Interview wi AJ Mitchell from Rough Justice
It was only a couple of weeks ago that I learned about Rough Justice when Eönian label head Stephen Craig dropped the word on the label's next scheduled release that will feature at least one tune from this former Sunset Strip act. I wasted no time and contacted the band's guiatrist AJ Mitchell to see if he would be interested in answering a couple of questions so you and I could find out more on Rough Justice and the planned release.
Rough Justice are one of the bands featured on the upcoming "Rock 'N Roll Rebels of Sunset Strip" 4 CD boxset on Eonian Records. How did you become involved in this project and when were you first approached by the label to participate?
AJ: I was contacted on Facebook in April 2013 about it. It was really cool to be apart of it. Get some recognition for the band 20 years later...
Eonian CEO Stephen Craig said he would get back to me with more details of the project but so far it's been silent from his end. Are you at liberty to give us some more inside information? Like how many songs of Rough Justice will be included and maybe some names of other bands in the package?
AJ: I really dont have many details yet! I know it's for Hurricane Sandy relief and I actually do have a list of the other bands, Too many to name! Its a huge box set you know? I dont know how many song RJ will get on the set.. I look forward to getting that info soon!
Since the boxset will include songs from a whopping 40 bands there will no doubt be quite a few that you shared the stage with. Which of them were most fun to play with and why?
AJ: Well, honestly there's only 1 band we played a great show with on the list. There wre so many bands back then, it was a crazy time.. the Sunset Strip was full of dudes in bands.. and chicks dying to be with us... Bad Blood was the band we played one of our biggest show with... Whisky a Go Go 1991.
Having your music as part of an official release some 2 decades after you recorded it no doubt has you very excited and brought back memories from when you were in the studio getting everything on tape. What are some of the things that stand out from the time you played the Strip? Was it as wild a time as several sources claim?
AJ: OMG ! The Strip was debauchery at its finest! Every weekend hanging at the Rainbow, drinking, chasing hot rocker girls, flyering for shows and then playing those shows at famous clubs! The recording wasn't that big of a deal.. I never really liked sitting in the studio for too long.. I love the stage!
Let's go back even further in time to the humble beginnings of the band and tell us where and when Rough Justice first started out.
AJ: Well, I was jamming with our bassist Stacy Grave and another drummer friend we both knew. Working on original songs trying to put a band together. When we started auditioning singers, Stacy and I loved this guy that came in, we knew from another band but our drummer didn't like him. So we decided to keep the singer and boot the drummer... Theh Vandal joined the band... and he brought a drummer he was playing in bands with from Phoenix with him and BOOM... Rough Justice was born.
What can you tell us about the band's line-up history? Was it the same 4 guys from start to finish?
AJ: The bands line up...: Vandal-lead vocals, AJ Mitchell-lead guitars, Stacy Grave- bass and Randy Allen-drums. The band's line up didn't change until the very end when we had some disagreements and I left the band. They played a few shows after that and disbanded.
How many songs did the band actually record and were all of them made available to the public in the shape of demo tapes or CD's?
AJ: The band recorded alot of demos but only one 4 song EP demo was available to the public and our fans.
Was there ever talk of a record label adding the band to its roster? If yes, why did the deal fell through?
AJ: Well, there was always talk and rumor back then, we had a manager that worked hard at it for us.. But we never got over the hump..
How big is the chance that if the boxset triggers enough response a full length album will become a possibility?
AJ: I really wish that was possible... I could revamp the band but unfortunately Vandal passed away in the mid 2000's so there is only the 3 remaining members.
Music from the 1980's Californian rock scene is nowadays often referred to as hair metal. The past years has seen a whole new level of interest in a scene that was considered dead by most of the media and it has even led to an impressive number of new bands that honour the look and sound of the Sunset Strip scene. The most fertile breeding grounds are to be found in Sweden and Finland. Do you keep an eye on what's happening over there? Do you like what these bands are doing?
AJ: You know I really don't. I never have listened much to new music, even back in the days of the Strip I tried not to be influenced by other bands writing styles. But that is really awesome. Right now I play in a 80's Hair Metal Tribute band in Hollywood. So I like to look at it like going back and doing something I love... and yes, there is a huge market for that genre of music again! I love that! I miss those days and the music.. It was kick ass rock man!
When did you decide to call it a day with Rough Justice and what actually brought on the demise of the band? Was it the change in the musical climate or did you just feel the band had run its course?
AJ: No, like i said before, I left the band... and they didnt go much longer after that. I like to think of it as if our fans didnt like that I wasnt in the band anymore and they stopped going!! Ha ha... but whatever it was, Vandal and Randy Allen and I played together again in other projects later on.
Were you or any of your fellow band members involved in other musical projects once Rough Justice had entered the history books?
AJ: Vandal and I formed a project, just for fun. played around a bit.. nothing formal, Stacy formed something else and I am not sure what Randy Allen did. A few years later around '93 I moved back to my hometown of Seattle and just recorded new music.. But that was about the list of it.
What are you and your former colleagues doing nowadays? Do you still keep in touch?
AJ: Unfortunately Vandal is gone from us, Stacy lives in the LA area, has been in radio for years, on air and producing, Randy Allen lives in Dallas/ Ft Worth and travels to LA often. I recently caught up with him in Dallas.. So we keep in touch occasionally, yes. I've been living in Los Angeles again since 2008 and am working for a major Cable company besides playing in an 80s Metal Tribute band called Strip Metal.
To finish up, here's a blank space to write whatever you like the readers of Sleazenation to know about Rough Justice and the upcoming boxset that hasn't been mentioned yet.
AJ: Rough Justice was a very good band, great songwriting and very intertaining, with a great show and we loved the Sunset Strip and the time.. It was a great time to be in Hollywood and playing rock music... We had a blast.. and wouldn't traded it for anything.. except maybe a record contract!! I wish we could have a reunion show... but it's not in the cards for Rough Justice... Hope you enjoy the music.... Rock on!!
Last Updated (Wednesday, 03 July 2013 18:48)