Deadland Ritual, featuring bassist Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), vocalist Franky Perez (Apocalyptica, Scars on Broadway), drummer Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver) and guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol) released a brand new single and video on Friday for “Broken and Bruised”.
Produced by Greg Fidelman (Black Sabbath, Slipknot, Metallica), “Broken and Bruised” is the first song Deadland Ritual wrote and recorded. It signifies the birth of the band incorporating each band member’s celebrated past, and moving forward into new musical soundscapes.
After playing a sold-out world debut show this week at The Troubadour in Los Angeles, the band is gearing up to play some of the biggest rock festivals in the world, including Download Festival, Hellfest and Louder Than Life Festival.
Earlier this month we caught up with Franky Perez for a candid conversation about his aforementioned “celebrated past,” and what the future holds for him fronting his new band. We’ve made the audio for this conversation public, despite both subject and interviewer having zero original intent to release such material.
LISTEN TO A REAL CONVERSATION WITH FRANKY PEREZ
MusicPlayers.com: So in all my research of you in the past week, you know it's funny, because I have learned that the secret to getting a lot of gigs is not being an asshole, and you have to be the coolest fucker on the planet, because... Like, this shit is going to need a Venn diagram, intersecting it like genre. Like I really don't even know how to explain to people what's going on here.
Franky Perez: Right, no. It's a crazy story. It's funny, you think you're having trouble, I have trouble all the time. People ask me like, even yesterday, they were like, "Hey, hey did you meet these guys?" It's like, that's not an easy question.
MPc: I can see that now, how that could not be an easy question. And I could also see how it could be a little messy in areas too. And that's never fun.
MPc: So, let's talk about your front man stuff first. Which, I'm supposed to not be editorializing, that's the piece. But you blow me away, you really fucking do.
FP: Thank you.
MPc: Does it come naturally? Or did you have to learn it? Or both? I mean, you're just a fucking star. That just doesn't happen out of nowhere, I know that.
FP: Right, thank you so much. You know, well, the technical side of it, like the singing, like anything else I had to work at it. You know what I mean? I've been singing all my life, and I've been developing it, and I'm just talking about the technical aspect of what I do. I can get to the other things.
FP: So, and it really started to evolve and I was really starting to get ahold of it once I started stretching and listening to like, best singers. You know, the Otis Redding's, the Wilson Pickett's, that's how I learned my control. You know? And no matter what I do, whether it be with Deadland Ritual or on my own thing, that always comes through. It's funny, people are like, "Where'd you get that scream? Who'd you listen to?" It's actually like Howlin' Wolf. That's the truth. No one can hang with that scream. That's where I learned my stuff.
The thing about I guess my stage presence. You know, I've been entertaining people one way or another since I was a kid. Like, if it wasn't being the class clown, it was dancing and singing at a family party.
I also learned that people need it. People need to be entertained. Life is hard enough as it is, you know what I mean? And so I learned that if I could bring joy to someone's life, 3 minutes at a time, or a song, or a set, that I could just be helpful. You know? And so I've just taken that through my entire career. It's like, even when I'm having a rough day, or I'm up there, I try to live through it, and I try to relate to the crowd one way or another. So, as far as my presence, I just think it's something that obviously I was blessed with, and also it's a conscious decision to entertain people.
MPc: I love how you mentioned Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett, and the scream. Because I have the scream in here, and I feel like what's interesting is there's a million different Franky's, but the scream is carried throughout. The scream is, you bring it everywhere. There's that Vegas morning show that you were doing something with Dirty and the Filthree Horns, and the scream showed up there. I'm like, what the…?
FP: The scream is a guttural thing, it's like I never do it in vain, you know what I mean? It's like its a guttural thing, it's like I'm feeling that moment, I'm in it and it's just a great way to get people's attention too.
MPc: Oh, yeah. It's an attention grabber all right. Especially when you're doing a harmonica solo with The Crystal Method, and it just comes out. That was one of my favorite uses of the scream, was that night, I think. I don't know why, but it just fucking worked.
FP: Do you know what happened that night? Which is pretty incredible, like people don't realize, or maybe you do. You're very intuitive with that stuff. You know that was free flow. That was completely off the cuff. Because what happened was, the second song when I turned around, Scott pulled me over, he goes, "Dude, we have no track." So we improvised that entire thing.
