IT'S ABOUT TIME - Interview with Greg Chaisson - October 2001



JakeELee.com: Thank you Greg for granting this interview. I know how few of these you do these days and we really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions.

JakeELee.com: Well, first, tell us how you got into music in the first place.

Greg Chaisson: I actually didn't start playing until I was 18. Prior to that, I was a big baseball jock. My goal was to go to college and play baseball and maybe play professional baseball. I had some offers to go to college and play baseball, but by that time I was so sick of going to school that I just decided to go the opposite direction. There were some guys in my neighborhood that were starting a band and they said if you get a bass, you can be in it. I was a couple years older and had a job (which is probably why they asked me!). So I did. I joined their band, affectionately called The Screamin' Hogmeyers. Probably the craziest name of any band I've ever been in.

JakeELee.com: Where were you born and where did you grow up?

Greg Chaisson: I was born in Toronto, Canada. From age 5 to 15 I lived in Fremont, California. When I was 15 we moved here to Phoenix, Arizona.

JakeELee.com: Was anyone else in your family into music, i.e., brothers, sisters, your Dad, your Mom?

Greg Chaisson: My brother Kenny played bass in Keel and was on all of their CD's. My brother Todd, who went by the last name of Chase, played in Tuff and now has a band called Substance D, who has a European deal.

JakeELee.com: What influenced you to play?

Greg Chaisson: I always wanted to do something different than the regular 9 to 5 job. Being in a rock band seemed kind of out of the ordinary. I was used to playing baseball in front of people, so playing bass in front of people was kind of the next best thing I guess. It's kind of funny, but when I was buying my first bass I wasn't so sure about it because I didn't know anything about playing bass. So we got together for our first rehearsal and the guitar player showed me part of a Grand Funk song (we're talking 1972 here). And he said "just ride along on this A note". But right away I started trying to throw in other runs and licks, of course having no idea what I was doing. They were all looking at me with this terrified look on their faces. The guy said, "I told you just to ride along on A!" and I remember saying, "I'm never gonna just ride along on A!". It kind of sums up my whole career. On the way home from rehearsal I told the guitarist "This is what I'm gonna do now, I'm gonna be a bass player!".

JakeELee.com: What influenced you to play bass?

Greg Chaisson: The local guys needed a bass player. I probably would have rather have played guitar but you had to play chords and it seemed so much harder at the time. Bass only had 4 strings and less chords.

JakeELee.com: Did you learn any other instrument at that time?

Greg Chaisson: I would fool around on drums. I almost quit bass one time to be a drummer. And I've always sang.

JakeELee.com: Who were your influences musically back then, and who are your influences now?

Greg Chaisson: Back in the 70's, every band had a great bass player. So my influences were almost too many to mention. They would include John Paul Jones, Geezer Butler, Andy Fraser of Free, Greg Ridley of Humble Pie, Mel Schacher of Grand Funk, Felix Pappalardi of Mountain, Jack Cassidy of Jefferson Airplane, Ron Wood with Jeff Beck and Tim Bogert, Martin Turner from Wishbone Ash and many others. I was also very influenced by many guitar players. Especially Schenker, Uli Roth, and Billy Gibbons.

JakeELee.com: What is your opinion of the music that is considered "popular" today?

Greg Chaisson: I don't listen to too much of it. I'm sure a lot of the musicianship is first rate. Maybe it's just my age creeping up on me. But it seems kind of noisy, I don't mean loud. I can totally handle loud, I played with Jake and Badlands was considered the loudest band that ever played anywhere we played. But it was a clean sort of loud. Our tones were very vintage 70's. A lot of the tones now, especially the guitars are just so over saturated that it seems to suck the life out of it. It seems to have no depth. I don't mean this to be an indictment against music in general because there are some bands I like. It's just the overall sonic thing that I can't get into.

JakeELee.com: Do you like any of the groups out there now?

Greg Chaisson: I like Fuel, Linken Park, Gov't Mule, Nickleback, Doyle Bramhall and a few others that escape me now.

JakeELee.com: Let's go back a bit with your career. I do know that you were a studio musician before you joined Badlands. Did you like what you were doing?

