Morgan was once a drummer for Big Bang Babies, one of our favourite unsigned
LA bands in the early 90s and the brainchild of Keri Kelli, guitarist
with Slash's Snakepit. Prior to that Keith had also been in a band called
Razmataz, who we'd caught live at The Troubadour on New Years Eve 1992.
Keith, who used the name Alan (his middle name) as a surname back then,
is blasted into the past.
"When Big Bang Babies split up, Keri and I started this band called
Rubber and found these two other guys and did that for a while. It just
kinda got weird and we split up. Actually the three of us besides Keri
moved and did this thing called Orangemen. It lasted a couple of years
and after that whole thing went down
two of the guys in Handsome
Devil I've been friends with forever anyway, so they just told me about
this opportunity they had coming up here. They really liked my drumming
and that whole thing so they said "do you wanna come and check it
out?" We rehearsed and it just kinda clicked. It was like magic again.
But I was still playing. There was never a time when I kicked back and
"The two guys were in a band together. When they would come off tour,
they would give me a call and say 'hey man, do you want to come down to
the studio and just jam" and we'd play all these old cover songs
or just work on their new ideas. I was in Orangemen at the time so I would
just jump in and jam with them. This was like two years before anything
happened. We just enjoyed playing together. So that was the first thing.
What made me join was that it was a better opportunity and I always dug
these guys playing. I thought they were pro to begin with and the situation
I was in seemed really redundant. Not that it wasn't fun, I don't want
to put anything down, but this just seemed like a better situation and
opportunity for me. I was ready to do something new and I'm completely
stoked I made the decision."
"It was just the three of us and then we were on the search for a
bass player. We finally found him in September."
Not soon afterwards the band were picked up by Jeremy Popoff's own record
label, Dirty Martini.
"I really thought it was about time. I definitely felt I had paid
my dues and was capable of handling this whole situation. I was just really
stoked, you know what I mean? Here we are, we have a genuine opportunity
and I knew I was with guys that felt the same about me as far as pursuing
a career in this area. I was just stoked, really happy and just glad we
got the opportunity to prove ourselves."
But things hadn't always been that easy. Keith had had times when he'd
questioned his choice of career. Thankfully he never gave in to these
"I thought about maybe throwing in the towel a few times but then
I moved out here specifically to make it on one level or another and again,
not to toot my own horn and say that I'm bad-ass, I know that I can play.
I knew that being with the right people, being at the right place at the
right time, who you knew, all this stuff, it would have been cool if it
had happened back then but I might not have been prepared for it at the
time; too reckless and not really mature enough. Maybe that sounds cheesy
but I think that now is a good time.
"I would just realise that this is what I came here to do. The second
you give up you've thrown in the towel completely and you have no chance
of making it. I just would still do my little activities within my life
beside music but still when it came to music I always gave it 100%. I
think just a lot of hard work paid off. I knew somewhere, sometime or
another, somehow I would get my foot in the door and then just kinda branch
off, in one way or another"
And he sees this as only the beginning
"The thing that I think is cool is that when we play in front of
people, people who are there actually seeing us like us. The people that
like us love us and they come back again to the shows, they talk to their
friends. So I think it totally has potential there. I think every song
on the record doesn't really sound like the next one. It's not like one
song and everything sounds like that with a little twist in the vocal.
This is only our first record and I think as musicians we're going to
grow together. We're all good players and I really do think it has the
potential of a career out of this, like big time
if we're in front
of the right people, we can get the tools that we need. Without them I
think we can manage it but MTV and things like that, those are always
a bonus, but if we don't get all that love, we can do it on our own. We're
gonna just tour constantly and make it happen.
mentioned, two of the members were in a band together before Keith came
in. That's Billie Stevens and Danny Walker who were previously part
of the band Wank, signed to Maverick Records. They released an album
amusingly entitled 'Get A Grip Of Yourself'.
Keith says Billie, Danny and also Darren on bass are awesome to be in
a band with.
