FASTBACK frontman MICHAEL THOMAS!
For those of you who are wondering who the fuck Michael Thomas is, he’s rapidly becoming the new Keri Kelli! Let us give you a quick rundown of the various bands Michael’s played guitar in: Beautiful Creatures, Tuff, Engines Of Aggression, Ashba, Adler’s Appetite, and he’s currently playing with Fastback, Tilterworld, and Butterfly Knife! Someone’s eager huh?
In June 2004 Michael Thomas suffered through his first interview with Metal Sludge, and sadly put to death all the rumors of the magical Ashba Headquarters in Label-land. At the time of his 20 Questions he was playing guitar in Adler’s Appetite and working on the DJ Ashba solo project.
Since then, Michael has moved on to bigger and better things, and recently released a CD with his new band Fastback, who will be on the MSX-II Midwest Tour! If you can’t wait until August to see them play, you can also catch them this weekend at the 5th annual Cruefest in Hollywood!
Alright, enough chit-chat. Let’s get down to business!
1. You know the drill, plug your shit, band, swag and so on?
I’m a busy bitch! Since the last time we did this I released my new cd FASTBACK “The Pain of Beauty”, filled in on a couple tours over seas, and picked up a few new projects along the way.
At the end of this summer I have another cd coming out on FASTLANE RECORDS with TILTERWORLD, a band I have been recording and giging with in Los Angeles for the past several months. Then there is BUTTERFLY KNIFE…when that hits it will be like a punch in the mouth! Go check out both TILTERWORLD and BUTTERFLY KNIFE on myspace.com and if you haven’t picked up a copy of FASTBACK “The Pain of Beauty” then click on www.fastback19.com and get it! FASTBACK is hitting the road in August so while you’re at the site check our dates and shake your ass down to the show when it hits your town. We’ll also be playing the Cruefest at the Whisky on July 30th in Los Angeles…all So Cal Sludgers should be at that show! The line up this year rocks and it’s for a great charity so show your support!
2. You’re on the MSX-II tour with your new band FASTBACK. Tell us about your band, the sound, about the tour and why fans should come see your new project?
FASTBACK is very guitar driven with big vocal melodies. It’s straight up ROCK’N’ROLL. No filters, no apologies… I wanted to write rock songs that featured guitar solo’s, which have long been absent from the radio, but I also wanted songs with chorus’s that stick to your ear like crazy glue. FASTBACK is a combination of the two. The MSX-II tour is going to be a fucking blast! I can’t wait to get out there, most of the guys I’ve toured with before and I’m looking forward to the mayhem.
The response has been great and I think a lot of people are surprised that we will be hitting the road so soon after releasing the cd. The MSX-II tour is going to give us a chance to get out to some new people and fuck some shit up! This band is a machine. It’s going to deliver live what I think a lot of people miss about rock music. Come see the circus and join the party…drunken debauchery, reckless excess, and moral abandonment are just a ticket stub away!
3. Your new project Fastback showcases you as a songwriter and also a lead vocalist. Is this something new, and why the change from lead guitar to front man?
It’s not so much a change as it is “spreading your wings”. A lot of times you get caught up in other bands and other people’s music and after a while you realize that you haven’t showcased your own thing in long time. It was important to me to do just that because I never want to be trapped into one interpretation of something people have seen over and over again. I’m not a “backseat” kind of guy, nor will I ever be…I’m a Leo and I pretty true to the sign. This was just the next natural progression for me. I played all the guitar on the cd and I will continue…the new twist with FASTBACK was tackling the vocals…no one was expecting that. When they’re waiting for a right – hit ‘em with a left!
4. It seemed as though when you left Beautiful Creatures there was a bad vibe. However you recently did a handful of shows with BC in support of Warrant. How did that come about and is everything patched up between you and your former band mates?
