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SoulMonster
APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
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.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

2014.02.DD - The Classic Metal Show - Interview with Frank

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2014.02.DD - The Classic Metal Show - Interview with Frank Empty 2014.02.DD - The Classic Metal Show - Interview with Frank

Post by Blackstar Wed Feb 01, 2023 10:35 am



Transcript:

Host: It is the Classic Metal Show right here on the classicmetalshow.com. That's Guns N' Roses from their last studio released Chinese Democracy and that is Better, Chris. And, well, feeling pretty much better is our next guest is Frank Ferrara, is that how you say your last name, Frank? I've always been confused.

Frank: It's Ferrer like "for air".

Host: OK.

Frank: Hi, Chris, how are you? This is Frank.

Host: Hey, Frank. How are you man?

Frank: Good. Nice to meet you. Hey, Nellie, how you doing?

Host: Good, good. Well, we've been looking forward all week to having you here on the Classic Metal Show there, Frank.

Frank: Cool, thank you.

Host: We've had various members of Guns N' Roses on the show, which are many. You know, and you're one of many, you know, but currently you are the current guy behind the kit and it's very cool to have you here on the Classic Metal Show.

Frank: Well, thank you for having me, gentlemen, you bet.

Host: Well, we're not. We're far from gentlemens. Especially if you speak to Chris. He's a foul mouth bastard.

Chris: Jesus!

Frank: Well, I can't do much cussing today because on the weekends I have my kids when I'm home, so I have my son and my daughter here, so I can't go huge [?]

Host: Oh, good man. Well, Frank, certainly a busy time for you. Guns N' Roses are getting ready to fire up once again. I know they announced this week that you guys are headlining a show that I'll be at in like 3 months at the The Rock on the Range here in Ohio and. It's looking like you guys are going to be busy with that but you also have this project that's not new, as Anthony just told us 1/2 hour ago, but one that you guys seem to be excited about with Pisser, man. So very busy time for you.

Frank: Yeah, Pisser is a band that I've been playing with on and off since about 2003. And the band is actually older than that because that's when I kind of hooked up with them. It was born out of the ashes of this other band that I was in with Richard Fortus, also from Guns, called Hunky Toast. And we were signed to Sony and then well, we did record and then we got dropped like, you know, the typical, you know, first band story. We got dropped and then out of the ashes of that band and a couple of other New York City bands, Pisser was born. And the singer of Hunky Toast, Eric, Eric Toast, Eric Jacobson, we call him Eric Toast, he started Pisser with a couple other guys and he kept it going and I jumped onboard on and off 2003. Richard Fortus has also played in Pisser a couple times and Anthony came in a couple times, dropped out a couple of times, but now he's back in and we've been playing. This unit's been together a couple of years now.

Host: Sure. Now with Pisser, man, is it odd at this point for you specifically to go back to smaller rooms at play? Because obviously with Guns N' Roses you're playing big rooms and, you know, you've been in large bands before this, you know, Psychedelic Furs and whatnot. You know, is it is it kind of odd for you to kind of... you're in on your day job, you're kind of in in these big rooms, on your on your night job, you're in, you know, you're in 100 to 200 seat club trying to, you know, make your bones.

Frank: Well, this is unique in the sense that...  Pisser is like my personal little joy happy time, you know. Like when I got on stage with Pisser, you know, I don't care if there's two or two thousand people there. You know, I'm having a ball. I'm playing for myself and Pisser. With the bigger band, and especially GN'R, because there's an expectation when one goes to see a GN'R show, I'm much more of a quote/unquote professional musician with that situation. So it's actually more comfortable and more satisfying for me to play tinier places. Like when GN'R does, when we do the surprise club shows, those are my super favorite shows to play because I feel more more of the intimacy, makes it more comfortable for me as opposed to like playing a bigger show and performing, and there's a lot of pressures at a bigger show. So it's actually more comfortable for me to play in smaller things, you know?

Host: Sure. Well-

Frank: Especially Pisser. Like I said, Pisser, you know, I'm with, you know, Anthony's a friend of mine first and then we play together in a band. And Eric is a close friend of mine, and then we play together. So, you know, we're really close and we're good friends and I've known them for over 20 years, you know, so it's easy to get up on stage and play a smaller place with Pisser. It feels more comfortable for me.

Host: Sure. Now, Frank, talk a little bit about GN'R and I'm just curious for you, for you personally, I mean, obviously you've been doing it a little while so it's probably faded somewhat, but from the time that you first joined the band on, it's no secret when whenever Axl Rose shows up anywhere, it's a spectacle. It's a media spectacle. Everybody is, you know, all eyes are on everything. He doesn't really do anything small, you know. For you, just as a guy and as a musician, you know, is that exciting? Is that stressful? How did you feel like, especially when you first joined the band and you just get so much attention put on you, you know, every time you show up anywhere.

Frank: Well, you actually answered your own question because there is pressure on the band to perform well, obviously to play the songs right and that stuff. But you know, Axl carries so much weight of the whole thing. The band doesn't really feel that weight, we are there to support Axl, Axl is the one who really feels the weight, I mean, he's under a lot of pressure, you know, to perform and, you know, and the whole business side of Guns and stuff like that. I mean, we can't compare to what he's feeling or what he has to go through to perform and go out on tour and stuff like that. So it's kind of weird in the sense where, yeah, all eyes are on him. So it kind of, you know, takes a little pressure off the band in that sense. But as far as performing and making sure that, you know, we go up there and play a great show and making sure that he's comfortable and he can hear, you know, himself and the band, that he's pumped. that he's having a good time, like that's our main focus as a band is to make sure that he's comfortable and happy up there, you know. So I think the band really concentrates on a good performance and then everything else takes care of itself and with of course Axl being the main focus of the band.

