Apr 3, 2004

X-Factor (Warrior Soul) - Interview

By Bob Suehs

For those of you NOT in the know...X Factor was the guitarist for WARRIOR SOUL during their "Space Age Playboy's" era & X Factor played some pretty crazy stuff that is a mix of punk, pop, hard rock & it's really unique! X Factor has not really addressed the Warrior Soul stuff since his departure from the band & in this interview you'll get to find out why he left Warrior Soul, what he is currently up to & more! X Factor allowed me to hear 4 of his new songs & let me tell you..they are really good & really organic...when they are available for the masses you will NOT be disappointed!

Rock N Roll Experience: I've been listening to your new demo's & one of my favorites is "Written on the Walls"...will that song be more of a rock song when it is finished?

X Factor: Well it's funny you should say that actually, because I've been tinkering around with different verses of it & a couple of producers have been hearing it & people have discussed taking it along a, & I hate to say it, "Stairway To Heaven", Led Zeppelin, but that's an example of where some people have taken it & where some producers have thought about taking it & that vibe, but yeah, that one is probably more of rock. It's interesting, because I had no intention of giving these (demo) Cd's out to anybody...the whole thing was really just my references & the references for musicians & producers, but the funny thing is, people have been getting them & they sound like crap, & I know that they sound like crap, but I think that they illustrate something, but that's not really for me to say.

Rock N Roll Experience: Are you singing on these new songs as well?

X Factor: Yeah...I've been going at it with just me & an acoustic guitar & the people at Taylor & other people have been nice to me & they've given me nice guitars to use, so it's just been that..I've been going out there & I stripped down as much as you can. I took it out & I did some open mic's which were horrific & it was an absolute nightmare to go out there & nobody cares who you are & it's just a horrendous experience but you know what, it was amazing & I'm delighted that I did it. I had 2 keyboard players that I had been working with...one guy's name is Morter & he plays with the Boston Symphony & he is a very serious piano player & when I was in London I was working with him, & I've been working with a guy here in the states named Rob Hardin & I did the benefit for CBGB's & neither of those guys could do it so I said, you know what, I'll do it by myself, so kinda by default I ended up working by myself & now I must admit I am totally enjoying it...I should have possibly done this a long time ago. I had a band called Truth & that was technically a bit of a mindfield...it was bass guitar, drums, & turntables which I was doing..I was cropping in beats & guitar myself & vocals & it was really quite amazing & very, very difficult production & the productions were getting longer & longer & more difficult & we toured Europe & we did some great radio shows.

Rock N Roll Experience: Is the song "Contempt" off your demo influenced by Bob Dylan?

X Factor: It's funny, because Bob Dylan is probably more of an influence on the current musical atmosphere now then he may have had in the years gone by, I mean to me personally & the odd thing is that I don't really listen to Bob Dylan, but I guess there is an overtone of his essence & it must be in the air..maybe I'm just picking it up in the air, but it is odd that I don't really listen to Dylan much, but I have tremendous respect for his lyrics, I mean I have tremendous respect..like alot of his songs on record are not really my cup of tea, it's not really my bag, but lyrically you can't take it away.

Rock N Roll Experience: Have you kept in touch with Kory Clarke from Warrior Soul?

X Factor: Funny thing is, is that I saw Kory Clarke about 2 months ago for the first time in 10 years which is remarkable that I haven't seen him in that length of time & it was really, really funny, but we picked up very, very quickly & it wasn't awkward, it wasn't strange, it wasn't weird...he looks & sounds much the same & I can never anticipate what I'm gonna get...he's what he is & he hasn't changed that much...so it was nice to see him, it was lovely & I'll probably stay in touch with him from now on

Rock N Roll Experience: Would you work with Kory again musically?

X Factor: Funny you should say that, because we were discussing it that night & he's got a project that he is doing at the moment & he said maybe there is something here that you wanna do & he had an idea & said maybe there is something here that you wanna try & you should never say never..never say never & when I joined Warrior Soul I told Kory at the time, that the reason I was joining that band was because I think he's a world class vocalist & a world class performer & that is why I joined the band at the time. I don't know if the chemistry would be..alot of things have happened in the last 10 years you know, like musically I've gone off in many, many, many directions & even when I was in Warrior Soul I was already going to alot of clubs, I was kinda frequenting & hanging out with alot of DJ's & I was getting more into that world & I hate the word electronic, but I was getting more into the beat culture & so I guess for me, that was the beginning of the pulling away of that kind of material, although my time with Warrior Soul I am very proud of ..it was delightful, I had a great time, I look back on it with fondness.

Rock N Roll Experience: What caused the break-up or Warrior Soul?

X Factor: Well...as I said, musically, I was gravitating more towards, for instance, at night after shows, especially in Europe, I'd end up in some club somewhere & I got to meet alot of DJ's & I just felt like the rock n roll environment, other platform that it was at the time seemed a bit 2 dimensional & I wanted to try to bring something in a bit wider & alot more depth & it's no slight on Kory or Pete or anybody else...nothing about that, it's that just I wanted to open up my Musical tastes a bit more & there's some things that were said at the time..so I guess it's probably best left unsaid, you know what I mean, because I mean I love Kory, he's a tremendous guy & I'll just leave it at that, but the essence & the nebulous of why the band broke up really, in truthfulness was, on my part, I wanted to expand my musical horizons & bring in the essences of the beat culture that I was getting interested in at the time & I don't think Kory or the other guys were on that wave length so it wasn't really that difficult & I think Kory had different musical ideas which is quite common....I don't think it's an uncommon thing, I mean it would have been interesting to see what the next record would have been because I think Space Age Playboys is a good record...it's a nice little record, not amazing, but it would have been interesting to see where we would have gone. some things were indeed said but should be best left as private property between KC and I ...there were indeed a couple of VERY MAJOR issues, barriers that finally made me realize I could not continue and so I told Kory I was leaving.....it just might seem silly that I quit when it was obvious we had "it" even if we did have our musical differences it might have been worked out ...unfortunately I know it did not fully answer your question but the water that has gone under the bridge should best be left at sea now ...lest the tide washes it in....let's all move on...

