Interviewed by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Good evening Klaus.
You are returning to tour the UK in October. Last time you surprised many with the quality of the Belfast show. Generally has the reception that the band has received on their return surprised you.
Klaus”Yes it has been great,I mean we wernt together for sixteen-seventeen years.Our first show I think was at the London Underground, and it was sold out like two months in advance. When we got on the stage to play it was like 1993.It was going crazy. People singing the words,and they even knew all the new songs. We played like four new songs and we were kind of like”Wow, cool”You just never know. Even though its not a big place,say 500 people but say only 100 show up. It would have been disappointing. No it was good, and it was surprising but in a great way.We never took anything for granted,but we were pleasantly surprised.”
What about the band lineup on the forthcoming UK dates, as Ive read that both Dave Fortman,and Shannon Larkin wont be playing on those?
Klaus “The Lineup featured on the”Stairway to hell”release was the final lineup from ninety whatever. The touring band that we have together now,Shannon plays drums in Godsmack.We rarely get a chance to play with him,we did a show in Brazil with him,and one show in the Us with him.His day job which is Godsmack keeps him pretty busy. We found another guy to take Shannon,s spot in Zac Morris. A straight drummer that we found in La and then Sony Mayo from Snot, Amen, Headpe and Sevendust. He is a guitar player that we have known for about twenty years,and he has taken Dave’s spot as a live guitar player. Dave is very busy with producing bands back in Louisiana so he could not tour with us. We did manage to get him our with us on the last tour which was the original lineup. Right now we have technically a touring band which is myself,,Whit,Cordell and then Zac Morris and Sony Mayo.”
How did the reunion occur, obviously you have known Whit since you were kids. What about the other guys, had you stayed in touch during the years that the band had split up?
Klaus”Yeah we all remained in touch actually. Obviously Whit and I both live in California and we hang out all the time. We also stayed in touch with Dave and Shannon. Especially Shannon because every time that he came through town with Godsmack we would go to the show and also hang out. Dave actually came out to California a few times in the last few years to go snowboarding,and it was basically him. He got the gig to produce the Godsmack record a few years ago, and he worked with Shannon on the Godsmack record. I guess they started talking one night ,about the good old days in Ugly Kid Joe, and this and that. It was actually their idea”hey we should get together and make a record”, just for old times sake.hey why not? Dave is a producer and has a studio, and could do it really cheap and put it on Itunes. They started calling me and Whit, and we were like”sure, lets do it”Whit and I started digging through old tapes working on the old, new and forgotten. When we got together I think in 2011, we recorded the Ep.So it really came from Dave and Shannon, they got the ball rolling. ”
How did the linkup with Skid Row come about for the forthcoming tour?
Klaus”You know we both have the same booking agent-TKO. They just put it out there and suggested it as being kinda cool. We both came out around the same time, so we were from the same era. We figured with two bands it should do pretty well. We originally came up with a short 5 date tour in Australia. We got excited, did the poster then it just didn’t happen. Then the European tour came up,and we said lets concentrate on that.”
The band have recently just re,released The Stairway to Hell Ep. Why was that decision taken, so soon after its initial release just last year?
Klaus”We didn’t really know what we were doing. We just wanted to play instruments, write songs and record them. Dave would produce them for ourselves. We didn’t know too much about the whole music industry and how to get stuff out there. The music was put out on Itunes which we had heard of sometime in 2012. It wasn’t like a big release but was the only place that you could find out about it, on Facebook and also on our website. Then we did a tour which was fun, and we got a lot more press that way. The record company got in touch, to sort out distributing our stuff in the Us. They wanted to distribute hard copy Cd’s, offered to do all the printing and coordinate everything. They requested the artwork ,and we sorted a distribution deal. Literally a month later we got approached by this company in Germany who we had worked with before. and they offered the same sort of thing. They offered to re release it in Europe. Whit came up with this idea of doing something different rather than just re release it again. We got some concert footage,and re recorded three songs acoustically. Each version of the Cd has something a little bit different on it. We are also doing some vinyl and all sorts of cool stuff, just to make it a little different”
Leading on from the subject of releases.Do the band have any plans to do a new CD? Any new songs already written, or ideas on that subject? When I spoke to Whit on the same subject in Belfast he didn’t reveal much.
