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The Call That Came

(Interview With Mike Fasano Taken From Black Velvet 25- Aug 2000)

By Shari Black Velvet

NB. Mike is no longer a member of Warrant. Visit his website at www.totalposer.com

MIKE FASANO is a man who has worked with a lot of bands, both as a drummer sat behind the kit and a drum technician. Green Day, Fleetwood Mac, Blink 182, Gilby Clarke, Dad's Porno Mag… these are just a few of the names Mike has helped out. The latest to be added to the list is Warrant. Yes, Mike has firmly planted his bottom on the Warrant drumstool and it looks like he'll be securely seated for quite a while. Black Velvet caught up with him shortly after the well known US rock band's tour had come to an end…





Mike starts off by gushing about how fantastic a time he's been having on the road with the band.
"I had a great time. It was a lot of fun. It's probably the biggest gig I've done as far as playing with somebody. I've been playing for a long time and I've been in a hundred bands, and it feels like I've finally gotten somewhere, as far as playing with a national act who've sold a lot of records and who I have a lot of respect for. I remember listening to them when I was just out of high school and thought they were cool. They made enough of a stink in the eighties/early nineties to be reckoned with and still are being reckoned with. We tour and play these places that sell out or are close to selling out. It's great. It's like all the bulls**t of certain bands I've played with - or getting fired from bands, or having bands break up, it just seems like 'Thank God'. Do you know what I mean? Even though this band has their problems, like every band has their problems, it's nice that I'm in the band, I'm the drummer, I can use their name, they can use my name. There isn't a drummer with a bigger name that's going to do the gig. I signed a contract. I think they like me. I think they get a kick out of me. I think the band's a great band, plus we've got Keri Kelli obviously 'helping us out'. He's not in the band. He's just helping us out because he's got his Ratt commitments. I think the two of us created some spark. I think it was a really neat thing we just did the past few months."
So did Mike have any preconceptions of what being in the band (whose core members are Jani Lane, Erik Turner and Jerry Dixon) was going to be like? And has it exceeded or fallen short of his expectations? Black Velvet investigates…
"I met Jani when I was playing with Gilby," Mike says. Jani jammed with us. We did a band called Jani Lane And The Underdogs, a covers band, an all-star band. He would say "Mike, we play these places in the mid-west, back east and south and it's packed. You just wouldn't believe it. There's nothing happening on the west coast of the United States for rock" and I'm like "That's cool". I never really thought about it 'cause I did the same tour with Gilby and it wasn't really happening. But Gilby and Warrant are two different entities. Gilby is a guitar player from Guns N' Roses, not an original guy, doing a solo record. Warrant is Warrant, doing their stuff. So basically, getting out on the road, it was pretty amazing playing and doing songs and we'd stop and the kids would be singing. Kids… you in England may call them punters! The punters were singing the tunes. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe after shows signing autographs for an hour. It was pretty amazing."
Mike said he hadn't really known what to expect.
"I just went in there. I had a job to do, this new opportunity for me. I was there for a reason. Jani wanted me there and I did what I did, and it was pretty fun and nice to play in the packed places and nice to meet fans… It was nice. I knew the potential of the band and I knew what was there, but I never really knew it until we went out. I was like "Woah, this is really cool".

