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Deb Rao Interviews Black Label Society Part 1: Bass Player John "JD" DeServio

By Debby Rao, Boston Contributor
Friday, January 20, 2006 @ 9:07 AM

"Right now we're in the studio

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Black Label Society are one of the top bands in music today. BLS spent most of 2005 on the road touring nonstop in support of their lastest album "MAFIA" on Artemis Records. "Mafia" is Black Label Society's strongest album to date, featuring the hit singles "Suicide Messiah", "Fire It Up", and "In This River."

Black Label Society have recently changed their line-up on the Fall Mafia Tour. Bass player John "JD" DeServio re-joined BLS, replacing former bass player James Lomenzo of White Lion fame. JD ,as the BLS fans know him, played bass with BLS in 1999 on their first World Tour. JD has recently added a new spark to the already stellar line-up of musicians in Black Label Society.

John "JD" DeServio bass playing adds a very special energetic groove to the driving rhythm section , which also includes Craig Nunenmacher on drums and helps fuel the heavy, skull-crushing sound that has been Black Label Society's trademark.

JD, who hails from New Jersey, and now lives in California, is no stranger to the Metal Scene. In the past, the established musician has performed with Ritchie Kotzen, Lita Ford, and Drill. He met Zakk Wylde in a club in Jersey when they were kids. In a recent interview that I conducted with Zakk and I asked him what makes Jersey musicians so great. Zakk replied,” It must be something in the water."

Welcome To The Society, as BLS bass player John "JD" DeServio, talks about re-joining BLS for the Fall Mafia Tour, his musical influences, future BLS Recording and Touring Plans, and life in one of the greatest bands in music today, Black Label Society.

KNAC.COM: Hi JD, How are you? Happy New Year! In 2006, you re-joined Black Label Society. How does it feel to be back with BLS? You did an excellent job on the Fall Mafia Tour, by the way.

JD: Happy New Year everybody! It's great to be back in BLS, it's definitely home. The fall tour was jammin for sure.

KNAC.COM: Now last time you toured with BLS was in 1999 right?

JD: Yeah, I did the first tour. We went to Japan, Europe and the US. It was killin even then!! Now is leaps and bounds further.

KNAC.COM: Now who are some of your bass influences, who inspired you to become a musician?

JD: When I was in 3rd grade a buddy of mine showed me a picture of Kiss. That was it for me! I loved horror movies and music so this was everything.

KNAC.COM: At Ozzfest last summer, Iron Maiden was one of the headliners. Black Label Society also performed on the main stage. Did you get to see any Ozzfest shows last summer?

JD: I didn’t get to see Ozzfest last year. When they were here, I was touring.

KNAC.COM: Are you a big Iron Maiden fan? Is Steve Harris one of your bass influences?

JD: I was a huge Maiden fan growing up. Steve was my first huge influence on the bass . I actually met him when I was 15. He signed a shirt I had made. (I drew the Killers cover on a concert tee) and I thanked him for making me switch to my fingers.

KNAC.COM: You have performed with so many great musicians before you re-joined BLS. You recently performed with Ritchie Kotzen in South America and Spain. How do European audiences differ from American audiences?

JD: European audiences are similar to us. The Asian audiences are way different. They check it out way harder than just going nuts.

KNAC.COM: You actually got to perform with Lita Ford in 1990, opening for Motley Crue on the Dr. Feelgood Tour. It must have been insane.

JD: The whole Lita thing was an experience to say the least. Sharon (Osbourne) was managing her at the time so Zakk got me an audition. I was a kid hangin out with Ozzy and Guns.'N"Roses. It was insane!! Touring with Motley Crue was cool, but they were going thru detox at the time. Arenas rule!!!

KNAC.COM: What was your reaction to the Motley Crue re-union? Have you seen the new tour yet?

JD: I haven’t seen Motley since then.

KNAC.COM: Before you joined BLS, you were actually in a band called Drill. Drill had a very industrial sound, compared to Black Label. Who did you tour with during that period? What ever happened to Drill?

JD: Drill was a great experience as well. I learned a lot about sounds and loops and using electronics. We had a girl lead singer. Her name's Lucia. She had awesome screams and presence. Totally hot!! We toured with Stabbing Westward and Marilyn Manson as well as other bands.

KNAC.COM: Do you think the record company could have supported the record more?

JD: We spent well over a year making our second record that never came out. A&M went under or some shit and we were done. It definitely could've done something if it would have come out at the time.

KNAC.COM: Do you see a trend in old school metal returning?

JD: I think the kids today are starting to go back and check the masters that came before them. There were so many great guitar heroes years ago. I always kid Zakk. He's the last one left. He wins by default.

KNAC.COM: What bands do you like to listen to today? Are there any that you would like to tour with?

JD: Gorillaz are pretty funky. I like all kinds of music, metal, hip-hop, classic rock, jazz. If it’s good I dig it. I think Velvet Revolver would be a good match for us.

KNAC.COM: In a interview that I conducted with Zakk I asked him why there are so many great Jersey musicians? Zakk replied,"It must be something in the water." How did you meet him?

JD: We met in a club back in Jersey when we were kids. Music's always been our common bond. I heard this dude rippin some shit and I was like "damn, this dude's burning! "We jammed in the basement of the place and been brothers ever since.

KNAC.COM: Zakk recently got inducted into the Hollywood Rockwalk. Are you excited for him?

JD: The Hollywood Rockwalk induction was awesome! So proud of my buddy.

KNAC.COM: Do you have a website that the fans can visit?

JD: My website is coming soon. Hopefully before I die!

KNAC.COM: Do you have a favorite 2005 gig with BLS?

JD: My favorite gig was Nokia theatre in NYC.

KNAC.COM: What has the highlight of your career been so far?

JD: I've had a lot of great moments so far. Hopefully the best is yet to come. Playing MSG was amazing.

KNAC.COM: In my opinion, "Mafia" should be album of 2005. How do you compare "Mafia" to past BLS albums? What is your favorite tune off of it?

JD: I like Mafia as well. Suicide Messiah.

KNAC.COM: Will Black Label Society release a new album this year?

JD: Right now we're in the studio recording the next record.

KNAC.COM: BLS had such an active touring schedule last year. Are there any future BLS touring plans in the works? Will Black Label Society perform at Ozzfest again this summer?

JD: I think we start in May through November. Ozzfest for sure.

KNAC.COM: During the past Fall Mafia Tour, BLS performed a special tribute to the Dimebag Darrell Abbott. A song called "In This River." Did you know Dime?

JD: Unfortunately I only met Dime once in 93. I talked to him on the phone with Zakk a couple of times. He was one of a kind.

KNAC.COM: How do you feel the music industry has changed since your early days in metal? Is it harder for bands to establish themselves, and develop a following?

JD: The industry sucks nowadays. Years ago it was more about the music. Now it's such a corporate business.

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