I recently had the opportunity to sit down with former front man Nick Walsh of SLIK TOXIK and discuss some of the latest news of his most recent project REVOLVER. There were a lot of questions answered regarding SLIK TOXIK’s break-up and the future of the new band. The show was kick ass and Nick and the band never missed a beat.
Hi Nick, great to see you back in the limelight once again.
You just mentioned to me prior to this interview that REVOLVER have signed on to a label in
Yeah, we just signed out of
I did a little bit of research on the band and the name REVOLVER came about from one of the world’s most famous bands.
Yeah. THE BEATLES.
Big fan of the band personally?
Yeah, my father’s from
Immediately I thought about “Revolution”, like the song and then I was talking to a couple of guys at work that are BEATLES fans and they said no, no, there’s an album called “Revolver”. And I thought cool but immediately another band name came to mind.
I read a quote that said you know THE WHO didn’t change their name when the GUESS WHO came around…
Yeah, exactly. But I mean, RUSH, MAHOGANY RUSH, VELVET UNDERGROUND, VELVET REVOLVER, like I could go on for days.
You can’t go ahead and think that there’s going to be any bad publicity practically sharing a name with one of today’s super groups. I mean there’s REVOLVER, there’s VELVET REVOLVER you know. Hey there’s nothing wrong with being compared to a line up of that musical calibre.
Any comments on VELVET REVOLVER, are they a super band?
Well I’ll tell you what man, when “Appetite For Destruction” came out, it changed my life. Sure, absolutely. When “Appetite” came out it was like this is something new, this is something that isn’t one of those sort of palatable Rock bands. This is dangerous. This is what rock n roll is supposed to be. So yeah, as far as the VELVET REVOLVER band goes I mean Slash, Duff, Matt Sorum and that song it’s incredible.
There was a comment Strutter magazine that said REVOLVER is a band that’s much better than the BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION and VELVET REVOLVER. Much better than what they’re doing in the States right now. How do you feel about a comment like that? Being compared to those guys.
Well to be honest with you any critic is allowed to state their opinion cause that’s their job. I don’t really know a lot about the BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION. I’m a huge MÖTLEY CRÜE and Nikki Sixx fan. And I’m sure that with Nikki involved the BRIDES are probably a great band. As well you know Tracy Guns you know was into LA GUNS back in the day.
BRIDES is a very cool project. Kind of a heavier Punk style.
Yeah. I don’t know the material so I can’t really comment on them.
However VELVET REVOLVER is awesome. I heard the first song “Slither” and I thought it was amazing.
That’s cool yeah.
The BRIDES though, if you get a chance, check it out. I thought it was a little bit weird for Nikki to take his side project, which was doing so well for a while and just all of sudden stop and go back with CRÜE.
Well, you know CRÜE is the CRÜE. I mean without the CRÜE there wouldn’t be a lot of other bands out there.
So back to THE BEATLES. Obviously one of the most influential tracks has to be “Revolution”. What are your other favourite BEATLES songs?
You know what? Believe it or not I like, I like a lot of that later BEATLES stuff where they’re dark and they do like “Eleanor Rigby” and obviously “Revolution”, “I Am the Walrus”. I just love the contrast between the Paul McCartney, John Lennon stuff.
Back to your music. Songs like “Electric Machine”, “Atomic Arcade”, “Gasoline” and “Blue Sky”; this is music that seems to be right back in the eighties. Is it something you were kind of trying to capture with those songs?
Actually, not really, “Atomic” kind of, as far as the lyrical content goes. That song’s basically about trying to bring back something that has been sort of a void for a long time. I mean there’s been pop divas and lip synching and you know the grunge era killed everything we were all doing back then. And you know it’s amazing how you know people would pay at that time whatever, let’s say twenty five bucks to see a band and there was pyro and lights and energy and audience participation. And then when Grunge came out, it was like people staring at their shoes with their backs to the audience. It was kind of like, that’s not entertaining and cause Rock’n’Roll ultimately is entertainment. And when you’re paying top dollar, I mean it’s like WWF, you want to be involved. You want to have, you want have heroes. You want to have, you know people you look up to.
Grunge certainly did a lot of good for music industry.
Well I mean I’m not knocking it, because out of every genre of music, there are people that are very talented and very great and influential. And out of that era, the things that influenced me were ALICE IN CHAINS,
Yeah. So how do you like the new AUDIO SLAVE? You liking that?
Love the new AUDIO SLAVE. Like the first record. Again, I’m not too familiar with this new stuff yet. But definitely going to delve in deeper.
