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Go West Young Man!: An Exclusive Interview With WEST BOUND Vocalist CHAS WEST

By Krishta Abruzzini, Pacific Northwest Writer
Thursday, February 28, 2019 @ 7:05 AM

"Itís the first time Iím in the driverís seat of my own thing, so it is even more special."

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Live Photo By Krishta Abruzzini

WEST BOUND, founded by Chas West (RESURRECTION KINGS, BONHAM, LYNCH MOB, RED DRAGON CARTEL, THE MOBY DICKS) and Roy Z (Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford) have their new debut album titled Volume 1 being released on February 22, 2019 on Frontiers Music Srl. The band lineup includes Jimmy Burkard (guitars), Jason Cornwell (bass), and Dave ďChilliĒ Moreno (drums). Steven LeBlanc also plays keys and Brian Tichy co-wrote two songs on the album which he plays drums.

The inspiration for WEST BOUND comes from influences from 70ís and 80ís classic hard rock, which West says, ďBack when music was real and passionate, from the heart and soul.Ē The band is currently planning tour dates to support the release.

One of the busiest guys in music, Chas took some time to chat about his new release, life, and even a confirmation of a second RESURRECTION KINGS (Vinny Appice, Craig Goldy, Sean McNabb, Chas West) album in the works.

KNAC.COM: Letís talk about your album release, West Bound, Volume 1.

WEST: Yeah, you got it. February 22nd is the debut. We already have a couple of videos released.

KNAC.COM: I saw them. Theyíre great!

WEST: Thank you. Our third video will be out on the same day as the release. ("Dance Of Life" video on KNAC.COM HERE)

KNAC.COM: Whoís producing your videos?

WEST: This guy named Mason Wright. He was a young guy I found. He lives in Las Vegas. I was turned onto him by Jizzy Pearl, actually, he did his video. And I thought, wow, this kid is hungry. Heís got some good ideas and budget wise, made it work. We shot them here in Southern California. On the "Never Surrender" video, the original plan for the outdoor shots was to get the sunset. Well of course this was shot in March, and all of a sudden it starts raining that week. And of course, timing is everything. Heís coming out from Vegas. My bass player lives in Massachusetts, and Iím like, well, shit. Okay, how are we going to do this? I had a backup plan to shoot it indoors, but all of a sudden, there was a bit of a reprieve from the rain, and we were like, ďGet over here now!Ē Whatís funny is people are asking if it was shot in England, or Scotland, or Ireland because it was so green and cloudy, it doesnít look like Southern California. But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Mason has also done some BURNING RAIN stuff as well. I turned Doug [Aldrich] onto him as well.

KNAC.COM: Very cool. So you titled this simply Volume 1, is that to assume there will be many volumes?

WEST: Absolutely darliní. You got it. I want people to know this is not the last. Itís not just a one-off. There will be more, definitely.

KNAC.COM: Youíre working with Roy Z, Jimmy Burkard, Jason Cornwell, and Dave ďChilliĒ Moreno on this release. With so many heavy hitting players in your area, how do you choose? And I have to add to this, you are just one of those really busy musicians. Youíve always got your hands in something all the time.

WEST: Well, itís kind of like you have to do these things to make a living. Unless youíre fortunate enough to be Steven Tyler. I enjoy it though too. It keeps me busy, keeps me out of trouble. Iíve known Z for years. We originally met when he was playing with Bruce Dickinson in 1997. I was with the JASON BONHAM BAND and we toured South America together. After we were doing the huge outdoor stadiums, weíd go hang out at some bar and get up and jam, like in Brazil or something like that. We both lived in Southern California, so we both kept in touch. When the last TRIBE OF GYPSIES record came out, he contacted me, and said, ďHey, I want to do this with you.Ē That was our first initial time as far as writing and recording together. After I did the RESURRECTION KINGS record, Z said, I love your voice, I love your ideas, I want to do something just with you. Chilli Iíve known for over 25 years.

KNAC.COM: Youíve known everybody for over 25 years, right?

WEST: Iím not that old Krishta. Címon. [laughs] I actually turned the big 5-0 last month. But yeah, Iíve been here a few years. Hell, I had a KNAC t-shirt! How can I get another one? I remember wearing it on stage, for pictures.

KNAC.COM: I brought Jeff Pilson (FOREIGNER) a KNAC.COM sweatshirt at last yearís Bonzo Bash. Maybe I need to bring one for you this coming year? Speaking of, how did you get into performing at Bonzo Bash?

WEST: Um, yeah! Well, obviously you know my background with Bonham. Brian Tichy and I became friends. Heís a Jersey boy like me. Thatís how it came about. We started jamming, and he asked if I wanted to do it, and I was like, ďHell yeah.Ē It just continued on from that and itís been 9 years!

KNAC.COM: Brian plays a couple of songs on your new album?

WEST: Yeah, heís got two songs that he co-wrote with me. He played drums, guitar and bass, you know. Heís so fucking amazingly talented.

KNAC.COM: Of course he did. Heís ridiculous.

