Kidd Havok Interview
2007 was a dream year for Kidd Havok, the hard rock band out of West Palm Beach, FL.
They saw the release of their CD, Roll the Dice, through SunCity Records, which up to this point, had been sitting on the shelf or previously only given out by the band.
What happened next was more than anyone expected.
The CD caught fire throughout the hard rock community and provided a 2nd life to Kidd Havok.
We discussed the success of Roll the Dice with guitarist, Scot Marcs, and also talked about their upcoming CD, Dirty Money, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle once again in 2011.
When, exactly, were the demos recorded for Roll the Dice? Were there any issues that came from such a long time gap in between recording sessions?
Scot: The two five song demos where about 7-8 months apart so not to bad. I want to say late 1989 or very early 1990. The solo was done about 14 months later, I think. We did the first two demos at Studio 13, so it was like our second home. We went into a place in Ft. Lauderdale to do the third demo; I don't remember the name of the place. That CD was a total of 3 different demo sessions put together to make the finished product. We used to sell it as a cassette at shows back in the day, but without the guitar solo (at the end of the CD). The solo was from an all night live demo session, during which we recorded about 14 or 15 songs without vocals, that we planned to go back and add vocals to and sell as the "new” cassette, but we called it a day a little while after that.
Do you feel a little animosity towards the Grunge music that took over in the early 90's for what may have been a successful start to your career? I mean, with the music from Roll the Dice, it could stand right there with some of the other successful acts of that era.
Scot: No not at all. Music is all about feeling and emotion. That is what people wanted to feel at the time. I'm just glad that we were smart enough to get out when we did. A lot of my friends hung in too long and then had to fake it…Pretend to be something that they were not. I play what I play and still love the music that I love. Plus I still love Alice In Chains!
How was it, gaining the new found attention when Roll the Dice saw the light of day in 2007? When you did receive the attention from that album, did you guys think right then and there that you wanted to do it again...record another album?
Scot: It was great. It sold pretty well for us at shows back in the day. But it was great to hear it remastered and have other people enjoy it. No we really didn't. We knew we had a two CD deal, but we didn't think we would do the second one. After it started selling and we kept getting all those cool shows, it just made sense. Plus half of set has always been songs that are now on the "Dirty Money" CD.
Was it more serious or fun recording Dirty Money seeing that the release of Roll the Dice gave Kidd Havok a second chance at success?
Scot: The short answer is yes. I got a chance to take my time with everything. I had a great partner with Daniel Coloumbo at IceMan Studios who really understood what I was trying to do. He and I did all the engineering and production and we even did the mastering. It was fun to mix, but I also had to play bass on it last minute so it made a little serious. Plus it was a chance to do it right this time.
How much input did Johnny B (Vocalist) and Rob Barone (Drummer) have into the writing, recording, mixing/mastering of "Dirty Money?"
Scot: The recording mixing and mastering was all Daniel and myself. The songs where all the older songs so we all had a say of what songs got picked. We make some last minute changes on the fly on arrangements and John rewrote the lyrics on the ballad.
Speaking about playing bass previously, you handle that and all the guitar duties on the new CD. Was it difficult taking on so many facets of the recording process?
Scot: Only because it was so short notice. I would always play bass at home on demos, plus I used to teach guitar and bass back in the day so it wasn't too bad, I just wanted to be careful not to sound like a guitar player trying to play bass. I ended up doing a few of the tracks two or three times just because I didn't want overplay.
How long was the writing and recording process of Dirty Money?
Scot: Writing was easy because it was done back in the day and just fine tuned. We didn't want to stray to far from who and what we are. If we do a third CD, it will be all new songs.
Both discs contain a good amount of guitar solos, which you seem to be pretty damned good at. Do you still feel that virtuoso guitar playing is relevant within today's music or is it, as some will say, a dying art form?£
Scot: I don't think it was ever relevant, but it has always been fun to do! When I was in some of my earlier bands I use to get made fun of for being in glam bands but still having chops. I would always bring up Steve Stevens (Billy Idol guitarist); I don't think anyone knows how good that guy is! I'm in the studio in late August to start my first solo guitar CD. So we see how that goes (lol)! At the end of the day if it feels good, play it.
