There are so many books with stories about Rock, musicians and bands, in most cases bringing the author´s view of some event or a legend. But Michael Toney decided to innovate elaborating a book filled of complete and detailed interviews with Hard Rock and Heavy Metal personalities. The book “Tales From the Stage” which presents 15 interviewees like Bruce Kulick, Eddie Trunk, Ron Keel, Oz Fox, Chris Holmes and others, shows at each interview from simple basic information to more controversial subjects of each interviewee. Enlightening details come out naturally, demystifying some old stories from the Hard´n´Heavy scene.
ROCK EXPRESS had the opportunity to interview the author joking a little, following the book’s style of questions.
By Edu Lawless
Rock Express – When was your birthday?
RE – The city you were raised in and where you living now?
MT – Raised in Romeo, Michigan. I now reside in Henderson, Nevada just a mile or so from the Las Vegas city limits.
RE – Did you graduate high school?
MT – Yes, in 1985.
RE – Marital status?
MT – Divorced, in a relationship.
RE – Kids?
MT – No
RE – When did you first realize that you had love for rock music?
MT – I remember hearing KISS Alive! in 1977. I was in 4th grade, but really connected with the music. To this day I’m not sure that a better “live” album has been produced. I still enjoy listening to that one.
RE – First concert that did you see alive?
MT – I saw Mötley Crüe open for Ozzy in 1984. It was intense as Crüe was just starting to get big, and Jake E. Lee was playing with Ozzy. I went to see Ozzy, but Jake had me memorized. I still consider him the most underrated guitar player from the that era.
RE – Now, after kidding you with same questions of your book, tell us: how did you get the idea of “Tales From the Stage”?
MT – I had co-authored a similar book in 2007, but it was built around Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), called “Tales from the Cage“. I always wanted to do a book on the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal movement, but just didn’t have the time. Then in late 2011, I lost my job. That made it an easy decision for me to do the book. I knew that I would have some time on my hands, so I jumped in with both feet and never turned back.
RE – Before you starting your project you were manager of Hard Rock Hotel at Las Vegas. That was the way that you found to know the Rock Stars and influents people in the music scene? How did it help you to build the Project?
MT – In the 8th grade I started playing drums. Two years after that I was in a band that gigged regularly, so my love for the music was decades in the making. When I got the job at the Hard Rock, it fit like a glove! I wasn’t directly involved with the bands that played there, but you couldn’t help being involved with them at times. Obviously the music, and the scene, filled the air there. It certainly added to my music experiences working there.
RE – The book is totally clean of any personal opinion or introduction from you to each interview. The first questions are same to everyone. Why did you choose this concept to make the book? Did you want bring a real person of each one instead of rock star character?
MT – That is totally what I was shooting for. It was important to me that and for the reader connect with the music insider from the start. So, the first few questions of each interview are just like you asked me above. It just gives you a feel for the basics, and starts building that foundation of the “relationship” with the person that you’re reading about. Regarding my opinion, I didn’t feel that it was relevant. The entire book is just Q&A, but very in-depth.
RE – You got many histories based at rumors, demystifying histories of Rock. Which was the big one for you and which was the big one by the feedback of the readers?
MT – That is a great question, and one that no one has asked me yet. There are a bunch of those. Too many to mention, but here are two; I asked Bruce Kulick who his boss was in Kiss? I think we all knew the answer, but it was great to here him confirm our beliefs. Also, I asked Herman Rarebell from the Scorpions about Don Dokken performing on their album, Blackout. He set the record straight for everyone. The fans of the book love the Chris Holmes interview. He gets into detail regarding his hate for Blackie, the money he made in W.A.S.P., drug use, and an array of things. He was very interesting, insightful, and genuine in his interview.
RE – In the book I could see some wild guys show us other side, seems totally different of that fans ever figure it out! During the interviews did you feel everything that they told you were true?
MT – I did. All of the rock pros were researched for days prior to the actual interview. I think that once we were 2 minutes into the interview, they could tell that I took the project very seriously. I felt that everyone was very honest and open with me.
