The Last Vegas

Guitar player Adam Arling talks to RockSource360 about his band The Last Vegas and their new release "Bad Decisions".  He shares insights about his experience touring with and getting to know Nikki Sixx and Motley Crue who mentored the band into their musical upbringing.  Canadians will be given the opportunity to witness first hand their high energy spectacles as they will be touring with rock group Bleeker Ridge in the next few weeks.  Their previous album “Whatever Gets You Off” is also worth a listen for a bit of a 70's, 80's inspired hard rock fix.  For more info on this band and tour dates, visit: TheLastVegas.com
 
Interview by: Valerie Bastien
Valerie: Please introduce yourself and your band The Last Vegas.

Adam: The Last Vegas are a 5-piece hard rock band from Chicago, IL, USA, with a new album "Bad Decisions" currently ruling the world.

Valerie: You got your first break in the music business after winning Guitar Center’s On-Stage: Your Chance to Make Rock History contest in 2008. What was it like to have Nikki Sixx as a mentor? What have you learned from him and being on tour with Motley Crue that has helped you become who you are today?

Adam: Yes, the whole Motley Crue / Nikki Sixx deal was a tremendous break for The Last Vegas, commercially.  We had been a band for 5 years prior, put out 3 albums and toured Europe and North America relentlessly before the Motley association, so all the touring, recording and sleeping on floors and eating beer for dinner every night placed The Last Vegas in the right spot at the right time. 

Working with Nikki was pretty rad.  Watching him pull apart riffs of our songs and glue a nice big, fat, chorus in the middle (I’m Bad for example), was definitely songwriting 101.  We’ve always enjoyed collaborating with producers, and Nikki was a positive, upbeat, creative force, which really gave the album “Whatever Gets You Off” a little extra gloss, sheen.  The recording experience, and touring with the Crue for 2 months in stadiums across North America forever shaped The Last Vegas.  Kinda like giving a starving dog a steak, then tossing ‘em back in the kennel. 

Valerie: Your most recent album is called "Bad Decisions"; Tell me about a recent bad decision you may have taken and how were you able to make the best out of it?

Adam: "Bad Decisions", as a concept for the album, is a bit more about liberation from the steady, predictable road than say, getting wasted and nailing your best friends’ girlfriend or other low-brow stuff.  Unless you are an evil person, there is generally not a lot of ill intent involved in a ‘bad decision’ we’ve found.  It is kind of more about why you made one, and what’s going on in your mind making that bad decision.   Why did you flirt with that girl at school in front of everyone?  Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship; you know stuff like that.  It’s Dr. Phil time for TLV.

Valerie: Tell me about the first single for this album; what is it about?

Adam: The first single from "Bad Decisions" is Evil Eyes, which was lyrically written from the perspective of a peeping Tom, or stalker.  Peering into someone’s bedroom, seeing that person in intimate moments when they are totally comfortable with themselves, and vulnerable.  What do you see at those times?  Why is it appealing or attractive?  Is it some twisted type of love and affection really?  Is it legal?  Again, stuff like that…  The riff had this really slinky Aerosmith old-school groove to it, and just created a bed for which the lyrics wrote themselves.  Honest, we’re not stalkers in The Last Vegas.  Really, I mean we’ve never stalked anyone.  No one.  Never.  Not once.   Nope, we’ve definitely never done that, or been convicted, before.

Valerie: What is the heaviest song on the album?

Adam: The heaviest track on "Bad Decisions" is probably the opening track Beat to Hell.  It was this total burner that Johnny Wator (guitarist) had laying around for a year or so, that was fast, aggressive, and snarled from start to finish.  The song lyrically is an ode to Stephen King’s "Christine", so the blending in-your-face tempo with a possessed, badass car lyrical theme was an ideal way to set the table for a good listening experience from front to back.  Kick you in the teeth right from the get-go.

Valerie: Are there any ballads for your female audience? Give an example and if not, why not?

Adam: So only females can dig ballads, eh?   Valerie, men have feelings too. In fact, you’d be surprised at the amount of requests we get at shows from dudes cause we didn’t play our hit ballad Apologize.  Ballads are cool if done tastefully, and we have a killer one on the new album titled Good Night.  It’s the closing track on the album, and just kind of sums everything up about how life and relationships evolve, and sometimes people don’t evolve together.  Sometimes you gotta say “Good Night” to the one you love.  We cry every time we play it.

Valerie: What song gets the best response from your fans live?

Adam: Like most bands with a new album, we’ve been excited to road test a lot of the "Bad Decisions" material at club shows and gauge audience reaction.  The fans are the ultimate boss and it helps to get a handle, cause coming from the band side you can get locked in an ego-box and can easily lose sight of why you are on stage…  because of heads in the crowd who came to see you and they want to hear the songs they like.  Current popular tunes live seem to be Bad Decisions (title track), Don’t Take It So Har”, She’s My Confusion, and Devil In You, cause people try singing along to the chorus when they don’t’ know the words yet.  That rules.   We’d love to hear what your reader’s favorite tunes are as well… share with us at thelastvegas.com, facebook.com/thelastvegas and @thelastvegas.  We’re dying to know.

Valerie: You have a strong stage presence. When are you the happiest on stage?

Adam: Thanks for the compliment.  I think TLV views the stage show as an opportunity to quit fucking around and go out and kill.  To really deliver and conjure up as much energy as possible to give to the crowd.  I read this awesome interview with Jason Newsted of Metallica years back where he described the energy transfer between band and the crowd.  The band’s job is to put out as much power, sweat, and force as possible, eliciting from the crowd an energy response which in turn re-fuels the band’s energy level.  What you get is this circle of energy between fan and band.  It is beautiful, it is old school interactive.  You can’t download that.   That’s when we’re most happy, when the crowd is going for it with us.

Valerie: You will be beginning a short series of shows in Ontario. What are you looking forward to the most on this tour?

Adam: Tim Horton’s coffee, brushing up on our French when we swing through Montreal, and of course conversing with the nice young Canadian ladies who just mob us all the time at Tim Horton’s.  ; )

Valerie: What is your proudest accomplishment?

Adam: TLV has been lucky the past few years to open for some of our friends and heroes including Dick Dale, AC/DC, Guns ‘N Roses, Motley Crue, Buckcherry, ZZ Top, Fu Manchu, Ace Frehley, New York Dolls, Michael Monroe and others.   That kind of stuff still always gets us, when we all just melt into little kids staring at our idols.  It’s a good reminder of what this is all about living as a band; becoming inspired, and likewise inspiring others to create their own artistic contribution which perhaps makes the world a more livable place for one and all.










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Valerie Bastien is a vocal coach, teacher, musician and freelance journalist.
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