Greg Chaisson: Actually I wasn't a studio musician in the true sense of the word. What I was doing was what most guys in L.A. did in the 80's, which was play in as many bands and projects as possible and hoping one would take off. Now at the time in L.A., there wasn't a whole lot of bass players who could actually play. Image over substance was much more important. So lots of times bands that were recording a demo that were having trouble with their bass player would call me and ask me to fix it. Not because I was a studio musician. Just because I could play and I'd work cheap and was a very quick study. I once saw an ad in the recycler, which is where most musicians advertise for players, that read "wanted bass player must have tons of long hair, killer image, be very nice looking, have gear and transportation, playing ability not important". That kind of summed up the 80's in a way.

JakeELee.com: Some fans may not exactly understand what a studio musician does. Can you please explain for them what being a studio musician entails?

Greg Chaisson: A true studio musician, which is something I did after Badlands quite a bit, is a hired musician to come in at the beginning of a project just to do the recording. They are not usually part of the band. After Badlands there were a lot of artists, especially Japanese artists, who would hire popular L.A. musicians to do 2 or 3 tracks on their CD's. So on any given CD you might have up to 15 really well known L.A. musicians. I know Jake & I did this a couple times at least. Ray did some of it too.

JakeELee.com: What is your memory/funny story as a studio musician?

Greg Chaisson: I was asked to do a project for a keyboard player named Mark Stein who had been in a band in the 60's called Vanilla Fudge. The guy was a fantastic singer. His material was pretty cool. He had assembled kind of a young band to help with his image but he could never find a bass player. They asked me if I would be interested in playing bass on the session that was being produced by Ronnie James Dio. I wasn't interested until they said Dio because I was involved in about 5 other projects at the same time, true to form. But once they said Dio, I said ok because I figured maybe Dio would like my playing and could help further my career. So we were recording this one song and we get a real clean take except for the drummer screwed up the very last few measures of the song. They couldn't fade it because it had a definite ending. So Dio wanted me to change my bass part to fit the drummers' which was no big deal. Dio was going through this big long narration of where the drum mistake is and what I need to do fix it. Which was basically change a few notes in my run. Again, no big deal. Except Dio was going on and on about how he wants me to do this. I just keep saying ok Ronnie, I got it, let's just run it one time and I'll do it. But he keeps going on and on like the Energizer Bunny, keeps going and going about where this mistake is. I keep saying, OK got it, let's run the song. I can see Dio is getting pissed off at me. I'm not trying to piss him off but it's not my first day at the party either and I know what he wants. So finally he says just run the damn song and let's see if this guy knows what he's doing. So they run it and I fix it in one take. End of story…almost. So I go in to Ronnie and say I'm sorry, didn't mean to make you mad. It's just that I knew what you wanted. He says no big deal, good job. Then after I leave the room he tells the Manager, this guy's a jerk and he's never gonna make it. The whole moral of the story is that I took the stupid session just to impress Dio and he ends up hating me. Oh well, thank God for Badlands.

JakeELee.com: You hooked up with Jake to form Badlands. You and he apparently met while you were auditioning for the Ozzy Osbourne band. You guys are still good friends from what I understand. Do you think that the two of you will work together again someday?

Greg Chaisson: I still consider Jake one of my best friends. As for working together, I think we probably would have worked together a lot more since the end of Badlands except for the fact that I live in Arizona and he lives in L.A. It makes it hard to get together. I remember when I told him that we were moving, he got kind of bummed. He even made the remark, how are we gonna hang out? Or do any playing? And he was right. It is pretty hard to get it together. I did have a good time though when he and I mixed Dusk together with Matt Thorn. As for working together in the future, you never know. I really miss playing with him and just hangin' out in general. We have a lot in common.

JakeELee.com: What was the writing process (musically, not lyrically) like for Badlands?

Greg Chaisson: On the first album, Jake brought in almost all the musical ideas. The rest of us would throw in some stuff in here and there, but it's 90% Jake. On Voodoo Highway, I believe Ray contributed a little more musically and I definitely had some musical input, especially on "Shine On" and "Heaven's Train". We all helped with the arrangements. But it was still mostly Jake. On Dusk, Ray contributed more musical ideas than ever before. I also contributed to some different songs and I brought "The River" in as a complete song and Jake made some cool changes on it. But for the most part it was Jake's musical vision. He was always totally cool with anybody contributing an idea. If it worked great, if not, no big deal. Very open and easy going. Jake always had a definite view of where he wanted this stuff go and we all trusted that.

