20 Questions with Vain Singer Davy Vain
Davy Vain in Tokyo? Nope!
Outside Tokyo Delves on Lankershim in NoHo.
This has been a requested interview by the Sludgeaholics for years and it’s finally here. Davy Vain called the Sludge offices and had plenty to say, he talks about the new Vain release "On the Line" and also talks about Steven Adler, Metaliica, not wanting to fuck Prince, meeting Robert Plant and touring with Skid Row in Europe.
Vain play the "Whisky-A-Go-Go" Friday 12-16-2005 go check it out if you’re in the area. Read on and enjoy…
1. Here you go, this is your only chance to plug your website, tours, projects and what’s going on?
Well, um, the band VAIN is what’s going on. My band and we got a brand new album out called “On the Line.” You can get it at Tower Records anywhere, and a lot of different stores, Tower is the best place to get it. We’re doing a show at the Whisky-A-Go-Go on
2. Recently VAIN did a short tour in
Somebody got dick poisoning, but we cured it with a remedy I learned in the lower avenues of
3. VAIN was the support act for some Skid Row shows in
Yeah, the thing that I thought was so cool, was we had played a lot of clubs and theatres and all of a sudden we’re playing these big places where we walk on stage and we have Vince Neil’s monitor system, and it was so big, and you could hear yourself so clearly, and you could perform so much better. The very first initial response was so, so, huge…after the first song we played there the crowd went completely crazy. The difference between hearing a packed theater or a night club going “yeah” and the difference between arena crowds going (cupping hands and making the roar of 10,000 people) it was like somebody injecting the most toxic speed right into your heart. All you wanted to do was hurry up and finish another song to get that (feeling) one more time. To experience that was great. The memories are great. Skid Row was very cool to us, you know we had a good time, and Sebastian was such a character back then. I remember the very first time I met him. He came backstage, and goes; “hey do you like Motley Crue?” And I go: “yeah they’re cool!” and he goes; “Cause I’m a fucking Crue-ton man. We’re going to have to take some mushrooms and crank the Crue after some shows.” And I go; “alright cool.” So I figured this is going to be different. The highlight of course was playing the Hammersmith Odeon. And this is probably one of my best ever memories ever from being on the road. I’m kind of sick that gig, and it was a really big stage, and I was thinking it would suck to be sick and then suck in
Baz sporting a Motley Crue shirt and Davy get their drink on in Europe!
4. For years you have been involved in studio and recording sessions as far back as your
Producer credit on the Death Angel debut (1987). Now you have credits with Christina Aguilera and Linda Perry (4 Non Blondes). What did you do for these sessions & how did they come about?
How that came about was, Linda and me have always been pretty good friends, because we had the same management. Katrina Sidorfsk was VAIN’s manager and when she first started working with 4 Non Blondes’ Linda’s first band, we were the big (local) rock stars and Linda use to come to our shows. So when I put my studio together she was kind of getting into gear, and sort of becoming the vintage gear junkie too. So, she did some sessions at my studio and originally recorded the song “Beautiful” with me up at my studio. She actually did “Get the Party started” with all her own (Linda’s) vocals too. And when PINK heard that song, she goes; “I want to do that song;” and Linda’s goes; “hey go for it.” So, when she started working with Christina on "Beautiful" she called me up and asked if I wanted to work on it. She also asked me to bring some of my vintage gear and the first night we just sat around and bullshitted drinking wine. It was a real cool and comfortable hang since we all knew each other.
Davy looks fairly stoked to be hanging with Mr. Plant!
5. You also found yourself working with Don Was. Who was the band, and do you have a good story?
That was actually a band called The View from
6. Rate these vocalists 1-10. A 1 being a sloppy mess, and a 10 being a vocal God.
I don’t know, I don’t like to put people down.
