From Power Star Management (the same people who gave us Britny Fox), comes
the Phoenix, Arizona rock group—'Tuff." Tuff formed in 1986 and moved
to L.A. later that same year.
Tuff has been featured in magazines throughout the world, appeared on MTV, and toured extensively throughout the Southwest and Midwest. And, the group doesn't even have a record deal yet!
Drummer Michael Lean tells us how "Tuff" you have to be to survive in today's music business.
Q. Why is there such a "buzz" about "Tuff"? How close are
you to landing a record deal?
A. We have just been signed, by Atlantic, Titanium Records, so we are no longer unsigned. There is a lot of image in this band, which helps for our press coverage. We have just been fortunate, you could say. A lot of people at the major magazines believe in us, and talk about us, which causes the 'buzz.'
Q. How did you manage major club tours if you were unsigned?
Do you have a financial backer? What do you mean by the statement, "Tuff—coming
soon to an arena near you."?
A. We have no backer or anything like that. We just have a huge fan club and the international press! We do club tours, mainly the West Coast and Southwest twice, by doing it cost-effective, having a low overhead. By this I mean we take a tour bus, put our gear underneath, three techs that work for basically food only, one hotel room only, and sell a lot of merchandise! Tuff coming soon to an arena near you means we are going to be huge and into arenas shortly!
Q. Have you guys all been in bands prior to Tuff?
A. Yes, but we've been together for over eight years now, and this is all of our first 'serious' band.
Q. Michael, you say, "We came to L.A. knowing exactly what
we wanted to do and with the motivation and determination to do it." Those
are nice words, but how did you know exactly what to do?
A. I didn't know exactly what to do, but we made the best of it. We wouldn't get discouraged, because if you don't believe in yourself, nobody else will. Our motivation and frustration always made us work harder. We made people take notice in us. We made people swallow our posters, flyers, and our name. We made L.A. Tuff territory. Like us or not, you could ask anybody, they'll know who we are.
Q. What happened to your original singer?
A. We moved here in late '86 with our old singer, Jimmy. We played two shows and parted ways, different musical interests. So, we finally got Steve in July 1987.
Q. How did you meet up with your manager, Brian Kushner?
A. We met Brian through a girl at a label that told us about him. He was following our band's press for the last couple of years.
Q. Who was handling your business previous to Brian?
A. I had been doing all the business. But, we have had two or three other managers in our career, the last being Howie Hubberman, whose claim to fame was Poison.
Q. We hear so much about L.A. bands and the L.A. scene. But,
aren't most of the so-called L.A. bands just like “Tuff”—transplanted
from another town? So is there really such a thing as an L.A. scene?
A. Yes. A lot of bands move here, but there is a huge scene and a lot of bands come from here, a lot of great bands!