We talked with brothers Nate and Adam Arling of The Last Vegas a while back about the release of their latest kick ass rock and roll album, Bad Decisions . Sometimes it pays to be real familiar with the bands you love because you find out interesting things, such as the fact that TLV singer Chad Cherry is a huge scary movie freak (as we are also at LRI). Chad’s written about and interviewed horror icons himself and even included scream queens in his band’s videos (sexy horror icon Sybil Danning is featured in and produced one of their recent videos, “The Other Side”). We knew that we needed to get one of our favorite bands back on our page and that Chad Cherry was the perfect person to talk Halloween and horror with so it was basically a no-brainer. The Last Vegas are so real it’s scary, go get their album and read on….
Legendary Rock Interviews: Hi Chad. How has everything been since switching labels and releasing the new album “|Bad Decisions” and how has touring gone thus far?
Chad Cherry: The new label has been completely supportive and open minded to what we need as a heavy working band in 2012. I’m very happy with all at Frostbyte. They’re working the graveyard shift for TLV and have been promoting the new record ‘Bad Decisions’ the way a label should. Hard work is what it takes. As for the tour.. It’s great to be back on the road and the fans are crazier then ever!
LRI: The album is very focused and well-rounded in that it covers a lot of ground musically and lyrically. Both “Other Side” and “Evil Eyes” showcase a darker edge and are cinematic enough sonically that they naturally made for great video pieces. What were your inspirations for both songs lyrically and for their video interpretations?
Chad: ‘Bad Decisions’ is an album of variety. We went a lil’ more rough, edgy and catchy on this one. I am inspired by the darker side of life for the most part, so it was natural for the ‘Other Side’ and ‘Evil Eyes’ to come to life.. Or in one case, death.. Another case voyeurism. I feel the videos we cut for both songs are the best we’ve done so far and there’s more to come.
LRI: You’re a huge horror movie fan and have written and interviewed others on the subject of terror. What was your very first “scary movie” experience growing up and how did it make you feel back when the scar was fresh?
Chad: I do remember being terrified by the movie ‘Jaws’. I lived a thousand miles from the ocean but gave up swimming for awhile after that. But it was truly all over since my first viewing of the immortal and original classic, ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’.. Life has never been the same for me beyond that.
LRI: You’re from Michigan and the band has Illinois roots. Is there something special about the midwest autumns and steel, corn and isolation that makes so many of us middle earth types Halloween or horror freaks?
Chad: The harvest season in the mid- west has a magical vibe to it. It’s very nostalgic for most and a breeding ground for ones imagination. (anyone that’s a creep like me anyway) I see things in “horror vision” when most see life as something different.. I have a tendency to imagine evil scenarios out of something that has nothing to do with being creepy or scary, my mind just goes there.. So I feel this time of year has always inspired my twisted mind, especially seeing all the Halloween products everywhere. It’s in the air.
LRI: If you weren’t in the band do you think you’d be interested in writing scripts, doing special effects or producing fright flicks in some way? Would that type of creative outlet be appealing to you?
Chad: I’ve been doin special f/x and writing short stories since I was very young. I’ve cut a few music videos as well and find all this just a natural outlet that I enjoy. I can defiantly see myself directing and writing on a larger scale someday. I’ll have to exorcize these demons out of me somehow and cinema would be the next logical step.
LRI: Monster movies are different from slasher films or supernatural films and there’s a definite appeal to the old guard Universal “Wolfman” or “Frankenstein” movies to many people. I can appreciate them but tend to really isolate the Coppola “Dracula” as my all time favorite due to the way it looks as well as how close it follows the book. It’s been shockingly 20 years since that movie came out, what do you think it did right or wrong in terms of succeeding both as a film and a book adaptation and is it hard to put a new spin on those old characters?
Chad: Coppola nailed that movie in every way. It’s shot beautifully from front to back. There’s not one scene that isn’t top notch. Other then Keanu Reeves luke-warm performance at times I think its a stellar film and will never be topped. If you are going to use classic stories like ‘Dracula’ you will need to rely heavily on the actors to bring a new life into something that’s so important and a staple to pop culture. I think it’s extremely difficult to put a new spin on characters that have been used through out these type of stories/films and make it believable. The new generation probably won’t know the difference but for those who pay attention to detail, it will be a hard sell. It can be done though.. But far and few in between.
LRI: A movie like “Carrie” is another movie that works great as terror but is just also a really good movie. Is there something special about that film that makes it rise to another level, acting, screenwriting? I can appreciate movies like the Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm series but they sometimes feel like junk food compared to a well rounded meal like “Carrie” or “The Haunting”. Do you need that substance or is there nothing like a good old fashioned B horror flick?