MPc: Oh my god, wow. I mean, that's where you spot the pros. I did not know that. But that's where you spot the pros. And that's where you go to these jam nights, and I'm only in LA for ten months, so I'm still having my mind blown every week by these people, because they're so good. And I'm like, of course they're fucking good, I live in Hollywood now. This is normal. This is bar. Right?
MPc: Excellent they're not in the club anymore.
FP: Yeah, absolutely.
MPc: So yeah, it took a little while there. Hopefully that'll never wear off though. Hopefully I'll keep having my mind blown each week and not get bored. But some of these kids running around here from MI and Berkeley, and man they really know what they want, but they have no clue how to get there. Would you be able to tell them? Like what would you say to them?
FP: Just perseverance. I know it's corny, but like, you got to be willing to give it all up. You know? Good, bad, and indifferent. You got to be willing to sacrifice a lot. I know I have. You know? And to keep at it. If this is what you want to do, you got to do it. I know people that are like, yeah I'm a musician, and then they... but I'm also a mason, and I do that 60 hours a week. And I'm like, well one of the two are suffering. You know what I mean? Like one of the two, either you're a terrible brick layer, or you're not a great musician.
I hate to say that, it's just, if you want to get to that level where it's this is what you do for a living, this is what's going to carry you emotionally through the rest of your life. You got to commit 100%. Which is what I did. You know? I'm not proud of it, and it's something that will probably haunt me for the rest of my life, but now, both of my, I have three children. My two oldest kids actually live with me now. But I missed everything. You know what I mean? On the road. I missed the first words, I missed the first steps. You know? Then it's like, because I was out here doing this. And we've all, everyone, has benefited from it. You know, they have a good life. My little one that lives in Chicago is happy they have a good life, but I've had to sacrifice a lot for this thing, you know?
MPc: Yeah, I mean I can't personally relate but obviously it's not the first story I've heard like that. And I think that was when I stopped becoming a fan of bands and started becoming a fan of players. Was when I started to understand the sacrifice. And that changed, that put me on a whole new trajectory which was completely fucked up, but that's my story, not yours.
FP: Well, I'll give you an example. I've known, throughout my career, I've known some of the sickest musicians. Like talented all the way through, that live in a studio. you know what I mean? Like literally they live in a rehearsal space. I know a guy, and I won't out him like that, but I know a guy that I would put up against any guitar player that I know. The guy's living out of a rehearsal space. You know? Because anything else, he can't afford it. His money is spent on amps, and gear, and getting to the next gig, and gas to travel. It's a lifestyle. I don't recommend it to anybody. If you're at that point, you might want to get a job. But you know what I mean? That shows the kind of sacrifice, and he's respected.
MPc: Oh, that's, I mean bonus then. Because that is a big sacrifice to be living out of your studio. And yeah, that shit is expensive. I'm a gear head. I know what's going on there. That is a big sacrifice. So, I'm glad the guy's at least getting respect.
FP: 100%. He's got it from me. I know that's a fact.
MPc: Well that's good. You seem like you're a good friend. You seem like the kind of guy you'd want to have your back.
FP: Awe, thanks. Thanks for saying that.
MPc: Well, it's true. You know, you have a commanding presence. I mean, I saw it the first time you opened your mouth. And you made Sorum, and DeLeo, and Lukather just disappear.
FP: Oh wow.
MPc: I'm like who's that fucking guy? And it's funny, because I was looking through that clip, probably since I shot it last year, and I finally found it this week. And I was like, this is it. This is the moment I met my next muse. I feel so bad for him. (Laughs)
MPc: So, when did you pick up the guitar? And was there formal training there? Was there formal training with the vocals?
FP: No. I've never taken a guitar lesson, a piano lesson, or a drum lesson. But I did take, when I got my first record deal, with Atlantic, with Lava, we hit the road when I was about 23, I think that was around the time. Yeah. And we're about to hit the road, and I looked at the calendar, I looked at the tour schedule, and I was like, "Oh shit, this is a lot of dates." I might want to go like learn some warm ups. You know what I mean? I might want to go figure something out so I can make mistakes. So I did. I did find a vocal teacher here in Las Vegas that I basically go to and get tune ups here and there. Kind of see where my range is at, we work out new warm ups. But you know, I'm 43 and I've probably been to him four times through my entire career. But no formal training any place else. My first instruments were the drums.
