SNAKEBITE WHISKY – A Talk With JAY R (Vocals)

Posted on June 11. 2019

Questionnaire by Jason Houston on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM


Jason: Now I understand that the band is based out of Brisbane, Austraila.  Is there much of a Rock scene there these days?

Jay R: Yeah there is a pretty healthy scene for rock and especially metal and it’s growing again and we always pull good crowds when we play hometown shows but for it to continue growing it really needs the mainstream media to get behind it.

The main problem is getting people to come out for the underground band shows in numbers. When the bigger international touring bands come through there are thousands of people going but only a tiny fraction of that attending local bands. How the fuck are people gonna discover their next favourite band if they don’t get out to shows.

 

Jason: I recently wrote up a review of your latest CD:  This Side OF Hell and in that review I mentioned how many people these days say that “Rock Is Dead” but because of Bands like Snake Bite Whiskey and The Dead Daisies I’m not so sure about that.  Do you believe that “Rock is Dead?”

Jay R: Fuck no! Rock is far from dead. We fucking hate that shit when people (especially old rock stars) who carry on about how Rock is dead. What a crock of shit! If you look at the U.K and Europe for instance there are tons of new bands releasing and touring and the scene there is really growing. Yeah it gets ignored by the mainstream media but it’s thriving without their fucking help.

Jason: In listening to your CD:  This Side Of Hell I heard a wide range of bands I grew up from Guns N Rose, Motley Crue, AC/DC/ , Rose Tattoo, Motorhead, The Ramones.  Were you guys at all influenced by any of these bands or are my ears playing tricks on me?

Jay R: Haha! You’re not wrong. That’s pretty much a lot of the bands we are influenced by plus some Thrash metal, outlaw country and blues. As individuals we all kinda have this common love of sleaze rock and then each guy has different more personal influences that have helped molf the overall sound of the band but at its core it’s just no compromise, non PC Rock N’ Roll.

 

Jason: I love the band’s name……Tell me the story behind the band’s name?

Jay R: There is a Whisky in Thailand that has dead snakes in it called Snake whisky and there’s a tequila equivalent in Mexico with dead cobras in it (which we had on tour in Tijuana) but yeah when you drink that stuff there’s always those thoughts going through your head about venom and drinking the corpse juices of a snake so there’s that element of danger and living on the edge and that pretty much sums us up so we went with it.

 

Jason: Who were some of the bands/Musicians who had the greatest influence on you all when you were growing up?

Jay R: Haha! You already mentioned most of them. We all kind of have those common bands that we love and have formed the bedrock for the sound like Motorhead, Guns N’ Roses, L.A Guns, Faster Pussycat, a lot of those late eighties sunset strip sleaze and then everyone has there individual influences like Aerosmith, Megadeth, Sex Pistols, Johnny Cash and the list goes on. It’s not just the music but also the style and attitude that has influenced us. Remember when bands did what they wanted and didn’t care about trends or offending anyone? Yeah! that’s us now.

 

Jason: Now one thing that I really love about your band:  Snake Bite Whiskey in addition to the Fantastic Sleaze Rock that reminds me a lot of the American Rock acts I grew up but the fact that everyone in the band looks like a real Rock Star!  I mean I grew up on bands where the look and image was just as important as the music! I’m again talking about bands like Motley Crue, Guns N Roses, Faster Pussycat, LA Guns to name just a few! How important was it for you guys to have an image that Rocked just as much as your music?

Jay R: It’s totally important to have an image and yeah it’s very important to us. I don’t know why people want to pay money to see a bunch of guys who look like they just got of work or school or bed ( we are looking at you fucking Grunge/indie bands) and stare at their shoes for an hour. And here’s the thing with us it’s not a stage image it’s who we are on stage or off, it’s not a costume we put on but the way we dress and look normally.

Jason: I have talked quite a bit here about some of the bands that influenced me but I have to ask you guys being a band from Brisbane how big of ani mpact, influence did the American Rock scene have on you all?

Jay R: It’s huge really! America has produced so many awesome bands over the years. That’s the thing about the rock scene it’s global and a lot of it especially the style we play is heavily influenced by American Rock culture. Hollywood was the epicentre of the sleaze/glam scene and that style and attitude has definitely filtered into scenes across the world and that for a lot of people is the gateway drug into more extreme styles of Heavy Metal. It’s not like one day your listening to The Wiggles and then leep straight into Anal Cunt. Most people start with bands like Guns N’ Roses etc and then maybe move onto harder stuff later or stay with that style so it’s either your drug choice or your gateway.

