These guys rock! This record rocks! After an almost three year hiatus the Exies are back with a new record and a new record label. The move from a major record label to an independent has proved successful as the band released their new record A Modern Way Of Living With The Truth on May 15th. In an effort to get their music to their fans faster they offered an electronic download of the completed record at MTV’s new download store www.urge.com beginning on April 10th. The band is just finishing a tour with Buckcherry, a week-long stint at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go, and they are preparing to go back on the road again. I recently caught up with bassist Freddy Herrera and spoke with him about the new record and tour.
With the release of A Modern Way of Living With the Truth, you moved from a major record label, (Virgin), to an independent, (Eleven Seven Music). How did this move affect the creative process? As a band were you afforded more input into the final product? What was the reason for the switch? Freddy: We had already written quite a few of the new songs before we knew that we weren’t going to be on Virgin this time around so it really didn’t effect the way we write. That was one of the coolest things about the move to Eleven Seven Music; they really let us do our thing. They actually only came down to the studio twice; once was when we were tracking drums and the other Scott hadn’t even laid down a vocal and only some of the guitars were finished and they were very enthusiastic. They believed in letting us do what we do. Ya know? The reason for the switch was because Virgin passed on our option for a third record. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t a little bummed, but like most things it was really the best thing that could have happened.
You just finished up a week-long stint at the world famous Whiskey-a-Go-Go. How did that turn out? Freddy: It was great! We had never had a huge following in Hollywood but by the end of it the shows became more and more attended. We must have been doing something right because by the end of it almost the entire staff were wearing our shirts and coming to the other shows on their nights off.
I understand Nikki Sixx is a fan of the band and was instrumental in getting the Exies on the Carnival of Sins tour. What was that like? Did you find it intimidating sharing the same stage as the legendary Motley Crue? Were Motley’s fans receptive of you guys? Do you have any interesting stories from this tour? Freddy: It was very surreal! I mean, those guys are legends and to be handpicked to do a tour by Nikki was a huge turning point for us, seeing as he was the one that introduced us to our manager, Allan Kovac. I was a little intimidating at first but after seeing them watching our set night after night we felt more comfortable being around them. We have TONS of crazy stories but we’ll never tell....
When playing together and ultimately recording this album did you find that you could each express yourself creatively enough? Freddy: More than ever, I think by being let go by Virgin really lit a fire in us and we’re playing and singing better than we ever have before.
Every band has it’s musical influences. What are some of the bands or artists that have greatly influenced you guys and your music? Freddy: The Beatles, because they’re the Beatles, ya know? Radiohead for their ingenuity, Breaking Benjamin for their songwriting, Elton John and Stevie Wonder for blowing our minds, and so many, many more.
Different groups have different ways of writing their songs. How do you guys go about writing your music? Is it a collective effort? (i.e. rehearsing and jamming together) or is it more of the efforts of one particular member of the band? Freddy: Usually Scott will have something and will play it for us in rehearsal and we will work on it from there. Chris and I will bring ideas, riffs, and lyrics to Scott and he’ll take them and work on them, but basically Scott is the guy.
For this album you guys worked with producer James Michels, (Alanis Morissette, Motley Crue, and Meatloaf). What was that like? Did he push you as musicians and songwriters? Freddy: I don’t know if “push us” is the way he was with us. He definitely helped shape and construct things and we did a hell of a lot of takes until he felt we nailed it, so, I guess he did push us, that bastard! No just kidding, it was an amazing experience.
You just finished up a tour with Buckcherry and Three Days Grace. What was that like? Do you have any interesting stories from that tour? Freddy: It was great! We got along so well with not only the guys in the band but the crews too. It’s great to be able to play a sold out show, which they all were, and then go out and see two really, really great bands every night. Interesting stories? Lots, but again we will never tell.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far? Freddy: Playing on Letterman was pretty damn cool but the Buzzfest we just did in Houston was off the hook!
What does the future hold of you guys as a band? Freddy: Non-stop touring to promote A Modern Way of Living with The Truth, playing Craig Fergusen on May 18th, and touring with Smile Empty Soul till the end of June. [ END ]