Ummm, that would be a New Years Eve show, Super Bowl show, Brides of Destruction shows THEN the Warrant shows (if you want to get technical). Joe and I ran into one another at a bar and got some shit straight, wished each other the best, and I went on my way. I was surprised to get a call a couple months later asking if I would be interested in doing some shows. I told them that I could help out for a couple and that’s what I did. We had fun but it was clear that I had no intensions of re-joining the band. What was really nice is that we were able to work out that for the U.S. release of the second BC album “Duece” there are a couple tracks that I did with the band replacing tracks on the Japanese version. It comes out Aug. 23rd 2005 so support the guys and pick up a copy! There was also a rumor going around that I dis-like Kenny Kweens, which is completely untrue. The truth is… I killed Kenny (I’m a bastard).
5. Last time we spoke you were also doing dates with Adlers Appetite. Since Brent Muscat has left, Jizzy Pearl has left and it seems as though you are no longer on board either. Rumors have pegged Steven Adler as a pain in the ass to deal with, that he acts like a 5 year old child and that there are allegedly some careless use of chemicals as well. Care to elaborate?
Steven will always be Steven, craziness comes along with the package…deal with it or don’t. I had a great time with Adler. We hit some amazing places on that summer tour…to name a few: Budapest, Greece, Istanbul Turkey! He was so cool with the fans, always went out of his way to take pictures and sign stuff. It was a crazy experience. You find yourself in a tiny town in Slovakia where you don’t even think they would have electricity and there are tons of kids in G’n’R shirts who might not speak a word of conversational English but are at the front of the stage with their hands in the air singing every word of every song right back to you. Pretty fucking cool if you ask me. We hung out a couple months back and it was really good to see him. What he’s up to lately I don’t know but I wish him the best.
6. Rate these chicks on a scale of 1 – 10. 1 being a train wreck, and 10 being a hot ass bitch.
Carmen Electra = 8…that IS a hot ass.
Angelina Jolie = 9…those lips rule.
Joan Jett = She gets a 10 for the attitude alone!
Courtney Love = 3…I like dirty girls but there is such a thing as just being plain dirty.
Anna Kounikova = 7…there is definitely a difference between being “fit” and being “hot”.
Jessica Simpson = 8…but may graduate to a 9 if I can make myself sit through the “Dukes of Hazzard”. Having her scrub down the General Lee in a video, brilliant, not original, but brilliant.
Hillary Duff = 4…I like a woman, not a teeny-bopper.
Bobbie Brown = Cherry Pie version – 9 …these days 7.
Halle Barry = 9…sweet as brown sugar.
Paris Hilton = 6…that silly girl needs to be slapped around.
7. You’ve toured with a bunch of groups,.out of all the bands you shared stages with who were the coolest and who were the biggest dicks to deal with?
The coolest was Cheap Trick. I remember watching their set from the side of the stage and just being in awe. Scott Ian from Anthrax was there and I believed jammed a song with them…crazy. Anyway, those guys were super cool. I remember Jackyl not being so cool…then again I was never a fan so I really didn’t care. I did my set and didn’t stick around for them.
8. If you could be a Tampon for any celebrity, who would it be?
Grim thought…well, maybe the singer from L7. Seems she had a habit of flinging hers at the crowd while on stage. At least I’d still be a part of the music scene…
9. You’ve played the guitar roll in several bands, out of all those bands, what lead singer would sing out of key the most, and who would sing in key the most?
I think I know who your aiming for but I’m not taking the bait! Sorry. In all honestly though the first band I ever played Hollywood with had a horrible excuse for a singer, I’ve heard cats fuck with more harmony. Absolutely painful…I swear to God that voice peeled the paint off the Whisky walls. As for the most in key…well, that’s easy…ME bitch!
10. Pick your Poison…
Lead Guitar or Lead Vocal = Both…as long as the attentions on me.
Sunset Strip or Hollywood Blvd. = Hollywood Blvd. since they’ve cleaned it up.
Kid Rock or Limp Bizkit = Ya gott’a go wit da ROCK!
Boxers or Briefs = Neither. Free-ball’in baby.
Eye Liner or Lip Gloss = Eye liner… never leave home without it.
