BulletBoys' Marq Torien
By Jay Oakley
I'm here with Marq from the BulletBoys, thank you so much for taking a second.
Thank you so much for having me.
Absolutely, brother. How's the tour going?
Awesome, we've had a great time. This is the last show of the Long Hot Summer tour as we're moving in to winter. It's all been good, just happy to be here and then we're off tomorrow to LA and we have a couple days off and then we're off to Guam for three shows. We're flying out to Guam and we have three sold out shows out there.
Where were you guys last night?
New York City.
New York City, how did that show go?
Unbelievable, we had a great time.
Where was the show at?
A place balled The Studio at Webster Hall. We had a great time. They didn't do to much publicity but the people that were there, we had a blast. Jason showed up, a friend of ours, that helped us out with some equipment they didn't have there for us. Everything was kind of herky-jerky there but, ya know, it's New York City and we had a blast. We had a really, really good time.
It's been about a year since the Elefanté album came out. Since the release of that, up until the present, how are you feeling about the release and the fan reception?
It's really helped catalyst our band into an upward shot. We're having a huge reinvention of the band. The band has become extremely popular after the release of the album. I'm just ecstatic, it did something that we didn't really think it was going to do, people loved our record and welcomed it with open arms so it's just a win win for us. We do a lot of the new songs from Elefanté in our set now because the fans really want to hear them and they know all the words. We're a band of the now and we evolve from our past but we don't try to look in the rear view mirror and we continue to be in the now.
You and I spoke earlier and you spoke about how the band came out in the late 80s but you really did your dominant work in the 90s and you don't like being lumped in with that glam moniker.
No, I think it's really disrespectful. If I can say it like a friend of mine that did an interview, it was an interview with Tom Keifer. Tom says it's the most disgusting terminology that he's ever heard. He doesn't like it, he thinks it's holding back the bands from that era from blossoming and doing new music and doing what we want to do. He's doing a lot of new stuff and he's continued with this moniker that someone made up and it sounds like they're making fun of the bands from then.
Let me tell you something, anybody who wants to make fun of the bands from back then and think that they're really huge right now can Fuck Off! Because, I want to see where they're fucking at in about fucking twenty years and where they're fucking playing. If they even have fucking careers. Bands from that era should be very well respected because we all worked diligently and we all worked hard. We were all very young, we gave up our youth, we went out there to give love to fans and to go out there and play our music. We were very fortunate to do what we did and we were very blessed, the bands that did make it. But, to put that moniker on bands that were musically so solid and didn't have any hairspray in their hair, it's like we're in a conundrum. It's this weird thing that's been put on all our bands and it seems that everybody always thought, hair this and hair that and I don't get. I don't like it, I'm like Tom, it's offensive.
It's funny. Out of all the musics that have been out; Nu Metal, this and that, we're still in here and are still popular and we're still relevant. We're not semi-relevant which is a blessing to the bands that worked hard back then and the bands that can still do it and do their thing. We just did the Hair Nation Festival and it was a slam dunk and at five o'clock in the afternoon, for a band like us; BulletBoys, to have the place packed with almost fourteen thousand people there. I know there are people relevant and I know there are people in other bands who are playing in front of a lot more people but to say that this thing is over and to have that many people watching our band in particular and to see when we finished that everybody left and the bands behind us and before us didn't have as many people there showed us something. It showed us that people want to see us on a big stage opening, or playing, or headlining someplace like that in a different situation. We were very blessed to have all those bands on the bill, it created a really great vibe and I think we'll be trying to do that next year on an actual tour. They are putting together a tour, the Hair Nation Festival, to actually go out next year. So, that's going to be a lot of fun and I think it's very relevant to show that no matter what age you are, the guys that bring it just as good as anyone who is a little more youthful and some of them don't but my band does. We bring it hard every night. We play like it is our last show every night. I've added a horn section to the band now and background singers so we're morphing into this other entity and all of us are really, really excited about it now.
Nice, will that horn section and singers be here tonight?
No, they won't be tonight but they will be next year when we start playing and supporting a new record that we will be releasing next year.
That's exactly why that whole fucking "style over substance" thing is so laughable.
Yeah, man. If you can stick around in this business for as long as we've stuck around in, the staying power is a blessing to us big time. We feel blessed and if you keep on working hard like we do, I always like to say, we're a band that puts on our hardhats and lunch pales everyday. We're a working man's band. We're a band that doesn't have any attitude. There's a lot of people still that have this grandiose attitude that they think they're somebody when they're not. So, we don't roll like that at all. We're real people and we'll always hang out and we love meeting all of our friends and family and fans. That's why we're out here.
I love to talk history but I did want to start with a former band member of yours. If it's not to tender or sore, I'd love for you to talk briefly about the kind of person and band mate that Johnny (Giosa) was since, unfortunately, we lost him to that accident a few years ago.
