Kristy Majors: "It was not Pretty Boy Floyd until I joined."
"We wrote every song with the exception of a few songs." Kristy Majors
ALL THE THINGS ABOUT PRETTY BOY FLOYD YOU WERE AFRAID TO ASK
The real truth from the rock god who lived it: Pretty Boy Floyd guitarist Kristy Majors tells all in Sludge exclusive
By Gerry Gittelson
Metal Sludge Contributor
HOLLYWOOD – They never had a Gold record, but Pretty Boy Floyd is among the most renowned pure glam bands in rock history, based largely on the Los Angeles foursome’s 1989 MCA debut “Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz,” a true masterpiece in a guilty-pleasure sort of way.
And while Pretty Boy Floyd never achieved the stardom of their forefathers like Bowie, Sweet and Slade from Europe and later Motley Crue, Poison and Warrant from Los Angeles, there is no question Pretty Boy Floyd will go down in history as glittery cult heroes.
And they’re back at it, as Pretty Boy Floyd is touring with Jack Russell’s Great White, Faster Pussycat, BulletBoys and Lillian Axe in a package that is sure to find MILFs from here to the Mississippi lining up for one last shot at that after-show tour-bus party.
Kristy Majors, a guitarist whose rock-star-cool image and catchy guitar riffs proved crucial to Pretty Boy Floyd’s success, was only too happy to check in with Metal Sludge. And Majors does not pull any punches.
Here in part ONE, Majors recounts the unlikely story of how a juvenile delinquent from New York City manages to find his way to Hollywood for the ride of life. Later, in part TWO, we’ll find out what happened once Pretty Boy Floyd signed a record – and how the group has managed to remain vital to this day.
METAL SLUDGE: You were the last piece of the puzzle, Kristy. The last one. I remember in the beginning, Pretty Boy Floyd would put up ads looking for a guitar player with a big photo of everyone in the band but the guitar player’s faced blocked out.
Kristy Majors: Basically, a good friend of mine, I was sent a bunch of magazines, Bam, Rock City News, zillions of them. There were all these ads for guitar players, shitloads of them. I was playing New York thrash in a band called Jett Blakk. No one would book us. We were on a compilation. It was rough, Exodus meets Overkill. Hardcore.
METAL SLUDGE: Really? And from there you went to a candy glam band designed to appeal to 14-year-old girls?
Kristy Majors: (laughs) It wasn’t a big departure. Here’s the real story: I had went for surgery. I had a tonsillectomy. I was 17 years old. Anyway, the nurse injected me with something afterward, and I had an allergic reaction and violently threw up. It was so bad it broke the stitches. There was blood spurting everywhere. I was panicky. I almost died. That moment, I felt like I had been given a second chance at life, an SOS kind of thing, Save Our Soul.
I had been a horrible kid, spray-painting churches, all that shit. Spraying ‘em with pentagrams. That’s the kind of kid I was. A horrible kid – full-on horrible. I would put girls in dumpsters, kick ‘em. I had been kicked out of school the year before. I didn’t get my GED until I came to Los Angeles and got it at Fairfax High. In New York, I had been kicked out of public school after a fight. I had got stabbed in the arm by this other kid with a giant hunting knife. Me and my friends, the next we came to school with nunchucks, baseball bats and all this other stuff, and then the school principal got involved, and if you believe it, the way they tried to settle it was, they were going to have a boxing match in the middle of the gym with the whole school attending. It was so out of control.
METAL SLUDGE: How big were you back then?
Kristy Majors: I was like 145 pounds. The other guy was a little bigger. But I didn’t care. I told that to my dad, but as soon as the idea was suggested to him, my dad yanked me out of school. As things turned out, a year later, the kid I was going to fight, that motherfucker killed someone outside a nightclub, stabbed a guy to death. He got life in prison. This was in Queens, it was a crazy neighborhood.
METAL SLUDGE: So then what happened?
