An Interview with
'Johnny Rod (Bassist) & Stet Howland (Drummer)'
both formerly of WASP that took place in Cape Coral, Florida,
USA on Sunday 3rd April, 2016.
Interviewed By Glenn Milligan.
Glenn: So how did you guys originally meet?
Johnny: At the Holiday Inn, in Chelsea, London.
Stet: That’s right.
Johnny: He called me over to do the videos for ‘The Idol’ and ‘Hold On To My Heart’.
Stet: We met to do the videos before we even played live.
Johnny: He (Stet) comes walking in and (to Stet), you were wasted. I was sitting there and I look up and go ‘Hey!’.
Stet: That’s right man. I heard he was preceded by the legend of Johnny Rod. Blackie (Lawless) used to talk about what a great musician Johnny is. Seriously, a wild man yes but I can honestly say, (to Johnny) you are the most talented guy that’s ever been in the band.
Johnny: I play what I love to play man! I learn songs real fast. I pick up sh*t in a second. I think that’s why he thinks I’m great. I have great musicians I told him that. They think it’s so good they never know the difference – hahaha!
Stet: I have the same ability, no necessarily as quick but quite quick. Yeah, we talked about that because I learn pretty fast myself. Blackie said, “For f*ck*in’ Johnny, he goes to do a song twice and knows the damn thing!”. I have got to work on it!
Johnny: Actually we were doing a video and when you film videos, you play, but you’re playing along to a track. So it doesn’t matter where you hit or miss something. It doesn’t matter because it’s lip-sync.
Stet: So we pretended real good together.
Johnny: We fake it so well you’d never know the difference. But if you watch those videos, it looked like we’d been doing it forever. Even in the very first moment we were together. There’s a bond in the rhythm section. The rhythm section is a bond like that and if it’s there it’s there. Like today, 24 years later..
Stet: We played incredible.
Johnny: ...we played the other day, the first time together and I didn’t even turn around and look when I was playing. He was there and I feel it. The feel is there and it’s between the people and it’s unspoken.
Stet: It’s so weird to experience that though. People talk about it all the time but re-experiencing it, just you come in and after not playing for 24 years and joining my band which I think is f*ck*ng great, those guys are awesome. We talked about you coming in and possibly doing this for years. I mean, I used to talk of you like in legend.
Johnny: Where the hell was I? Why didn’t you call me man? (laughs)
Glenn: Yeah, Stet’s been saying through the time I’ve hung out with him that he needs to call Johnny and now all these years on it’s actually happened!
Stet: Yeah, I’ve been talking about it for years and years and years.
Johnny: You know what? I guess it wasn’t the right time because timing is everything.
Stet: I’ve got to say, Johnny coming in, rehearsing was beautiful. I mean it was just beautiful. It was so professional and enjoyable and we only ran the songs a handful of times. We had a couple of rehearsals and there’s the natural energy. It’s tight but it’s still raw. I figured if we do shows it just gets tighter and tighter and tighter and we become more like each other and before we know it we are like a glove. We don’t need to rehearse a ton more and learn some more songs maybe but just standing on the stage with him and seeing the pictures from last night. I can see the electricity was in the air and I can see the audiences reaction and I was like, ‘This is great!’.
Johnny: Well the two guitar players, the singer, Timmy Johnston and Johnny Hyatt – those guys are fantastic musicians. Timmy is a great songwriter and great singer. That’s what sold it for me when Stet called me and told me about the band. I was excited but when he sent the music to me I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know what it was going to be. This is the truth – from the very first moment I listened to it, I was amazed how good the music is and the songs. That’s what sold me because they sound like today’s music.
It doesn’t sound like we are trying to be Stet and John from 1990 – the songs are like ‘now’ and the songs will sell. It’s one thing for me and him to be in a band because we’ve got the killer rhythm section but I love the guitar player like me and you behind me. When you’ve got that, that’s the solid foundation of rock bands – the drums and the bass. The projects got f*ck*n’ balls! Sh*t – you can do anything if you got it tight and we’re like a f*ck*n’ machine man!