MPc: Oh really?
FP: Yeah. I started, my Father bought me, I started playing like Cuban percussion. My heritage, I'm Cuban, both of my parents are from Cuba.
MPc: Yeah, I find that very cool by the way. I also lived in Miami for a little while. It was right around the same time you did, or you left at least.
FP: Wow, what a trip.
MPc: Yeah, I went to the University of Miami, I was waiting tables. We're the same age.
FP: Oh, get out of here. I thought you were younger than I was.
MPc: I thought you were younger than I was. Well, I thought you could've gone either way. But I thought you were younger than I was. But we're the same age, and you're 16 days older than me, and the only reason why I sound like an idiot saying that, is because you have the same birthday as my dad.
FP: Oh, that's crazy.
MPc: Yeah, so I had no clue how old you were, and then in like the third day of research I stumbled upon your birthday. And I was like, oh so we're like the exact same age? And we're both Pisces, that's great.
FP: Yeah, we're artists.
MPc: Yeah, I know, I was going to say, we're fucked up.
FP: …we’re fucked up. Yeah, that's funny.
So, where were we at? You asked me something else. What was that last question?
MPc: Well, yeah, you were telling me about the no formal training…
FP: Oh yeah, so no formal training. My first instrument, my dad gave me, he bought like Cuban percussion. Like Timbales and Bongo and so my first introduction into music was rhythm. Which, basically, every instrument after that, including my voice, I actually use like drummers. When I play guitar, it's very percussive. When I sing, it's all about the phrasing.
MPc: That's so interesting. Because you know what? One of my favorite things about your fronting style is how you cue the band? And it's usually the drummer right? I can see how that translates.
FP: Right, yeah. Absolutely. And so that's basically it. And then one thing led to another, the guitar and piano were simultaneous. Because what I would do was I would figure out a chord on the piano, hold the shape with my hand on my right hand, and then find those notes on the guitar neck.
MPc: Get out. Is that the secret?
FP: Well, once taught the other. I used them both. I learned those simultaneously, so I learned a chord on the guitar, and then I would reverse it. I would find that chord with my right hand. I'm by no means, that's the one thing I'll tell you, I'm a knucklehead guitar player and a knucklehead piano player, but I get the job done. I know enough to write a song and play rhythm for anyone. You know?
MPc: I mean, I heard all your solo records, and I'd say you do. Your composition style is so unique. It was like, I'm having this genre challenge in my mind, and then I listen to the first two tracks off your first album ever. And I'm like, are you fucking kidding me? This guy's going across genre within the same song. And you close Cecilia with like this Van Halen live-sounding drum outro. I honestly had to stop tape at that point. Like in my head, and I was just laughing.
FP: That's funny. You know what's crazy, is that what you're saying has been a huge, a big detriment in my career. Like what you find interesting, or people do, "Oh he does this, he does that." Has actually been very detrimental to my career, because even back then, I remember radio station guys saying like, "Oh man, this guy, this record's amazing. This guy is so talented and has command of the stage. But what is he? Is he a rock guy? Is he a singer songwriter? Is he a Latin artist?" You know, so it's been tough. And that's part of the reason why I've had to kind of like pick a lane. And so once people started saying, once I started getting hired as, "This is a rock singer." I had to pick a lane. And I was like, well, I'm going to be a rock singer. Like my main thing is that. And that's what keeps me working, and that's what reaches the most people. So I'm going to do that, and then everything else is going to be great, and I'm going to do that at my own pace. You know?
MPc: Wow, that is super fucking interesting. Because first of all, I get it 1000%. Because I've been on job interviews where it's like, "Oh gee, you're a master of all trades." Well no, what's the saying?
Franky: A jack of all trades…
MPc: Right, jack of all trades, master of none. I have totally had those moments in my life. Because my day job, I have a marketing firm, which I think you know. So, it's like I can definitely appreciate that as being a detriment. Were you disappointed when you found, like, okay, I better pick a fucking lane? Or...
