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20 Questions With Jacob Bunton, 10/17/00



Mars Electric Singer Jacob Bunton

Last month we got an email from Mars Electric singer Jacob Bunton that said, "Hey, This is Jacob from Mars Electric.  I love this web site.  You guys keep track of all the bands that I grew up on.  We have toured with a lot of these bands.. so thats how I got turned on to this site.  I am a Sludgeaholic!!"  So we hit Jacob up for 20 Questions and he was game.  He even sent us some old ass photos of him when he was 13 & 14 with some rock gods that we included in this 20 Questions!  Now there are probably quite a few of you who have no idea who Jacob or Mars Electric is, so pay the fuck attention and maybe you’ll learn something.

1.  Who are you?
I am the lead singer of a rock band called Mars Electric from Birmingham Alabama.  We were the first new band signed to Portrait/Columbia records by John Kalodner.  We have a record that came out in March called "Beautiful Something" and have been touring nonstop with everyone from Stone Temple Pilots and Godsmack to Great White and Dokken.  You can check out our website at www.marselectric.com

2.  What do you do you pay the bills?
I’m a male porn star and I operate a successful white slavery ring from my mom’s garage. Heh. Actually, I’m unemployed right now. But last year I was a greeter at Wal-Mart — you know, those guys who stand at the front door and say hello when you walk in. I got fired because they said people were freaked out by a guy in chains and earrings trying to hug them when they came in the door.

3.  What hard rock/heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day? 
Rage Against The Machine. All that naive political bullshit and cacophonous, atonal screaming. I hate it. It makes me want strangle myself with my own intestines. Zack De La Rocha’s singing sounds like someone killing a cat with a lawnmower.

Mars Electric

4.  Since getting signed to Portrait and dealing with record labels, what are some of the eye opening things that you have learned about the music business?
I’ve learned that label politics suck. Our first record deal was with Atlantic. We signed a big deal through Sugarfuzz Productions (Ed Roland from Collective Soul’s production company) and spent more than $300,000 on an album. Then we watched it sit around and do nothing because of label politics. For a while, I thought the record would never come out. Thankfully, John Kalodner rescued us from that endless hell.

5.  Rate the following singers on a scale of 1 to 10.  1 being somebody who sounds like they have gravel in their throat and 10 being a God like singer.
Vince Neil = 8. He’s a great frontman.
Stephen Pearcy = 4.
David Lee Roth = 9 back in the day. 3 now.
Steven Tyler = 9. He sounds as good now as he did in the ’70s.
Tom Keifer = 8. He can sing falsetto and in his natural voice and sound good either way.
Bret Michaels = 8. He’s a great frontman.
James Hetfield = 7. He’s not a technically great singer, but his ferocity more than makes up for it.
Paul Stanley = 9. Because he still hits every high note.
Don Dokken = 4.
Jani Lane = 8. Just listen to the end of "I Saw Red."
Sebastian Bach = 10. I’ve never met the guy, but musically he’s one of the greatest frontmen ever.

6.  Nobody in Alabama has ever purchased a Metal Sludge shirt.  Do you think you could tell some of your friends in Birmingham to get on the ball and order a shirt?
Sure. Just as soon as everyone at Metal Sludge buys a copy of "Beautiful Something."

7.  Have you ever seen the inside of a tour bus?
When we were on tour with Great White, I rode to one of the shows on their bus with them. Jack Russell showed me some vocal warm-ups. And they had a bunch of cool movies. Great White was one of the coolest bands we ever toured with. They really took us under their wing.

8.  If you guys could tour with any 3 bands, which bands would they be?
Motley Crue. Because they were — and still are — such a huge influence on us.
U2. I’d love to play in giant stadiums.
Bon Jovi. Because they are arena rock at its best.

9.  What do you think about Metallica suing Napster?
I think artists should have control over their music. Metallica doesn’t want their songs on Napster and that’s their right. But for bands like us who don’t mind it, I think it’s great way for people to discover your music.

10.  Which do you prefer and why?
Kid Rock or Fred Durst = Kid Rock. His stage show reminds me of Poison.
Neve or Samantha 7 = Ouch. I like ‘em both. I can’t choose.
Rob Halford or Bruce Dickinson = Bruce Dickinson. I took a vocal lesson from him. He has an amazing voice.
Sebastian Bach or Lars Ulrich = Sebastian. He sings better than Lars.
Backstreet Boys or N’Snyc = If you’re talking music, Backstreet Boys. If you’re talking live show, N’Sync.
Ratt or Great White = Great White. They’re supercool.
Buckcherry or Lit = Buckcherry. Josh is a total star and a friend.
Playboy or Penthouse = Playboy. Better jokes.
Doggie style or missionary position = Doggie style. Because I can still watch TV. Heh. Just kidding.