How does Mike see Warrant as a band now as opposed to what they were in the eighties.
"In the eighties… As we say, the term is 'back in the day', the coolest thing was that they made their stink with the Mötley Crües and the Poisons and the Ratts. They were on MTV when MTV used to play videos, and more importantly, rock videos. They were there. The thing that a lot of people don't know about Warrant… Obviously you have the fans that know Warrant and they're the fans that come to the shows now and they are the people that know Warrant from back in the day. But once the music changed and bands like Nirvana came out, or Alice In Chains and Soundgarden… that whole style of music came out and they were the thing that was going on. Therefore, bands like Warrant or Poison or Ratt got shuffled away, even though two or three years before everyone was rocking to them. Because music is such a corporate business, they pushed a new thing. And the new thing was the Grunge scene. But a lot of people don't know that Warrant kept making records. They've got seven records out. They changed with the times. They got heavy. It's a natural progression. You get a pair of jeans or a jacket or sunglasses or haircut for that two years or whatever. Everybody eventually gets it or catches up to it 'cause it's all around you. That happened with Warrant. They kept doing their thing and they made some great records and some heavy records. Basically they've evolved and now ten years later or seven records later, going out and playing with them for me is really cool. I have a lot of respect for them because they've stuck it out. They've stayed on the road, stayed making records and when someone comes to a Warrant show it's a great f**king show, especially now with the new blood in the band. And we don't all have long hair. Not that having long hair means anything. We've all stayed current. I think this band's always going to do the next thing, whether people hear it, whether a record company gives us a chance or not, we're going to do what we want to do.
Not only is the new guy comfortable with Warrant's past, he eagerly anticipating their future.
"Well, this is my plan. Warrant are going to work for the next ten years, regardless of if we're going to get help from a label or whatever. We're going to tour".
Mystic Mike continues.
"I see this band working for a long time and being a band for a long time. I see us doing a week in Vegas at some Casino… Bally's Casino or whatever. Going to Reno and doing a week there or going to Atlantic City and doing these things that older bands like Pat Benatar and REO Speedwagon are doing, and just still touring. As long as there's a will, and there is a will with this band - and as long as there's a way - and there is a way with all the fans, I think this band's going to be around.

"Granted, I am the drummer. I am the bottom of the totem pole, but yet a very important part of the totem pole. But that's what I feel. The band's going to be around."
He says the last sentence very adamantly.

Talking about the recent tour again, in particular its highlights and lowlights, Mike says:
"I try to tell my friends back home, here in LA, "Man, you're not going to believe this. We're selling out clubs and selling tons of merchandise". The whole tour really surprised everybody. The highlight is that it is the best tour they've done in years."
Mike believes that one of the best shows was the one that Black Velvet attended in Wantagh.
"You saw what happened in Long Island. It kicked f**king ass and the place just went nuts. It was pretty amazing."
Lowlights included the cancellation of the final four nights of the tour.
"Jani got sick and dehydrated on the road and had to go to the emergency room and we couldn't finish the four shows. We made it seven and a half out of eight weeks. It was kind of a bummer that we didn't make it all the way, but we almost did. But if a guy's not feeling well then I'm not gonna make anyone do anything that they can't physically do. But it was an incredible seven and a half weeks."

So now that the Warrant tour has finished, that gives Mike time to revert to Dad's Porno Mag mode. So what's happening there then?
"I just bought the Dad's Porno Mag record in Virgin Megastore in Burbank where I live for $16.99. I'm looking at it right now and it has a Virgin sticker on and I'm not gonna open it. It's finally out in the stores and I'm really excited about it. Jill, the girl who does the Dad's Porno Mag website, bought one in Chicago. At the end of the Warrant tour, I was signing them at the shows as some kids had got them.
"We're hopefully gonna see how the release goes - how many records we sell - see what kinda buzz we do. We're probably going to play some shows towards the end of Summer. But we have to set it up. Ryan's on tour with Alice Cooper right now. Keri's probably going to be going out with Ratt in the Summer. Warrant's still probably going to be doing some stuff. Probably September when we're all done with our other projects we're going to hopefully get together and book a tour. It might only be a couple of weeks on the west coast and maybe a couple of weeks back east.
"We've been getting some airplay from a guy in LA called Jonathan Brandmeier, who's got a radio station - FM Talk 97.1. He wants us to do a radio interview. You never know what's going to happen. 'Smell My Finger', our gimmick song, will hopefully create a buzz and spread out. Jonathan Brandmeier is killer. He's playing it three times a day on his show and having people phone in and saying "hey, when was the first time you smelt your finger off of some girl?" or whatever. It's a little thing that's opening some doors and letting people know about us. Dad's Porno Mag… we're America's band… we're England's band as well. You English would really like 'Pigeons Are Rude', the fifth cut. It's really dark and heavy and I know the English would hail the song. Our friend Gilby Clarke produced it.
"After this interview maybe somebody will go "Hey, we wanna book some shows" and we can do a week in England. If it was worthwhile to go over there, we'd go and kick ass. We'll do instores or whatever. We wanna come to England so whoever's out reading this, make it happen for us! We'll do whatever - a week, ten days, 14 days, whatever. Book a tour. Get us out there!"

