Matt Phelps of Über Röck recently conducted an interview with former W.A.S.P. guitarist Chris Holmes. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Über Röck: It’s taken a while to get to this point as you’ve been out of the spotlight for a little while now. There have been a few projects you’ve been involved with through the years since you left W.A.S.P., but this is your first solo album, so I gotta ask, why now? What was you motivation to get this solo thing going now?
Holmes: Well, you ever hear of [former MOTÖRHEAD drummer] Philthy Animal Taylor? Well, him and I we started doing a project together about three years ago. It was just learning the computer, more or less. You know, the ins and outs of recording with one. Anyway, one thing led to another and we had about twenty songs. When it started off, it was gonna be an instrumental album, I mean, I’m not Joe Satriani or people like that, but I can write a few melodies or whatever. Then I sang on a song. I never planned on singing. You know when you hear your voice on the answer machine? Do you like your voice? I can’t stand mine! I didn’t mean to, but I sang on it. It was kind of a joke, but it sounded OK, so I sang on another one then started singing on all of them, and it changed into what is now “Nothing To Lose”. I was gonna sing on the whole thing, but then I decided to put a few instrumentals on it. Then in the midst of mixing the thing, Phil had a brain aneurysm. He got sick and popped a blood vessel in his head, kinda messed him up a little bit right in the middle of when we were working on it and he had to go back to England. He’s OK now though; he’s recovering, but lucky to be alive. Anyway, I was left to pick up all the pieces and get it together to get it out. But three years ago, if you’d asked me if I’d be doing this, I’d have said no way, but it’s just what happened. Everything just fell into place.
Über Röck: The first video then, “They All Lie And Cheat”. That got a lot of attention for being so bad. Whose idea was it to do it that way and are you happy with the impact that it had? It certainly got everyone talking.
Holmes: Well, it wasn’t planned that way. About a year ago, I said to somebody that I wanted to do a video for YouTube and they said they knew somebody that had all this equipment. So I went down to their place and we did it with a green screen but the guy didn’t have it set up right and kinda didn’t know what he was doing. We filmed it and then it just sat there for probably six months until we were ready to release the album and I had to say, “Look, I need this, I need it finished.” He wanted to do this and that, but I said, “No, man, I need it finished. Just put it together.” He said, “But I need to do this and that,” and I said, “I don’t really care. I need something out there to show I’m doing something.” So he put it together and what was funny was when I uploaded it to YouTube, all the timing was off. The voice and everything was synced up, but when we watched it from YouTube, it was all off. Like I’m trying to give you an explanation as to why it’s so shitty. [laughs] All the sync went off or something when it was doing the transfer, it’s horrible. [laughs] I don’t really care, you know. It is what it is.
Über Röck: Now with the Internet, you can put something up in L.A. and I can hear it in England just seconds later. It’s got to be invaluable really for an artist like you when you’re doing everything yourself, on your own terms and trying to reach your fans without the involvement of a record company.
Holmes: Yes. I mean, it’s way more personal. Kids used to read an article in a magazine and then sit and wonder what you’re really like. Now you can look people up on the Internet and can even tell what they’re doing that day usually. It’s kinda neat. I did a thing back along on MySpace when that was big. Some kid had asked me if the certain notes in a solo I did that he was trying to play were right. I answered him back and then the next day I looked at it and he’d thanked me just for answering him and he said it made him feel like I was right there in his living room. It was kinda weird. I looked him up and he was living in Iran! That kinda tripped me out. There was a picture of him and he had his hair dyed black and was a proper heavy metal kid and I was, like, “Wow, man.” It opens up the door to a worldwide thing. This kid will probably never be able to leave Iran knowing the way their government is, but I felt kinda cool. It was kinda touching, let’s say. [laughs] Not that touching is a word that I would ever use [laughs], but I felt real good about it. It cuts out the bullshit. The rock and roll business, sometimes the bullshit that people make up just to get the publicity and crap just makes you sick. Like, I bet you if I went to somebody’s house, their leg wouldn’t be broken, know what I mean [Editor’s note: Holmes is alluding to the fact that W.A.S.P.‘s European tour was recently canceled because mainman Blackie Lawless was injured in a vehicle-related accident.] [laughs] There’s a thing here called workers comp, I don’t know if you have it over there, but it’s like where you’re insured so if you get hurt and you’re off the job, you still get paid for sitting on your ass. I’m sure if we sent somebody over to somebody’s house, they’d be over there jogging around their property. [laughs]
Über Röck: Is a Chris Holmes autobiography something that could be on the cards?
Holmes: Yeah, I started to once, but I only got to where I was about twelve. If I was gonna do a book, I would do it from when I first remember being alive and on through the years. I started doing that and got to the point where I first heard music, the STONES and stuff and right when I stated playing guitar. I haven’t written any more for it, but I guess I should sit down and start doing the rest of it. Probably take me about a year to do. I was gonna do one book up to about ’91 and the first time I left W.A.S.P. or got thrown out, whatever happened. Then do the second about life after. I need the time to finish the rest of the thing. I wanna call it “From The Most Inner Workings Of Hollywood”, because I know who fucks who and who does what in Hollywood. [laughs] If you live there, you just know all the bullshit that goes on. I’ve lived there my whole life so I know all the crap that goes on. I can’t say it’s halfway done — it’s probably only one twentieth done — so it’s gonna take a while. Plus I gotta remember all the crap that went on. [laughs] Sometimes I remember things just walking down the street — “Oh, man, I forgot that. I need to put that in.” I would tell nothing but the truth and it would probably make a lot of people look pretty bad. I’ll try and do it year by year since when I was a little kid though. Most books just jump around when the person remembers stuff. I want it from the start until now. I’ve never read a book myself though. I can’t because I’ve had dyslexia real bad since I was a kid. I read it from back to front and just look at the pictures. If it doesn’t have that many pictures, I’m not interested. [laughs]
Read the entire interview at Über Röck.
“They All Lie And Cheat” video:
“Way To Be” video: