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A Rebirth: Exclusive Interview With Jack Frost Of SEVEN WITCHES

By Rob McNees, Vinyl Aficionado
Sunday, July 28, 2013 @ 7:35 AM


"I just wanted to try something different, hence the name of the record Rebirth. Itís a fresh start for us."

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The day that I called Jack Frost for an interview I discovered that he was headed to a show, to see TESLA. In fact, he was headed to see the show that was a distance of two hours from where he actually lives. So in case you all were wondering if he is still a fan of the music, I think the beginning of our conversation says it all.

KNAC.COM: I donít really know the whole history but I read a little bit on your bio. Give me a little background history on you. In other words, what was it and where were you when saw or heard something that made you decide that you wanted the rock and roll heavy metal headbanger as a profession?

FROST: Dude that is so easy. I was a young kid, and my brother had a lot of cool records. THE DOORS, ZEPPELIN, bands like that. When it hit me was when I was with my parents. We went to a store called Two Guys. I donít know if you have them where you are but Two Guys was a pretty big chain back in the day. It was more like a K-Mart. Anyway, I went into a Two Guys and I was listening to a record. It was a Double Platinum from KISS. And I just remember seeing this record and I remember thinking, "This looks cool!" My parents bought it for me for $.99 back then and that was it for me, bro. That was it for me. So stupid but when I was a kid I thought it was so cool because it was platinum and you could see your face in it. I used to think I was Paul Stanley or Gene Simmons. That is the moment I knew that I wanted to do it. What is really funny is I used to watch a show called Solid Gold. I remember HALL & OATES doing the song "Your Kiss is on my List". Not metal, nothing like that. I just remember seeing Darryl Hall with his big, teased-out blonde hair. All these girls are going crazy and I was thinking, "Oh man, I donít want to be a cop like my dad! Thatís what I want to do!" That was it, bro. That was it for me.

KNAC.COM: Right on! Well for me it was KISS Alive. I actually got it on cassette from an aunt of mine. KISS Alive, that was it. So thatís cool man. I definitely donít think KISS really has an idea of how many people they did influence because they have always gotten a lot of grief from stupid critics and this and that. Their music to this day is still timeless.

FROST: Dude, we should watch what we say. Gene Simmons will be asking for money. I got into rock & roll because of KISS. I want to get paid for that! Seriously, dude, what are you going to say? The theatrics, the stage show, the whole package. I donít think they realize what they meant to so many people.

KNAC.COM: I get that they know they have a lot of fans and stuff but I donít think musician-wise that they truly understand how many people they did touch. I know people like Dimebag, the more famous peopleÖ

FROST: I really donít think they get that the songs are so well-written. Ace Frehley solos are just timeless.

KNAC.COM: Absolutely. Okay, I want to get to your new album before I get to some other stuff. Originally I had heard and read that you were going to get back together with James Rivera who is here in Houston. That kind of fell through, and then I read that Alan Tecchio was going to join back but I think that fell through. What happened in all of that? And then take me to the new band, except for Johnny Kelly, your drummer. These are all (pretty much to me) unknown guys.

FROST: Well, I can give you the Readerís Digest version. I love James Rivera, I always will. You know, we did reform awhile back and did some shows. It was a lot of fun. We talked about doing a new record, but James had a lot of stuff going on with MALICE and HELSTAR. It wasnít anything bad, it just didnít work. You know like how you marry somebody, and people get remarriedÖI think you get divorced for a reason. I think we are better friends than we are playing together. Know what I mean? It wasnít anything to do with money, or "I hate him, he hates me", nothing like that. I donít think itís good that we work together because I was touring with Joey Belladonna and James came out to the show. We started talking. We did a bunch of reunion shows and it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it and we did a great comeback record. Then we got offered the ARMORED SAINT tour and James was like, "Aah, Iím not really interested and I really donít think a lot of people are going to care". Alan Tecchio has always been one of my dear friends. Alan came back on board. We did this ridiculously amazing tour with ARMORED SAINT. We did great numbers, sold out at nearly every place we played. Last summer I went to Europe with Allen because HADES, the guitar player couldnít do it and Allen asked me to. Right when we came back we were supposed to start demoing and writing for the new record. Alan got this really great job. He was my best friend and he said to my face, "I canít commit to what this band needs." Thatís why Alan is no longer in the band. He just canít tour anymore, so why make a record that no one could see live? But Alan did sing with some of the new record. We did this song together and I thought it was great for the fans because it is a great song. What a way to show people that there is no hatred. Alan is like my brother. I talk to him every other day. He loves the new SEVEN WITCHES record. After he was honest with me I started to audition, I swear, like 19 or 20 singers. I could have went back to one of my older singers or something like that. I auditioned a bunch of people and really just wanted something different. I wanted more of a flowy, kind of bluesy sound. I wanted to get away from the Halford-Bruce Dickinson-Dio voice. Anthony Cross, a friend of mine that I have known, kept sending me demos of his songs, and he blew my mind. I am so happy to have him in the band.

KNAC.COM: Thatís funny that you mention that because I actually did a review of the new album for KNAC.COM and I had mentioned that one of the songs sounded just like Alan Tecchio. I also put that I thought Anthony had a more of a soulful, kind of bluesy voice as opposed to what you said, a more traditional metal voice. Thatís kind of cool that we actually hit on the same level on that.

FROST: Heís got that Jeff Keith from TESLA voice, heís got that Paul DiíAnno, heís got that John Bush voice. No disrespect, all three of those guys are amazing singers. I just wanted to try something different, hence the name of the record Rebirth. Itís a fresh start for us.

KNAC.COM: I had kind of mentioned that too. Again, that is interesting. So, I am going to go out here and say you and Jon Schaffer of ICED EARTH are similar in the respect that both you guys have your own bands and you both had a whole lot of different band members throughout the years. I know that he has tried to come up with a more solid band and tour and tour and tour because in todayís music business that is the only way you will be able to make it anymore. Now for this band that you have currently, are you going to be a more solid unit? Are you going to try to just tour, tour, tour? Or do you have another job, a real job like I do?

FROST: This is all I do, man. Not just SEVEN WITCHES, though. I run a school of rock. I also produce other records. Iím actually writing songs and playing on the new David [Reese] record from ACCEPT. I am producing this young girl for Disney. I am always working. I played guitar for ANTHRAX for a long time, too. I am always working, but with this band right now, we are going to tour, tour, tour. We start our tour in September. It is supposed to be us, VICIOUS RUMORS, and LEATHER WOLF. LEATHER WOLF pulled out.

KNAC.COM: Oh wow, really. So I guess thatís a bad scoop to get but thatís a scoop.

FROST: Yeah, but itís still going to be us and VICIOUS RUMORS, so weíll get to play a little bit longer. Weíre coming to Houston. Weíre coming to Austin. Tour starts in September. Carise should have sent you the video. Janet did a really nice premier of our new video of "Nightmare Man". So we are going to be playing three shows in Texas.

KNAC.COM: Excellent. You know, unfortunately, even though Texas has some of the biggest cities in the US the tours donít usually come anywhere near the south anymore. I really donít get it.

FROST: Texas rules! People there are great! I played there with LIZZY BORDEN, SAVATAGE, BELLADONNA. Itís some of the greatest metal people in the world.

KNAC.COM: You have been out there for years. The first time I heard you was Second War In Heaven, which is a great album. In fact you kind of freaked when I brought you some of my albums to sign.

FROST: You have the LP?

KNAC.COM: Yes.

FROST: That is so hard to get now. It is now obsolete. Thatís awesome you have it. Thatís very cool.

KNAC.COM: Itís a great album. You played for METALLIUM too, which is another one you signed for me. However, I donít think too many people know how many bands you have played for.

FROST: Some people do, some donít. You know, there are so many guitar players that are so much better than me, but I am just me. I do the best I can possibly do, and I am very fortunate. I almost ended up in ICED EARTH, too. I love Schaffer. Itís funny you brought him up. I think it was more of a "I would never move from New Jersey." It was always a funny thing. Me and Jon together would be a pretty good unit. However we both get bad reps, like weíre hard guys to work for. We just want to play. Itís hard out there, man.

KNAC.COM: If you have a vision for the band you have in mind and itís not working out the way you want it to work out, then changes have to be made I guess. Thatís part of life.

FROST: Iíve never really fired anybody. Itís always been like, "Oh, itís a Jack Frost show!" And Iím like, "No itís not, dude." Iím not about that. Itís not my band, itís a family. I have my vision, but listen, dude, everybody writes on my records. Itís not my records, itís my band. Bring what you got. I just think people get to the point where a lot of guys have left this band thinking that, "Oh I donít need you, I think youíre better without me." Iím not going to beg anybody to stay. Itís like a girl: you donít like the way I have sex with you anymore, dump my ass. I understand. Thatís basically it, man. I think I have only really fired one person. I would rather not go into that because itís something that happened and I wish it never did. But, things happen, dude. Something happened on tour many years back and I feel that if you canít do what the fans want you to do because of substance, youíre done. Youíre done in my eyes.

