Lance V. is the founding member of the excellent outfit of Platinum Overdose; a band that has just released its sophomore record “Back For The Thrill” and it has already gained raving reviews from the press and fans alike. Personally, I truly believe that this is one of the finest hard rock albums of the past few years. Lance is also behind DDR Music Group –a label responsible for the resurrection of the so called “New Wave Of Hair Metal”- and his recollection of the glory days of the Sunset Strip era is priceless…after all, he was there and lived to tell the tale! Interview: Sakis Nikas
Rockpages.gr: Lance V., first of all congratulations on the new, excellent Platinum Overdose album “Back For The Thrill”…I really mean it! Are you happy with how it turned out?
Lance V.: Hi Sakis! Thank you! So happy to hear you think it’s excellent. Overall, I’m happy with the record, we all worked our butts off to make it happen. I think it’s a great follow up to “Murder In High Heels’. As a producer there are always some things you want to tweak after it’s released but overall, as a band I think we’re all pleased with the end result but ultimately, it’s not what we think, it’s what the music fans think and so far the feedback has been really positive.
Rockpages.gr: I think that the potential listener will get what he pays for as there is a healthy dose of sleaze rock (“Psycho Suzi”), catchy melodic tunes in the Ratt –Detonator era- vein (“Give The Night Away”) but most importantly a crystal clear production. Do you agree and by the way how long did it take to prepare the whole album?
Lance V.: From a producers stand point, thank you! Glad you like the production of the album, a lot of credit must go to our engineer and mixer Matt, he’s amazing at what he does and our albums would not sound half as good without him behind the board. It usually takes us about 9 months to record, mix and master an entire record. On the overall vibe of the albums, I agree with you, my favorite stuff was the Hollywood Sleaze Rock bands like Motley Crue, Ratt, L.A. Guns, Poison, Faster Pussycat so it’s always good for me to hear you mention two of those bands as a comparison. Makes me feel like I did my job right. But I’m also a fan of all types of 80’s stuff from Skid Row to Trixter, Bang Tango, Dokken, Kiss, Dogs D’ Amour, Ozzy and hundreds more and the other guys in the band have their own influences, Steve’s top 80’s favorites are Black N Blue, Learherwolf and Rough Cutt. We’re proudly influenced by the 80’s so it’s a pretty safe bet you’ll get something in the vein of what you’re talking about on each album.
Rockpages.gr: One of the biggest surprises in the hard rock community was the release of the debut album “Murder In High Heels”. I want you to be honest with me…did you expect that it will gain such a positive attraction from the press and fans alike?
Lance V.: That’s a great question; we did want to surprise everyone so we kept the whole project from everyone until we were ready to release the record. Being honest about the reception of the debut, I don’t think anyone can expect the reaction we got; we knew we worked long hours and really hard on the album. We wanted to make a record from a place of passion, I thought if we accomplished that the fans and critics might really enjoy it. It seems they have so I guess we did what we set out to do but as I previously stated it’s always up to the listeners and we’re humbled and we really do appreciate all the attention the records have received and continue to receive. None of it would be possible without the talented and amazing guys in this band that have forged this sound. I could not be more honored to work with Matt, Steve and Rick; it’s just great making records with these guys!
Rockpages.gr: Getting back to the record, quite possibly my favorite track on the album is the absolutely haunting “Back In Your City” that has this unmistakable late 80s aura. Would you care to tell us a few things about it?
Lance V.: It’s definitely one of my favorite tracks on the record and it was fun to produce it and put it together. It was written by Aeriel Stiles who is such a great 80’s songwriter and a very dear friend of mine. When he sent me the demo I knew immediately we had something great to work with. Steve crushed it vocally and Rick did some nice guitar harmonies. It had no bridge so I had to write that part and it came out great. The whole song just came together very nicely and the delay Matt used on the mix really drove the 80’s vibe right through the rough. Great song, thanks again to Aeriel Stiles!
Rockpages.gr: A second close in the “favorite cuts on the album” category is “In Love With A Junkie” which is like a perfect mixture of Firehouse and (the melodic side of) L.A. Guns. Any special story behind it?
