Metal Sludge

Metal Sludge

PARADISE LOST Paradise was among the biggest glam acts on the Sunset Strip during the post-Poison boom. Here is an exclusive with Paradise founding singer Adam Gifford, who is not afraid to sling some sludge after all these years




Paradise was among the biggest glam acts on the Sunset Strip during the post-Poison boom, and the band is joining forces with similarly popular The Wild on Saturday at the Viper Room. Here is an exclusive with Paradise founding singer Adam Gifford, who is not afraid to sling some sludge after all these years. Part two with The Wild’s Johnny X is coming soon.
By Gerry Gittelson
Metal Sludge Editor at Large

HOLLYWOOD — Paradise and The Wild were two of the best bands from back in the day that never quite made it big despite dominating on the Sunset Strip, and both are making a special comeback on Saturday, Nov. 22 at the Viper Room in a benefit concert for Rough Justice and its fallen singer Randy Vandall, who committed suicide.

Neither Paradise nor The Wild have performed in a very long time, but they left a lot of fans behind, so this pairing should prove to be a special event.
In part one of this Metal Sludge exclusive, we catch up with Paradise singer Adam Gifford, and part two will feature The Wild singer Johnny X; both are very excited about making one last foray for all their aging followers.

Gifford, the curly-haired ex-heart throb, once ruled Hollywood thanks to an exciting live show, great songs and a killer image that saw lots of young girls craving his body like hungry little kittens. He is still in great shape, and it should prove intriguing to see if Gifford can still jump off the drum riser and perform midair splits like prime-era David Lee Roth.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane – nope, it’s Adam Gifford flirting with the ceiling at Gazzarri’s

METAL SLUDGE: Hey Adam Gifford, it’s great to touch base again. We’ve known each other a long time.

ADAM GIFFORD: Yeah, I was just going through some long-lost video from the old Country Club (in Reseda, north of Los Angeles), and you’re on stage, Gerry G-Spot introducing the band.

SLUDGE: Really?

Yeah, they had just banned alcohol there cause the Country Club had lost their liquor license or whatever, so I remember wondering if we were going to draw that night, but the place was fuckin’ packed even though there was no booze allowed.

Paradise_Quote_1_2014SLUDGE: Yeah, I remember they did a juice bar. It was horrible.

I know. How un-rock and roll.

SLUDGE: You headlined a G-Spot Jam once at the Whisky and it was the biggest crowd I ever had. Sorry I never paid you.

That’s OK. Thank you anyway.

SLUDGE: Paradise was very popular, Adam. What do you think people liked most about the band?

Well, I had actually met my guitar player, Matt Shumway, in 1984, and we practiced and wrote for a long time, like three or four years, before we actually started playing, so we didn’t just come out as a bunch of guys with long hair that just looked cool.

SLUDGE: And I remember there was another band called Pair-a-Dice, with the same name, and you guys were always fighting about the name.

Well, when we were first started talking about names, Matt suggested Paradise. I thought it was too commercial, like Journey, and we were heavier than that, more like Dokken. But we talked about it, and we thought that Paradise live at the Forum sounded cool, like Bon Jovi live at the Forum or Def Leppard live at the Forum, so we went with it. The funny thing was, and I swear this is true, we were like, “Just watch, some other band is going to come out and call themselves Pair-a-Dice with two dice as the logo,” and we laughed our asses off, but six months later just before our first show at the Troubadour, I’m passing out flyers in front of Gazzarri’s, and sure enough, I exchange flyers with Nick Masella from Pair-a-Dice, that piece of shit – fuck him – and we looked at each other and realized it was war.

When they broke up, I felt vindicated. I once almost knocked out their drummer, Daz Bash. One of them, Nick or Daz, they tried to fuck my girlfriend. I don’t like them, neither of them, those fuckin’ cocksuckers. But Paul Lancia and Billy D’Vette, I was always cool with those guys and later with Dave Marshall. But Casella especially, he’s a racist, and he can suck my dick. I’m half black and half white, and there was a lot of racism.

SLUDGE: Did you ever get into any fights?

No, never got in a fight, and that’s probably because I worked out so much. I worked my butt off to get buff, so the other guys would always back down. You know the way the scene was back then, a lot of heroin and coke, but not me. I worked out four times a week, and when I was threatened, my New York side would come out, and they would run. One time, I almost got jumped by like seven thrash-metal dudes behind Bank of America. I had ducked behind there to smoke a bowl, and I had my flyers, and all of sudden seven dudes popped up and were like, “You glam fag. Fuck you.” I pulled my jacket off, and I was ripped, and they literally ran all the way out of the parking lot. I had my white booties on and my pink lipstick, and I was like, “I’ll beat your ass.”

