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20 Questions with Michael Thomas, 6/1/04

 

20 QUESTIONS WITH…


Adler’s Appetite’s Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas has played guitar in Beautiful Creatures, Tuff, Engines Of Aggression, Ashba (featuring ‘guitar-god’ D.J. Ashba) and recently joined Adler’s Appetite, so now was a good a time as any to hit him up for 20 Questions. We knew he was a fan when we saw that he registered for our Gossip Board! So naturally, he was into doing 20 Questions and here they are. Enjoy!

1. What are you currently up to? This is your only chance to promote your shit!
Currently I’m working on a few different projects. Since I launched my website in early 2004 www.michaelthomas19.com I’ve been adding bits and pieces of content that I’ve wanted to work on for a while. The main focus is the new music. I’ve been writing a lot since the start of the new year and I just felt like it was time to do my thing instead of writing for other people. There are a couple clips up now and I’ll be adding more soon. I’ve also been piecing together my clothing line NINETEEN (casual wear) and it’s coming together in stages. The initial samples for the first part of the girls line are up on the site and the first of the guys’ pieces will follow shortly. I’m still working with Ashba and even though I can’t be there ‘fulltime’ I’m involved with everything I can. I’m also working with Adler’s Appetite filling in on the lead guitar duties for their European tour.

2. Have you ever been to Ashba Headquarters? What’s it like?
I love the fascination with the "headquarters". We’ve been getting a good laugh from some of the posts. I’m sorry to say that it’s not located in Ashbaland, or Label-land for that matter. Unfortunately it’s not a magical place with a Chocolate River running through it and Oompa Loompa’s tuning guitars (that might be cool though). It’s simply a Los Angeles studio where a lot of work gets done. You want to know what it’s like? There’s a stage with a shit load of gear, couches, a pro tools rig, a loft with a control room and vocal booth, a frig with some old-ass half eaten food, and a partridge in a pear tree. It’s basically a second home for the band. As a matter of fact, I’ll be heading down there later today to do some work. DJ will be installing some webcam’s so that future chats can take place there along with other web broadcasts we want to do. Soon you’ll get a chance to check it out for yourself.

3. You joined Beautiful Creatures after DJ’s departure, but quickly followed DJ’s path, quit and joined his solo band. Since both of you walked the band has went thru more line up changes ala L.A. Guns & Warrant. Is this because of Paul & Obi the dynamic management duo, or because of Kenny, Anthony, or other?
Wow, you put that a lot more tastefully than I thought you would.
Well, I honestly don’t think Paul or Obi hurt or helped the situation, in my eyes it has nothing to do with them. I spent close to a year and a half with that band and from the start there were a lot of pre- existing internal problems that I stepped right into the middle of. I wrote 30 plus songs, got to work with Beau Hill (which I really enjoyed), but things kept slipping through the cracks and the power struggles going on were not only frustrating as hell but slowed the process down to the point were if there was an opportunity to get back in the game on a serious level it had passed by. After the Ty Longley Benefit fiasco at the Hard Rock Caf? I had enough, it was the straw that broke the camels back. I was sick and tired of the constant drama. I wear pants not a skirt. There were two BC shows scheduled, which due to the circumstances that had transpired I really didn’t want to do, and at the time I think it might have been a motivational threat but they said if I didn’t do them that they would have to call DJ. I was very surprised to hear myself say, "That’s a great idea, I think the fans would enjoy seeing him up there with you guys again." All I wanted was an amicable split. Now, Glen Sobel is a fantastic guy and an incredible drummer but I think his departure was inevitable as well. I honestly don’t know who is playing with them now but best of luck to them. As far as joining up with DJ that was a weird thing. A couple weeks after I left BC I saw him at the Rainbow. We had never really spoken although I met him once or twice when he came to a couple Beautiful Creatures shows. I asked him how the recent shows went with BC and we started talking. Later he played me a couple of his songs that he had in his car stereo. I wished him the best and that was that. A week later I got a call from his manager asking if we could get together to talk about some possibilities because DJ wanted to add another guitar player to his outfit. We met, had a great conversation with the other band members and then stayed in touch on the phone for another week. After that we just said, "Fuck it, lets do it"! No jam, no audition, none of that. We just moved the gear in and got down to work. We’ve had a good time ever since.

4. What hard rock/heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?
Any band that puts on a half-ass show. Go out under any name you like but if you aren’t giving the people what they came and paid to see then get the fuck off the stage.

