Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.

Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.


2008.11.08 - Talking Metal Podcast - Interview with Chris Pitman

Go down

2008.11.08 - Talking Metal Podcast - Interview with Chris Pitman Empty 2008.11.08 - Talking Metal Podcast - Interview with Chris Pitman

Post by Blackstar Sun May 23, 2021 6:22 pm

He discusses GN'R in the second video.

Full episode:



John "Ostronomy" Ostorsky: Hey, and welcome to another edition of Talking Metal. This is John and I am on the line with Mark [Strigl] and all the way from California, we've got the one and only Chris Pitman from Guns N' Roses and from SexTapes. How you doin', Chris?

Chris: Hi! Great, I am doing good. How are you doing?

John: Pretty good, man.

Mark: So Chris, we are excited about November 11th because you have a new CD coming out. And it's called SexTapes. Now, is this going to be available under "SexTapes" as a band name or under "Chris Pitman"? How can we find this when we go to CD stores to buy it?

Chris: Yeah, it should be under "SexTapes", you know, and of course, if you look for "SexTapes" that might lead you to a DVD section...


Chris: But yeah, it's under the band name "SexTapes" and it will be sold like that on iTunes, know, whatever the [?] stores are, Best Buy and FYI [?] and stuff. And yeah, it's exciting because it is a band and we just set it up like that and it rolled pretty fast, we recorded it fairly fast, and, you know, we just wanted to make a thing of it. And after all was said and done, we looked at it and said, "Wow, now this is a really cool first record to do," and we just put it out as that [?), and we just started playing in Los Angeles this month and see where it flies.

Mark/John: Very cool. Now Chris, you've worked with Kelly Wheeler way back in the day, back in the, you know, 90s, and I was wondering, did any of the material that you guys came up with back then end up on this record?

Chris: It did. Yeah, it did, actually. I met Kelly through Danny Carey, he had a band called Carmageddon and that was before Danny got into Tool and other bands, Kelly was just this incredibly unique guitarist from Hollywood. You know, and he used to live with Perry Farrell and they had a band called Psi Com right before Jane's Addiction. And he just had this knack of writing these really bizarre guitar riffs. Kind of like, you know, when Jimmy Page does all these really strange riffs, and it is kind of similar to that but in his own vein. And he had these riffs forever and they kind of transformed here and there and we started, just me and him, working on stuff and like probably in 94, something like that. And, uhm, then we got busy doing our own stuff. And he hit me up a couple of years ago and had new stuff, just riffs and the drums and I just said, "I got to warp my head around this. This is incredible!" So really, the challenge was trying to write, you know, vocals arrangements around these weird sometimes discordant guitar riffs. And with the two married together it was pretty strong, it was really strong.

Mark/John: Cool. And then Marko Fox also plays into the mix here and you have quite a history with him, too.

Chris: Yes, yeah. He's another, you know, kind of this continuous chorus of friends that we have in Los Angeles. And you know, when you hang with guys that you really like, that's all you can do. You know, you jam a lot together, drink beer and just have fun because, you know, [?]. And Marko played with... in a band called Zaum with me and Danny Carey which... that was a real kind of improvised, jungely-type of band with the same kind of polyrhythms Tool took off to do, as well. And Marko is just a super solid bass player. He just lays it down. He's incredible. And a great dude on top of that.

Mark/John: Speaking of Marko, I really love the way the bass line in Medicine Man moves from more of a root pattern into a walking patter during the chorus and I just had to mention that, it's a little aside from my question but I just loved that and there's so many musical bits on the record that I love. Everything from the harmonies that you're doing to odd little guitar parts that just pop up here and there and my favorite lyric on the record, that I want to ask you about, is, "I've got a girl, she's a bit of a whore but I'm a bastard from Hell who seems to think it is really cool", and did you write that and is that autobiographical?

Chris: Oh yeah. I mean, every thing you ever write is truly autobiographical. I mean, even if you think you are doing it about someone else, it always points to you.


Mark/John: That's a great line! For your listeners, it comes from a track called "Coolife" and you definitely got to check it out.  

Mark/John: Cool. You mentioned Danny Carey earlier, who we all know from Tool, a lot of people might not know that you actually not only recorded with Tool but did some touring with them. Could you talk a little bit about your involvement with the band tool?

