Earl Slick Interview
For many years now,
Earl Slick has been the man behind the stars. He's toured and played with David
Bowie. He played on John Lennon's last album Double Fantasy. He played on the
Mick Jagger/ David Bowie single "Dancin' In the Streets."
And he's just released his first solo album "In Your Face" (Metal Blade/ Warner
Bros. Records). And, if that's not enough, Earl is the new guitar player for
Q. "In Your Face" is an instrumental. Why did you decide to
go that route?
A. I kind of got the urge to do it by kind of accident, 'cause I was just jammin'
around with a couple of guys from my old band and I came up with a lick that
eventually turned into the song that's called "Tank" on the record. I thought
wow, this is fun. I wonder if I could actually do a whole record of this. I
spoke to Brian Slagel over here at Metal Blade and he said he thought it was
a good idea. I said well, let me see if I can write some of these. Let me see
if I can come up with kind of substantial amount of material to do it with.
It wasn't all that hard. I sat down with Pat Schunk who is my co-producer on
the record and we wrote three or four more of 'em. We were likin' it. I brought
'em back to Brian and said this is kind of what we're doing. What do you think?
He said great. Let's make a record.
Q. I thought Little Caesar broke up. They're still very much
together are they?
A. Very much together. In fact, we're talking to producers now, 'cause we want
to do another record.
Q. Why did Little Caesar think of you?
A. I've known Lauren, the guitar player, for years. When Apache left the band
Lauren said we kind of need somebody to come in and help out to get through
these next couple of gigs. I said great. I didn't come in with my intentions
of joining the band, right off the bat, and I don't think they intended on
asking me. We did a few gigs. They were doing some pre-production so I went
into the studio with 'em and cut a couple of new tracks. Everybody started
likin' it, so we decided to do it.
Q. Why did you wait so long to put out your own album?
A. Brian (Slagel - Metal Blade) had re-released one of my older records — my
Earl Slick Band album. So that wasn't really a solo thing 'cause it was a band,
it just had my name on it. He got the rights to re-release that. The name of
the album was called "Razor Sharp." We just got to talking to do this, and
I basically signed with Metal Blade because of the attitude of the company.
We're going to be doing some records here. I'm lovin' it. I had a great time
makin' that album. I was left alone. It wasn't even like makin' a record. It
didn't feel like makin' an album. It just felt like playin' music, which is
cool. It was just like this sounds good. Let's record it, and we did.
Q. At this point in your life, you've been influenced by all
types of music — blues, jazz, metal, rock, country. What would you
say to rock fan who tune out all other types of music?
A. It's hard to say, because I did the same thing. Like right now I'm goin'
through this country 'n western phase, and all I listen to in my car is KZLA
here, which is the country station. So, I'm still doin' it man. I do listen
to other stuff, but I'm not pigeon-holed into one kind of music. I do get on
one thing and I'll beat it into the ground, for awhile.
Q. Granted that you're a good musician, what else were people
like John Lennon, David Bowie and Mick Jagger looking at in you?
A. It's real funny. I've done a full circle. Larry DeMarzio is a very good
friend of mine. He makes pick-ups. I've known Larry for 20 years. And Larry
remembers me from before Bowie, when we used to play bars in New York. When
he heard the "In Your Face" record he said this is the first record you've
made in years that reminds me of where you started. It reminds me of the attitude
you had. And a lot of it with me was the attitude. When it comes to actual
technical clips, it's not what I think I do that well. I think I'm a feel player.
I think the thing that got me a lot of attention was that, more than anything
Q. What was it like recording with John Lennon on the "Double
Fantasy" album? Did you sense that this was really something special?
A. Oh man, it was exciting because he hadn't made a record in five years. I
don't know if the press ever got a hold of this one, but we were supposed to
tour in January. After Christmas and New Year's we were supposed to go back
in over-dub some stuff on the left over tracks which eventually came out as
Milk and Honey, and then tour right after that.
Q. How did you get that gig?
A. Jack Douglas called me, on John's instruction. I'm not really sure how that
all came about because I never met John before I worked with him. I guess
I never will find out how that happened.
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