Are you handling all the instruments and (if any) vocals? Is there a timeline in which you want to see this released?
Scot: No timeline. This will be a pure labor of love. I will be playing everything but drums. Daniel will do all the programing for that. I might sing a song or two but I'm not sure yet. It will be much easier to releases since I won't have to wait or relay on anyone (label etc).
Were you already sitting on a collection of songs you wrote for Dirty Money or was it a band collective before going back into the studio?
Scot: Yeah a ton! It has always been the same routine. I would put together an outline of the music, John would write the lyrics, and we all would help with the arrangements and melodies. It just seemed to work out that way.
I've gotten to hear the new music and have to say...you guys haven't missed a beat! Your sound is tight as if it was recorded at the same time as Roll the Dice. Did you guys, as a group, still work with each other over the years? It sounds as if you guys never stopped playing together during that time from when the original demos were recorded to the time Roll the Dice was released. What's the secret?
Scot: We didn't play together, but we stayed friends and we were all still playing. Just not on such a serious I have to make it big level like it was. It’s funny…the first time we played after all those years it still felt right, like we never stopped.
Why are you self-releasing your new disc, Dirty Money?
Scot: We are not sure what is going on with SunCity Records right now. We have had the CD done and mastered since November of 2010. We really just want it to be heard at this point. We talked to quite a few other labels and it just made more sense to do it ourselves. No one is really buying CD's so we are going to put it on every major download site and Amazon on demand for those people who haft to have a physical CD.
You say no one is buying CDs anymore, as in the format, but are people still buying rock music?
Scot: I think very little. Most everyone is downloading music now. It so easy and there is no way to stop it. This is why T-Shirts are $40.00 at shows. Tickets are $50.00 plus for most club shows and much higher at arenas and sheds. Its almost impossible for someone young or someone with a family to go to a show nowadays. But the bands almost don't have a choice. The have to pay their crew, gas, production etc. It used to be you toured to promote a CD, now you do it to make a living. its very very tough for everyone now a days. The era of the major label is dead! and its not coming back. Not sure where it will go yet. But in many ways live music has payed the price for it.
You've already, on occasion, tried out some of your new material live. What kind of response are you getting from the fans? Does there seem to be a favorite?
Scot: The response has been GREAT! Dirty Money, Poor Side, Dead and Gone have all been long time staples of our show. People have been asking for recordings of those songs for years.
I know it may be too early to tell, but do you guys feel you can do even more with Kidd Havok?
Scot: Not sure, all long as it stays fun we'll keep doing it. We just had an amazing show with John Corabi and Cinderella. Plus…the CD will come out very soon and if people still want to see us, we will keep playing. We have had some great shows in the past few years. Plus, playing to a packed house is always great! Hopefully the CD will take off and will land us a great tour.
Any other big shows (such as the Cinderella/John Corabi show) you have coming up that you'd like to announce?
Scot: Nothing yet. But anything cool that comes near West Palm Beach/Ft. Lauderdale we usually get a call.
Who were the band's influences back in the day? Who are you listening to now?
Scot: When John and I started this it was all about Aerosmith, Van Halen, and Motley Crue. We wanted a little tougher look then most glam bands, but keep the hooks in the songs. Now I listen to everything. I really always have. I'm from a big family and there was always music playing in my house and it was all different. Right now I'm on a Queens Of The Stone Age, Muse and Foo Fighters kick, plus a new band from L.A. called Scattered Hamlet .
Last one’s just for fun...Putting together your "Dream" band, with you included, who would you choose?
Scot: That's and easy one. Billy Sheehan on bass, Shannon Larkin on drums, and John Corabi on vocals and guitar.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 10 August 2011 15:47)