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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.


2015.07.31 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Frank

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2015.07.31 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Frank Empty 2015.07.31 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Frank

Post by Blackstar Sun Jan 29, 2023 10:12 am

In episode 128 of One On One With Mitch Lafon, Frank Ferrer of GUNS N' ROSES joins Mitch to discuss the current status of & his time with Guns N' Roses, playing with THE DEAD DAISIES, The Compulsions & their latest 'Dirty Fun' album, Richard Fortus, KISS, going to his first KISS show, the KISS Creatures Of The Night album, his 'jam' band MULE KICK and much more.

Talking Metal's Mark Strigl co-hosts this episode.


Mitch Lafon: Welcome to another episode of One On One with Mitch Lafon. Joining me this week from Guns N' Roses - or is he? - drummer Frank Ferrer. Currently, though, with The Compulsions and Mulekick. The Compulsions of course featuring Sami Yaffa, formerly of the New York Dolls, Richard Fortus of Guns N' Roses, and Rob Carlyle. Great new album called Dirty Fun. This episode of One On One is brought to you by the Heavy Montreal Festival taking place August 7th, 8th and 9th at Parc Jean-Depreau in beautiful downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Who do we have? We've got Lita Ford, Warrant, Slipknot, Lamb of God, Faith No More, Korn, and many many many more. And joining me at Heavy Montreal this year to do all kinds of live tweeting, periscoping, pictures, interviews is the one the only Mark Strigl of Talking Metal. G'day sir.

Mark Strigl: Hey Mitch, how are you?

ML: Good, good. You know, I'm looking forward to our little heavy Montreal extravaganza. You're gonna be, I think, on periscope @TalkingMetal and I'll be on periscope @MitchLafon. We're gonna give live video feeds of the first minute of every song from every band playing, interviews and backstage stuff and it's gonna be a great time.

[cut more talk about the festival]

ML: So there you go. Frank Ferrer.

MS: Yeah.

ML: Here's what the interesting thing is, he's pretty much your neighbor, right?

MS: Yeah. I mean, that's stretching it a little bit but he's, you know he's within-

ML: -The neighborhood.

MS: Yeah, he's less than, let's see, I would say about a mile from my house. He's kind of on the other side of town, a very small town we live in. He's a great guy. i don't see him, we don't hang out all that much, but I would like to start hanging out with him more. You know, it's funny, my friend Rob Bailey is good friends with him and Rob plays in this band Mulekick with Frank who I hope to go check out very soon. I haven't seen them yet but Rob's an old friend of mine and Frank, I've known him for a number of years now. I guess right around the time I moved out to Maplewood which was around the same time he joined Guns, I got to know him. So great guy, great guy.

ML: Yeah and of course Mulekick is a fun band. It's sort of this.... I don't want to call it a bar band but it's just a jam band, right? The guys get together and do pretty much any song from Guns N' Roses to AC/DC to whatever, right?

MS: Yeah, yeah, and I mean, they just have an incredible knowledge of their instruments that, you know, they make it just seem flawless. And if you haven't heard this guy Rob Bailey who plays in Mulekick with Frank, he's such an underrated guitar player, I mean, he's jammed with the guys in Aerosmith, the guys in the New York Dolls, and does all sorts of commercials, he's like a professional session musician in New York. [He] has played on Broadway, doing like the Moving Out, Billy Joel Broadway show and he's just a really great guitar player and you should do yourself a treat and go see him live with Mulekick.

ML: Yeah, absolutely. And the other band - and the reason for the interview - is The Compulsions, this band that he's got with Richard Fortus and Sami Yaffa. The new album is called Dirty Fun and that's pretty much what it is. It sounds like, a classic sort of Rolling Stone-ish, 1970s arena rock kind of album. It's fun stuff, great, great stuff. It came out a little earlier this year, in April. Definitely worth picking up. Here's the fun thing about talking with Frank, we started off talking about the Compulsions and Mulekick and, you know, what's going on with Guns N' Roses, and just to point out, this interview with Frank was recorded a few days before DJ Ashba announced that he was leaving the band, which is why we don't talk about it in the interview. But at one point KISS came up, the wonderful Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons band known as KISS, came up and Frank turns out is a huge die-hard KISS fan and the conversation became all about Creatures of the Night and the drum sound and Alive II, and taking his dad to go see that show, and what's going on here it almost became a KISS geekdom festival. So KISS fans rejoice, if you like Creatures of the Night or anything about KISS, Frank is your man. And the conversation is KISS heavy, which pretty much every conversation I have has some kind of KISS in there. I guess it's one of those things, right?

MS: Right.

ML: Right. All KISS, all the time. You know what, why don't we just listen up? Here is the one the only drummer Frank Ferrer.

ML: We are speaking with Frank Ferrer, drummer for Guns N' Roses and of course The Compulsions. Good day, Frank.

Frank: Hey, what's up Mitch? Thanks for having me on, dude.

ML: Yeah, you are very welcome. So you know what, I know folks love to talk about Guns N' Roses but let's get right into The Compulsions. That's an interesting band to me. The latest album came out in April called Dirty Fun.

Frank: Exactly.

ML: And, you know, you have from Hanoi Rocks and the New York Dolls, Sami Yaffa, and of course Rob Carlyle is the singer, and you've also got your Guns N' Roses partner there-

Frank: Right.

ML: -Richard Fortus. The second album, right? Or you had Beat The Devil I guess in the past. Tell me a little bit about The Compulsions, you know, where are you going with it and, you know, the recording of Dirty Fun and all that stuff.

Frank: Well the Compulsions, I've been playing with Carlyle in different versions of The Compulsions for well over ten years. Rob is a great musician, great songwriter, but in the New York scene it is difficult to keep a band together, you know. A lot of moving parts. So when the opportunity came up where Richard and I and Sammy were like in the same place at the same time, Rob took advantage of it and got us all in the studio to record. Rob writes mostly songs on his own and then he'll bring like the bare bones to the band and we'll will work them out. And it's been a lot of fun, again, you know, since Richard and Sammy and I we're always doing different stuff and working, Richard now has the baby, Sami's back out with Michael Monroe. We actually have Alec Morton, who used to be in Raging Slab, fill in the last couple of shows because Sami's been doing his TV show in Finland and playing with Michael. So, I mean, Richard should [?] have some downtime soon with the Daisies go back out in July so we'll squeeze in some shows in June. But up to this point, The Compulsions is a great band, it's a great recording band, but making it a live thing has been a little challenging. But we want continue doing it, I mean, we love the band, we love playing here in New York, we played in LA in April which was amazing, [?] turnout, Del James and the gang showed up so it was pretty good.