FP: No, not at all. It was frustrating. It's frustrating when you're trying to be successful at this game. But, I don't, because I love it. That's the thing, is that I genuinely love all of those genres, and I genuinely love rock. I don't do anything in vain, or you'd be able to read it because I wear my heart on my sleeve. If I was faking the funk, everyone one would know, because I have the worst tell.
MPc: Oh really?
FP: Oh yeah.
MPc: But I thought you were a fucking criminal. What kind of criminals have bad tells? (Laughs)
FP: (Laughs) Bad criminals. The ones that get caught.
MPc: (Laughs) The ones that get caught, well I'm glad you got busted, buddy.
Oh my god, you're too much fun. You really are.
So, do you have like a big break story? Or even like a True Hollywood Story? Or can you point to a moment where life just changed for you after a particular project or meeting or even piece of advice?
FP: I'm sorry. One more time on that? I'm wearing buds and I forgot to turn off the ringer, and I just got a text. I just turned it off, could you repeat…
MPc: Well, tell Sorum to leave us the fuck alone. Tell Sorum and Stevens and whoever else your friends are... No, I'm just teasing.
FP: Funny thing is, that was Matt.
MPc: Oh my gosh, all right. I'm totally just kidding. Because what I did at The Rainbow was Jersey Jen not knowing where she was for a moment.
FP: All good. (Laughs)
MPc: No problem. Do you have a big break story, or even a True Hollywood Story almost? Or something that you could point to where just the tides shift, and things changed, and things started happening for you.
FP: Well, I'll tell you the root about how I'm here, how I'm at this point. There's actually two things. I was in a band called Scars on Broadway which was a big turning point for me. That's John and Daron from System. That exposed me to a lot of people, and it was the first time I wasn't a band leader. I learned a lot of like how to be a side band, what to do, what not to do. But at Coachella, there was that year that Scars on Broadway played Coachella, maybe you can find that. I can't remember what year it was. Where there was a big buzz around the band, they were the first project Daron had done since system, and we played one of those tents, and it was just huge. There was 5,000 people, 8,000 people, crammed into this tent. And that band was sick, that band was firing all cylinders. That was anarchy of the heart, you know? And I'm on stage right, is stage right when you're looking out? Or how does that work?
MPc: Stage right is when you're looking out. How are you asking me that? That’s bizarre.
FP: (Laughs) Because there is no stage left or stage right when I perform. It's just a stage.
MPc: (Laughs) That’s true.
FP: So anyways, I was stage right, and Sorum was on my side of the stage, just watching us from side stage. And we killed that night. Now fast forward to there's rumors that Velvet Revolver was looking for a guy. I get an opportunity to do an audition, and that audition was singing at a Camp Freddy show. My audition was singing at a Camp Freddy show with Slash in the audience, and Sorum on drums. So when this came up, Sorum was like, "I know that dude. I saw him with Scars on Broadway." Right? So there was an instant, "Oh yeah, we know that guy. Let's hear him out." So that night that I played Camp Freddy, basically exposed me to all of those dudes, to the entire Camp. To Slash, to Duff, to Kushner, to Matt, to Dave Navarro, Billy Morrison, to Chris Chaney. It was like, that was the moment.
MPc: That is insane.
FP: Yeah, that was the moment that I met all of those guys. And what's crazy is that they're all my close friends, and I'm so thankful to all of them. Like I got to tell you, they've all put me to work in certain capacities and individual capacities. I could pick up the phone right now and, on a personal level, a professional level, they'll pick up and help me out. But if there was a moment of why I'm here now, that's it. That day was it.
MPc: Wow. It's crazy how a moment of time can really just... Just the right person and the right place, or whatever it is. And it wasn't until something like that happened to me that I realized, damn, the directions in life that... Well, I'm just really glad you're surrounded by all those guys. I was watching a lot of stuff with you and Billy yesterday. And I love you with Steve. You guys have such great chemistry…
FP: Are you talking about Stevens?
FP: Oh yeah, for sure. You know what's crazy about that? Is around that time, that I'm talking about at Camp Freddy, that audition, Steve was just getting in that camp as well, doing the Camp Freddy stuff, and we hit it off back then. We were like, even though Steve has had all this notoriety, and he's a Grammy winner, and so revered as a player, we both were kind of underdogs in that little scene. And we basically cut our teeth together in that Camp Freddy scene. So, this project, working with Steve now has been in the making for years. You know?
