Exclusive Interview with Brent Muscat
In the last year, Brent Muscat has abandoned the wreckage of Faster Pussycat and escaped the once lush paradise of the Sunset Strip for the glam of Las Vegas. Here, in the sleaze and sand, Brent blazes his own trail through this neon jungle with just a guitar and a fist full of rock n’ roll. Brent now plays with the Sin City Sinners, a rock n’ roll chameleon dedicated to bringing the rock n' roll party to the Las Vegas city limits and providing Go-Go dancers with an occasion to ply their trade.
The Sin City Sinners play your favorite rock n’ roll songs, and a few of their own with help from some awesome guest stars. The revolving door of guest musicians, inebriated tourists and their local following is reminiscent of season three of The Love Boat, except that Capt. Stubing wore white pants and he didn’t trade licks with George Lynch at the Divebar. The Sin City Sinners are Brent Muscat (duh…), Todd Kerns (guitar, vocals), D. (bass, vocals), and Rob Cournoyer (drums).
Blogs N’ Roses finally caught up with Brent at Wasted Space in the Hard Rock Casino. The Sin City Sinners were playing the Foo Fighters afterparty, so I’d have to squire two overzealous strippers to gain free entry into this hipster stronghold. I couldn’t afford the strippers, but sometimes the BNR crew can still turn the tables on a picky doorman. I was on the list, so I cheated this propagator of Social Darwinism and interviewed the former Faster Pussycat guitarist in the bastion of rock n’ roll chic.
We grilled Brent with questions of great political and social import and discussed the possibility of a Faster Pussycat reunion, Rambo’s chances in a brawl with The Predator and the ubiquitous and all-conquering A-Team question. The interview took place back stage, so the peanut gallery also assisted.
All photos courtesy of Kevin Olson from KO Photo.
BNR: My first exposure to Faster Pussycat was from Decline of the Western Civilization Part II, where you guys were at the Cat House. How does the Cat House in the 80's compare to playing around Vegas?
Brent: The closest thing would be maybe this place, Wasted Space. When I started playing with this band, I wanted to create a scene more than anything and I wanted it to be similar to the Cat House where all the people came, everyone knew each other, everybody had a good time, you know..., girls were looking hot. It was the place to be. And so far I've been really happy with what we've done and at the same time I've been able to help other bands open. The whole thing for me to start with was not about the money, it was just that Las Vegas didn't have a really healthy scene or community. It's different than it was back then but I would say the closest you're going to get to the Cat House is if you come to a Sin City Sinners show.
BNR: A little less debauched than it was back then?
Brent: Girls were a little...well actually, here the girls at Wasted Space dress pretty nice. Well, yeah, this place is probably most similar. But it was a different time, maybe because I was younger. I was nineteen or twenty. It was a lot of fun.
BNR: The Sin City Sinners formed after the Faster Pussycat tug-o-war ended, about how long ago was that and it was you that started the band, right?
Brent: I had Todd, our singer, who was the guitar player in my version of Faster Pussycat, and I played with another guy named Curt who lives here in town and I had two other original members of Faster Pussycat. We went to Europe and Todd was so good I just thought I've got to start a band with this guy when we come home. And that's kind of how Sin City Sinners started. I played with D. in different bands here in town and a band called the Underground Rebels. When we came home off tour, my original singer from Faster Pussycat freaked out that I was doing a version, and he hired an attorney. If he would have called me I just would have said "I'm done with it." All I wanted to do was go and do a 20th anniversary. I wanted to show people that it shouldn't sound like this goth thing he's doing, this is how it should sound.
BNR: Yeah, the 80's sound, right?
Brent: Yeah, and that's all I did and we went to Europe. That's all I wanted to do anyways. So he could have saved a lot of money just calling me. But he's such an asshole, of course he had to get an attorney. So I was done with it. So, I'm like, I've got an attorney here and I said, "Tell his attorney, he can have it, I'm done with it." It's worthless anyways now. I'm making better money playing three days a week here in Las Vegas, than if I had to go on the road in a van or whatever they're doing.
BNR: Yeah, and you get to sleep at home at night.