 

Jason: Talk a little bit about the power of the internet and how important of a tool it has been in helping to promote the band.

Jay R: It’s kinda vital now. Most people are online in one way or another so it’s a necessary tool for any band. For one it allows you to reach fans in different countries easily so you can build an international following before you tour. Bands have never been so closely connected to their fan bases before which is cool for building rapport with your fans. The downside is that there are so many bands out there now so you really have to make some noise to stand out from the crowd.

 

Jason: Snake Bite Whiskey is signed to PAVEMENT Entertainment.  How did you hook up with such a great label?

Jay R: Basically we saw that they were taking submissions to the label so we sent our stuff in and didn’t think to much about it because as a band we submit for lots shit like support slots etc and a good amount of time you don’t hear back but Pavement got back to us pretty fast and we signed pretty soon after that. They have been legends the whole time.

Jason: Is everyone in the band involved in the songwriting process?

Jay R: Yeah we write together. Someone will bring a riff or an idea and we work it up from there, all of us together which is probably why you can hear different influences but it all comes out being 100% Snake.

 

Jason: Is there something that stands out, a moment during the recording of This Side Of Hell that really stands out for any of you?

Jay R: Probably the big kinda “Fuck Me!” moment was when we heard the final mix. It was exactly what we were looking for soundwise, ya know big, dirty, sleazy metal.

 

Jason: How happy are you with the way fans have reacted to the CD?

Jay R: We have been blown away by the response to the album. We knew it was good but it’s one thing thinking that yourself and another when the fans are telling you how good it is. So many people think that this kind of uncompromising, non pc Rock N Roll is dead and we want to show them that it isn’t and that there are still bands who won’t bow to the whole politically correct insanity that’s prevelant nowadays. If your offended then just move the fuck on.

 

Jason: Has the band played outside of Brisbane yet? If not what are the band’s plans to Tour the world?

Jay R: We have played a fair bit outside of Brisbane. We have just completed the first leg of our Australian “This Side Of Hell” tour and did some shows in New Zealand. Last year we played Hard Rock Hell Sleaze 2 in Sheffield in the U.K and did a mini U.K tour and we have previously played in Mexico and Los Angeles so we get about. We will be doing a second leg Australia/New Zealand tour this year and we have a full tour to the U.K in October/November with some European dates and then hopefully we will be touring the US next year.

 

Jason: Is there an album in any of your record collections that you can point to and say this album, this band really had a huge influence on me and played a major role in me doing what I’m doing today?

Jay R: It has to be “Appetite For Destruction” and the whole early years of Guns N’ Roses. That whole “most dangerous band in the world” thing was like “Fuck Yeah! This is what Rock should be like”.

Stacii: It’s L.A Guns, L.A Guns all the way!

D.A: When I was younger I used to be really into The Ferals. I always like to think of myself as a Derryn the dog. But if I’m being honest with myself I’m probably the Modigliana of the band.

Jason: A lot of bands these days have made the decision to only release their music digitally.  How do you as a band feel about physical CDs vs. Digital music?

Jay R: You have to have both. Digital is a huge part of the industry but there are loads of fans who still buy cd’s and it’s probably rock and metal fans who are the majority in that aspect cause  they like the collectability of a physical product and having the booklet with lyrics etc. You just don’t get that when your downloading an album. Bands that are going digital only are really restricting the amount of albums they are going to sell overall and with cd’s you can sell them at shows. You give a great fucking show and then fans want to buy the music then it’s right there and they are getting the whole album, if you only have digital they may only cherry pick songs or forget to do it after the show. And of course the biggest fucking issue is piracy with digital. We found a illegal download site in China where the album had been downloaded one hundred thousand times so whilst it’s great we are so popular in China but that’s a lot of lost fucking royalties. We need to make money to keep touring and putting out new albums and if people keep stealing shit it will get to a point where it’s not sustainable.

 

Jason: Is there anything left that you’d like to say to all the Snake Bite Whiskey fans out there?

Jay R: Thanks to all the crazy fuckers who are keeping Rock alive. Thanks to all our fans for buying merch and cd’s and streaming and downloading and coming to the shows. Something we love is meeting the fans on the road so come out to a show and don’t be shy let’s have a beer and hang out.

And thanks to you dude for taking the time to chat with a bunch of reprobates.

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