|Chris Holmes - Uber Rock Interview Exclusive|
|Written by Matt Phelps|
|Sunday, 17 January 2016 03:30|
When Chris Holmes' name turns up in the press you know a whirlwind of controversy won't be far behind. A recent interview from Sweden certainly sparked heated debate online after a few well meant but misinterpreted words about Lemmy's death caused the latest storm to surround the Holmes camp. I put in a quick call to Chris once he was back home in the South of France so we could get the truth straight from the man himself, as well as a few words about sophomore solo album, 'Shitting Bricks', and his new live band, MEAN MAN.
Hey Chris, good to be talking with you again. I think we'd better start with the recent furore surrounding your last interview from Sweden. Some of your comments about Lemmy's passing have been wildly misunderstood. That he would have liked to have died on stage like Dimebag. It was my understanding that you meant that in the context of being "on stage" doing what he loved but some have taken the "like Dimebag" part a bit too literally. So just take a minute to clarify what you actually meant.
Well, I didn't mean get shot! What happened to Dimebag was horrible. All I meant was it was a drag Lemmy passed away in his apartment and not on stage because he played live right up until the end. It wasn't like David Bowie who just passed away, he didn't play since 2006 or something. Lemmy kept playing until the end. That's what I meant. Going out on stage, having a heart attack or whatever. Just keeling over doing what he loved. I think that's what Lemmy always wanted. Nothing about getting shot. But now everybody thinks I said something about a shooting, like him getting shot in the head which is a bunch of shit. For anyone to even think that's what I meant is just... Why would somebody dream that up? It's bullshit.
You obviously knew Lemmy quite well at one point. When did you first meet him?
I think it was probably about '84 in London. It was around the time of the first W.A.S.P. album. He came along to one of the parties after a show. I think it was at a place called the Brewery. We used to hang around a lot in '89 / '90. It was a long time ago... I helped him go shopping for furniture for his apartment and stuff when he first moved over to L.A. Took him to a few places so he could get himself sorted. But we mostly just drank, got messed up and cracked jokes at each other. Then W.A.S.P. toured with Motörhead in '97 for a while. There was a fight on the road at that time but that was between Blackie and him. I never had no qualms with Lemmy. We only had one dressing room for both bands. I didn't care if they used the same dressing room as us but Blackie wasn't happy, that's what it was over. I told him I didn't mind sharing anything with Motörhead and he got all mad at me for that but, hey, I don't care.
You've got your new band Mean Man out playing live now. Who's in the band and how are things going?
Well, we have this drummer named Folkert, he's an Italian kid. We call him Fucker though (laughs). Then we have Tom on guitar and our bass player, Chief. I call him Chief. The Big Kahuna. We played in Sweden just recently, did a few shows up there. It was pretty good. It didn't snow. It snowed before and it snowed after but not when we were there so it was great. Our first show was in Nantes, that was about six months ago now. That was the first time I ever sang. It's a bit different changing over from playing guitar to singing as well, I like jumping around a lot but you can't do it when you're singing. I'm stuck to the microphone.
Maybe if you got one of those head mics...
Those are a joke, that's like Madonna (laughs). I would never use one of those things. People use them when they sample, makes it look like you're singing. Hip Hop artists use those things, Rock N Rollers don't. You ever seen a Rock N Roller use one? No. Well, maybe drummers.
Any chance we may see Mean Man live in the U.K. sometime soon?
I'd like to come over this year. We don't have any dates set but we'd like to come over around June or July maybe. We just have to set it up with the right booking agent and do it right. I toured with Where Angels Suffer in the U.K. about four years ago and nobody knew until after we played the shows and we were gone. Everybody was like why didn't we hear about it? Because nobody does any promotion on anything that's why. It's gotta be promoted right. I don't want to come over and play empty places. But we'll be doing plenty more shows through Europe. We'll be in Italy and Switzerland at the end of February, 25th to the 28th. Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland in March. Nice, France on the 29th/30th of April. Spain in May, Zaragoza on the 7th, Madrid on the 8th. Then back to Italy in July including Trieste on the 16th. I'm not sure what else is booked, I don't want to say until they're confirmed but you can find out through my Facebook page.
Let's talk a bit about your latest album, 'Shitting Bricks'. I don't think we've spoken since its release so I'd like to ask how you feel it compares to your debut, 'Nothing To Lose'.
Well 'Nothing To Lose' had Philthy Phil Taylor on it, a big inspiration for me. I'd known him since about '89, he was a real good guy. 'Shitting Bricks' is just all me. A different guy mixed this one so it gives it a bit of a different sound. 'Let It Roar' and 'Born Work Die' were written when I was in Psycho Squad. '502' kinda was, the guitar riff was but it wasn't the same lyrics. The chorus was the same but I just re-wrote the words to it. The reason why is because I couldn't make it out from the old tape we had. We had a live tape of Psycho Squad and I couldn't hear the lyrics right so I wrote my own. I just couldn't hear what the singer was singing about. I tried to call him and ask what they were and he just says listen to what's on the tape. He wouldn't tell me the lyrics so I just made up my own. Re-wrote it, screw it, it's easier. I personally like 'Shitting Bricks' better but everyone else seems to prefer the last one a lot better (laughs).
So with 'Shitting Bricks' all down to you did you handle the drum tracks too?
Yeah, I programmed them, I didn't play them. If you know how the computer works it's easy to program them. I learned to program them when Phil Taylor and I did the first album and I watched him put the drums down. I watched him play them and I learned to program them just from working with him. It's kinda easy once you've done it a few times. You get one measure of a beat, then times it by two hundred through the song. When you've got the song down you just move the drums around that way to where you want them. It's a different style of drums this time obviously because I didn't have Phil's input but the next one we do I'll let Folkert do them. I think we're gonna do a live album of just new songs next time.
So that will be album three, a live album of new songs?
Yeah, live and just new songs. Hopefully we may do that around September. I just have to finish doing the songs, I've got about halfway through. We have one called 'The Devil Made Me Do It', like the Flip Wilson expression. When you do something wrong and everybody's mad at you you just say "The Devil made me do it!". 'Heaven Ain't No Place For Angels' is about ISIS. 'Ride Hard, Die Fast' is another one, 'You Can't Handle The Truth', 'In God's Hands'. Then there's one called 'Lawlessness' but I gotta finish that. That one's about being on my own. Life without a dictator, like Iran without the Ayatollah, that's easy to understand, right (laughs). I don't know if that'll go on the album or not though. I got a bunch in the works. We just need to get all the guys together and find the time to rehearse them all but that's what's going on with me.
Well I'm certainly looking forward to hearing that. Thanks for your time again today, Chris. Take care.