Chad: ‘Carrie’ is a sympathetic character. You see this social outcast that’s humiliated by her peers, her teachers, as well as her completely insane, abusive mother and you can’t help but feel sorry for this young girl. So eventually she gets her “one ups” on all that appose (and a few that don’t) in a very disturbing and supernatural way and you almost enjoy her revenge. The story is by Stephen King, the film is directed by Brian De Palma and it came out in the mid 70’s. It wins. It’s different because you sympathize with Carrie because she’s not a faceless killing machine hiding behind a mask or a scary looking deformed cretin..that’s another animal completely. She’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing and doesn’t know it. In a sense she’s innocent. Movies like The Haunting, Carrie and The Shining not made any more and that’s why you will appreciate it. And as for “junk food” horror flicks, sometimes the “B’s” are good for the soul. I find something entertaining and comforting about all of them.
LRI: You’re in a rock band. I assume you’ve seen “The Gate” or “Trick Or Treat” which were 80s attempts at heavy metal horror. Other than “Rivers Edge” Is there one particular movie that attempts to tie the rock and roll and terror worlds together well in your mind?? Why does it succeed?
Chad: Horror and Heavy Metal go hand in hand. They both will never, ever die. The fans hold on to that shit very dearly. They are obsessed and that’s why it will always work. I’m actually looking forward to Rob Zombie’s ‘ Lords of Salem.’ It ties in Heavy Metal and Witchcraft. And for the record ‘The Rivers Edge’ is one of my favorite flicks.
LRI: The unholy trinity of American horror movie goodness to ME are the films Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and The Omen. I could watch them anytime, anywhere. Your new album has a great song called “Devil in You” and I am wondering if those movies strike a similar nerve in you or what your absolute top shelf supernatural horror flicks are and why?
Chad: It doesn’t get much better when you’re dealing with the devil then the films you have just mentioned. Good “Ole Scratch” is great inspiration for lyrics and scriptwriting, always has been and always will. And asking me what my favorite supernatural horror flick would be is like asking me what my favorite vowel in the alphabet is. I love too many. Off the top of my head a great demon movie is ‘ Prince of Darkness’ by John Carpenter. The Devil is real.. And you found him.
LRI: Sam Raimi has gotten back to horror in a big way with his latest movie “The Possession” and the previous one, the brilliant “Drag Me to Hell”, and he’s of course a legend due to the majesty of “Evil Dead”. Some directors like Carpenter or Craven or Hooper just aren’t quite as active as Sam anymore but other new directors like Eli Roth and Rob Zombie have left a stamp in the last decade. Of course we could go all the way back to the master Hitchcock. Do you have a favorite fright flick director and do you see a pattern in their work that you think cultivates a loyal fanbase?
Chad: John Carpenter. I’m obsessed with his work. It just does it for me. Stanley Kubrick, Ridley Scott, George Romero, Sam Peckinpah, Walter Hill and Rob Zombie are up there too. The reason why these directors will always have a loyal fan base is because their vision speaks to the cult. These guys don’t give a f*ck what others think. What should be safe or whats good for the genre is something that gets tossed out the window. Art is not safe. Their gonna do (and did) what they want to do. That’s why their films are so great and will forever be timeless.
LRI: Since you’ve been in the band you’ve gotten to do a fair share of worldwide traveling both at Halloween time and all year long. Every night can be scary in a real rock and roll band but have their been any really fuckin cool places, landmarks, cities or scenes that really stand out to you as highlights. Its one thing to enjoy a horror flick, it’s all together different to be in seriously spooky places or environments.
Chad: I live a really interesting life and I’m on the road, rails, or in the sky non stop so I meet a lot of people and always get the local legends out of the areas that be. Been to many haunted landmarks, woods, castles, burial grounds, deserts, abandon towns and houses. I could write a book. Some of the venues I’ve played I’ve witnessed unexplained activities first hand. Makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. The wild west has a devilish vibe to it too. I have seen some really creepy shit. I was on tour once with TLV in Germany and I’d have to say the place that got to me the most was the concentration camp, Buchenwald. It made me realize how we as a human race can be so completely brutal.
LRI: Thanks for indulging us with this interview, we hope you have a great All Hallow’s eve and hope everyone gets a chance to see The Last Vegas kill at will live or at least pick up your great new album “Bad Decisions”. What is on tap for you guys wrapping up 2012 and looking towards 2013?
Chad: More music, more touring, more mayhem! We are all about ” having a good time making BAD DECISIONS” now and in the immediate future. Welcome to the show!