An Interview with 'Little Caesar's Frontman

Ron Young

that took place on 19th March, 2013.

Interview by Glenn Milligan

What influenced you all originally to become musicians and how did the band originally come to be?
I have always been entranced by the power of music. When I was a kid I saw people sing and it looked so liberating and expressive. When I moved to LA I wanted to form a band of musicians that appreciated the roots of RnR, R&b and Blues....and not have to look like a bunch of transvestites to do it.

You've probably been asked this a million times but what led you to call the band Little Caesar?
The band was named after the 30's gangster film with Edward G Robinson.

What do you remember about those 1st shows as a band and how did they go over to the audience?
We have always had great enthusiastic crowds. When we first formed, we had a lot of motorcycle riders come to our shows....and they tend to be an expressive lot.

How would you say you were different to many of the other bands at the time that were also trying to make it?
We were blues based, didn't try to look like women and put less emphasis on how we looked and more on how we sounded.

What songs have you been most proud of over the years and what influenced them?
Midtown is one of my faves on the first record. It has a lot of different musical influences going on and some great was written in the back of a tour bus on the way to record at Ardent Studios in Memphis if I remember right.

If you had the chance to go back to a certain point in the career of Little Caesar, which point would it be and why?
The day we signed with Geffen. I would have set the building on fire, blocked the driveway and chained the doors....with no one in it of course because I called in a bomb threat.

How would you say the LA scene has changed over the years since the original formation of Little Caesar?
There is no LA scene anymore. Dance music, weak music, expensive clubs and parking and a general apathy exists in LA that has killed any nurturing that
used to occur here.

How would you say you guys have changed as people since you originally got together?
I appreciate the value of real friends and family more. I appreciate the blessing of being able to make music with those people and the fact that we can still draw enough people to keep playing and making records.

What are your fave road stories that you can tell?
There is a story about a mother and daughter at the Spectrum in Philly that sends chills up my spine....all I will say is that the Mom was p*ss*d off that I wouldn't take her 13yr olds daughter virginity in a hotel room while she participated in the deflowering.....really creepy conversation....they wound up becoming a famous duo I hear.

What gets you guys revved up before a show?
Seeing a full room of people....

I first saw you guys play at The Key Club in November, 2012 - how was that show for you guys and what stood out?
I was the Production Manager at the Key Club for almost 8 years. I remember being up there and recounting sooo many shows and crazy events on that stage....and I was grateful that rather than facilitating some other artists performance, this time it was my show.

How were the UK shows for you last December and what were the highlights and for what reasons?
UK shows were great. The best thing for me is to have a long stream of fans line up for autographs and finding out that some of them had never heard of us until that show at HRH. It's always a great compliment to have that happen after all these years.

What are your favourite parts of your show and why do they stand out to you?
The best part of any show for me is when I look over and get a smile from my band means they are having as much fun as I am.

What do you both like and dislike about touring and why?
The dislikes: Long drives, sh*tty food, sh*tty hotels, slinging gear, Crappy PA systems, drinking too much water the night before and having to have the van pull over and get shit from the driver. The Likes: playing a long set in front of great crowd who appreciates our music.

What tours stand out to you over the years and why?
The KISS tour was a rolling circus of pomposity and dysfunction with an old married couple that wears make up as the ring leaders. I learned a lot on how not to behave as a musician and a human being.


What countries have had the biggest effect on you that you have visited and/or toured in and what was it about them?
I love them all because of the learning experience of new culture. Japan was a weird and wonderful place with fans that behave like no other....very restrained and proper....passionate to the point of knowing every detail of the band and the music...but very restrained in showing their exuberance.

Who have been the coolest and not so cool artists to gig alongside with and for what reasons?
I once did a few shows with Stevie Ray Vaughan before he was discovered. He was one of the nicest, generous unbelievably talented players and performers I have ever seen in my life.