Klaus”Yes actually I was just working on a new song last night. We haven’t all got together or anything like that, or have any set plans on that. The stuff we are all doing is individually, writing and we have a couple of ideas. Then we will see how it all comes together. In this day and age with technology, it is easy to share music files back and forth when we all live in different places. Hopefully in the next few months we will get a few songs out of it and see where we stand. Hopefully at the end of the year, probably December when the tour ends we will see what we have got.”
Do you still feel that Ugly Kid Joe are still”relevant”in to days rock music scene and still have a part to play?
Klaus”We are just a band, I guess some people would say that we are irrelevant. How do you even define that, it just depends on the person that you are talking to. We are not trying to make any kind of statement or anything , go against or improve anything . We just do what we do. If enough people like it for us to do more of it then we will. You can make music for the fun of it and 90%of musicians do that. If you are doing it to make a living and are able to tour then that’s great. If you are asking does our music stand up to anything new, I don’t know. I do not listen to any new music. I listen to Acdc and Motley Crue, (laughs),Guns+Roses and Bob Marley. We are not like any of those bands, we do our thing. To the people that come to our shows its relevant to them,so…”
What came through from your last Belfast show, was the element of fun and natural enthusiasm for the band to be playing those old songs.
Klaus”Yes I think a lot of it is, that we have always been enthusiastic about playing live. When the fans get into it, it gets us more energized. Whit has been on a health kick in the last couple of years, and now is sober. He has always been a great front man, but is now really savoring the moment of being a performer and having a lot of fun onstage. He sings the best that he has ever sang. He has stopped smoking, and that has helped a lot. He has a lot of energy which he channels through a live concert now. That energizes the rest of the band, which in turn energizes the crowd.”
How do you now view songs like”Everything about you”? Are you proud of them or have they become a bit of a curse and a hindrance to the band?
Klaus”That is a great question. Of course when “Everything about you”hit, it was probably the greatest gift that any band could ever have. To sit there and make a record for five thousand dollars, basically with no budget. There was no push from the label, nothing. We basically just worked together and did a video in one day. We didn’t spend any money on it. Nobody expected anything, and it basically cracked the top ten in every country in the world practically. It catapulted us from being basically a garage band into being a world wide mini phenomenon. For a short period of time you know, but still..Within two years we pretty much played every major city in the world outside of Asia and Africa. We played all of Europe, Australia, South America and Us. In that sense it was like an awesome thing, and I’m totally proud of that. I wrote a song that broke the band so to speak. It made us like a worldwide band, an international act. On the other side you have that like”one hit wonder”label that is tagged on you. They are a pop band that are trying to play that metal and rock thing.. Then it became sort of a double edged sword. As time went on people were like (,and the flame had gone out on the song)”I guess its over”. Due to the “one hit wonder”thing. Bottom line is, that it got us the Ozzy tour so put it that way. There is no way that we would have been invited on the Ozzy Osbourne tour without it. That was also the greatest thing that we have ever done being the opening act on that tour. That was just something that I could literally just only dream of. He was always famous for taking out new bands, like Motley Crue a couple of times. It gave us a great opportunity to tour the world. It was also a double-edged sword after a while that Whit got so tired of singing it, he just got the audience to sing the whole song. The funny thing about it, to this day every now and then I get a phone call from somebody telling me that they have just heard it on the radio, or in their car or in a club. It is actually still being played, not a lot but its still out there.”
Its still earning a few dollars for the band then?
Klaus(laughing)”Absolutely I had forgot about that. Its nice to be able to buy a house with a song”
Getting back to the subject of the Uk Tour. It’s advertised as a co-headlining tour, will you both be playing the same length of set. Who will be closing up the shows?
Klaus”Actually I’m pretty sure that they will be closing every show except the last show in Vienna. I don’t know why, but that’s just the way that it is. We are both playing full sets, an hour fifteen-an hour twenty something like that. It will be both bands using the same production, the same back line. Actually they are really cool guys, I haven’t actually met them just had email contact. We have both worked with the same crew, and they have been really mellow and not prima donnas. Hopefully it will be a great tour and we all get along great.”
There is a third band on the bill Dead City Ruins, are you familiar with them?
Klaus”I think they are from Australia ,they are hilarious. I don’t really know that much about them, but I did look them up on Youtube. They seem like funny dudes, classic Australian guys. They seem like a fun heavy metal type, wild. They are more like in your face rock which is cool. I look forward to meeting them too, because they are real and down to earth.”