5. Rate the following guitarist on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being somebody who totally sucks and 10 being a virtuoso.
Tracii Guns = 8 – I was a big fan of L.A. Guns growing up. Tracii had the tattooed, low-slung guitar, raw rock’n’roll vibe that made me stop and go "fuck yeah"! He did a great job with Guns and I think he’s doing a great job with Brides.
Mick Mars = 7 – The Crue rocks!?’nuff said.
C.C. DeVille = 6 – Big party rock, but you have to admit when you hear a riff you automatically know it’s Poison?love’em or hate’em it’s an accomplishment. I just can’t get around the fact that he reminds me of Phyllis Diller.
Keri Kelli = 7 – The guy has jumped in and out of a lot of different bands so he definitely has some versatility. The very few times I have spoken with him he seems cool.
DJ Ashba = 5 (just returning the favor bro!)
Darrell Roberts = 7 – From what I have heard he plays a lot of fast scales and not so much from the gut. He seems good though at what he does so I think it’s a great fit for W.A.S.P.
Eddie Van Halen = 10 – This is a no brainer.
Brent Muscat = 7 – I really don’t know how technical he is as a guitar player but the guy has been able to keep doing what he loves and that earns a lot of points with me.
Gilby Clarke = 7 – I dug the "Pawn Shop Guitars" album but haven’t really kept up since. Hell, the guy played in one of the biggest rock’n’roll bands in the world!
Anthony Focx = Let’s keep the Beautiful Creatures tradition alive and give ‘em a 5! Truth is Anthony is a great guy and he gets a 10 in my book for hanging in there as long as he has.

6. You’ve gone from Engines Of Aggression to Tuff to Bang Tango to Beautiful Creatures to Ashba and now Adler’s Appetite. Do you consider yourself a younger version of Keri Kelli?
No, not really. I feel very fortunate for the situations I have been a part of because the majority of them have been great. I’m not one to bounce around a lot and the progression of bands has all happened pretty naturally. With Engines we all agreed that it was time for us to do other projects and end things on a high note with the Japan tour. Around the same time Stevie was looking for a guitar player and his drummer Tod Burr met me at an Engines show. When my name fell into the pile of candidates that they were considering that obviously helped.
Things slowed down with TUFF after a while and during one of our last shows at the Key Club Anthony from Creatures approached me. Obviously the Beautiful Creatures gig is what led to Bang Tango but there is a story behind that. It originally was not supposed to be Bang Tango. Joe and I wanted to do a "Members Of" AC/DC jam for fun. It was myself and Joe along with members of The London Quireboys. We got together a handful of times and it was really cool but, unfortunately, we couldn’t get schedules to jive so Joe and I got a couple of people together to do some old covers for a show we had booked in Anaheim. We threw a few Bang Tango tunes into the set for fun and I honestly do not know how it happened but the promoter billed it as Bang Tango. We had such a good time playing those songs at the show that the whole set from then on out became all Bang Tango tunes. The bass player we had couldn’t commit so I recruited Brian Saunders whom I had toured with in the past. Everything snow balled from there. Ashba I am still involved with even though I can’t be there 7 days a week. We have a very good understanding. And Adler’s Appetite, well, I’m just keeping Keri’s seat warm?that’s all. I like to keep busy and I am very lucky that I can. Although, Keri and I do have similar haircuts??coincidence???

7. You have a clothing line. Does just having "nineteen" written across a shirt equal a clothing line?
Patience is a virtue. Actually, the guys’ stuff is almost done and there is much more up in the girls section than a shirt with a print on it?let’s be fair. There’s a bunch of different body styles, cuts, prints, lacing, crystal logo’s, and top and bottom sets. Everyone has to start somewhere and that’s where it’s at. There is a lot more cool stuff to come but right now it’s being tackled in small doses. Besides, it’s a good opportunity to dress up cute girls in skimpy clothes?are you seeing a method to my madness yet?

8. What do you remember about the following years:
1978 = Kindergarten. Eating paste and boogers??? ?How the hell can I remember? What I DO know is that I was 5 years old and I was obsessed with KISS. I had their shit all over my walls. The rock’n’roll bug bit me in the ass at a very early age.
1982 = Moved to California from New York. I was given my first guitar, it was a half scale model that looked like a BC Rich Warlock. I bounced around my bedroom with it a couple of times and then proceeded to put it in the back of my closet. I also believe that was the year I went to my first rock concert. Dio, Y&T, and Dokken New Years Eve at the Cow Place in San Francisco. Talk about being christened by fire! I was nine years old and I went with a friend and his hot rocker mom.
1986 = Rekindled my relationship with the guitar in the back of the closet and spent hours and hours locked away learning every album, the vinyl kind, that I could get my hands on.
1990 = Skipping class, getting stoned, going to the beach?typical high school bullshit but a lot of fun.
1994 = A lot of partying. There was a point and time when the classic "after hours" parties were getting hard to find in Hollywood so my old roommate and I took it upon ourselves to have a ‘scaled down’ version of them in our 2 bedroom Hollywood apartment. It got insane every weekend, wall to wall people, alcohol and drugs. Thank god the landlord was a friend of mine! I don’t regret those days one bit but I wouldn’t want to revisit them.
1998 = I moved into a crazy party house where I still reside today, but these days it’s a little less nutty?sometimes.
2002 = It was a busy year. A lot of TUFF shows, Engines of Aggression Japan tour (an incredible time), and I was starting out with Beautiful Creatures. That year I also hooked up with both my amp(Hughes&Kettner) and guitar(Yamaha) companies?(shameless plug).
2004 = Non-stop! So far so good?

