Warrant's Jerry Dixon
By Jay Oakley
Well, it's been a little over a week now since your latest record, Louder - Harder - Faster, was released. I've got to have you kick off with that, man. How does it feel to have your first album in six years and second album with Robert (Mason) out there?
Man, we're stoked, we're stoked. The reviews and the reaction to the record is pretty shocking. We always thought it was good but you never know how people are going to react to a new record. We're actually tripping out a little bit, enjoying the ride again.
So, from my understanding you'd been working on this record for a couple of years. How did the recording go over all because you've all always been very active in touring so talk about making the time, getting the writing together and getting all of the pieces to fit.
Just like anything else it just takes a lot of time. Committing to it because we're so busy touring all of the time so for us we have to pretty much tell our agent, "Don't book anything. We're going to make a record." So, we just have to mainly commit to it and take a few months to go in and do new music. It's a little more difficult because we like to do full records. We were never a band that likes to do like one song for a single or an E.P. so, we're stoked that we finally got it done and everybody's digging it.
I think it's really cool that you put it that way because I've always been a big fan of records as records and listening to them in full and in a world now of iTunes singles or the ability to go out and buy just one song so how do you feel about the record as a whole and it's ability to be listened to start to finish? I've got to tell you, Jerry, I really loved the product as a whole. I thought you guys did a great record.
Oh, thank you, man! I really appreciate that. We're from a different era, we're not going to hide that or pretend like we're not. The era where musicians actually played instruments and record real drums and don't make beats up while you're smoking a joint with headphones on. Ya know, you go in and you get your band in a room and you make a full record. It has a lot of ups and downs and it, kind of, takes you on that roller-coaster. That's what we grew up on, listening to Toys In The Attic (Aerosmith) and Heaven And Hell (Black Sabbath) and Screaming For Vengeance (Judas Priest,) just records, ya know. That's where we come from and we think it's important to show that that can still be done and that people can still enjoy that. There nothing worse then hearing a song you like and going to buy the record just to find out they only did one song. [Laughs] What is that?
I got to see you guys recently in the last few weeks at the M3 Festival.
Oh, very cool, very cool. That was a great weekend.
It really was. So many great bands and, of course, so many of your friends and family. With that weekend always being the big holiday weekend for everyone in this area and especial in the scene, how was it getting to play some new tunes for your fans?
When you do stuff like that, you realize the magnitude that 80s rock has on people. When you see a place that big just packed all the way up to the lawn and then you wonder, "Why can't we do more of these? We should be doing these all the time."
When it comes to playing bigger outdoor festivals as opposed to your own personal tour, do you fancy one of them over the other? I know that a tour is based around you but when it comes to intimate clubs versus festival-type, outdoor venues, do you like one over the other?
Ya know, I love festivals but I think the only problem with festivals is I think it sucks a little bit for the fans because none of us get sound checks and that's a big part of what we do and that's a big part of making your show really good is having that few hours before the doors open to get everything dialed in. So, when you do festivals you're just flying by the seat of your pants. [Laughs] You hope that everything is plugged in and sounds halfway decent. But, as far as the venue size and stuff like that, we do everything. Sometimes we do smaller benefits in clubs and then the next night we're in an arena so, you just go and do your thing. It doesn't really matter to me.
For sure and especially when they put together a show like that or a weekend like that which has so many quality bands I imagine it takes a toll on your set list as well because you have to pick and choose what the proper set list is going to be.
Yeah, exactly and you're usually limited on time so you have to try and cram in a headlining set into forty-five minutes or an hour. But, at the end of the day, it's cool and it's like the high school reunion with all those bands and the fans love it so, it's a good time.
Were there any bands or sets in particular, that you were able to watch, that you really dug on that weekend?
No. Ya know, when you're actually doing a show, most bands will tell you, you're on your own clock and you do your own thing and you don't really have a lot of time to go watch somebody else or enjoy the evening, unfortunately.
I saw that you are currently on a break before you head back out on some tours. What are you doing right now and what are you looking forward to about your upcoming tours?
Well, we've been on the road since the beginning of the year off and on and you can go to warrantrocks.com to look up all of our dates. We're just going to go tour and have a good time and bring the record to the streets, bring it to the people. In our set, we mainly do all the old stuff. We're not going to be that band that you show up to watch and says, "Hey, we're going to play the new record tonight!" We sprinkle in a couple new songs and play the hits so it's a fine line to mix everything in there.
How is the band feeling as a whole? You guys are all veterans and the classic band has been back together for quite a while now with Robert. I saw you say in an interview once, which I thought was great, how's the new, old singer been doing as well?
[Laughs] The new, old singer's fantastic. The new, old singer's getting old. He's been with us almost ten years now, believe it or not. Isn't that crazy? We're in a good spot, man. We're feeling good, we're drama-free, the band gets along great which is a huge part of being successful and being able to create new products and new records. There's not a lot of fighting and all that shit. Things are good for the Warrant right now.