Axl Rose = probably like a 9, no 8 ½
David Lee Roth = um, I guess ahh, 9
Sweetheart = um, I guess ahh, 6
Stephen Tyler = ahh, 10
Michael Monroe = umm, 8
Mickey Finn = umm, 6
Vince Neil = umm, 7
Mike Patton = ummm, 7
Bret Michaels = ummm, 6
Sebastian Bach = ummm, 7
Davy Vain with an old friend of ours Gerri Miller
7. What rock star deserves a big smack in the mouth and why?
Umm. (long pause) Smack in the mouth huh? I guess I really don’t want to say it like a smack in the mouth, but I guess ahh, Axl Rose for just wasting so much opportunity. Yeah, and I don’t really mean it like, I don’t want to smack him in the mouth, but maybe more like shaking him. I’d love to be his manager okay, just so I could say you know people want to see you. You know it’s a wasted opportunity that only comes along 1 in a billion people. You know me as a singer, or somebody who’s always out there trying, just loving to be a full time musician and that being the dream. And he reached the dream, and for some reason, he’s someone not able to keep his focus to make that happen.
8. Let’s go back a ways. When VAIN started playing the San Francisco scene who were the cool bands you hung with, who came up from Hollywood and do you have any good Poison or Guns N’ Roses stories of their gigs up in the Bay Area?
Well Guns N’ Roses probably because they had the most hype. That was probably our first big local show in
Steven Adler & Davy Vain!
9. Speaking of GnR. Steven Adler was ousted from Guns and then put together ROAD CREW with members of VAIN. Tell us about that project. How did it get started, why did it end, and is Adler a handful like everyone claims?
Well, you know I was at one of the very last practices that they did, and they were working on some of the stuff for Use Your Illusion. I always thought, one thing that was kind of cool about a Gn’R practice was that their roadies had cocktails mixed on their amps waiting for them before they even walked in (Laughing). Adler did seem like he was a little bit of mess at the end you know, and the playing was pretty shaky. And Axl usually didn’t show up at the rehearsals is what I heard from him (Steven). And so, that was kind of near the end, and I knew that it was getting pretty serious. So, a month later, when Island Records got sold, it fucked up our deal and everything, he (Steven) heard about it, so he tracked my number down somewhere and said he wanted to start his own band and really wanted me to come sing for him. And he really sounded together on the phone. So then his manager (Princes’ manager Joe Ruffalo) called me and said he heard the VAIN stuff. And at this time I hadn’t even considered it, but I was flattered, because even his name alone at the time was so huge. He was a huge star, and a lot of people don’t know how gigantic Guns n’ Roses was, unless you were there. So, I told the guys in my band and my manager, and she said you seriously got to check this thing out or you might regret it. So, I said, hey I just can’t leave the band, and at the time the band (VAIN) was in real dire straits, and the rehearsals were a downer. We had already been working on a 3rd record, and the 2nd record hadn’t even come out yet. So we had this big meeting with the band, our lawyer and our manager, everyone talked about it. And everyone said to me, you got to check this out. So it wasn’t like I just split. VAIN was/is a very tight knit group of people. We all grew up in the same town
Steven Adler, Davy Vain & Road Crew.
10. Is Beat the Bullet about jacking off, running from gangs trying to kill you or does it have some other meaning?
It does have another meaning. I don’t know if I should give it away. Beat the Bullet, at the time I wrote it, if you really listen to it, it’s more about the temptation of sex luring you into dangerous situations every time and praying that you’re going to beat the bullet. To get through it one more time.
11. Memory Lane with Davy Vain.
1974 = Bicycle
1978 = Aerosmith
1986 = Vains first show
1989 = Getting signed to major record label
1991 = Flipping thru the stations watching
1994 = Wondering what I was going to do with my life, and deciding to stick with
rock n’ roll because it’s all I know
1997 = Same as 1994, but a little more worried
2000 = A fresh new start, to give one last thrust for a new Century
2004 = Umm…Danny West returning to Vain!
12. Of all the bands you shared a stage with who was the coolest to you and who
were the biggest dicks to deal with?
Biggest dicks to deal with ever…ummm…
And the coolest ever…ummm…everybody was pretty cool. Most bands that are good bands are usually pretty damn cool.
Davy Vain shared the stage with Baz, Skid Row and Lemmy
Kilmeister at the Hammersmith Odeon!