RE – They were 15 interviews. How was the great achievement for you? Why?
MT – Well, I think that the content of the book is amazing. There are other books of interviews out there, but none that include such in-depth interviews-that are so fresh. So, I am really proud of the content, but the greatest achievement was coming up with the concept the last week of December, and having the finished product in my hands five months later. If I would have used a publisher for this book, it would have taken close to 18 months. Because I chose to self publish the book, I controlled the timeline. This was important to me, as I wanted the interview to be fresh as possible. There were a lot of 80 hour work weeks, but we got it done, and it came out awesome!
RE – Who do you’d like interviewed and didn’t get it yet?
MT – There were several. People are afraid to jump on a project that has no track record. I understand that, so I was shot down by several guys. Keep in mind, I had to totally be upfront with them. I told them that I would be asking very personal questions, and that scared quite a few of them. Michael Anthony, Bobby Blotzer, and Michael Wilton for starters. Jake E Lee would be the ultimate, but he doesn’t give many interviews.
RE – Did you have any disagreement of someone that you searched for and receive ‘no’ as answer to interview?
MT – Everyone was cool, but I did have one person back out. I had emailed him dozens of times, and finally set a date and time for the interview. I researched him and his band for days. We had a great interview, and I was excited for people to read it. That night he sent me an email. The email is on the back cover of the book. That’s all I’ll say!
RE – Did you have some question that the interviewed refuse to answer or maybe seems afraid with you because you into a minefield?
MT – No! Every person answered every question that I threw at them. I was a little shocked, but that is why the book so good!
RE – By the other side, there’s someone that you felt that was relieved in vent some stories?
MT – I think that Chris Holmes enjoyed airing some of his dirty laundry. Again, he really went into detail with everything we discussed….and we discussed everything!
RE – “Tales From the Stage” is named as Volume I. So, I think that you have project to release a new publish in the future. Are you working it already? Who the readers can to expect see in the pages of the next Volume?
MT – It’s much too early to tell, but we will start providing that information on our Facebook page and Twitter account in January.
RE – How long you pretend release the next one?
MT – I am anticipating that it will be out in August 2013.
RE – Right now, just a little more revenge for your interviewers… What was the first item you bought from your first big payday with this book?
MT – I’ll let you know when it happens!!!
RE – When was the last time you were blown away by a band’s live performance?
MT – Since doing the book, Jeff Duncan has become a friend. His band DC4 visited Las Vegas recently, and blew me away. Those guys rock!
RE – The best rock album ever produced?
MT – I prefer less mainstream stuff, so I’ll say Symbol of Salvation by Armored Saint. Powerslave by Iron Maiden would be my more commercial answer.
RE – Tell us your story of craziest sex party.
MT – No real great stories here!
RE – Tell us your worst sex story that you had.
MT – You know what freaks me out is when a when a woman doesn’t clean up properly after taking a #2! That has happened once or twice a few years back, and it’s never a good experience!
RE – What type of car do you drive?
MT – I have two. A Toyota 4 Runner, and an Acura NSX.
RE – Who do you listen to now? Who are you listening to in your car?
MT – I’m listening to DC4, Electric Ministry right now. In my car I’m listening to Accept, Stalingrad.
RE – Who is the best band ever?
MT – Wow. I really loved Badlands in the early 90s. But, it’s hard to argue with Iron Maiden. They have been so good for so long.
RE – If it were a simple process would you have any of your tattoos removed?
MT – I don’t have a single that!
RE – Right now, after kidding you one more time, let your message to everyone that want contact you and want buy “Tales From the Stages”.
MT – Our website is awesome. (www.talesfromthestage.com) You can read over a dozen excerpts from the book, watch video interviews, and read many different reviews of the book. That is the only place to purchase the book, until January 2013. We also offer an eBook for $12.95. No shipping charges. Many of our international customers choose to go that route to save on shipping charges.
For more informations about the Book “Tales From the Stage” check it out www.talesfromthestage.com