ML: It's got a great sound. It's very 1970s, it's got that dirty sort of Rolling Stones-

Frank, Ah, totally.

ML: -Hanoi Rocks. So is there plans to get into a recording studio and do a follow up? I mean, I know this one is reasonably new...

Frank: Yeah, yeah, this one came out a couple of months ago. Yeah, I mean, that's the plan. I mean, there isn't anything set in stone right now but sure, we love to do The Compulsion and we'd love to take it out on the road and [?] exploring those possibilities right now, getting out and playing some shows at least, you know, at least some major cities here in the States, hopefully we [?] and come out to Europe. And then we'll just deal with anybody's schedule at that point but once you have something solid [?].

ML: Now you mentioned the Dead Daisies, the band that Richard Fortus is still in. You were on the Face I Love EP-

Frank: Exactly.

ML: What happened there? Why are you not on the new Revolución album?

Frank: To be honest with you I'm not really too sure. I know that when I jumped on the Daisies it was a very last minute thing, something that happened with the drummer, I got a phone call from Richard who said, "Hey, you wanna come in and do the session, drummer's ill," or something like that. And I ran in and did it and it worked out great, I ended up doing the EP. And then I jumped on - they were on a run in the States - but at that point I had committed, because it was a last minute thing, I had committed to do, because I also subbed for Amina [?]. I subbed that gig and that's in Germany and they booked their gigs months in advance. So I committed to some gigs in Germany like in the middle of that tour so I had to leave the Dead Daisies' tour, I'm like six dates into it because I had this commitment in Germany, and then that's when Brian Tichy jumped on and I guess everything gelled with Tichy - he's a great guy. And I guess they just continued with that, you know. So I think it's just a matter of like, you know, they found a drummer that was able to commit long-term and who's a great guy and a great musician. So I think basically that's it, I don't think it's anything other than that. I haven't been asked back to play which, again, is not a big deal. But it's a good band and I loved doing that EP and I loved playing with Marco Mendoza. I know they will be in town later this month-

ML: Yeah, with Whitesnake.

Frank: Yeah, yeah. Marco called me up and said, "Hey, we're going to be in the city, come out and hang out," and I'm actually playing the same night on July 23 [?] with Tommy Stinson and his solo thing, we're still recording his record but we already finished like six tracks on that record. So I will be doing some dates later this month with Stinson, with Tommy Stinson. So hopefully I will see Marco and the guys later this month, Richard, [?] should be in the city.

ML: Yeah, you know, let me talk a little bit about Richard Fortus. Your relationship with him goes back years, I mean, you were in Love Spit Love with... you know, which was the Richard Butler Psychedelic Furs side project, what is it about Richard that makes him such a great guitarist and so in demand? The fact that he's with Psychedelic Furs then Guns N' Roses and, you know...

Frank: Well, first and foremost he's an amazing musician.

ML: Yeah.

Frank: He's definitely top of the line, world-class musician. So that's probably the best reason why he's in demand. He's a good man, a good guy, super reliable, you know, totally depend on him a hundred percent, he has a great reputation in the industry. And we have a very good personal relationship, obviously, we [?] also, for many, many years. But musically we have a great relationship, [?], we have the kind of relationship now where eye contact is all we need and we know exactly [?]. And I think that's why him and I end up working a lot together. I love bass players, obviously, I picture myself a groove drummer, but I'm a huge guitars fan, I love to play to a guitar player, like people always ask like, "What's your influence as a drummer?" and I always say, like, "Keith Richards, Malcolm Young is just as big an influence as John Bonham and Tom Drayton is", you know. Because if you could get a guitar player to play in his comfort zone, find his right pocket, you know, it makes the rock, super rock. You can dance and get up and bob your head, head bang, do whatever you want as long as you have that musical relationship and that rhythm going, that really deep rhythm. And I think Rich and I have.... We fell right into it, I mean, I remember when I went to rehearse with Love Spit Love in 1992 and we just started just playing and grooving and we found all the right tempos for all the Love Spit Love songs, like, it's really easy to work with him. We have a special relationship musically, Rich and I. And I think that's why we ended up playing a lot together, you know, a lot of people... Rich [?] "Oh, you gotta get Frank," [?] "Who can play the guitar?" "You gotta get Richard Fortus." Its always the same go-to-guy in both directions.

ML: Is that what happened with Guns N' Roses, one of you were in the band and said, "Hey, you got to get this guy"?

Frank: Richard and I played with Tommy on his solo stuff when Tommy came through... Okay, so Richard gets in Guns, him and Tommy become friends, all that kind of stuff, and then when Tommy came through on some of his solo stuff Rich was like, "Oh, you gonna get Frank to play drums, obviously," so we sit down - I had met Tommy socially a couple of times beforehand but definitely, you know, when he came to town we went in did a few gigs around town, Philly, and stuff like that, it was a lot of fun. And so they go off go to their Guns thing and then when they find out that Brain is gonna have the baby and wants to take a couple of days off, Tommy's pretty much the musical director of Guns N' Roses-

ML: Gotcha.

Frank: -so he's like, when they all turn to each other and, like, "Who should we get to fill in?" and from what I understand they had like a lot of big names, you know, but those guys weren't really.... you know, they don't want to bring in somebody that they were uncomfortable with and and that Axl's gonna be uncomfortable with, and they knew me very well and they knew I could play this stuff, you know, it's right up, it's my wheelhouse, Guns N' Roses is my wheelhouse, you know. So they were like, "Let's just get Frank," you know, "[?] here and he can play the stuff." And it was pretty much like that. It was a combination of Tommy and Richard. You know, I had met Dizzy before, they sold it on the guys and they were like, "Yeah, bring him out, let's see what happens." And actually, they were in town, in New York City, rehearsing, [?] S.I.R., and played a bunch of songs and next thing I know I was out on the road with them, it was pretty amazing. It was a pretty whirlwind type of thing. Totally unexpected but it was amazing. It is amazing, still.