9. Is playing in Ratt or Warrant next on your list?
Isn’t there like 7 versions of RATT touring now? Maybe with versions 2 and 5 but not the rest?lol. Now, I never thought Steven Sweet would go back to Warrant but I guess the moral of the story is ‘never say never’. In reality I don’t see either happening. What was the moral of the story again???

10. The Metal Sludge lyric game. Here is a lyric, now name the band and song. No cheating!

"I’ve been lookin’ for a trace, Lookin’ for a heart, Lookin’ for a lover in a world, That’s much too dark"
Band: Guns’n’Roses
Song: Crazy (unfortunately we aren’t playing this one)

"You think your world’s up and down, and you got no place to go, you got your head spinning round"
Band: Bang Tango
Song: Attack of Life (what a great groove, fun song to play, usually the show opener)

"I’m gonna make everything my own, I’m gonna steal your heart and make it whole"
Band: Beautiful Creatures
Song: Kick Out (always the show closer)

"Smoke clears, all around, a chesterfield’s hangin’ down, he comes and goes without a sound"
Band: TUFF
Song: Good Guys Wear Black (played this song at the House of Blues during my second show ever with these guys, at that point I think I had met them about six days earlier, and butchered the chords in the middle section, but I don’t think anyone knew the difference)

"I am the voice of a nation, a rebel that will last, I am a fan of automation and I never carry cash"
Band: Engines of Aggression
Song: On the Outside (Tripp writes some great lyrics and melodies, that was a kick-ass band and those guys are some of my closest friends)

11. Where were you in the late 80s, early 90s? Where you in any bands and should we be looking for any glam photos of you to be surfacing in our Exposed section? Don’t try to hide your past from us, mister!
In the late 80′s I was still in High School, as a mater of fact I graduated in 1991 so I don’t think you are going to find any glam photo’s from that era. In the early ’90′s I was in a local Hollywood
band "Back Alley Sally". The band had a tiny deal with an even tinier label, BBR Records, and the CD was done at Victor Studios in Montreal Canada. We weren’t glam but I’m sure there may be some good pics around from those days. The sound resembled something more like the Four Horsemen meets AC/DC. Actually, we hung out with Dave from the Four Horsemen every now and then, he got me hooked on vodka Martinis at the time. That guys a great fucking guitar player! Their second album "Gett’in Pretty Good At Barley Gett’in By" is a favorite of mine. There may also be a few from the early Engines of Aggression days. I’ve seen one or two surface in random places. As for the Exposed section, one can only hope?

Fonzie

12. Is having an FAQ on your site really necessary? Are there that many people asking you questions that you have to put up a FAQ part of your site?
The idea behind having a FAQ’s section is so that people DON’T have to ask me questions.

13. Last of Michael Thomas:
Last item you bought at Guitar Center = Guitar strings, about two days ago. Lame, huh? You’d think I’d have those covered by now.
Last CD you purchased = Jet – "Get Born" Fucking brilliant! They go from classic rock riff’s to Beatle sounding melodies throughout the whole album. Strange combo but it works really well for them.
Last movie you saw = Envy with Jack Black and Ben Stiller. You would think a movie revolving around poop would be a lot funnier. Let down.
Last book you read = The last one was Gene Simmons’s "Kiss and Make-Up". I bought it before getting on the plane at Gatwick Airport in England and finished it about fifteen minutes outside of Los Angeles.
Last band you wrote a song for = The last song I wrote was for myself, go check it out on the AUDIO page at www.michaelthomas19.com
Last concert you saw from the crowd = Static-X at The Roxy. Brutally awesome! Heavy metal disco death rock!!!
Last tattoo you got = Stars with flames on both my elbows. Man, that was a long day! Something about jamming a needle into bone for 8 hours can really wear you out?
Last time your hair was long = I think I dropped the baggage about 2000. I know it was right before the first Engines show I did.
Last job you worked = Did some PR work for Metro?AVN was a blast, ran into a lot of friends, but how could a convention in Las Vegas with some of the hottest chicks in the adult industry NOT be fun???
Last rock star you shook hands with = I guess that would have to be my 5 month old puppy Dakota. She eats and sleeps ALL day, she’s up ALL night, and constantly trashes the place. That little dog gets SO much attention and admiration from people it’s ridiculous!
Last GNR song you rehearsed = That would be Rocket Queen.