MPc: That's crazy. Were you the obvious choice for Deadland Ritual, considering all the work you'd done with Matt and Steve?
FP: Well, the thing is that it wasn't like an audition thing. This was a concept that we three have had together. Steve and I wanted to... Steve and I would talk about doing a band for years. And we knew exactly what we wanted to do. And then us three have played together so much that we were tossing around this idea for years.
The thing about this business and guys that have had success, that are on the national level, is that people want to make new projects. They want to have side projects. You hear it all the time. But it's just about doing it, getting to that point where you just do it, you know what I mean? You put your money where your mouth is and you just do it. That's so difficult. And us three, we committed. We were like, we're going to make this fucking happen. That's it. We're going to commit to it. Rain, sleet, or snow, hell or high water, we're going to figure this out. And here we are. And I got to tell you, it's it. It's my lane. It's everything I've wanted in a band, you know?
And the addition of Geezer, there was nobody else that could've done this gig.
MPc: Yes. That's tremendous.
FP: Yeah, there's no one else. There's amazing bass players. I know the greatest bass players out there, but no one could've done this gig and completed this vision if it wasn't Geezer.
MPc: Wow. Well, I mean I'm so excited to hear more from you, because I've only heard the one song. And I think you leaked one on Sirius a couple of weeks ago, but I missed the broadcast, so I'm just like thirsting for more, you know? But I'll be there at the Troubadour, I'll be waiting.
FP: Yeah, it's coming in May.
MPc: That's exciting. And you're going to Europe soon.
FP: Yeah, we go to Europe early June. We're doing that debut show at the Troubadour on the 28th, and then we’ve got a couple days, and then we start in June.
MPc: If you had the option of performing at the Download Festival with somebody else's material, or performing at your home venue with just your material for 300 people, which would you choose?
FP: And are you talking about Deadland Ritual or are you talking about me personally?
MPc: I'm talking about working with any band where the composition is not 100% your own.
FP: Oh yeah, I would take 300 with my stuff any day.
MPc: Who has the heavy hand in Deadland Ritual? Can you tell me that?
FP: There isn't one. I'm not bullshitting you. This is a democracy through and through.
MPc: Even at the writing table?
FP: Oh yeah, the writing table, everything. This is a full-on democracy. We all have to agree. But I'll tell you, the veto power is Geezer. At the end of the day, he's so kind and open minded, but if we're on the fence about anything, we just defer to Geezer. He's the coolest one of the bunch, he really is. He's the guy. So if we need a tie breaker, if there's something we're questioning, we defer to Geezer. But in terms of-
MPc: I love that.
FP: Yeah, but in terms of the writing and the decision making, it's a partnership. And that's also what's amazing. You would think that there would be like bigger egos and that, but it's not. We have something to prove, you know? And we know that we can't do it unless we do it together.
MPc: That's refreshing to hear, and I think you guys are lucky, because you've been around long enough to know that shit doesn't work like that.
FP: Oh, shit. I've been in the room with the biggest egos in the business.
MPc: Oh my god, you've obviously seen stuff I can only imagine, or watch on Netflix. Have you seen The Dirt yet?
FP: Yeah, I saw it the other night. That opening scene is… (Laughs)
MPc: (Laughs) Oh my god that opening, that's all I could talk…
FP: I was like, can they even get away with that? Is that even allowed?
MPc: Well, apparently it took ten years to make, so it would be allowed, right?
It was interesting, there was that scene, the replace Vince scene, and that actually hit home for me. I had to stop and be like, oh, that was hard to watch.
FP: Yeah. It's tough.
MPc: Yeah, and that was only from a voyeur perspective, from what I saw people go through in my own market. But you went through something pretty similar. So the Velvet Revolver stuff, I mean you answered the question in a very politically correct way, and what I assumed to be a genuinely heartfelt, honest way, when you say that there's just no one who could replace the guy. You know, what happened in the studio, whatever happened that the project didn't launch, whatever happened that if it had to do with Slash's other project or whatever, like I don't give a fuck. But, did that scene bring up shit for you? Like did that scene, go, oh yeah, I've been there, and did it make you reflect on that at all? And when you do reflect on it, what are you thinking?
