Eve To Adam has been touring and releasing great rock for years and they are out on the road right now with Texas Hippie Coalition. On the cusp of a show in Flint Michigan at The Machine Shop, I had the opportunity to speak with lead vocalist Taki Sassaris.
ToddStar: (Answering the phone) This is Todd.
Taki: Hey, what’s going on Todd?
ToddStar: Hey, what’s going on, Taki?
Taki: Hey man, how are you?
ToddStar: Good, yourself?
Taki: Doing okay, just getting my Friday started here a little while ago, and just… it’s been a hell of a week, man. It’s been really good. Things are going good. I'm looking forward to rocking Atlanta tonight, and it feels like we’re just heating up on this tour. So things are going really well.
ToddStar: That’s cool. So before we get into all the fun and excitement, let me thank you for taking time out of your schedule today. We here at 100% Rock love Eve to Adam, and we really appreciate you taking time for us.
Taki: Ah dude, thank you. Thank you so much for the interest and you know, it’s my pleasure, man, it’s my pleasure.
ToddStar: We’ll talk about the tour in a minute, but let’s talk about what’s really exciting. September 17th sees the release of the latest and greatest from Eve to Adam, called Locked & Loaded. On the surface, when someone gets a listen to this, what kind of things can you tell us that we might now know just by listening to the record?
Taki: Well as far as this band goes, it’s the best thing we've ever done. For me this album is the culmination of everything we've ever done. This band has been together over ten years, and fighting its way to where it is today by continuous determination and perseverance. A lot of that hunger and that edge that we've gained over time is evident in the writing, and the performances on this album. So, it really is a marker for me as far as the closing of one chapter and the opening of a completely new one for this band. I’m very proud of the album. We have always strived to put out the best products we possibly can at the time, budget wise, and experience wise, and personnel, and getting the opportunity to work with Elvis Baskette, Dave Basset and Eric Bass on this one, it was a dream come true. It’s what you do it for. You hit the road and you put on great shows, and you’re good to the fans, and you move your career forwards so you can have the opportunity at one time or another to step into a studio and work with top shelf talent, and that’s what we were able to do here. I’m really, really excited for this thing to come out, and every night that I've been playing this material because on this tour we’re playing…. You know, it’s 97% all Locked & Loaded, with the exception of Straightjacket Supermodel, they don’t know any of these songs. So it’s a very unique challenge to go out to a crowd that is maybe not so familiar with the band to begin with, and we’re also playing some material that they've never heard. And to see them react the way they've been reacting, and singing the choruses of these songs by the second time around, through the song, it’s very gratifying and it makes me feel incredibly, because we put a lot of work into the song writing, and then the next step obviously, the production and recording of it, but to see people really connecting with the material, and going on the ride with us makes me think that we've really got something big here.
ToddStar: I’d have to agree with you. I know my first listen through, what really struck me is that from the opening notes of Locked & Loaded through to the bombastic close of Forgive, I say bombastic just because it’s a heavier tune than some people might be accustomed to with you guys, but it’s like you wrote this album that is just full of potential singles, but the album doesn't feel disjointed at all.
Taki: Thank you. That’s important.
ToddStar: Was there a different approach that you took this time with the writing? You guys have always been able to throw out some really great tunes, and 99% of the album is out there you’ll get one or two where you think ‘Man, that just doesn't fit, or doesn't groove’, but this time you've just nailed it. Was there something that you guys did different in the process this time?
Taki: You know, I think also Gaurav and I, having written so much stuff in the past together, and carrying most of the weight of the song writing through the career of the group, I think we've reached a place also where we are really comfortable, we really know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and we were able to really, as in riff wise and melody and lyric wise, we were able to really just lock in on a lot of stuff, and then being able to case those ideas, after doing two tours with Creed last year, which we were writing on continuously… the live thing had a lot to do with it because playing all those shows, we realized there were some things that we wanted more of, to be able to dive into from the live set, and so we went into the studio to create material that would satisfy some of those urges from a concert standpoint, and you know, he had a bank of riffs really, and he really went to work and did a lot of great work putting great riffs together. And then those initial ideas and concepts that we had, we were able to take and bounce them off of a guy like Elvis Baskette or Dave Basset, you know, guys who have sold millions of records and had multiple top ten hits, number one hits, whatever. But that kind of experience, and that kind of feedback from people on that level, first it had been validated, to have this guy go ‘Oh my god, what is that?’ Oh, well this is a song we’re working on called Shut up the World. ‘Wow, we need to… that song is almost there, we just need to write a couple parts and it’s done. That’s beautiful, I can hear it in your voice. That’s one of the things Dave Basset said on that, when we were there writing with him, you know, and it happened down the line with Elvis the same way. We wrote the riff to Forgive, you know Gaurav had that. We ended up completing that song with Elvis, but they were all in motion, and we knew getting validated from guys like that, that the connection and the chemistry for this material between Gaurav and I, was in the right direction. We just needed a little bit of feedback, and a little bit of tightening up here and there, from people that have that kind of experience. But to be validated by guys like that on that level, we knew we had stepped into something different for us, and there really was chemistry and timing, and again, I would reiterate that it came from a lot of the touring we did in 2012 last year, we did about 125 shows, and 75 of those were with Creed, you know, and we realized that there were certain things in our material that we had at that moment that we really liked, but there were other things that were missing, and we really wanted to fill those gaps with the new album, and we really wanted to put together a record that when we took it out live, was going to be very gratifying to us to perform, but really would take the audience on an adrenaline ride of intensity in a different way that we haven’t done.
