A Celebration of Life and Music with the Bulletboys
The Bulletboys are best known for songs such as Smooth Up In Ya and Hard As A Rock from the glory days of hair metal. However, in this modern age, one finds founder Marq Torien and company at the very height of their creative energies. With the unveiling of From Out Of The Skies, the almighty Bulletboys certainly present their finest work to date – a glorious celebration of life and music that is sure to enrapture all types of music aficionados. There is a magic and intrigue to be found within songs such as D-Evil, Hi-Fi Drive By, Switchblade Butterfly and the many other tracks to be found within their 9th studio manifesto. At The Rock Against MS Benefit Concert in Downtown L.A., Highwire Daze Online caught up with the one and only Marq Torien to discuss the dynamic From Out Of The Skies and some of the songs that have made the album such a wondrous experience to behold. Read on…
Is there any overall story or concept behind the title From Out Of The Skies?
Yes, basically it’s saying that there’s something really powerful coming from out the skies. That could mean a lot of different things. Things are always falling from our of the skies. Sometimes people believe in Chicken Little that the sky is falling, the sky is falling. There’s a lot of different things to it, To me it’s just that something very special, very magical is coming from out of the skies.
For older Bulletboys fans, how would you say From Out Of The Skies compares to the classic material?
It’s basically moving forward. Our records were never all the same, even from back in the day. So, we were always trying to hedge and always trying to write new material that would spark the ear. I would just say entice the eyes. So, with this new thing that we’re doing, we’re basically bouncing off of Elefanté. When we did Elefanté, we were moving toward this new record From Out In The Skies. We wanted to bring the punk rock, funk, soul, R&B, hard rock – all those things that we love, you know? All of those things that I grew up with. We really wanted to do something really special for our fans, and also the women in our lives, the gals that we just love to death. Women’s in our lives have been just amazing, helping us to the utmost end. This record is definitely dedicated to a lot of the ladies out there.
Let’s talk about the song D-Evil. First, what inspired the lyrics to that song?
Living in the city. It’s just a story of a person that is always trying to chase away evil, and not let him succumb to living in lies like it’s the end of the world. A lot of people, and I don’t want to be disrespectful to people that are living here in the city, but a lot of these songs evoke the city of Los Angeles. In the chorus of “D-Evil,” it says”You’ve got that evil up inside, you’ve got that evil.” Someone’s telling you-you’ve got that evil, and we’re saying “oh no, no, we can’t do that.”
Of course you have a special guest on that song. Jesse Hughes from Eagles Of Death Metal. How did that come about? I know you’ve performed with him before, at Ultimate Jam Night?
Yes, we did something really special for David Z., who passed away from Adrenaline Mob. When that big accident happened in Florida. He really loved the Bulletboys and he loved the Eagles Of Death Metal. So, I asked Jess if he could come up and sing this tune with me and he was totally down with it. And then, how he came about him singing on the song was, Eric Keppel, who works for the band and is part of the family of Eagles Of Death Metal, played him the song and said “Hey listen, Marq would love you to sing on it, can you?” And he was like “When and where?” You know, so it’s like wow. So he came in right when we were finishing up mixes, came in and sang on the choruses and it was just really magical, it was really rad. He did an amazing job, amazing.
I want to talk about “Switchblade Butterfly.” It’s one of the most beautiful songs you’ve ever done. What’s the story behind that song?
You know, it’s just basically talking about that there’s another beautiful place beside the one that we hear and that one day we will all together in this magical place in the sky. There’s a lot of people that believe in heaven, there’s a lot of people that don’t. I just happen to be a man of faith. Not really a religion, but I believe in the Lord. I believe there’s a heaven. I went through some really hard times, and still going through not being able to see my two sons, so I wanted to write something for them that was magical for them.
I hadn’t finished up the song yet and then we were blessed to be asked to come and do a benefit for some of the families of Sandy Hook. So that just – it just spurred me and speared me to write something that was uplifting but wasn’t trying to step on anyone’s toes. It was really difficult, but with going to do that benefit it really helped me finalize the song and to get with the choruses and everything. It’s a song for everybody that believes, believes in magic and believes in positivity and believes that in the end we’ll all be able to see each other at some point in a beautiful, beautiful place.
It means everything to me that we were able to do some of these songs on this record that it wasn’t just this bombastic hardrock thing. It has twists and turns, peaks and valleys and I think that’s really important for us as a band to be able to put that kind of music down.
One live performance you did of that song was at a Ultimate Jam Night in memory of their security guard Ronald Broadnax. What was that experience like to play that song in that situation? I don’t know how you kept it together.
I love big Ron with all my heart. He was a beautiful, magical and loving individual. I’d known him for years, he really loved The Bulletboys. I was going to surprise him that night when we were playing because I wanted him to come up and play “For The Love of Money,” because he’s a drummer. I was going to surprise him. So when he got murdered, it was a shock to the whole community around here because of what a loving guy he was. It was really difficult to get through that song, singing for him but as choked up as I was, I know that I can feel him go, “come on man. Get it together.” He was one of those guys. I was just trying to get through singing the song as beautifully as I could. I tried my best…
Another song I want to talk about, Once Upon a Time. It’s so moving and reflective. What is the story behind that song?
It’s a song for the underdogs that never win. And I feel that I’m that type of person. I’m an underdog that never wins and never gets a chance to shine brightly like other groups that have shined brightly and have made millions of dollars and have big houses. We’re not that type of band. We are a workers band. We have our lunch pails and hardhats, we put them on every day and we got out and do our thing. That was just one of those songs that myself, I was really blessed to write with my friend Johnny Santoro, who co-wrote that song with me. He’s an amazing songwriter here in Los Angeles and Hollywood. We actually put that song together a few years back and we were trying to find a place for it and I finally told him, it’s going on From Out Of The Skies.
He said, get outta here! Yeah man, we’re gonna put it down. Took it in the studio, revamped some stuff – got in there some twists and turned and made it a little more different. We recorded at 606, which is the Foo Fighters studio so being there is very inspiring musically because it is hallowed ground. The walls have so much musical prowess. If you just sit in a room you can still feel and hear all those songs that they put down in that studio. I wanted to come up with something that was kind of like a big Bulletboys U2 song [laughs]. And have one of those feels to it. It came across like that and we were really blessed to be able to get it to that certain point where it made the record.
What can one expect from a live Bullet Boys show in 2018?
Oh my gosh. All hell breaking loose. Blowing roofs off of venues. Very energetic. We have a lot of energy in our shows. We’re a very high energy band. We’re performers and we don’t stand around – we’re not running from corner to corner, throwing guitars around our necks and shit, but we’re in a space right now that’s very punk rock and very aggressive but yet beautiful in the same breath. I’m playing with guys that are at a very high level musically, and when you put four of us like that together in any room, it’s gonna be magical. There’s gonna be flares going off. We just want everybody to come and have a good time and boogie with us, dance, put on your dancing shoes and get ready to rock – the way the Bulletboys do. Throw down some hot grooves, and we want people to enjoy themselves and celebrate life. There are so many crazy things happening on our planet, that we gotta take that little time we do have to perform for our families and friends and fans. It’s really important that, kick off your shoes and let’s dance it up! Let’s celebrate life together. That’s what our shows are all about, definitely!
Marq Torien – Vocals & Lead Guitar
Nick Rozz – Guitar
Chad MacDonald – Bass
Anthony Tiny Biuso – Drums
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)