JakeELee.com: A lot of people think that Voodoo Highway was probably the best sounding album that was made - the dryness of that recording appealed to a lot of people. How exactly was the album recorded?

Greg Chaisson: Believe it or not, we weren't that crazy about the sound of the first album. One of our co-managers at the time got his greasy little hand in there and added some things that we weren't alright with, especially with drum sounds. By the time we started Voodoo Highway, we had already drop kicked that manager's butt out of there and finally had complete control of what we wanted to do. So we wanted to use all real sounds, no samples, and go for that dry analog sort of sound. Very 70's. The way that album was recorded gives the songs a lot more room to breathe. I definitely like Voodoo Highway better than the first one. But I also really like the sound of Dusk which was basically recorded live, no over dubs except for the background vocals of Jake and I on one song. Everything else is one take just like a live show. Yahoo!

JakeELee.com: Badlands were known for jamming/improvising on stage, one of the very few hard rock bands that would even dare to. Which tune (or situation) did you enjoy to jam/improvise on the most?

Greg Chaisson: The songs we usually jammed on were "Rumblin' Train" and "Soul Stealer". We would also jam to cover songs in our shows. I must say quite immodestly that Badlands was one of the greatest cover bands of all time. Before we would go on the road, Jake would make up a cassette of a dozen or so cover songs and we'd learn them and we'd play those at our sound checks. Many other times, one of us would just start playing a cover song or even talking about a particular song and everyone would start jamming to that song. That's how "Fire and Rain" came about. That was one of the best things about Badlands. We did everything from obscure Free songs, to Humble Pie, Grand Funk, Cactus, old Fleetwood Mac, and more.

JakeELee.com: In an interview from July 1999 with John Sykes, he confirmed that there was a lot of unreleased material with Ray Gillen in his possession. I think he is referring to the Blue Murder demos. Is there any more unreleased Badlands material with Ray Gillen that may become available in the future?

Greg Chaisson: There's a number of live Badlands stuff floating around out there. I think we all have very good quality board tapes of live shows. There's also a number of demos we did before the first album which contain songs that didn't make the first Badlands album. That could end up rearing it's head sooner or later, who knows. I know a lot of the material from those first demos was used by Jake on the A Fine Pink Mist album which is cool because he wrote all of it and it's really cool so I'm glad to see that he used it. I question the motives of the guy that Ray did the Sun Red Sun project for, who keeps re-releasing the same project every year with big ads in magazines talking about Ray's final project.

JakeELee.com: Do you still have any contact with Eric Singer or Jeff Martin?

Greg Chaisson: I still talk to Eric from time to time and we are still good friends. Hopefully we'll do something musically in the future. He's one of my favorite drummers.

JakeELee.com: Do you know what they are up to these days?

Greg Chaisson: Eric is still in either Kiss or Alice Cooper I believe. Jeff has his new band, "Jeff Martin and the Sour Grapes" with some new hit songs: "Wahhh", "I'm gonna sue", "It's Everybody's Fault but Mine", and "Now I'll sign the Contract". Actually, I think he's repairing furniture in Lake Tahoe.

JakeELee.com: How would you rate Jake against all the guitar plays out there today?

Greg Chaisson: The guitar hero thing isn't as big now as it was back in the 80's and 90's when Jake was on the scene. Nowadays, a lot of the songs don't even have guitar solos. And when they do, they're just some weird noises. It seems to have gone away from the technical prowess of the guitar players before to just kind of making sounds with tons of effects, etc. I think Jake would be considered one of the best of any generation. In my firsthand opinion, Jake is a musical genius.

JakeELee.com: Who do you consider to be in the same league as Jake today?

Greg Chaisson: Warren Haynes would be one guy I would mention. Joe Holmes would be another. And a lot of the same guys like Lynch, Warren DeMartini, Reb Beach, Paul Gilbert and plenty of others are still around making good music so I would have to put them in the same category. Somebody that doing something completely different but I think is totally cool is Brian Setzer.

