Interview with Chad Cherry, The Last Vegas  (January 2010)


Chicago's The Last Vegas are known for being Guitar Center's On Stage contest winners last year and gaining an opening slot on Mötley Crüe's Saints of Los Angeles tour. Recently, the band has embarked on a U.S. club tour bringing their brand of dirty rock to the people. Brothers Nate (drums) and Adam (guitar) Arling, along with bandmates Chad Cherry (vocals), John Wator (guitar) and Danny Smash (bass), have kept the rock 'n' roll train rolling along since the Mötley Crüe tour. Their current CD, "Whatever Gets You Off," was produced by DJ Ashba, Marti Frederiksen and Nikki Sixx, as part of the Guitar Center contest winnings that landed the band a recording contract. The Last Vegas' raunchy sound combines classic rock, glam, garage and punk, often sounding like a fusion of early Aerosmith, Mötley Crüe and Guns N' Roses.

We got the scoop on what the band has been up to since the Mötley Crüe tour from vocalist Chad Cherry before The Last Vegas' show at Bar 3 in Rockford, Illinois.

How's life been for the band after the Mötley Crüe tour?

We've pretty much been on the road since then. Life has been extremely busy in an extreme way. In a good extreme way. Enough to make your head spin! (laughing).

How fast did you blow through the $20,000 at Guitar Center for new equipment by winning the contest?

In about 12.3 seconds! It was already spent, man. Before we even got it! We were like kids in a candy store. We basically had free-range of the place and we all came out with all sorts of good stuff.

Did you get to keep the bus?

No one gets to keep the bus, man, no! (laughing).

Going from a bar band loading your own equipment to the Crüe tour and now your current bar tour, is this the natural progression the band has to take in order to get to the next level?

Doing what we do, you're never going to know what could happen. You can be playing arena's, you can play small shows, and then the next day you could be playing in an arena again, that's kind of how we are. You know, it doesn't really matter if there's 20,000 people there, they're going to get the same show that we're going to put on if there were 20 people there. We're going to do exactly what we do and we don't give a fuck, man.

You've had some great response in Europe. Do you plan on touring there again anytime soon?

Yeah, I'd say we go to Europe like once or twice a year, if not more. We have some plans in the fire for Europe for sure. I don't have any dates specifically, but you'll know when I know.

Can you talk about this club tour you're on now with Smile Empty Soul and Burn Halo? They are both bands with very different styles from you, how did this tour come about?

The thing is, it's better to have bands not sounding exactly like every band that's playing. The camaraderie of all the bands on this tour are pretty phenomenal, everybody gets along, everybody jokes, we're sharing the same girls ... and the same needles ... kidding! (laughing). I know the fans have been eating it up and we're pushing along and everyone's getting exactly what they came here for ... a good rock show.

With the state of the record industry is in these days, how important is it to handle your own business, merchandise and getting out there and playing live?

You gotta be on the road, you gotta be in people's faces. They're not going to know who the hell you are. If you're going to be in a band, I recommend that you know the business because you're going to get fucked in the ass if you don't. You're going to get fucked in the ass even if you do know the business. Stay in school kids! (laughing)

Obviously Motley Crue was a big influence on your sound, as well as punk and glam, but what is it about TLV that gives you your distinct sound? What makes you want to do this?

Insanity! Lots of alcohol! We're not trying to sound like anything. It's exactly what's coming out of our pores and our minds. We don't set out to sound like Mötley Crüe or Lady Gaga, we're just playing music that comes out of us and that's the only way I can really explain it. I would think that a lot of people look at us as an extension of maybe classic rock or arena rock ... we actually play guitar solos, and there's a lead singer and we put on a good show ... we're a live band.

Have you been working on any new material?

Constantly. We're on the road so much ... when we're in a hotel, our guitars are out, I have a pen and paper ... that's my technology (laughing). We're writing songs, and after this leg of the tour we're going to lock ourselves up in a cabin in the middle of "nowhere" Michigan and start demoing new songs with an engineer.

Can you describe the sound and the direction the new material is headed in?

TLV style, all the way. Real dirty and sleazy ... a little rhythm and blues.

Will Nikki, DJ Ashba or Marti Frederiksen be handling the production on the next album?

I don't know. Hopefully not. According to Nikki, it's like, "You hang out with us now and do this album, and then you're not going to need us anymore." So he's basically saying "Learn it all now and then do it yourself."

How valuable was the experience in the studio with Nikki?

Oh, it was extreme. Not a whole lot of bands get the chance to work with ... I'd definitely say that Nikki Sixx is the Mayor of Los Angeles! A larger than life guy, genius music writer, awesome at everything he does, a complete freak, a crazy evil bastard. You know, being around him is an experience of itself. I feel sorry for people that didn't grow up on his music.

What do you hope happens to TLV in 2010 and the years to come?

I hope to be putting out records, doing exactly what we're doing ... staying on the road, making more fans and not coming away with a bunch of illegitimate children! (laughing).

Any last words for the fans?

If it wasn't for the fans, then we wouldn't be doing this, so they're No. 1 in my book.


Interviewed by Kelley Simms
The Last Vegas - Whatever Gets You Off

Album available on Eleven Seven Music.