Amazing band mate, amazing person, such a loving soul, funnier then you can even imagine. He could do all of the Hanna Barbara cartoon voices, Fred Flintstone, you name it, all the old stuff, he could do it. He had this voice that he could create different voices and he would always keep us laughing. He loved the joy of playing music. He was a true musician, it wasn't about the money, it was about his style and grace and he was wrecking machine of a drummer. We miss him all the time and he's always, constantly, out here with us. He always leaves dimes for us everywhere. Everywhere that we go, we could be in a tour bus, we could be somewhere and there would be a dime that will show up out of thin air and we'll all take each other to it, "Look, what I just saw!" We could be someplace and no one will have dropped anything and you'll see a dime there. So, we know that in the spiritual world that he's around. He comes and hangs out with us, we always acknowledge him all the time and when we're laughing about stuff we'll be like,"Johnny! Did you heard that?" and people will laugh at us because they'll say, "You talk to your drummer like he's still around." because he is.
I could tell you some really crazy stories but I'd rather not say the stories because it might get too crazy but I do want to say this. Johnny loved people. Johnny was working in his church back home and really helping a lot of youth out, having conversations with them, going and doing things at their home. He was very gregarious with his church and at the time he passed away I think he really found his true meaning and found God and The Lord. We talked about it all the time up until he passed away so he was in a really good space. The only problem I had with Johnny was Johnny was so damn good looking that all the women were on him all the time. I used to say, "Dude, you have to stop chasing the skirts and start playing drums more!" and he'd be like, "I got this, I got this. Don't worry, I know you're just looking out for me." He would do that all the time to us and we'd just laugh. He was such a handsome guy with a big heart and he was also an amazing hairdresser. That's what he did. He would go to people's homes, Playboy models, models, actors, comedians he was always at it, Johnny G. He'd be like, "Come on, you need it a little high and tight, lets get this going on!" and he'd pull out his scissors, snip snip, snip. I'd be like, "No, Johnny don't!" and he'd be like, "Shut up, let me do it." and he'd cut my hair and I'd be like, "Oh my God!" He was so good, he cut all of our hair, all the time.
I love fun facts and you've done so much in your career from Ratt, to King Kobra, but you had a stint for a short time playing with Ozzy (Osbourne.)
I was in Ozzy's band and MoTown. I was signed to MoTown Records and that was my first major label that I was signed with and it still holds a deep place in my heart even though it was many, many years ago but to still be part of the MoTown family and to work with who I worked with and do an album there, I learned so much. I learned so much with being with MoTown and I still apply those things today to my career.
When it comes to Ozzy what do you remember about your time in the band?
It was awesome. Ozzy and Sharon were so wonderful to me. I was very, very young and they took me in. I met Ozzy through a friend of mine named Gregg Giuffria, who is my mentor and who is the keyboard player from Angel. For all intensive purposes, Gregg brought me in from the inner cities into Hollywood and really wanted to show people my talent because he believed in me when I was young so I was able to meet a lot of cats and I met Ozzy and Sharon through Gregg. I went to Gregg's house and auditioned for Ozzy and Sharon who were there and he fell in love with my guitar playing and just me and we hit it off really well and I started rehearsing with the band. It was all over the place that I was the new guitar player and everything else. It came to a point where they were leaving to go start a tour in England and they basically left me behind. After two or three days of me waiting for someone to pick me up they called me when they were in England and said, "Listen, Ozzy feels that you are just way too young and we're still getting over Randy (Rhoads, died in a plane crash) and Brad (Gillis) just left the band so we're going to have Bernie Tormé do the tour for us. Ozzy did get on the phone and say, "I love you so much but I just think that you're too young still. You remind me a lot of the youthfulness and the spirit that Randy had and I'm just not over it yet. So, we're going to go with this guy, who's a veteran." They bought me guitars and stuff and right after that Stephen Pearcy asked me and Robin to join Ratt. So, I went right from there into that because we were really close friends.
When we were making small talk you said something that, kind of, touched me and you were talking about the clean lifestyle that you live now. I'd like you to talk about it again so I can publish it because I think it's important for people but especially people out in the band and music world to hear it because of everything that's around them.
I've been sober for almost twenty-six years and I've had a lot of issues with my fight to be sober. I was talking to the guys about it, I just woke up one day and I said, "I'm not doing this anymore. I don't want to feel this, I don't want to feel this way, I didn't get into music to feel this." and I just felt it was something that I needed to figure out. I needed to figure out a way how to stop and how to stop immediately. I was at a point where I felt I was going to lose my life so there's a difference. When you feel like you're going to die if you keep on doing what you do there's something in you, inside, that thing that makes you want to live. My particular situation with my drug addiction was that I really didn't want to be here. So, there's a difference and I don't know why that was.
Do you mean here on stage or just here on Earth?
Just here on the planet. So, it was a different thing for me and I try to share that with people, to let them know that. I know that there's a lot of people that deal with that still out there but I managed with the help of sponsors and amazing, beautiful angels that were around me, that are on this Earth, that are these rock stars that came to my rescue and gave me that opportunity to get sober. So after, I found God, I found The Lord, The Holy Spirit and that's what I use in my life today. I'm not a religious man but I'm a man of faith and I'm a man that believes in God. That's what drives me and I try to talk to people about God and where I"m at with that. People have to find a higher power and try to lead with a little bit more love in this country and find in there own selves to actually care about themselves to be able to care for others. Dude, I'm so far from perfect and I make mistakes everyday but at least I'm able to ask for forgiveness and to move on and to learn from those things. That's about it.
Marq, thank you so much, man. I appreciate you taking the time.
Oh boy, anytime. This was a great interview, I had a blast.