Brent: I get to sleep at home at night. They're playing seven days a week, sometimes two shows a day and I know they're not making money. Even Taime. He's probably keeping all the money himself and I'm probably making better money and I get to do something fun, play with guys who aren't on drugs. And cool guys, really nice guys. These guys are the best musician's I've ever played with. I've been a touring member of L.A. Guns, and don't get me wrong, I LOVE L.A. Guns. I was an original member of Faster Pussycat for pretty much the whole time, you know, all the important times. This is the best band I've ever played with, chemistry wise. And technically these guys just blow me away.
BNR: You're also a transplant in Las Vegas, how does a skinny white guy in tight pants navigate this tornado of pimps and hookers and UFC fighters and degenerates?
Brent: Make friends with me. Come to my shows. At least when we play the Divebar, it's kind of a community. So, if you come to the Divebar and you come here you see some of the same people. It’s not so much pimps and hookers and just the fake thing. I try to make it a little more real. When we do our show on the strip, it's a little more geared to that Vegas thing and tourists.
BNR: I saw that at Diablo's, it was a little more touristy with that crazy divorce party.
Brent: Yeah, so we do three different shows. I would say this and the Divebar are more our local community shows and when we play on the strip it's geared to the tourist thing. When I first moved here I didn't know anybody. I'd go out and I met some of these guys by seeing them play at some of the different places around town. I think it's about going out and just introducing yourself and being part of it.
BNR: Who has been your all time favorite guest who has played with the Sin City Sinners so far?
Brent: I liked Sammi Yaffa, because I was a huge Hanoi Rocks fan and now he's a member of the New York Dolls. So for me that's like, WOW. Cheetah Chrome from the Dead Boys, 'cause I grew up with a lot of punk stuff. So anytime you have an old school, legendary punk guy, it's pretty incredible. George Lynch the other night was incredible.
BNR: And it was funny watching (the show with George Lynch) because whenever he played a solo I'd look at his hands and I could see the band was standing there watching him too.
Brent: We were just watching him; me, Todd and D. were all just watching him.
Todd: (re-enacts watching Lynch's fingers) I was like, "oh shit, I'm in the middle of a show!" He can rock out.
Brent: Everybody we have is fun because they're different. We've had everything from Randy Piper from W.A.S.P....
Todd: ...Roxy from the Rock of Love show...
Brent: You know, porn stars, we've had Ron Jeremy.
Todd: And Randy West sings! He's singing tonight!
Brent: Randy West! We've had everything from super heavy, like Randy Piper of W.A.S.P., to something real poppy like Ian Mitchell of the Bay City Rollers. Or we go real punk to heavy metal. The whole thing is a dream come true. It can't get better for me. I can't imagine anything better than what I'm doing now.
BNR: You're trapped in a casino elevator with a guitar, a cowboy hat and a tambourine. Would you rather be trapped with Tom Jones, Wayne Newton, Elvis or Liberace?
Brent: Elvis. I know a couple Elvis songs; at least I could jam some songs with him.
BNR: That's probably what I'd go with. I'm not sure if I'd want to be in the elevator with Liberace with the hot pants. That would be a little uncomfortable.
BNR: You mentioned the Underground Rebels earlier, what is that status of that project?
Brent: (to band) What's the status on the Underground Rebels?
D.: We're just waiting to hear back from the record label that's standing behind us. Last I heard they were putting up a website. We signed the rights for them to use our music on radio and TV and stuff. That's all we've heard and that was three months ago.
Brent: It's hard, especially nowadays with record sales. It's hard with record companies. I guess they won some international contest, which is awesome. Two of the guys from the Underground Rebels are right here, Todd and D. I was a member for a while but I then just wanted to do my own thing, like this.
BNR: If you were a character from The A-Team, who would it be and why?
Brent: Wasn't there a guy named Face? What did he do?
BNR: He was the clean-cut front man.
Brent: I kinda liked him. He was smooth talking. He sort of orchestrated a lot of the guys. I liked that.
BNR: We've probably asked that ten times and nine out of ten people go with Face.
Brent: Who was the crazy one?
Brent: I liked him too. I would say first Face and then Murdock, I liked his craziness. But I liked Face, he seemed like someone that was smart, sophisticated and was someone to look up to.