KNAC.COM: I agree. I have been around music for a long time. I have actually roadied for a couple of different bands at points here and there. The average person gets to go to a show and see rock and roll and all that, but they donít get all the behind-the-scenesÖriding in a van for 14 hours and setting up, playing for 30 minutes, trying to sell your swag, and then loading up and going to another show. You drive all night, you know, the whole thing. Itís a tough lifestyle and I donít think a lot of people really understand it. Itís almost worse than a marriage because in a marriage you can kind of get away from the other person. When you are on tour you are with those people 24/7.

FROST: And you know what is really funny? People are like, "Oh! You must be a big rock star because you were with SAVATAGE." In SAVATAGE they tour in nice buses, full road crew, great money. Still, you are fighting for a warm shower sometimes. It is what it is. People donít get that. But you know what, dude? I love it. I love the road. I have no problem with it. When we did the BELLADONNA tour we had no road crew. It was four guys in a van, setting up our own gear. And if Joey Belladonna can set up drum sets and help then you know what? There is nobody that should open their big mouth. Hereís a guy that sells platinum records and heís willing to help? Iíll shut my mouth. No one had a right to say anything. If you donít like being on the road then itís going to be a long day. Honestly, man, I wouldnít change it for the world. I love it. Itís something that I am happy I got to do my whole life.

KNAC.COM: Yeah, itís fun. I mean, I enjoyed it but on the same token it was tough. I had to explain to my wife why rock stars drink and party. Really, most of the reason is because there really is not a whole lot else to do. A lot of times you get to the venue and thatís it. You get to the venue, set your stuff up, and then youíre stuck. If youíre lucky you happen to find somebody who will take you somewhere to do something.

FROST: Donít get me wrong, I partied just like the next guy at one time. I am not going to come across as Mr. Jack Squeaky Clean. You know what? I smoked, I drank, and I did every drug with everybody, like everybody else did. I am not going to be the one who is going to be like, "Oh yeah, Mr. Perfect." Iím not, bro. I did it all. Now I am going to be 45 years old next week and my motto is healthy living. I go to the gym six days a week. I eat healthy. I am in the best shape of my life because I want to be. But trust me, bro, I partied like everybody else. You know what? I just donít do it anymore. I am not going to play with guys just because they drink. Iím not a recovering alcoholic or drug addict. I prefer now to take care of myself and rock. I bet you there was a great show that I did that I donít remember. Or I do remember but I was too fucked up to say, "Wow, I did that show." Know what I mean? I have a whole new outlook in life. I am going to put myself out there and let people know. I am not saying Iím perfect by any means. Youíre right, dude. Youíre on the bus, the van, and there is nothing to do. You get bored, you start drinking, and thatís it. It happens.

KNAC.COM: I agree. The guys in KISS put a lot of work into their shows. They wear makeup and costumes and 8-inch platforms and the whole deal. For rock and roll, as you get older, your body is obviously different. You have to work harder. Eat right. Go to the gym. To continue to play at a level that I think you want to play at.

FROST: I give a lot of respect to David Coverdale. The guy is almost in his sixties. Heís still out there. Maybe his voice isnít like it was in 1979. Not many people are, okay? For his age, man, heís still tearing it up. Thereís a lot of guys my age who are in better condition now than they were in the 80s. Try going on the stage seven days a week. You canít do it if youíre a lazy bastard. I think people just donít get that.

KNAC.COM: Thatís what Iím saying. The difference between a casual fan and a hardcore fan is you find out how hard it is to really do that. Yeah, you get up on stage and people think, "Whatever", but itís a difficult thing. I think the real fans respect the difficulty of what you are doing.

FROST: I look at a guy like Glenn Hughes. Hereís a guy who pretty much shot himself in the foot in his career, got kicked out of Purple, got kicked out of Sabbath, and comes back with the Communion band, and the guy sounds better now than before. You can get yourself back to that level if you take care of yourself, you know?

KNAC.COM: There again, he got caught up in the alcohol and drugs really bad. But like you said, he came back with BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION. I think he has another project now because from what I understand that band is pretty much dead in the water. Joe Bonamassa doesnít want to play anymore.

