Jason McMaster works his ass off at his job. Granted, his job of being a lead vocalist for a bunch of rock bands may be a little cooler than say working at a chain restaurant but still…..he’s a worker. Noone will ever accuse Jason of going halfass into anything either as EVERY, single band he is in kicks mucho burro. Don’t believe us? Put on the track “Viva La Rock Fantastico” from his band Broken Teeth and try to stand still. We talked to Jason about the good ol’ days of Dangerous Toys and what he’s been up to lately….READ ON…..
Q: What the hell is goin on with Jason and whats on tap for 2012?
A: What’s goin is rock….I front Broken Teeth, we’re going on 12 years now, I front Ignitor, and I front Evil United. All three are either writing or releasing new material as we speak. The Evil United record is available now, hits streets worldwide sept. 13. Oh yeah and Dangerous Toys plays a few shows a year as well! Check it all out on Jasonmcmaster.net.
Q: Of course a lot of people know you made your mark in DT but you’ve made a career out of wearing many hats. Your band Broken Teeth put out an album that is easily as good, maybe better than your classic Toys stuff. How did Broken Teeth come together?
A: In 1999-Perris records asked us to make a record as a sort of barter for studio time for another project some of us had going. The band consisted of me, Paul Lidel and Bruce Rivers at that time. the project sold well enough for us to have to start playing live, sooooo we had to get a bassist and another guitarist to have a full band we got Mike Watson from the Toys, and Jared Tuten from Pariah, then a second record, MORE touring, more writing and recording!!
Q: Your last record with Broken Teeth is a true fist in the air for good, pure rock. One of the few new artists that fit that bill these days to me is Danko Jones, he is amazing! How did he wind up on the record and how was it working with him?
A: Danko is saving rock n roll right before our very eyes!!!! A friend of mine in Scotland, sent me some Danko stuff and I was blown away John. Then I just kept up with his tourdates, he came through Austin, me and the Teeth went to see him play, I introduced myself and turned him on to Broken Teeth. A mutual respect was happening, and that was that. So when it came time to put together a new record, I just called Danko and asked him if he wanted to song a few things, he was totally into it. He recorded his stuff in Canada, and sent it down here to Texas!! We also did a video for “Viva La Rock”
Q: Was the response to Broken Teeth solid enough for you to justify a good touring schedule and what exactly can fans expect when they go to a BT show?
A: It’s not really that smart to tour for us, we cant make ends meet, the reason I know this, is because we have toured the crap out of Broken Teeth anyway (laughs), the guarantees are low, we do the best we can. The clubs don’t have a lot of money either. I imagine if the fuel prices level out next year, the TEETH hit the highways again. If you like Priest, and Motorhead and just good old fast heavy rock n roll, thats what you need to expect when you come see us live.
Q: Was just listening to the Dangerous Toys catalog and wondering….Do you think that the platinum debut was a blessing or a curse?
You made several great albums after the debut but you will probably always be remembered by the staying power of the 1989 debut.
A: Well, I dont want to think that its a curse to make a debut release with the relative ease we made that album with. I was only in the band about 8 months before Dangerous Toys was signed and on our way to record. However, the expectations of what you’ re supposed to sound like or whatever after you gain momentum CAN be crippling. I dont think thats really anyone’s fault, but its how it is. The fans expectations are important, but they can also help decide a band’s fate…whether what gets seen and heard is what you actually DO look and sound like. There’s a lot to this, or nothing to this, its either a matter of science meets business, or you can just be yourself all the time, within your music, whether the fans like it or not.
Q: I have heard you express some discontent with Hellacious Acres yet many fans love it. I agree give or take a couple songs. Do you feel like the whole thing was rushed or what is it about the album that doesn’t sit right with you?
A: Our second album Hellacious Acres was definitely rushed. In addition, it also lost some tones during the mastering. When we left the studio, we swear there were some balls on that record. In the end there’s too much reverb on top of being rushed.
Q: If you don’t mind answering some questions for more casual fans or those just getting turned onto your music….When you joined the band they were originally called Onyxxx, How did they arrive at the kickass clown, the logo and the new band name, Dangerous Toys?
