Interview conducted by Chris Lockett:
Bloody-Disgusting recently had the pleasure of talking with frontman Jacob Bunton about his latest endeavor as the singer for Steven Adler’s (Guns ‘N’ Roses) new band Adler, and the band’s upcoming debut album. We also talked about what’s going on with his other band Lynam, as well as his view on Top 40 music, and his love of Horror. Hit the jump for this exclusive interview!
Adler will be participating on the Kiss Kruise. More information can be found here.
Bloody-Disgusting: Hey Jacob, how are you?
Jacob Bunton: I’m doing good. I’m out on the road with my band Lynam and we’re actually playing a festival tonight, so it’s loud everywhere that I go. Hopefully you can hear me.
BD: Not a problem. So first off, how’d this all come about with Adler? Did you know Steven before hand?
JB: No, I’d never met him before. I was actually at Jani Lane’s (Warrant) memorial, and he was actually a friend of my whole band Lynam’s, and I was with a producer friend of mine, a guy named Jay Ruston and he knew Steven and the guys. They were looking for a singer, because Steven was tired of doing the Adler’s Appetite thing. He had been doing it for a while where they just played Guns N’ Roses cover tunes for all of the fans, and he wanted to do something brand new from scratch. So he was also looking for pretty much a new band from scratch, and Jay said, “I know the guy to sing”, and Steven had heard Lynam’s song “Is This a Heartbreak or a Loaded Gun?”, and he really liked it.
He also didn’t think that I sounded like anybody else, and that’s what he liked, he wanted a singer that didn’t sound like anybody else so that when the song came on the radio people would be like, “Oh, well that’s THAT band”. And a lot of the bands on the radio now, depending on what format, if you turn on an Active Rock station, it’s hard to tell who’s who. And if you turn on a Top 40 station it’s hard to tell who’s who; It could be Katy Perry, it could be Pink, it could be Britney Spears, you never know these days because everything pretty much sounds the same.
So that was that, and then he came to my hotel a day or two later, and we really hit it off. We started talking about different bands that we both love, music that he grew up on and music that I grew up on. It was funny, because obviously the music that he grew up on was 60s and 70s Rock, you know, everything from The Raspberries, to Queen, to The Doors. And of course the music that I grew up on was Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue and all of that [laughs].
BD: So working on the album, was it different working with the guys in Adler than working with the guys in Lynam or even Mars Electric?
JB: Yeah, it totally was. Steven is very old school, and Jeff Pilson who produced it and also played bass, was also the bass player for Dokken. Those guys had the old school way of doing things where everything was recorded to tape and everything was live. We had the band get in a room and play together, with very little pro-tools and all that kind of stuff. Every album that I’ve ever been involved with, it’s been the new school way of doing things, you know, with pro-tools, and tracking each instrument at different times, but this was very much tracked old school. We got in a room and just played to catch the vibe of the song. It was fun.
BD: Now you brought up Katy Perry, and Britney Spears earlier, and you obviously have an affinity for REAL music, so I’ve got to ask you, what do you think of Top 40 today, and how it’s changed since the days that, you were listening to Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue?
JB: It’s crazy because I really love all forms of music. I’m a huge country fan. I love Brad Paisley. There’s a new band called Florida Georgia Line, and I think they’re really great. But obviously I love rock music; I always have. But there’s a lot of Top 40 stuff that I do like. At the end of the day it’s all about a song, I love a great song that has a great hooky melody that you can sing along to. And if you can take a song off the radio, even a Top 40 song, if you can take that song, play it with an acoustic guitar and sing it, and it’ll still be a great song, then it’s a great song. You know what I mean? Regardless of the production. So, I’m really into everything.
It’s just weird now, because no one’s pushing boundaries anymore. Everybody wants songs to sound exactly like everybody else, because it has to fit in a box; It has to fit into a certain format in order to get added to radio stations. If you want to be on Top 40 radio, and you don’t sound like Katy Perry and Britney Spears, and everything else, it’s really hard. There are exceptions to that rule, like for instance Gotye. He doesn’t sound like any of that stuff, and it just broke through. Gnarls Barkley with that song “Crazy” that didn’t sound like anything, it broke through. But for every one of those songs that break through, there’s a hundred that all sound exactly alike. So it is so hard these days to do that. Now on the Rock side it’s the same thing too. Everybody wants to sound like Staind, or Nickelback, or Breaking Benjamin, or whatever. You don’t really hear a lot of Rock bands really delving into or spending a lot of time creating something new and refreshing. So that’s pretty much my whole take on where music is right now [laughs].