Stet: We are!
Johnny: Me and Stet – we sound like a f*ck*n’ machine.
Stet: I’ve got to say, you and me, we bonded instantly and I’ve also got to say, Hey, when I’m not playing with him he’s playing with amazing drummers that I love – Frankie Banali, Carmine Appice. I mean, I love those guys, they are f*ck*n’ awesome drummers. They are legendary drummers and so he’s in good company when we’re not playing together!
Johnny: I’m meaning to put this thing together and come over to England. We know this band would kick f*ck*n’ ass! They’d love it over there.
Stet: The UK rocks man!
Johnny: I know this! Don’t get me wrong, the United States is a great cooking pot, I tell you man – seriously. Being in both places, the people over in Europe are and the UK, they are loyal fans – they are fans for life!
Glenn: There’s no phase. Once you are into that band – that’s it, you are into that band forever!
Johnny: That’s it, that’s it – forever! I have so many fans on facebook. So many fans from the UK, from Wales – all over. They send me messages asking, “When are you coming to the UK?”, “When are you coming to the UK?” I say, “When you give me some Kronenberg Strong Ale!” (We laugh). No, I’d love to come because with those people, there’s hardcore rock fans and they’re with us for life.
I mean, I love the United States, come on, I was born here but they are spoiled here. I can’t take that (does a parody of some current lame sounding US pop song). There’s a bond there between me and Stet that started way back then right off. You see a true bond whether they be musical or what it is, if it’s there it will never change. If it’s real it will never change.
Stet: I mean, I ain’t seen this guy in 24 years and yesterday we were at the gig and we find ourselves non-gayly, both laying on the back of my king bed, just laying there talking on the bed like girlfriends do.
Johnny: Right! (We laugh)
Stet: It’s a thing you do when you’re on the road and sometimes you just lay down anywhere. “Hey, how you doing?”, “I’m exhausted”, “Me too”, and we just… you’re paralysed but you’re in the same boat together. It’s cool to be good friends with people like that and have it not be weird.
Johnny: Well what I want to do is record these songs and take 10,000 Views out and do it. Then get a record deal or whatever. We need to get it going and come and do shows.
Stet: Well I was just hoping that you would like the band as much as I thought and I was hoping that everyone would click like you did and it’s great. To me, me and Johnny are unbelievable human beings and unbelievable musicians and singers.
Johnny: Yeah. That’s what I said onstage last night and told the people. I said I don’t want people to think this is ‘The Stet Howland & Johnny Rod Show’ just because of what we did in the past and that’s fine. It’s a promotional tool if you want but when it comes with band, it’s not ‘The Johnny Rod Show’, ‘It’s not ‘The Stet Howland Show’, it’s '10,000 Views'.
Stet: It’s absolutely a band and that’s right.
Johnny: It’s true. We’re a band. We’re not lying back on the fact that he was in WASP and I was in WASP. This is a brand new thing.
Stet: But we’re happy to put a side-blade on the advertising to bring people in. (Laughs).
Johnny: And you know what, we will play some WASP songs because we know that people will want to hear it. We were half of the two favourite versions of WASP right?
Stet: I think so.
Johnny: So we’ll do ‘em. I still love them. Like ‘F*ck Like A Beast’ – Blackie won’t play it no more. I will.
Stet: I think Johnny can sing that song. I wanna hear that!
Johnny: ‘I Wanna Be Somebody’, ‘Love Machine’; ‘Wild Child’ - let’s do those songs because people wanna hear them. I have no problem. You’ve got to play what the fans want. The guys will say, ‘Will you play any WASP?” That was part of it.
Stet: We have very strong original music.
Johnny: The original music will sell 10,000 Views because that’s f*ck*n’ kick ass!
Stet: The show is visually fun. I’m confident to say it’s fun to watch. There’s sh*t going on. There’s camaraderie on the stage and there’s comedy and brotherhood and everybody’s working and f*ck*ng sweating. It’s not a mellow show.
