20 QUESTIONS WITH…
Eric Singer, Jake E. Lee, Ray Gillen, and Greg Chaisson
Badlands Bass Player Greg Chaisson
As we were working on this 20 Questions, you know what we realized? We realized that there ain’t shit for pictures out there of Greg Chaisson!! We only found two!! Usually we can find plenty of pictures, but this time we couldn’t find much. Sorry Greg. So if you have photos, send them our way. Anyways, here’s 20 Questions and 2 pictures with Greg Chaisson.
1. What are you currently up to? This is your only chance to plug your shit?
I don’t play bass much anymore, only for sessions and the occasional live gig. I mostly play guitar now. It’s much more of a challenge. I’m contemplating doing another solo album. For those of you that don’t know, I had one that came out in ’95 I think. Pretty bluesy stuff, with me singing and on the next one, I’ll play guitar also. But I’m not too motivated just yet.
2. You come from a family of musicians. Tell us who plays what and for who?
The only musicians are myself, my brother Kenny who played in Keel, and Todd who played in Tuff.
3. Your brother Kenny played bass in KEEL, who was voted one of the best new metal bands in like the mid 80s. What ever happened to KEEL and Kenny Chaisson?
Kenny doesn’t play bass anymore. He’s an electrician now. He’s doing real good & making big money, something he never made in Keel. Keel broke up mainly due to Ron’s gigantic ego. Also Ron got all the money. The other 4 guys had to pay a gigantic tax bill, pretty shady stuff. I think Kenny got pretty discouraged after that. Also I don’t think Kenny was happy with the songwriting splits. I can concur with him on that because Ron still owes me money for songs I wrote with him. But, I’m not holding my breath waiting to get paid. Also Mark Ferrari is a punk.
4. Your other brother Todd played bass in the glam band TUFF. How did you feel about your brother playing in a glam band like that?
To each their own. I wasn’t a big fan of that genre. I was never cute enough to be in a band like that. But they did it well. I can respect them for that. Todd’s now in a band called Substance D. They have a deal overseas and they put out a couple of CD’s. Very heavy stuff. Todd plays bass and sings lead. And now his last name is Chaisson. He’s finally proud of the family name!
5. Rate the following guitarists on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being somebody who sucks and 10 being who rocks.
Billy Sheenan = Obviously a "10", known more as a soloist, but a great solid player also.
Geddy Lee = Another "10", the second coming of John Paul Jones.
Kenny Chaisson = An "8", good solid player.
Bobby Dall = A "3", nuff said.
Nikki Sixx = A Sixx, he wrote good parts.
Todd Chase = Who, Chaisson? I suppose he was a "7" or "8". But I’m only a "6" myself!
Michael Anthony = A "10", the most underrated bass player.
Jason Newstead = He’s probably an "8" but you can’t tell from the records.
Jerry Dixon = "5", but I actually liked the band.
Les Claypool = Who?
6. What hard rock/heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?
The version of Ratt with Robert Mason singing if that’s still actually going on. I think Bobby & Warren are great players, two of my favorites and Robert is probably a better singer than Pearcy. But no one will care because whether you like it or not, Pearcy’s voice is the most identifiable part of Ratt.
7. Why did Todd use the name Chase instead of Chaisson?
He couldn’t spell Chaisson? No not really, he said he didn’t want to be compared to me as a bass player. And who could blame him? With me being such a big rock star and all…Nah!
8. We heard you came close to playing with the Ozzy Osbourne?s band but got denied at the last second. What was the deal with that?
Well it was the early 80’s, the time of big hair and the pretty boy look and I really didn’t fit into either of those categories. I know Ozzy thought I was a good bass player, but I just didn’t have the right image for what he was doing & he was right. However I met Jake because of that trip and I got to spend 2 weeks in Scotland plus I got to look for the Lochness monster, very cool. And at the time I didn’t know if that would be the extent of my career travels, so no regrets.
9. Who has all the bitches in Badlands?
Back in the day (a very popular phrase with the youngsters nowadays), say you were talking to some girls out by the bus and they would be talking with you and everything would be cool, and some of them probably even liked you. You probably could have taken some up to your room even. All of a sudden, Jake or Ray came out of the bus and you probably could be killed in a stampede of girls that you were talking to who now could no longer care less about you as they’re ripping the pen out of your hand right in the middle of the autograph your signing, frantically trying to get over your now fallen body, stepping on your head with their cowboy boots and the concho on the boot possibly taking an eye out as their ripping of their clothes saying "Jake!" "Ray, take me! Have your way with me, We’re all waitresses but we really want to be models & actresses in L.A. Can we move their with you? Oh hang on let me get my pen, it’s stuck in the back of Jeff Martin’s head." You get the picture.
10. Which do you prefer:
4 String bass or 5 String bass = 4 string
Phoenix or Hollywood = Phoenix
Rough Cutt or Black N’ Blue = I liked them both, but I like Rough Cutt more. It’s hard to beat Shortino’s voice.
Warrant or Winger = It’s a tie.
Hats or Headbands = What’s a hat?
Recording or Touring = Touring, I hated recording in the L.A. business setting.
Porn stars or strippers = Strippers.
