is great; Iggy Pop is great. Mike Monroe...Rollins...Danzig is great. And who are those guys, now? You know? Who's the Steven Tyler now?

KNAC.COM: Josh Todd? The Beautiful Creatures guy?

SLADE: Well, maybe. But you know what? I'll try. I'll fucking try to take it. Sometimes I feel... it's not just because I think I'm that good- it's just like, nobody wants to do it. Nobody tries to do it. So fuck it. I have the balls to try and be the next...Iggy or Mike Monroe. I'll try...I'm saying I'm as good as those guys, I'm just saying that there's nobody else trying. Everyone's so busy being affected and shaving their head or whatever.

KNAC.COM: All right. Now uh...okay. I've been waiting on this one. Can you tell that story- the one you told me last summer-

SLADE: (laughs) Oh no...

KNAC.COM: …about the girl from Drain STH?

SLADE: (laughs) Yeah, yeah, yeah... all right, all right. (laughs)

KNAC.COM: I love this one. (laughs)

SLADE: Oh-kay...I was with my old band, Dope, and we were practicing at this rehearsal space. You've gotta remember that this was seven or eight years ago. And uh, all of a sudden, these four hot chicks from Sweden move into the room next to us. They were the girls whom you now know as Drain STH. And, I was there practicing a lot. I was at the studio probably a lot more than anyone. We had just moved in, and I was learning the parts for the record so I was there, pretty much by myself all the time. And I would try to talk to them, but they would just blow me off. So... finally, one day... the bass player, Anna (Kjellberg)- and she has probably forgotten this, I hope-

KNAC.COM: Although now that's it's going into this interview...

Anna KjellbergSLADE: Oh, god I know. (laughs) Okay. So Anna, the most beautiful girl, she stops by and she goes, "Hey! I got a new bass amp- you want to check it out?" And I thought, "Oh, cool! This is it! This is my in! I'M IN!"

KNAC.COM: And you were playing bass for Dope at the time...

SLADE: Exactly. So... we go into the room, and the rest of the band, Drain STH, leaves. So I'm thinking- "Oh, man I AM IN!" I was trying to stay cool, I didn't... make any moves or anything, we were just talking and she was showing me the amp. I figured they got hit on by everybody... so I was being cool but thinking, "Now's my chance!"

KNAC.COM: Okay.

SLADE: Well, now, at that time I was on a health food kick and I was eating nothing but salads and MetRX bars...which, uh, as anybody will tell you, will give you tremendous gas. (laughs) So, uh... I tried to... sneak one out, in the middle of talking to her- a little flatulence...sound-wise, I was covered. But the aroma...it was like this pink elephant in the room and we were both trying to ignore it... but we both knew it was me. And she was talking to me and in mid-sentence... I just left- I was like, "I gotta go!" (laughs) Now I don't embarrass easily, I rarely embarrass, but that day- that might be my most embarrassing moment.

KNAC.COM: (laughs)

SLADE: I've run into her again since... and she spoke to me; but she's married now, and happily, I think. But she didn't bring it up and neither did I. (laughs)

KNAC.COM: Well, you always have girls at your show. Always. I've never seen a band pull as many hot chicks...

SLADE: (laughs) We're all single...the incentive for the ladies to come to the show, of course, is the music!

KNAC.COM: It's about the music! Speaking of which: was the Ramones cover done because you were making an allegory to the current US situation in Iraq, or just because you liked the song?

SLADE: Well, I was dead set against doing a Ramones cover. Dead set. Especially when you consider that the Ramones logo is now a staple at Urban Outfitters. To a person who can remember the exact moment and place he was when he heard that Joey died, but can't tell you who was in the Super Bowl, that is sacred ground. We tried it out live one night and a lot of people dug the fact that we did one of their later tunes from their career, which is very under-appreciated if you ask me...but the other part of why we chose to do it was the message. It's so appropriate for what is going on in the world. I personally don't write any political songs, but this just happened to fit.

KNAC.COM: How was your New Year's by the way?

SLADE: I was in Japan. It was great! I did a DJ thing at a couple of clubs. Stayed up for like two days straight...I went to a Japanese shrine, hung out in a room with eight of the hottest drunken Japanese chicks you've ever seen! And then ended up at Tokyo Disney...and I was sober! And then I got locked in a closet with a security guard and some Japanese ladies... so then it was three days of no sleep... and I don't know how that happened. Happy New Year!

KNAC.COM: You love Japan!

SLADE: I love Japan! But you know, it's not so much that I'm a fan of Japanese culture, it's just that I'm a fan of other cultures outside of America. The world is not as small as MTV and Wal-Mart and Clear Channel. The world is not that small. I'm really into German culture, Japanese culture, the UK…the world's a big place. You only live so long. Why let it be what you find at 7-11? That's why I chose to live in NYC and that's why it's so hard to leave here...

KNAC.COM: Agreed. So- very quickly- guitars. What are you playing these days?

SLADE: I'm playing an ESP and I fought that for a long time, just because a lot of shredder-guys play those; but they're making me some very special... rock n' roll guitars. When I was in Japan I went to their custom shop. They make guitars carved like Michelangelo's angels. They do the most insane stuff... I told them I wanted a classic rock n' roll guitar.

KNAC.COM: So you're endorsed.

SLADE: Yeah, yeah, yeah. ESP.

KNAC.COM: Okay, man- let's end on this. People love sushi, they come to New York City... where's the best place to go?

SLADE: Blue Ribbon Sushi. It's on Sullivan. Street. That or Monster Sushi. There's one on 44th and one on 23rd.

Check out Trashlight Vision at: myspace.com/trashlightvision and trashlightvision.com


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