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20 Questions with Andrew Elt, 2/10/04

  

20 QUESTIONS WITH

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Sleeze Beez singer Andrew Elt

 

This week we’re talking to somebody who actually put in some effort to his answers and can properly spell, and he’s not even American! It’s Andrew Elt from Sleeze Beez. Andrew sheds some light on music business and his wonderful dealings with Atlantic Records. Enjoy!

1. What are you currently up to? This is your only chance to promote your shit.

Right now I’m answering some dumb ass questions…..only kidding!! I do a number gigs at the moment. My main gig is road managing an amazing american blues guitarist called Walter Trout and his band the Radicals. In between tours ( usually 4-5 six week tours a year, in europe and the states) i play rhythm guitar in one of the best ACDC cover bands you’ll ever see! Action in DC from Holland. When i’m out on tour with Walter, they have a guy fill in for me till i get back. it’s a cool deal! I also work part time in a guitar shop.

2. The Sleeze Beez certainly can’t pay the bills these days. How do you make an income?

Whaddayamean these days….we couldn’t pay our bills back then!!! The Beez split up in 96, we haven’t played together since then. But i still talk to the guys, and there are rumours we might do something together again…WHO SAID THAT!!??

I formed a band called the Heavy 70’s, a tribute to classic 70’s rock, together with Don van Spall, one of the guitarists. We gigged every weekend, managed to keep afloat.

We started writing our own material and did a project called The Moon and then made an independant album in the states. Small budget job, but still quite good, on the Surgeland label out of Atlanta….. very hard to get ([email protected]) or www.serge.org/sleezebeez

3. What hard rock/heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?

I reckon they should all keep going…..it will be real interesting to see, for example, Metallica performing when they’re as old as the Stones are now!!!!! Hell, i hope i can still rip it up when I’m sixty!!!!

4. Sleeze Beez first album "Screwed, Blued, And Tattooed" was released in 1989, but the follow-up "Powertool" didn’t come out until 1993. Give us the gory details on why it took so long. Feel free to name names and point fingers!

In a nut shell, we took too so long doing what we should have done in the first place, and that was not listen to the corporate, so called, experts and went ahead and made the logical follow up to screwed blued and tattooed, straight after we got home. Which we did: over half the songs on powertool were written before xmas 1990, but Atlantic rejected them and wanted us to come to LA…….read the rest below. (I’ve copied and pasted a previous interview i did with a lady called Antoinette Avalon (its on the website))

The other reason it didn’t work and that it took so fuckin’ long to record the second album, "Powertool", is NO MANAGEMENT. We didn’t have a trusty guiding hand to deal with all the bullshit that goes on between artist and label. We were doing it all ourselves, which took up a lot of time and energy. When we were on the road with the Skids, their manager, Scott McGhee was seriously considering managing us. That would have given us a great push, on the fact alone that he could have put us on any major tour that was going on the road at the time.

We couldn’t get on a tour, ’cause we didn’t have a manager to do the work and the band was too busy performing day in day out, which is what they should be doing!

We had most of what is now Powertool written by December 1990!!!! But the record company wanted us to record in L.A. and write with this guy called Ron Bloom who was supposed to be the next Bob Rock. (He turned out to be a home wrecker, out for percentage and royalties). But, we complied. Hey, what the fuck, Atlantic believed in us, why be a pain in the ass? So they stuck us in a luxury apartment complex in Hollywood for 4 months and said, "Let’s see what happens".

SHIT happened. Exactly the kind of thing that goes down if you don’t have a manager/mentor to keep you in touch with reality. We ended up writing and recording a 13-track demo that never saw the light of day. We had a few great parties though. . .

We went home, wrote a few more tunes, added them to what we originally had and hey fuckin’ presto! Atlantic approved the songs, we went to England, recorded the damn thing in 3 months in England, waited for the release in ’93 and then the Grunge thing tackled us from behind and the referee called a fumble. . .

I remember going into Jason Flom’s office in Atlantic’s New York Building, and for the first time in 3 years, they made us wait at reception. I told Jan, "This ain’t good, man". When we finally go in, the whole office is plastered with Stone Temple Pilot posters, the metal department is reduced to 3 people, everyone I used to work with had been fired, all the guys now workin’ there had goatees and the women didn’t care how they looked!!!!

AND Atlantic didn’t want to back up our Top 5 phone hit ballad they put out as a teaser to 10 stations. The fact they’d spent a couple of 100 grand on us was not even an issue. . .hell, Phil Collins will fill up that gap in a fuckin’ day!

I knew it was time to go. So I bid Jason Flom a big old "have a nice fuckin’ day", and left the office, leaving a pile of torn up STP posters in my wake. We left Atlantic, disappointed and disillusioned………but determined to make a great next album.

