Reality Bites The Dust: the Blacklist Union Interview

Do you love raw intense emotion? Does it entertain you making you drool and simply go out of control? If that sounds like you then you’ve found the perfect spot to maintain it. With the utter essence and entertaining sounds and styling’s of rock n roll! Presented to you by Los Angeles based act Blacklist Union who have broken the music barrier and made their mark upon the music scene upon the many venues located upon the Hollywood domain. Now is the time for you to listen in to what they have to say when it comes to “Breakin Bread with the Devil,” along with what vocalist Tony West told me during the interview we recently conducted.

1. The name of the band Blacklist Union is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story?

Tony: The band name comes from well most bands nowadays that are successful I could be standing next to some dude from Incubus I would have no idea who he is. it goes back to the whole rock star environment when rock n roll was insane man. I grew up worshipping the outlaws of rock n roll I was 11 years old when “Appetite for Destruction” came out and I just wanted to be that rock n roll outlaw ya know. Like Scott Weiland, Axl, and rock that element ya know. It was based on, a couple of guys in a band having bad reputations and being misunderstood for the whole outlaws of rock.

2. Can you briefly summarize how the band formed and what you do in Blacklist Union?

Tony: I formed the band in 2004 and I’m the singer for the band and we went through our shares with up and downs and member changes and record deals. Having a band is like having a marriage it takes a few times to get it right.

3. Your lyrics are infused with heavy detail and raw emotion. What is it that normally gives you inspiration when writing lyrics and is there a concept behind the music you create?

Tony: All of our lyrics are real and every single song I have has been about an experience in my life. “After The Mourning,” that title comes from an inspiration of a girlfriend of mine that was killed in an auto accident and right after we released “After The Mourning,” 10 days later came out my Ex-wife died. Ya know we have a new song “Sixty Five Steps Away” which is about how many steps away it is from my x wifes grave to my x girlfriends. So as I was saying all of our songs are based on tragedy or addiction or love to the birth of my son it’s all about real life events. I try to keep it real because it’s not just about putting together some words that sounds cool it’s all about real life stuff and situations.

4. Your new album “Breakin Bread with the Devil,” is coming out how has the reactions been thus far? What can fans expect when they listen to your music?

Tony: They can expect kick ass high energy rock n roll with hooks and real raw good melodies good guitar work with great vocals if you’re into rock like Buckcherry, Avenged Sevenfold you’ll love Blacklist Union. Actually the title “Breakin Bread with the Devil,” what that means is inviting the wrong people into your life and into your heart. It has nothing to do with the devil actually. We’ve been banned from a few Christian college stations because they won’t play it because they think were devil worshipers.

5. You have several music videos for the songs "After The Mourning," "Breakin Bread with the Devil," and "Sixty Five Steps Away,” can you give a brief summary on how it all came together.

Tony: “After The Mourning,” was our first video was shot by a guy named Mark Racco he’s worked with other bands Stone Temple Pilots, Nirvana, Guns N Roses, and the second video is the title track “Breakin Bread with the Devil,” and was done by film student it’s an amazing video. We just did a video for “Sixty Five Steps Away,” which was very heavy for me, I remember filming that video and I got very choked up its about how many steps away my Ex-Girlfriend’s grave is from my Ex-Wife’s and to find love after walking thru the darkness.

6. Many of your songs are so hard and intense that I am sure they translate well into a live setting taking on a whole new life in front of a live audience. How does it make you feel when the emotion and power that you envisioned in the recording studio, come to life while playing in front of a crowd?

Tony: It makes me feel grateful and amazed we have the best fans the first time I saw people singing the lyrics we were playing in Washington D.C. and the whole crowd was singing the lyrics it was amazing. It was such a moment for me, we are a great live band, we deliver live if you can’t deliver live then you can’t deliver at all. Anybody can do anything in the studio. Live is where it’s at. If you come to a live show then you’re going to get a kick ass show for sure!

7. What are the upcoming plans for Blacklist Union?

Tony: We just got a new management company, called the Campbell/Howell Group out of Nashville ,and we have been talking to several people about setting up a tour and getting us a good record deal. That’s why we’ve been sticking around L.A. We just played Memphis and played Georgia last year. We’d like to head around the world, like Europe and Japan have become real big on us.

8. How has MYSPACE and the internet impacted your band and do you think downloading helps or hinders the artists?

Tony: MySpace is an amazing business tool it’s helped us connect with people fans of rock music and business contacts through there and I think it’s amazing. As far as downloads and stuff like that when you’re paying $1.00 a song that’s fine, but taking artist’s music for free the artist should have their share too. Like if we put out a record offer a few free downloads and then they can go and buy the record ya know?

9. What is the toughest lesson you ever learned in the studio and on the stage?

Tony: Probably be don’t sing too hard.

10. What bands would you like to tour with and who has been your favorite to tour with this far?

Tony: I’d like to tour with Buckcherry, Saliva, Avenged Sevenfold, Turbonegro, is a great band I love. We played this event “Rock on the Bayou” in Houston last year with a lot of bands I’ve never heard of, but childhood influences I heard every now and then. Recently we opened up for Duff McKagans Loaded who personally requested us to open for him, back at the Viper Room out in Hollywood a few months ago. We are definitely a new age rock band.

11. Every band has its musical influences. What are some of the other bands and artists that have greatly influenced you guys and your music?

Tony: For me personally my biggest influence growing up was a guy named Andrew Wood, the singer of MotherLove Bone he was one of the biggest influences for me as a singer. Some others include Scott Weiland, Alice in Chains, Jane’s Addiction, and the Cult. As far as musically goes a lot of us are into punk rock and high octane rock. If you had to put us into a category it would be along the lines of Buckcherry or Avenged Sevenfold those type of bands.

12. What's your reaction when/if a fan told you a very meaningful statement such as "Your music changed my life?" Has this ever happened to you?

Tony: That’s happened to me several times and its one of the most touching things. If I could touch one person’s life I’ve done my job. I was a kid that needed to be saved by music. With my childhood the way it was that means the world to me. When that happens I get choked up that is a beautiful moment when it happens.

13. All of that passion that you play with must be tough on you physically. How do you prepare for the physical demands of a tour?

Tony: I do a lot of hiking in Griffin Park, brutal up hill and downhill cardio and eat healthy and drink a lot of water.

14. Anything else you'd like to add?

Tony: Let me think of that one for a second…. I appreciate all the people that have been supporting us through all the ups and downs and we play our music for them and it means so much that we’ve sold over 10,000 records completely on our own .We do so well at shows. And last but certainly I want to say I love Aboo……

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