13. What rock band should call it a day and pack it up for good?
14. Name the 3 high points, and the 3 low points of your career as the front man for VAIN?
High Points: Seeing the video on Mtv for the first time, playing Hammersmith Odeon, and being on the cover of Kerrang magazine (
Low Points: Getting that call that the label sold (losing the deal), probably not seeing your record in the stores anymore, I guess there is only 2.
15. Kill, fuck, merry! (Shakira, Prince,
Well I don’t want to fuck or merry prince, right? So, I guess I’ll be forced to kill him, cause I’m not gay, and I’m not ready for that yet. But umm..and I guess I’d rather fuck Shakira, but I think I wanna merry Shakira cause she goes barefoot on stage like me. We might be kind of a jungle match!
(Editors note: Davy Vain has always performed bare foot on stage)
16. Metallica is a Bay Area band. Did you go to any of the earliest of shows, and if so,
what were they like? Did you hang with them? And could you ever have imagined that they’d become the biggest Metal band on the planet?
Yeah, I’ve met them and I know them and I did go to some of the early shows. I thought it was intense and high energy but I didn’t think it would be as big as it was.
I’d bump into Lars at the BAMMIES (Bay Area Music Awards) and he would always be way cool. He didn’t care what anyone else thought and this was when the thrash bands would not usually be associated with the glam era bands. When they were doing the Black album in
(Editors Note: Jason Newsted played in a band called Metal Beast with Jorge DeSaint in the early 80s in
Jamie Scott & Davy Vain live.
17. What was your biggest musical related payday for and what did you buy with it?
One time I did get a check straight to me for $ 70,000.00. I was living in
18. You’re faced with a hard decision here. You will lose 100% of your ability to sing and perform unless you join N’ELSON for their next recording and tour. You will also have to bleach your hair blonde and play their long lost triplet brother DAVY NELSON. This will only last for 3 years and then you can go back to being DAVY VAIN! What do you do, lose the voice or join NELSON?
Oh man! (laughing) What I would try to do, cause I wouldn’t want to lose my voice. It would be pretty torturous cause I’m not a fan, not to put them down or anything, and I’m sure a lot of people like them, and I’m sure I dated some girls that think they’re great (laughing). But what I would do is I would secretly corrupt them. By the end of the tour Nelson would be the dirtiest, filthiest rock band. I would make them die their hair black, One of the brothers would be in rehab, the other a sex addict, I would somehow have them spend the Nelson family fortune on giant extravagant parties, the biggest tour buses, a Nelson jet, I’d talk them into me having all my buddies on tour and make the best of it.
Davy Vain in Nelson? We say not a chance in hell!
19. Word Association:
Paul Northfield = Amazing
Linda Perry = Genius
Jamie Scott = Astounding
Christina Aguilera = The Voice
1989 Earthquake = Shaky
Tom Mathers = Great guy.
Danny West = Dirty. (laughing) Dirty in a good way!
Don Was = Jack in the Box coffee
Billy Rowe = Take your shoes off. (laughing)
Original Vain Line-up left to right is Danny/Guitar, Tommy/Drums,
Davy Vain front and center, Ash/Bass, & Jamie/Guitar.
20. The Last of Davy Vain.
Last time you played The Stone = 1993 I think?
Last fast food you ate = Wendy’s
Last time you signed an autograph = 1 month ago
Last time you cried = last night, but in pleasure.
Last rock star you shook hands with = Lars Ulrich
Last time you talked to Steven Adler = 9 months ago, and he always says the same
thing, “Dude, we got to get those songs out, they’re beautiful!”
Last 80s CD you listened to = Aerosmith “Night in the ruts”
Last concert you watched from the crowd = Rolling Stones
Last time you heard Beat the Bullet on the radio = 8 months ago, on the Bone yard XM
Last time you visited Metal Sludge = 2 nights ago!
And this is the edited version of the interview. The full length is over 60 minutes long and contained some cool "off the record" stories that unfortunately can’t be told. Thanks to Davy and the band.
Sludge the Bullet
Vain looking ready to beat the bullet.