5. Rate the following singers on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a somebody who totally sucks and 10 being a vocal God!

Vince Neil =
4

Sebastian Bach = 7

Joe Elliot = 7

Ginger from The Wildhearts = don’t know him

Mike Tramp = 1

Robby Valentine =great keyboard player…..!

Barry Hay = 7

Ozzy Osbourne = 6

Paul Stanley = 6

Tigo "Tiger" Fawzi = 6

6. Your site says you also worked as a tour manager. Have you ever been noticed as the "Sleeze Beez" singer while working as a tour manager. And tell us how your day differs from the rock star, to the roadie extraordinaire?

Yeah, sometimes people will come up to me and go , ‘Do i know you?" With Walter trout, his audience is not metal/hardrock, so it’s limited to local longhaired crew. Although some fans have tracked me down and we have hung out and had a few drinks!!! I’ve been out on the road with some metal bands (prog rockers Kamelot have some cool pics on ther live album!!) and sometimes it can get ridiculous!

I was doing a tour for a major dutch band and got a phone interview with this big rock mag about the Beez, and was doing the interview inbetween soundcheck backstage, when the lead singer happened to hear me talk. he said something like "you know this buisiness is screwed up when the crew is doing the interviews"!! he was cool about it though

7. Which do you prefer and why:

Grolsch or Heineken =
Grolsch!!! Heineken is awful. In the states it has this certain vibe about it, especially with the stckbroker types, just because its foreign and cool, but it tastes awful. Grolsch is so much better, in a leauge of its own.

Bitterballen or Kroketten = Hey are you from Holland? Krokketten of course, with a dab of mustard!

Golden Earring or Vandenberg =Vandenburg!! i used to follow those guys when I was a kid, saw them play at least 20 times. Golden earring were great around the time of there first live album.

The Bulldog or The Banana Bar = None of them….The Black and White, across the square from the Bulldog. The Beez old stompin’ ground, our ‘rehearsel room’. They’ll still spin a Beez tune if you ask them, only they will remind you thet we still have a bar tab to pay!!!! Great bar!

Rembrandt van Rijn or Vincent van Gogh =I guess Vincent, cause he was definitely a little bit Rock ‘n Rool. The Keith Moon of Impressionist Art

Powertool or Insanity Beach = Insanity beach!!! What an Album. The album we should have made after Screwed. No record company bullshit pullin on this one. out of all the albums, this is the one i still play the most. powertool is still a good album, but IB is the shit!!! All killer, one filler (to be honest, the ballad is kinda flakey)

Brothels or escort services = That’s our drummers department!

W.A.S.P. or Stryper = I saw both bands play, good bands, i just couldn’t hang with the gimmickThe Moon or Gin On The Rocks = The Moon, musically. Gin on the rocks, cause it was my first break in the business….we one the national battle of the bands in 1985.

Gouda or Edam =Any cheese, i luuuuv cheese. only when i’m singing, i have to leave the damn stuff on the plate!

8. Sleeze Beez toured with Skid Row back in the day. You must have some good stories!

Please tell us one.

The first show we ever did in the states was opening for the Skids in Detroit (at the Ritz, I believe) Our album wasn’t out yet, and no one in the audience had a clue who we were. The skids were top 5 with i’ll remeber you, so the whole tour was sold out. We went on stage did our 45 min set, blew the roof off the palce and left the audience screaming for more. Scott, skids manager comes bursting in our dressing room, we thought he was pissed off, and said something like,…: when i gave you guys the opening slot on the tour i wasn’t expecting Van Halen to open up..!

The rest of the tour we got a 35 min. set.

I remember the last show of the tour, you know, time to pull a prank on the opening band time…

During the first solo of the first song i would always run over to the guitar tech and grab my bottle of water and gulp it all down in one, cause the adreneline rush would dry me out completely. Needless to say, the skids had replaced it with Vodka! After drinking half of it, I realized what it was, I spat some out and went in search of WATER. I ran over to the guitarist stash and you guessed it, vodka……ALL the water on and off the stage had been exchanged for vodka…….we finished the set, and i was ready to party!

We got our own back on them, by jumping on stage during there encore………naked!

We partied hard after that show, I recall doing a bloody mary slammer competition with Snake, using vodka and louisiana hot sauce…wooooow! and even though i had a nice room at a really nice hotel, i did manage catch a few winks propped up against the wall of the hotel……outside. I think a homeless guy woke me up and I gave him what was left of the bottle i had with me…….

9. Sleeze Beez were supposed to reunite and play a festival in the USA not too long ago, but it fell through at the last minute. What happened with that?

We were ready to do it, but financially it wasn’t visable. We were promised an x amount of money, that would have covered our costs of flying out from Holland and hotels,and the promoter didn’t follow up. We never saw contracts or deposits, and on the whole thought it was a bit flakey. the only hard evidence of the festival was our name on their website. So we called it off. If we do something like that in the future, we need to know the organization is together.