ToddStar: Okay. Well you talk about the live show, you mention this current swing that you're on with Texas Hippie Coalition, that you're playing mostly new material. Looking back at you guys’ discography, are there any songs that the band has got to play that will just stick with your guys live from here to eternity?
Taki: Yeah, there are certain ones that just keep coming up from Queens To Eden there’s Two Pills, there’s Gift, from Banquet For A Starving Dog, there is definitely… there’s Run Your Mouth, Reach is always going to be part of the discography. I mean, there’s even one from earlier in the day, I mean there’s a song off of Auburn Slip that people always still request, which is called Find Yourself Another, you know, and I'm sure that one will bridge its way… as we start getting into longer and longer time slots, as we start doing an hour and a half, hour fifteen, you know a lot of these songs are definitely going to make their way back. No Regret is another song that is off of the Queens to Eden album that fans always used to find its way into a conversation. For us, you know, really, as our fan base continues to grow and people get more of the back catalog, it’s really about what they want to hear. We put things on albums because we enjoyed writing it and it was a challenge to record it, and there’s something about that song in one way or another that says a lot about us. So, we don’t really have an aversion to play anything that we've put out on a record. I mean I can't think of one song that I've put on an album that I would say ‘Oh my god, no I would never do that. I’m really embarrassed of that’ or whatever. For us it’s all about what the audience wants, and if we get messages or feedback from people that say ‘Hey, I just discovered you guys last week and I picked up your album from 2007, Queens to Eden and I just love A, B, C and D. Any chance we’ll ever hear this live?’ or that, whatever. I mean we always consider it. If there is that kind of demand for something, overwhelmingly so, we are first and foremost entertainers, and we want to make sure that people have the best time possible, and if time allows it all of those songs have the potential to come out of the shed, for sure.
ToddStar: It’s good to hear things like that, because you mention Find Yourself Another, which is probably one of my favorite tracks other than a couple on the album. A couple on the new album really just rock out as far as I'm concerned. The tour with Texas Hippie Coalition, two bands that normally I wouldn't picture on the same bill. How does it seem to be with the crowds? They're getting the headline, but you guys are coming out there and I'm sure kicking some ass. Do you find yourself winning over the crowds, that maybe you're there for the teenage scene groove?