Kristy Majors: My dad had a business in Manhattan, so we moved to Manhattan. I was like 15 at the time, and I was home schooled. I ended up moving out cause of the band Princess Pang. I was dating the singer, and we were living in East Village on Avenue A and 1st Street. I wanted her to come out with me to L.A., but she wanted to stay. She ended up signing with Metal Blade. After I left, she turned into a junkie and didn’t want to move out to L.A.
METAL SLUDGE: So your family was OK with you coming to Los Angeles?
Kristy Majors: No, we come from a 100 percent Italian family, a wealthy family, and my dad was like: “Fuck you, you’re not going to L.A. You’re going to take over the family business.” And I was like, “No, I’m not.”
My dad did air conditioning and refrigerators. He did the Drake Hotel, a big giant hotel, and Trump Towers, all that shit. My mom stayed out of it, but my dad, he basically told me that if I moved out here, I was on my own. I was cut off. I said fine. I had $3,000 saved, then I spent $2,000 on a van to pack all my shit, and I drove across country on my own. I didn’t know what I was going to do.
I had a tryout, my first audition, for Motorcycle Boy. I walked in, and Francois said play this one song, it has the chords A, G and D. I played it, and he said, “Dude, you’re in.” I got the gig, and the plan was to play a show in San Francisco.
METAL SLUGE: Did you think you were a pretty good guitar player at this point?
Kristy Majors: No, I sucked – and I still do. It was an average song, and I was a shitty guitar player.
Here was what my plan was: My idea was, it was a Motley Crue-Poison type scenario. Find four guys, jell and mesh, and you don’t have to write the greatest songs in the world – just have a full-on show and play the life of a rock star, and maybe something big can happen.
So then, the same day, I go to an audition for Pretty Boy Floyd. I walk in, and (drummer) Kari Kane and (singer) Steve Summers, they’re all wearing shorts, baseball hats and sneakers. I walk in there wearing leather pants, hair in the air, the whole thing, and I basically did what I did, just jammed some songs with them. They were pretty inexperienced. Steve had never sung in public before, and Kari was just learning to play the drums. Vinnie Chas had actually played bass in a top 40 band with Jerry Cantrell in Seattle, so he was actually the most experienced in the band. I thought about it, and they had a rehearsal room, a manager – kind of, I later found out Mitch Stevens was actually Steve’s brother – but I thought to myself, “Hmm, I can live in this rehearsal room and I can mold this band into what I want it to be.” So it looked to me like this band, Pretty Boy Floyd, would be best for me. One or two days later, I said, “Yeah, I’m in.”
METAL SLUDGE: Now, what about the Ariel Stiles version of the band. I heard an early tape, and it had all the songs that would make it onto the Pretty Boy Floyd album except “Set the Night on Fire,” which I think was the one song you wrote.
Kristy Majors: Contrary to what everybody believes, it was not Pretty Boy Floyd until I joined the band. There was no Ariel Stiles version that was called Pretty Boy Floyd. The guys in Pretty Boy Floyd, they were like, “Do you like our songs?” They had a big batch, “Leather Boys,” “Wild Angels,” a few others on some tapes. But they were unfinished. The real story is, Vinnie used to live with Ariel, and when we went to record the demos, he asked Ariel if he could use his eight-track, and we’re the ones who did the eight-track recordings, and I have the proof of all this. And then after we recorded all this shit on that crappy eight-track, we never took the tapes out, and he went over the songs and sang on them, and then he said he had the copyright. We ended up settling out of court because it was so stupidly expensive. He got 30 to 40 percent on five of the songs, and that’s it. We wrote every song with the exception of a few songs.
METAL SLUDGE: Interesting.
Kristy Majors: When I got there, the other guys in the band, they didn’t even know where to buy clothes. They were just a bunch of kids from the Valley who had never recorded anything in their life.
METAL SLUDGE: I actually thought the drummer, Kari Kane, was pretty talented.
Kristy Majors: Oh, he was. That was one of the things I really loved about the band. I thought I could mold him because he was so unorthodox, but I loved his drumming. It’s really weird, but I love it. There’s no doubt about it. He was a key part of the sound. Plus, Steve Summers, his voice was so smooth and so distinctive. I liked that. I like when you hear a voice, and you know who it is automatically, not something generic like Nickelback or Joe Schmo. I wanted personality, a band where everyone knew the names of everyone in the band.