"Every band I've been in, we've all gotten along but then eventually
something goes weird. We're all smart now and we've all been through
all kinds of bullshit so we get along really good. We're always joking
around. We comment even amongst ourselves that most bands aren't like
us. We totally get along, we have each other's back if we have a problem,
which is very rare. We just talk about it immediately and it's solved
rather than sitting there and harbouring that and taking it out and
maybe fans finding out that you're upset with this guy, we just take
care of it. But it's constantly tons of laughing, tons of joking. It's
a ball. I love all the guys."
after the band had gotten signed, the first thing to do was to go out
"Before we started recording, we went out with Zebrahead just to
kinda get tight with each other 'cause again with the four of us playing
as a unit we didn't have much of the live show thing and we busted our
ass. We didn't have 10 years to get this thing ready. It was like 'here
are the four of you, bam, you have to act like you've been together
forever'. So we got our chops down, got our moves down, got augmented
into playing in front of a lot of people together, the four of us
Then, and only then, did they hit the studio to record their debut album.
'Love And Kisses From The Underground' was produced by Jeremy Popoff
and Ed Stasium. Most of the songs had been written prior to the full
line-up, by Billie and Danny.
Keith says "Danny obviously is the main songwriter - or at least
the ideas that we've used thus far, he'll go in his room and 4-track
a bunch of ideas and bring it to us. I can't play guitar or anything
so it's real hard for me to write songs. I can hum melodies and stuff
but I'm more into piecing together different segments of the song or
little accents here or endings like this, beginnings like this. But
for the most part it was all pretty much written before I came in. As
I said, Danny and Billie and I used to play a lot on the side so we
knew each other's chemistry anyway. The drum machine stuff that Danny
would put down on some of these songs were almost what I would play
anyway. I know 'Everything', 'Barbeque' and 'Bring It On' were three
songs we all worked together on after, the four of us.
"To us the whole recording experience was laid back, since we knew
Jeremy. Since we knew he was an artist his ideas were valid because
he's been there, he's having success with his thing. The things that
he'd say, we'd take it in, listen to it, if we didn't like it, it wasn't
like 'dude, you've gotta do that", it's just "ok, whatever".
So it was real laid back, real cool, he was a lot of fun. They (Lit)
were recording their record at the same time so I thought it was real
cool how he would come down and spend several hours with us in the morning,
go and do his thing and then come back and hang out."
The album was distributed through RCA.
"Right when the album was being released, our first tour which
got us a lot of exposure was going out with Lit
and that rocked.
It was playing in front of a lot of people who totally accepted us with
open arms, we had a great time. It was really cool. We're actually doing
some more shows with them and every time we pop back through a certain
town the crowd's double and triple. The word of mouth thing is really
happening for us.
"We're stoked that we have an album out there and whether people
hear it or not, if they're at the show we capture them
they go get it. I'm happy with the way things are going. We've got a
single coming out here in February or March and hopefully it will re-ignite
the whole situation and break out money again.
any clue when the band will get to the UK, Europe or any other country?
Keith replies: "There's talk about it. I would probably think we'll
do a Japan/England thing pretty soon. I don't see why we wouldn't. It
would seem like the obvious thing to do.
does Keith have any messages for a) people who haven't heard the band
yet and b) their own Handsome Devil fans?
"Current Handsome Devil fans I'd say we love and appreciate everything
that they do. We have a street team out here that busts their ass to
get the word of Handsome Devil out and they're called The Hellions.
Definitely like to say hi to them and again we appreciate everything
they're doing. For people who don't know about us, if you like rock
'n' roll at all, it's definitely a must to check out. The songs are
all poppy, catchy and attitude and live it's even more in your face.
We put on a hell of a show. We get crazy, get everybody involved and
it's just a good time. We wanna bring back the rock of it all."
more information on Handsome Devil visit their official website at www.handsomedevilworld.com and grab their 'Love And Kisses From The Underworld' in shops now.