Jacob, Vega and Danny von StOp,sToP!
(02.08.2014, Interview geführt von Siggi (English))
London, The Big Red, August 2nd, 2014. I'm sitting here with StOp,sToP!, that's Jacob A.M., Danny Stix and Vega, all gathered around my recording MP3 player, joking, laughing and hoping the music in the background won't disturb too much.
Having their actual roots in Barcelona, they moved to the U.K. in 2011, leaving everything behind, living in a van with nothing in their pockets but their Rock 'n' Roll dream. After the self-produced debut album “Unlimited”, Metalapolis Records released their second longplayer “Join The Party” on April 17th this year. Due to intense touring with playing gigs every weekend, they have already built up a solid fan base in the U.K., now they're about to conquer Germany, Europe, and what else? Musicians to the bone and certainly some of the nicest people I ever met!
After fooling around for while we can finally start with the interview... Thanks a lot boys for taking the time!
Squealer-Rocks.de: Jacob, on your homepage we can read and we also know from other interviews that you've done a lot of travelling to several countries just to follow your dream, to finally find the band you were looking for...
Jacob: You know, I was so desperate to do what we're doing now. I was following my dream but actually it was my desire, it was so mental. I moved anywhere I could. If somebody told me “there you can find some people to play with“, I was going, I was already there. And it was crazy. First move was from Menorca, where I was born, to Barcelona. I started some bands there and it wasn't working. Then I decided to move to Italy because I had a friend there who said: “I've got a band, you wanna join me? We play Rock and 80's stuff” and I said “YES!” But then nobody was there. I was on the street, I realized I had to do it on my own. Then I moved to L.A. because almost all the bands I love are from there. But then I realized the 80s weren't there anymore. I spent three months living in the street. And when I came back home to Barcelona, I started StOp,sToP!, everything was easy. It was another line up in the beginning but it started working, the band was quite popular. People were following us, all good vibration was there. One day I realized my band mates were there just to be stars and not because they loved Rock 'n' Roll. When I started, I wanted to do something serious, but they left as they didn't want to work hard. Not as hard as we do with this line up. We started working in Barcelona and recorded the „Unlimited“ album. And then … we moved here!
Squealer-Rocks.de: This whole story with moving to L.A., living in a van on Sunset Boulevard etc. is somehow so unbelievable that in one of the German reviews for “Join The Party” the author even doubted that it's true. He says something like “perfect Rock 'n' Roll story but if this story is true, nobody knows …”
Jacob: What!?!? I'm going to tell you the truth, actually I wasn't there alone. I went there with the singer, we were friends. We actually made a gig, bass and voice, in a bar called “Stone Bar” on Hollywood Boulevard, and there are pictures of that gig. And there are also pictures of me and some friends on the Sunset Boulevard, pictures of me in the van, in the Rainbow Bar, in the Whiskey A Go Go and guitar centre for example, we were there! And it's not that difficult, you just pay the ticket for the flight and you are there! The difficult thing was going there without anything, we just went there with one dream, and that's to set up the band. But it was impossible, my friend didn't want to work. I was all day out in the street looking for a guitar player and a drummer, and it was so difficult. The good musicians charge you for rehearsing and other stuff, it's all about money. And the underground bands we met were pretty bad, so I think there is no good scene actually. And so we decided to come back. But yes, the story is true!
Fuck you who don't believe me, hahaha, I don't care!
Squealer-Rocks.de: On youtube, I've seen this live video of your first line up... To be honest, I had the impression that the singer was more interested in his look than in his performance.
Jacob: Absolutely! (All laughing)
Vega: He was beautiful!
Jacob: Yeah, he was beautiful... Actually lots of girls were coming to the gigs, he was a staaaaaaar, he loved all the girls, you know. And I was OK with that, whatever was good for the band was good anyway. But it wasn't Rock 'n' Roll at all, you know, when you're more into the looks than into the music. I needed passion, I needed to do the things like we do now. We're like brothers, we do everything together. Back that time we just rehearsed maybe twice a week, now we rehearse every day. And we didn't go out together, now we're living together, it's a big difference.
Squealer-Rocks.de: Vega, what did you do before you joined StOp,sToP!?