Host: Sure. Well, Frank, we've had this discussion on the Classic Metal Show many times over the years. The shows been around 18 years now and we've, you know, talked music to death.

Frank: [?]

Host: Thanks. And we've talked, what makes a band? You know, what makes a band? Is it the individual? Is it the collective efforts of everybody? Is it the originators of it? You know, because, for example, KISS is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as I'm sure you're well aware, and it's going to focus on the four original members, even though there's been numerous members in the band. Obviously, for the same thing, Guns N' Roses has been inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Is the band the original five guys, or is the band what you're involved with now?

Frank: Well, I mean, I guess, you know, the listener's really the person that's gonna answer that question. As far as I'm concerned, personally, I look at Guns N' Roses as a legendary band and I'm playing with this legendary band. Now, like you said, like, the five original members, obviously, you know, the first record is one of the greatest debut records ever. I mean Steven's performance on that record is masterful, you know. I put that first record up against any band's first record ever. But that was also 20 some odd years ago, you know, everything changes, everything grows, you know. You add pieces and pieces fall off and it kind of changes and shifts, size and it gets smaller and bigger, but the nucleus is still there, you know. So I mean, I would still say that Guns N' Roses is still a band today, but yeah, it's a different band than it was 25 years ago, but I would still call it a band.

Host: Sure, absolutely. Well, that's an honest answer. Again, Chris and I are just novices when it comes to, you know, band business, as it were. And you know, I'm sure a guy like yourself has faced, you know, a lot of criticism because you got the purist out there and then you got the people who just enjoy the music for the music's sake, you know? I'm sure you get it from both ends, from criticism to high praise. So you know, as someone on the outside looking in, getting it from the horse's mouth is always a refreshing experience for us here on the Classic Metal Show.

Frank: Right. I mean, and especially from the drummer's seat which is... Obviously, the drummer doesn't get the spotlight, you know, it doesn't shine on the drummer much which is totally fine personally for me. I can't speak for other drummers but for me it works perfect. But each drummer has brought a special thing to this band, starting obviously with Steve and with Matt, with Josh Freese and with Brain. You know, every drummer has brought a special thing to the band. So again, I still consider it a band. And, you know, you make a dish and you add flavors, and, you know, you don't make the dish the same way every single time, you might add a little more salt in this version of the of the dish or more pepper the next time or more lime. You know, it's the same dish but with different flavors, you know?

Host: Sure, absolutely. Now overall, what is your impression of Chinese Democracy as as an album because you know, it is a big mishmash of various people who came in and out the doors over a long period of time and you got to participate in, you know, the drumming of this. So what's your overall impression of that release?

Frank: Well, that's a good question. I mean, there's a lot of songs on the record that, you know, I love. Especially playing, you know, like Shackler's and stuff like that, you know. I think the overall picture for me, of the impression that this record has left for me, is that all the different personalities of all the different musicians, you know, come out through the record, with the constant being Axl's voice, the common denominator being Axl's voice, you know. So that's the main thing to anchor on with Chinese, you know, you have, you know, all these different sounds and all these different moods on the record, but at least you have one constant which is Axl, you know. So my overall thinking of Chinese is, you know, Axl's great vocal performances on almost every song. I mean, This I Love is incredible and his singing on that is just insanely incredible, you know. I really like the record. You know, I enjoyed working on it and I enjoyed performing it.

Host: Frank, let me ask you a question. And this is a totally outsider looking in type of a question. From the outside, and I think most people would agree, Guns N' Roses just looks chaotic. Everything about it that we see looks chaotic. Is it truly that chaotic, or is that just really the impression that the media and everybody else gives us that everything is chaos always in that camp?

Frank: Well, I wouldn't call it chaos, but I definitely would say that it's edgy and a bit off the rails. But that's what it is. That's what GN'R is. That's why people love it and that's why people you know wear the patches and the T-shirts and buy the records and put up the posters. Because it's kind of still has that bit of that outlaw kind of off the rails, you know, doesn't conform, you can't put it in a box type of thing. So I don't think chaotic is the right word, but it's definitely not normal. Definitely not by the numbers, for sure. And I don't think that this band will ever work that way, because it's just not his personality, it's not the spirit of the band, you know. I mean, I wouldn't call any more chaotic than like as the Sex Pistols were like or or the Ramones were like, you know, where it just has kind of like this edgy thing to it, you know. But I think that's just the nature of the beast, and that's like before, way before I was in a band, you know, that was always there.

Host: Sure, now Frank, moving back toward the project Pisser. It's certainly a different musical project for you and, you know, and certainly for Anthony as well. You know, it's definitely more punkish I guess, than than what either of you have been doing. Does that make it... I guess difficult is not the word because you're an accomplished player, but is, is it tough to switch gears more or less between playing one style, you know, with one band and another style with another band?

Frank: Well, you know, again, Pisser to me it's like this unique thing solely because it's like something I do out of total love, you know. So it seems whatever happens in Pisser it seems natural to me. I don't really think about it. My drumming style, I grew up growing up here in New York City, listening to all my favorite drummers, always has more of a punk rockish thing to it. More of a, you know, bashing punk, rockish thing to it. So [fades out].
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2014.02.DD - The Classic Metal Show - Interview with Frank Empty Re: 2014.02.DD - The Classic Metal Show - Interview with Frank

Post by Soulmonster Thu May 04, 2023 4:43 pm

This interview took place around February 2014, since the host says they are three months away from GN'R playing at Rock On The Range.
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2014.02.DD - The Classic Metal Show - Interview with Frank Empty Re: 2014.02.DD - The Classic Metal Show - Interview with Frank

Post by Soulmonster Fri May 05, 2023 9:26 am

Finished transcribing and updated the title.
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