"Child's Play" Interview
(Blue Collar Rockers)
Out of Baltimore, Maryland
and recording for Chrysalis Records comes a group known as "Child's Play." They've
been around since 1984, making a name for themselves in Maryland, Virginia,
Delaware, and the District of Columbia. Their debut album is titled "Rat
Race." Drummer, vocalist John Allen spoke with us about his band.
Q. John, "Blue Collar Rock" is how you describe your music. Isn't
that just another way of describing rock “n” roll with a harder
A. Yeah, I mean we pretty much coined that phrase because we all come
from the blue collar background. Our fathers worked in factories. The area
we're from is real industrial. That's where that term pretty much came from.
Q. You put out a mini album on Rampart Records and it did quite well for
you. Why then didn't you get a major label deal right away?
A. Basically all that really was, was our very first demo. And, it sold
really well in the Baltimore area. To me, it's kind of embarrassing, 'cause
it is our first demo. The first time ever in the studio. We still didn't
have management. We still didn't have connections, with the record companies,
the majors and independents. So we were still quite naive about the business.
So, we still didn't know how to go about getting signed. I think that's
the main reason why.
Q. Billy Joel recently remarked: "What's supposed to represent rebellious
music right now is heavy metal and that is the safest thing there is.. It's
safe because it's worked before." Doesn't he have a point?
A. It has worked before. But, I wouldn't say that's the only rebellious
music. You've got rap music out there which is really rebellious. You've
got all different forms of heavy metal, strains that are taking risks, as
far as musically and lyrically. Faith no more is a combination of funk and
heavy metal. Red Hot Chili Peppers which I wouldn't even go so far as to
call it heavy metal, they've got like a hardcore, punk audience, and appeal.
And, they're doing funk music. How can he (Billy Joel) say what he's doing
is cutting edge, or maybe he's not. I know that hard rock needed a shot
in the arm for a long time, and everybody was saying that's why they liked
Guns 'n' Roses, 'cause that's what they did. They brought back that bad
boy image. To me even that bad boy image is passé.
Q. You're now playing in the Baltimore area. What's it going to take to
get Child's Play on a national tour?
A. Luck, and again, I guess hard work. We're playing around, and we've
done some showcases for agencies. We have to hook up with a really good
agency to get on a really good arena tour. Even headlines who are quite
big, want a support act that is gonna help sell tickets to the concert.
It seems to me concerts are not the big event they used to be when I was
growing up? Now you have M.T.V. You can now sit in your house and watch
virtually a concert in a 3 minute video. You've got the great light show.
You've got the most comfortable seat in the house. Kids don't know what
they're missing in going to a concert. The energy. The excitement of seeing
a band "live."
Q. "Child's Play" - is that how you see
your life's work?
A. Yeah, well we try to. We started out thinking that. It is like easy
and fun, but we didn't realize it was going to take us as long as it
did to get where we're at.
© Gary James All Rights Reserved