Jacob Bunton, the lead vocalist for ADLER, and also the man behind the microphone for Lynam, was kind enough to take a few moments this holiday season to talk about being in a band with the legendary drummer from Guns N Roses, some of his favorite music, the music industry as it is today...oh, and what it was like to hang out with a certain top-hatted guitar slinger!!! Sit back and enjoy as we talk some trash with Jacob Bunton!!!
Glitter2Gutter: Jacob, I want to thank you for taking the time to call us during this busy time of year. Did I interrupt your Christmas shopping or anything?
Jacob: No, no, man, I'm glad to do it. I'm actually in the studio right now working on some new music...
G2G: New Adler stuff already, or maybe something for your old band, Lynam?
Jacob: Actually, I'm doing a project with a project with a friend of mine. I'm always making music, you know, it's what I've done my whole life so as long as I'm able to be creative I'm happy. (laughs)
G2G: That's good to hear! Let's just jump right into it then... Adler's album Back From The Dead dropped just a couple of weeks ago and things seem to be going well for you guys so far. How has the response from the fans and from radio been for you?
Jacob: We have been blown away by everybody, from radio and the media, such as yourself, and of course the fans. You know, the biggest thing for Steven (Adler) was that he wanted the Guns N Roses fans to really love what he's doing now, and he has achieved that I would say, because the response has been incredible from all of his old fans and from our fans as a new band. It's been exciting. It's just, uh...it's been overwhelming, really.
G2G: How did you end up being in this band. I know you were in Lynam before, and I assume you are still working with those guys also, so how did things come together?
|(Jacob, front and center, with Lynam)|
G2G: So how big of a thrill was that for you? Did you grow up a Guns N Roses fan?
Jacob: Dude, they were on my wall for my whole life! (laughs) It was them, you know, Guns N Roses, Motley Crue, Kiss...um, you know, all of them...Cinderella, Poison, all those bands. And, um, Appetite For Destruction has always been my favorite album of all times. So, yeah, it was a huge thrill...you know, probably the biggest thrill of my whole life was being in the recording studio and looking out and seeing Steven Adler, Slash, and Jeff Pilson all there and I was like, "God, what am I doing here?!" (laughs) It was cool!
G2G: Yeah, you have Guns N Roses there and Dokken all in the same room....
Jacob: That's right...it was amazing...(laughs) I still can't believe it, really.
G2G: Can you tell me a little bit about the writing process? I know you were involved in a considerable amount of writing for this project, correct?
Jacob: Yeah, man. The way that it worked was me and Lonny started emailing song ideas back and forth to each other. I was in Birmingham, Alabama...I'm actually out here in L.A. now because we have a show Monday night at the House Of Blues, but I still live in Birmingham while the rest of the guys live out here. So, anyway, we would email ideas back and forth and then in January we started recording the record, and, um, when I flew out here me and Lonny got into the same room and started working on some songs from scratch. Jeff Pilson also co-wrote a couple of songs with us, which was cool. You know, a lot of people go, "well, I struggle, you know, I've got writer's block" or whatever, but knock on wood, for us it was very easy for the music to just come out, you know.
G2G: What was the process for getting Mr. Pilson involved? Was that a group decision or did Steven have some friendship connections there...?
Jacob: That was actually Lonny. I tell everybody this, that Lonny is absolutely the MVP of this band, like hands down. He reached out to Jeff and Jeff was like, "yeah, I'd love to play bass" and then Lonny heard some of Jeff's production stuff and so he asked him, "do you wanna produce this thing, too?" (laughs) Jeff ended up producing it, so, yeah, Lonny set all that stuff up, and he hooked me up with the band when we met at the Key Club that night, so, yeah, he is definitely the most instrumental part of the band as far as all of that goes.
G2G: Now, Jeff played bass on the record but that was before Johnny was in the band, right?
Jacob: Yeah, Johnny Martin is our bass player now and he's amazing, but Jeff played the stuff on the record...
G2G: Now, you mentioned Slash before so I gotta ask...were you in the studio when he was actually recording his part?