Once the tour finishes, what’s the next plans for Ugly Kid Joe?
Klaus”That’s what I was saying earlier. That’s probably when we check out our inventory of what songs we have. There is talk about maybe Australia early next year. That wont be til January or February. That’s hopefully what we will be discussing at that point in time. Nothing is for sure yet. There could be a record on the horizon, and a tour of possibly Asia and Japan.”
That’s great Klaus, thanks for chatting to me this evening. I look forward to seeing you and Ugly Kid Joe in Belfast.
Klaus”That’s where we played with Duff, that was a great show, that was fun man. We can meet up there”
That would be great, thanks again for talking, and bye.
SKID ROW/ UGLY KID JOE announce co-headline tour of Europe/ UK
SKID ROW and UGLY KID JOE announce a 29 city, 12 country co-headline tour of Europe and the UK. Dates will kick off in England on Oct 22nd and run through Nov 26th ending in Austria. With combined sales of millions of albums, each band will play a full set of the songs fans want to hear.
Led by founding members Rachel Bolan, Snake Sabo and Scotti Hill, along with powerhouse vocalist and 14 year veteran of the band Johnny Solinger and new drummer Rob Hammersmith , SKID ROW will deliver the best from their catalogue of gold and platinum albums and anthemic singles like “Youth Gone Wild”, “Monkey Business”, “I Remember You”, “18 & Life” and many more. They will also showcase tracks from their new mini-album United World Rebellion Chapter 1 which features songs such as “Kings Of Demolition” and “ This Is Killing Me”, tracks which easily stand up along with the band’s classics.
After a run of hugely successful festival dates in Summer 2012, UGLY KID JOE’s Whit, Klaus and Cordell, along with Snot/ Sevendust guitarist Sonny Mayo and Zac Morris are back for their first full European tour. In Summer 2013, they will release Stairway To Hell, their first new music since 1996. The album features six brand new songs along with three acoustic versions of songs from their past. Tracks like “Everything About You”, “Cats In The Cradle”, “Neighbor” and “Milkman’s Son” continue to receive airplay around the world, while new singles “Devil’s Paradise” and “I’m Alright” show where the band are headed. UKJ’s Whit promises “it will be RAD!”.
The tour promises a great night of rock that you can sing along to from beginning to end.
Skid Row and Ugly Kid Joe Tour 2013
Tues 22 Oct Southampton, ENGLAND Mo’Club
Wed 23 Oct Rugby, ENGLAND The Vault
Thurs 24 Oct Manchester, ENGLAND NQ Live
Fri 25 Oct Nottingham, ENGLAND Rock City
Sat 26 Oct Wrexhan, WALES Central Station
Mon 28 Oct Glasgow, SCOTLAND The Garage
Tues 29 Oct Belfast, N.IRELAND Limelight
Wed 30 Oct Dublin, IRELAND Button Factory
Fri 01 Nov Exeter, ENGLAND Lemon Grove
Sat 02 Nov Wolverhampton, ENGLAND Wulfrun
Sun 03 Nov Reading, ENGLAND Sub 89
Mon 04 Nov Brighton, ENGLAND Concorde 2
Tues 05 Nov London, ENGLAND Electric Ballroom
Thurs 07 Nov Norwich, ENGLAND Waterfront
Fri 08 Nov Enschede, NETHERLANDS Atak
Sat 09 Nov Bochum, GERMANY Matrix
Sun 10 Nov Cologne, GERMANY Essigfabrik
Mon 11 Nov Copenhagen, DENMARK Lions & Barrels
Wed 13 Nov Gothenberg, SWEDEN Sticky Fingers
Thurs 14 Nov Oslo, NORWAY Klubscena
Fri 15 Nov Borlange, SWEDEN Liljan
Sat 16 Nov Upplands Vasby, SWEDEN Messingen
Mon 18 Nov Manheim, GERMANY Alte Seilerei
Tues 19 Nov Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS Melkweg
Thurs 21 Nov Ludwigsburg, GERMANY Rockfabirk
Fri 22 Nov Saarbrucken, GERMANY Garage
Sat 23 Nov Vaureal, FRANCE Le Forum
Sun 24 Nov Lucerne, SWITZERLAND Schuur
Tues 26 Nov Vienna, AUSTRIA Szene Wien