Vega: Hmmmm... (Vega and Jacob laughing) I was playing guitar in other bands. Sometimes Pop Rock, not too much heavy stuff. It was good to get more experience, to practice, to become a better guitarist, but StOp,sToP! is the band where I really want to be.
Jacob: Good boy! (All laughing)
Squealer-Rocks.de: How did you meet?
Vega: I heard about StOp,sToP! but not too much, I knew it was a well known band in Barcelona. A good friend of mine told me that they were looking for a new guitarist because they split up or so. I didn't know Jacob before, sent a message to him, to myspace, offering myself as a guitar player.
Jacob: Yeah, it was funny because he thought the band was already set up and it wasn't. I was just on my own.
Vega: I didn't know that!
Jacob: I lied, hahaha! He came to the rehearse room and nobody was there, and he said “Hey, where’s the band?” and I said “Well, I'm the band!”. (All laughing) If you wanna do it, shut up and play! And he started to play, we were in that room together, on our own, and I felt it was going to work.
Vega: We fell in love!
Jacob: We fell in love! (All: aaaaaaaaaaw)
Squealer-Rocks.de: Danny, we've seen pictures of you with you and your dad on stage. Was that just some sort of “one night stand” or did you play in a band together?
Danny: I played in a previous band and my dad likes to sing. And we didn't have a proper singer, so we asked him if he could do us a favour … and he agreed. Yeah, it was funny, me and my father on the same stage, it was cool. And the photos you have seen, that was a gig in Barcelona, we supported StOp,SToP!
Squealer-Rocks.de: When StOp,sToP! needed a new drummer, did you have to think about it or was it clear for you that you have to be the next one?
Danny: Oh yeah, I was at school when they posted on Facebook that they were looking for a new drummer. A friend of mine saw that and texted me “Go for it, you have to be the next one!” and I just went to the toilet in the middle of the class and rang Jacob. I don't know why but I had his phone number, destiny maybe. And I told him, I'm gonna be the next one!
Jacob: I must have been drunk when I gave you my number!
Danny: Maybe, yeah!
Jacob: But I thank God that I did that!
Danny: Yeah, I just phoned him and said I would be the next one, gave a couple of auditions and everything went well.
Jacob: He rang me in the morning (!). I knew Danny because he was a follower of the band, you can actually see him on the pictures of the crowd from all the gigs in Barcelona, he was in the audience watching us. When he rang me, I kind of knew him, like “I think I talked to this guy before”. He was like “I'm the man, mate! You need someone like.... something like ...blablablabla”. And I said “Yes, yes, yes …, come tomorrow and leave me alone now, I want to sleep!” And he said: “Oh yeah, OK OK OK ! What time, what time ….” and I said:”Ooooooooh … AFTERNOON!”
Actually, at the first try we gave him he was very nervous. But then we watched him play and we knew he was the right guy. Vega and me were annoyed from the first time but we gave him another attempt to see him properly and he was there. He was always there!
Squealer-Rocks.de: Since “Join The Party” is out, you got a number of positive reviews in Germany, rating your album from 7.5 to 8.0 of 10 points. I don't know how much you know about the content of these reviews … I guess, not too much …
Jacob: No, not too much! (All laughing)
Squealer-Rocks.de: Basically they all say that it's a good Rock album, great party album and so on. But I think it's pretty much underrating to say it's just great for partying 'cause from its message, there is a lot more in it. Some reviews even say it would be shallow, with typical Glam Rock lyrics.
Jacob: Nooooooo, it's not typical Glam Rock stuff! We are not just talking about girls or love, we are talking about social commitment. “Pigs Falling Down” for example is a song dedicated to all the people who took part in the demonstrations on the Plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona. It was a movement to change the world, saying: “We don't believe in your democracy, we don't believe in your laws and the system, all you corrupt politicians!” And the police destroyed them, hit them, there was a lot of injustice. I couldn't be there, was watching TV, watching all those people fighting for their rights and for humanity. And I was really angry, so I started to write this song. And that's not typical Glam Rock stuff! We are not Glam Rock, we're just a Rock'N'Roll band. We write about what we feel, nothing is fake. If it's funny or serious, it's all from the heart, it's all true. Everything in the lyrics is reality. We are not a joke band, it's very important to say that. These days people kind of confuse that, we don't just talk about sex. We like to talk about sex as we like to talk about social commitment. And we like to talk about politicians or say “fuck off” if someone tries to put you down.