Wednesday 13 or Edsel Dope = Marilyn Manson
Burger King or Jack in the Box = Jack’s cool but I’ll stick with the King.
Bang Tango or Beautiful Creatures = Creatures ‘cause I got tracks on the new album.
Drinking or Smoking = Good or bad I love them both, however I smoke far less.
Dildos or Vibrators = Aren’t anal beads in fashion anymore?
11. For $50,000, you walk into a room and there is a nude man with a bag over his head. You are required to walk over to him and lick the sweaty underside of his ball bag 3 times. You may then leave and get paid. Would you do it?
I know Stevie has a “thing” for wearing a bag over his head but I ain’t going there…
12. Name something good about rap music and the rap industry in general?
The videos. I can stand bad rap for 3 minutes and 30 seconds just to see all of the hot ass shaking around in video after video.
13. Kill, Fuck, Marry! (Dj Ashba, Ashley Simpson, Parmela Anderson)
Kill – Ashley Simpson (please)
Fuck – Pamela Anderson (it seems to be the ‘trendy’ thing to do these days)
Marry – DJ Ashba (he’s cuter than Pam and we already have a history)
14. Let’s go on tour with Michael Thomas. Name 10 cities, and tell us what band you were playing with, what year, and what it was like…the gig, the girls, the crowd, sound, etc…
As soon as you start paying “by the word” I’ll give you ten but for now let’s skip the novel and concentrate on 5 good ones…
1. Istanbul, Turkey – Adler’s Appetite 2004
We played on the third floor of this old venue and it was fucking packed to the rafters! We opened with “Welcome to the Jungle” and the minute I started playing the opening riff the crowd went nuts and began jumping up and down. As they were jumping you could see the floor bend and the amps on stage began to sway back and forth. We all looked at each other like “Oh shit.” All of the techs had moved off to the sides because we all thought the floor might collapse. It must have been 120 degrees in that place and luckily the only thing that happened were a couple people passed out but watching that floor bend from the stage was unreal!!!
2. Coudersport, PA – Bang Tango –2003
Talk about being in the middle of nowhere! No cell phone service going in or out. Cut off from the world. Four rockers and the wilderness. A piece of advice: When the promoter says, “Watch out for the family of Black Bears that live behind the hotel.” you better listen to him! The same promoter took us to a strip club high a-top a mountain after the show. It was more like two trailers duct-taped together than a club but there we saw this woman (Busty Heart) crush a beer can with one tit! She then tied it on a string and gave it to Joe as a necklace…I’ve seen strange things up in them there mountains…
3. Tokyo, Japan – Engines of Aggression 2001
Absolutely awesome. I heard stories of Japanese fans being extreme but we weren’t prepared for it! Every night of the tour was a packed house of screaming kids, mosh pits, and craziness. When we arrived at the hotel they’d be camped out in the lobby, when we walked around town they’d follow in little groups. They’d show up to the shows with all kinds of gifts for the band and most would come to not just one show but 2 or 3 (which is nut s considering their ticket prices are triple what we pay here). That was such a great trip I almost didn’t want to come home.
4. Anaheim, California – Beautiful Creatures 2002
We were doing an extended weekend run (L.A., O.C., Phoenix, Las Vegas) and we played a show with LIT at the House of Blues. It was really hot and miserable out so most of us kicked it in the dressing room after sound check and didn’t bother to walk around. When show time hit we walked downstairs to a closed stage curtain and since it was a Thursday in O.C. I wasn’t expecting a large turn out. The lights went down and the intro hit and when the curtain peeled back I was staring at a sold out show. The audience roar was deafening and you couldn’t move in that place! Kids were slam packed against the guardrails. Totally unexpected but totally killer! I think that’s why it sticks out in my mind…a nice surprise on a miserable summer day.