Jacob: Oh yeah, man! (laughs) He came in...you know, him and Steven have been best friends since like grade school...so, yeah, Steven asked him to come over and we sent him the track "Just Don't Ask", which is the one he plays on, because we felt that the ballad would be the best thing to put him on, you know. His solos are just so, like...nobody can touch Slash on ballads, you know. I mean, you can just hear it on stuff, like when "Sweet Child Of Mine" comes on the radio, you just know it's Slash. We definitely wanted that soulful, melodic playing on "Just Don't Ask". So, he came to the studio and...you know, there's a funny story here. We were having a little get together at Jeff Pilson's house, and Slash ended up coming over...but he went to the wrong house! (laughs) Picture this; picture a freakin' knock on your door at eleven o'clock at night and you walk to the door and it's Slash standing there! (laughs) So, Slash told us later he was like, "So, uh, where's the party?", and the guy is standing at the door and yells back into the house, "Honey! Slash is at the door!" (laughs) It turned out it was Jeff's next door neighbor, so he pointed Slash down the road and told him how to get to the house. I thought that was pretty funny...I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall, you know. (laughs)
|(Slash...WITH his top hat)|
Jacob: Nope, nope, he didn't...he had, uh, a baseball cap on, no top hat though.
G2G: That's almost a let-down, isn't it?
Jacob: No, man...Slash can wear whatever he wants, I was just happy getting to meet him! (laughs)
G2G: Tell me about getting to work with John 5. How did that all come together and work out?
Jacob: That was Steven. I guess his wife and John's wife are good friends and John 5, obviously, was a big Guns N Roses fan, like I was, and John and Steven knew each other, but once he got to the studio he actually had to remind Steven that they had hung out together several times many years ago, but Steven had no recollection of it because, you know, so many of those years are just a haze for Steven, you know.
G2G: Well, yeah, I suppose...
Jacob: So, John walks into the room and, you know, I was kind of amazed to see his guitar and his board and stuff. You know, when I think of John 5 and all his stuff, I always thought his playing had to be full of tons of effects, but his pedal board was actually just so simple. It was like a yellow overdrive pedal, a tuner, a wah pedal, and one of those blue chorus pedals. And the dude was like, all the effects sounds he gets are just that blue chorus pedal turned all the way up and it creates that extra chorus effect that he gets. He's not as effect-heavy as you would think he was, he's just an amazing player that knows how to get the sound he wants.
G2G: Well, that's interesting. I guess I was kind of like you and assumed he used a lot of effects, but since I'm not a guitar player at all, I really didn't know what it would take to get that sound out of his guitar.
Jacob: No man, not at all. He's got a very small, simple pedal board which is the same pedal board he used with (Marilyn) Manson and David Lee Roth and Rob Zombie...it's just his sound and he's just an amazing player.
G2G: So, are you guys out touring the new record then or are you just doing hit and miss dates?
Jacob: Right now, we're just doing sporadic dates, you know like I said we've got this date on Monday, and then next year we plan on going everywhere. We're actually going to Japan with Duff...we're doing all kinds of stuff next year and I'm really looking forward to it.
G2G: Now, I've heard rumors that there might be a surprise GnR song or two dropped in the set.
Jacob: Yep. Anytime you play in a band with former GnR members, there are going to have to be some GnR songs, you know. It's just expected from the fan base. So, we'll definitely play all the songs on our record, but we'll also probably do at least two GnR songs. It's the same when Slash plays, you know, he does his solo stuff but he still has to throw in the other songs. And I don't mind it at all, you know, like I said before, my favorite stuff in the world is on that Appetite record and it's just an honor for me to play it, you know.
G2G: I can tell you that when I was listening to this record the very first time, and I heard your voice, I thought to myself that you would just rip up a song like "Mr. Brownstone".
Jacob: Ah, thanks man. I appreciate that.
G2G: Now you said you are still working with Lynam, also. Are there plans for a new record or some playing with those guys as well?
Jacob: Uh, eventually we are going to do a new EP. We actually stopped recording records. Thank You, Goodnight was our last record...it was a full-length, live record...and we made the announcement that that was going to be our last full length. And that confused a lot of people, you know, because they were like, "well, if you're not breaking up, why aren't you doing any more records?" It's just the way the chemistry has gone, you know. It's like now, for us, instead of feeling like we have to go in and do a whole new record we can go in and do two or three new songs that we all love and feel strongly about, and throw it up on iTunes of something like that. Now, I, myself, personally, I still love listening to actual record records, you know, but the majority of people, the way the get music now, it's just different and we don't feel like there's a need to put out full length albums now, at least for us.
G2G: So what are you listening to now when you get a chance to step away from your new music or from Adler? What does' Jacob listen to?
Jacob: My musical taste is all over the place. Like, I listen to a lot of bluegrass and country, like, I love Brad Paisley, I love the new band Florida-Georgia Line. On the rock side, I love Foxy Shazam! In fact, that new record is one of my favorites of 2012, that Church Of Rock And Roll, which I think is just an amazing record. And then I love a lot of the old-school bands that have released new records, you know, the new Aerosmith, new Van Halen, I love both of those records.