 

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10. What do you remember most about writing or recording the following songs:

House Is On Fire =The first song I added some lyrics to. I joined the band while they were in the studio, so most of the stuff was written. i changed the last verse.

Stranger Than Paradise = The first time I heard this i knew we were going places

Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don’t = One of the last songs written, and i think the first i wco wrote with jan koster, the drummer and main guy beheingd the beez

When The Brains Go To The Balls = What a great track, especially live…..Like most of the songs, very clich?, tounge in cheek, not serious……..I’m still amazed at the way most journalists back then took the whole hairband thing so serious. All us bands AND fans were just havin’ a ball, and were the last people to look at it seriously!

Raise A Little Hell = First song written after the LA debacle, in New york City, at a small studio in the MCA publishing department. Me and Jan and a drum machine, i think the demo had at least 12 channels of backing vocals on it. People thought we’d end up doing the whole album there.

Watch That Video = A Jan Koster tune, that was based on Def Leppard, but a lot heavier. I didn’t dig it at first, but it grew on me. It’s a great arrangement.

What’s That Smell? = Wrote it in 5 minuites, recorderd it in 10. a balls to the wall tounge in cheek rocker!

Gun Culture =The whole Insanity Beach album was a break away from the clich? ridden 80’s rock. We wanted to do something that was the five of us at that time, not a follow up or carbon copy of what we’d done in the past. So i really started writing some lyrics with some substance, instead of party on type stuff. We’d evolved. We didn’t want to go ‘goatee’, we wanted what was coming out of us naturally at the time. It was the first album we wrote as a band. i think it’s the definitive Beez album, because thats what we were, and where we would have been going for a long time. The only problem was the timing of that album was 2 years too late. I’m so glad we made that album. Its timeless.Gun Culture was takin from an article in Time magazine about drive by shootings in Iowa as apposed to LA. We had a great riff, but i couln’t come up with a decent melody for the verses. It’s very stacatto. Out of frustration i just picked up the magazine and started reading passage out loud in between the riff. It was great., so i edited the text and read it out like a news reader

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Tell It To The Judge = A song about the hopeless situation a lot of kids are born into in the innner city slums of the states and south america.

The Long Goodbye = The only song i didn’t write (although i did change a few lines) Our bass player co wrote it with a buddy of his, and we didn’t ahve a ballad. I was convinced we didn’t need one, but our record company in holland, who had given us carte blanche on this album really liked the song and requested we put it on. Seeing as it was a request and not a demand, we put it on……..my least fave track, i’m not too keen on it

11. Sleeze Beez spent sometime in Hollywood during your stay on Atlantic. Tell us about coming from Holland to Hollywood and how did it affect you good, bad or indifferent?

Hollywood is the strip and that’s about it. It’s a cool place to hang for a week, after that, it’s boring and expensive. Nice weather though. Too many distractions, I found it very hard to get any work done. If the sun shines, i want to sit by the pool with a brewski…….In Hollywood thats 350 days a year!!!!

In holland it rains over half the year so, enough time to write and record. And if you wanna quick night on the town……who needs hollywood when you’ve got Amsterdam?!!

12. Of all the bands Sleeze Beez toured with, what bands were the coolest and who turned out to be total dicks to deal with?

Cool…..Pride and Glory, Skid Row

Dick….Freak of Nature, Mike Tramps band

13. Yes or No, has Andrew Elt ever:

Milked a cow = no

Grown a tulip garden = no

Had sex with two Swedish blondes at the same time = I wish

Worn a pair of wooden shoes = yeah man, even on stage once!

Stolen a bicycle = guilty

Been groped by a transvestite = If i was, I didn’t notice

Eaten horsemeat = yes, it tastes pretty good. pretty hard to catch, and unlike chickens not to easy to wring its neck.

Puked in the Amstel = I have puked after drinking Amstel.

Jacked off in a windmill = You sick person……

Stuck your finger in a dyke = again, if i did i was either drunk, trying to save the country or both!

14. What rock star deserves a big smack in the mouth and why?

I saw Don Dokken last year at a metal fest in the midwest, infront of a very lean audience (3-400) He went into this rap about ‘the hit ballad’ they had and that everyone in the audience must have got laid at least once while listening to the song. The crowd didn’t react and he got all pissed off. When the guitarist strted playing the lick, don dokken went over to hime and switched the toggle switch on his strat to another setting, aparrently the guitarist had it set to the wrong position. The kid played great buy the way, but , at that moment i think Don Dokken deserved the award

15. The lyric game. We write out a lyric and you tell us, what song and what band. (No cheating)

A. "I went to bed too late and got up to soon, my poor heads still spinning from too much booze."

BAND:
no idea

SONG: could’ve been one of ours back in 89….could’ve written that one last weekend!!!(Answer: Poison "Look What The Cat Dragged In")

B. "Under the sheets you will find me, I know that nothin’s for free."

BAND:
no idea

SONG:

(Answer: Ratt, "Lay It Down")

C. "There I was completely wasting, out of work & down all inside it’s so frustrating as I drift from town to town."

BAND
: I know that one, Judas Priest

SONG: Breaking the law

D. "Who cares about Weezer & the Screaming Trees, when we got White Lion and

of course the Sleeze Beez."

