Heavy Metal Resource: Hello Derek! I wanted to start off the interview by finding out what Babylon A.D. was up to through the grim 90's. Metal was not really the fashion and Babylon A.D. was fairly quiet. Was the band actually still rehearsing and writing or had the members gone into a defunct status for a while??
Derek Davis: Well, around early '94 after we stopped doing a lot of gigs and knew that we didn't have a label anymore in Arista, everybody just came back to the Bay area because we were living in Los Angeles. We just used the time to kinda grow up, a few of us got married and started families. We just took a long break. We were all kind of disillusioned with the music business. We were at a crossroads where we wondered if we wanted to do this or not. A few years went by and everbody figured it out because we still loved playing together as a band and we still thought we had something more to say. Danny and I had started to write some stuff in '97. In the period of '94-97 I had also played in a couple of other different bands, some Blues projects. I did it just for fun and to have something to do.
HMR: Through the mid 90's you had some bands who seemed like they were trying to fit the trend of the current scene. Babylon A.D. was quiet through this period. The band didn't get into that kind of thing??
D.D. : I didn't really listen to a whole lot of rock during that period. I kind of went into listening to a lot of Blues like Elmore James. I didn't really know what was going on. I didn't listen to the radio or hear anything. I did like bands like Soundgarden and shit like that. I really dug them. I just really didn't buy a lot of CD's during that time. I like a lot of different stuff. As far as hard rock, I didn't listen to a lot of it at that time.
HMR: You really didn't miss a lot.
D.D. : I didn't think so either. Mtv was taking a shit with all of these games shows and other crap. I was really going through a transition back in that time. I really didn't want to be a pop metal band. That just wasn't for me. Danny started to show me some of the songs he was writing. I was like 'Wow, this is cool'. Our second record had some good songs on it like 'Sacrifice your love' and stuff like that. It did have some sappy stuff but still had good songs. I was always into the harder stuff that has melody, but is heavy. 'Take the dog off the chain' was an okay song, but was like a pop thing and 'Bad Blood' was a real pop type of thing. At the time we were writing, everything was kind of under the microscope with the label. We took around 100 songs and the record company took the ones they wanted and thought would be a hit. We're a lot happier with the new record because it really shows who we are. We have heavy influence in the music on this one. It's always been there.
HMR: Let's talk a little about Eric. He is the new guy in the band and is the brother of James.
D.D. : Yeah, he has actually been around the band for quite a while. He toured with the band for about a year and a half, but was just in the shadows. We had Rob for all of those years when we first started the band, so we weren't going to kick anybody out or anything. Rob just decided when we were putting out the live album, that it just wasn't for him. He just didn't want to play music anymore.
HMR: So is Rob in music now or did he move on to something else??
D.D. : He hasn't done anything in music since '94.
HMR: With Jamey and Eric playing together now, I'd bet they are a pretty tight rhythm section. They have been together a lot of years now.
D.D. : They play well together. There is also a good fight about once a week. (Laughs) It's pretty funny.
HMR: You have your own label now in Apocalypse Records. Are you looking for other acts to carry on the label??
D.D. : Right now we are concentrating on the band and the label gives us a way to get the band out there. We are looking at releasing some material next year from Eric as well as some of my own material. We would just like to keep everything 100% us and owning our own label gives us total control.
HMR: How do you feel about the current hard rock scene?? It seems to be warming up and coming back around.
D.D. : I think right now it's not too bad. I dig bands like Godsmack and Monster Magnet and stuff like that. I've been listening to that kind of stuff in about the last year. When we started to make the new record, I tuned into the radio to kind of see what was out there. I didn't want to be too strange, but at the same time I wanted to stay modern and up. I listened to the radio and picked up on stuff that I liked and threw out the shit I didn't like.
HMR: In the title track 'American Blitzkrieg', you included a section of Edwin Starr's 'War' which was a cool addition. Did you plan it that way or did it come to you later in the process??
D.D. : Eric had some of the riffs of the song and brought it to me. I said 'Yeah, I can mke something out of that'. I wrote all of the lyrics to the song. We then wrote the song as a demo. I was driving one day after we had demoed the tune and I thought 'We could put that tune 'War' in there by Edwin Starr right at this certain point'. All we had to do was change the keys, changed this around, took this part out and it would fit perfect. I went back home and re-demoed the song and spliced that in and gave it to everybody and said 'Check this out'. Everybody went 'Whoa, that's cool', so we recorded it like that.
HMR: It definitely adds a nice touch to the song.
D.D. : Yeah, that song definitely has a lot of different pieces to it. There are about 7 or 8 different pieces going into it. It is just verse, chorus, verse, prehook, chorus. There is a lot of different stuff going on.
HMR: Let's look at touring. You are doing some club dates currently. Are you looking to get a slot on a bigger tour right now or are you content for now with the club gigs??
D. D. : Well, it depends on supply and demand and the money and everything. We're all at the stage where we like the music and this is the best hobby in the world that you can ever do. If the record took off and we sold a certain amount of records where we could go out on the road and tour, then we will. We're going to radio in a couple of weeks. If the stations start playing the stuff and we get a push then we will see what we can do.
HMR: You have a video out for the title track that is available online. I believe it was premiered at www.10200.com . D.D. : It was. It will also be viewable at www.hitplay.com. That is Dan Akroyd and James Belushi's website. It is a pretty cool website and is easy to navigate. If you enter Babylon A.D. it will pull up the videos. HMR: Did you get any figures for attendance at the premier webcast at www.10200.com??
D.D. : They told me that there were 1800 viewers viewing at the same time on July 4th.
HMR: That's really great.
D.D. : Yeah, and the video is really cool.
HMR: The internet is really starting to play an important part in the music business. I was curious of how many of the members are computer saavy??
D.D. : Ron actually builds websites at his job for a living. Jamey is a graphic artist and works at the same place Ron works at as the graphic artist of the websites they build. Eric is the kind of guy that can actually take the computer apart and put it back together. Me, I am not too hip on the shit. I have an Imac and am constantly calling the other guys asking 'What is all this shit??' and "Why can't they make it the same'??