Johnny: It’s not.
Stet: It’s a Rock ‘N’ Roll Show! And boy, what a great time last night!
Johnny: Getting old is inevitable, growing up is an option.
Glenn: Here’s a question for you! Now ‘Blind In Texas’ is already in the 10,000 Views show but why did you decide to choose ‘Love Machine’ over all the other WASP songs last night at Englewood?
Stet: It’s my favourite song.
Glenn: Right. There you go.
Stet: ‘Love Machine’ & ‘Back In Black’ are my two favourite songs. I know it’s ridiculous. I just love ‘Love Machine’. That’s one of the things I missed most about not being in WASP, it’s playing that f*ck*n’ song so we play it in my band – F*ck It! I’m like, “No-one can sing it like Blackie”, so I practise and practise and practise and I do okay with it.
Johnny: It means you allow me in and we both sing it.
Stet: I know. Back in the day I wouldn’t even think about it until I practised for a while.
Johnny: My favourite song is ‘Animal (F*ck Like A Beast)’.
Stet: I can’t wait to hear you sing that.
Johnny: It’s the title man! It’s just the song – it’s so out there! It’s so extreme – it’s the whole ideal of the song. That’s what I love about it. It’s so far out there! People go, “What the hell?” (Laughs)
Glenn: When you were onstage last night what things are going through your mind from the present, past and future?
Stet: For me, to be honest with you, I was like, ‘Holy Sh*t – the energy of me and him together and the band to mind was sucking that audience in just like we ever did’. It’s like ‘Wow – it’s just like it ever was’. You’ve just got to have the right personnel and you’ve got to try harder. I was just like ‘Wow!’ There’s this electricity with having him in the band. It makes me feel young again. That’s what I was thinking.
Johnny: I felt like a little kid. The thing is, when I’m up there, what’s going through my mind mostly… I know what you’re saying about past but I don’t analyse the moment, I just live in the moment right? I know there’s people out there and I try to project into people and it sucks them in and they suck me in too. You see in my mind, I’m not only a musician up on stage doing that but I’m also a fan out in the crowd. Even though I’m onstage I’m still a fan. So I’m trying to give them every part of that one. I’m trying to give them every part of me and sell to the people. So they feel it what I’m doing…
Stet: Oh they do!
Johnny: …because when I’m on stage I am like a little kid in the playground and bouncing around!
Stet: Whatever it is Johnny I do it, I see you doing it and whatever it is, I do that thing too and all of a sudden there’s an energy coming off the stage. It’s like attraction.
Johnny: I know. I couldn’t get to you because all those cymbals around you man. It was too close.
Glenn: I’ve not seen Stet enjoy himself so much on stage for so long. Sometimes it can be a façade up there but what I see between guys and what you’ve got going there it was just like ‘Wow!’
Stet: I was pretty happy.
Glenn: When you came back out after the show as well I could see it. It’s such a close brotherhood!
Stet: We’ve done amazing things together. Some of the most amazing things I’ve done in my life I’ve done with him.
Johnny: In my mind it’s called a 'familiar spirit'. You might not even know that person but there could be a familiar spirit within that person. I believe in those kinds of things and that’s what’s here. It’s never going to change. Even in 20 years.
Stet: Even to rekindle it, it feels so good. It makes you know that you’re still a man.
Johnny: Just to do this again. I mean, how many chances do you get in our live to do something that we love as much as we love it or get to do it again? Think about it. Or any person, not just us but it’s a wonderful thing. People look at us and they have a good time because of us. They have a great time and enjoy themselves because of what you’re doing. That’s all it’s about for me man!
The fans! I’m a fan! I’ve always remained a fan. I’m still a fan. I’ll be out there in the crowd, you hear me play, drinking a beer and that’s the crazy man you’ve got here. When I’m out there I’m a fan but up on stage I am this guy. When I’m on the stage I’m a Rock Star - 'Johnny Rod' and when I’m not and I’m in the crowd I’m a fan. All things to all people!