11.  What band is the most overrated band today?
Limp Bizkit. No explanation needed.

12.  Your CD is full of radio friendly songs, but so far it hasn’t sold shit.  Why do you think that is?  Is Portrait dropping the ball, or is it that you guys just don’t stand out very much?
I think the album went above the head of the general public. All those complicated time signatures, cryptic lyrics and 10-minute guitar solos. Just like Radiohead, we’re sooooooo misunderstood. But seriously … yes, they did
drop the ball. They released "Someday" as the first single and when it didn’t have the impact at radio they thought it would, they gave up on it. The song that got us signed was the ballad, "Another Day on Top of the World." The label made a big deal about that song being a potential smash. But they never released it. I don’t understand why.

CJ and Jacob
Firehouse’s C.J. Snare and Jacob, age 13 or 14!

13.  Have you banged any famous chicks yet?

14.  How long have you been coming to Metal Sludge and how did you hear about us?
About four months. A good friend of mine named Tim Binder who does radio at Victory Records showed it to me. He knew we’d played with a lot of the bands you cover. I read it and thought it was really cool. I’ve been a faithful
reader ever since.

Pete and Jacob
Trixter’s Pete Loran and Jacob, age 13 or 14!

15.  What’s your biggest music related check you’ve received so far?
$4,000 for playing a festival in San Francisco. After air fare for six people, hotel rooms, a rental car, money for food, equipment rental, and paying our guitar tech and sound man, we had $92 left for the four of us.  So we each got $23 when we got home. It was almost enough to pay my phone bill that month.

16.  What rock star deserves a smack in the mouth and why?
Any successful rock star who whines about how miserable they are being successful.

17.  Have any bigger bands treated you guys like shit?
Oh yeah. Dokken’s road crew made life a living hell for us. They had a real condescending attitude. 
Alice Cooper’s road crew was even worse. We played with Alice at The Tabernacle in Atlanta, which is a huge venue. The backstage area, no exaggeration, had at least 30 different rooms. It was just a huge area. Plenty of room for everyone. They weren’t even using all of it. But as soon as we got done with our set, Alice’s road manager came up to us and said "Great set, guys. Now get the fuck out." We said, "Excuse me?" He said. "Great show guys. Get the fuck out. This whole area is reserved for Alice and his band. You can go out front and watch the show if you want, but you can’t be backstage." I told them all of our equipment was still back there, and all of our clothes were in the dressing room. He said he didn’t care, and then the crew pushed our equipment out the backstage door. There were cars blocking the gate, so we couldn’t get out. Our stuff just had to sit there outside until the end of the show. Alice Cooper’s road crew was also part of the show — they all wore clown costumes and would go onstage during the set. So while they were onstage, we went into the crew’s dressing room, took the wine they’d been drinking, and pissed in it. After the show, we saw them drinking the wine and we just laughed.

18.  What’s the most rock and roll thing you guys have done so far?
I got to play "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" with Great White at our last show together. That was fun.

Then there was this time we almost got arrested in Mississippi for playing our last song naked. We stripped off our stuff and started playing. They actually cut the power and made us stop and escorted us off the stage and cuffed us and read us our rights. They said we were violating indecent exposure laws. But lucky for us, the arresting office thought we were famous.  He had a teenage daughter, so we signed some autographs for him to give to her and he let us go.

19.  How soon before Portrait drops you?
We were dropped on Tuesday, August 22, 2000. Five days before my birthday.

20.  Time for Metal Sludge’s Word Association.  We mention a name and you give us your thoughts.
Pamela Anderson = Boobs.
John Kalodner = A god. He believed in us even though some other people didn’t.
Samantha 7 = C.C. DeVille
Bon Jovi = Arena rock.
Brother Cane = Great guys and good friends.
Rikki Rockett = Look what the cat dragged in.
Ratt = Fighting.
Marvelous 3 = Great friends.
Motley Crue = Heroes.
Howard Stern = Funny.

Now that was cool.  Plus he spelled everything right!  Too bad Union sold more records than Mars Electric, but you can’t win them all.  But hey, those photos with Pete and CJ were entertaining.  A lot of current rock guys would hide that shit and pretend they weren’t into that scene, so props to Jacob for sending those in and being down!

For more info on Mars Electric, you can go to www.marselectric.com

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