G2G: That's funny that you mentioned Aerosmith because I was going to ask what you thought of that new record.
Jacob: My favorite song is that...I think it's track number three...that song "Beautiful". It's crazy because the chorus, it's like Tyler's doing a rap over the verses and then you've got this big, beautiful melodic chorus. And the guitar part, it's just so schizophrenic, it's just... Man, I tell you what, what I think they should have done is get the two surviving members of Run-DMC and had them doing the chorus while Steven was doing the rap part, kind of bringing everything full-circle from "Walk This Way" back in the 80's, you know.
G2G: I'm going to have to try to create that in my head the next time I pop that record in...
Jacob: (laughs) Exactly...exactly....
G2G: Back to your new record...as we mentioned earlier, you had your hand in writing several of the songs on this album, and every artist that I have ever talked to seems to use the whole, "my songs are like my children" analogy, but if you HAD to pick a favorite, or even a couple of favorites off of Back From The Dead, what would they be?
Jacob: (laughs) Yeah, I know what you mean with that "songs are like your children" thing. Umm...for me, it changes almost on a day to day basis. I really love "The One That You Hated", which was the first song that me and Lonny wrote together. I also really love "Your Diamonds", I wrote that sitting at my piano back home in Birmingham, and Steven wanted a song that had kind of an old, 70's Journey vibe, so I sat down and wrote that which I think turned out real well. And, um, I love "Just Don't Ask" because I love the fact that I wrote the song and two of my favorite people, both Steven Adler and Slash, both played on it. (laughs) So...I guess that's three, but really it changes all the time...like you said, it's hard to choose between your children... (laughs)
G2G: Well, you not only picked three songs, you actually picked three of my favorites off the disc. You know, with "Your Diamonds", I didn't even really think about it until you said that, but it does have a somewhat retro sound to it with that kind of fat, (laughing) I don't know if "sexy" is the right word or not...
Jacob: (laughing) Yeah, man...
G2G: I don't know if that was the direction you were going with that song, but that's kind of what pops into my mind...
Jacob: Yeah, that's the direction Steven wanted one of the songs to go and "Your Diamonds" just kind of fit that, um, fit that part, I think. You know, me and Lonny wrote the songs on the record, and then Steven picked out the songs he wanted to use. Ultimately it was his decision on the songs that got put on the record.
G2G: One thing that impressed me when I listened to the album was, despite that fact that obviously Steven's name is the band and is out there on the front of the record, you actually sound like a band and not a project. That really impressed me because I think it would have been easy for this to become a vehicle for Steven to just keep his name out there doing covers or songs that sounded like GnR songs.
Jacob: Thank you very much, man. That's the way we always approached it, you know. Steven actually wanted a band name and we just could never agree on what to call the band. He was just adamant that he didn't want the name "Adler". In fact, Steven really wanted to use the name "No Quarter", which we all hated. (laughs) We HATED the name. We were all like, "that's just awful!" And, you know, we looked it up and there was like a Led Zeppelin tribute band, and we were like, "no, we are not calling ourselves 'No Quarter'". Steven was like, "no, man, it means we aren't going to...", and we were like, "we know what it means and NO, it's awful!" (laughing) I mean, come on...No Quarter? It sounds like, you know, you're at Starbucks and your total comes to $1.75 and all you have is a buck fifty and you look at the guy and go, "Sorry, No Quarter". (laughs) Of something costs a dollar twenty-five and you give him two bucks because you got no quarter. (laughs) That name is horrible... Don't you think?
G2G: I'm staying out of it! (laughs)
Jacob: (laughs) Yeah, man, it was bad. But, eventually, we all agreed on Adler and it stuck and, you know...hey, Slash did it, and I think it just makes sense.
G2G: Well, yeah, I mean we have the band Adler, we have Slash, we have Duff with his own thing, and I know Izzy recorded as Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds, right?
Jacob: Yeah, that's right. All we really need is Axl now, and I think he's got the perfect name, you know, just using his initials from W. Axl Rose would be the coolest, you know, W.A.R. so he could have "WAR" for a band name...
G2G: Since he's obviously NOT Guns N Roses now...
Jacob: (laughs) Well, yeah...
G2G: So, who wrote the majority of the lyrics on this album then? I love the lyrics to the song "Habit", for example, and I think "Just Don't Ask" is a phenomenal song, and yeah, Slash really adds to it, but I think it's a great song in it's own right even without the solo Slash adds...