ML: Well, you know, listen, I've seen the band in its current formation at least four or five times and you just fit in perfectly. I mean, it does sound great, I know that a lot of folks complain about band members and stuff but musically the band sounds tight. I mean, just very tight.

Frank: Mhm. There's a good bunch of players.

ML: Yeah, absolutely.

Frank: I mean, if we were playing and... if somebody would have put this band together for like some sort of like Broadway [?] band or something it would be the best band [?]. We all gel. It's amazing. We all find each other's pockets and we sit in it and it's amazing. It's a really, really good band. Dizzy Reed's piano playing is like... I mean, he's probably one of the most underrated piano players in the world because he's piano playing is insane. When we do Used To Love Her or stuff like that it's just like, "Ooh!" I mean, again, it's my wheelhouse. You know, what bands do I want to be in? I want to be in Rolling Stones and AC/DC, I want to be in groove bands, bands where the drummers just sit there and groove forever and that's what Guns do.

ML: Yes, especially the Appetite for Destruction stuff had a really distinctive groove. Adler did some great, great stuff. Well, let's talk a little bit about your time with Guns N' Roses because, listen, let's not hide behind, you know, that the fact is that fans love to hear about Guns. Chinese Democracy was fourteen years in the making, all kinds of people came in there, Roy Thomas Baker produced and then didn't produce, and Brian May came in to play guitar and didn't play guitar, and Zakk Wylde coming to play guitar and didn't play guitar, and, you know, I could I could sit here for the next 45 minutes and rattle off all kinds of names - how did you get brought in to the project? Was it because you were already on the touring band and they just said, "Listen, we got to finish these tracks"?

Frank: What it was was, okay, so when I first joined the band Brain sat me down and it's like, "Hey, listen, the things that you want to think about when you're playing this music," and the main thing he told me was, like, "You want to take these songs and make them your own. There's parts to them, there's drum parts to them, obviously, but you want to make it your own somehow. That's the only way it's going to work. If you're up there playing other people's parts it's just not gonna rock." So I took it to heart and at the time, you know, I thought it was gonna be a temporarily thing, that it was Brain's seat, you know. So, especially the Chinese Democracy music because technically it's all new, at the time it was all new music, no one's ever heard it, you know. It's one thing that I can't really stretch with the old material because there's a lot of signature drum [?] songs, obviously I'm not [?] mess with imprint on Guns, for sure.

ML: Right, you don't want to be changing You Could Be Mine, because-

Frank: No, no.

ML: -it's a classic.

Frank: And that drum part is-

ML: Classic!

Frank: -the most fun I have, the most fun song I play every night is You Could Be Mine. I love Matt's parts, I love them. It sounds like you're changing gears in a car, it's amazing, you know. Anyway, so with the new stuff I stretched more, I started stretching the new stuff more because, again, you know, I knew that the fan had never heard the material, and the guys it was still new to them so I knew that I could sneak in [?], I knew that I could be more myself with the new stuff and I took it to heart on Brain's advice and I went for it. So I changed just a couple little things, you know, that I personally feel make the songs like jump up or give it a different shift, you know. And Axl really liked what I did so when I was called back in he was like, "Hey listen man, I love those few licks you did on this song, on that song, [?] Better and Chinese Democracy, straighten it out a little bit," and then he was like, "I want you to put that on tape." So when I sat down and I started recording Chinese stuff, everything is done, everything was complete, so I just went in and played the specific parts, you know, and that stuff made the record. And Chinese is the only song that I played all the way through and in the other songs is split between me and Brain and I. So that's how that came to be. You know, Axl was super supportive when I sat on Brain's chair, super supportive. He made me feel welcome and part of the family and that again also made it easier for me to stretch more on the newer, on the Chinese Democracy music. And it worked out because he asked me to play on the record [?] change the parts.

ML: You know, you mentioned that the songs were done and that you had added some parts and Axl said, "Okay, I love this, we need to get it on tape," why do you think they or Axl felt the need to re-record and re-record? I mean, if the album was done and the tracks were done, you know, why add parts? What was missing? Was it just a vision in his head of what the music should sound like and it just wasn't completely?

Frank: I guess the only thing I can say is that he wasn't ready, he just wasn't ready to put it out, he didn't feel like it was completely done. You know, I'm always joking, it came out everybody had to wait till I showed up [?]. I always make that joke but, you know, obviously, he was, you know... it's his baby, this is baby and he wanted it, he wants it to be perfect. Still today, still even today he wants everything to come off just right. And that's a lot of pressure to put on oneself and he deals with it in his own way. He is probably one of the greatest living rock stars in the history of music - and they're becoming rare. I see no, I mean, you know, [?] rock stars in the last 15 years that's popped up, you can't think of anybody, you know, everybody still, you know, Nine Inch Nails still have [?], and Soundgarden and Alice In Chains, it's like there's nobody out there, you know, and Axl puts that pressure on himself, it's a lot of pressure. He just wants it to be right. It's the only thing like I could say is that he wants everything to be just right, that's definitely [?].

ML: Which is fair enough.

Frank: [?] every artist, that's what every artist, you know, they're perfectionist in their own right, you know, very rarely.... You know, for every one great song you hear being written, 16 or so that probably are great but they don't feel is great, you know. That's just way they think, you know. He has a lot of pressure on him.

ML: And I think it's normal, too. I mean, I've done a lot of interviews with different rock stars and and I always say, "Tell me about this album," or "that album" and often you'll get, "Oh, I wish we could go back and redo the mix," "Oh, I wish we could change that guitar-"

Frank: Of course.

ML: I mean, it's just the nature of the beast, right? I mean-

Frank: I mean, Zeppelin keeps freaking remastering their records! [laughs] It's Zeppelin, for God's sake! [laughs]

ML: Yeah!

Frank: It's like, it was perfect when it came out in, you know, '71.