Jeff Martin or Eric Singer = Eric Singer, but really Brian Tishey who played in Zak’s and Slashes’ band, my favorite drummer.
Bobby Dall or Nikki Sixx = Nikki Sixx.
11. What was your biggest musical related paycheck to date? Paycheck?
What’s a paycheck? You mean you’re supposed to get money for being in a signed band. You’re joshing me. I’m gonna call my brothers and see if they know anything about this. Seriously, I got enough for one project to help pay for my first house.
12. You seem to wear a hat a lot. Is that because you are going bald or what?
I’m completely bald, I have no hair anywhere on my body, even my eyebrows are fake. The only actual hair I have is growing out of my ears alot like Yoda, who I actually bear a striking resemblance to now. Seriously I actually have hair but in ’86 I went head first through a car windshield (that really did alot for my glam career) and I have alot of scars on my forehead and I was just more comfortable with my cowboy hat. Besides, old ZZ Top is my favorite stuff. Thanks for asking. Now I’m even more insecure!
13. Of all the bands Badlands played with, who were the biggest dicks?
14. What rock star deserves a smack in the mouth and why?
15. What do you remember about the following years:
1968 = All I cared about was Baseball, but I lived in the San Francisco bay area & the music scene was happening then and I remember being pretty interested in it.
1972 = I started playing bass. I was the neighborhood bully, some guys figured if they got me in their band I’d quit picking on them & protect them from the other thugs.
1976 = I was in a popular band in Phoenix called Ghost Rose. We got to play alot of really cool keggers in the desert, girls o’ plenty.
1980 = Started Phoenix’s first real metal band, Surgical Steel. We wore all the leather and studs and all the other heavy metal paraphernalia. We got to open for alot of signed bands. Wearing leather clothes in Phoenix in the summer, no easy feat!
1984 = I think that’s the year after I didn’t get the Ozzy gig. I wasn’t quite sure what to do image wise since I didn’t have an image and didn’t really want one. I just wanted to play bass. I joined a band called Terriff which ironically featured a guitar player named Joe Holmes who is now in Ozzy. Go figure.
1988 = First year of Badlands, not a bad year overall.
1992 = Near the end of Badlands, that wasn’t too much fun. But, I was doing alot of session work and making pretty good dough. So all in all it was a living. Plus I had a great wife & son.
1996 = Living in Phoenix, playing bass in a comedy act called the Relics. Basically a classic rock cover band, but it was pretty fun. And I was still doing sessions in L.A. & S.F.
16. You seem to be like a low key guy, you know like a third wheel. Did you ever have any say in your bands?
I’m actually nothing like a low key guy. It just appeared that way because of the high profiles of some of the other guys. Actually I wrote all the songs in Badlands but they wouldn’t give me any credit. I also wrote all the songs for Motley Crue, Ratt, Skid Rowe, Mariah Carey, Hendrix and the Beatles. I also wrote White Christmas, then I woke up.
17. Your old guitarist Jake E. Lee has been rumored to have hit some hard times. Do you have any contact with him anymore and what?s his status?
I don’t know about hard times. He seems to be doing all right to me. Jake is just a very careful, methodical worker. Probably one of the most intelligent guys I’ve ever met. He knows what he wants and what it takes to get there and refuses to compromise no matter what. He’s working on a second solo album and I’m not sure when it’s going to be out but his first one is really good. If that’s any indication, this one should be good too. The best guitar player I’ve ever played with. We talk some, it’s cool, and no, I’m not looking for a gig with him!
18. Who got hit in the face with more balls, Yogi Berra or Ray Gillen?
Definitley Yogi Berra. Although, Ray was a better singer and probably had a better fastball to go along with his slider and changeup.
19. Are the Chaisson brothers bitter that none of you had any real success?
We’re extremely bitter. We hate everyone and they hate us. But what the fuck, all 3 of us had major label deals, you can’t beat that.
20. Time for Metal Sludge’s Word Association. We mention a name, and you give us your thoughts.
Glam Bands = Uuuuuuhhhh. I was so hurt that I wasn’t cute enough to be in a glam band.
KISS = I liked the early kiss and the version with Eric Singer, masters of promotion! I’m really bitter that I never got to be in Kiss.
The Mason Jar = Local Dump, but you have to play there. Hey they paid Badlands $30,000 to play 2 nights there. It only holds 250 people. Ticket prices were like 30.00 a head and I’m sure they lost their ass even though the place was packed. Yuk yuk yuk.
Keel = Ron owes me money.
Tuff = Poison Jr.
Warrant = I actually like Warrant. They had good songs and we did a show with them, they were really good live and treated us great.
Sebastian Bach = His own worst enemy. Great voice, great front man, but made some bad decisions.
Lars Ulrich = Not a big fan of his drumming but they’re a huge band so who am I to cast disersions?
Tommy Lee = Now he is a great drummer.
Kid Rock = I really like Kid Rock, he’s got a very cool band and he’s got a great drummer.
Thanks for asking & let me know when this is going to run if you get a chance. I want to pretend I’m a rock star & read my interview on the internet!
Well Greg, your interview is up! However, we have no website to plug since Badlands broke up years ago and Greg doesn’t have one. So if you want more information on Greg, your fucked. But if we hear any info, we’ll let ya know.