Lance V.: Every song we do that was written by my mentor Chester Olsefsky is always a special thing to me. “Chuck” as we called him formed a project in 1990 called Champagne Suicide in New York City which I was the first member to join the band. Chuck ultimately passed away at a very young age and Ι think he was a brilliant songwriter and some of his great stuff is just collecting dust in a draw so I thought it would be great to keep his legacy going by at least recording one song on every album we put out. “In Love With A Junkie” was great to put together as it’s got a really cool vibe to it but Matt ultimately came up with all the guitar parts and made it Platinum Overdose, Matt is as talented as they come and what he comes up with rhythm guitar wise on every song always blows me away.
Rockpages.gr: I am a huge Def Leppard fan and I was absolutely blown away by the excellent rendition of “Rock Brigade”…I am certain that Rick Savage would be proud with the job that you did with the backing vocals. How did you end up covering this classic Leppard song and were there any other songs on the table?
Lance V.: Thank you! If you ever get a chance to interview Rick Savage, we’d love to know what he thinks of it, we hope we did them proud. We have a big list of songs that I would love to cover, I personally love doing a cover on each album and bringing out a song that was either not a huge hit song or maybe an unreleased demo from a great band and doing a version of it as we did with Motley Crue’s “Black Widow” on ‘Murder In High Heels,. We did cut two covers for ‘Back For The Thrill’ but ultimately went with Def Leppard. I won’t mention the other band or track because we will release that at one point in the future but Steve and I were deciding between “Rock Brigade” and “Let It Go” from Leppard and decided on “Rock Brigade”.
Rockpages.gr: I have to say that once again one of the greatest aspects of Platinum Overdose’s arsenal is Steve Philbrook’s amazing voice. It’s hard to believe but I think that his voice gets better as time goes by. What do you say?
Lance V.: Steve is amazing; it’s nothing but a pleasure to work with him as a singer and as a person. I nicknamed him “Golden Throat” after he recorded the first few songs and I do agree he’s crushing it on the new album, obviously on the first record he was just getting involved with the band and we were all learning each other’s styles but now I would say we can all pretty much anticipate what we’re going to do before it happens. Steve deserves to be mentioned with some of the best singers out there and should be recognized as one of the best in the business of what some are calling the “new wave of hair metal”.
Rockpages.gr: I’ve been a fan of hard rock music since the mid-80s. From your perspective what was so magical about that era and do you think that this style of music is still relevant in 2021?
Lance V.: Everything about it was magical, especially the girls! Ultimately, I believe it was a lifestyle and that’s what everyone really bought into. The look was cool, the girls were hot, the music was rebellious, and there was a mystery about the bands and every story that was printed in Circus, Hit Parader and Metal Edge just increased the larger-than-life lifestyles and personalities. I had the pleasure of being here during the Sunset Strip days in Hollywood and when people say it was incredible, they are not joking, we’ll never see anything like it again. It was a once in a lifetime thing to see and be a part of. I do believe the music is relevant in 2021 as people are hungry for that good time feeling this type of music gave them in the 80’s, it’s just going to take some big-time major label to have the guts to pay the radio stations to put it in major rotation again. It will happen as I believe the labels will burn out on country and rap just as they burned out on Rock. Everything old always becomes new again.
Rockpages.gr: Some people might not be aware of the fact that you are also behind the excellent DDR Music Group that has released some really cool hard rock/hair metal albums throughout the years. When did you decide to embark on this business endeavor and I guess you can call it…a labor of love, right?
Lance V.: I started out on the DDR Music Group journey in 2007, it was all on a whim and it surely has been a fun, wild and crazy road. It’s definitely a labor of love for sure as every band expects something completely different than another. I just thought it was a crime that the next wave of bands did not get there shot at a major label deal with big time budgets and producers due to the change in musical climate. Swingin’ Thing, The Glamour Punks, Ana Black, Wild Boyz, Blackboard Jungle would have all been huge if they got their legitimate shot so it’s a pleasure to have had the opportunity to put out 4 of those 5 bands albums as well as all the great artists that DDR has released over the last 13 years. I just feel it’s a part of music history that needs to be released and I will continue to get out as much of that history as possible.
Rockpages.gr: So after two critically acclaimed albums, should we expect more to follow from Platinum Overdose?
Lance V.: That’s an understatement, we’re tracking 18 songs right now and if all goes as planned, we should see a brand new 11 track Platinum Overdose album in the next 6 months. We love what we do and are honored that others love it as well. Platinum Overdose will keep pumping out records and we will continue to take the 70’s approach and try to get out a record or EP every year.