Interviews anglais

BAD WOLVES (04/12/17)

Version française

RockUrLife had the privilege to talk with Tommy Vext about his new band, Bad Wolves. Signed by Eleven Seven Music and managed by Zoltan Bathory (Five Finger Death Punch), Bad Wolves is a promising band. Here’s an authentic and honest interview.

You just released your first single signed by Eleven Seven Music “Toast To The Ghost”. Can you tell us more about this song? What does it mean?

Tommy Vext: John (Boecklin, drums) and I put the lyrics together. Actually, he wrote the lyrics of the verse. The way I interpreted them as someone telling the story of how a relationship has changed, how a person is one way and now how the things are different. It reminds me of my relationship with my father. My father is a Vietnam veteran. He has post traumatic stress disorder. Then, I started to think about my other relatives, and my friends and my family. Literally, the song is from the family perspective talking about, not the person, but the actual conditions of the post traumatic stress disorder. The chorus talks about the level of sacrifice when people put their lives on the line and go and fight for their countries. And it’s kind of acknowledging the consequences of the sacrifices. I haven’t served for my country, but I come from a military family, so I didn’t want to write this song as the first person. I didn’t want to talk about something I didn’t experience, but what I could do is to illustrate the impact it makes on the rest of the family. Because when someone you love suffers, you suffer too. Because you feel powerless. It almost feels like you can’t do anything about it. It’s a kind of weird. It’s a weird song now that I think about it. (laughs)

No, it’s a very good song.

Tommy: Oh OK, you reassure me! (laughs)

So why did you choose it as your first single?

Tommy: It’s definitely not like other singles. It’s actually like a art piece, almost. But I think there are far too many singles that sound like singles. The band is filled with outstanding musicians. And as a singer, I had to become better from the beginning of the process of this record  until the end. And I think I grew up as a singer as a result of working with them. Because they pushed me outside my comfort zone to learn and understand how to create melodies in a different way. It’s like harmonazing with reality. Like reality is the nature of things. So when you learn to work this way, it all sounds beautiful. This song is the only song with a drum blast beat, so it doesn’t sound like the other songs on alternative radios in the US which is fucking cool! It’s like “we know the rules” and we’re like: “OK we need to put this on the radio but how can we fucking break the rules?”. (laughs) So this is what we do, we break the rules… all of it!



OK, so let’s talk about the song “Learn To Live”. Was it intented for your listeners or for yourself? Like did you question yourself when you wrote it?

Tommy: No! This song is the song that started the band. I’ve been friends with the guys for about fifteen years, we know each other well, we’ve toured together with different bands. And I was going to hire John to write a song for me for something else. I had just did a song for WWE, I’m writing for other people as well. And so he had “Learn To Live” as a demo but he didn’t want it on his album, he didn’t like it. So, he offered it to me and I liked it very much right away. Then I went to the studio to record it, I changed it around a little bit. The vocals that have on the album, it was one time. Then, we sent the vocals over the demo and I didn’t hear from him. I thought he didn’t like it. He called me at 3am, he was at a party in Las Vegas and he was like: “Oh my god, you got to be in my band, dude, I’m going to send you 3 more songs.” So I went to the studio with Joseph McQueen, my vocal producer, and boom, 3 days later, 3 more songs! That’s how it happened, it was very natural. I’m a Sober Life Coach, so in Los Angeles, I help people get their life back after drugs, and “Learn To Live” is about people who have to deal with that. There is a lot of addiction going on in the States. I do not know how it is in the rest of the world but it’s an epidemic here. Because there are many companies who give doctors kickbackes for prescribing medication for people who might not necesserily. So you may have had an accident or surgery and you will be prescribed medication that too strong. Even people who dealing with depression. There are sometimes other alternatives to change the way you feel about life and things. And unfortunately in the pharmaceutical industry, sometimes they take advantage of people dealing with mental illnesses and monatazing. And people are killing themselves. Because I work on recovery, I’m exposed it more. There is a constant threat. That’s what “Learn To Live” is about.



How did the signing with Eleven Seven Music happen?

Tommy: Our manager is Zoltan Bathory of Five Finger Death Punch. We met up either in Vegas or LA, and I’ve known the guys from Death Punch since they started. I used to be in a band called Devine Heresy, and we were doing the same things at the same time and then they really took off. So Zoltan heard “Learn To Live” and he loved it. And he knows John, Doc (Coyle, guitar) and me from our old other bands. So he was like: “you have to send me this album, I have to manage that!” We thought we finished the album, we had 23 songs and Zoltan picked the best ones. We had a few offers from labels, a couple labels tuned us down, Zoltan got involved and I think he knew that Eleven was capable of taking this band. We’re probably the heaviest and most metal band on the record label, Five Finger Death Punch is also pretty heavy, but we’re a little more weirdos. We’re like the weirdos kids in school. (laughs) So it was huge for us. You can’t lie like “oh I don’t care” when someone else finds value. It’s the same thing as your supporters. It’s vindictive and exciting for us because Eleven gave us the opportunity to tour as much as we want to. They sign very good bands and these bands do things very well. So being on a label with bands such as Death Punch, Nothing More or In Flames is huge.



The album will be released soon in March. Can you tell us a secret about it?

Tommy: A secret? I don’t know. There may be a guest performance. I can’t tell who, but it’s a vocalist who is a big fucking deal! So it would be cool. We’re still working on it and see if it can happen. So it would be a probable secret. But I don’t know. I guess we have no other secrets. It’s just a very good album. We made an album that we would have all bought! This is the most important thing. We did it thinking like: “dude I would have bought it!” So it’s super cool.

Why did you cover “Zombie” by The Cranberries?

Tommy: This song has a way of a nostalgia. The Cranberries is obviously not an American band but the lyrics reflect some of political, economic and social problems of their country, but it also really mirrors what is going on in the US right now and for a little too long. I don’t know where I was in Los Angeles when I heard the song and I thought: “this song is fucking heavy”. And I didn’t get why there wasn’t any heavy version of this song. So I thought: “We’re gonna do it.” Then I told the guys, they were all pretty surprised. We changed some things. The second verse it’s “2018” instead of “1916”. But it’s still a very powerful song, not matter how you interpret it. And Allen (Kovac, founder of Eleven Seven Music) used to manage them, I didn’t know that until we played the song. So it had to be on the record because it’s a weird coincidence.



Last question: We are “RockUrLife”, so what rocks your life Tommy?

Tommy: What rocks my life? My life is amazing! I come from very small beginning, I almost died, a lot of things happened in my life and every day I wake up grateful. I write a list of things I’m grateful for each morning. So just being alive. There’s a movie with Tom Hank, “Cast Away”, and after being rescued, he talks to his friend and says “there are ice in my glass”. It seems like a hippie thing but I had a similar experience 7 years ago. I almost lost my life. So to me, gratitude rocks my life.


*The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan, la chanteuse de The Cranberries was set to reprise her iconic vocals on Bad Wolves’ cover of “Zombie”. That day, she passed away.