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Automatic Black interview 

Automatic Black
Submitted by Johan Wippsson on 2006-08-16
Two years ago Automatic Black was signed to Arista and recorded a great straight forward rock album. But due to label politics and change of the stuff there, the album was never released and also stuck! Read more about this and what happened to this VERY exciting band?.
Hey there Steve, how are you?
Steve: not bad.

It was a long time since we heard anything from Automatic Black. Are you still together?
Steve: The band is not functioning the way it used to, we had some line up changes in the past and now Jeff and I are working on new material. We are thinking about releasing the new music as a new band with a new name and new members. So we will see what happens with that.

You were signed to Arista back in 2004 and had a great album waiting to be out. What happened there actually?
Steve: the third or fourth week our single went to radio, LA Ried, the former president of Arista got fired. Once that happened, all of the financial flow stopped. At that point the cd was close to hitting stores, but since it didnt formally get released, it never got released.

But it must have been close to have the album out cause I got an advance cd of it?
Steve: yeah, it was really close.

And then I guess that the album was stuck there because you never released it independently. That wasnt the best of deals?
Steve: no, we were not allowed to release that recording or those songs independently, and yes , that was a shitty deal. BUT, i hear that a lot of AB fans somehow got their hands on some free downloads going around. We are happy its out there for free, people are more likely to try something new when there is no money involved.

How is possible to go on after that? You must have hated the thing loved most (at least liked a lot), music, for some time?
Steve: well after something like that happens, you have all the industry people blowing smoke up your ass, saying, "its ok, we will rebound it, Warner loves it, Atlantic loves it, etc...." then you set up showcases for these big execs, and they dont show up. and you set up another one and they cancel, then finally you set up a third and the sound man in the club has feedback going the whole set, and you sound like shit. so its a bunch of bullshit that you have to be willing to deal with. we dealt with it until all options were exhausted. Now Jeff and I just want to forget about it and get a fresh start.

How do you look at labels after a disaster like that? I guess its easy to be really pissed. Would you prefer a smaller label next time?
Steve: we would actually prefer no label. i guess if we could choose, we would want to have the money to do it ourselves, next best thing would be a growing and very hungry independant label with good connections. Big labels suck anymore, you become a small fish in a big pond, if your lucky, you get a good push and do some cool tours and sell some records, but most of the time bands just get lost and pushed aside for the million dollar acts that they are really concerned with. When a label has multiple multi-million dollar acts, where do you think their head is going to be most of the time? putting together your $40,000 tour? Or sending Avril to Japan?

You have changed line-up since the Arista album. What happened to the other guys and can you tell us a little about the new ones?
Steve: Yea, we have changed it. There were some differences with Tom Chambers(drummer) and Jeff Darr, so things didnt work out. As for our guitar player Stevie D. he lived in LA, so the long distance thing didnt really work out. But he got together with his long time friend, Josh Todd, and got Buckcherry back together, so he is better off.

What have you done after that? Have you recorded any news songs and have you thought of releasing something in a near future?
Steve: yes, we have recorded some new songs, we are going to finish some up in nashville and see what happens with them. like i said before, we may just release them under a new name.

And a follower to the question above. Have you been touring something the last years?
Steve: no we havent toured since a little small string of shows after we came off of the Kiss/Aerosmith tour. Touring is expensive.

Theres a tune up on myspace ( ) called What else that is awesome. That must be pretty new because I dont recognize from the album, or maybe my memory is bad?
Steve: No, that is a new song. we have some really cool songs on deck, so we will see how they turn out once we get them recorded.

You have a very good style if youll ask me. Straightforward rock with great melodic melodies and even a fine twist of powerpop in it. What bands have inspired you?
Steve: Well Jeff is the primary song writer, so i cant speak for him, but ive been inspired by everything from Pantera-Robert Johnson. i love the oldies, beatles, stones, zeppelin, ac/dc, muddy waters, etc. i cant even begin to name them all so ill just stop there.

And what do you think of the business today. The new trend seems to be 80s inspired rock and even some British influences. Do you like this new kind of rock?
Steve: as long as someone likes it, even if its just the guy that wrote it, its cool with me. i dont like how the industry fits everything into a category, its bullshit. No one takes a band anymore and lets them grow into something unique. the only way that happens, is if you grow it yourself. BUT when you reach that point, thats when the labels will step in and try to lock you in. a band gains more respect when they do it themselves.

How looks the future for Automatic Black? What can we expect from you in a year or so?
Steve: AB probably wont exist, but there might be some reincarnation of it somewhere.

Thanks for your time Steve and continue the good work!
Steve: thanks.