5. Bospop Festival, Germany – Adler’s Appetite – 2004
We played this outdoor festival in front of a crowd of 3 or 4,000. The stage was great, it reminded me of something out of the Paradise City video, but the weather was another story. Black clouds rolled in about 20 minutes before we went on…about 5 minutes into the set BAM!!! It started pissing down rain…but we kept playing. Gear started to short out and my pedal board was under a couple inches of water…but we kept playing. We fought the elements the entire set, slipping and sliding on stage, it was insane. At one point Jizzy, Brent, and I had the good sense to go back by the drum riser with Adler where it was relatively dry and there was Robbie Crane, alone in the rain at the front of the stage singing his back-ups…God Bless the brown guy. Afterwards we all partied back at the hotel bar with the other bands and I was up till about 6am drinking and talking with the guitar player from Queensryche. Fun time.
15. Name the 3 highest and the 3 lowest points in your musical career to date?
Just three??? O.K. here are a few:
1. First tour of Japan with ENGINES OF AGGRESSION was an amazing experience.
2. Working with Yamaha Guitars and Hughes & Kettner Amps, I’m lucky to have such great guys in my corner.
3. Releasing my new FASTBACK cd “The Pain of Beauty”.
If they happen I’ll let you know.
16. Memory Lane with Hollywood Clubs…tell us a memory of the following clubs…
Rainbow Bar & Grill = If you wake up the next morning with memories from the Rainbow Bar & Grill then you obviously didn’t do it right!
Cathouse = Shit, I’m not that old. You tell me.
Troubadour = Played there with Engines of Aggression…then I left.
Cocoanut Teaser = The “fish-bowls” would fuck you up, a couple Long Island Ice Tea’s served in those and you were good to go…oh ya, shitty sound system but fun to play.
Whisky a-go-go = First time on the Strip I remember thinking “I thought it would be a lot bigger”.
Viper Room = Got drunk and pissed in the DJ booth…sorry Taime!
The Roxy = Sat in the chair where Jim Morrison puked.
X-Poseur 54 = Please refer to my Cathouse answer.
Gazzarris = Went there once right before it closed. The doorman tried to sell me a joint, which I would have bought if I’d have known how terrible the bands were going to be that evening.
Scream = Played there right before it burned down…coincidence?
17. Who would win in a battle royal and why? (*note using ALL original members)
Team #1 Warrant, Slaughter & Cinderella. or Team #2 Poison, Firehouse & Great White.
With all that Aquanet and Spandex is that a “battle royal” or a “catfight”? With the casual strike of a match all those hair spray fumes alone could finally close the chapter on that era. I don’t know if we could ever get that lucky.
Some guy named Joe hanging with Michael
18. What was your biggest ever musically related pay check and what did you buy with it?
A. Not enough
B. Something shiny I’m sure…
19. Other than this interview, what was the last thing you regretted doing?
Getting smashed and throwing up Vodka and Cranberry all over the leather interior of my buddy’s brand new ride. The best part was I had an attitude when I did it and felt horrible about the whole thing upon returning to consciousness the next morning and when I tried to say “sorry” he said don’t bother because it was so fucking “rock’n’roll” he’d lose respect for me if I apologized. Mike Wright you rule! Thanks for letting me be me…
20. Word Association Part II:
Anthony Focx = drop the “c”
Taime Downe = Spinning the songs of yesterday…
Gilby Clarke = His wife makes cool jeans.
Joey Allen = Very cool to hang with…wrote “ROCK GOD” in chalk outside my hotel room door.
Rikki Rachtmen = Headbangers Ball
Brent Muscat = The Cheshire Cat.
Jani Lane = Play your hits.
Robbie Crane = Gordo. He knows what it means.
Tracii Guns = If you’re reading this…I gave London a copy of the FASTBACK cd for you. Oh ya, the BC/BOD shows were fun…your crew scares me. Let’s jam sometime.
Steven Adler = Ground control to Major Tom…come in…come in…
Thanks Sludge…it’s always a pleasure!
- Michael Thomas
We’d tell you where to find the Fastback Web site, but Michael just did that for us!
And don’t forget to check out Fastback on the MSX-II Midwest Tour, coming soon to a flyover state near you!