Interview By Robert Cavuoto
The Bullet Boys have been rocking long and hard since the late 80s. Passion has fueled lead singer / guitarist Marq Torien to continue to make new music and continuously reinvent the band. Never resting on his past successes and always forging ahead, he has assembled the perfect line-up that includes Nick Rozz on guitar, Chad MacDonald on bass and Shawn Duncan on drums. The band released an electrifying CD called Elefante in 2015 and looks forward to what the future brings.
I caught up with Marq to talk about the band’s resilience, their latest CD, and the continuous quest to reinvent the band.
Robert Cavuoto: How did everything go at the Rock Carnival in New Jersey?
Marq Torien: It was amazing and we had a blast. The weather was fine and it all went down well. There were 100s of people that came out to see us on the side stage; we drew the most people there out of all three days.
Robert: I’ve been listening to your latest CD, Elefante, and I understand you wrote and played all the guitars on it?
Marq Torien: Yes, I wrote all the songs like I did back in the day. I didn’t play guitar on those older CDs due to the powers that be but I’ve playing guitar and sing my whole life. I decided to drop the guitar when I joined the Bullet Boys in the beginning.
Robert: How have your influences changed since the 80s when it comes to writing?
Marq Torien: It’s really my state of mind and depends on the situation that I can draw from in my personal life. It could be on the climate of the country or the climate of my friends. I write from different aspects; from hanging out with friends to a conversation I had with someone. The people that drive me to write are the incredible musicians that we still have in this beautiful country of the United States where people are writing and putting out great music.
Robert: One of my favorite songs on Elefante is “Roll Over.” I thought it had a Stone Temple Pilots vibe, was it a tip of the hat to the band?
Marq Torien: Not really, we write in a Bullet Boys vibe and have written like that forever. I never got that from the songs but thank God for STP, I love them.
Robert: Can you share some insight into that song’s creation?
Marq Torien: There are a lot of people still partying really hard and missing out on life. It’s about those people who don’t think the party has ended and keep going on and on. They become a detriment to people life’s and careers.
Robert: What’s the symbolism of the metal elephant on the CD’s cover?
Marq Torien: We named the CD, Elefante, as living tribute to my father. He has always respected elephants. In our family, we grew up feeling that the elephant was the king of the jungle. We also wanted to bring awareness to the plight of elephants. They are killing these beautiful and majestic creatures and it has to stop. We back a lot of different causes; one of them is for animals as we love them very much and try to give our time to them. That’s how we roll.
Robert: Tell be about the challenges you personally had to overcome with the numerous member changes and still keeping the band going?
Marq Torien: It takes the right ingredients to be in a working cohesive band where people don’t have any issues and don’t do any drugs. There were a lot of people that had these types of issues and we don’t have time for it. It’s about rock n roll, touring, writing great music, and taking care of your family. It’s not about abusing drugs and being an alcoholic. I have sober people in my band; it’s taken a while to find them. There are still quite a bit of people still dabbling in this or that. I’ve had people come in and out of my band that was horn smugglers; that have lied to me and stolen money from me when I have opened huge opportunities for them. They spit in my face. I cut them out like cancer and found guys that were my brothers; guys who are not all about the money and the fame. Music comes first to us. I love my fans, friends, and family and we give 200% to everyone. I have been together with these guys for 7 years, longer than the original members were together. I have been clean and sober for 27 years, I’m not bragging about. I know that a lot of fans have to deal with that and I pray for them.
Robert: Tell me about the evolution of the band. When you started out you were Van Halen-esque and now you have evolved to more a dual guitar band with you signing and playing guitar.
Marq Torien: It’s called reinvention; it was time to reinvent this band from something that it was to what we are now. At some point in your career, you have to reinvent yourself. It’s something that I have learned from people while in my career. It’s something you have to do whether people like it or not. It’s the name of the game. With the help of my band, we reinvented it to be a two guitar band and to come out a lot harder and heavier sounding. We are taking the band into the future and not relying on the past and not look in the rear view mirror too much. To have to enjoy what we are doing musically and not have any fear what lies ahead. A lot of bands fear they have to put out the same thing. I think that gets stale. What we try and do is shake things up a bit. Right now we are morphing the band into a bigger band. I have hired a horn section called the Bull Horns and three background singers called The Pistolettes. We will tour like this next year as a Sly and the Family Stones type of rock n roll show. We just did it at the Hair Nation Festival and stole the show.
Robert: Grunge killed many commercial metal bands’ careers in the 90s and left a scar or blemish on so many good bands that tried to release music to the fans. How did Grunge impact the Bullet Boys?
Marq Torien: Grunge didn’t kill our career; we toured with all types of Grunge bands when they were out. We did really well. I love all that music from Seattle. I have nothing against the Grunge era and won’t say anything disparaging about it. It was time for something new because all those bands that came on the scene were just a bunch of commercialism that wanted to sound like someone else. What destroyed the scene was all the greediness from my genera of music and kept putting out this cookie cutter processed stuff. Thank God Grunge came around to show people what punk rock was all about and how to change it up. It was well needed.