BNR: What is the strangest or worst request you have ever gotten from a fan in Las Vegas?
Brent: Hey, what's the worst request we got at Diablo's?
Todd: That Outfield song. The Outfield song that nobody knows but everyone can sing. How's it go? Josie's on a vacation far away.
Brent: I like that one! But I say the worst one though.
Todd: Worse than The Outfield?!
Brent: Well worse. Songs that everyone goes, "That sucks!"
Todd: It's called Faster Pussycat!
Brent: I don't like the Rush ones, so for me it would have been the Rush songs.
Todd: The ones that kill me are when they're like, Madonna or something.
BNR: Like something you can't even play?
Brent: We could!
BNR: But ones that you don't know.
Brent: No! They know it, too!
Todd: But it's like, why would you go to a rock bar with a bunch of rock dudes and, "let's make them play Cyndi Lauper or Friends in Low Places?"
D.: (imitating inebriated tourist) "Can you guys do that?"
Todd: Yeah, and "Ride a Cowboy." (Proceeds to sing song in fake country voice while pretending to ride a horse.)
Brent: But the scary thing is that we probably could play it.
Todd: Yeah, it's like if we kind of know our way through a couple of chords, we can figure it out.
BNR: When you have guest, do you ever practice with them before the show?
Brent: Jason (the Sin City Sinners' manager) will be in touch with them and we pick a group of songs. A lot of people have a guest and then they have the guest come and play covers. If you're going to have a guest, let's play the guest's original music.
BNR: Like Lynch was playing Dokken and Lynch Mob.
Brent: Yeah, why bring him and have him play the same crap? There are bands in L.A. that bring guests up there in the Cat Club, but they go and play Stones covers or something. If you've got George Lynch, play some Dokken! We learn the songs and they come in to sound check that day and we go over the songs. We do the sound check and rehearse them. So at least we can hear how it sounds, so if we're playing it wrong, they get a chance to hear us doing it before the show.
BNR: So I guess you guys jammed with Lynch beforehand? At the show it almost looked like he suddenly arrived and picked up his guitar.
Brent: He actually came to sound check, and we did everything at sound check with him. That's what I love about these guys. The old bands I’ve played with, none of the guys... I hate to say it, but none of those guys are good enough musicians where I can say, "Learn Dokken, learn this song." These guys are so far superior, that I just say, "OK, we're learning these songs," and they've got it. It's a challenge for me, too. I have to struggle.
BNR: That was a lot of Dokken songs in a week...
Brent: It wasn't even a week; I had like three days to learn it. So, it's a lot, but it's good for me because I think it makes me a better musician.
BNR: When I saw you at Diablo's, I got a little worried because you guys played "867-5309", and that's always been my second favorite bathroom graffiti song. Everyone's like, "oh, that song," but I'm like, no! There's a better one out there. It's Faster Pussycat's "Bathroom Wall." I was like, are they going to play it? And you guys finally did play it and it was like a dream come true. Have you guys ever played them back to back just for the novelty?
Brent: (to band) Could we segue Bathroom Wall to "got your number" and like, "Jenny, Jenny got your number?"
Jason: Todd did it before...
Todd: We did it back to back or something.
Jason: We did it back to back and he said something about the number on the bathroom wall was 867-5309.
Brent: Or in "Bathroom Wall" we could say "dial eight six seven five three oh ni-ee-yine, eight six seven five three..." We could do it like that.
BNR: For Faster Pussycat, are you still open to any future reunions? You've said in a couple of interviews that it's pretty much dead to you.
Brent: Reunions? I'll quote Taime. "There's a better chance of people in hell getting ice water." Yeah, a snowball's chance in hell. Like I said, why would I? I've got better musicians now..., seriously. They're not on drugs and I'm having more fun. Last time I played with Faster Pussycat I really had a miserable time on stage because most of the set is Newlydeads songs. I got nothing against Newlydeads songs but if you're going to charge people money...
BNR: Yeah, it's the Faster Pussycat name, but it's not like it seems.