Squealer-Rocks.de: If you're neither a Glam Rock nor a “joke” band, why this stage outfit?
Jacob: Well, we don’t like to say we’re glam rock cause we actually have bits from every kind of rock music on our songs, we rather like to call it rock and roll cause this word takes it all but obviously we have influence from the glam rock, of course we like the looks of glam metal and as we truly believe that rock and roll it is not just a kind of music, we’re dressing just the way this genre of music makes us feel, we couldn’t go out with normal clothes or being quiet on stage, we think rock and roll is more than that, it is entertainment and attitude, it is just the reaction when we start playing, it is just what we would like to see on the stage when we go to see other rock bands but it is not an outfit at all, it is our war dress and we don’t take it as a joke at all, we fucking love to wear that clothes and make-up, we feel comfortable with it and we don’t pretend to look cool, honestly, it is just the way we like to go.
Squealer-Rocks.de: Someone even called you the afterbirth of Steel Panther.
Jacob: That's bullshit. That's the biggest bullshit I ever heard in my life. We just want to bring that 70s, 80s and 90s stuff back. Because we think that these days there are too many posers, they just go on the stage and think everybody is going to suck their cocks. We believe in what we do and we fight for what we do. So we just go out, we start from the beginning and we build it up till the party is going. The party is the background, OK, we love to party, but there is also serious stuff. We talk about drugs, but not because we like drugs. Exactly the opposite, we hate drugs! And we talk about sex because we like sex, it's life. And we talk about girls because we like girls and we talk about everything which is happening all around us. When there is some injustice, we just go right there and talk the truth. We have no problem to say “fuck you politicians, we don't need your fucking shit, get your fucking police and … fuck you all!”
We are not just a face or the make-up, we go further than that. There is a message in our songs, if you just give us one hour of your life to listen properly, you will find out that this is not just topic stuff. I'm telling that those people who just judge a book by its cover. You have to read a book to judge it!
Squealer-Rocks.de: Even the title song “Join The Party” is not just an invitation for a usual party, it's an invitation to join the party called “life”, to give a 100 percent and not just 50, because you “get it cheap for half the price”.
Jacob: Aaaah, I love you Siggi! That's exactly what we want! “Join The Party” is all about the people who are sleeping, just working for a dog, a car and a house. We just say “Ey you, wake up! There is life, you can enjoy life! Go out and travel, love, have sex, have whatever you want. Be free and open your eyes!”.
Squealer-Rocks.de: Another song I really like is the first one, “Lost In The U.K.” …
All: Yeah, that's our story!
Jacob: “Lost In The U.K.” is dedicated to all what happened in Barcelona, why we left and started here. And all about the people we found here ...For example, in the second verse I say "Rebel Lust", “We found ourselves in a Rebel Lust ...”.It's not about girls, it's about the band Rebel Lust, a band that helped us a lot. Their singer Acey is our best friend here in England. Thanks to him, we're doing what we're doing tonight. At the end of the song I say “Hey Acey, this one is for you!”, it's dedicated to him because he helped us.
Vega: He opened the door of his house, we are very grateful to him.
Jacob: He said, these guys can't be living in a van and he offered us to stay at his place. And from there we could start actually. So the song is a tribute to all what happened in the last two years.
Squealer-Rocks.de: How about Donna?
All: Oh yeah, of course, of course, Donna!!! She's our English mum!
Jacob: Donna is very special. She's our English mama. She found us and she fell in love with the band because she is a Rock chick. She's been in the Rock'n'Roll history all her life. She was a girlfriend of Gary Moore, she was married to Gary Holton, who was the singer of Heavy Metal Kids. All about Donna happened after the “Join The Party” album. When we came back from Barcelona, from the recording, we started again from zero. We needed to do it properly again. And she found us, offered us to stay at hers and we stayed there for nine months! She became our English mama, she will always be our beloved English mama. She is one of the best people we have met in our lives. She saved us, we were living in the streets, she opened her door, and thanks to her as well that we are here tonight! We could save money to keep us going, she helped us with other stuff as well, we could book a lot of gigs ... And thanks to her as well we actually have the house now., EVERYTHING is thanks to her, almost everything. She's magic! (Jacob bends over to me: “She's crazy actually!”)
