Interview : Robert Cavuoto
To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of their platinum album, Blow My Fuse, KIX will release Fuse 30 Reblown – 30th Anniversary Special Edition on September 21, 2018.
It’s a two-disc set that includes Fuse 30 Reblown featuring a remixed and remastered version of Blow My Fuse by producer Beau Hill and the second disc of never before heard demos for all ten tracks. These demos showcase how well-prepared KIX was prior to entering the studio to record this album.
I caught up with guitarist Brian “Damage” Forsythe to tell us about Fuse 30 Reblown, share some insights into the bands making of Blow My Fuse, and if we can expect a follow-up to their 2014 release, Rock Your Face Off.
Robert Cavuoto: When you look back can you believe it has been 30 years since Blow my Fuse? That album still packs a mean punch.
Brian Forsythe: No, it does seem like 30 years! There is a reason why that record sold so well. It was a combination of a few things. At the point in our career nothing was really aligning, and when we did that record everything seemed to come together perfectly. The songs were great, there was MTV, the music scene was on the upswing, and we just got new management. Also, Donnie’s songwriting kept improving with each record. That is when we finally broke through. It was the perfect storm.
Robert Cavuoto: How did the success of that album impact the band’s career?
Brian Forsythe: We lucked out with the first video, “Cold Blood” once it got on MTV’s Total Request Live. Back then they had a time limit for how long a video could be at #1. Our video did so well they had to change the rules to extend the cut-off point because they got so many requests. That was the thing that really pushed us over the top. Then “Don’t Close Your Eyes” was the icing on the cake.
Robert Cavuoto: Did things change financially for the band at that point?
Brian Forsythe: No. [Laughing] That CD didn’t go platinum at the time, but it did go gold. At that point, we had to look at our finances and found out we were in debt. Steve says it was $1 million, but I think we were in something like $2 million of debt. It was a ridiculous amount of money. Our manager at the time Mark Puma went into the label to renegotiate our deal. They put in a bonus clause for when we hit a certain level of sales. We had this huge bonus if the album was to hit platinum and of course it stalled out at 850,000. It never went platinum until August 2000. It took over ten years to go platinum. We realized that the renegotiated contract only had a ten-year span with that bonus clause. After ten years it went back to the old deal. I’m wondering if they somehow held off on the numbers so they won’t have to give us that bonus!
Robert Cavuoto: The 80s were really a time of excess; nowadays with $2 million you can record, release, and tour in support of multiple albums.
Brian Forsythe: You can do a quality record for under $20,000. Midnight Dynamite cost $250,000 and Blow my Fuse was similar.
Robert Cavuoto: Tell me a little about what fans can expect from Fuse 30 Reblown?
Brian Forsythe: It’s a total remix by Beau Hill. The way he did, it was to get the original masters and remixed the songs without listening to the original versions. They are slightly different; there are not as many effects on the guitar as we had on them back in the 80s. We use a lot of reverb and delay that clouded up the mix. There’s also a lot of hidden guitars fills that didn’t make it on the original version, so Beau added that. He also tweaked some of the vocal mixes. It came out really good.
The second CD in the set includes all the demos for every song. You can hear where they all started. They were all recorded in our rehearsal space before we did the record. Some of the songs sound the same with a subtle difference while other have different arrangements.
Robert Cavuoto: The demos sound really good and very thought out. How far along were they created before the final recording of the album?
Brian Forsythe: We had a rehearsal space and spent a lot of time recording during any free time we had. We were always working on stuff. We would record them and mix down to two-track reels. We would just collect them and did them as the year when on. We always had more songs than what went on the record; we probably had about 15 to 20 songs for each record. Then sorted out the good ones.
Robert Cavuoto: Did you ever fall in love with the demo version of a song and prefer it over the final version?
Brian Forsythe: Sometimes, the demos were worked out so when we got to the studio, we pretty much were trying to imitate what we created on the demos [laughing]. I’m one of those guys that love to wing the solos. There were a couple of times my favorite solos were on the demos because they were off the top of my head. When I tried to recreate it, I couldn’t catch that magic. That has happened a few times.
Robert Cavuoto: I know there was apprehension about recording Rock Your Face Off in 2014. With that CD’s success, is the band past that initial apprehension and ready to record another one?
Brian Forsythe: We have talked about doing another. Even as early as when we finished Rock Your Face Off. Now we have the Reblown, so that is going to put it off a little longer. We have been super busy playing live. There are shows all over the place. As far as the apprehension, we had a lot going into that CD, and it came out so well. The apprehension is still there but now because we have to do another CD just as good [laughing]!
Robert Cavuoto: You’re going on tour shortly, what can we expect live?
Brian Forsythe: Normally when we are headlining our set is 90 minutes so we will be performing the entire Blow My Fuse CD to celebrate the 30 years. We will add a few more songs to fill up the time. We usually start out with three songs in the beginning and then take a break for Steve to explain what we are doing. From there we start from the top of Blow My Fuse and then finish off with another three songs.
Robert Cavuoto: Where did you get the nickname “Damage”?
Brian Forsythe: [Laughing] People ask me that one all the time. Beau Hill came up with it when we were recording Midnight Dynamite in New York City. I was running around in the Village and would go out every night drinking. I would show up to the studio in the morning hung over. At the time Beau called me “Brain” instead of “Brian.” One day I’m in the control room I’m on a couch moaning in front of the council and Beau looks at me and goes, “Brain Damage!” [Laughing]. He says, “That would be a good name” and I thought yeah. From that point on I was “Damage.”