“METAL OF HONOR” INTERVIEW: TOMMY BOLAN FORMER MEMBER OF WARLOCK
INTERVIEW WITH TOMMY BOLAN FORMER MEMBER OF WARLOCK
Full Name: Tommy Bolan
Exhibit A: Warlock was a german heavy metal band. How was it like being in the band?
Tommy Bolan: It was an experience! I joined nearly straight out of high school. We traveled the world, toured with Dio In Europe and Megadeth in the US. Got to work with Doro Pesch. A Great Experience!
Exhibit A: Are you from Germany, as well?
Tommy Bolan: No, I’m from Queens, NY. I was the first American in the band.
Exhibit A: Did you learn any German?
Tommy Bolan: .. I learned a few words. The other band members taught me how to curse.(haha) I used to blow their minds, that I could imitate their accents and repeat back any phrase to them like a parrot.. I didn’t know what I was saying, but sometimes I did.( haha).
Exhibit A: How did you get started with Warlock?
Tommy Bolan: The Producer of Warlock was producing my band in New York.
Exhibit A: How was it like working with Doro Pesch?
Tommy Bolan: Doro was great, we got along like Batman and Robin. She was always great on stage… alot of positive energy.
Exhibit A: What were some major differences working with a female vocalist, rather than a male?
Tommy Bolan: None, because Doro was a major professional, very professional. No differences at all , she has an awesome voice.
Exhibit A: How did you get started with Metal to begin with? What drew you to it?
Tommy Bolan: My brother owned the stereo, so whatever he listened to, I listened to as well. He listened to Zeppelin, Kiss.. which I eventually got into. I would say my brother was what drew me to metal.
Exhibit A: How did you manage to pick up the guitar, out of all instruments?
Tommy Bolan: I used to hang around my brother alot and his best friend’s father had a guitar. I used to think that it was really cool and mess around with it at his house, basically making noise. Than my brother took me to see KISS, I grabbed a guitar after that and it became a natural progression. Also, there was a music studio near me, that I would see all the time and one day I went in and asked to hear them play guitar.. a week and half later, I was there taking lessons. Suddenly, I felt the urge “Hey, I want to do this more,” guitar grabbed me by the core. I threw my baseball mit in the garage and that was it, everything went away when guitar came along.. EVERYTHING. Eventually, I became a teacher at that school 2 1/2 years later and recently, I even released an Instructional DVD called “Metal Primer”.
Exhibit A: How was working on the album “Triumph and Agony”?
Tommy Bolan: It was awesome, because we got to work in great studios with great people. It all started with the Producer of my band, calling my singer telling him to tell me to call him at 1am. I did and he asked me to come down to jam with Doro Pesch. Under his breath, over the phone, he told me “this could be good for you, really good for you.. so bring everything, all your gear.” The next day,in the studio, he asked me if I wanted to play on the record, I said yeah! He said great, Doro started clapping. Doro felt a huge vibe with me, she immediately read my energy and knew “this guy does nothing, but play his guitar,”which is what I did. Three days later, I met with Warlock’s Manager. It turns out the Producer Joey Balin ( He discovered Billy Idol’s guitar player, Steve Stevens) had been talking up a storm about me to him. The Manager told me, he heard great things about me and than told me he would like me to join Warlock! Then my whole life changed. It’s like anything, it’s about being at the right place, at the right time. Pretty much, my improvising on those 3 songs(East Meets West, Make Time for Love and Three Minute Warning) the first night in the studio with Doro made that album. Doro’s and I chemistry is what started the chemistry for me on that Album, as I was asked to recreate my initail ideas for the actual recording.
Exhibit A: By any chance, do you happen to remember who did your album cover for the album?
Tommy Bolan: I don’t remember, but I know it was a famous well known Artist in Europe and that the CD Cover won some awards or was placed in the top ranks for CD cover of the year in Some Major European metal magazines.
