INTERVIEWS Blacklist Union – Letters from the Psych Ward
Q) How would you describe your sound?
A) I would describe our sound as punk rock meets hard rock. I call it “street rock.” I coined the phrase “street rock.” I also like to call it “love rock,” which I got from Andrew Wood from Mother Love Bone.
Q) Who are some of your musical influences?
A) My personal style of singing comes from Kory Clarke from Warrior Soul, Andrew Wood from Mother Love Bone and Ian Astbury from The Cult. Musically, again, it’s Warrior Soul and Mother Love Bone. I also love AC/DC, Aerosmith, Alice In Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots.
Q) Talk about the story behind your new song “Letters from the Psych Ward.”
A) The story behind “Letters from the Psych Ward” is something that everybody can relate to nowadays…Post-COVID. It’s about trying to stay sane in a world that’s gone mad.
Q) What do you think it is about the song that fans connect to?
A) Everyone can relate to going through COVID and losing their mind from that, and other things in life. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, the breakup of a relationship or any major upheaval and change during our time as humans.
Q) How does the video for the track play into the message behind it?
A) The straitjacket is appropriate because I know I’m one that lost my mind during COVID and definitely was trying to stay sane in a world that’s gone mad.
Q) What is your songwriting process? Do you need music before you can create lyrics?
A) I have a backlog of lyrics. I am always writing lyrics. I put lyrics to melodies once I have the music.
Q) How much of a hand do you have in the production of your music?
A) I have a big hand in the production of my music because I want it to sound like music that I want to hear. That’s very important to me.
Q) What made the song “Letters from the Psych Ward” the perfect title for your upcoming album?
A) I was at a therapy session once, and I said (about my daughter’s mother) “she isn’t writing me back. I have messaged her numerous times. Why isn’t she writing me back?” To which the therapist replied, “Why would she? That’s like letters from the psych ward.” I replied, “Letters from the psych ward?! That’s the name of my next record! Thank you so much. I gotta go now.”
Q) Is there a track on the album that challenged you the most creatively?
A) I would have to say the Aerosmith cover “Mia” was the song that challenged me the most creatively because it’s an Aerosmith song. Steven Tyler is one of the best, if not the best, rock n’ roll singers ever.
Q) Which song(s) hold a special/personal significance for you?
A) Every song does. Every song Blacklist Union puts out is about a personal experience. I would have to say the closest to my heart would definitely be “Mia,” but that’s a cover song by Aerosmith. Also “Dirty Halo” because it touches on so many friends that we’ve lost over the years, especially my good friend and former songwriting partner Todd Youth who I still miss every single day.
Q) What do you hope lingers with listeners who explore this forthcoming album?
A) The songs…I hope that they have them stuck in their head and can’t stop singing them.
Q) Where are some of your favorite places to perform and what makes those locations so significant to you?
A) We love performing in our hometown of Los Angeles. I love playing in Detroit. There’s a reason why KISS has a song called “Detroit Rock City.” Detroit is a blue-collar town. If you suck, they let you know it. Also, if you kick ass, they let you know it. I love performing in all the major towns. I’ve always done very well in Seattle. I love Houston, Dallas, Chicago, New York, Memphis, and Nashville. I just love playing on tour.
Q) Who would you most like to collaborate with on a song in the future?
A) Slash and Duff [McKagen].
Q) What artist/musician are you currently listening to and why do you dig them?
A) I listen to a plethora of things. Budderside is great. I love them. Patrick Stone is an amazing singer and friend. I dig them because they are kickass and real.
Q) You are a part of social media. Why is that such an important way for you to connect with your fans?
A) I’m on social media by default. I think it’s anti-social media, really. I don’t like it. However, it’s a necessary evil nowadays. That’s how everybody communicates and connects unfortunately.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) I wanna tell them thank you, and we have some kickass music coming your way very soon.
All Questions Answered By Tony West