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PHIL SOUSSAN (From OZZY OSBOURNE/VINCE NEIL)
Submitted By Caroline Walsh on 09/06/08






This is James and Cassie and we're pleased and honored to have Mr. Phil Soussan, with us. How are you doing today?


Hi, I am fine!


We're sitting here scratching our collective heads. No, not because we don't know what to ask' We don't know where to begin!

Me neither! What can I tell you about!


We've recently had the pleasure of interviewing Joe Lynn Turner. Can you tell us a little more about the 'super group' being compiled, of yourself, Joe Lynn Turner, Vinny Appice and Carlos Cavazo? And also, perhaps tell us a little something of one of your recent projects which would be your solo album, 'Vibrate'?

Yes, we just returned from Nashville where we recorded a live DVD of all the biggest hits of the bands that we were in. We are all related through those bands Deep Purple - Rainbow - Dio - Sabbath _ Ozzy and Quiet Riot. We wanted to start this project off by playing all the songs that no-one else will. we all want too hear those songs again and where most cover bands can play them, we actually have a right to play them as we played them so many times in our bands - it is SOOO much fun! You should see the set list! As far as the band goes; we had 6 days to rehearse to make us sound as if we had been playing together for 6 years! We have all know each other a long time - Carlos and I are the longest from 1982. I have know Joe since '86 and I met Vinny just after that - but we have never been in a band together - and WHAT a band! We completely gelled as musicians and as friends and we are all so excited! I talked to Joe today and he, like me is bouncing off the walls!! I feel like I am in love!




Also I am right in the middle of rehearsals for my first solo shows for "Vibrate". I am playing some local shows in September and after I see how that goes I want to play out on tour. I am excited to be playing guitar and singing - I have not done that in a while and, of course, I am very proud of this record. It really is a piece of the inside me.



I am also writing and producing Trevor Lukather and his band - a VERY talented writer/guitarist. Please check him out at his www.myspace.com/isolationduo site. We are just getting ready to pitch his material to the industry.


You're a rock star with a personality and you've played with some of the biggest personalities of all time in Ozzy, Billy Idol, and Vince Neil. What has to happen to give a genuine 'new' rocker a little personality to set them apart? Everybody sounds and looks the same these days and I couldn't tell you where one band ends and the next begins.

Thank you for that! I think that you just have to be yourself. Many people "become" what they see the latest trend to be and really we are all born unique and versatile. There are even famous people who have just adopted a costume and an attitude, I could name a few, but that moment will die and you will die with it. Be yourself, I wanted to go from Ozzy to Billy Idol and everyone said to me that I was crazy. But I enjoyed it - I learned a lot and finally I could never be categorized. Trevor Lukather is the new generation and he looks at me as one of his peers, I have become timeless through my not anchoring myself to just one era or trend. I am amazed by this.









You worked with Ozzy on perhaps his biggest/most well known album, the Ultimate Sin, how did that come about? Didn't you also produce the album?

I auditioned, I played, I presented a song that I had written some years before (Shot in the Dark) and the rest is history. I did not produce that record.


How much of a part of the creative process was Ozzy back then?

Not much.. we all presented ideas and then he told us his like and dislikes and we adjusted accordingly.


These days, Zakk Wylde writes a lot of Ozzy�s material. Do you think Ozzy himself, on his own, could write quality material?

I don't know. I write in a very different way. I conceive an idea in story and then I go about placing it to music. It takes a lot of time and focus and introspection. I don't think that Ozzy approaches it the same way. His bands jam on riffs and then when it is finished they get some words to fit into the song. I guess I am a pop writer.


Recently, Iron Maiden members (especially Bruce Dickenson) have been rather outspoken about their dislike of Sharon Osbourne. On top of making Ozzfest pretty bad with bands that last slightly longer than a zit after Oxy pads are applied and leaving about as much of a long lasting impact as well, the boys from Maiden have taken to calling Mrs. Osbourne a 'egotistical little bitch.' How did you get along with her?

It was an amazing time. Metal had never been so big, Ozzy's gigs had never been so well attended and I had major success with a song that I wrote. My closest friend, Randy, was in the band with me and I liked Ozzy very much and we became good friends even out of the workplace. Ultimately (!) I had business disagreements with Sharon regarding future publishing arrangements and I decided to move on. I think that she took that really personally and she got really mad with me. She has certainly never forgiven me for that. I was close with her at the time; we used to go out for dinners and I used to treat her with great respect, I have no hard feelings. I had a great time with them. It seems that they either really like people when they work with them or they really dislike people when they are gone and there is no middle ground in between. Maybe one day we will all just get along again - I hope so.


Going on from the above, how do move on from Ozzy to someone as diverse as Billy Idol?

It's just a step to the left....... !!


I (Cassie) have been a huge fan of Randy Castillo for many years. Do you have any fond memories of Randy, you could share with us?