ML: Yeah. By the way, the track itself, Chinese Democracy, that you played all the way through, and I will tell you this as a fan, to me is as good a Guns N' Roses song as anything they had done previously. I mean, I just love that song, that song is spot on. It is perfect.

Frank: That's awesome. It's a great song. And I think Josh and Axl wrote that song.

ML: Yeah.

Frank: Josh Freese, who was another drummer that was in the band.

ML: One of many.

Frank: Yeah, then Brain took over for him. [?] Josh played Nails, is the best band [?].

ML: The album when it came out didn't get received very well. I happen to like it. I'm probably one of the few that like it. The songs live, though, got received very well. You know, I've been to a bunch of shows like I mentioned and when Chinese Democracy opens the show or when you play If The World or any... fans are cheering just as much as anything else. Looking back on the album yourself, what do you feel? Did you like Chinese Democracy?

Frank: I thought Chinese is great, I thought it is a great album. I'm very happy about that I played on it, it's great. I think Axl's singing is great, I think Bumble's playing on it is amazing. I think it's a great record.

ML: Was it just that fans were expecting so much after 14 years that it was sort of destined to not be what everybody expected it to be? I mean-

Frank: I don't know [?]-

ML: Too much anticipation?

Frank: What was that?

ML: Was it just too much anticipation?

Frank: Honestly, I'm not sure. I mean, I know a lot of fans... well, you know, they're not really open to change and to new things. A lot of fans won't let their bands take a different direction, very few bands got to have that luxury of like changing styles and changing direction.

ML: You're right. I mean, essentially only Madonna and U2 have been able to-

Frank: U2 is the only one that I could think of-

ML: Yeah, and Madonna, that's not rock. But yeah, it's a very hard thing to change. I mean, you know, you look at a KISS for example when they do something like The Elder and they get crapped on. People just don't want to deal with that. The question-

Frank: Just on a quick KISS thing, I appreciate The Elder, know why? Because it gave us Creatures.

ML: Yeah.

Frank: Creatures rocks. If they didn't make The Elder, they didn't make a record like Creatures, they'd keep making that Unmasked record over and over again.

ML: You know what, you've tapped into my KISS geek part of the.... I fully agree with you that had they not made The Elder they would not have been put in a situation where they needed to come back with something like Creatures. They might have come up with Unmasked Part Two or something-

Frank: *sigh*

ML: -and so you sort of got to appreciate the bump in the road, you know, to get to the beach and Creatures being the beach because that is just for me it's one of the top three albums. The first KISS album to me is essential because they're still playing Cold Gin, they're still playing Strutter, they're still playing Deuce. Creatures is wow! And then I just love Revenge, I sort of like one of every decade.

Frank: I don't know. I kind of lost touch with KISS after around... What was that one tour that they did, like only clubs? I saw them at the Ritz and I saw them at L'Amour's [?]. It was-

ML: They did a couple, to promo Crazy Nights they did L'Amour's or whatever and then after that to promo Revenge they did a couple of shows in Brooklyn and stuff like that.

Frank: You know, that's like Crazy Nights [?]

ML: I wasn't gonna go down the KISS way but I know your story. Your story is your dad took you to see KISS at Madison Square Garden. 1979, I guess, Dynasty tour.

Frank: No, 1977. The Alive II tour.

ML: Oh, now you're making me jealous. Okay, just tell me a little bit about that night. I mean, here it is, your dad's taking you to a KISS show... did you know KISS at all? Had the dad been playing it in the car on the eight-track all day long and driving you there?

Frank: Oh no, no, my father is Cuban, he's a Latin percussionist. He didn't speak English. We had no idea-

ML: How did you get toa KISS show?

Frank: I'll tell you the story. So I see KISS on TV, hear them on the radio, my mom lets me buy Alive at that point, [?], I guess by then I already would have had a couple of KISS records. Yeah, I definitely had Alive... no, no, I got Alive II for Christmas so no, I didn't have Alive II because the shows are like December 16th or something like that [?]. So I got Alive II to for Christmas so it was like another 10 days before I even got that record. So now I have a couple of KISS records, I've seen them on TV couple of nights I was staying up late watching [?] rock concerts-

ML: We all did.

Frank: - and then I go to my dad... What was that?

ML: We all did it, right, Don [?], the Paul Lynde Halloween Special, The KISS Meets the Phantom-

Frank: That's the first time I physically saw KISS. I saw them, like, actually as people on the stage was on the Paul Lynde Halloween Special. Like, I had no idea. You know, you hear them on the radio and stuff and you see the album covers but I had no idea what they were like. And when I saw that I was like I love them, you know. So my father is a Latin percussionist, alright, so we've been to a lot of shows because he would go see everybody, Tito Puentes, [?], and he'd take the whole family, it would be us, and, you know, [?] dancing and stuff like that. So when I told him, I was like, "Hey, I want to go see this concert at Madison Square Gardens," and my father's mind he thought it was like going to see Tito Puentes. So he was like, "Yeah, sure, I will go see a concert." You know, my father enjoyed seeing concerts. Not rock concerts, mind you [laughs].

ML: But, you know what, when you think about it, Peter Criss came from that... you know, he liked the jazz and the swing and the... you know Peter Criss's drumming wasn't so far removed from that swing-y, Latin-y  kind of-

Frank: Sure.

ML: So your dad takes you to the show and then the curtain drops and his face does what?

Frank: My father sat there so bummed out. I never see... I mean, I was afraid to have a good time, he was looking so pissed off and, you know, there's people smoking pot and everybody's dressed up like KISS, my father... We came home that night and he was, like, he threatened to throw my records out, he's like... It's not like we saw two songs and we left, we stayed for the whole show. You know, came home and it was like, "You're not listening to this music," "This is ridiculous," "It's gonna lead to drugs" and something about the devil. And he told my mom when we came home, like, complaining. My mom was like, "What happened at the show?" and I wasn't like, "Nothing, it was great!" And my father goes, "Some dude started bleeding from his ears [?]" [laughs]

ML: Did he ground you for this? 