Not on the heavy side anymore.
No, that’s what I heard.
Let’s touch briefly on your guitarist Gene Scarpelli. As soon as I went on the site and saw your line-up and the last name Scarpelli. I immediately thought of GODDO and realized this last name is to too coincidental in the music industry and Gene has to be some relation to GODDO guitarist Gino Scarpelli.
Yeah. So that’s got to be amazing working with him you know. His dad’s been in the business for years. He’s got to have like the musical backing that his father’s had. What’s it like working with him?
It’s awesome. Gene’s a great talent. In fact, the way this band was put together, I pretty much was lucky enough to hand pick whom I wanted in this project. And just after SLIK TOXIK, I had put a project together called RAISED ON MARS, which was very short lived and that consisted of ex SLIK TOXIK guitar player Rob Bruce, myself fronting the band and playing guitar and Franz Mancini from I MOTHER EARTH. And it was a short-lived project, but we had the opportunity to do some shows and we played some shows with Gene’s band. And I’ve just kept in contact with him. I really liked his stuff and his style and I knew what he was capable of. So…
Great guitar player.
You know, again, with the name Scarpelli, it’s synonymous with his father who was in GODDO and like you say, he’s been around the business his whole life. Therefore, he knows the pros and cons and he’s not you know going to be…You know, you know what I’m saying. He’s kind of like a professional. He’s probably been a professional since he was a teenager.
And it’s Canadian, so we know that name. Like it may not be something they might know in the States, Scarpelli, but I mean anybody that loves music in
That’s it. It’s part of our culture right?
Right. Differences. What’s opposite musical styles of REVOLVER?
Musically. You know like…
Musically, I mean SLIK TOXIK first of all was a band that I had formed when I was like seventeen. So, given that, like everything else, like my musical tastes in listening to music, they’ve evolved.
Yeah. And my you know song-writing abilities have changed. I don’t know if they’ve gotten any better or any worse. They’ve just become a little different. So you know growing up as a song writer and a rock n roller and being in the public eye at nineteen years old and you know all over the TV in Canada and I have you know the opportunity to tour the States and meet lots of different people. That’s why SLIK TOXIK broke up was because it was a band that was formed while we were all fairly young and as you grow up people start developing different interests and changing and I think that’s pretty much what has happened with REVOLVER and you know as far as the feedback I’m getting all over the world, whether it be from webzines, or publications, or radio people, or whatever, you know, a lot of people are telling me it’s a step above.
Right. Like I mean you look back when you were young and the Juno Awards and stuff, I mean that was great for a young band. Now you look and it’s been fourteen years really you’ve been out of the spotlight. You know and when REVOLVER first came around my wife was asking me if this was in fact Nick from SLIK TOXIK and I was watching it and thinking holy cow, back in the spotlight. Nicely done.
Well you know, it’s one of those things that…It’s in my blood man. As much as, you can have a hate relationship with music, you love it all the more, you know.
The video I watched, “Turbulence”…
Was it shot in
It was shot actually in a few different locations. There were some locations in
That was pretty cool.
Again, back to when I put that project RAISED ON MARS together, I had done a photo shoot up at that location and it’s always been in my mind, that when I do a video, I want to use that location. And when I wrote the treatment, I actually wrote the treatment for the video for “Turbulence”, I found a nice place to include that location.
The actual story behind the lyrics of the song “Turbulence”. Were these based around a personal experience?
What’s it based on?
Yeah. I hear what you’re saying. Its basically you know when you’ve been, most of the songs I write pertain to my experiences in the music industry, because it’s such a roller coaster ride. Your highs are so high and your lows are so low and you never think you can get it back. And you’re always second guessing yourself and you’re always questioning yourself. And you know, after SLIK TOXIK, there was, there was a period where you know, I couldn’t listen to SLIK TOXIK songs even though I wrote them. I couldn’t look at videos. You know I’d be at parties and friends would be OH! put on SLIK TOXIK and they’d put it on and I’d leave. And it was just something I had to, personal demons that I had to deal with. And you know, again, with the thing being nineteen years old and in the spot light to being twenty five years old and everything you’ve struggled so hard for all your life is gone. It’s kind of hard, to put the pieces back together.
I had to ask that cause my wife actually she was the one that said you know you almost feel like that song’s about addiction in a way. And I said you know what? Maybe it’s his own personal addiction. It’s something to do, like when you think of addiction it doesn’t have to be drugs or anything like that, but that’s the vibe she got off it and I said you know what, I’m going to clarify that because I mean who knows what people, how they perceive songs you know. Somebody might perceive something….