A: We were on the phone with a club who was booking our first show under a new name,with the new line up. We didnt have a name yet, of course we had been thinking about it, but, i think Scott (Dalhover) yelled out “Dangerous boys make Dangerous Toys!!!!” , we just went with “DANGEROUS TOYS” and it stuck. We were totally gonna change it later if we didn’t like it. When the time came for a record cover, management called and asked the question, “What is a Dangerous Toy???”. We had to come up with something that described rock n roll and fit the name.
I always said, “If its not dangerous, it ain’t rock n roll” so, the jack in the box, is a toy, that has a music crank on it, that after a minute of weird sounds, unexpectedly pops out a big fuckin clown. Then you shove it back in and do it all over again. Kinda crazy and we liked that idea. I called a friend in San Antonio, Tommy Ons, who had dome some poster art/comic book art I had seen and liked. He had something sent out to management and the rest is history.
Q: What do you remember about shooting the now classic videos for the original albums? They are going to live forever due to VH1 classic and YouTube.
A: They were wayyy too fucking expensive. “Teasn Pleasn” cost $80K and “Scared” was like $115K for some stupid reason. I mean, sure, ya gotta rent a cool room, cool gear etc…but COME ON!! I know that we did not need the kickass catering and make up and hair and all that crap…but, thats what it was like back then. Funny thing is you can make videos like that for about $5K now. A learning experience, and a lesson to all bands….look into how your contract it sorta works for and against you.
Q: The band had one of the very best songs on a very strong soundtrack, Shocker. Was “Demon Bell” inspired by the movie? Was there ever any consideration as far as releasing it as a single/video?
A: We had a song called “Dangerous Toys” and that ended up being the guts and blood of “Demon Bell”. I wrote the words over the phone with Desmond Child (Alice cooper, Bon Jovi, KISS) and it was recorded and mixed by Max Norman (Megadeth, Dirty Looks, Ozzy) in San Marcos, Texas at the Fire Station studio (where Bang Tango’s Psycho Cafe was recorded) and that was it. Then the movie release, and the release of the soundtrack cd, a lot of fan fare on that, we even got reviews that favored our song over the songs that seemed to be the obvious choices from the bigger artists which was cool.
Q: Do you recall any behind the scenes shit going on at your label that let you know the writing was on the wall for the band not being a priority? Anything that let you know it was time to change game plans due to metal being pushed aside?
A: Yes, when we were writing into the 100’s of songs and sending it all weekly to the label only to hear “keep writing,keep writing”, until a day in late 1992 we just asked management to call them and just ask to be let go. They were open to the idea. Dangerous Toys is a rock n roll band, thats it. Whatever it was they WANTED us to be or become wasn’t gonna happen. Whether it was to wear a costume or just turn to whatever style they felt we needed to turn, that’s not how we were doing things, so, glad we just stood up for ourselves.
Q: Were you multitasking bands at any point during the years at the major? Did you still stay in touch with the guys from your other band Watchtower?
A: I started doing alot of other things around 1991, but it wasn’t really any conflict of interest like the label thought there may have been if I wouldve been in Watchtower and Dangerous Toys at the time we signed our deal. I started getting truly busy, by choice, about 1998. always rocking, never stopping.
Q: Watchtower has a strong following overseas, Toys has a loyal following here but I could imagine Broken Teeth being the most fun project you work on. Do you foresee yourself continuing on working all of your projects at the same time and just doing certain things in certain regions?
A: I will do whatever, wherever and whenever. Its all just about managing the calendar. If someone has the means to make it happen, and they want what I got, they can have it if it makes sense for the project in question. The problem is that Broken Teeth, or any of my bands, are not really being invited by promoters, so, waiting for the phone to ring is boring!. So, I write songs, I record, I work, I play shows whenever possible so its not boring.
Q: If you knew 25 years ago what you know now would you change anything or does it all shake out for a reason?
A: I am STILL influenced by the same rock n roll from childhood, ya know, KISS, Queen, Elton John, Judas Priest, AC/DC .. so…all I know now is that ya gotta pay the rent!!! Everything else is about the same as 25 years ago as far as being a rock n roll obsessed punk!! (laughs).