It’s Halloween Eve again this year and once again no great pumpkin interviews, not one physic responded to my requests for interviews…I don’t get it. But it is what it is. so once again, I am running Kevin Books interview I did back in 2009. Enjoy…maybe next year someone will step up to the plate? Where is Ms. Utley when you need her??
1. Hey Kevin, welcome to Kickacts.com. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Born July 1965 here in good ol’ Henderson, Ky. Started playing guitar at 7. My Dad bought me a hollow-body Kay guitar and brought it home. I started playing along with a Mel Bay 45 rpm on a little record player that taught you how to tune.
I didn’t have any records but my older sister did, so I snuck into her room and got KISS’s first album from her stack. I hid it under my bed and started playing it every single night after supper…and I mean every single night for about a year. My parents thought I was masturbating up there in my room all night long…but I wasn’t. What I was doing though was playing the bass lines on the guitar and I didn’t know it…
I finally got the courage to call my parents in to listen, and the first thing my mom said was..”You’re playing the bass lines…””You need a bass”…I had no idea. Back then you didn’t have MTV or the internet, so I only got to see pictures of bands once a month when all the music magazines came out…Creem, Hit Parader, Rolling Stone…etc…And I wasn’t allowed to have those magazines in the house, period.
So when I got a Bass…it was all over. I never came out of my room after supper again until I was about 15. I had been stealing my sisters records and recording them onto a cassette player to learn them…all the classics..Led Zep, Sabbath, Kiss, Rush, Ted Nugent but I also was playing stuff like Ohio Players, Billy Preston, and KC & the Sunshine band…I couldn’t get enough…so that had everything to do with my style today.
After graduation I started playing on the road..went from MACH, to a band called HOT ICE, then moved to Nashville and played and toured with a band named “London Angel”. That was in 1986. We played from Buffalo, NY down to Florida and from Memphis straight over to Myrtle Beach, SC and all points in between.
I’ve played in 31 states and had sex with women in every one of those states…I’ve stimulated the economy in my own special way.Then it was back home in 88 when my son was born. I didn’t wanna be one of those fathers. I wanted to raise my boy.I knew I could make money right here at home, that’s how Chet & the Molesters got goin..we actually changed the way bands played and how much they got paid for sure…we had the biggest and the best sound and lighting…like any “road” band that came into town. And when we filled a place with as much shit as we could…we made room for more…We were the hottest band in town for a while and made some bars and ourselves alot of money.
2. You play bass guitar in the band “BSR”. Tell us about the band and who is in it and the website address you guys can be found at.
Right now, It’s me, Brad wireman, and the newest guitarist in the band, Eric Smalley..
Brad and I haven’t had much luck with guitarists. It seems that every guitarist that we’ve played with is a big flake in some way or another.
The only guy that ever fit perfect was Jimmy Powers, and we played so much a few years back with him in the band that he actually got burnt out and semi-retired…He’s a fantastic guy and is always there when we need him. Luckily, guitar players are a dime a dozen and we seem to get lucky with these guitar slingers from Louisville…
Eric is a great player, has a great attitude and fits in perfect with the direction and type of material BSR is doing. We book gigs no matter what and no matter who the guitarist is…fuck em’…It’s a business too. We don’t take guitarist’s feelings into consideration when it comes to booking gigs…they can be replaced, usually in one phone call.
3. What type of gear do you use?
I only use a Sansamp RB-1 and run direct. No amp, period, I hate bass amps and big-ass bass amps bleeding all over everything on stage when trying to mix and get a good clean stage volume and mix out front. I mix from stage and it’s way better on monitor mixes and stage levels. Don’t believe what you hear about trying to keep up with loud drummers…it’s ALWAYS the bass player or guitar player that thinks they need a full stack to play a local gig…but that’s only my opinion.
Before the Sansamp, I only used a small Gallien Krueger MB 150 that I could fit in my lap. I get hooked up in about 20 seconds. Beautiful …
4. You guys are currently working on a new CD. Tell us about it.
It’s actually a cursed project as far as I’m concerned…it’s about the third time we’ve recorded some of the same songs and every time we record it, a guitar player flakes out and quits…Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of the songs and they sound fantastic.
We decided to record two different ones this time too, so it’s sounding real good. It was all done except for vocals, but now I’m gonna record over the guitar parts and let Eric have his way with them. It’s been a long time coming and actually has cause writers block for me. I’ve had a very hard time being able to write new material with these songs stuck in limbo…it will be out by summertime hopefully and you won’t be disappointed.
5. Do you have any “greatest gig” stories to tell?
I tell ya, all the stories and things you hear about bands on the road and gigs and groupies back in the 80’s and early 90’s?? It’s all true, and I lived it. All of it except the drugs part. I’ve never been into drugs. I had the most fun anybody could have…I just wish there had been digital cameras back then. I have very, very few things to remind me of those times.
They were all great gigs. Every one of them…except one.
6. And in the same vein, got any “worst gig ever” stories to share?
Yeah, In 1987, we played in York, Pennsylvania at a place called “The Cracker Barrel”…that’s right…the restaurant..