JakeELee.com: Badlands were, from what it seems in the beginning, a choice career opportunity for all. Then, it seems that one unfortunate thing after another just destroyed the band. Rumors still float that things were bad with Ray & Jake in the end and that financial problems destroyed the group's future almost from the beginning. Is there any truth to this? Recently, someone posted quite a long story on the "Jake Talk" message board and filled in the fans with information that was apparently incorrect and exaggerated. Can you tell us anything about the break-up that would set these rumors to rest for the fans once and for all?

Greg Chaisson: Obviously our financial problems are a matter of public record, as a result of all the interviews we have done. We were a young band and even though Jake had been in Ozzy and Ray & Eric had done other things, we were still inexperienced in how to handle our business. Some people took unfair advantage of us. We made some bad decisions of our own, that's just the way that it is. We never really cried about it too much, it's just a fact of life. Concerning how we all got along, all bands have their musical and personal differences. I think the only two guys who got along consistently during the band's tenure, were Jake and myself. Other than that, there was always something going on. Each of us had our own vision for how we thought the band should be and I'm sure we all thought we were right. I'm sure for the most part, we probably were in our own way. I don't think that any one of us cared more about the band than any other, we were just very passionate about Badlands and that led to some battles as well as some great songs being written. For most of the time we were real good friends. I can't speak about Jake & Ray's relationship. All I can say is that as far as Ray & I were concerned there are a lot of things I would do differently if he were around today. I think we all made mistakes.

Concerning what was posted on "Jake Talk", I know the guy and he is actually a friend of mine. Ray knew him also through Glen Hughes. I don't have a problem with what he had to say in regards to the band history. I just don't feel that anybody has a right to comment on what went on with Ray and his illness except his family. They choose to leave things as they are. I think Jake would agree with me on this. Neither he nor I have ever commented on the specifics of Ray's illness and I can't imagine that we ever will. Regardless of what went on in the band, good or bad, we were brothers and I miss Ray and the band. To this day and think about them often.

JakeELee.com: Why exactly did Eric Singer leave the group?

Greg Chaisson: Unfortunately for us, Eric was fired, but it was probably the best thing that ever happened to Eric because he has taken his career so much farther than he could have with us. Eric & I never really got along while he was in the band and that continued until the end of our first tour. I would have liked to have done the 2nd record with him while we were on the same wavelength. I think it would have been cool. That's one of the reasons I asked him to play drums on my solo album. We had a great time making that album.

JakeELee.com: What is you best memory/funny story of Badlands?

Greg Chaisson: My best memory of Badlands is just being on stage playing . Even if we weren't getting along at the moment, or business problems were driving us crazy, once we started playing, everything was cool. Now for a funny story, as I said before Badlands was the world's greatest cover band. There was a band in the 70's called Capt. Beyond. They were the Dream Theater of the early 70's - rather progressive. They really kicked ass. So we had learned a couple of their songs to play at sound checks. Atlantic had given us money to record demos. Of course rather than use the money to record demos, we were living off of it. We were recording the demos on Jake's pro walkman. They sounded cool. But anyway, Atlantic had come out to hear our rehearsal and our radio-worthy new material. Right away we launch into these two Capt. Beyond songs telling them that they're our new songs. These songs have all kinds of odd timing, weird changes, and are definitely not what you would have heard on the radio in the 1990's or the 1890's. The guys from the record company are just standing there with their jaws on the ground and this complete look of terror; "this is what they wrote with the demo money?". So when we got done with the two songs, Ray says, "what do you think?" They looked like they were gonna start crying. All of a sudden we started busting out laughing. Then we played a couple of our own songs. I don't know if they would have liked them any better, except they were so happy and relieved that it wasn't Capt. Beyond, that they said "the new stuff is great!" Then I think they went out and got drunk! JakeELee.com: What is you best memory/funny story of Jake E. Lee?

Greg Chaisson: Jake is the most serious guy I've ever known but he's also one of the funniest! My wife makes this killer apple cobbler dessert that I call "Apple Stuff". Jake & I are both dessert nuts. So, whenever she would make a big pan of it, I would bring him a huge piece to eat, enough for 2 or 3 helpings. He would eat it all right then with a cup of coffee right before rehearsal. One time for Christmas he said for Christmas, I'd like to have a whole pan of Apple Stuff. That's about a 10" x 10" square pan. There's about 20 apples in each pan. So I brought it over to him before rehearsal around Christmas time. He proceeds to eat almost the whole thing in one sitting. I'm warning him, there's a lot of apples in there man! He says, "I'm cool". I know from experience what happens if you eat too much of this in one sitting. So we're on the way to rehearsal and I'm driving, and we're about half way there and Jake is just curled up in the front seat saying "take me home, I'm sick!" I don't think he ever asked for any more apple stuff!