BAND:
I heard that song, it’s pretty cool, and an honour to be mentioned (although he could’ve stuck us next tyo a better vocalist!) Tuff!

SONG: Tribute to hairbands…..i don’t know the title(title: American Hairband)

16. Tell us how overrated The Darkness are?

Great band, i dig the riffs and songs, but….. what the hell is the singer doing!!??? Again the songs are pretty good, again, the singers ‘singing gimmick’ gives them instant success and attention, I doubt they will ever become a classic band.

17. The last of Andrew Elt:

Last movie you saw = Lord of the Rings – Return of the King……what an epic tale….luvvvved it

Last book you read = Stupid White Men – Michael moore……The US political situation is SERIOUSLY fucked up.

Last CD you purchased = Jet- Get Born and Danko Jones – We sweat Blood

two GREAT ‘new’ bands. Oh and i also got 38 Special, the A&M years……call me a redneck but Wild Eyed Southern Boys is still a great tune!

Last concert you watched from the crowd = Danko Jones december 2003 Effenaar, Eindhoven Holland

Last time someone asked you for your autograph = 2 weeks ago at an Action in DC concert…..or does signing for my second mortgage count!!??

Last time you passed out from drinking = Probably New Orleans after the Skid Row Tour

Last time you got stung by a bee = When i was a kid, bastard stung me on the knee after I knelt on him…oops!

Last time you were screwed, blued and tattooed = It still happens now and again…..but i still don’t have a tatttoo…….

Last time you performed in the USA = With the Beez in ’92, As a solo artist in 97, playin moon tunes and doing backup vocals with Walter Trout in June of 2003!

Last time you visited a red light district = probably 94, during the recording of Insanity beach


18. Who the fuck came up with your name anyway, and why not Horny Hornets instead?

jan koster is to blame for the name…….The horney hornets would’ve been our third choice after the yanking yellowjackets

19. Who do you blame more for killing your career, Jason Flom or Stone Temple Pilots?

None of the above. It’s just the way things go. if you play the game, you better be ready to pay the price. If you look at the R&R business as a pyramid, only one band is on top, the lower you go, the more bands there are. only a few bands can get up high and maintain their success.

We were late getting in the game. It took us three years to get Screwed…. on a major label (pardon the pun), we started touring in 1990, where most of the bands were already at it for at least 6 years. The time wasting in ’91put us in 1992, and a whole new generation of rockers were ready to move up the pyramid. Timing is everything, alas, you never know beforehand how the cards will be dealt.

I don’t blame anyone, it’s the way it went, looking back. Flom had no choice, STP were doing there thing. No regrets, we had a shot at the game, other bands that tried can only dream of. At least we got some way up the damn pyramid!!!

20. Time for Metal Sludge’s Word Association. We mention a name and you give us your thoughts.

Rick Allen = Really nice guy. Rick is a great drummer, and an inspiration for anyone who needs to overcome a tragedy like he had.

Nirvana = didn’t do it for me. I really didn’t dig it……The Foo Fighters aon the other had are awesome.

Snake Sabo = still can’t remember who one that bloody mary competition. Nice guy, good guitarist

Ron Bloom = I take the fifth.

Jan K. = Driven, Ruthless, Over the top. Brother

Jason Flom = puts the business into Rock ‘n Roll. Jason did a lot for us when we were at Atlantic. And for that, thanx. I really believe he wanted things to happen for us. But he’s a business man first and foremost. And the business changed in ’93. Coke was out and Pepsi was in. Taste changed

Axl Rose = Appetite… was so good. Saw the original line up at the Paradiso in 88…..killer!

After that, it was a circus. I saw the ‘new’ Guns at the MTV awards a few years ago……game over. Axl, do everyone a favour and call Slash, Duff, Izzy AND Adler and REALLY kick some ass.


Chris van Jaarsveld = One of the funniest guys I’ve ever met. talented artist. Self made man. He’ll kick YOUR ass. Brother

Gene Simmons = relentless buisnessman!!!

Angus Young = great frontman. Together with Malcom, the ultimate riff masters.

….can i go now….please…….

Cheers and all the best

Andrew Elt

Thanks Andrew! For more info on the Sleeze Beez, you can visit www.serge.org/sleezebeez

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