I guess that’s were it originated from, I don’t know….well, it had a bar in it, so needless to say, we came out blasting with our smoke and flash bombs while Grand-ma and Grand-pa were trying to eat their “all you can eat fish”…We played all of about a song and a half when they ran up to tell us to stop, they thought we were a country band.They told us to leave, and didn’t pay us…as we walked out I threw and kicked over about twenty of the rocking chairs they had outside…(they had those back then on the porch too…weird). I threw two of them into the road and a big semi crashed through one of them and jack-knifed right in the road…we took off. I remember people all lined up in the windows staring out at us as we ran by flipping all of them off…they were as horrified of us as we were of them.We were broke and had to sleep on the side of the road in the truck going to the next show in Allentown.
7. I ran into you a few years ago at the DMV in Henderson. At that time you said you were done playing. We all get that feeling every once in a while. But here you are playing out again. Music is a drug that can’t be refused for very long. What did you do while on hiatus and what brought you back?
The money you make in a three-piece band is awesome, period. That’s it. The money…
The older you get, the easier it is to get with guys you like and can make money with…Brad and I have played together for about 8 years now.
8. Who are your heroes and what inspired you to take up playing?
Gene Simmons was my first big rockstar hero type…I wanted to spit blood and breath fire. If you listen to bass now days, they don’t walk up and around the melody. Simmons had some really bad-ass bass lines in those old songs.I was into Geddy Lee and Bootsy Collins too, because of his star sunglasses.
9. Do you have any other hobbies other than playing Bass guitar?
I am an eBay whore…I’ve been selling full time on there since 2001. I’ll sell anything and everything, including your mom. I’ve made more money on eBay than any job I’ve ever had and I’ve done it all…from laying carpet to being a mail carrier for the USPS. My parents and I have bought and sold antiques all my life in antique malls, auctions..etc..so
eBay is just a natural for me because I know what sells and what doesn’t. I’ve also collected comics since I was six. I have a huge collection. I own just about every major key comic book from 1962 on. I hope one day to own Superman #1 which is worth about 125,000.00. I have every issue of Spiderman going back to the very first one “Amazing Fantasy 15” back in 1963…look those up and see how much they’re worth…*wink*…I’m retiring off them. The great thing about certain antiques and collectibles is that they are recession proof…like gold.
10. # 10 is called “Shout it Loud”. It’s were you get to talk about whatever you want to talk about. So go ahead Kevin, and “SHOUT IT OUT LOUD”!
Well, I’m glad I’ve been able to have fun, make money, and enjoy playing music in spite of all the drama, whiners, flaky-ass musicians and coat-tail hangers that infest the music business…even on a local level. It takes a lot of work to be able to keep something going for over a decade. Even a rock band… I’ll put our resume’ and list of accomplishments up against any band, anywhere. I’ve done it my way and I’m proud of it. I have plenty of friends out there and they know who they are, so I won’t have to use this space to kiss any asses.. I’ll pat myself on the back right here instead…and Brad’s back too. Oh and I love working at the Guitar Center…all the bad things and stories you hear from ex-employees or whatever stem from laziness and not knowing how to hustle and make money. You have to depend on yourself in life and not somebody else, and that carries over into how you live your life everyday and your job or jobs. To me, I have three jobs, eBay, BSR and the Guitar Center and I have a ball at all three…I worked hard to get it this way and I love my life.
1. You and I are no longer in our 20’s or even 30’s and still like to rock but never pulled off the “Big Time”. Got any advice for the young cockstars that are currently hanging out at the Guitar Center everyday hashing it out on the free gear Guitar center provides?
What’s funny is all the snorting and roaring the singers do now…I don’t get that. BUT it’s been done before way back in the late 80’s early 90’s with Pantera, so it’s nothing original. I hear the exact same guitar riffs everyday coming from those young guys…and when you ask them to play a twelve bar blues lead in B flat, they look totally confused and don’t know what you mean.
It has nothing to do with the Guitar Center at all, it’s the fact that kids now don’t actually “listen” to the recordings like we had to in the old days to recreate what the bands were doing…they don’t spend time “listening” they just pull it up on youtube or their iphone or whatever…it’s electronic overload..they get it half way, then start hashing it out their own way and it sounds wrong…no patience in the “I want it right now” world. There are some very talented younger musicians out there though and you hear those guys too in the store. My son is one of them.
2. You guys opened for Motley Crue Back in the 90’s during their “We’re Clean Drug & Alcohol free” period in the band. Got any backstage dirt of these Mofo’s? I need something on them considering I got kicked out the Executive Inn in 1983 for banging on one of their hotel room doors when they were on top of the rock world.
Not really…They sucked ass then, and they suck ass now…we smoked them that night. The lead singer from Laid Law, the second opening band, said we should’ve been signed right then on the spot..Motley Crue has never impressed me…they were in the right place at the right time. I knew we were gonna smoke them, and we did. They were all standing off to either side of the stage watchin us while we were playin…they knew we were good too.
SUPER BONUS FROM THE EDITOR”S PHOTO ALBUM: I save everything and I happen to have one of Mach’s old business cards, slightly burnt from our house fire back in 1989. … 🙂
Special thanks to Kevin for playing a long … Great answers from a great guy …