One more would be, when we were driving down the access road next to the freeway outside of Austin, Texas, to go buy some cowboy hats. There's a place there called Texas Hatters that makes killer hats. In California there is an access road on each side of the freeway and it's one way. So I'm not paying attention as I'm driving and I'm talking as usual and Jake starts tapping me on the shoulder saying, "Uuhh Greg…Greg…GREG!!!" His eyes are about as big as saucers and he's shaking my shoulder and I'm thinking, "What the hell's his problem?" So I turned to look down the road to see what he's looking at and guess what? The access road's in Texas aren't one way. We're about 20 feet from driving head on into a big truck because I'm driving on the wrong side of the road, Duhhhhh! We had to pull over and then go back and try and find our hearts which had jumped out of our mouths and were lying on the side of the road! Keep in mind for any funny story I can tell about any of these guys, they have more than their fair share that they can tell about me, maybe more!

JakeELee.com: What is you best memory/funny story of Ray Gillen?

Greg Chaisson: One time this girl came to rehearsal and she had this little metal car. The kind that if you put it down and pull back on it, it winds the wheels up and makes it go forward. For some oddball reason, Ray thought he would wind it up and let it drive over his head. That sucker wound his hair up tight and that car was just stuck to his scalp! The only way to get it out would have been to cut out a hunk of his hair & I mean a big hunk, which was not an option. We were getting ready to go on our first tour to Japan. So Ray spent the whole 4 hour rehearsal trying to get the car out of his hair which he finally did.

There's another one too. We were playing in Mexico but our hotel was on the U.S. side so Ray brought his big Akita dog (about 120 pounds) and left him in the hotel room while we went across to Mexico and played. We were probably gone 4 hours. By the time we got back, the dog had totally destroyed the hotel room. We had to sneak out of town early the next morning!

JakeELee.com: What is you best memory/funny story of Eric Singer?

Greg Chaisson: One time we played at a venue that overlooked a river. Eric and a young lady went down to talk and while away the hours before the gig down on this big rock right next to the river. We could see them laying down there getting some sun and kicking back. Kind of peaceful actually. Right before the gig, Eric's got this huge rash all over his whole body from his feet to his neck and everywhere else. It turns out the rock was covered with poison ivy or poison oak, one of the two. It was the worst case of it that the Doctor's had ever seen and it lasted about two weeks. Nobody would go near him! I guess it's really not that funny, but like I said Eric & I really didn't get along very well, so it was an interesting story nevertheless!

JakeELee.com: What is you best memory/funny story of Jeff Martin?

Greg Chaisson: Jeff did so many goofy things that it's hard to pick just one, but here's one that comes to mind. One time we were playing at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and our dressing room was a huge room where the marching band dressed before the football games. We had a lot of time before the show and we were just sitting around talking about whatever, and no one knew where Jeff was. All of a sudden he comes marching and dancing out of this side room with a Majorette's costume on! It's actually a short dress, and a big marching hat and a baton, and he's dancing around and singing "Hail to the Queen" but he's got nothing on underneath the dress, he's bare naked! He's marching around, doing cartwheels and the splits and throwing the baton up in the air and trying to catch it. It was totally depraved and we laughed so hard we almost got sick! Jeff's the only guy that would be an uglier woman than me, but I've never worn a dress!

JakeELee.com: From Badlands you went on to join in Die Happy. How did that come about?

Greg Chaisson: A friend of mine was the drummer in Die Happy. At first they just asked me to play bass on it but they had no songs written, so I ended up co-writing most of the material with them and I actually produced the Die Happy II album. But, in the end they decided that they would all like credit for it, oh well.

JakeELee.com: What was it like working with Robin "Kyle" Basuri (Vocals), Larry Farkas (Guitar), Doug Thieme (Guitar), and Glenn Mancaruso (Drums)?

Greg Chaisson: They are all really great guys. Glenn and I go way back. I played and co-wrote material on Robin's solo album, Red Sea. He's a great singer. And Larry Farkas and I have written a ton of songs together and done quite a few projects together. As a matter of fact, we're writing for a new Die Happy album right now.