I wish she was here tonight! She would like to take this thing (the MP3 player used for the recording) and talk for hours and hours! And she would have interesting stories to tell! She went with Ozzy Osborne, she slept with him.
Danny: And Lemmy form Motörhead as well! Lemmy's son as well!
Jacob: Yeah, she is Rock 'n' Roll, she is fucking Rock'n'Roll!
Squealer-Rocks.de: Now, is the U.K. the “paradise of rocking dreams”?
(All laughing, Vega: Good one!)
Jacob: It is, because there is no specific license for life music. You can have a pub and just have bands playing. Rock 'n' Roll is culture in this country. We can do what we do in a little town, in the middle of nowhere, and we can do it in London, for example tonight, or Birmingham or wherever. You can do your Rock 'n' Roll shit everywhere. If you got enough charisma to make people dance, then you got them. If not, you go home, that's it! Nobody gives you anything for free anywhere but I would say, this is the Rock 'n' Roll dream, this is rocking paradise. We're making a living, who is making a living with Rock music, in the Rock industry, right now? Not many bands …
Danny: Just a few of them …
Jacob: We are feeling so grateful for the support we're getting from people, everybody is helping us a lot and as foreigners we couldn't be more grateful. They just appreciate what you do, if you do it good or not good, it doesn't matter. If you do it from the heart, that cares, that really cares.
Squealer-Rocks.de: Another question, it's about “Coming Home”. That “prison” part as it's called in the booklet … Is it a metaphor?
Jacob: The second part of the song? Yes, in the part of the “prison” I talk about the motherfucker that tried to fuck me up thousands of times in the work I used to do. He wasn't a good man, he was trying to put me down all the time. And the rage that I have inside, I have to express that! All of us, we have somebody doing that to us, so I thought, let's talk about it properly. But then the song comes back to the sweet stuff again and you're back home, the place where you feel happy, where you feel comfortable, where you feel good, where everything is lovely and maybe your mother, your brother, your best friends are there. Far away from all that dark stuff, from the people who steal your freedom actually. Sometimes you have to eat a lot of shit from people who aren't happy, and when they see you are happy, they try to put to you down. It's my own story but it could be anybody else's story as well.
Squealer-Rocks.de: I think it's a brilliant song 'cause just when the lyrics say “it seems that things will never change” there is this massive break and just everything seems to have changed.
Jacob: Yes, because it is like a dream when, as a kid, you're free, playing outside with your friends, going crazy and doing all the things that kids are doing. And then one day you realize you're not a kid or teenager anymore, you're a man, you're working. All those realisations come into your face and then comes that change in the song telling you "boom”, this is not reality anymore, let's talk about reality now. This man is a motherfucker, I'm gonna kick his arse”. But then it comes back to happiness again because you can always come back, you just have to work it out. Think about your past, how happy you were, then you can come back to that paradise you were in. I think it's one of my preferred songs in the album, even though I don't like to say I have preferred songs.
Squealer-Rocks.de: The cover of “Join The Party” shows Jesus with a joint and a drink ... The release date (on Easter), was that intention or just a coincidence?
Jacob: Hahaha, that wasn't our fault, that was Eddie's (Metalapolis Records) fault!
(Sorry Eddie, what now followed was some joking around 'bout your name, starting with Freiberger, Free Burger and ending with Free Beer...)
It was his fault but I think it was perfect! He loved all about us, the cover, the music, he's the proper one to do it.
Squealer-Rocks.de: You've done the art work, haven't you?
Vega: There is a coincidence with the picture inside, “The Last Supper” ... We took this picture over a year ago. And then Steel Panther...
Jacob: We said fuck, no way...We already had the picture. Believe it or not, we don't care. We had the picture a year ago, fuck them.
Vega and Danny: We did it before, yeah.
Squealer-Rocks.de: Was this picture originally planned for the cover?
