The Last Vegas - Go Listen To More Foghat, Fuckers!

By Jens Hellroute

If there's such a thing as the perfect hardrock album, midwesterners Last Vegas' "Lick'Em And Leave'Em" (Get Hip) is the strongest contender of the 21st century so far in my humble opinion. As previously strong rock acts are getting staler by the minute, Last Vegas' debut blasts through the ozone layer with 10 cocky r'n'r anthems as outrageously good as immortal classic records like "Let There Be Rock", "Cat Scratch Fever", "British Steel", "Let It Bleed", and "Black Rose". Performance-wise the youngsters also rip, as they proved this winter at Studenterhuset. There's no avantgarde r'n'r innovation going, just a mean lean perfection of that 70s hardrock sound. "You say cliché, I say classic" (Eddie Spaghetti), oh yes indeed! The weapons of ass destruction? Tanner (vox, bass), Adam Arling (guitar, vox), John Wator (guitar, vox) and caveman drummer Nathan Arling.

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Last Vegas history. I know 50% of the members hail from Rockford, IL, a midwestern city of a few celebs like Cheap Trick and Ginger Lynn? How that's compared to living in Chicago?

Nathan Arling: I am part of the 50% and I am proud to grown up in Rockford, IL. It's a working class factory town where I learned about a lot of good classic music. Chicagoans can think too much, and lose sight of good American Blues and Rock'n'Roll. And the Chicago suburbs, where most of the people in the city grew up, are one big strip mall, full of pop punk, emo, and a bunch of other music on MTV, I luckily never got into. Rockford gave me tough skin, and made me dream as a kid to get out, be in a rock n roll band, rather than staying there working in a factory or a lame job. And yeah, my first 10 concerts were Cheap Trick starting at about 6 years old.

WC: Your music differs a bit from the other artists on the more garagerock-ish Get Hip label?

NA: Yep, but the owner Gregg digs the rock. He grew up popping pills, listening to all sorts of records, smoking weed, and getting chicks in his van. He took a liking to us, and is a cool dude that supports the Rock. Garage rock these days get misrepresented, I think. To me, it is wild, fun music, played loud as hell, with lots of energy, not a two piece art band.

WC: To me, "Lick'em And Leave'em" is a 'purist' hardrock album done the exactly right way it ought to be, the production is just perfect.

NA: Thanks. When we recorded it, we went into the studio, and had fun. Most takes done in one or two times through. Caught the live, fun energy.

WC: Musical influences; stuff like AC/DC and Ted Nugent?

NA: Yeah, all sorts of music. Blues, Jazz, Rock, Classical. Music that has passion and soul. I'm a big blues fan. Thinks that's what is missing in a lot of modern music, blues influence…

WC: "Do Me", "I Got What You Need" etc., your lyrics are mostly about getting laid and then getting rid of the chicks ("She Won't Go")? haha

NA: Yeah, playing and touring in a band, you learn, you piss off your chick a lot. So I guess your outlet is to write lyrics about it, when she dumps you for blowing her off for the band. haha.

WC: In 20 years from now when VH-1 do a 'Behind The Music' docu on the rise and fall of Last Vegas what'd you like to be remembered for?

Adam Arling: Going viciously independent at the height of commercial popularity. If we happen to get lucky and accidentally rise to the top on the existing commercial media treadmill, then use that influence to make a real difference, a change, illuminate the current state of commercial music and give it back to the people where it belongs. Let little rocker punker kids be influenced by real bands, not Ken & Barbies of the marketing dept. All that crap, plus it'd be nice to go down as having the world's largest, fires of hell, pyrotechnic stage show for all our fans on drugs.

WC: Craziest incident on the road or on the stage?