JakeELee.com: Why did Die Happy disband?

Greg Chaisson: There wasn't a whole lot going on. It's hard to tour in a band like that.

JakeELee.com: What is your best memory/funny story from being in Die Happy?

Greg Chaisson: The only show we ever played while I was in the band was in San Diego, about 200 miles south of where we lived. So the band shows up in this car pulling a trailer with our gear in it. The car could probably painfully seat 6, except they already have about 10 people in it which includes one guy's wife and her friend, and another guy's girlfriend. They want me to jump in and go along with the ride for 200 miles. So I walk out to the car, take a look, I ain't goin! Well the girls freak out, "Greg's so mean!" I say ditch the girls and the extra guy and the 5 of us will drive to San Diego and do this stupid gig. So they do. So on the way there, Larry gets hungry. So we pass a Jack in the Box and stop to eat. They've got 3 tacos for a dollar. So Larry buys $4.00 worth which is 12 tacos and a large Coke. Well I can't even begin to tell you what the consequences of that action was. But, if he'd have eaten a whole live pig, I don't think it could have smelled any worse than what was happening in that car on the way to San Diego. I went the last 70 miles with my head out the window. He thought he was dying. So we do the stupid gig and it's a disaster. We're driving home and Larry wants to stop and get 12 more tacos. So we tied him up and threw him in the trunk (not really, but we threatened it!) and we didn't stop.

JakeELee.com: After Die Happy you put out your first solo effort, It's About Time. What can you tell us about doing your first solo effort from writing, arranging & producing?

Greg Chaisson: It was all done really quick. Me and a friend of mine wrote most of the material in about 2 weeks. We rehearsed with Eric Singer for about 4 days and Eric and I arranged everything during that time. I wanted a pretty raw production similar to Badlands, so the slickness was kept to a minimum. I like the way it turned out. I mixed with a guy named Pat Regan who's a mixing genius. He actually saved it because the guy who co-produced it with me was also helping with the mixing and messing it up. I actually threatened to quit working on it. But they let me bring in Pat and he saved it. It came out pretty good I think considering the limited amount of time and budget. I like it. The funny thing is, I'd always said that I was going to do a solo album and sing on it and then I found a label crazy enough to let me do it! When it came time to sing, I thought "Oh man, now I've done it! I've already spent the money, now I've got to sing!" But like I said, it came out ok.

JakeELee.com: It was a very good CD and it also contains your version of the "The River". The lyrics for "The River" are definitely different from the lyrics Ray sang on Dusk. Why are the lyrics different?

Greg Chaisson: Thanks for the compliment. I always kind of thought that Ray meant those lyrics to be autobiographical. And so after he died, I talked to Glen Hughes and he had told me that Ray had made his peace with God before he passed away. I found that very touching. So I stayed with Ray's autobiographical theme and changed the lyrics to reflect a man's finding God and making peace with him.

JakeELee.com: I heard once that Ray wrote all of the lyrics for Badlands and that his lyrics were very personal to him. Is that true? If not, who were his writing partners?

Greg Chaisson: On the first album, one of our co-managers (I use that term loosely) actually co-wrote some lyrics with Ray. But I think for the most part they were mostly all Ray's. Regarding how personal the lyrics were to Ray, I'm sure they were. Having written a number of lyrics to songs myself, I can speak from whatever experience that brings. But I think that it's no less personal even if you just write music but not lyrics. A guy writing a great instrumental album or classical music would tell you that the music is very personal. It's just a matter of perspective.

JakeELee.com: What is the meaning of "The River" on your CD and the version on Dusk? What is the song about?

Greg Chaisson: As I said before, I think it's an autobiographical song about Ray and I changed the lyrics a little but kept to the same theme.

JakeELee.com: Let me also note, for those that have not picked up It's About Time that you also sing quite a bit on the CD - 9 tracks to be exact!

JakeELee.com: I know that It's About Time is now out of print. Will it become available again or do people have to just hope they get lucky and fine it somewhere?

Greg Chaisson: Who knows if it will become available again. But if you pick it up you might like it. It's got a certain sort of Badlands vibe to it, with me singing.

JakeELee.com: What was your best memory of doing your solo CD?

Greg Chaisson: Just working with Eric in a setting where we both got along and respected each other's playing. He's one of the greatest drummers ever in my opinion. I would love to work with him again. I know we both regretted not getting along during the first Badlands album, it would have made it more fun. He's still one of my best friends.

JakeELee.com: Will you be doing another solo effort any time in the near future?

Greg Chaisson: Oh probably, although who knows when. I'm getting ready to play bass on an album by these two brothers, Mike and Joe Petruno, the name of the project is called The Bastards. Kind of like Ramones meets Deep Purple. Just imagine a guitar player who can play original punk style but throw in totally cool Richie Blackmore and Brian Setzer licks, along with a drummer who can play like Bonham. I'm not writing or producing, just playing bass. My brother Kenny (formerly bassist in Keel) and I keep threatening to start a band in which he plays bass and I play guitar and sing. So definitely in the future.

JakeELee.com: If so, who do you think you would like to work with in the future and why?

Greg Chaisson: No particular band comes to mind. Obviously if Zeppelin or Jeff Beck calls, I could probably find some time! But I would seriously like to play with Jake again some time. Our styles fit together so well. He's the only guitar player who ever said, hey could you do more licks and riffs in that part? It's so nice to play with a guy who is so secure in his own ability and talent that they don't have to keep you down to make themselves feel better. Jake is one of the only guitar players I've ever played with who was that way and from that perspective it was a total joy. I would also like to do a project with Eric Singer, and maybe one with Brian Tichey, who was Zack's drummer, just an incredible musician and all around groovy guy. I also have to mention my friend Mark Danzeisen, a great drummer, songwriter and producer. We keep wanting to work together and hope that we'll find the time soon.

JakeELee.com: What have you done in between these projects?

Greg Chaisson: Just various CD projects, whatever comes along. I don't have a lot of time and I'm pretty selective these days. I've got two young kids, my daughter Riley who is almost three and my son Cole who is almost 10, and don't like to sacrifice any time away from them for any musical projects. I spend all my time hanging out with them and coaching my son's little league baseball team and I'm having a great time. One project I might have coming up is for a friend of mine named Stephen Christian. He's a singer/songwriter who writes pretty good "poppy" stuff. I did a CD with him a few years ago and it was pretty cool and a lot of fun. I think we're going to do a second one. He's just getting ready to secure financing so we'll see.

JakeELee.com: Where there any "side" projects (Ann Lewis?) or did you just chill and spend time with your wife and son?

Greg Chaisson: Again just various CD projects, a bunch of stuff for Mike Varney's Shrapnel label. And whatever else came along at the time that paid the bills. I won't bore you with all the titles.

JakeELee.com: If so, can you give us a history of the things you done in between Badlands, Die Happy, and It's About Time?

Greg Chaisson: If you insist, Die Happy II, Die Happy Live, Blindside I, II, and III, Craig Ericson, 2 of Anne Lewis' I think, a couple other Japanese guitar players that I can't remember the names of and a Japanese singer I can't remember the name of, Darryl Mansfield, Pat Travers, and Red Sea are some of them. There are others but I get a headache thinking about it. A lot of them I don't even have copies of so I don't remember the titles.

JakeELee.com: I read that you are now playing guitar does that mean you are not playing bass anymore? If so, how's the guitar playing coming along? In the future, will we be seeing you on stage as a lead guitar player?

Greg Chaisson: Maybe locally here in town just for the fun of it. I don't have any misguided aspirations of being a guitar hero. But it's challenging and I like it. As far as bass is concerned, if a project comes along that I really like and have time for I will consider it. I can't see touring anymore.

JakeELee.com: Well, that's about all the questions we have for you now Greg. We appreciate your time and maybe we can keep in touch and do another interview some time down the track? Before we go is there anything else you want to add or say to the fans out there?

Greg Chaisson: Thanks to all the Badlands fans for remembering us. It was the best band I was ever in. Even though we had our problems there was a certain magic that happened on stage that I still remember and still can't get over to this day. One of my favorite memories of Ray is that sometime we'd be just jamming live on stage and Ray would be standing off to the side by my amp and he'd have this big smile on his face. He was really into it. He'd come up to where Jake & I were standing face to face and he'd say "Jammy Whammy". Nothing more need be said.