KISS tossed of their tour when ticket sales plummeted do to Winger dropping off the bill. To kick us off they said we weren't going over well with their crowd. All the reviews of those shows said we were the best band on the bill...but rather than admit they weren't selling enough tickets, they blamed it on us...Gene called our Manager Jimmy Iovine and said "they are going over like pork chops at a Bar Mitzvah"....pretty funny actually...then Jimmy read the reviews from all the papers and got p*ss*d at him.

Why did you decide to call the latest album, 'American Dream'?
I saw how this Country is changing and how we as a people are changing in response...not a pretty sight. The dream is truning into more of a delusion.

What were the standout points of recording the album 'American Dream' and why?
Mostly how quickly we recorded and mixed it. We got on a fast roll....the way a real record should be made. Be prepared, throw up mics, get great sounds, play like you mean it, mix so you can hear everything, don't over analyze it, go get lunch.

How long did it take to record the album, where was it recorded and why was Bruce Witkin chosen for the job?
22 days....some weren't even full days. Bruce was chosen because he's an incredible player, writer, engineer, arranger, mixer....and a really nice guy that likes our music....what more could you ask for?

So was it total coincidence that you have a song on the album called 'Hard Rock Hell' and then ended up playing the song in the UK at that exact festival - how did that go over on the day?
We wrote that song when we were supposed to play it the year before and Fidel got a really bad flu 2 days before we were to leave. We had to cancel...the song isn't about the festival...but we always joked about the title kinda described our career.

How did you get to know (ex-Goo Goo Doll) Dave Shultz and what made you choose him to master the album?
It's a different Dave Shultz that mastered the album. "Our" Dave is an old school Masterer that remembers mastering he has a bit of a legacy to pull from when he mastered.

What songs on the album are you most proud of writing and why and what influenced them?
I love them all...they are like your children. I do love the swankiness of 'Prisoner Of Love' and the tenderness of 'Only A Memory Away'.

Who is their 'Own Worst Enemy' and what and who influenced 'Drama Queen'?

We are all usually our own worst enemy...and Drama Queen was written for the multitude of women in LA that don't own any of their sh*t and then complain about everything in life incessantly.

What is the story behind 'Only A Memory Away'?
I was just feeling melancholy and Joey wrote this great chord progression. I had many people in my life losing people and animals that they cherished and wanted to find a way to comfort I put the concept to paper that everyone and thing you have ever experienced is always with you.

What made you decide to put the mono sound and the crackles on 'Dirty Water' and what influenced the song?
Fidel had written a great old school blues riff and it got me to thinking about all the great drinking songs from the Honky Tonk genre. We all thought the crackles and mono would harken back to the original recordings of the blues and country blues genre.

What would be the perfect 'American Dream' for you and how could this be incorporated in your opinion?
That everyone has a truly good shot to find a job that provides for them. For everyone to live there lives without worrying about how they could pay for their care if they got sick.

What would you say are the main ingredients to the longevity of a band?
Everyone that creatively collaborates needs to be able to respect each others ideas and who they are as individuals. Everyone needs to care for each other as the paramount reason...way before fame or spotlight. Everyone needs to know what to sweat and what to let go of.

What are the bands plans for the rest of 2013?
We have a tour of Europe coming up at the end of May culminating with an appearance at a very large festival.

If you could feature any particular artist on a forthcoming song or during a concert who would you want it to be and why?
We just had Chris Buck get up and play guitar with us at the Hard Rock Hell Festival. He was GREAT and would love to do it again.

What do you enjoy doing when away from music?
I build custom cars and motorcycles and I have a lot of animals that I take care of at my house. 2 Horse, 2 Mini Donkeys, 2 Pot Belly Pigs, 4 Dogs and 60 Koi.

What else would you like to talk about that I haven't mentioned?
Nothing I can think hurts my head to think.

What would you like to say to fans who have read the Interview?
Just how much we appreciate taking time out to read about us, listen to our music, share it with their friends, play it in their car, drive out to see a show. Music is nothing if it falls on no ones thank you!

Big Thanks to you also, Mr. Young