Taki: Yeah, it’s an interesting experiment. When we got the offer to go out with these guys, the initial reaction would be wait, could this work? I was really the one who took the idea, and I was really inspired and excited by it. I'm tired of the fact that a lot of these packages that have been put together are too similar. I think it really creates a lot of monotony and staticness with the audience. I knew that we had enough… especially the new material, we had a heavier intensity of stuff, and I knew that we could hang with these guys and it would be a real challenge, but I knew if we threw the gauntlet down every night we could do it. I know that they have the kind of crowd that is very loyal, and very respectful of their fan base, and I knew that if we could take some of those crowd every night, and convert them, that we would be doing the right thing, and that’s what’s been happening. We’re five shows in and this crowd is unfamiliar with the group. So we’re really coming out there and it’s a cold call, in effect. So we’re giving them a lot of this new material, and we’re giving them this new stage show that we've put together. We've really elevated the production of the life show with the group. It’s a whole different world now. We’re playing with, you know, we've got a computer and all the production that’s on the record is being represented live now. Even in these small clubs. We’re basically doing a large theater or arena show in these small to large clubs. So we’re converting these guys. These guys are tough guys, but they are listening and they are genuinely surprised, and really happy to have us on this tour, and I can't tell you the amount of guys that have been coming up to me at night, shaking my hand, buying merchandise, taking pictures with us, and genuinely thanking us for coming out on this tour and introducing them to something completely new, and just out of full respect for coming out there and showing them who we are and with complete energy and with total determination. It’s a great feeling to have loyal THC fans coming up saying ‘Hey, I can't wait for the release of this album. This album is kick ass. You guys just kicked ass out there. I didn't really know what to expect, didn't know you guys. I’d heard of the name but wasn't real familiar, but I'm definitely a brand new fan, so thanks for being here.’ It’s all about big daddy riffs, giving us the vote of approval up there every night. That’s a very gratifying feeling. So I'm enjoying myself out here. There’s a reason why I wanted to do this tour. I knew it would be a challenge, but I really think if you're not challenging yourself, you're not growing and at this point right now it’s really important to keep moving to go forwards, keep pushing the thresholds. It’s making us a better band. We’re constantly learning things. We’re going on tour with other people, and this is no exception, I'm learning quite a bit from watching these guys. Rich is a master of ceremonies, his banter is genius. He’s in the moment, he knows how to connect with audiences, he pulls them right in. I've been learning a lot from watching him. So on many levels, it’s a very satisfying adventure right now. I'm having a great time on stage playing this new material to this audience. We’re winning this audience over. But also we've gained some new friends with these guys, and they're people that I really respect, because in a lot of ways they're just like us. They've been around over ten years, they've done it their own way, they have their own style that they've stuck to. You know, they're very sincere, and they're not a copycat. They work hard and they believe in what they're doing. We have a lot of things in common, even though we’re from New York, they're from Texas. A lot of similarities in the character of the group. I've made some new friends, which I'm really happy about, because they're the kind of people who tell you the truth, and I appreciate that.
ToddStar: That’s cool. On the tour you've got a big date coming up here on the 31st July in Flint, Michigan, at The Machine Shop, where you guys have played before. Any memories of playing at The Shop (http://www.themachineshop.info/)?
Taki: Oh man, I've got plenty of memories from The Shop. The Shop is one of those places, I put it up there with like CBGBs for me. We cut our teeth at CBGBs in New York City, and The Machine Shop is a similar place in my heart. It’s a very well respected, renowned church of hard rock and metal, and when you go to that place you know you've got to bring your A game. So it’s the kind of thing that always makes you elevate your performance, and it attracts the kind of audience that is hard core, dedicated, and a little crazy, and all about having a good time. So my memories of The Machine Shop have always been positive ones. Kevin is a great guy. It’s just a great energy affiliated with the place, and it’s right on the same page with us. It’s all about high intensity, hard rock and metal, and having a great time with this music. I love playing The Machine Shop. I always have a big smile on my face when I see that on the tour itinerary, because then I know… it characterizes for me exactly what kind of tour this is going to be when I see The Shop on there.
Taki: I can't wait to be there.
ToddStar: I can't wait to see you. I know you're a busy man, so I've got one more for you. It’s 2013, we’re a couple of months out from the release of the latest CD from you guys, Locked & Loaded, you’re on tour, life is good, according to you right now, Taki, what’s the meaning of life?
Taki: The meaning of life right now is I'm a survivor. I've survived this era of hard rock and metal, and this change in technology in this industry. We've survived with character intact and spirit that is intact. We’re not broken. In fact we’re stronger, and we’re better for it, and the best for Eve to Adam is yet to come. For many of my contemporaries it’s over, but for me it seems like it’s just begun, and I'm closing one chapter and opening a brand new one, and I'm very grateful and thankful to be here, but I also know that I've earned it and I'm going to make the most of it, and it starts every night that I hit that stage, and we go out in front of an audience. It begins and ends with that and that’s what my entire purpose is right now. It’s always been that, but everything that we've gone through to get to this point, to get to this moment, that’s the pay off. We don’t take it for granted, and we’re going to show the world why we deserve to be here and we’re going to show them where we’re headed, and that’s Eve to Adam. I appreciate you taking the time man, and I’ll look forward to seeing you at the end of this month, and I'm so happy that you love the new album and you know, I'm very excited to take this thing all the way.
ToddStar: Again, we really appreciate you taking the time for us. We love the album, we love you guys and we can't wait to see you roll into Flint, Michigan and tear up The Shop once again.
Taki: Get ready, it’s going to be one for the books, I tell you that.
ToddStar: Sounds good Taki, we’ll see you then.
Taki: Thanks Todd. Have a great weekend.
If you need tickets to this show, check out http://www.themachineshop.info