I feel like with the Adler project, we really weren’t trying to sound like anybody else, we were just trying to do the thing that we do. It’s the same thing with Lynam. Every album that we ever made, our struggle was always “Where do we fit in”? Because we didn’t try to be like anybody else. On our last record Tragic City Symphony, we had one song that we made to sound like everything else on the radio, a song called “Save My Soul”. And we intentionally did it as an experiment if you will, just to see if it absolutely worked, we made a song that sounded like everything else. And it got added to radio and ended up going to number 5 on the Active Rock Indie chart, [laughs]. So it’s crazy how that works.
BD: Absolutely. Now, getting back to the album, you guys brought in Slash and John 5 to work on some of the songs. What was that like?
JB: Yeah, that was awesome! Imagine being a kid that grew up on that stuff. Guns N’ Roses is one of my favorite bands ever, so when I’m in the vocal booth singing and I look out at the control room, and there’s Steven Adler and Slash, I start thinking about how those guys were hanging on my bedroom wall when I was a kid. So it was a very surreal experience for sure. And of course Slash was honored to do it, because Slash and Steven are still best friends; They’ve been best friends since they were in school.
BD: And how’d John 5 come about? Is he friends with Steven as well?
JB: Yeah, he’s a huge Guns N’ Roses fan. And Steven is a fan of his, so he asked him if he’d come play and he was like, “Yeah, I’d love to”. And that’s how all of the guests worked out, everyone was a fan of Steven’s.
BD: So the album’s first single “The One That You Hated”, which is excellent by the way, tell me a little bit about how that came to be.
JB: Thank you! Yeah, that was actually the first song that me and Lonnie (Paul), wrote together, and the last song that we recorded. How it came about was we were just sitting in Lonnie’s living room with a couple of acoustic guitars, and I had the music and the verses, I just didn’t have the chorus, and once it got to the chorus Lonnie just started singing “I’m the one that you hated”, and I was like, “That’s it, that’s awesome!” So it came together really naturally and really quick.
And the funny thing is, it’s the first single, but it’s not like it’s the best song on the record or anything like that. Literally, Steven was about to go into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he said “you know, Slash has got his thing and Duff (Mckagan) has got his thing, but nobodies heard anything from me for a long time. I would like my fans to know what I’m up to.” So literally we just pointed at a piece of paper with all of the songs that we had recorded on it, and went “eeny meeny miny moe”, and that’s the one that we picked. And we shot the video, and the cool thing about it is VH1 just added the video two weeks ago. So they’ve been playing it, which is very cool.
BD: Nice. So, it might be a little early to tell, but I’m sure that it’s safe to assume that Adler will be touring the album, so are you going to be balancing that with Lynam shows, or is your main priority going to be Adler?
JB: Yeah, it’s going to be a balance for sure.
BD: Cool. And are there plans for any upcoming Lynam material?
JB: Yup! We’re going to have a new EP called Halfway To Hell out by the end of the year and we’re actually just going to give it away. Obviously we’re going to have physical CDs that people can buy if they want to, but digitally we’re just going to give it away on our website. It’s going to have five songs on it.
BD: And as far as the Adler album goes, is there a release date for that yet?
JB: Yeah, as far as Adler goes, there’s no release date for it. The records been done now for a little while, but it’s still getting mixed and mastered. I think half of the record is now mixed, so we’re probably looking at early next year before the record is actually released.
BD: Finally, I’ve got to ask you, are you a fan of Horror movies? And if so, do you have any favorites?
JB: I LOVE Horror movies! My favorites are actually the Horror movies from the 80s. My favorite movie of all time is The Lost Boys. I used to watch that movie every single day when I was a kid. And I’ve actually played with Gerard McMann, the guy that wrote the theme song “Cry Little Sister” from The Lost Boys. I played at his last CD release party with him. I played guitar for him, and that was very surreal too. He’s such a great guy, a great artist, and kind of a genius. He’s way ahead of his time, and always has been. So that was really cool.
Also, I like the Hellraiser movies, I was always into those. Of course Friday The 13th, A Nightmare On Elm Street. I like the Saw movies. I love all of Rob Zombie’s movies, The Devil’s Rejects, House Of 1000 Corpses. I think those are absolutely amazing. The Halloween remake that he directed, I thought was great. I mean, the list goes on and on. I like all of the old black and white Horror movies as well. I like the whole Evil Dead series. I really, really love that stuff, so…
BD: Wow, you’re very well versed.
JB: Yeah [laughs].
BD: Well, that’s all I’ve got for ya, but thanks so much for the interview and best of luck to you!
JB: No thank you very much man, it really means a lot! Thanks for the support!