Frank: No, I didn't get grounded. By the next morning he had settled down, you know, but he was [?]. I didn't lose my records,  I put all my records away, I hid them, you know, as soon as I got home I put them all away. He was bummed out, man. But, you know, he settled down and my mom was like, you know, "Relax," you know, "It's just music," and, you know, "you're not gonna become a drug addict, he's not going to do this for a living" [laughs].

ML: Little did she know, right. But what about you, you-

Frank: I remember sitting there, I remember the lights going out and 20,000 people screaming and I remember thinking that I was gonna die, that was the feeling that had inside of me. It was like, "I think I'm gonna die." I think, you know, it was completely pitch black and 20,000 people screaming and I thought... I was gonna... hang on describe it, I can't describe the feeling but then when the lights hit and the fire and explosion, it was like... I think I'm chasing that dragon, I think that's what I'm chasing, you know. It might've been this sort of a drug hit or something that made me feel this way and I was just like, "This is... I don't know what they're doing down there but I'm doing that." [?]

ML: And you ended up doing that because Guns and Roses, the shows I've seen with you, there is stuff blowing up and, you know, all kinds of crazy stuff. So that was-

Frank: And Richard's like, "[?] loved it" [?] I'm like, "Yeah!" Dude, let me tell you one thing, though, when those freaking concussion bombs hit, the first couple of times, dude, I think I almost got up and walked off the kit, I was, like, I don't think I could sit through a whole night of these things blowing up right next to me.

ML: That's great. Did you go back and see them in '79 at Dynasty?

Frank: Yeah, I saw Dynasty [?], that was Ron's first show, right. Yeah, so when I saw them in '77 Desmond Child's Band opened up. Desmond Child & Rogue or something.

ML: It was Rogue, right?

Frank: Right. And then in '79 it was that band New England.

ML: That's right, I saw New England as well. That was great. You know, since you saw the '77 one, which was, listen, let's not kid ourselves, that was KISS at their prime and there was no denying it, that was the best sounding version of KISS. And then you see '79 and they do the pink outfit and they start doing solo album stuff.

Frank: Yeah.

ML: I mean, '79 was my first show and I had the same experience as you, it melted my eyes and it was fantastic and I became a rock star fan, you know, for the rest of my life. But for you, was it a disappointment or was it just more of like, "Yeah, they're back!"?

Frank: No.

ML: Okay.

Frank: Yeah, no, I love KISS. I mean, I could tell you that I honestly love, love KISS, probably all the way [?] until Crazy Nights. Obviously, you know, after Asylum and stuff and all that they got a little popish, I mean, even though at that point I'm already into like Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails and those kind of bands, I still had, or like a love affair... and I still kind of do, like, I got, you know, [?] house,  the action figures out and Christmas balls and-

ML: There's a loyalty.

Frank: -all my programs, you know, I got all my KISS programs. I had the '77 one, I still have pictures of the '77 one, but what happened was that I, you know, I was a little kid so I cut them up and I cut the program apart and hung it on my wall, you know, so I ruined it. But I have the '77 program, I have all the programs from every show I've ever seen.

ML: Ah, that's great. Did-

Frank: I have the program with Mark St. John on it, right? Which is that one?

ML: '84. Animalize.

Frank: Animalize! I have that program and then I saw them 2-3 times on that tour and I have a Bruce Kulick one of that program, too. 

ML: Man, you have a eBay fortune sitting in your closet [laughs]. Did you see the 1980 Unmasked... not Unmasked, well, it is Unmasked but the Palladium show in New York?

Frank: I [?] Palladium. 

ML: I was actually at that show.

Frank: Yeah, yeah, I saw that show. The Rock Cats [?], right?

ML: Rock Cats [or Hats], you got it. That was great. 

Frank: I've seen them, you know, years down the line and they're slamming, they were probably better than the Stray Cats but they didn't get love, you know.

ML: I know. But hey, who knows, maybe we met each other on that July 25th 1980, but, okay, let me ask you since you're a drummer-

Frank: Maybe just real quickly, you know the Palladium was great because I lived on 16th Street 9th Avenue and Palladium 14th and 3rd, I literally walked right outside the door of my apartment building that I lived on because the bus, the 14th Street bus, the first stop is 16th Street - used to be 16th Street 9th Avenue - that'll make the right and go down 14th Street. So I will walk right out my door, get on the bus, take it all the way down to 14th Street and then after the show, cross right directly across the street from the Palladium and take the bus right back to my mom's house.

ML: Oh wow. 

Frank: I loved the place. I saw Saxxon there, Triumph, [?]

ML: The Canadian band. Triumph. The Unmasked show, I had to convince my mom that it was worth going to drive down from Montreal, buy tickets from a scalper for 35 bucks, which, listen, back in 1980 35 bucks is like paying a million dollars for a ticket.

Frank: Right.

ML: I mean, that was a effort but to my mom's credit she made the trip, she got a hotel, you know, she drove the car.

Frank: Jesus Christ! That's amazing!

ML: She made the effort.

Frank: [?] your mom took you down without even having a ticket?

ML: No, no ticket, we went to a broker in New Jersey. We saw an ad that, you know, somebody was selling tickets in New Jersey. But hey, we ended up with center seats, row T, I remember very clearly.

Frank: Wow!

ML: So, you know, we were like, whatever, 20 rows back but dead center for the Unmasked - it was fantastic. 

Frank: And, you know, it's a Palladium night so that's like sitting, you know, first row at Madison Square Garden, it's a great venue to see bands. I mean, one band that went to the Palladium that I had a chance to see and did not go see, was AC/DC Bon Scott Highway to Hell tour, and I didn't go.

ML: AC/DC at the Palladium? Oooh.

Frank: [?] Bon Scott. But they came through with Hells Bells, the Back In Black tour, they opened up for Ted Nugent at the Garden and headlined the Palladium. I think AC/DC actually... I think they were opening up for like Molly Hatchet or some crazy band, AC/DC was popular in New York City because they were considered more of a punk rock band in New York City. For some reason they had more of a punk rock strike, like they played CBGBs and stuff, you know. But I had a hey you know, [?] AC/DC got tickets [?]

ML: I'm surprised that they weren't a much bigger band by Back in Black, but huh.

Frank: Well, yeah. Back in Black they headlined the Palladium and opened up for Ted Nugent and [?] Back in Black. Isn't that crazy, dude? The biggest record ever.