Not without writing a book, Randy was my best friend. I recorded a live DVD at the Key Club to release featuring G'n'R and Steven Tyler amongst others and I was hurt when the video "crew" tried to steal this production. I went through a 3 year legal battle to get the tapes back. They were trying to extort thousands of dollars out of Randy - can you believe it!!


As a musician, does it ever get under your skin when you turn on a rock radio station and hear a song that isn't as good as something you've recorded yet gets a lot more air play?

Nope... I don't write for radio programmers! I write for me. If you pay 'em enough they will play a fart on the airwaves. Radio will soon be dead and they will be pumping gas.


We understand that you've always had an interest in production and mixing, handling production on the new album. Do you see yourself doing more of that side of things in the future, or does the showman just have to come out?

I love production. I love being on both sides of the glass but you are right... after a short while on one side you have to balance it with some time on the other!










Why the bass?

Why not? The bass has a very important role in understanding the arrangement. The greatest writers and producers in history have been bass players because of the importance of "figured bass" (google it!). It is a timeless instrument and affects the whole vibe of the song. A very powerful chesspiece!


Do bass players, regardless how well known, ever feel jealous of the lead singer as the lead singer is typically seen as the 'most important' of the band?

See.."Why the Bass" above...


Speaking of singers, Vince Neil (whom we love) gets a bad rap, but you worked with him on one of his solo album, can you tell us what that experience was like and would you like to work with him again?

I am sorry not to share your love. I don't want to bad rap him but he could learn from the book of integrity and loyalty. As far as work, I gave him almost an entire album that hardly bears my name... Er... no, I would not work with him again.


Metallica blew the whistle on Internet downloads. About the same time, record sales all around the board starting going down. Also around the same time, the music that was promoted heavily by the media started to sound less and less like music of any kind and a lot more like a car and body works shop or a Nintendo game. Do you think Internet downloads hurt record sales or do you think the reason sales went down is because the dogs don't like the dog food?

I really am not sure. Look... when we were kids we used to make cassette copies of albums to play in the car. If we liked them we would buy those records. I have bought Led Zeppelin and David Bowie albums many times over; on vinyl, tape, CD, CD again, download... I have bought those albums 5 or 6 times in my career but originally I made illegal copies of them. That is how I got turned on to them. I think that people still want to collect albums and not just downloads, but I think that we have neglected the album - the quality - the cover - the appearance. Do I get excited about a "jewel case" blank CD - er, NO! But show me a great package at a reasonable (less than $14) price and I WILL buy it. Give me a flashy cover, a book of lyrics and some credits, otherwise I will download it for $9.99 and not waste my shelf space.


Is there anyone left whom you'd still like to work with or produce?

I don't know, there are so many talented people and the world constantly opens.... Can I say how fortunate I am to have worked with the people that I have worked with? I am indeed the luckiest guy on the planet and I never cease to forget that - I am truly blessed.


If you were to put one song you performed on in a time capsule to be preserved for people to hear 1,000 years from now, what song would you pick to sum up your contribution to rock 'n' roll?

1000 years? Some would say "Shot in the Dark" but I would say "Broken Machine" on the Luke album, or maybe "In America" or "Elderberry Trees" on Vibrate to show our future what our dreams had been or what our humility consisted of.


By the same token, what song, if any, do you wish you hadn't performed and wish you could erase from your catalog?

I have long forgotten anything that I regret!


We're interviewing some up and coming rockers like a new band called Kid Ego. Any words of advice for any aspiring musicians trying to get into the business?

Ahhh... I really don't know... maybe the adage that opportunity is not created - it just waits for the right person to recognize it.


What's next for Phil Soussan the man and Phil Soussan the musician?

Vibrate concerts and Big Noize! And later in the year I will start on a new solo record.










Word Associations:

If you have a one word answer that sums the person up, that will do. If you'd like to share a thought or memory, we welcome that as well!



Randy Castillo

Faithful


Billy Idol

Charisma


Vince Neil

Glutton


Ozzy Osbourne

Sensitive - really!


Rat Scabies

Hysterical


Jake E Lee

AWOL


Eric Singer

Good soul


Richie Kotzen

Talented


Gregg Bissonette

Absolutely beautiful soul!


Steve Stevens

Scheming


And, if we may, Phil Soussan yourself?

Very sleep!!


We'd like to thank Mr. Phil Soussan for spending this time with us at the Metal Epicenter. Do you have any closing words you'd like to share with your fans, site links, or anything like that?

Oh.. thank you for reading, thank you for being dedicated to music and being a fan. I am still a big fan myself and I respect other fans - we keep this business alive. Oh, and thank you for letting me inside your head for a short while with my songs. Please write me - I really try to reply to everyone!




Much love...

Phil


Once again, thank you for doing this.



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