Blessed By A Broken Heart, the 80’s glam rock metalcore masters of face melting, head banging, big hair and awesome clothes are back. Having stolen the lime light in 2008 with their album Pedal To The Metal, the boys have returned from countless hours on the road, a few new members but with the same solid work ethic –Doing it for the rock. I must admit, entering this interview I was unsure, would I be interviewing a modern day Van Halen, or Synyster Gates stuck in the past? But no, my friends, Shred Sean, the man on the axe in the small crowd that makes BBABH was neither, Shred Sean was, well, Shred Sean – a new breed of rock star.
Being stuck here on our little island far, far away from the lands of monstrous tours and amazing pub shows, the past few years of BBABH’s career have been almost totally hidden from Australians albeit for the Facebook updates. We knew they’d been giging hard, we see all the amazing photos and great reviews as heart breaking as it is, but I asked Sean to shred (get it?) some light on what else the lads had been scheming. “The main focus for the past few years has been really the new record, a new record deal. We’ve been writing heaps of news songs and all that but we also left Century Media [Records] and we’d been talking to a number of labels, sort of narrowing down the best deal, heaps of back and forth litigation between their lawyers and our lawyers which took so much time, and you know, that whole thing too almost a year!” I thought I’d push this one, and asked Sean if the reason this was such a time consuming process was because of music industry political red tape or were they struggling to find a deal that suited them, “We were struggling to try not to get screwed. No record labels are in the business of doing anything unless there’s a deal, so we’d try and meet in the middle, but you know, you’re always going to get fucked in a contract its just whether or not they’re going to use lube’. Potentially the most effective way to explain record deals, Sean continued “Ha ha, I’m not sure if I can say that in an interview” Though it was too late.
It’s not all lawyers and red tape and corporate rape for the hybrid metal band who have graced our shores only one spectacular time. A legendary tour that saw BBABH concrete themselves in our hearts and built a strong fan base here, upon telling Sean that people STILL talk about that tour here, he gave us some insight from their perspective “It was so much fun coming to Australia, the fans are great, the people are really good, you know, people. There was a bunch of cool fans and some many people came to the shows” Of course those who remember the tour will recall the shows in Tasmania, potentially the event of the century for them. Now chatting about tours, I asked Sean what his favorite show was out of the squillions they’ve played, holding my breath to her ‘Australia’ but alas, “I’d have to say it was in Tokyo Japan, we played a festival called Loud Park Festival, I was opening Judas Priest, Megadeth, Slayer, Rob Zombie, Lynch Mob, Steel Panther, umm, couple of others too, anyway it was this HUGE festival for like 15,000 people, that was probably the best show we’ve played. I dunno, we’ve played so many shows…each tour has its own little thing that I like about it, but some tours are just not good at all…some are just totally shit ha ha” I couldn’t just leave that one, I had to ask, what where some of the totally shit tours? “Probably Scream The Prayer was my least favorite tour…its like super long, really long drives, once you get to middle America there’s no way around it, you just have to keep driving through nothing” Reminding Sean of an incident I once saw unfold via Facebook of their tour bus breaking down his voice jumped “Oh yeah! That was Scream The Prayer! That was in Texas! Its so fucked, plus you have to load into the shows at like 11am, you drive ALL night and as soon as you get to the city, oh man, its like 110 degrees and you bus explodes. I guess that’s why it’s on the shit list”.
Tour buses dramas aside, the band has also had some structural problems. Dealing with many line up shifts and changes I asked Sean what its like playing with new people in the band, and conversely, what its like not playing with old people band members. “Joel [Sauvé] had to leave because he got a wife and he’s now a father and has to take care of that, so he can’t tour. We all understood that, no hard feelings he had to do what he had to do. We had known Sam [Ryder] for a number of years from playing shows in the UK, he really liked Blessed and after seeing him live when his band opened for us, hearing his amazing vocal range and his skill as a rhythm guitar he was on the top of our list after Joel left” So essentially, they had already been on tour with their new band members before they joined the band, so surely it was like another day at the office for everyone. “We’ve already done two tours with Sam, so yea…Rex [Krueger] on the other hand left the band for financial reasons, we didn’t replace him straight away because the one thing that can be done digitally is keyboard, its already a digital thing so it translates ok, drums would NOT be ok digitally or lead guitar. We eventually want to get a new keyboard player but we’ve been so busy writing for the new record and with the record deal and all that, I’m sure its something we will work out but right now digital keyboard tracks don’t eat food, don’t take up a seat on the bus and don’t cost plane tickets”
As I mentioned before, Blessed have such a strong fan base in Australia, but it was like this in every country they’ve toured in. Being super present on their social network sites and replying to their fans personally, I asked Sean if he thought that was the secret to their success. “I think so, I mean, I hang out with the fans, sometimes I drink beers in the parking lot with them ha ha, I try to be as cool as possible, well, its not like I try to be, but you know, fans are important to me. I remember what it was like as a kid, if someone really likes my guitar playing – I was that guy! I know where they’re coming from cos I was that dude once, the pleasure is all mine too, if you’re a cool dude I’m stoked to hang out with you! We talk to the fans on Facebook, we really take effort to write back, we don’t get everything but we get a lot of them” I took this chance to tell Sean of the one occasion I posted on their fanpage and got a response “Yea dude! We all have our own Facebook accounts, you may not get a full-page reply but at least a “yo dude whats up” you know? It’s tough out there you know, gotta do what you can!” It really seems to be paying off for the band that is loved to no end by their fans.
With the conversation coming to a close we got to business and discussed the new album, what can we expect? “We’re really looking forward to playing the new record for you guys, I think the sound is awesome, the new line up is tight, the new songs are taking a bit of a different direction but its still Blessed, you know? It’s not a Pedal To The Metal 2.0. Some of the more tongue and cheek 80’s cheesy has been dropped, it’s a little more serious, but still feel good and fun. The musicianship is definitely upped a notch, there’s a lot more writing from me, its entirely different writes but it still has the same vibe.” Having already released Death Wish and Forever, the first two singles from the record the band has revealed that they are, indeed taking the a more mature, technical and professional road. “All around I’m a lot more happy with the guitar playing, I feel it reflects me as a guitarist a lot more.” Sean then admitted once we discussed the live translation of the songs “I’m going to need to practice some more!”
It was now time to wrap things up, and Sean put it nicely “We can’t wait to come down and rock out with you guys!” Revealing nothing about their plans for Australia, I guess we will have to wait, though it will be worth it. Oh yea!