SLUDGE: This is great stuff. Do you remember Lita Alpenia, the Miss Gazzarri winner? You wrote that song “Love Machine” about her.

I do. I voted for her No. 1 at a lot at those Miss Gazzarri dance contests.

SLUDGE: Do you miss her?

No, no. We were never in a relationship. I didn’t even know her that well, but she was a great fuck, a great sexual experience I should say.
Paradise_1987_Lineup_(Robbie_Crane_on_Bass)Paradise line-up 1987 featured Robbie Crane (far left)
Paradise line-up 1989 with Danny Wilder (far right) RIP

SLUDGE: So what exactly happened with Paradise? I was surprised you never signed a big record deal.

Here’s what happened: We actually turned down deals starting in 1988 through 1991, on the advice of this high-powered music attorney we had. Eventually, we did a smaller deal with German label, and Jay Baumgardner, who is now famous, he was our producer. He had done the demos for Love/Hate and a few others that had gotten deals. The record companies and the contracts, we just thought everyone was too demanding, and we didn’t want to turn into SouthGang, being forced to change our name (from Byte The Bullet) and having songwriters brought in to change our whole sound. Because that way, all of sudden it’s art by committee with a manager and an agent and a producer and a publicist and a promo guy all telling you what to do, and that’s just an impossible nightmare, and we didn’t want to get raped like that.

In 1989, we had a really big summer, sold out the Country Club 1,000 people, and we were still glam. We had a big manager who set up a showcase for us, and everyone said we had to change everything about ourselves, so we went with all new songs and black leather. Our pink riser was painted black, my white boots were painted black, and there was no 0020hairspray, no lip gloss, and we got rid of the all the choreography. The labels said we could do one album for a $275,000 deal, but we had to change if we wanted to do three albums with our option, not their option, with a $500,000 advance. We wanted to play with the big boys like Warrant and Love/Hate, not like Bang Tango. I was worried the fans would leave in droves because they said we can’t just draw chicks and that we need to draw guys, too, so we changed, and we actually got bigger and bigger.

Paradise_Do_Or_Die_Debut_cd_1992_European_releaseSLUDGE: Interesting.

Then they said we had to get rid of our drummer, Nick Elliott, because he couldn’t play to a click track, but he was really popular with the fans, but they ganged up on us. There were just all kinds of politics, and it got really complicated and corporate, so we turned down like dozens of deals and ended up taking this shitty German deal.

SLUDGE: Do you regret it?

Yes, I do. My guitar player, he wrote the music and I wrote the lyrics and melodies. He had some trust-fund money, and he did the financing that helped build us up for two years. Eventually, we split up and I formed another band, Lovechild. We got a deal in 1994, and the label went bankrupt. By then, the scene had changed significantly. I started up again 1999, got an investor, then 911 happened, and everyone reneged on everything.

SLUDGE: I guess the stars have never aligned for you.

I actually got another deal going when I turned 40, started getting things going in L.A., and my partner developed a really bad drug habit, and that ran the band into the ground. That’s what got me ready to bring Paradise back.

SLUDGE: You’re the only original left.

Yeah, but I have some good people. I have Jayson Won on drums, and Phil Deckard from Cry Wolf on bass and Jay Gore, who’ve I’ve known since high school, on guitar.

Paradise_1988_Roxy_Headliner_Glam_Choreography           Paradise perfecting their choreographed stage show at the Country Club in Reseda

SLUDGE: What ever happened to Matt Shumway?

He quit and burned everything, he said. He had some masters and some pics and videos that were irreplaceable, so that hurt. He got married and signed off on everything that has to do with Paradise and gave it all to me. He said, “You own 100 percent.” I’ve done a lot of acting in movies and a lot of voiceover work over the past two years (see demo reel from youtube below), but I want to give it one more shot. Me and Johnny X from The Wild, we’re two middle-aged guys that still look good, so we thought maybe we’d give it a shot for the final era of the Sunset Strip. We’re looking forward to it.

Paradise @ Facebook

For info on the Paradise and The Wild show Saturday November 22nd 2014, go HERE




Gerry Gittelson can be reached at

Metal Sludge
Sunset Sludge




Metal Sludge is not responsible for offensive comments. That said, you have no right to free speech on this site. This is our site, and we are not the United States government. We reserve the right to edit all comments, and to moderate all comment threads, as we see fit. Happy Sludging!