Of course, everything's different now, times have changed, it's a different scene now and especially when it comes to putting out records. What would you like to see from this album? What are your personal goals for the record?
I learned a long time ago to not really have goals. It's not up to me. In life, I sometimes think that the script's already written so you can't sweat it, you can't worry about it, you can't set these giant aspirations for something. You just have to let each thing do what it wants to do and just go with it. But, I'm super happy that the record's being well received. That's huge in my opinion. So, to me, it's already a winner. It's already getting great reviews and people enjoy it so, that's all you can ask for. If more comes of it, we'll take it, for sure. [Laughs] If not, then we're stoked that we made a record and we'll continue to make them as long as people are out there listening to them.
I love the single, "Louder - Harder -Faster," I thought it was a great title for the record, I think it's a great single to start with because it's everything you love in Warrant. I've got to ask you about your choice in covers in "I Think I'll Just Stay Here And Drink" (Merle Haggard.) What were your thoughts behind that?
Well, that was actually a request from PBR (Professional Bull Riders.) They were looking for a party anthem and we're friends with the CEO of the PBR (Sean Gleason,) who's a big rock guy and he wanted to tie Warrant in to some of the things they were doing and he said, "Hey, what would you guys think about doing this song?" and we listened to the song and freaked out. we were like, "Man, that could be Warrant. That could be a good Warrant song." [Laughs]
The other thing I wanted to touch on was the record was produced by Jeff Pilson from Dokken and Foreigner. Is that correct?
How was it working with him? Jeff's no stranger, he's been doing it forever but talk about the process with him because he's been the guy for a lot of people.
Yes, he came highly recommended by our record label (Frontiers,) who he had done a bunch of stuff for and we'd known Jeff forever. His latest thing is producing bands and he's got a full-blown studio at his house and vintage equipment and it was just cool. He's one of us, I guess he wasn't intimidating like some producers are, he's just one of the guys, he's one of the band members and we just worked really well with him. A good producer just makes sure that they tighten up the song. They just, kind of, put that extra polish on everything and Jeff was great at that.
One of the things that I think its really cool is your label, is Frontiers because Frontiers have really put a lot of love behind what, I guess, you would call the 80s rock scene with a lot of bands that they've been supporting and putting out albums for. How have they been treating you and how has your relationship with your record label been?
They're great! One thing I like about them is they're always pushing us to do records. I guess we can blame them for this record too. [Laughs] They're constantly saying, "We need a new record. You guys need a new record. Come on, you guys need a new record." So, they're, kind of, spearheading the whole thing and they're cool. They're giving a lot of really good bands a chance to do what we do. To make music and we're thankful that they believe in us and rock and roll, for that matter.
Absolutely. Your last two records have come from them so is it safe to say that as long as people want to hear new music and get records from Warrant that Frontiers is the way?
Absolutely, absolutely. They've always believed in rock and roll and they've made a niche out of not going for the home run on ever single band but they realize that there's a market for all these bands so let's just let them make a fucking record. Everyone's got there fans and they may not sell millions of copies like the old days but it's enough to warrant, no pun intended, bands to make new music.
I do have a, sum what, impromptu question. I love to keep my interviews as positive as possible but with the unfortunate tragedy that just happened in Manchester, England, does it ever make you or the other band members worry about continuing out with touring?
Yeah, actually that's a good question. Yes, when I saw that I was like, "Awww." because we're just human beings like everybody else. We think the world's a shitty place and especially terrorism and stuff like that and to have it happen at an arena that we've actually played at with David Lee Roth.
Oh yeah, that's something that's always in the back of your mind. Whenever you go anywhere and I think that people are trying to scare everybody in the world by doing shit like that. It's horrible, it's a horrible, cowardly thing and unfortunately there's freaks out there. You've got to believe, at the end of the day, that most of us and most people are good people and when that stuff happens, especially at a venue and an area that we're in, it makes you think, for sure.
But, getting back, it looks like the star for Warrant is shining bright and everything is going good.
Yeah! Things are on the up and up, man. It's a good year for the Warrant.
And, a final question, nothing designed by it. This is the first Warrant album since we lost Jani (Lane.) Do you think Jani would like this record?
Ah, that's a good question. I would hope so. I think he would, yeah.
Yeah, it's got that Warrant flair, that style behind it.
Yeah, I think he would like it. Thoughtful question.
Thank you, I'm glad you liked that one. And, something fun, right at the end. Say something for your fans, everybody that supports you, about the new record and a little Jerry Dixon love to them.
[Laughs] OK, big kiss, "Muah!" Big shoutout to everybody that not only is checking out this record but still coming to shows and we're just trying to keep the dream alive, man. We thank everybody for their support and we're so stoked that the new record's kicking ass and you're going to have to make us do another record. You're stuck with us now.
Jerry, let me keep you on schedule, my friend. It was a real pleasure.
Ok, no problem. Thank you.