Jacob: Nope, the rocking Jesus was always the first idea.
Squealer-Rocks.de: How have things developed since the new album is out? Are you contended?
Jacob: Yeeeees! We are really happy with the label, we are really happy with all the stuff they're doing. Eddie and Nick are really doing a hard work, to bring us to Germany as well, they're working a lot, a lot, a lot! We are really happy with them, they are lovely people, they believe in the real music and I fucking love that! StOp,sToP! wouldn't do any better with other labels I think. We're going really well together with our kind of thinking and the way we do things. It's in the best Rock 'n' Roll way we could wish.
Squealer-Rocks.de: Are you excited about your first dates in Germany?
All: OH YEEEEAAAHHH, YEEES!!!
Vega: We can't wait, it's gonna be nice!
Jacob: We did one gig in Lloret de Mar which is close to Barcelona and well known as party area. At that gig there were all German people, it was one of the best gigs we ever had, they loved us! One of them asked me “Are you going to get paid for playing tonight?” and I said “No”. He said “OK”, took his hat off and started doing a collection among his friends and all of them gave money for us. And when we stopped playing they were like “More, more, more...!!!” , we had to repeat some songs because we didn't have a long set list, we just had the first album out. So I'm really looking forward to meet them in their own country, let's see what happens!
(Danny and Vega: Yeah!!! It's gonna be nice!)
Squealer-Rocks.de: Any message you have for your future German fans? I mean, apart from “Join the party, motherfuckers!”?
Jacob: Hahaha, I was going to say that, hahaha ...! Well, we always had a good feeling about Germany, not just because a lot of bands we love are from there, but because we got good vibrations. Germans are … I don't know …
Vega: Actually, before we decided to move to the U.K. we were thinking about going to Germany as well.
Jacob: Yeah, but we had already booked the tour in the U.K. and we thought, let's do that first and see what happens. And if it's not working we go to Germany. It's been working in the U.K. And now we're going to Germany, you motherfuckers, hahaha … And you know what? It's gonna be great, I'm sure the Germans have a good sense of humour and they will take the music from StOp,sToP! in a good way. And I'm sure they will JOIN THE FUCKING PARTY, hahaha …
(All: Oh yeah!!!)
Squealer-Rocks.de: One last question, probably the most important one …
(Silence and expectant looks.....)
How much is left of the sweets from the Franklin family?
Danny and Vega: Buffet was WOW, sweet monsters, hahaha ….
Jacob: Oh, there is still some of them, hahaha. I would like to talk about that a little bit. We are fucking grateful to that bunch of motherfuckers. (Strange coincidence: just at this very moment, “I Was Made For Loving You” starts playing in the background!) They're making lots of noise for us, which is what we need. These people give us lots of support, trying to make this happen properly. They are probably the most important thing that happened to the band in a long time. Because without people like this, believing in what we do, we are fucking nothing. That's absolutely the truth. From the heart, we would like to say them “Thank you very much for doing that for us!”. We're feeling very special!
It's a gift, it's God's gift. (Gods like Dio, Ozzy, Lemmy, hahaha …)
When you are alone in the streets, you think about something sweet is going to happen in your life, you're imagining in your mind something is gonna happen … And then when it's happening, you just feel WOW, flying, flying, flying! There is NOTHING like this! Some nights I close my eyes and I simply feel grateful. When we're doing“I Used 2 Love her”, which is the last song we use to play, we can't stop laughing. Not because it's funny but because of happiness! It's like “Fuck, look at all that people, they've joined the party and they're jumping, all of them jumping!”. That's what we want, make the people happy! We are happy people trying to make other people happy, nothing else. And when all the people are showing their love in what you're doing, it's like WOW, we're flying! THANK YOU!
Thank you thousands and thousands of times, you motherfuckers! ;-)
2010 - Unlimited
2014 - Join The Party!
2016 - Barceloningham
StOp,sToP! - Join The Party (CD-Review)
StOp,sToP! - Barceloningham (CD-Review)
StOp,sToP! - London, Big Red (Live-Review)
Jacob, Vega und Danny von StOp,sToP! (Interview)
Jacob, Vega and Danny von StOp,sToP! (Interview)