Interview: Tony West from Blacklist Union

I had a chance to sit down with Tony West, vocalist/mastermind behind Blacklist Union and here’s what he had to say:

Hey Tony, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this for us. How are you doing today?

Sure! Doing great!

Well, first of all, I have to congratulate you on a job well done with the new Blacklist Union album, “Til Death Do Us Part”. What was the inspiration behind that title, if you don’t mind discussing it?

I think, you know, I’ve been through a lot of stuff in my life, people dying and people who I love just… suddenly splitting, just reality. It’s basically just about making every moment count. At the same time, it means uh… “Till Death Do Us Part” used to be an honor or an honor kind of term, y’know? When my grandparents were alive, they took it to heart. Now that I’m an adult or whatever, y’know, people just say it and they don’t stick by it. Ya know what I mean? People… for the most part don’t have the integrity to keep their word anymore and it’s just kinda pokin’ fun at that as well.

What was the writing process like for the record and who did you work with?

“Diggin’ 4 Gold”, I wrote with Todd Youth who played with Danzig and D Generation. Most of the songs were written with Anthony Valle, y’know, he was in CrazyTown. Ya know, we basically just wrote the songs together. I’d just tell him what direction I was going to and he’d come up with the music. I came up with the melodies and the lyrics.

I have to admit, the title, “The Lick Kitty Split Theme Song” cracked me up when I saw it on the back cover, I have to know, what brought on the decision to use that title?

Haha, Well.. I’m a big fan of the vagina. So, uh, it’s kind of about that. There aren’t too many songs that kind of blatantly discuss certain things about that. But, ya know, I just thought it was a clever, fun title.

What was your favorite song to write and record?

I’m emotionally attached to every song but, uh, I can tell you one of my favorite songs to sing is “Game Over”. I really like thatbecause you’ve really gotta be on top of your game and in a good state of mind to eliver that song vocally, y’know, physically.

One of my favorite tracks on the album is “Same Ol’ Pressure”, what was the inspiration behind that song?

I mean… the lyrics pretty much sum it up. “Same Ol’ Pressure”, just the same old, every day… y’know, I’m in LA so… the same old, every day nonsense in LA that you have to endure and walk through in order to succeed in what you wanna do. So, there’s plenty o’ haters in Los Angeles and there’s people that, y’know, rather than support you, kind of give you a positive feedback, it’s all negative and gossip and, y’know… hating. So it’s kind of about that.

You’ve done a lot of extensive touring, what has been your favorite tour and do you have a dream tour line-up?

Umm… I love touring period but, uh, I wouldn’t mind doing a Sixx: A.M., Buckcherry and Blacklist Union tour. That would be pretty good.

I have to agree, that would be an awesome tour!

What’s your favorite part about the tour lifestyle?

Um… y’know, I like traveling, I like stayin’ on the move. Y’know, I get cabin fever really quickly. Um… I’m a big fan of traveling and meeting people, the whole nine, y’know?

Social media is a crucial part of the music scene these days, tell me: Are you active on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc? What’s your favorite social media outlet?

I think social media is a necessary evil, but uh, I try not to do it myself. I have a manager that kinda handles that for us. I do get on there alot, y’know, communicate with fans and friends and stuff but at the same time I think social media, in a way, has killed live music because people… well, why ya gonna go out, y’know, pay for gas, pay for parking, pay to get into a club when you just have everything at your fingertips. You can be lazy, stay at home, listen to what you want, watch what you want. It’s kind of a double-edged sword, y’know?

I completely agree with you there.
Do you have any rituals you like to perform before touring or playing?

Not really, I do like to kinda chill before a show because it gets to be a lot when you got everybody coming up to you saying “Hey, man! This, that or the other”. I just need some time and space, at least an hour… I’d say about an hour before a show, where everything’s just kinda chill and relaxed. Y’know, AFTERWARDS is the time to say hello and all that.

Yeah, I agree. When everybody, ESPECIALLY newer fans, have had a chance to really see what you can do.

I guess that about wraps it up, I don’t want to take up too terribly much of your time. Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans, our readers and the general public?

Well, if you like real Rock N Roll, check out Blacklist Union. We’re not hard to find either, y’know. If you Google us, our Facebook, dot com, ReverbNation, it’s all on there. We’re pretty easy to find. I think, at this point, a lot of people KNOW our NAME, but a lot of people haven’t really listened to our music and, uh, I always say “The only rule is you have to love Rock N Roll” but if you order our CD and you don’t like it, y’know, we’ll give you your money back. That’s how sure we are that the Rock fan will love the Blacklist Union material.

I completely agree, I actually posted my review of the album yesterday. It received a 10/10

Oh, cool!

Where are you guys… you’re in Arizona?

No, I’m in Kansas.

Oh, Kansas! Is ZRock still around? Y’know of ZRock?

I’m not sure, I’m originally from Texas, I’ve only been here for about 6 months or so, haha.

What part of Texas?

Southeast Texas, Beaumont. I was real, real big into the local scene there, but I haven’t discovered very many bands in this area as of yet. KingShifter was a local band that just got signed to Pavement Entertainment, though!

Pavement’s kind of a harder, hardcore and metal type of label, isn’t it?

It kind of varies, but a lot of their bands would fit that description.

I’m into a lot of that stuff, man. Y’know, I grew up listening to Pantera and Slayer and… I love the first three Metallica records man. This is just me but, when Cliff Burton died, something in the band died with him, y’know? I try really hard to like what Metallica puts out but it’s just not like it. Nothing like the first three. When I was younger, I liked Anthrax, but Scott Ian ruined that for me. He’s such a dick, haha! Then, I was into a lot of hardcore, too. Cro-Mags, Murphy’s Law, Sick Of It All. I loved a lot of that. I grew up with a lot of Punk Rock, y’know, and that’s one thing you’ll hear in our music. It’s very, very Punk Rock influenced. There’s a lot of up-tempo stuff. But then, I’ve always loved the real rock stuff. I never liked the “cheese rock”. I like the real rock.. Guns N Roses, Warrior Soul, Mother Love Bone. Y’know, there’s so many bands, too, that didn’t make it past the point where they should have. Amazing bands that should have been bigger. Circus of Power is one from New York that was amazing but they didn’t get the recognition they deserved so… Y’know but that happens. It comes with the territory.

Once again, thank you so much for doing this, it has been an honor and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day!

Thank you, bro! You take care, man!