After we talked to Bulletboys guitarist Mick Sweda a few months back we basically figured there would be an official reunion basically never or at least “When Pigs Fly”. Go back and read it…you’ll see that issues between some of the guys and years of back and forth sniping made such a reunion seem pretty far-fetched. Low and behold, we’re looking through the usual news feeds and see that the original lineup of guys ARE IN FACT reuniting for a special show Dec. 30th at Key Club in Hollywood. So, being good little star chasers we hit up the talented drummer of the original Bulletboys and lined up an interview to find out more about one of our favorite bands. Be sure and check out Mick’s interview too, just for shits and giggles. Read on…..
Legendary Rock Interviews: The obvious first question….how did this reunion gig at Key Club happen and how do you feel about it after all the shit under the bridge?
Jimmy D’Anda: I’ve been trying to make this gig happen for a few years now, but everyone had to be in the right head space. “Shit under the bridge” People have said to me “whats the big deal, just go back and play with those cats” I had let go of the past to see if there could be a future. Consider the shit under the bridge has been flushed.
LRI: Do you think or hope this show will lead to more activity for the band??….after talking to Mick it sounded like it would never even get this far
JD: It would be cool to do fly out dates next year, maybe put a 4 song Ep out play a couple of bar mitzvahs…we’ll see!!
Yeah we all move at our own pace, Mick’s clock is set to “Mick time” Jimmy’s clock is set to “Jimmy time” and so on.
I’m just glad we got this far.
LRI: What have you personally been up to as far as your own studio and publishing work and how has family and life been since the last time most of us heard from you?
JD: Well I’m not sure when the last time everyone’s heard from me, but home life is like most peoples’ and has it’s ups and downs. Our son went to Boston for college for a semester, then decided to come home and go to school out here and start gigging around L.A. and Hollywood. The Wife and I are coming up on 20 years together and we still giggle in bed at night…what’s the secret …..I’ll tell you over a cup of coffee : )
LRI: You spent some time working with Lynch Mob but also spent time working with Mike Starr and Jani Lane. How difficult is it for you to deal with the loss of people who were not only great working talents but great guys in general?
Playing with Lynch was gnarly! I can remember rehearsing for that tour and every time he would go into a solo he’d face the drums..I was like “FUCK”!! ……….. then it would dawn on me that i lost my place in the song..Haha!! He’s a rock Legend.
Funny thing Lynch Mob and the Jani Lane gig came through one of my best friends Kevin Baldes (bass player for LIT). My heart went out to Jani cuz he was like a lot of people afflicted with the disease of addiction..Very big heart..and a very big talent.
Mike Starr was harder for me, first met Mike and Alice in Chains in late 88′ they were the local band opening up for us on a string of club dates in Seattle, then in 91′ we all lived at the Oakwoods in Burbank, along with BADLANDS ,Living Colour. I like to refer to those times as “Sodom and Gomorrah”. Fast forward some years and I run into Mike at one of my sons gigs!! We reconnected and started talking every day and began putting a band together (MOTORCADE) Though he was struggling I was hopeful he would stay clean. He was one of the few guys I’ve known from “street side to World wide” and like Jani he just had a big heart and that always leaves behind an even bigger void. I pray they both found peace.
LRI: You did a notable tribute to John Bonham on the anniversary of his death in 2010. What was it like to work with that many kick ass drummers at one setting and who else had a big influence on you as a kid growing up?
JD: Yea!!! THE BONHAM GIGS!! Those were some of the biggest nights of my life! What people don’t know is initially Brian Tichy wanted to do jam/bar-b-q to commemorate John’s passing. I think I was the first or second guy he called to come jam. I didn’t hear back for a few months, oh but when i did…Yeehaw! Chad Smith, Stephen Perkins, Charlie Benate, Abe LaBoriel jr, Dave Lombardo, Banali, Fred Coury, Blotz, Samantha Maloney, Adler, Vinny Appice, Kottak, Kenny Arronoff , Tichy!… just to name a few….MAN!!
I can remember 3 other gigs being that nervous, My first gig ever…my first arena gig opening for Cheap Trick and my first festival hitting at 11 am to 80k. Here’s the memory that stands out the most.On my left Fred Coury, me, then Vinny Appice and Stephen Perkins all warming up in silence diligently!! and Vinny stops and looks at me and says “Really!…were warming up like this for 1 song!” we all busted up laughing. Give it up to Brian Tichy!!
My other idols/teachers…let’s see Alex Van Halen, Terry Bozzio, Bun E Carlos, Peter Criss, Buddy Rich, Sonny Payne, Steve Gadd
LRI: We really don’t wanna dwell on the negative since we hope we can look forward to some serious rejuvenation from you guys, but its worth asking…..is it true that you were the lone holdout for the reunion or is there really a lot more to it than that?
JD: I just wanted it to be right, with all original members and with the least amount of drama and stress.
LRI: You and Mick are forever linked as Bulletboys and even after you both left the band people continued to rediscover the music…..the whole band has more chops than it is typically given credit for yourself included do you ever feel you guys were slighted by press or other musicians?
JD: We were a rock band, nobody could tell me other wise ..if people didn’t dig us,or thought we too pretty or not pretty enough or weren’t doing enough sweeps during Mick’s guitar solo’s or I wasn’t doing beats in 3/4 time … I never got that memo. Haha!
LRI: What memories do you personally have of the very, very early days of the group before you even started recording the debut?
JD: Mmm.. There wasn’t a lot of “early days” with us, we did about 6 or 7 shows and our manager started setting up showcases with all the majors (laughs)…6 months later…Pow! record came out and we hit the road. It was fast!!
LRI: Do you think that the Van Halen comparisons ever bothered any of you, especially Marc?. He did have some of that bluesy quality of Dave and you did have Ted producing but you guys all had your own quality goin on.
JD: Ah yes..the “Van Halen” question, That always made me laugh, As flattered as i was..Halen sparked an entire generation of musicians, and I was one of those cats. People tried turning that comparison into a negative….. they were not successful.
LRI: Bulletboys weren’t selling ballads….you weren’t all pretty boys and you definitely had a subversive, underground vibe on songs like “When Pigs Fly” or “Hell on my Heels”. Jesus, you guys were on the early 90s weed tip before Snoop Dogg with THC Groove.
Do you think there was a definite difference between you and other gritty bands like Pussycat or Guns as opposed to some of the more happy little hair bands? Why?
JD: I didn’t listen to a lot of bands from that time period, I never liked comparing us to other bands..some bands were not so good and some were really good and some shaped the landscape of rock music…I thought we were really good.
LRI: The first album was such a success. Did the expectations for Freakshow get to you guys when it came time to complete it?
JD: Not at all, that was a difficult record to make though, Marq lost his voice and we wrote a lot of that record without vocals. I think in some ways I like that record better than the first, I thought we were really finding our sound. That record should’ve been the first of many in that vein, we weren’t as concerned with record sales as much as keeping or fans intrigued.
LRI: You guys did some pretty cool tours. The band I saw definitely looked like they were gracing the stage with an intent to have FUN. Do any moments really stand out to you or was it all a blur?
JD: It WAS a blur for the most part, I remember seeing Queen, Halen, Aerosmith, Kiss and Cheap Trick in the 70’s and I just wanted to be a part of what those guys were doing. The fact that a kid from Boyle Heights (E.L.A.) graced some of the same Arena’s and stadiums that they did, is what I remember thinking at the time, not to mention meeting and becoming friends with a lot of those bands we toured with.
LRI: Last question..any plugs you want to share and who the hell is St. Christopher?
JD: You’d have to ask Tom Waits : )