Chris: Yeah, you know, me and Danny both comes from Kansas City and we played in numerous bands there, and he took off to Los Angeles and he finally talked me into coming out there and I was finishing up Arts School and he basically saved my life and got me out of the Midwest. And he was just taking off in a band called Tool back then and when I got there. They had the band going and, you know, they were amazing. Just a great band. And when you heard them in their rehearsal space it was just super powerful. It was intense. And I just said, "Hey, if I can help you out in any ways, just let me know." They put me on as basically just mixing them, being the sound guy or, you know, whatever we could do. And at the same time, me and Danny and Marko were doing Zaum and they were setting up a tour and they thought, "Well, we'll do a tour and you can come out and do the sound for us."

Mark/John: Now, was this Undertow, was this for the Undertow record [ed note: released in April 1993]?

Chris: Yeah, early stuff. '93 or '94. I can't remember which record. And then we went out and toured, we did America, Europe, and stuff, and then, you know, they were starting to take off and it was cool because... and I don't know if they still do it these days, but in Europe you'd go and play these radio stations live and you just set up and go for it, you know, no edits. And it was fun kind of producing them doing these live shows and we also did the John Peel [?] show for the BBC that was like that. And I think that was the only time I actually really recorded them. And that was great. That was a really fun time with those guys.

Mark/John: Cool. And I know that some of the best shows I saw in the 90s were without question Tool and I saw them on Undertow and when they came back around, I think in '96 or something, and just incredible. They used to play a place in New York called Roseland.

Chris: Yeah, the Roseland. I think I did a show with them there in '94.

Mark/John: Okay, I was at that show. It was with Failure opening it, I think.

Chris: Yeah, that was it. I was mixing that show and concrete came off the ceiling and kind of smashed a few people [laughs]

Mark/John: Which brings me to Ken Andrews who you worked with and wanted you to talk a little bit about the project you did with Ken from Failure that was called Replicants. Is that a Blade Runner reference?

Chris: Yeah, it's part Blade Runner and part Gary Numan, I think. I think he might have done some replicants. But we called it Replicants because it was cover songs. And, you know, it's kind of a.... we'd go over to Failure studio, they were recording, I think, Fantastic Planet [ed note: released in August 1996], and me and Paul [D'Amour, from Tool] would just show up and jam with them at nights. And we would do Syd Barret songs, Bowie, you know, all the crazy stuff and having fun. And Ken was testing out recording gear so we'd do demos and we eventually met Marshall from Zoo Records. He just heard us and, "I've got to put this out," and that was great. But, you know, we were kind of just limited to do cover songs so that's how Replicants came up.

Mark/John: When you mentioned Paul, that was Paul D'Amour, the original bassist of Tool, and also, one of the songs that you did with Replicants, actually, had Maynard on vocals.

Chris: Yeah. He did Silly Love Songs by Paul McCartney. It's classic because if you listen to the very beginning of that song, you hear him going, he says something to Mark like, "Do you have it yet?" or something like that, and you hear this water in the background and that's actually him pissing, because he's singing in the toilet. "Hey, you got that?" And we put that on the record. You got to have humor going.

Mark/John: I love the version of Cinnamon Girl that you guys did on that and one of the things that I like about this, and I know that you agree, is the individuality of the musician shines through because of the way you interpreted these songs.

Chris: Yeah, and you know you don't realize that when you're playing cover songs because you just trying to make it... put your own vibe to it. And it's kind of easy to discount doing a cover record, but I heard it years later, I kind of forgot I did it for many years, and I heard it and it's like, "Wow, this is really cool." Because it seems like jazz music where they are playing standards so you don't think about composition, you know, you're not judging them, "Oh, that song sucks." They're just great songs anyways. And then you can see what these people did to the song. We did that amazingly fast. Really fast. And it was so much fun to do.

Mark/John: You know what, Chris, that brings me to talk about another project you did with both Paul and Greg and that was the Lusk project and one of the coolest things is that you did that in the iconic Alley Studio in North Hollywood where so many great classic rock records where [?], and I was wondering, working in that studio, how did that shape what you guys did for the record?

Chris: It completely shaped everything because it was... I don't know if you've been there?

Mark/John: No, I'd love to go the next time I'm out there.

