Interview with The Last Vegas bass player Danny Smash. The Last Vegas are an excellent rock band from Chicago probably best known for their 2009 album "Whatever Gets You Off" , the single "I'm Bad" and their association with Nikki Sixx. They've a new album called "Bad Decisions" out later this year



NI ROCKS - Alright Danny, thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions for Rock Radio NI. I have to admit that I’ve only really discovered The Last Vegas within the last year or so, which is a pretty serious omission really, but your first recording was back in 2005 when you won some studio time in a competition before Chad even joined the band. I notice a lot of the early tour dates were in Europe. How did a band from Chicago end up over in Europe?

Danny : My pleasure.

Hey, it is better to discover The Last Vegas later, than not at all!

We took a plane…. Just kidding, you know it is actually not terribly hard to get over to Europe for American bands. It seems a lot of countries dig American entertainment on your side of the pond. Of course, it still takes a lot of hard work and paying the dues. There are a lot of good American bands who don’t get any attention in the States, so they turn to international markets where they are appreciated. Europeans seem to understand art and entertainment more than most Americans. We settle for a lot garbage over here!


NI ROCKS - You obviously have a big following in Europe, having completed another 12 dates in Spain as recently as February, yet just the one gig in the UK way back in 2006. Have you any plans to return to the UK or Ireland any time soon? I for one would love to see you play here in Belfast!

Danny : Yeah its been kind of a travesty that we haven’t toured the UK more, but our new label and management are working hard to soon reconcile that situation. It would be such a great experience to play in the UK, there are so many bands from that area that we worship. I believe I have some relatives in Northern Ireland that I’ve never met. I wonder if they like rock music??? Haha


NI ROCKS - The big break for The Last Vegas came in 2009 with the tour of North America with Motley Crue and the release of the album “Whatever Gets You Off”. How did you manage to land the tour with Crue and end up with Nikki Sixx working on that album?

Danny : We got discovered by Nikki who is also the VP of Eleven Seven Records at the famous Whiskey A Go Go in Hollywood. I guess he dug our look and our setup, so he signed us to the label and put us on the “Saints of Los Angeles Tour”. It was the big bird pushing the little bird out of the nest for it’s first flight.

Nikki, DJ Ashba, and Marti Fredrikkson produced the album and also co-wrote a few of the songs. It was a once in a life time experience to work with a guy you worshipped growing up. I used lay in bed and stare at the Shout at the Devil album dreaming of having a band just like Motley. Then years later Nikki Sixx is my boss and he’s co-writing some of our songs. Life is a crazy thing sometimes!


NI ROCKS - I read that “Whatever Gets You Off” ended up as one of the top 15 albums on iTunes and the single “I’m Bad” was rock single of the year on iTunes. A top 15 album is impressive for any rock band – even more so when it’s your first release on a major label. How did that feel?

Danny : To get recognized by iTunes, your peers, the press, and of course the fans is always a great feeling. itunes is such a huge part of the music industry now, so to receive an accolade by them is such an honor. And this is coming from a guy who has never downloaded a song in his life! Give me vinyl or give me death!


NI ROCKS - With the success of “Whatever Gets You Off” there must have been pressure to replicate it next time around. From what I’ve heard on the “Other Side” EP and the “Evil Eyes” video, fans aren’t going to be disappointed with the new album “Bad Decisions” that gets released in North America this month. Tell us a little about the album.

Danny : It is still TLV rock ‘n’ roll! But like most new albums, Bad Decisions is a little different than it’s predecessor. It was recorded in a different studio with a different producer, so of course the sound will naturally be different. The new album is probably is a little rougher around the edges than WGYO. We have four writers, so a lot of ideas and styles get tossed about, along with a lot of arguing. The new album has something in it for the entire family. Family night with The Last Vegas! Now that sounds like a bad decision. Haha

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NI ROCKS - The last time I checked there hadn’t been a release date set yet for “Bad Decisions” in Europe. Have you any idea when that might be?

Danny : It is still in limbo, we are just now getting distribution deals together for international release. So just taking a wild, one-eyed shot in the dark, I would say to expect something this fall.

(Note – TLV Management suggest that release date in Europe is likely to be mid November 2012)

NI ROCKS - It seems that videos have always been a big part of the success of The Last Vegas and I think YouTube was actually the place that I discovered your music. Have the band placed a big emphasis on videos over the years?

Danny : Yeah, we are definitely a visual band, so videos are important. They can sometimes help get the point across that the lyrics can’t always do on their own. Unfortunately, the medium of music videos doesn’t have the same power it used to when MTV was still playing music. Nowadays you really have to be creative if you want your video to get noticed or go viral. The internet is the biggest source for music videos, but it also allows for oversaturation.


NI ROCKS - The video for “Other Side” features the fantastic Sybil Danning. Tell us a little about how she got involved and about the making of that video.

Danny : We met Sybil through our singer Chad who had done an interview with her for a monthly article that he did for Lip Service Clothing. We were looking for a middle aged woman to play the part of the killer. He took a chance and asked her if she would do it, and she said yes. Very simple and uncomplicated. She was an absolute sweetheart and very professional. She exceeded all expectations. Shooting the video was an awesome experience. Lots of beer, wine, and blood. I’ve never had so much fun getting killed in all my life.

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NI ROCKS - I’ve noticed when I’m going through tracks sent to the radio station and putting together shows that there seem to be a lot of great rock bands coming out of Chicago. Is there a vibrant rock scene there and what bands would you recommend to the readers?

Danny : You know if there is, I’m not really aware of it. Chicago is the third biggest city in the US, so there is definitely a lot of bands here but no definitive scene that truly stands out. Probably the biggest scene here that I have noticed in Chicago is the indie, hipster, Lollapalooza scene. A lot dudes with their skinny jean pant legs rolled up, a sleeve tattoo, drinking vegan latte‘s, reading a JD Salinger book, and riding 10 speeds. That is not a cut down, just an observation.

I think like anywhere else nowadays music scenes are kind of discombobulated. I think the internet stifles anything that has the potential to grow into a local scene, because it gets noticed by the rest of the world before it has time to flourish. Our existence is becoming global instead of local.

One band to keep an eye on though is a band called Hessler. They are a little more metal, but a great up and coming band out of Chicago.


NI ROCKS - As a band that’s been signed to a major label, toured with Motley Crue and played with the likes of Whitesnake and Guns n Roses do you find yourself being asked for advice by bands that are trying to break through? What advice do you give?

Danny : All the time! I tell them to go to law school.


NI ROCKS - Finally, a question that I like to ask everyone I interview. If I was to pick up your iPod or MP3 player and pressed shuffle what artists would I be likely to hear?

Danny : Always a fun and insightful question. If you pressed shuffle on my MP3 player you would hear GnR, The Runaways, Cheap Trick, Alice Cooper, The Rolling Stones, Buckcherry, and Aerosmith. Oh yeah and Rod Stewart’s “Footloose and Fancy Free”. Some say rock is dead and if it is, then I must be a zombie.


NI ROCKS - Thanks again for taking the time to answer some questions for Rock Radio NI. It’s much appreciated. Best of luck with the new album – I’m looking forward to playing some tracks from it on the NI Rocks Show.

Danny : Thank you Nigel and NI Rocks! We truly appreciate your support and promotion! Cheers!

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Last Updated (Friday, 14 June 2013 19:22)