The nucleus of my first band was together was for about three years. After that, it was more unstable. My second band lasted two years, my third band made four years and my fourth band made two years. So when they all fizzled out in arguments, I was always answering questions to my doubters as to why the latest band I was in never made it.
My answer was always the same, “Each musician had a different goal and a different definition of success and because of those differing viewpoints we didn’t have a lot of time together and we never really gelled as a band”.
So I was surprised and heartened to hear Mike Inez say something similar. He made a few good points about the Seattle scene and the LA scene towards the end of the Eighties and the dawn of the Nineties. There are lessons to be learnt here.
“Soundgarden was a band for 10 years before they got signed to a major label. So they had a lot of time to get together and gel as a band. Even all the bands like Nirvana and Alice in Chains in their early days and Pearl Jam, Mother Love Bone – they had a lot of time to jam together before they released their music to the world. So I think that was very important. Where here in Los Angeles, they were just trying to mix and match bands by ‘Oh, we need a bass player with long, blonde hair,’ or ‘We need a singer with curly hair.’ They were just trying to do that. So the music started lacking, I think.”
I always say it. What people might see as an overnight success is a long time in the making.
I am currently reading the Stephen Pearcy book and like many other rock star books, there is a process involved of building your brand and developing your sound. That process involves a few key figures. In the case of RATT, the version that started off as Mickey Ratt is not the one that recorded the classic “Out Of The Cellar” album. As they continued to gel as a band, as they spent their time jamming together, the musicians that didn’t have the goods or the drive would fall by the wayside.
And throughout it all, there is always the main driver. In RATT’s case it was Stephen Pearcy. In Kiss’s case it was Paul Stanley. Hell, the most famous song that Gene Simmons is known for is “God Of Thunder” and it is penned by Stanley. In Motley Crue’s case it was Nikki Sixx. For Soundgarden it was Chris Cornell and Kim Thayill. For Alice In Chains it was Jerry Cantrell.
In Whitesnake it was Dave Coverdale. He kept the flame burning until John Sykes came on the scene to assist in the creation of the classic 87 album. In Deep Purple it was Richie Blackmore. Don’t believe me, then tell me all the albums without Richie Blackmore?
And for me, I didn’t have the drive to deal with anymore egos and bullshit. One of the bands I was in was exactly the same as what Ozzy said recently. When I said to the drummer lets jam and see where it takes us, he was like, “WHY. That is time wasting.” He wanted a song to be written out with melodies before he sat down to drum to it.
And that is why I am sitting behind a keyboard and writing this.