Chris: It's so amazing. You know, unfortunately, most Los Angeles studios are gone now because the record industry has been disassembled by Mr. iPod. But, that one, I'm sure it's still there, but that's where [?], Crosby, Stills & Nash, CoCo, Little Feet, every band in the world... The Chili Peppers are always there, still. And, you know, the 70s bands and Fleetwood Mac. And when we first got in there our intention was trying to be a space rock band. You know, we were just going to be... kind of like [?], some kind of, like, space rock. And by just being in there, the wooden walls and all the coasters and nostalgia, and we suddenly kind of got into the vibe and was listening to some of those records, and we noticed that, you know, back then melody was the form of the music. And a lot of rock music now is based around the rhythm, just real heavy rhythm and then it comes along with it. And then we said, "Okay, let's work as melodies as a form and the drummers more like a timekeeper, Ringo-esque vibe. So that forced us to work differently. Also at the same time, they put out the Beatles Anthology records and a lot of those are John Lennon sitting at a mellotron just improvising the song. And that spirit is incredible. Have you heard those?

Mark/John: I don't know that I have, no.

Chris: He does, like, I am the Walrus and he's just sitting there and , you know, he's messing up notes but, it's just that spirit, that spontaneity of that moment. And it's warts and all. And that's kind of what we inspired to do. Just first takes, keep that kind of loose vibe. And I think that's why today it's so fun to listen to for me.

Mark/John: Cool. That album was actually nominated for a Grammy, is that true?

Chris: Yeah, it did, it was very surprising. You know, when you put music out it's like letting your kid off to the war, you don't know which way it's going to head. Fearful but sometimes it takes really surprising twists and turns and it was nominated and we're like, "Yes!" That was cool.

Mark/John: It is interesting that, Chris, you are known for being an expert with both current technology, you've done a lot of sound design for great companies like [?], but then, on that record there were no computers, it was all standard instrumentation. Did you guys make a conscious decision to record it that way? To only use standard instruments?

Chris: No, most of those decisions were based on that we were broke-ass.


Chris: We didn't have any... No, but still it's always best to use tape, inherently, and of course now it's like a hybrid system, you use digital and analog a lot. Back then we had very minimal equipment, so that was taken out of the picture. It wasn't about the gear at all. It was just kind of capturing these loose, spontaneous moments. And like I said, you know, there was no tuning, there's things that are out of tune at a time, but that's what I love about it. That vibe.

Mark/John: I saw on your site, Chris, you have a section called Workshop and I was wondering is that gear all yours and, you know, I especially like the trident console that was pictured.

Chris: Yeah, about all the gear I have, it's heavily modified and I've done it for years and years. I do a lot of electronic modifications and I have friends who do the same and and we go back and forth. We'll take tape recorders from the 1950s and then just make them into the most insane mike pris [?] you've ever had, and you're the only one in the world that has it. You can change components like transformers and capacitors and it just has an individuality and that's what I use in all our recordings.

Mark/John: Cool. Can you talk about how you got involved with Guns N' Roses and what it was like meeting Axl for the first time?

Chris: Yeah, that was... I was introduced to them through Billy Howerdel who was... he worked for Tool for a while.

Mark/John: And did A Perfect Circle too, right?

Chris: Yeah, he did that. And Billy just... he's a fun guy and he was way into computer stuff before many people were. He was doing recordings with it, and he plays a bunch of instruments. And he was like myself, he goes, "You know, you work for Tool, how did you get out of this?" I'm like, "Well, you just quit being a tick [?] and you just start doing music." And, you know, because it's easy to just do that for a living but it's, you know, it takes a bit of balls to try to survive by just being a musician. And he was just too talented and that's what he eventually did. But he turned Axl on to the Lusk record and Axl was way into, you know, the guitar sounds and orchestration that we did and he invited me down to hang out. And, you know, the first night I met Axl, I didn't know anything about the band too much, besides their big hits they had on the radio. And when I met him he was just too sick [?], a really cool guy, he was so warm and we just had a blast hanging out, and he was playing just tons of tapes and stuff. And he eventually invited me up to this house, like a guest house, you know, it was made into a studio and we wrote music there for like three years. Just me and him. It was a great, neutral zone without people, you know, bugging you. And a lot of great stuff came out of there. And he's he's just enormously talented. He was playing a lot of lead guitar back then.