ML: The good old days. I saw Ted Nugent on that tour but I think we had like April Wine or Toronto or one of those Canadian bands open for him up here. Since you're a drummer and you're a big KISS fan, how do you rank or how do you - I don't want to say rank - how do you qualify Peter Chriss' playing, Eric Carr's playing, and Eric Singer? Obviously you're more familiar with Peter Criss, just good drummer? Average drummer? You know, soundtrack to your life. 

Frank: Peter Chriss?

ML: Yeah.

Frank: No, dude. You know, okay, first I just want to say just in general it's hard for me to really like kind of rate drummers, compare drummers, but any drummer, I mean any drummer, would be lucky or blessed, like God will come down and put his finger on you, if you get to play any song as great and popular as Rock And Roll All Nite or Surrender or Brown Sugar or November Rain. Any drummer, any drummer, will want to play on one of the greatest songs ever. So, you know, that makes you an immortal, dude. I don't care if you're the shittiest drummer playing in every club, if you get to play on one of the greatest songs ever, if you get to play out, you know, I Want To Hold Your Hand or, you know, Welcome To The Jungle, you get to play on an immortal song that makes you [?] because this is an immortal, as far as I'm concerned. Bun E. Carlos, you know. Phil Rudd, those are untouchables, those are the guys that I want to be like. So regardless of whether Peter Criss could play, you know, any Rush tune or any, like, you know, jazz, whatever  you want to say, he got to play on some of the greatest songs ever recorded, so he's an immortal, for sure.

ML: I agree. You know what, technical proficiency doesn't make you a great player. I mean, you look at for example CC DeVille and Poison, not the greatest guitarist in the world, can't run scales like Steve Vai or whatever, but, man, when you hear Nothing But A Good Time or Talk To Her, those are just fun songs and he plays the perfect parts for those songs. I mean, that's what it's about, it's about playing for the song and not jumping up and down and saying, "Look at me drum and do some fills," like, who cares? 

Frank: Yeah, no. It's about the song.

ML: Yes, absolutely.

Frank: Everybody remembers the song. That's it. And that's the mark of a great drummer, that's the mark of a great drummer, knowing what to do on a great song, recognizing that a song is great and it just needs this and that and it doesn't need, you know, four breaks in it so I can do my super could super quadruplets-

ML: Nobody cares about that. 

Frank: -it doesn't need it. What was that?

ML: Nobody needs that. You don't need Peter Criss saying, "During Rock And Roll All Nite I need some blast beats," and it's like, "No, you don't." Play for the dance [?] 

Frank: Blast beats!


ML: Yeah, can you imagine? [imitating blast beats] Right in the middle of Rock And Roll, that'd be something. But as far as Bun E. Carlos, what he did with Ain't That A Shame, that opening, I guess, drum riff for a lack of a better word, fantastic. It's fantastic.

Frank: I know there was like something on the Internet or Twitter that Matt Sorum got some shit for November Rain, I mean, dude, I would have loved.... if they would tell me like, "You get to record November Rain but you got to play these drum parts," I'd be happy as hell to play those drum parts, because it's a great song. You get to play on a great song, you know, I mean, to be honest, I don't really get the whole 'comparing musician thing' anyway to begin with cuz I don't know where this whole sports competitive thing comes into play in music, in art, that makes no sense to me. So I don't really buy into it. So it's mind-boggling to me. I just want to play on a really goddamn good song, that's all I want to do. And if all I'm doing is playing four-on-the-floor and not anything else and I get to play on a great song man, I'm happy, I'm ecstatic, you know.

ML: Well alright, let's not compare then, let me just ask you this one more KISS one then I'll get back to The Compulsions and Guns, but, like, you mentioned Creatures of the Night, it is considered by fans of the band, and just rock fans in general, to have one of the best sounding drums, the best drum sound for an album. As somebody who had a dad who was a percussionist, as a drummer yourself, when you hear Creatures of the Night does it just make the hair on your arms stand up?

Frank: I remember buying Creatures and putting it on my record player and believing that it wasn't even KISS. Like, I kept listening to these songs and other than Paul and Gene's voice, to that point it didn't even sound like, there was such a leap, a huge leap sound-wise, in songwriting wise, that I was so happy that that record was out. I felt for sure cuz KISS was back, you know. I mean, at a time that, and I haven't heard Creatures in 10 years, right, but I remember at the time after Unmasked and after The Elder not knowing what to expect, not knowing at all what to expect from KISS. And then hearing that version of KISS, it was amazing, it was great. Yes, I loved that record, I loved that version of KISS. You know what I hated about that record, though? I do hate one thing about that record.
ML: What is that?

Frank: You want to know what it is?

ML: Yeah.

Frank: I think you know what it is. When they changed the album cover! 

ML: Yeah, in '85. And they put the Bruce Kulick album cover on, "What the heck is that?"

Frank: What the hell? Why?

ML: But they brought it back. They made a mistake, they made it up on the remasters and all that. Yeah, that was just very, very strange. The only thing I could ever think of is that it must have been some kind of lawsuit over the make-up and they figured, "Well, the hell with it, we'll just change it."

Frank: Oh yeah, I didn't think about that, that's right. [?] already had the the banner at that time.

ML: Ace was out of the band and Vinnie Vincent had just dropped out of the band, he had done the, you know, Lick It Up and stuff and and he played a little bit on Creatures so... Who knows? You know, sometimes we don't understand why things are going on but behind the scenes there's all kinds of nonsense and maneuvering and legalities. Let me get you back to Guns N' Roses for a second because we've gone long here and I know fans are interested. The question that you keep getting asked over and over again, and I don't even know if it's relevant at this point, is there going to be a new Guns album?

Frank: Well, at least the best way to answer that is that Guns has a future. Guns definitely has a lot of moving parts and there's a lot of things in the works and once we're ready to announce something, you know, the whole world will know. But everything is moving forward, everything's going in pace  but it's moving forward. 

