Acey Slade | Interview
Acey Slade could be called the new Keri Kelli. Dope, Amen, The Murderdolls, Wednesday 13… the journeyman guitarist’s CV is bulging with some of the most notable names in the genre.
After recording an album and two EPs with his own band, Trashlight Vision, Acey – whose name is a nod to ex-Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley and 1970s glam stars Slade – has launched his debut solo project. Acey Slade And The Dark Party come to Ireland this month for shows in Limerick and Belfast.
With a tour, a new album – the electronica-tinged The Dark Party, on TrashPit Records – and a Murderdolls reunion without him to curse, Acey gave Metalireland half an hour of his time.
The shows in Belfast and Limerick will be your first time playing in Ireland. What are you expecting?
I’m expecting it to be pretty epic. Ireland is the home of Bram Stoker and Thin Lizzy. How can you go wrong? A lot of US bands come into Britain for a one-off London show, or three or four dates. Whose idea was it for The Dark Party to play 16 shows in the UK and Ireland? UK audiences are the best and I have an addictive personality.
So, why do something only three or four times when it feels so good?
A lot of bands say touring the British Isles is a lot like the US – tough – whereas mainland Europe is a lot easier.
How would you sum up the various territories?
Touring the US is way harder. In the US it’s nothing to drive six hours to a gig, then load up and drive another five to the next one. Hell, to drive from El Paso, Texas, to Houston, Texas, is eight hours and you haven’t even left the state of Texas.
A lot of the fans of your previous bands seem to have stuck around. Describe a typical crowd at an Acey Slade show.
I’ve really worked hard at satisfying fans of my old bands, and at the same time give them something new. At our shows, I try to create an environment that is entertaining and open to all kinds of people. So, while there are some people that are around from my old bands, there are also a lot of new ones.
The Dark Party has been very well received. Do you think this is your best work to date?
No, that would be the second Dark Party album, which we are working on now. But just wait till that’s done, and I’m sure I’ll say the best one will be the third one. But, as far as showing how far I can stretch as an artist and songwriter, this is the best to date.
You have said the album “seems to be the perfect soundtrack for late night decadence”. How decadent does it get on an Acey Slade tour?
It’s all relative to the city and state of mind, but it’s never clichéd. We all read The Dirt by Mötley Crüe – it can’t be outdone. Besides, I like to leave things open to interpretation. Your idea of decadence may not be mine. To some people, kinky is a feather; to some, it’s a whole chicken!
You recently supported Ace Frehley in the US. How did that go?
We played in Atlantic City, which we call AC here, so it was Ace and Acey in AC, with the support band being the guy from the TV show Ace Of Cakes, and our catering in the dressing room was from Ace Bakery. Weird, eh?
How come you haven’t hooked up with the reunited Murderdolls?
I’m grateful to Joey [Jordison] for the work we did together. But when him and Wednesday said they wanted to do the album with just the two of them, I was disappointed, but I understood. But once I heard the new material, I knew it wasn’t anything I wanted to do with. It’s not me, nor is it what The Murderdolls started out as. So, I’m not really missing anything. I don’t regret the past, nor do I wish to relive it. I know I was a part of the band when it was at its best, and I also wish them the best in whatever they choose to do.
The Murderdolls are currently touring Europe with Guns N’ Roses. GN’R recently played Ireland, and in Dublin Axl Rose – having shown up nearly 90 minutes late – was booed and pelted with plastic bottles. Have you had to deal with hostile crowds?
Yeah, I’ve dealt with some hostile crowds. You take the shots that are thrown at you and own the stage. If you’re owning your show, people will stop throwing stuff and listen. Or, you just learn to run faster! When I was in Trashlight Vision, we supported The Buzzcocks and I had these huge, old-school skinheads spitting beer in my face all the time. But you give it right back to them with the music, earn their respect and they end up buying your shirt at the end of the night.
Speaking of GN’R, much has been made of the ‘hired guns’ line-up. If you were offered the chance to join them – or any other classic band – would you?
Good question. The thing about being a hired gun is that you pretty much walk up on stage and get a cheque at the end of the week. You don’t really have to worry about anything else but that. To be able to do that at the level of GN’R, and play songs we have all loved for the past 20 years… It would be hard to say ‘No’ to something like that. And you can’t blame those guys.
Ask anyone, ‘Hey, want to play arenas, great songs and make a bucket of money while seeing the world though a private jet?’ Who would turn that down? Hell, with Axl’s history, you wouldn’t even have to play that much. There would be plenty of time to sightsee and spend the money… Problem is, when you’re a hired guy, your own music takes a back seat.
My music and the message I have for the world has taken a back seat for a long time while I was a ‘hired guy’. I don’t have any interest in doing that now when I have a band I love as much as I love mine.
Of all your experiences in Dope, Amen, The Murderdolls, Trashlight Vision, Wednesday 13 and The Dark Party, what has been the greatest?
As far as personalities, musicianship and songwriting, The Dark Party is heads above any of the bands I have played with. That may not mean that we have garnished the most fame, but I do believe the best is yet to come for us. And even if not, I’ve achieved so many things that I never thought I would do – as some kid from the countryside in Pennsylvania – that it’s now about simply making the best music I can.
Acey Slade plays Baker Place, Limerick, on September 29 and the Pavilion, Belfast, on September 30.
Interview by Andrew Johnston ::: 20/09/10