METAL SLUDGE: Sad news about Vinnie Chas dying.
Kristy Majors: Yeah. You know, the funny thing is, we had contacted Vinnie several times to come in and re-record some stuff. He wasn’t into it, just a few emails a few phone calls now and then. We would always ask him if he wanted to things like come on a two-week tour in Europe.
METAL SLUDGE: So you’re saying you left the door open?
Kristy Majors. We did. We left the door open for him to come and rejoin the band anytime. His aunt found him dead in Portland. She didn’t want to say why or what happened. I guess he was working at a computer place, and he left work early on Friday and didn’t show up on Monday. He was really depressed. He had a dog named Venice that he had named after his first girlfriend in L.A.
METAL SLUDGE: Oh, Venice Publishing. She was hot. I remember her well. Sorry Kristy, but she was more beautiful than the girlfriends of all the others members of Pretty Boy Floyd.
Kristy Majors: She was originally mine! I gave her to Vinnie!
METAL SLUDGE: What?
Kristy Majors: Yeah, she freaked me out. She was living in Hollywood on Franklin, and one day I knock on her door, and Ron Jeremy answers the door. I was like, “Venice, I didn’t know you lived with Ron Jeremy!” And she was all, “Oh, he’s just a good friend.” Then one day, she calls me up and says she left a present for me, an envelope, and when I picked it up there was $4,000. She told me to use the money to rent us an apartment together. I told her Vinnie had no place to go and could he move in, too, and she said yeah. She had a lot of money, taking us out to dinner in limos, but also a lot of messages from guys, a lot of out-of-town trips. I was living the rock-star life with her, but I figured it out. I never asked her where her money came from. Anyway, I told Vinnie, “Hey, she’s hot as fuck, but I don’t know if I want to put my dick in her,” and Vinnie’s like, “I’ll do it.”
METAL SLUDGE: There is NOTHING on the net or Facebook about Venice Publishing.
Kristy Majors: I know. I don’t know what name she goes by now, but I bumped into Ron Jeremy not too long ago, and he said she’s living in New York and had married a Calvin Klein model.
METAL SLUDGE: Very interesting. Anyway, I think it took only nine shows before you signed a record deal.
Kristy Majors: Well, the first few shows were atrocious. But by the time we got singed, I thought we were petty fucking good. The work ethic kind of builds when people start coming to the shows. It motivates you to the point of maybe we should rehearse a little more. I think we started getting tighter, and it started to sound pretty good. I just looked at old video from the Roxy in like 1988, and I was thinking we actually weren’t that bad.
METAL SLUDGE: You signed with MCA. How did it all come about?
Kristy Majors: My first band from New York, Jett Blakk, a guy who published a fanzine in Seattle, he really liked that band. He used to sell cassette tapes from that fanzine, and sometimes we would talk on the phone. His name was Bret Hartman. Anyway, one day I’m in Hollywood and I walk into Tower Records, and see “Bret Hartman” on the guy’s name tag, and I’m like, ‘Hey, are you the Bret Hartman from Seattle?” He said yeah, blah blah blah. Two months later, he’s working at CBS. Al Teller had given him a job after walking into Tower and asking Bret to pick out his own favorite CDs, and I guess Teller was impressed with Bret’s choices. Gave him an A & R job. True story.
Anyway, I had a relationship with Bret Hartman when he moved over to MCA, so I sent him a demo. It was actually a crappy demo the way it was recorded, but then I went to Bret’s house, and I brought like three strippers, a 12-pack of beer and a bunch of pot. Got everyone loaded, and the girls stripped and danced. Bret had a great time. The next day, we had a deal memo.
METAL SLUDGE: I knew Bret Hartman well. That story is actually very believable.
Kristy Majors: Oh, it’s true. Bret wanted to live the life of a rock star. I guess he was a frustrated musician or something.
NEXT: Pretty Boy Floyd gets signed and begins touring the world – but it turns out to be the beginning of the end.
Gerry Gittelson can be reached at [email protected]
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