Glenn: I’ve seen you up there and you hardly kept still. How the f*ck do you keep that momentum?
Johnny: I don’t know. It’s just in you. For me, I’ve said it a million times, it’s 10% physical, 90% mental because I was a nut. That was natural. It was all straight. After the show’s a different story. You don’t want to see me after the show (laughs). That’s how I roll because to me it’s boring to just stand there. I’m like a little kid on a playground!
It’s like Kerrang Magazine. When Kerrang Magazine wrote and interview about me back in ’89, the guy said, “Johnny Rod looks like a reject from The Muppet Show House Band with a smile on his face like he can’t believe he’s in a band this big” right when I was in WASP and we did Hammersmith. A guy came up and asked me, “Did that make you mad?”, I said, “ Oh no, he’s right”.
Glenn: I’ve got that gig on tape.
Johnny: Yeah. I said, “Well think about it, he’s right!”. I bounce around like a f*ck*n’ reject from 'The Muppet Show' and I smile because I’m having such a great time. I said, “The guy got it perfect”. Why would it make me mad?
Glenn: I remember Tommy Vance after playing the gig on The Friday Rock Show saying, “I was there that night and my ears are still ringing!”
Johnny: I’d say that was true. That’s what I’m saying. It’s like a little child. I get to be a little kid. The energy. I can’t stop until I’m done. I’ve got to give 100,000% because those people paid money to see it and I want to show them something they don’t normally see. That’s where a lot of music and a lot of bands have lost that. They have lost that in translation over the years. They go up there and play and just kind of stink. To me it’s like an event.
When I go see somebody, like when I went to see Genesis.. they’d got something.. to look at something.. they did something you didn’t see everyday. Most of the time you go and see these bands and they look like they just got up, came out of their garage and put on their guitars and stood there and played. I want to give, I want to do something, I want us to have that energy that they don’t get no more. Make it special so when they go away they go, “Damn, those guys were kickin’ f*ck*n’ ass!”
Glenn: It’s like seeing Mick Jagger on stage!
Johnny: Yeah! Look at him. He’s 71/72. He kills it man! Just look at Keith Richards! That’s why Keith cannot be killed by conventional weapons. (We laugh). I’m looking forward to putting this together with Stet and we are going to record a CD, get a deal, go out and do shows.
Glenn: Sounds good.
Johnny: Looking forward to it.
Stet: I’m totally stoked. I knew it would work.
Johnny: Oh I did. I knew when I first heard it. I knew it would work. It would always work playing music with you (to Stet) but the band 10,000 Views I knew it would work.
Stet: Well with those guys.. I’ve had a lot of bands but those guys, you just couldn’t beg for better guys.
Johnny: I knew you wouldn’t be playing with just anybody.
Stet: I know. But isn’t it shocking with how good they really are. I’ve worked with them for years and we just never have stupid fights and all that bullsh*t we’re just bros. Glenn you’ve been around us.
Glenn: Oh yeah, it sounds great. If Blackie was in the audience last night, what do you think he’d have thought to what he would have seen?
Johnny: I wouldn’t have been any different. I’d have done exactly what I did.
Stet: You know, I’ve got to give him credit for appreciating good music.
Johnny: He’s a great songwriter.
Stet: The guy, he would probably overlook the fact that me and Johnny were there and have to agree that 10,000 Views music is awesome. What would he think of us doing WASP songs? I think we did them fine. I don’t think we did them any injustice. I think we do a good job. I mean, no-ones as good as Blackie. The guys one of the best f*ck*n….
Johnny: No he’s a fantastic frontman.
Stet: …one of the best singers ever.
Johnny: A great frontman/singer. He is - he’s f*ck*n’ great. I sang with him on MTV Live in Muen. We had acoustic guitars and that was live. That was no nothing. That was two acoustic guitars and two guys and we harmonised like The Beatles. It was really was homage to me.
Stet: It’s really good.