Mark/John: Really?

Chris: Yeah, yeah. Most people don't know that but I want to give him props up for it because he was just astounding, really.

Mark/John: Really?

Chris: He approached guitar like he does his vocals where, you know, you can't think of anyone in the world doing what he was doing. And I shocked. He was doing, you know, like, Blue Oyster Cult double lead type things. I was like, "Whoa!" you know. He's an amazing fella.

Mark/John: Well, when you approach writing a song back in those sessions, what comes first? Would a melody come first or maybe a groove or how did that work when you first started writing with Axl?

Chris: You just never know. If you start trying to predict it or making a formula of it, then that goes out the window and.... The funniest instance of us doing stuff, I was up at his house for about a week or two and I was setting up... you know, because I'd worked with a couple of film scores before and they set up, back then, these rack mounted samplers like Kurzweil and EMU and you had your kind of fake orchestra with synthesizers. You know, one would be the strings, one with brass, and so on and so forth. And I was setting that up for him and he came out, I'm just going, "Okay, now this module here we're going to use this for brass instruments and here you have horns," and he was, you know, he was playing while I was switching the sounds. And I switched the sound to a French horn sound and he was playing this chord progression and I went to another sound he goes, "Oh, go back to that one," and we went back into French horn sound. And he kept playing his progression and it sounded really cool. And I turned around, turned on the tape machine and that ended up being, and you can hear it today, the very intro of the song called Madagascar.

Mark/John: Wow.

Chris: And that's just how that evolved and he just had this chord progression and all of a sudden it married with the French horn and it was a super moody song and that was the start of that song. And actually we recorded it really quickly up there in his house. And he just sang unbelievably on that. Great song.

Mark/John: And it's really great that you couldn't go in there and predict, "Okay, Axl's gonna come out with a pretty neat chord progression and we're going to use a French horn sound" That is something that could only happen by complete chance when you were going through the sounds like that. So it's just great that you were able to capture that moment, because look what it turned into. Such a great song.

Chris: Yeah, and that exact moment is still on the record today, that's what surprises me, you know. because it takes me right back to that incident.

Mark/John: When you guys play that live Dizzy actually plays that in the live setting, right?

Chris: Yeah, he plays the French horn parts and I'll play the strings over the top of it and it comes off great. It's pretty powerful. The recording... you just got to, you know, when you hear these recordings it's quite astounding. I mean sound-wise they're a hybrid of a lot of different processes that have taken years to do, but while doing it at this pace you will have not heard anything like this before. Because, you know, who's taking that long to do it, you know? And to work on it that thorough? So it's quite a sonic fuse for people to enjoy.

Mark/John: And kind of on that note, is this an album -- I'm talking about Chinese Democracy, of course -- that you think needs to be enjoyed like in its entirety? You need to listen to all the songs kind of flowing together, or is it a song where you can kind of just pick out one song here and there and listen to it? Is it important to listen to it as a entire concept?

Chris: It's hard for me to judge that because I'm too far inside of it to be objective like that. You know, to hear it as a whole, I wouldn't think you have to. I think you could drop the needle anywhere on the record and find something, you know, really interesting. You know, it'll take a while for people to absorb it because it's very rich. There's a lot of information to deal with. It's not a record that's monochrome, it sounds like the same, you know, the band is just playing a set, it's, you know, it fuses a lot of different elements together and that's what Axl's, you know, that's his expertise. He has this kind of collage-like ability to to bring things together that you wouldn't have thought cool.

Mark/John: Cool. You mentioned drop the needle and I actually bought the vinyl, or pre-ordered the vinyl on, so you will be able to get this on vinyl, guys, for all you guys who like actual records like me. So pretty exciting stuff.

Chris: Quite important to... buy vinyl, get the vinyl version because you're getting high resolution. Mp3s are quite, you know, if you get an mp3 it's 90% of the data is lost, to people who don't understand that compression scheme. So if you can't get the vinyl...because it's astounding.

Mark/John: Now Chris, I'm gonna kind of pre-answer this question and I will say the answer I'm sure is yes, but how hard was it and was it hard to decide out of all the material that you worked on for the album, was it hard to decide which songs were going to be on the final album? And is there anything that you wish that was on it that isn't on it, that you might be saving for the future?