I like to write lyrically like that as well that even though it’s a personal experience, I try to make the song as universal as possible, so that, if somebody for example has had a certain issue in their life and they can kind of relate to what I’m saying in their situation, then I’ve done my job.
The band REVOLVER, what do you want the band described as? I mean you definitely don’t want it to be pegged as an eighties revamped into…
No, I don’t think it is. Like if you listen to the record, you named a couple of songs that have a little bit of a feel of a throw back. And you’re definitely going to get that. I mean this band is basically from that era.
But what do you not want to hear people classify the band as?
I wouldn’t want people to dismiss it without giving it a fair shake and listening to it. Because first of all, I know from my experience, my old band live and the members of Revolver and their previous bands, we were all about you know live energy and if anybody knocks that then they can kiss my ass. But musically, you know I don’t like it when people look at a picture and go it’s Nick from SLIK TOXIK and they automatically assume it’s something else because you probably know this as well as I do, a lot of people that came from our era are so full of shit, they love it still, but they feel they’re not cool if you know that if they actually admit to liking music from the late eighties rock and hair metal, or whatever, they’re not cool anymore and that’s a bullshit attitude to have.
You know what I’m saying?
One hundred percent. You hear a SVEN GALI song or something come on the radio; I don’t care what anybody says.
I agree man. Crank it up. I got CINDERELLA fuckin in my car right now and I’m diggin it.
You know. I’m listening to my old QUEENSRYCHE. I going to PRIEST and QUEENSRYCHE on Sunday night and I’m going to fuckin love it. And you know that’s my thing. As far as what REVOLVER sound is, I like to describe it as edgy, melodic, Metal.
And you know, Metal has gone through so many changes over the years. Now we’ve got Screamo. We’ve got Grindcore (????), all these different tags, but guess what? At the end of the day it’s still fuckin Metal. And where did Metal come from? From the seventies, the eighties you know.
So you mention CINDERELLA in the stereo and that, what else are you listening to these days?
Right now I’m listening to the new PRIEST.
Yeah it’s different. It’s really different. It’s not what I expected. I’m listening to SALIVA out of the
They’re very different. They got the hard edge. And they’ve got the ballads they’re playing on the radio.
Yeah, they’re totally right up my alley. Actually another record that I just recently got that I’m getting into, when I was a teenager like we’re talking like eighty-four, eighty-five, I was into a lot of that heavy, heavy stuff. KING DIAMOND, MERCIFUL FATE, VENOM and I just picked up, it came out last year, but I just picked it up is a David Grohl from the FOO FIGHTERS put a project together called PROBOT which has all these guys from all these bands I used to listen to in high school and I’m just loving it. My wife goes that’s a guy thing.
And I’m like well maybe it is, but I love it anyway.
Heard the new SYSTEM OF A DOWN yet?
Yes, I have. In fact, I learned BYOB last week just for my own personal interest. My wife is in love with the song and I love the song and I said you know what, pop it in, strap the guitar on, and…
Hasn’t been out of my CD player for two weeks straight now. I can’t stop listening to it.
Right on. Right on.
Are you still getting a lot of feedback on the old music? Like I mean, when you come and do a show as REVOLVER and that, obviously people will know it’s Nick Walsh from SLIK TOXIK.
We actually throw in a couple of songs and I’ll tell you what, remember I told you about that period of my life where I couldn’t listen to SLIK. I couldn’t see SLIK. I put together that group RAISED ON MARS. I didn’t do any SLIK TOXIK, because I found that it was a little too soon after SLIK TOXIK for me to do that. Whereas people would think I’m still trying to beat a dead horse. So enough time has passed now, but it’s almost like a treat you know. I break out a couple of tunes. The audience appreciates it. My band digs it. I mean Scarpelli tells me I remember seeing you at Rock‘n’Roll Heaven going I want to fuckin play with that guy one day. And guess what? He is.
He got his dream. So what are you throwing in tonight? Of course “White Lies”, “Helluvatime”.
“White Lies”, “Hell of A Time”, those are the only two tracks we’re doing tonight. In the past we’ve done “Cherry Bomb” and we’ve also done a song off our second record that the Grunge killed at the time called “Irrelevance” and a song called “Twenty Something”.
It’s funny watching bands capitalize on the Grunge scene. Remember VARGA?