ML: After the last show in... When was that? 2014, the Vegas show, June 7th 2014. Richard and yourself did the Dead Daisies, Bumblefoot went off and did his stuff, Tommy went back to the Replacements, it seemed as though everybody scattered. There was a suggestion that the band just didn't exist anymore. Is that somewhat accurate? Did the band sort of disintegrates and disband? Are you still a member of Guns?

Frank: Yeah, I don't think that's accurate at all. Yes, I am a member of Guns. I speak to... Axl and I text all the time. But yeah, I am a member of Guns and Guns still exists. Yes, sure, 100%.

ML: Okay.

Frank: Everybody, as far as I know, so far as, you know, this moment, everything is the same and everybody's there and, you know, we're moving forward. 

ML: And you know, listen, I know some of these questions might be a little uncomfortable but people want to ask. There's a lot of suggestion that 2017, being the 30th anniversary of Appetite for Destruction, will finally be the reunion tour. What are your thoughts about that? Have you heard any grumblings about there's going to be some kind of reunion tour?

Frank: I honestly don't know anything about that because as far as I'm concerned there isn't anything like that in the works.

ML: Okay.

Frank: As far as I know. So, you know, I mean, Jesus, 2017, God!

ML: I know, it's a couple years down the road.

Frank: Honestly, I haven't thought about that at all. I know, I mean, everybody's looking towards the next chapter in the Guns N' Roses book so I don't know. I don't know anything about that and I would assume that if anything like that is happening [?] want to be a part of it anyway or no one would tell me about it at this point. So I don't know what's going on in 2017 but I know what's going on now and as of right now we just [?] tour. 

ML: Okay, so let me ask you this and then we'll move on from Guns N' Roses, when is your next show with Guns N' Roses?

Frank: As of right now, we don't have anything booked, but I am hearing rumours that there's probably might be stuff towards the end of this year, beginning of next year. But there's nothing booked as of yet.

ML: Oh, that would be kinda cool. Okay, so there you go. You got a ask, right? The fans want to know.

Frank: It's okay, it's okay, I get it. You know, I appreciate how much everybody adores GN'R and I appreciate how important it is. And again, as soon as we have anything solid man, you know, everybody [?].

ML: Yeah, and if you got to making another album, what kind of release would you like it to be? More old-school or would you try to explore new territory? What would you like a new Guns N' Roses album to be like?

Frank: I think... You got me on that one, that's a pretty [?]

ML: [laughs] It is.

Frank: I think Guns is always gonna evolve, I think Guns is always going to go forward. I don't think rehashing the past is any part of Guns N' Roses at all. I really do think that the way... you know, DJ, the kind of song writer DJ is and Richard and stuff, I think it's just gonna be more of a continuation going forward, it's gonna be more, it's gonna grow more. I mean, you know, I'm a different player than Steven and Matt and Brain, you know, everybody's different musicians, you know, Tommy's a different bass player. I think it's just going to evolve to...  it's going to be more Chinese Democracy-ish, in that vein, as opposed to the older stuff. But, you know, the constant is Axl's voice. That's what you're going to hang on to, that's what you're going to hear, that's what you're going to latch onto, it's that classic voice. So in that sense, yeah, that's gonna be constant, that's going to remind you of everything, the whole GN'R catalog, you know. 

ML: Yeah, he's still got it. He's still got it going on. And then I guess I'll finish with this, Axl and Guns for many years in the early 2000s would starts shows late 11:00 o'clock, 11:30, sometimes you never knew. The last couple of years it seems that 10 o'clock everybody was on stage. 

Frank: Yeah, yeah.

ML: But what people seem to forget about is the fact that when you hit the stage, regardless of what time, you would do about 37 songs, you know, three hours, sometimes four hours. As a drummer, that is physically challenging. You know, was that hard on you to do those exceptionally long shows? 

Frank: It took me a minute to figure out the pacing of the shows. I did have, like, obviously the first couple of shows, or, you know... I said "couple shows", part of the first tour I did with Guns, like the rest about that European tour when I sat in for Brain, I was like so amped and excited to be on there that I feel sometimes I will just like let it all out in the first half of the show, you know. I've become a much better drummer since then, obviously, as far as pacing stuff goes and, you know. I mean, even though I play all the solos, you know, there's places where as a drummer physically I can catch my breath and everything [?], you know, stuff like November Rain and Don't Cry, [?], so there is parts in the set that I can catch my breath and sit within myself and kind of like a little meditation, I'm getting geared up back for the second half of the show. So I've learned how to pace myself, for sure. But yeah, at first it was very difficult, I didn't know what to expect. But when I first joined the band all the solos, you know, because Robin would take a solo, Richard would take a solo, Dizzy would take a solo, so all the solos I didn't have to play on, so during the first run with them I would just sit up, come off the riser and sit back behind the riser and able to rest for a second. But now I play on all the solos so-

ML: So you never get any-

Frank: I've learnt to pace myself pretty well. Okay, now it's not typical at all, now I love never getting off that seat on stage, love it. 

ML: I gotta say, if he came on at 11:00 or 11:30 and did ten songs, 55 minutes, and left, I could understand folks criticizing but when you come on, even if it's at 11:00, and you do 37 songs, at some point you got to say, "Hey, give the kid a break." I mean, come on, at least he's giving you value for your money, right? 

Frank: That's what I tell everybody. Not any more, thank God, but when you had to wait for him to come on.. first off he knew that was going to happen [?] 

ML: Well, you should, yes. 

Frank: Yes. And then [?] have it all hang out because when he's ready to hit, he's gonna hit. You make sure that he's 100% on point and then the band rises to his level. So you get a great show every time, you know, you get a sick show, you know. 

ML: Yeah, and I gotta say that show at the Montreal Metropolis, which I guess was a year or two ago, it was like from 10:00 to 2:00 in the morning, and it was one of the best shows I've ever seen. The small event-

Frank: Was that the club one?

ML: Yeah, the little club one in Montreal, at the Metropolis. It was-

Frank: Dude, it was like 160 thousand degrees in that club.

ML: Yep, it was  exceptionally... Listen, I must have lost 12 pounds just in sweat that night, but you couldn't have asked for a better show. The songs choice was great, the pacing was great, the effects were great, the crowd - just 2500 people jammed into a club that only seats 2000 - don't tell the fire marshal - but it was just what rock and wall were supposed to be. Perfect. Perfect, perfect show. 