FP: Well, not at all. I didn't think twice about that. I mean, I am now. But not when I saw it, and…
MPc: And, I just ruined the movie.
FP: No, it's all good, because here's the thing. That whole situation wasn't a bad situation for me. It was heartbreaking to have it and for it to go away, but at the same time, it was, in hindsight looking back, if I had gotten that gig, if we hadn't moved forward, a lot of things that have happened since wouldn't have. Look, I consider all those guys my friends. There was never any beef. And what's crazy is that I've worked with every single one of them individually. Maybe Velvet Revolver didn’t happen for me, but I've worked with Duff individually, I work with Slash, you know? David Kushner's one of my best friends. And now I happen to be in a band with Matt Sorum. Not getting it was a blessing as well. I have no ill will towards it whatsoever. It was a big part of my career, and it's been nothing but helpful, to be honest with you.
MPc: Yeah, well I know it put you on Apocolyptica's radar. That was an interesting project. What about it appealed to you?
FP: Well, I love to surround myself with players at the top of their game, right? Like will, for the part, I'll jump on the stage with anyone if there's a mic. But, the only way to excel, the only way to I believe better yourself as a musician, is you got to continue to challenge yourself. And those guys, those four guys that I went on the road with, that I made that record with Mikko (Sirén), Eicca (Toppinen), Perttu (Kivilaakso), and Paavo (Lötjönen). It was like witnessing greatness. And I'm not just saying that.
Those guys, what they do on those instruments and the way they lived their life to get to that point, I got to be on a stage with greatness, every night. You know? And getting that gig, I had to step up. There are guys with perfect pitch. These are guys that literally have perfect pitch. These are guys that have played with the greatest musicians in the world and study with the greatest musicians in the world. You can't phone it in, you know what I mean? So that was some serious training, being with those guys. I learned a lot being in a band with those guys, and I really bettered as a musician.
MPc: Jeez, were you intimidated at all? Were there moments?
FP: No, I mean there were moments where... I don't know if you know if you’ve seen them out there, or if you’ve ever met them, but even at my first... I never met them. I met them on a Skype call, and my first gig was with those guys, headlining at a theater in Canada. We met back stage. We never rehearsed together. we literally went over, not even the entire song, we didn't have enough time, my flight got in late. So we just went over parts back stage, and then we were on stage within two hours of meeting each other. So that was a little intimidating. But you know, those are the moments that define you. And what's crazy is my second show with those guys was the next day opening up for Metallica.
MPc: Oh my god.
FP: Yeah. So if there was anything that was going to be intimidating, it was that.
MPc: Yeah, I imagine. How do you look back on that show? How'd that go?
FP: The Metallica show?
Franky: Oh, I won’t forget, we were the opener, and they told us there was this huge catwalk. There’s a great photo of me flipping off the camera. And it was my second show, because they told us, hey, stay off the catwalk. “Yeah right. Go fuck yourself. Stay off the catwalk.” (Laughs)
MPc: (Laughs) Apparently they didn't know who they were talking to.
FP: Yeah. And so my first show was like two songs in, I was out there. I was on the catwalk in the middle of the crowd and just loving it. You know, and I had those four guys behind me just supporting it like, go do it buddy. And that was it, that was the beginning. That was the day after we sat together, we watched Metallica all four of us and we took a walk around the fairground, or wherever it was that show was at, and Eicca turns to me and he goes, "You want this? You want to make this full time?" And I was like fuck yeah, that was it. That was the show.
MPc: Wow. I mean, like I said, it was hard to, almost, write up questions for you because of the multiple genres. And it's like I try and make them transitional, and even then, it was like hard to group these questions, because I'm like, I'm talking about song writing, and I'm going from “Cecilia” and “Two Lost Angels” to “Reckoning.”
Actually, can we talk about “Reckoning?” Can we go there?
FP: Yeah, absolutely.
MPc: Okay. The origins of that song, I see in the three albums, plus you have The Level with Christian Brady, I know, but with the three albums specifically, you really gravitate toward the narrative, which is interesting. I don't know the Vegas market well, in terms of singer-songwriter and where that comes from. But you know, I come from the Bruce school…
FP: Don't get it mixed up. I come from Bruce school too.