Brent: People are gonna pay ten bucks and they come and you get two Faster Pussycat songs, it's a rip-off! Or three or four? And you get ten Newlydeads songs? It's like, call it Newlydeads then. The reason they don't, it's because they know Newlydeads can't get one person in the audience. So I was miserable, but you know, things work out. I was really mad at them but now it's more like I'm so over it. I feel sorry for those guys. I'm doing my own thing and I've got so much more in my life than those guys. I could say materialistically, I'm getting paid, I've got houses here, I've got a baby, I've got a wife. But it's more than, money or that or materialistic things. I've got good friends, guys I can count on that aren't on drugs. So for me, I'm not going to go out on tour with any idiots and have them coming across borders on tour bringing over drugs and putting my life in jeopardy, putting my houses in jeopardy.
BNR: Wasn't it your drummer that tried to ship heroin?
Brent: And you think those guys would learn though, you know what I mean. Now, it's 2008 and I believe those guys are still doing the same kind of crap.
BNR: It's just good when you rehash it on VH1, but when you're there, crossing the border, it's different.
Brent: Yeah, but I don't want to do it now! I'm not twenty. If I was twenty and I had no wife, no kids, no houses, nothing to lose...who gives a crap? Party, party, party. But now it's like, I don't want to do blow. A guy my age, I'm not that old, I'm right around forty, but you could have a heart attack just waking up in the morning and even if you live a healthy life. Why do I want to go out...I don't want to do it every night with those guys. Not only that, Taime’s the only original member. There's no way I'd go with a bunch of fake members, it wouldn't be worth it to me. If Taime called me and said, "You know what, I'm sorry I didn't call you when you had cancer and I'm sorry for being an asshole," then I could say "hey, well I'm sorry too for doing my version of Faster Pussycat." If we could talk and he said we were going to get all the original members and he said, "I'm totally clean off drugs...," maybe I would consider it. As it is now, it's like he says, people in hell want ice water. And now I feel bad. Now I feel sorry for him. He's older than me and they're living their life one day at a time. One day he's going to wake up, he's fifty years old and he's going to go, "what the hell did I do with my life?" "I've got nothing to show except a bunch of fake friends hanging out with me to milk me for my drugs or what little fame I have left."
BNR: Did you have any involvement getting "Bathroom Wall" onto Guitar Hero II, or was that basically the record company?
Brent: That's the record company, they do that.
BNR: Have you noticed any more notoriety recently? There are a lot of guys who are thirteen years old and had probably never heard of Faster Pussycat and now they know the band.
Brent: Yeah, it's good when Todd can say "this song is on Guitar Hero II." It's pretty cool. For me though, I don't think about Faster Pussycat that much anymore. Even when I play "Bathroom Wall" now, I think of it as another one of the Sin City Sinner's songs. Like I said, I've grown up. I think I've grown as a musician and I've got better guys I play with now. It's nice I did it. It's part of my history. I could always say I was part of the real Faster Pussycat, I was an original member. To tell you the truth now, I don't like to be associated with the new band anymore. I don't even think about it that much anymore.
BNR: And finally, the most important question of the night. Could Rambo beat Predator?
Brent: Rambo!? Probably. Didn't he already fight him somewhere and beat him? Rambo would set some crazy traps for him and trap him. If Schwarzenegger could beat him, then definitely Rambo could beat him. I think Rambo could beat Schwarzenegger, hands down, whether it's in Vietnam or Rocky fighting in the ring. So definitely he could beat the Predator.
This is the only non-semi-pornographic picture we had of ladies dancing with the band, but at least Ed Sullivan would be happy with this waist-up shot. You can catch Brent in action with the Sin City Sinners three nights a week in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. They play Tuesday nights at the Divebar, Thursday nights at Carey Hart’s Wasted Space in the Hard Rock and Friday nights at Diablo’s at the Monte Carlo, right on the strip. Check them out on your next escape from whatever bourgeois hell hole is stamped on your driver’s license. Besides, you can’t enjoy the air of cheap sex and sleazy rock n’ roll at “Stomp Out Loud," now can you?
http://www.myspace.com/brentmuscat or check out the Sin City Sinners Here
Special thanks also goes to Annette for lending a turbocharged German sports car to a guy with 8 points on his license so he could drive to the Divebar.