The GnR Syndicate talks with Todd Kerns about touring with Slash and his current band the Sin City Sinners.
The GnR Syndicate: How has the tour been going so far?
Todd Kerns: The tour has been amazing, mostly because we all get along so well. It can’t be underestimated how important that is. Of course, the shows themselves have been overwhelming. The festivals have been the biggest audiences I’ve played in front of by a long shot. Getting to see places I never thought I’d get to is wonderful.
The GnR Syndicate: How long can we anticipate this tour to continue?
Todd Kerns: When I joined this thing I assumed Slash would be going out on weekends and casually playing. Not so. Slash is a machine. If it were up to him we’d be on the road forever-haha. We just learned of an awesome tour we may be a part of in the New Year. So who knows? Maybe Slash will get his way after all!
The GnR Syndicate: Any stand out gigs?
Todd Kerns: Well, they’ve all been amazing but Bataclan in Paris stands out because Alice Cooper got onstage with us. That was a dream come true. Lemmy got up with us for a second time at Download. That is always a pleasure, he’s a God. We got to play with KISS twice: Once at Rock Am Ring and again in Vitoria Spain. Michael Monroe will be joining us onstage in Finland and he’s another hero of mine. It has been quite a ride.
The GnR Syndicate: Had you worked with Slash before? Was it true you auditioned for Velvet Revolver?
Todd Kerns: No I hadn’t worked with Slash before. Obviously I’m a fan. The man is the best guitar player on the planet, hands down. I think me and every other singer threw our hats in the ring as far as VR goes.
The GnR Syndicate: I really enjoy the Sin City Sinners. Do they play exclusively in Vegas?
Todd Kerns: Predominantly yes. People don’t understand that Vegas is a hot bed of activity and can keep an artist so busy there isn’t time to go anywhere else. That said, the Sinners have been to L.A. a handful of times and have spoken many times about touring. You never know.
The GnR Syndicate: What is the back story with the formation of Sin City Sinners? How did it become a magnet for guest appearances?
Todd Kerns: I originally came to Vegas to help work on a cd for Brent Muscat’s band at the time. I was doing a lot of producing at the time. Brent reformed three fifths of Faster Pussycat for a European run and asked me to play guitar. I said sure as I had not been to Europe before. Upon returning to the U.S. we formed the Sinners as a fun Tuesday night at our favorite Dive Bar to jam with our friends. The guests had been a part of it since the beginning. Phil Lewis from L.A. Guns was the guest at our very first show.
The GnR Syndicate: You’ve had a wide variety of performers take the stage with the Sin City Sinners, are there any that stick out in particular? The shows really sound like a lot of fun, you’ve got to be having a blast up there.
Todd Kerns: The Sinners always have a blast. It started that way and sustained itself by not really caring about anything but having fun. I think that’s the contagious quality. If you see a band that’s truly enjoying itself you have fun too. I have made a lot of great friends out of those guests. Sylvain Sylvain from the New York Dolls was a big one for me as was Sami Yaffa from the Dolls and Hanoi Rocks. Slim Jim Phantom from Stray Cats, Bruce Kulick from KISS, George Lynch from Dokken and Lynch Mob, Even Tiffany! My good friend, Eric Dover, and I met through the Sinners. He was in Jellyfisth, Slash’s Snakepit, Alice Cooper, Imperial Drag etc. I even appear on his forthcoming Sextus cd.
The GnR Syndicate: It’s always interesting to know what other bands musicians are into. Who got you pumped up when you were starting out and who gets you pumped up today?
Todd Kerns : My favorite 3 bands as a kid are the same top 3 today: KISS, The Ramones and Guns N Roses. Not in any particular order. Don’t tell my boss that though-just kidding.
The GnR Syndicate: I happen to love “Ah! Leah! ”, how did that end up on Exile On Fremont Street ? Was this an old favorite of yours? Although I’m not sure you could match that old video though, unless you’ve got a yellow tux lying around.
Todd Kerns: ha-ha. Can’t say that I do! I saw Donnie Iris on Solid Gold when I was a kid and immediately fell in love with that song. I have played it in every band I was in. When the Sinners decided to record, that song reared its head yet again. I think our version is pretty bad-ass if I do say so myself.
The GnR Syndicate: “Blow Up Doll” is incredibly catchy, what is that song about? Is this metaphorical or just as straight forward as it seems?
Todd Kerns: Well, my brother and I wrote that together for our band Static In Stereo. There is a film called The River’s Edge with Keanu Reeves, Crispin Glover and Dennis Hopper where Hopper’s character has a blow up doll as a girlfriend and everyone refers to her by name as if she’s a real person. No one ever makes note that this is a strange or unusual thing. I have always been fascinated by that relationship. If you listen to the song it’s me that is the blow up doll:
“I’m wasted, I’m always the one to complain, my rubber soul and an alien brain, always alone, bubble wrap, styrofoam like the real thing. ”Aren’t we all to someone?
The GnR Syndicate: I really like “Goin To Vegas” but I like the video even more. How in the world did Ron Jeremy end up in that thing? He’s actually very funny. Where were the desert scenes shot? Out in Pahrump?
Todd Kerns: Ron has been a good friend of the Sinners for a long time. He was the MC at our very first show. He always gets up and plays harmonica with us. He’s actually very musical. He, Carrot Top, Sunny Leone, Bobby Blotzer and Eric Dover all appear in the video. Jason Green, our manager directed the video and did a great job. The humor in it somewhat mirrors the lyrics but he took it a step further. The desert scenes aren’t as far out as Pahrump but you don’t have to drive far outside of Vegas to find desert.
The GnR Syndicate: When you aren’t performing you are also producing and song writing with other artists?
Todd Kerns: Well, I used to do a lot more of that, especially when I was still in Canada. I had my own studio and everything. My partner is still up there recording bands in it. It was great fun but the Sinners kept me far too busy to entertain doing anything else. Slash keeps me even busier!!!
The GnR Syndicate: What’s next for you after the tour wraps up?
Todd Kerns: The Sinners have an acoustic cd coming very soon. I’m not really the type to make big plans. Life seems to make them for me. All I know is that 2011 is going to even busier than 2010. If that’s even possible!
The GnR Syndicate: Where can we find out more about you, Sin City Sinners, and your music?
I would like to thank Todd again for taking the time for this interview.
Slash and his band will be recording at Manchester Academy in Manchester, UK on July 3.
Posted: 2010-07-01 20:59:37
From Slash's Myspace blog: Slash and his band will be recorded at Manchester Academy in Manchester, UK on July 3.
Abbey Road Live will be there to record the performance and have it mixed and mastered on-the-fly, specifically for delivery to CD. Not to be confused with a "board" mix, which usually just involves plugging into the house sound console and taking their mix.
Each collectible disc set will be offered for $30 online at http://slashlive.sandbag.uk.com, or 20 at the show in Manchester.