WEST: Itís funny, he and Jason Cornwell, my bassist went to Berklee together. So thereís that tie in there. And also a talent is Jimmy Burkard man. He was a MOBY DICKS dude of the Bonzo Bash, for the first time this year, and he did a stellar job. I met him through Steve McGrath whoís the bass player for Billy Idol. Iím so grateful I met this guy, because Iíve got my own Jimmy Page. Heís incredible. And heís a great guy. And Jason of course, my bro. Heís the only one that stays, you know, East Coast, and the rest of us are all West Coast transplants. [laughing]

KNAC.COM: Obviously you've got a huge LED ZEPPELIN influence in your blood. Is that how you connected with Brian Tichy, doing THE MOBY DICKS?

WEST: You know, it was even before that. I think it was a loose jam in Hollywood or at a place called Howl at the Moon in Universal City. I saw Brian play, and I was like, ďDamn. This guyís like thunder of the gods.Ē We just started hanging out and we got on well, and it turns out weíre from the same area. We knew some of the same people. And my background, because of doing two records with Jason Bonham, and touring the world with him, Brian was like, ďHey, letís do this.Ē You know, the musical community is a small, incestuous world Krishta. A small, musically incestuous world. I donít want to get that one wrong. [laughing]

KNAC.COM: Well, you and I kind of look like brother and sister, so, whoís your daddy? [laughing]

WEST: I remember that, right! [laughing]

KNAC.COM: So tell me about some tour dates.

WEST: Iím working out setting some dates now. For the release week weíre going to do a couple little things. Weíre going to have a listening party at Bar 1200 at Sunset Marquis. Saturday the 23rd, Iím going to do a thing with Randy Rhoads' sister, Kathy and her husband Rich, doing a listening party and an acoustic gig, playing a few songs and maybe a few covers. On the 26th, itís Ultimate Jam Night at the Whisky, and weíre going to open it up. Itíll be the first real show that WEST BOUND will do. Itís like a 40 minute set. It looks like weíll be doing some East Coast shows in March, throughout New England, Connecticut, possibly Toronto, and then April, we have Vegas and a Viper Room show.

KNAC.COM: How is Frontiers Music, as far as representation for you guys?

WEST: Theyíre great. Serafinoís been totally behind me. Him and Mario, and Nick. Iím very grateful. And the fact that theyíre keeping this style of music alive.

KNAC.COM: Itís been pretty tough for this genre.

WEST: Itís getting better. Itís been horrible in the US for hard rock. In Europe, itís different. Itís much bigger. But here, itís getting bigger again. No one under the age of 35 was paying attention to hard rock. Itís all hip-hop and pop, for what, the last ten years? But now, things are starting to change. Even bands like GRETA VAN FLEET and okay, theyíre not LED ZEPPELIN, but you know what? Theyíre kids, and now kids are starting to pay attention to rock again, because these kids are their age. And theyíre listening to the older stuff because of it. My friendís daughter, sheís 19, and her favorite band is LED ZEPPELIN. Sheís got the poster on her wall and everything. I mean, when she was born, they were long over with. And I use her as an example.

KNAC.COM: Do you think itís better to release full albums now, or just singles? With this generation of uploads, downloading music?

WEST: Frontiers way is we do the 3 singles with videos. I think at least the singles give people a taste, you know? And maybe theyíll check the album out. We can only hope for the best.

KNAC.COM: Whatís your favorite song off Volume 1?

WEST: You know, different songs for different reasons. If I have to go back to the first one we wrote together, it was just Jim, Z, me and Chilli got together in a room, and started bashing out ideas. I came up with a title and lyrics, and a melody, and that turned into "Dance of Life", which will be the third single that comes out on the day of the release. All the songs are very personal to me and from the heart and soul, because I wrote them. Itís the first time Iím in the driverís seat of my own thing, so it is even more special.

KNAC.COM: Is it nerve wracking for you to be in the driverís seat? Or does it make you feel vulnerable putting your own lyrics and music out there for the world?

WEST: I would say itís almost therapeutic to get it out. And of course with maturing, the storyline is different from when I was younger. Itís more now about life and getting older, and living and seeing whatís going on in the world around you. Thereís my personal life, but also the bigger picture. Iím not a religious man per se, but thereís a spirituality there too. In the end, itís just very therapeutic. Sometimes youíre pulling your hair out. I didnít want throw away lyrics. I wanted to make sure itís something that makes an impact, and comes across real and from the heart and soul.

KNAC.COM: Do you guys share files with each other, or do you actually get in a room when writing?

WEST: Old school. We got in a room. Itís the way I like it. You can feel that energy and that vibe and you can work off each other. It was definitely a collaborative effort. Itís like building a house. You start with the foundation, and work your way up.

KNAC.COM: You guys arenít just weekend warriors either. This is your living, so each step has to be taken seriously, but still keeping that level of creativity. Thatís got to be tough at times.

WEST: Obviously the industry is tougher these days. Itís still in our blood, and our souls and weíre still doing it. Even if youíre just at home. You gotta do it. Being a creative person, youíve got to do it or go insane.

KNAC.COM: Anything happening with RESURRECTION KINGS?

WEST: Funny you mention that. We are going to do a second record. Craig Goldy just sent me an idea about a week ago and weíre going to start working on it. Thatís going to happen this year.


WEST: [Laughs] Iím glad you like that.

KNAC.COM: Iím looking forward to it all.

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