Chris: Yeah, there's a whole wealth of material. I mean 10 years, just hundreds and hundreds of songs, ideas and stuff, and it was really hard to conceptualize down to what would work together and that was Axl's thing, he made that part happen and, you know, to this day we're still working on what's coming up next, and, you know, pushing forward with things. You know, the Chinese thing, okay cool, it's done, let's move on to the next thing. And it's just moving upwards and his spirit is to just always, you know, to express himself he hasn't had to go back to 1987 or whatever yet, you know, for nostalgia's sake, but he very well could.

Mark/John: And how does it feel after all these years of, you know, the press talking about the record, that we finally have a real release date and really only just a few weeks away at this point? How did it feel to hear that the release date was finally final?

Chris: Weird and shocking.


Chris: It still is weird. [?] I can't describe it, really, but I'm happy because now people are getting an idea, you know, because they would just continually bash us in the press, as they love to do, because we're, you know... Guns is just such a popular band. But the the end result is, we knew what we had, very confident about it, and it's something unique, I think people once they can sink their teeth into it and get an understanding of it, it will have been worth it.

Mark/John: Great, and Chris, I know that you co-wrote one of the tracks that we've all heard so far, If the World, and it's great that that song became part of the Body of Lies movie

Chris: Yeah, yeah, especially Ridley Scott, that guy's amazing, what a hero.

Mark/John: Brings it back to Blade Runner.

Chris: Yeah, and he he went through a bunch of our songs and he picked that one. And that was great. But yet still it's, like, I said you haven't heard it in it's in its best form yet, high fidelity, and it's gonna be exciting. That's a fun one, that one actually, [?] is gonna interpret, you know, really good for, like, live shows and stuff as well.

Mark/John: Cool. Yeah, well, Chinese Democracy November 23rd, exclusively at Best Buy. And like Chris said guys, we should all pick up the vinyl for the ultimate listening experience for that. Chris, where does the nickname Mother Goose come from?

Chris: You know, it's funny, I haven't heard that in quite a while because when Buckethead came into the band... of course everyone associated with Buckethead has a nickname, you know, there's Brain, there's, you know, Throat Rake and there's [?] people like that so basically the Mother Goose came from, like, a Philip Dick book called VALIS, if any of you've read that, it was just kind of, you know, just one of those funny nicknames but it kind of came and went real quick. I only hear it from people, you know, associated back then when Bucket was playing with us and it's kind of funny to hear now.

Mark/John: Cool. And to bring it back to SexTapes, again, when you go to buy this CD or Mp3s on iTunes, you are looking, you're going to look for "SexTapes" that's the name of the CD and the project, or band if you will. And where is the best place for someone to order this CD online? This is SexTapes we're talking about now.

Chris: As you're saying, if you're going online, do put in "SexTapes" and "Chris Pitman" because if you hit "SexTapes" you're going to get a million sex tapes, literally.


Chris: You're going to look for mine, and hopefully there's none out, that's a little too compromising.

Mark/John: [?].com?

Chris: [?] some rabid ex-girlfriend, or something.


Mark/John: Is there a TM after, one name group name, "SexTapes", does that stand for "trademark" or does that stand for something else?

Chris: No, we actually trademarked it as one name because we kind of had to make it... to do legal merchandize and stuff. So we did trademark the name and that's how that came around.

Mark/John: Very cool. And Chris, before you go, I wanted to touch on your artwork, and for all our Talking Metal listeners, who might not have known this, please go to Chris' website,, and check it out. I mean, there are some amazing works that are in the traditional kind of media that we all think about paintings, but then there's some really neat stuff, photography and what I was really interested in, were these site-specific installations and photographs of, for example, the dirt after the tread of bulldozer ran through it, and basically, tell me a little bit about that stuff. It's really amazing.

Chris: The site-specific stuff was done in the early 90s, you know, it's kind of when I got out of Arts School. You kind of graduate through the paintings and the drawings, and you find out that that is kind of a dead art. So, okay, in Arts School...

[cut majority of third video which was comprised of discussions of Chris' art.

Posts : 13244
Plectra : 86440
Reputation : 97
Join date : 2018-03-17

Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum