Stacey Blades: Electric Radio Kings – interview
Having already charted in the top 40, and just unleashing their new album entitled Purrr, Electric Radio Kings are well on their way to success. Already creating a massive buzz, their music is as powerful as a raging tsunami. The Vegas-based band features Stacey Blades on guitar, Paul Christiana on vocals, Keith Horne on guitars, Johnny Rude playing the drums and Del Cheetah on bass. Their unique sound is radio-catchy, alternatively edgy, and echoes sounds of the past with the relevance of the future.
I spoke with super guitarist and songwriter Stacey Blades who gained extreme popularity while in the nationally popular bands, Roxy Gang and LA Guns. A very musically diverse and creative individual, Blades is candid, prolific, and extremely passionate….
Louder Than War: You have a very cool musical history. How would you compare the other bands you’ve been in, or anything that you’ve ever done, to Electric Radio Kings?
It’s quite a departure because in a lot of the bands I was in I was the replacement guy, so to speak. With Roxy Gang in the late 80s/early 90s, I joined the band after a couple of years that they had been together; I was a replacement guy in that. I was in that band for eight years and then in 2003 I joined LA Guns – so again, I was a replacement guy in that. They were very well-established and successful bands for that genre of late 80s rock metal. They had a signature sound. Electric Radio Kings is more of a contemporary mainstream sound. It’s still very guitar driven rock ‘n’ roll but the production is very different than any of the records I’ve worked on, in terms of different sounds and the approach. It’s kind of hard to describe Electric Radio Kings. It’s like Velvet Revolver, Cheap Trick, Foo Fighters, and Stone Temple Pilots, if you put them in a blender that’s kind of who we sound like, but everybody has their own concept of what we sound like. People will say we remind them of Breaking Benjamin, who I don’t think we sound like at all. Then other people say it reminds them of Disturbed.
It reminds me of Disturbed.
See there you go, I’m going to start using that. I love Disturbed, they’re great. The production on the record is amazing in that it was from Mike Gillies – Metallica’s long time studio engineer. Mike is just fantastic on his approach, his sounds, the way he infuses, especially the guitar melodies. Working with Mike was really, really incredible. He would just take the songs and just rip them apart and make these building blocks of cool melodies and overlaps and arpeggios, and all this great stuff. The songs were really great to begin with, but he made them amazing. When you get to work with a producer like that, that’s always very rewarding because it’s like you’ve run this creative triathlon and you come out of it saying “wow what an incredible experience.” Every time I went to work with him, I left drained. I was seeing spots. Not that I haven’t had that before. I was very fortunate to have done four records with the late, great Andy Johns, a legendary producer from England who worked with Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Eddie Money, Rod Stewart, Cinderella, Van Halen…. he worked with everybody and did so many amazing records. So, I’ve really been blessed to have worked with some great producers. Going full circle, the question, it’s definitely a mainstream rock sound as opposed to the 80s metal sound that I’m known for.
You’ve probably had some memorable stage experiences, but if you could have an ultimate stage fantasy, what would you need to happen?
I think every musicians fantasy is to play Madison Square Garden. I think it’s just so iconic.
I think you guys have a chance.
I hope you are correct on that. Or to be joined by Steven Tyler or any one of my rock ‘n’ roll heroes would be amazing. I did get to jam along side Johnny Depp and Don Felder at this Christmas event we did with Alice Cooper – that was pretty amazing. Alice Cooper has his Christmas event every year that he puts on; it’s a star-studded charity event and that year he had Johnny Depp and Don Felder and Sebastian Bach and a few other people. At the end they did this all super jam, and I was standing next to Johnny Depp playing guitar – he’s a guitar player! That was a pretty cool moment, just being on the stage with Alice Cooper. He actually has really gotten behind Electric Radio Kings – he has featured us twice on his radio show, “Nights With Alice Cooper.” He is awesome, I love him so much and he just really adores the band. Having a spot on his show was a major highlight, and not just once but twice. That was a real blessing.
Do you think that music can change the world?
I’d like to. There is certainly a number of people that have done it: The Beatles come to mind. They did change the world. I don’t know if we will ever have another band like that. I think Queen comes close. Music is an amazing thing because it just has this universal power – it evokes so many emotions. You can feel sad and happy and angry and energized. You get goosebumps for music. It’s a very powerful thing. You can piss people off with music. I don’t know if we’ll ever see another band like The Beatles, but they did change the world.
I agree with you there. Aside from Madison Square Garden where would you like to be with the band in five years?
I’d love to continue doing this full time and just get better with every record, and every recording and every tour and gathering a bigger and bigger fan base. When I do something, I go big. I put every ounce of my heart and soul into it. I’ve always been like that. As a kid if we were playing cops and robbers I had to have it exact, I had to have the whole kit and caboodle. My attention to detail is just so concentrated. I’m still like that to this day with my music. I feel very passionate, so looking to the future I would just love to see the band bigger and better and touch people with what we are doing. That’s the goal.
Growing up who was your idol?
I had idols that were bands and idols that were guitar players. As far as guitar players, I think for me it was Neil Schon from Journey, and Randy Rhoads – that was Ozzy Osbourne’s first guitarist. He tragically died way too young. I think those two guys really made an impact on me musically. It’s hard to explain but it was like a chemical reaction, it gets inside your soul and becomes part of you. I’ve had a lot of other guitar players influence me of course – Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and Joe Perry. Neil Giraldo: I really love him as a guitar player. He’s amazing and super underrated, and he’s a super nice guy too. I had the luxury of meeting him at a NAMM convention many years ago. When you meet guys that you really, really admire and they are awesome people too, that’s just an added bonus. So, I would say Randy Rhoads and Neil Schon definitely to this day are probably two of my favorite guitar players. Musically I was into so many different styles of music. One of my favorite bands was The Cars and still is. I love Cheap Trick. I really love a lot of the early 80s nu-wave- people are surprised when they hear that. I loved The Motels, Styx, and Missing Persons. I have a crush on Martha Davis. So, I love all that old stuff and that actually influences my songwriting. People who really know that and have paid attention to certain things in my writing and even in my guitar solos have heard that style. I really loved early U2, as well as Duran Duran – there was a lot of that stuff that I was influenced by. But then at the same time I love Judas Priest, Ozzie and Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, Wasp, and early Motley Crue. I had a full circle of music that I was into. Then growing up in Canada I was really into Rush and Triumph. It was really mandatory; if you didn’t like Rush and you were a dude and you grew up in Canada, then something was wrong with you.
Is there anything else that you’d like to say?
Just to let everyone know that we are very active on social media, Instagram and Twitter and of course Facebook. We just released our album two weeks ago and were urging everybody to order it. The shipping takes it right to your house. You can go to electricradiokings.com to order the CD. There are a lot of great things to come for the band. I want to thank all of the fans and Land Shark Promotion for working our single and helping us have it end up on the top 40 charts in the main stream rock charts, and all the Radio people out there nationally on the stations that have taken a chance on the band. I can’t think everybody enough.
All words by Eileen Shapiro. More of Eileen’s writing can be found in her author’s archive.