FROST: Yeah, I mean, I donít think he didnít want to play. I just think he likes being a solo artist. I think that his attitude is, unfortunately that he can do the same on his own, which is fine, but I felt that BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION was amazing, dude. They are a great band.

KNAC.COM: Okay, so what is next? You said you have a tour in September. Is this going to be a US tour? A European tour? Right now you are in the middle of festival season over there so I guess you guys arenít going to hit any festivals this year, huh?

FROST: No. You know, our record came outÖitís not even out yet till July so we wouldnít be able to do the festivals this summer, but the tour we are doing in the USA right now is from the middle of September to the middle of October. Agents are looking to get us to Europe in November. We are doing a pretty extensive run in the US. We are going to the east coast, west coast, and Canada.

KNAC.COM: Well thatís a pretty good tour, especially nowadays.

FROST: We are doing 29 shows, which is great. Itís going to be a lot of work, man. But it is what it is, you know?

KNAC.COM: Yeah, those are hard to do. At least today you have phones and DVDs and all kinds of stuff.

FROST: Yeah, this is a change from the old days. And you know what dude? The four guys that we play with now are some of the nicest guys in the world. Weíre all the same age and we all have kids. You know what? We just like each other. We talk every day, every one of us. Itís not even about music, we are just friends. We get together and go to barbecues and our kidsí birthday parties. The road with them is going to be fun. We all have a brotherly relationship, which is going to be nice for this tour.

KNAC.COM: It makes it better for sure when you are playing for people that you actually enjoy being around. I will use the RAMONES, for example. They really didnít like each other at all. They would get together and tour and then they hated each other pretty much.

FROST: That is terrible. You know, you think back to the days with SKID ROW. Sebastian and Rachel had their own buses. Dude, give me a break! Come on, man. Basically we donít have a bus. We have a conversion van, which is okay. And you know what? Thereís captain seats and a TV in there, thatís fine, weíre glad to do it. We canít afford to take a bus these days, you know, between gas money and stuff. This time weíre going to do it old school. At the end of the day weíll just be happy to pay our bills. The fans can see that we still love what we do.

KNAC.COM: That sounds good, man. I think Texas is going to be happy to see you guys. I feel confident that the tour is going to do well. Hopefully it wonít be during the week when you come through here.

FROST: Texas is a weekend show, I know that.

KNAC.COM: Right on. Thatís what Iím talking about. Itís hard to get off work, man. I only have so many vacation days, you know.

FROST: I know. I teach and my students are like, "How long are you going to be gone? Can you just double the lessons?" Iím like, "Oh my god!" And before I leave itís going to be a disaster, you know. I have an eight year old son. I havenít really toured as much as I used to, and now itís going to be hard on him because Iím always around. You know, you canít give up something that youíve done your whole life. Youíve got to promote the record. Record sales are down, man. If you want to sell records, then you have to see the band, you know.

KNAC.COM: Thatís it, because really that is the only way that bands make money anymore, off touring and selling your swag. Thatís pretty much it.

FROST: If we can come home and at least pay our billsÖthatís what we care about, man. Thatís basically it.

KNAC.COM: Sounds good, man. So if thereís anything else you want to touch on, feel free to throw something out here. Anything else you want to talk about?

FROST: Sorry guys that we went so many years with so many lineup changes. A lot of musicians canít speak for other people, but I know I can speak for Schaffer because weíre friends and weíve talked many times. Itís kind of like a football team that won the Super Bowl; you learn to keep that team every year. But things happen; donít give up on a band just because they have a new singer. We really put our hearts into this record. Give it a chance. Itís a little bit different, itís a new vibe. I really think itís one of our best records. Weíve received the best reviews ever so far. Give it a chance. Weíre going to be around for a long time kicking ass. Hopefully you guys can come out and see us play. Make sure you come meet us. Iím not a snob. Iím going to be there signing autographs. Iíll be at the venue like I always am, just hanging out.

KNAC.COM: Right on. You heard it here first, man. You guys go check out Jack Frost and SEVEN WITCHES live. Donít be afraid to go by and say hello. Check them out. Buy some swag. Buy them a Gatorade (laughs).

FROST: Yeah, buy me a Gatorade, dude. No beer.

KNAC.COM: Right on, man. Well I really appreciate the time. It was great talking to you.

FROST: You too, brother. Thank you for supporting us for so many years. Make sure you give me a call the day before the show. Come by, hang out. It will be good to be in Houston. I love that place. We can go get some barbecue or something.

KNAC.COM: Alright, man. Talk to you soon!


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