14. What rock star deserves a smack in the mouth and why?
There’s more than one. In my book it would be anyone who carry’s around the "rock star" attitude. I’ve watched people that I thought were good friends turn ugly with the rock star ‘tude. Those people who can’t stay grounded deserve as many smacks as it takes to put them in check and to treat everyone with equal respect.

15. Yes or no, has Michael Thomas ever:
Been to label-land = No, there’s too long of a line.
Lied about your age = No, didn’t we learn NOT to do that from Anthony Focxs’ Metal Sludge experience.
Had a threesome = Yes, I’m a big fan of "girls" and it was a great way to ring in the New Year!
Been arrested = Yes, in Las Vegas years ago for kicking in a slot machine. God damn I was drunk!
Sang with raspy, dirty and always sexy vocals = You tell me?that address again is www.michaelthomas19.com click on the AUDIO page!
Met Eddie Van Halen = Never had the pleasure.
Played in a tribute band = Depends on what you consider a tribute band. These days most bands have a revolving door of members. If the definition is a band with "one or more" of the original members then YES. If the definition is a band with "no original members" playing someone else’s music then NO.
Shot a gun = Hell yes! Last time was on my birthday two years ago. Alcohol and firearms. Not the prettiest combination but it sure makes for a lot of fun ;)
Been turned away from a roller coaster for not being tall enough = Ouch!
Had somebody you not known purchased a "Nineteen" shirt from you = Ummmmm? yes. I had to think about that one.

16. Who’s the most overrated band today and why?
Personally, for me it’s Evanescence. I don’t get it and I don’t want to. You know what else is overrated is that fucking American Idol show. How can so many people be glued to their phones voting over and over for such crap!

17. Why 19? Why not 21 or 33 or 15 or the ever popular 69! What’s the significance of 19?
I get asked that question a lot (maybe I should put it in my FAQ’s section?) It’s simple. My birth date is 8-19-73. It’s my birthday and it’s always been a number that’s stuck with me. I thought it sounded good for the clothing and I wanted to incorporate it with the website and music. So it became part of the ‘brand’ along with the "Heart, Soul, & Rock’n’Roll".

18. What’s something you’d like to keep more hidden, playing for Tuff or playing for Bang Tango?
Neither. I’m proud of the work I did with both. With TUFF it was at the drop of a hat and we were off on a plane headed for the mid-west. I did another great trek with them through England which was a blast! There was a Metal Sludge diary for that trip. Through the TUFF experience I made some great friends. I have a lot of respect for Stevie. He is a hard worker, one hell of a businessman, and he treats everyone he works with very well. Bang Tango was another great time. We had a lot of fun in the states and Japan. Brian Saunders did a note for note amazing job with the bass lines (which was by no means an easy task because Kyle Kyle was a monster bass player) and that allowed me a lot of freedom to cover both guitar parts. There was a great connection on stage, really good chemistry. It was drunken chaos, it was cool rock’n’roll funk, it was four guys out to do a lot of damage! Anything that out of control, no matter on a small or large scale, is bound to crash and burn?

19. Which band is more delusional, Beautiful Creatures or Ashba?
I think you HAVE to be a little bit delusional to do music for the ‘long haul’ because the reality of the music business is a bitch. There is a lot of feast or famine and a ton of highs and lows. A small fraction of the bands out there make it and most of the ones that do are only in the spotlight for a short amount of time. It’s the ugly obvious truth. Then there are the ones that take ‘delusional’ to the extreme which is why we have so much funny shit to read on Sludge. As far as Creatures goes, well, I haven’t heard anything about them in so long I couldn’t tell you if they are still together. The silence is deafening. As for Ashba I can tell you that it’s sitting in a far better place than most bands. 10th St. Management (formerly Left Bank) is handling the band. Even though it’s taken a while to get things rolling the vibe seems very positive. I don’t have a crystal ball so your guess is as good as mine if they’ll deliver on their game plan but they have given us no reason to doubt them. All you can really do is work hard and hope for the best?but it’s only rock’n’roll.

20. Time for Metal Sludge’s Word Association. We mention a name and you give us your thoughts.
Joe LeSte = Disappointment. We were good friends?
D.J. Ashba = Little shredder, great guy.
Jizzy Pearl = Dudes got one hell of a killer rock’n’roll voice
Stevie Rachelle = Respect
Gene Simmons = If there was ever a plus side to being an asshole?
Nikki Sixx = Rock’n’Roll GOD?do they get any cooler?
Happenin’ Harry = Promoting machine
Paul Gargano = Good drinker
Obi Steinman = Ruler of the 80′s bands
Kenny Kweens = Always yelling about something
Lucky 13 = I believe that’s a clothing line with more than just a shirt with their name on it, right?

Thanks for the questions Sludge! That was fun, let’s do it again sometime.

A pretty good effort there! Not too shabby. For more info you can visit www.MichaelThomas19.com.

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