MPc: All the stories that you tell, they seem very autobiographical, and it's hard to tell whether they're fictional or not. But I would imagine in some cases they are not…
FP: In all cases they are not.
MPc: You know, I didn't want to leap to that conclusion. “Reckoning,” off Addict, tell me about where that song came from. Tell me about that album.
FP: That was actually, I've been sober... March 13th I've been sober six years.
FP: Thank you. That period of making that album was probably the darkest period of my life. It was right towards the end of my using. There was only one way out at that point, at least I thought. I thought there was one way out for me. So the lyrics and the songs on that album are very poignant, because they're almost like a goodbye, in a sense. And I realize that now, I didn't know that at the time. But I go back, and it's like I wanted to leave. Some kind of note, if it went that way. You know? And a song like Reckoning was, it's actually very dark because it was a defiant thing. It was defiant to god, and anything that was good in the world, because I felt the opposite. So, some of the lyrics in that song are some of my best. And so, I don't know what else to say about that one.
MPc: No, that's okay. That knocked something loose. That was enough.
FP: Okay, okay.
MPc: The part of you that says, "I don't need help." Has that part matured or evolved at all with time?
FP: You mean in general or just in terms of addiction? Because that's been most of my life across the board.
MPc: Well, so then both.
FP: It's actually, in the last six years, I've had to completely embrace humility, in all aspects of my career, in my life, and the way I deal with authority, everything. I'm just a small cog in this massive machine. And if I don't somehow just open up to the universe and let whatever's going to happen in, I'm closing myself off to all opportunity to be happy, to find peace. So I, for example, getting sober, when I finally just, not to be cliché, but when I finally surrendered and asked for help, that was a game changer.
MPc: That takes great strength.
FP: It does.
MPc: I'm sure it didn't feel that way then, but it does.
FP: No, it didn't. And it does. I've always been very open about my battle with addiction. But what I found was, I was self-loathing, living in this thing that I was hopeless, and I believed that I was hopeless. And I believed that whatever was happening to me, was individual to only me. And when I realized that this was an epidemic, that people suffered from this, and that you can get better, that there is hope, that changed everything.
So, if anything, if you write anything from this interview, this article, know no matter how helpless you feel, no matter how much you think you cannot be helped, no matter how much you think that you are at death's door, you can always come back. Just ask for help. And if that first person doesn't listen, you ask the next person. You continue to ask, because you can get better, and I am a testament to that.
MPc: I agree with you. It doesn't make it easy, but I agree with you.
It's interesting because I plan on doing a piece about the correlation between... It's actually kind of look at Freud's interpretation of the mind, and based in Freudian theory, why so many of our most beloved artists are either troubled or gone. And that is both in the sense of mental illness and substance abuse, while they're two separate things, they can both tie together I'm sure you're aware.
FP: For sure…
MPc: It is my opinion that the tortured artist is so because the best of them have to be that vulnerable, and are able to go that much deeper than the mere mortal, into their subconscious, and that's where all the ugly shit lives. So, it's no wonder you're fucked up, right? Based on that, do you see a correlation between the vulnerability that's needed to create, and the inclination toward substance abuse? And, did you ever maybe use it as a creative aid? Because that's a problem too for some people, that they feel they can't create without.
FP: Right. I, myself, was able to debunk that myth in my own life. I used to believe that you had to be fucked up to be able to find other levels in music. And I literally found, I'm not just saying this, I have had more success, I've written some of my best music sober. But I still pull from that. Yes, I've stopped ruining my life, but it is something that I carry with me. It doesn't define me, but I carry it with me. And the thing is now, I can pull from that, but I'm going to wake up the next day. You know?
I think for those guys that are out there, it's a myth, man. It's a myth. Just figure it out, you know what I mean? Like just continue to write, continue to find yourself in sobriety. It's going to be just as great, if not better.
MPc: So, what's with Vegas as this ass you can't quit?
FP: That’s funny you say that. Someone asked me this when I was a kid, like when we were promoting my first album. Vegas, to me, it's like this beautiful, beautiful woman. You know she's going to break your heart. You know she's going to get you in trouble, but you just can't stay away. That's what it is to me.