Like I mean, I remember them first off when they were a RUSH tribute and then they got into the heavier Death Metal and they did like “Evil Drifters”. And then they released “Greed” and “Freeze Don’t Move”. I thought where are you going with this? And finally they released “A Needle In The Haystack” and I knew that they had changed with the times
Well you never saw me putting on a pair of Dock Martins. That’s all I can tell ya. Until I felt like it. You know what I’m saying? It wasn’t like oh I got to put on these Docks and put a toque on my head if I want to sell records. I don’t think so.
So what happened with SLIK anyways? What were the main reasons for the break-up?
Well basically it was a band that I had started when I was very young and you know… And through the yeas of playing together and doing lots of touring together and rehearsing, like you know, back then that’s when everything else in your life didn’t matter. It was all about the band and you rehearsed five, six nights a week. And you know, people change and the last couple of tours we did were around the grunge thing and it was very, very poorly received. And again, it wasn’t so much that what we were doing was poorly received because it was bad, it was because we were lumped into something and we weren’t allowed to grow. And originally that’s why we had signed with EMI records, is that we had seen bands like HELIX on their label putting out four or five albums over the years and every band that they’ve stood behind for a career rather than let’s throw it against a wall and see if it sticks. And you know after the last record and touring across Canada and some heartache and hardships, I was twenty-five when I broke up the band and I basically just, you know, we got off the road and we had a meeting and I said you know what, if I’m going to do anything musically in my life, from this point on, it isn’t going to be with this band. And that’s not anybody’s fault per say other than just this current state of the industry. And you know it’s time to sort of go back to the drawing board, rediscover myself. All that kind of bullshit right.
I read a quote that said the music that you did when you took some time off from the time SLIK started you know, back say, lets just say ninety-two for instance the songs you took and worked on during your hiatus were songs that you said wanted to stick around even after the music era had switched over once again.
Absolutely. Like the quote you’re talking about is in our biography where I say music is ultimately a time capsule. And it is. It’s like literature. I mean you buy a book, it’s there forever for people to read. And you know there’s classic, just like there are classic records out there. I mean you know, you look at “The Wall” by PINK FLOYD, you look at “Zeppelin II”, “Zeppelin IV”. It doesn’t matter what comes and goes in pop culture, that’s always going to be there.
And as a songwriter, I’ve always just wanted to just write what I feel from my heart. And you know, it took a few years, like I said, doing different genres of music coming and going between Grunge and pop bands and boy bands and all this crap to actually be I guess happy with who I am and what I can do and what I can bring to music. In fact what I think I can bring to music has been lacking for many years.
It’s going to be cool, you know, years down the road and that and you’re listening to the radio and a REVOLVER song actually comes on and you know, you know that you did what you wanted to do like still from time to time you’d be watching MTV or Muchmusic and the odd time “White Lies” pops up here and there. So I mean you’ll know that REVOLVER will be a success if one of the songs actually sticks 5 or 10 years down the line
It’s one of those things that I always say to my band mates in REVOLVER, I say, you know, we’ve just signed to
And you know, the bottom line is, at the end of the day, no matter what happens, they can’t take away what we like to do, what we did for ourselves and what we, you know, as long as we do what we do they can’t take that away from us.
You know it’s cool. Like I mean, it’s neat that you can actually answer the SLIK TOXIK questions. I remember seeing an interview with Tommy Lee and I think it was on Q107. He got right pissed off when they started asking questions about the old bands you know. I think it was just due to the fact that there was so much animosity within the band. With SLIK TOXIK it really dint look like a bad break up or anything.
No, but it was. But so many years have passed and to be quite honest with you, I am not in contact with any single one of my old band members. And it’s not so much out of some sort of grudge that I’m carrying around with me. Because if I see them, I’ll be completely cordial. You know, we spent a lot of time together and we achieved a lot of things together and again at the end of the day, you can’t neglect that you know. You can’t say, you can’t put in your brain like that guys an asshole or whatever, or hold on, he may be an asshole, or you may be an asshole to him, but you did so much stuff together, that you know it’s like summer camp kind of thing.
It’s kind of an alliance.
Yeah. That’s what I mean you know. I mean, you know, especially in the early part of the years when you know we were seventeen, eighteen years old, dreaming about doing what we wanted to do and then we finally got to do it.
Yeah. You know.
So where do you see yourself in the future? REVOLVER in particular, like I mean say five years from now.
Well, what we’re hoping for is we don’t have big delusions of grandeur. We’re not nineteen anymore thinking we’re going to move into the
So you look at from a time period. When it starts getting not fun and it’s just a matter of packing your gear up and showing up for the date and that, it’s time to write it off.
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