Rock N Roll Experience: Are there any leftover songs that didn't make the Space Age Playboy's CD?

X Factor: Yeah...but off Odds & Ends & "New York City Girl" & "Punk Rock N Roll" which is & "5 Ways to the Gutter" which is really "I Wanna Get Some". There are a few songs that we did on my 8-track that I would have liked to seen on the record, & in all honesty I think that there was alot of energy on the original crappy sounding 8-tracks & we asked if we could just go ahead & release that & we possibly should have...the thing about demo's..it's hard to try to recreate what you already have created once before...there was an innocence & spontaneousness to it but I don't think we really got that energy on the record, although sonically it's far superior sound wise as a produced album but, I would have liked to have done another record after that but it just wasn't to be, I mean we were going in different directions & atleast we got something on record that we are proud of & I think I am at this point.

Rock N Roll Experience: How was the Warrior SOul tour?

X Factor: The tours were amazing actually..there was some dates in Europe where I think the band peaked...one week in particular was when we headlined the London Astoria & then the same week I think we sold that out, so we added the Camden Palace & at that point I felt that the band had really reached it's nebulous live..it was just firing at all cylinders & it was incredible & I believe that the band peaked right there! That is my opinion & the downside, when things started going downhill was about a couple of months after that.maybe 6 weeks even...we got a phone call & we were told that we had the Donnington gig..Monsters of Rock & it was tremendous, but we did a show at the Borderline the night before we played the Monsters of Rock...we did a show at the Borderline which is a small club in London that is kinda like CBGB's here in the states & that show was rockin! I mean it was blistering & I think we left it all on the stage there...the next day we went up to Donnington with Metallica & played to 100,000 people I think it was flat...I don't mean musically flat, but I just think alot of the energy was gone from the night before & that was it really, quite frankly & I think that was the turning point & that was the downside & when I walked off the stage & I was walking to my caravan at that point, for me personally, I knew that was it & it was over & I can't say why, but I got a feeling as I was walking from the stage with my guitar back to the dressing room...it just felt like it was over & it was that sudden. It was from the Borderline show which was the high point to literally the day after & you could tell...we peaked at the Borderline & it was over. What we probably should have done, had we had good management, was right after Donnington someone should have said look guys, you need to get away from each other, step back for a couple of months & take 5, chill out & see where you are..that is what we should have done in retrospect. Looking at it from where I am now that is what I wished we would have done because I think if Kory & I had worked on another record after SAP I think it really could have been quite something..I really believe that...I think our best work was unwritten & possibly his best lyrics from working with me were unwritten & I think some of my best riffs were not played yet.

Rock N Roll Experience: Who's idea was it to cover "Moonage Daydream" by David Bowie?

X Factor: That was Kory's idea...I thought it was brilliant, I loved it..that was a great idea & I remember going into a studio in Brooklyn & we just threw it together in literally an afternoon. It's been about 10 years since I've reached out to the Warrior Soul franchise, or even Kory & it hasn't been until recently that I felt like talking about all of that stuff, & now I wanna do live shows & who knows, when I play live I might even do a Warrior Soul song. I think one of the best songs Kory ever wrote was "Punk & Belligerent".. I think that is a brilliant song & I didn't write it, I had nothing to do with it, but I love playing it & I might give Kory some props & do it live with an acoustic guitar. My vocals & Kory's couldn't be more different because I have that classic British voice ha ha.

Rock N Roll Experience: When you begin touring, will it be just you & an acoustic guitar or will you have a complete band?

X Factor: Well, the funny thing is that I had originally intended..Matt Johnson who is the drummer who used to be with Jeff Buckley, he is now touring with Rufus Wainwright & Matt isa tremendous drummer...he & I recorded for a benefit album last year that was supposed to be used for moveon.org...& we recorded some stuff last year & he is a tremendous drummer & I was gonna work with him & there was an up-right bass player who plays cello bass & I was gonna get involved with him & he has done some tours with Radiohead & the piano player was a guy name Morter from London & that was kind of the set-up that I was looking at but the awful thing is that I picked up the acoustic guitar & I started playing these songs & I even took the TRUTH songs, which was a band after Warrior Soul, the TRUTH songs were very heavily produced & so up with guitars & turntables & keyboards & stripped them down to acoustic & the songs all of a sudden had air & wings, but also, people at SIR have been really nice to me & they have given me some nice riggs to use so I am looking at acoustic guitar with some really nice acoustic guitar sounds, I mean I'm really putting alot of effort & endeavor into the sound of the instrument, I mean quite frankly if you go to a show I mean how long could you sit & watch a guy play an acoustic guitar no matter how good he is, ya know? It's gonna get boring & it's that simple, so what I have to do is challenge myself & challenge the audience..that is what it is about..I've got to push myself & push the audience...push me into making it entertaining & push them into believing that this is really something that they can listen to & that is the challenge. There is a talk of a benefit being put on at Madison Square Garden in December for the Victims of Katrina & if I get on that, that would be..I would like to take a stage that size & try & push this over & convey it on a big stage...I want people to feel it & not just hear it.