Jacob: Well, thank you very much for saying that. I wrote the song "Just Don't Ask", the music and lyrics and everything, and Lonny wrote "Habit", so, a lot of songs we did collaborate on, but you just happened to pick two of the songs that we wrote individually and you can really see our different writing styles, I think, but they are both really good songs in my opinion. I like "Habit" a lot, too, because it's pretty much Steven's story, you know.
G2G: We all know the music industry has changed so much over the years, and videos really aren't what they used to be, but does any song on this album just scream "video" to you?
Jacob: Yeah, when I'm writing, especially after an album has been mixed, I listen back and can see a video for every song, really, you know. Umm...
G2G: ...because to me, "Just Don't Ask" is one that really begs for a video, I think. It has that classic feel that a really good video song has, that just lends itself to a story type of video, not just a performance shot or something.
Jacob: Thank you for saying that. Yeah, I mean, when I listen back to that song, and all the songs really, I have all kinds of imagery running through my head for videos...
G2G: What's your take on the way that music works now. You've mentioned that you're a fan of albums but let's be honest, that's not the way that people get their music now. The piracy thing is obviously an issue, but is there also an upside to being able to get your music out to the people immediately, or is just really filled with a lot of negatives?
Jacob: Me, personally, I think there's a plus side to it, as well. When you're a kid, you don't know anything about money and you don't know anything about the business side of music, and when they hear something they like, you know, they just want to get it. And, as a musician, you know, when you plug your guitar in and you make something you want to get it out there for people to hear. And, again, the kids don't even realize that people get paid for putting that music together, they just want to hear your stuff, you know. I think that's one way to look at it, but I know there are so many ways to look at things. You know, for me, I just like to play and get the music out there, but I understand where all the artists are coming from, you know, that used to sell millions of records and now they don't so their income has dropped, you know, a lot in some cases. I've, uh, (laughs), I've never had that problem, you know...I've never seen my income diminish that much, so I just like people to hear what we're doing, but, again, I do understand the business side of it, too.
G2G: You kind of touched on what I was going to ask next...the days of the platinum album are long gone for most artists unless your, I don't know, a Nickelback or someone like that. So, how does a band like Adler define success, at least to you?
Jacob: I guess that really depends on what success means to you. For me, Adler is already a huge success because we created something to the best of our ability and that we are really proud of...and the fans like it. To me, that's success, because we're all really happy for that. As far as commercial standards, it's very hard for a rock band to have success by commercial standards. You know, there are just very few true rock stations left in the country, you know, because most radio has either gone Top 40, or Hip Hop, or country, or even talk radio, and things are just completely different than they were when I was a kid, or when Steven was in GnR...or even just ten years ago, you know. So, success is up to the individual, at least to me...
G2G; To touch on the radio thing, like you said, radio, at least terrestrial radio, has really moved on from the rock format, but satellite radio has really taken off and exploded. Have you guys been able to embrace that? I know that Sirius/XM on the Octane station has played your stuff quite a bit.
Jacob: Yeah, the two rock stations that are on Sirius and XM, um, Octane and Boneyard, have both been really, really supportive of us, and even Hair Nation, because of Eddie Trunk's show, has supported us as well. Eddie has really been a big supporter and we appreciate him more than he could ever know. You know, we appreciate everyone that's helped us out, yourself included, Arttie. All of you guys get the word out about us and allow us to be able to do what we do, and we appreciate it more than you could ever know. So, yeah, we've done our best to embrace that and all kinds of media, and we've been lucky so far in how we've been able to do that.
G2G: So, what would you like to tell fans that are just coming to the band, or maybe coming out to a live Adler show, what would you like them to know about Adler?
Jacob: We are a brand new band, so if you are expecting to hear all Guns N Roses songs because Steven was there, that's not what we're doing. It's a brand new bandm similar to what Slash has got, or whatever, and we're a brand new band and we just happen to have a former member of Guns N Roses in the band. If you like good, solid rock music then come to the show. I think that you'll really like the show and you'll have a lot of fun. And, if I may, I'd like to tell everybody to like our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Adlermusic , and on Twitter to follow us @Adlerrocks, and then our website is www.Adlerrocks.com .
G2G: Well, Jacob, I want to thank you again for taking the time to give us a call. The new album, Back From The Dead by Adler is out in stores and on-line now, and I wish you all the success in the world and a Merry Christmas to you, my friend.
Jacob: Thank you, too, man. It's been fun.
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