Frank: Let me tell you something, I love, obviously, the stadium rock and, you know, every time we play one of those big outdoor festival like, you know, KISS '77, for me, obviously, but man there's nothing like getting in a club and just blowing the roof off of a club. I mean, I'm still in my soul, deep inside my soul, a club punk rock-ish type of drummer, you know. And to be in there, I mean, to be in those tight places that you could see everybody - in the big stadium shows you can't see everybody - but like in a club you can see and you could look all the way back, and that dude in the back is losing his mind, and it's just a great experience. We did that run... we did the Brooklyn Bowl in New York and the Hiro Ballroom and it was just, like, you know, and then the guy in the back of the room at those shows are friends of mine, you know, people that I... [?] "I know who that guys is" [laughs] [?]. I love doing the smaller venue shows, I just love them. It is more fun for me as a musician. A lot more fun. 

ML: Oh, they are great. And then of course, since we're talking club shows, you do Mule Kick with Rob Bailey, Rob Clores and Brett Base. Only in New York? Or is that going to tour at some point?

Frank: These are all guys are the same boat as I am, you know, they're working musicians. And we've been able to have a pretty good run, everybody happens to be home at the same time, everybody has a little bit of downtime at the same time, so we get together and do this thing. We play covers, it is not an original music band. But we definitely want to do more shows. As of right now we just have a residency at the Beast of Burden in [?], Brooklyn. And that's Tuesday nights. We might stretch that into a Manhattan night come the fall so we might be doing two nights a week. And if [?], you know, so I've been away already a couple times and they've had a drummer sit in. And the keyboard player's away now, we , you know, sub the keyboard. It's a subbing gig so at any given time you might not see all the original guys in it, but it's something that's going to continue. You know, when Guns start back up again, you know, I'll have somebody sitting in that seat and then when we come home for a break or something I'll be sitting on that seat. As I said, right now it's nothing more than, you know, a bunch of guys getting together playing their favorite song. And, you know, we get to play Surrender and all the songs I'm talking about. As of right now, you know, you want to come and see a huge... first off, you should come and see when you get a chance because it's a lot of fun and the guys are insane players, you know. Clores used to play with The Black Crowes, Brett Bass is like this young kid from Texas but he has like this old funk soul and [?] plays old blues type of thing, and Rob Bailey is a session guy here in the city, done stuff with Steven Tyler and David Johansen and stuff. You know, it's just like a bunch of great players [?] playing music that, you know, we love, you know, and just playing and just for fun and, you know, for chops [?], you know. It's definitely a thing where I get to stretch more, I play way more than I do in any band than I play in right now [laughs]. Just letting loose. As of right now, it's just a fun thing to do, you know.

ML: Yeah. And of course there's a Facebook page for it for folks who want to... it's a mulekicknyc on Facebook, if you want to go check that out. Frank, great pleasure. I know we geeked out on KISS a little bit and that wasn't the plan but, you know, that's what KISS does to people, right?

Frank: Yeah, yeah. 

ML: Makes you stop in your tracks.

Frank: It's a rite of passage, just like, you know, some kids, like, had to join a gang, other kids are, like, you know, I had to become a, you know... what do you call it? Work in a church or become a, you know, minister, you know, it's a rite of passage, we had to go to KISS.

ML: Yeah, we joined the KISS Army. The KISS Army is alive and well and still going strong in 2015, so there you go. Great pleasure talking to you, Frank.

Frank: Yeah, great talking to you, Mitch. Thank you so much for your time, it's awesome. Oh yeah, and by the way, you know, plug my Twitter, and all that stuff. 

ML: Yeah, absolutely. It's what? It's @frankferrer66?

Frank: Yeah. Our Twitter and Instagram are both @frankferrer66. And my Facebook page is

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2015.07.31 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Frank Empty Re: 2015.07.31 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Frank

Post by Blackstar Sun Jan 29, 2023 10:20 am

Excerpts from Blabbermouth:

Guns N' Roses drummer Frank Ferrer was interviewed by rock journalist Mitch Lafon for a recent edition of the "One On One With Mitch Lafon" podcast (Facebook page). You can now listen to the chat using the Spreaker widget below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by

On whether he is still a member of Guns N' Roses:

"I am a member of Guns. Axl and I text all the time. But, yeah, I am a member of Guns, and Guns still exists."

On Guns N' Roses current status as a band:

"Well, the best way to answer that is [to say] that Guns has a future. Guns definitely has a lot of moving parts, and there's a lot of things in the works. And once we're ready to announce something, the whole world will know. But everything is moving forward."

On when Guns N' Roses will play out again:

"As of right now, we don't have anything booked, but I'm hearing rumors that there probably might be stuff towards the end of this year [or] beginning of next year, but there's nothing booked as of yet."

On why it took Axl Rose so long to release Guns N' Roses' last album, "Chinese Democracy":

"I guess the only thing I can say is he wasn't ready, he just wasn't ready, to put it out. He didn't feel like it was completely done. It’s his baby, and he wanted it to be perfect. Still today, even today, he wants everything to come off just right. And that's a lot of pressure to put on yourself. And he deals with it in his own way. He is probably one of the greatest living rock stars in the history of music, and they're becoming rare, as you know. I mean, think of a rock star in the last fifteen years that's popped up. You can't think of anybody. Everybody's still… Nine Inch Nails is still headlining festivals, and Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains. It's, like, there's nobody out there. And Axl puts that pressure on himself. That's a lot of pressure. He just wants it to be right. That's the only thing I can say: he wants everything to be just right. That's who he is. That's what every artist is. They're perfectionists in their own right. Very rarely… For every one great song you hear, they've written sixty songs that probably are great, but they don't feel are great. That's the way they think. He has a lot of pressure on him."

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2015.07.31 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Frank Empty Re: 2015.07.31 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Frank

Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 16, 2023 10:28 am

Finally finished this. Again, Frank is a bit hard to hear at times through his phone. And a tad bit too much Kiss for my taste, but good stuff. And Mitch Lafon is a good interviewer.
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2015.07.31 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Frank Empty Re: 2015.07.31 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Frank

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