Johnny: We sang well. If he’d have been in the audience I’d have done no different. But we do no effects and got the whole audience singing last night and I had them all singing too.
Stet: You did. It was great.
Johnny: What was interesting is that we were in voice.
Stet: Just having you there. I mean, it’s great man. I love this. Having you there and talking to the audience with you and stuff was so… because I usually talk to the audience a lot but having you there and chairing booties was so cool. I love this!
Johnny: The stories between us!
Stet: I know.
Johnny: We play off each other.
Stet: But I enjoyed it.
Glenn: I was stood there thinking, ‘Holy F*ck*n’ Sh*t – this is half of WASP up there on stage’.
Johnny: And my two favourite versions of WASP!
Stet: Yeah, we’re a good half!
Glenn: I had this stupid thought last night thinking which half of WASP is this? Is it the WA bit or the SP bit. (We all laugh)
Johnny: That’s a good one Glenn. That’s a good one! Cool!
Stet: People don’t really realise that anybody that does time in WASP is to be respected because you’ve got to be on your toes. Blackie is a perfectionist and it’s a very professional organisation. I respect anyone.
Johnny: It’s funny how you say that man because that sh*t was as professional as hell.
Stet: I like that kid Mike (Dupke) that just played drums for WASP. I only met him once but yeah! The last drummer for WASP was a good f*ckin’ guy and he gave good service to Blackie. Anyone that does time in WASP, you have to have your sh*t together. It’s kind of like being in college or School. It’s weird. It’s a thing that you’ve got to go through. Only Blackie can do it for life. You can’t do it for life. It’s too consuming.
Glenn: He thinks he’s WASP but he’s not WASP. He’s just that frontman that writes the stuff but he’s not completely WASP.
Stet: If any one person was WASP it would be Chris Holmes. I mean, the band was built around Chris Holmes.
Johnny: If I had to pick one person, I agree with you man totally.
Stet: That’s our opinion.
Johnny: He was the sound. He was the whole sound. His guitar!
Stet: He is such an icon in his way and such a unique way of playing and I can tell when it’s him. His leads – he may not be Yngwie (Malmsteen) but his f*ck*n’ leads are signature. His sound is signature and his sound is signature and his feel is signature and he is just an awesome presence on stage.
Johnny: I know and off-stage too. (Laughs)
Stet: Holmes actually sat in with 10,000 Views and it went great and everybody got along good so you never know. Down the road they could make me have him come in and…
Johnny: Sit in with us.
Stet: Do a show. Now you’ve got 3/4 .
Johnny: I love it man. We should really do that!
Stet: Timmy and Johnny love him!
Glenn: You can’t not love Chris!
Johnny: Yeah, I used to share a room with him. He used to fall on top of me and said, “I love you man!” Hahaha – I didn’t care.
Stet: He’s a good man though. He really is. He loved my dog Elvis.
Glenn: Anyway, is there anything else you’d like to add before we take it all to a close?
Johnny: Oh man, I just can’t wait and come out and do 10,000 Views and go to England or wherever. I really want to do it.
Stet: I’m excited about it. It makes me feel young. I feel good today. I rocked all I had last night, snapped a few sticks.
Johnny: I feel fine although my throats a little jammed but it’s like this every time. If we had to play tonight, it’d be there.
Glenn: Well the humidity down here in Florida is strong.
Johnny: I live in Vegas so it’s dry. There’s no humidity out there.
Stet: I would say, ‘Everybody look out because we’re gonna do some shows and we’re gonna do some stuff’. You’re gonna see 10,000 Views out there with Johnny Rod in there.
Johnny: Alright man. Fun!
Glenn: That’s great!
Johnny: Thank you man.
Live Concert Photos taken @ Englewood Event Center, Englewood, Florida, USA on April 2nd, 2016 By Glenn Milligan
Big thanks go to Jamie Beverly, Lisa Clay (Photo w/Johnny & Stet), Joe 'Bear' Devito
and of course the guys themselves Stet Howland & Johnny Rod!