AA: Rock'n'Roll bands in general gravitate towards insanity, and we're saving all the good stuff for our tell-all book in a few years. I don't know... staying in Phoenix one night in some insane, puke-ridden Mexican's bedroom, smoking an ounce of weed with his mom right sleeping in the next room, with some heffer groupie naked demanding our ex-bassist do nasty things to her, and the Mexican guy shit himself? Or maybe waking up the next day on an hour of sleep and going to LA only to end up blacking out at the Rainbow with Nathan attacking CC Deville, then proceeding to Jumbo's Clown room eying at a 'hot' transvestite as she used a bullwhip and John smoked a cigarette out of her ass. Or perhaps every night on that suicide tour, or every night staying up til daylight in Spain, or touring with Urge Overkill or Bible of the Devil? Disturbing, aggressive self-destruction. God, there's so much shit that I can't even mention. Wait for the book. Or let us stay at your house.

WC: Best and worst band you've shared the stage with?

AA: Best, lately, I gotta go with DMBQ out of Tokyo, Japan. They literally blew our mind, it was the rawest, most groovin' shit I've seen in a while. Absolutely sick players and every performance ends in some type of smashed equipment in the most creative of manners. Worst? Anything that the fellow band described their sound as being 'Nu'. Go listen to more Foghat, fuckers!

WC: Have you met some of heroes and did they live up to what you expected?

AA: Yeah, we've met some heroes. Some cool: Jello Biafra, Dimebag & Vinnie Paul, Mike Watt, Rachel Bolan, Henry Rollins, Nash Kato, most are cool. Some not cool: Vince Neil or 'stars' who don't have time to talk to fans or is no longer a fan themself. How easily they forget they were that kid once.

WC: How do Euro audiences compared to Americans?

AA: Euro audiences rule. They compare to revved up US college audiences. Spain has the best audiences ever, hands down. American society sells overstimulation, so you have to get 'em young before they're brain-dead, or get to the country to the real wild folks, those are the troopers.

WC: Fave movie, book, drink, and drug?

John Wator: Movie: "Cool Hand Luke". Book: "On the Road" or band autobiographies. Drink: Cheap beer and the three J's, Jim beam, jack daniels, and Cuervo. Drug: sticky, stanky opium, downers.

WC: Been awhile since some teenager killed himself over rock'n'roll, is rock'n'roll losing its grip on pop culture?

JW: Sadly enough, I think the industry created its own vision of rock n roll out of what was available and made a death
grip on pop culture. That's why Lollapalooza was heralded as a rock festival even thought 95% of the bands were indie or pop music by most standards. Unfortunately mags like Rolling Stone have to come across as cutting edge every week and when there is nothing out there that has wide commercial appeal AND talent, they get some run of the mill garbage that in turn has to be used to sell the mag and all their record label sponsors. When real rock resurfaces in the mainstream, it will be made out to be so 'raw' or 'outrageous' when in fact it will be a really pure form of rock music that is out there right now, cause we're doing it and so are a lot of other bands that get looked over. But compared to the false crap that's getting exposed now, it will be a rock avalanche. People can see through a band that is faking their emotions, that's why 99% of popular 'rock' bands will never have more than one successful record. So much of their success is based on shtick or fashion that when it gets oversaturated, people are sick of it really quick. It doesn't really make sense...if had to grow up listening to Good Charlotte or My Chemical Romance I would have killed myself right away.

WC: Stupid question, but have you played in Vegas and what do people think of your name there?

JW: Never played in Vegas, I'm sure it would go over great if we could play in some crazy ass venue or club with all the guilty pleasures that make Vegas famous surrounding us, fire breathing strippers, etc.

WC: What's next in Last Vegas' plans of world domination?

JW: Get this new record out in the fall and start to tour like we always have, recklessly and relentlessly for a long time.

WC: Anything to add?

JW: I hope people can stand true to what they want out of their culture, it is not always easy. Don't fall in line with trendy shit if you don't believe in it. Find what makes you happy and gets your rocks off, that and don't watch TV, have lots of sex and come see us on tour when we come to Europe!! Rock on.