MPc: And it's that simple.
FP: It's that simple.
MPc: Okay. You don't have to explain it further, I've been there. And give me three things you can live with and three things you can't live without, and you can't count your kids unfortunately. Because that's assumed.
FP: Right, well I was going to name each one of them individually.
MPc: Well, you don't even get to name them as a group. And by the way, I did see your kids on one of the interviews on a Thanksgiving video. This really was a lot of research. I don't watch this much of you, I'd love to, because I enjoyed every second. I think, the Sons of Anarchy stuff, is probably some of my favorite…
FP: That was a good creative period in my life. That was awesome. That opened a lot of doors too.
MPc: Really? Yeah, there was a really cool show you did. Oh my god, I posted it... There must be like 20 videos of you or something, my whole Facebook feed is you, because every time I found something I liked, I posted it. I’ve got to…
FP: Well, continue. Keep doing it. (Laughs)
MPc: (Laughs) As long as you don't mind me tagging you.
FP: Nah, I don't mind at all.
MPc: Sometimes I feel bad.
FP: No, no. Go for it.
MPc: I do feel bad. I'm so careful with that stuff. You know, with Matt especially, for example. Because I had to tag Matt on something, Adopt The Arts related, because it was just the only proper way to post it. And he liked it, so I'm like, oh god why do I need this validation? But thank God.
FP: No, it's awesome. I really, really, truly appreciate that. And it's always nice to have someone... because you get it. You know what I mean? You get it and you explain it, properly. Keep doing what you’re doing. I seriously, truly appreciate it.
MPc: Oh, well I appreciate that feedback. Coming from you, it means a lot. You know? And I didn't really get feedback like that until I got here. Or until that trajectory change, where all of the sudden, I got like this guy and that guy and this guy putting their number in my phone, telling their friends to hold up… They're like, “no, you don't understand. She fucking gets it.” Maybe I do get it. But in Jersey, there was no discussion of that.
So, I'm glad I'm here. The adjustment’s been a bitch, talk about “Lost Angels.” I went out, I bought myself a compass necklace. I am like, I'm just floating through space, legitimately. I am on a different planet, but I’ll figure it out. I don't care how long it takes.
FP: You will. I'm going to tell you though, you're fucking nuts, but I fucking love it. (Laughs)
MPc: (Laughs) I know, I am totally fucking nuts.
FP: (Laughs) I'm going to be stone-cold straight with you.
MPc: I am bat shit crazy, dude. I am bat shit crazy.
FP: Hey, let me tell you something, those are the people that make a difference. Keep doing what you're doing.
MPc: (Laughs) What was the moment that, when was the realization? When I ran up to Matt to make sure that Eddie Trunk was asking the right questions?
FP: No, no. The first day I met you. I was like, “oh yeah, she gets it.”
MPc: “She gets it but she's fucking nuts.”
It’s the highest compliment, it really is. Especially coming from guys who get it, and they're telling me I get it, and… I don’t know… I take a lot of people by surprise here.
FP: Just keep doing what you're doing because, the truth of the matter is, if you curb that in any way, then it's going to take your authenticity away. And that is what is great about what you do. If you do it, fucking ram it down they're fucking throats. Keep doing what you're doing.
MPc: I don’t think I could curb it if I tried. I walk into Rodeo Drive Cosmetics like I'm Mötley Crüe. Like, “Let's party! Get the champagne!” And people get a kick out of me. But, sometimes it doesn't go… correctly. But that's okay. It's all good.
So, three things you can’t live with, three things you can't live without.
FP: Can and can't. You might have to... you're not putting this out tonight, right? You got my number, can you text me that question? Because I just don't want to spit that out. I'm going to go on a hike, I'll think about that, and I'll respond.
MPc: Oh, okay. It's just meant to be a fun question. I'll text it to you, but it's just meant to be fun. So…
FP: I know, but for some reason I'm kind of going blank. But if you text me that question again, and I'll give you something good tonight.
MPc: I will. There's no rush. I'm sorry I'm so bat shit crazy. I will try and spare the cons of that side.
Thank you Franky, I really appreciate your time.
FP: Thank you too. Have a great day.
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June 6 Solvesborg S. Sweden @ Sweden Rock Festival
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