The Ultimate Jam Night Interviews with Brian “Damage” Forsythe of KIX and Rhino Bucket
It was another Tuesday evening on the Sunset Strip which of course could only meant one thing – another rip-roaring chapter of the long running Ultimate Jam Night at the world famous Whisky A Go Go. East Coast Night would be the theme for Ultimate Jam Night #99, and this special event would include the participation of the one and only Brian “Damage” Forsythe from KIX and Rhino Bucket fame!
Highwire Daze Online caught up with Brian “Damage” backstage at The Whisky to discuss the almighty KIX, the upcoming Rhino Bucket album The Last Real Rock and Roll, working with the legendary Lemmy on the movie Frezno Smooth, and of course his performance at Ultimate Jam Night! Read on…
How did you become with Ultimate Jam Night and how many shows have you played?
This is actually the first one. I did the Lucky Strikes thing that you do on Wednesdays at the bowling alley once.
Then someone contacted me about doing this and both nights it was because there was a KIX song in the set. They said: “Hey, You wanna come down and play the KIX song?” Since I’m the only guy that lives out here I’m a little more easily accessible.
For those missing tonight’s show, what can one expect from your live performance?
[laughs] I don’t even know. I don’t know until I get out there. Hopefully, my pants don’t fall down. [laughs]
What KIX song will you be doing?
I’m doing “Cold Blood.” But I’m doing two other songs too. I’m doing a New York Dolls song and a Joan Jett song.
How well do you know the non-Kix songs?
Eh, pretty good. I don’t know I’m pretty good at picking things up. I picked the easiest ones I can find.
The upcoming Rhino Bucket album, it’s called The Last Real Rock and Roll. How will that compared to the previous records you’ve been on?
It is definitely Rhino Bucket. The last one we did, that one, I thought it was a good record but this one it seems more focused. Eddie Spaghetti produced it and he did a great job. He was exactly what the doctor ordered for this record.
What did he contribute to the overall recording process. It must have been recording with a friend, in a way?
Oh yeah. Well, just mostly arrangement stuff and then a lot of the vocal stuff too he helped out with. Background vocals and arranging choruses. Getting the chorus to really come alive. He’s really good at that.
It’s been a few years since Rock Your Face Off. Are there any new KIX recordings on the horizon?
There’s talks. Everybody is sort of getting their stuff together. Writing their own, you know working on stuff. So, there’s gonna be another record at some point.
What has it been like to tour with KIX again? There was a break, and all of a sudden there’s a new album and you’re touring.
Well, we’ve been back together since the end of 2003. It’s just been sort of a slow climb. But these last few years it’s been non-stop. Compared to the old days it’s a lot easier. Its just fly dates now so I’ll fly out for a long weekend do a couple of shows and I come home. I’m here during the week then I fly back out and do some more shows. So I’m on a plane a lot.
So your tour bus days are over?
Our tour bus is in the sky now. [laughs]
What did you think of the Show Business album and that time in Kix’s music history?
I was officially not in the band at the time. Even though I recorded the record. But, for me, it was like we hit our peak with Blow My Fuse and we were hoping Hot Wire was gonna go even further. But, Blow My Fuse was the peak then it started to descend and that’s kind of why I jumped ship. It was like oh man do I really wanna go through this all over again except in reverse. I’ve been in the band for 13 years at that point. It was kind of a dark time. But that record, it didn’t do as well as the others. Of course, it wasn’t on Atlantic it was on CMC. But it just felt like everyone was starting to get burned out by that point.
Would Kix and Rhino Bucket ever want to do a tour together, or has that happened?
We’ve done shows together but I don’t know, the few time I’ve done it, it’s really kind of grueling. It’s not as much a physical thing, it’s more of a mental thing. Especially for KIX shows. It takes me all day to build up to it and I have to be in this mental state and if I’m doing the Rhino Bucket thing, I just gotta work on that until I get that out of the way, then I have a half hour to get ready for KIX. It’s a lot to handle.
What did you think of playing the Hair Nation show with KIX?
It was a cool idea, [laughs] but man. It was – the way they did it, they had that rotating stage.
Did you like that?
It’s a good idea, but a lot of technical difficulties involved. They were still trying to get stuff to work and then things are turning around and it’s about to start, and you’re like wait! Trying to get the stuff to work. It’s just really hectic. It’s stressful. In fact, that night Yngwie went on before us and when I walked out there and our backline was up there and my head was not there. The Marshall head that I was supposed to use. I was like, where did the amp go? It turned out Yngwie took all the Marshalls and just stacked them up behind him. He wasn’t even plugged into them, it was just for show. So he had all the Marshalls and they had to go dig through the truck to find an extra one somewhere and they finally found one right at the last minute.
You did a movie with Lemmy. What was that experience like?
BF: That movie was called Frezno Smooth. It’s like this underground thing. That was interesting. It was weird because my girlfriend did the Lemmy Autobiography, White Line Fever. She co wrote that with him and they were working on it at the time, and this was just a random thing, I was playing at the (Coconut) Teaszer one night with Joe Lesté from Bang Tango and this guy at the end of the night comes walking up and introduced himself. He was looking for a guitar player to be in this movie, and at the time he just says, would you be interested in being in a scene in a band in this movie? I said sure. I found out after that it was going to be Motorhead and the only guy that was in town was Lemmy so they used me and Randy Castillo on drums. It was just the three of us for this one scene. So I went home, and Lemmy picked the song “Motorhead” to play so I went home and learned it note for note so when I got up there I could make it look real. But it was really cool. But it was just the weirdest thing that it was Lemmy and right when my girlfriend was working on this autobiography with him. So when he shows up at the club, there I am with my girlfriend Janice and he’s like, oh Janice! It worked out. It was kind of cool.
But you want to hear another story that goes along with this whole thing. This was like, a really bad period during my drug days. So I was completely out of it. If you ever get the DVD, check out the director’s comments that they have on the special thing on the DVD. He talks about each scene. When he gets to the Motorhead scene they refer to me as the “nodded out guy at the bar.” They said right up until they called action he said, I was nodded out. He says, I was just completely out and when they said ACTION! They said I jumped up on stage, grabbed the guitar and just nailed it. He couldn’t believe it. They didn’t know who I was, they thought I was just some random guitar player.
Are you involved with any other projects outside of KIX and Rhino Bucket?
Not officially. Occasionally someone will ask me to play on something, do a solo here or there. But nothing official.
Will we see KIX or Rhino Bucket doing any tours?
Well, KIX – our last gig was the Monsters of Rock Cruise and our next gig is the 25th of this month. So that’s actually our longest break this year that we’ve had. Then after this it just starts up again and pretty soon it’ll be every weekend. We’re going to Sweden, doing Sweden Rock in June and some festival in Great Britain. But Rhino Bucket, it’s difficult with the KIX stuff because I’m so busy with KIX I have to try and squeeze that in. But we are doing a little run around M3 this year, because KIX plays Friday and Rhino Bucket plays Saturday. So Rhino Bucket is going to do that week going into M3, we’re playing a bunch of shows that week on the east coast. We’re planning a European tour next January…
Thank you to Lisa Woodard and Ultimate Jam Night for setting up this interview. Be sure to check out Ultimate Jam Night, every Tuesday at the world famous Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip!
(Interview by Ken Morton – Live Photos by Roy A. Braatz Jr.)