Exhibit A: I will have to research who did the artwork, It’s an amazing cover!
Exhibit A: Do you feel album artwork has a major affect?
Tommy Bolan: Absolutely, It’s what draws you to the disc. If the album is just sitting there on a store shelf, especially if it’s something cool or graphic that you like or stimultes you, It’ll definitely draw you. Also, the Album cover can directly tie- in to the vibe and feel of your stage, touring setup, backdrop and merchandise theme. Artwork definetly has a huge impact on music.
Exhibit A: Are you a fan of art? Any Particular artists?
Tommy Bolan: I don’t know if you call it art, but I like creative photography .Especially of NYC, as I have several cool framed photos of the NYC skyline and some with the Twin Towers and other landmarks, such as the Chrysler Building. I also, like creative artwork done with copper, as you would see in Peru.
Exhibit A: What is your first metal memory?
Tommy Bolan: My brother John took me to a KISS concert, my mom wouldn’t let me go unless my brother took me. Then Judas Priest, you gotta like Priest. After that whatever came to the Garden(Madison Square Garden).
Exhibit A: Where do you feel metal affected Pop Culture today?
Tommy Bolan: Hard to say, but I am hearing more heavier distorted music in television, and of course in the style of the clothes, we wear.
Exhibit A: Any other talents, aside from guitar?
Tommy Bolan: Well I sing in N.Y.C as well.
Exhibit A: You are currently in a band entitled N.Y.C?
Tommy Bolan: I am the singer and the guitar player.
Exhibit A: What brought you to sing?
Tommy Bolan: After Warlock, I started a band “Freight Train Jane” with the Ex-singer of Black and Blue/Warrant, Jaime St. James. After those two bands, I’ve encountered too many flaky singers, so.. I said, “fuck that shit, give me the mic.”
Exhibit A: Quick history of Freight Train Jane.
Tommy Bolan: Freight Train Jane was a great rock band that came very close to busting wide open. We put an Album out in Japan called “Hallucination”. At the height of the bands popularity we had Tom Werman(Motley Crue, etc) set to Produce us, we had David Rudich (Motley’s main attorney) behind and Martin Eurlichman (Barbra Streisand’s manager ). Also, we were the best unsigned band in the nation that year chosen by ASCAP, I mean we had so much going on. Back then I wasn’t involved in the “business side” as heavily as I am now. Now, I am the Alpha and the Omega, I deal, hear and see everything that NYC is involved with.
Exhibit A: Does N.Y.C. stand for NEW YORK CITY?
Tommy Bolan: Absolutely. I’m the guy in the New York street corner, screaming about everything.
Exhibit A: What was the reason behind the name N.Y.C?
Tommy Bolan: I used to have an FTJ Jacket and a guitar with the initials NYC painted on the front of it. It just felt right, it’s where I’m from, where I’m rooted, it’s just me. It’s ground zero for me, quite literally. My values and my traditions are grounded to NYC. It just felt right to call the band that.
Exhibit A: What’s the line-up like ?
Tommy Bolan: We’re a three piece band. Joe D’Ambra on Bass and G Herrara on drums. NYC ‘s live show is well known and documented for being “Overthe Top, Out of Control n’ Shreddin ”
Exhibit A: What is the sound like?
Tommy Bolan: There’s intensity, energy, melody and severe ass kicking all at the same time. Overall brutal. No one in this band is phoning it in, it’s all very real. When you see me on stage, gritting my teeth, bathed in sweat with my eyes rolling back in my head that means it’s countdown to launch. The stage is a very surreal place for me, there’s no place like it. You can check our sound on our latest album “ZYKO” or visit www.myspace.com/nyctheband for videos and music.
Exhibit A: We also hear you’re featured on the 2010 May issue for Guitar Player Magazine?
Tommy Bolan: It was performance piece done by the Editor, Michael Molenda. About my personal monitor system and how I carry, set up and work my own system to avoid the usual “live nightmares” associated with no monitors.