Mike's Nicknames

Mike has more nicknames than you can throw a drumctick at. We asked him to tell us about some of them - and then gave him our very own - The Stationary Man - for being about the only male to send Black Velvet Magazine an email using cool coloured stationary. OK, so ours is a bit boring... If you can think of any more, send your suggestions in and we'll pass them on.

The Dean Martin Of Rock 'N' Roll
"Jani Lane coined me the Dean Martin Of Rock 'N' Roll' which is really cool 'cause my dad always loved Dean Martin. He was like 'you're always dressed up, you've got that thing going, you've got a cocktail in your hand and you're hosting everybody'. That's the Italian mother in me."

The Sack
"That's an old one I've had for a little while. I carry a little bag around with me in life. What do I keep in my bag? Tons of fun!"

Man About Town
"That was kind of a joke. When I was single, I was bopping around. I don't just hang out at one place and I don't just hang out with one sort of person. I have different friends and groups of people that I try to hang out with."

I'm always a walking, contradiction of myself. I'm confused. I don't know whether I'm coming or going, depending on my self esteem for that day."

The Love Cherub
"That's way old school. That's from Ryan Roxie, our fearless Dad's Porno Mag guitar frontman, who also plays for Alice Cooper. I met Ryan a long time ago and I'm pretty nice to everybody. I treat people as I would like to be treated. I think Ryan saw something in me. I know he's been through a lot of s**t. Maybe he's a little jaded about things and maybe I had this cherubic way about me… Maybe positive or sweet. What's really funny is that Ryan is married to this really great girl called Victoria and Victoria always had the hottest friends and none of them would give me the time of day. It wasn't like I was The Love Cherub with all the ladies 'cause that definitely wasn't the case. I think he once said to me something like that I was Heaven sent to him. His thing was 'if you ever find a good drummer, you'd better wrap your arms around him and hug him and never let him go' and that's pretty much what he's done to me, even though I'm doing the Warrant thing - which is killer as well."

"Oh, Marc. Ha ha. That's a good one too. Gilby's drummer from the Pawnshop Guitars record was called Marc and that's how I met Ryan. I was helping a couple of the drummers on the record out with gear. Marc had asked me to play drums with him. Marc tended to stir a few things up here and there; wind people up. Ryan is the master of winding people up and would say 'how very Marc Frasano of you instead of Mike Fasano'. That's where Marc came from."

Mike told me to give a mention to all his old buddies who he used to know when he worked on Princes Cruises many years ago. "A big shout out to the people who worked on the cruise ships in 89/90. Princes Cruises - Mike Fasano. Looking for you guys! Email me!"


Dad's Porno Mag - Album Track By Track

This is what Mike has to say on each track of the Dad's Porno Mag album:

"'Hello' is a song that we used to do as the first song of our set whenever we played. A lot of the times in LA you don't get soundchecks, kind of 'show and go'. "Be lucky that you're playing, you guys don't get a soundcheck". It's a real poppy, real simple, obvious song. It 's a song where you can hear guitars and backing vocals and drums. It was a song we just did as a soundcheck. So by the time the second song comes along it's all honed in. It's just a little minute and a half song or something. When we went in with our producer Marl Schulman and Jim Mitchell, he said "Man, that's a great tune. Let's add a little section to it, make it a little bit longer and we'll start the record off with that". So that's why we did 'Hello'. It's what we will always start our set off with."

Smell My Finger
"That's pretty obvious. The hook is 'If you think I don't like her, smell my finger'. I think we've all had that experience. You kinda do the little thing down there and tell your friends! It's a great tune. We ripped The Cars off for the intro but then we do our own thing. It's a fun song. It's the obvious gimmick hit song. It's very tongue-in-cheek.

The Call That Never Came
"We were shopping our tape to Trauma Records. They took us to dinner a few times and were interested in us but would never call us back. So we were always waiting for the call that never came. But the cool thing about that tune is that if you've ever dated somebody and waited for the call, you can apply it to that too. The song's got a lot of attitude. We were pretty pissed off. It started off heavy."

Candy Lovin'
"Candy Lovin' was a Playboy centrefold from 1977. When Ryan was growing up he was really into her. She was someone Ryan believed in and who helped him get through his adolescence. We all had someone. I had Farrah Fawcett Majors. She's hot!"

Pigeons Are Rude
"I think it's about girls in LA. How dark and shallow people are. You have to listen to it. It's a 'What can you do for me?' kind of song."

Big Fat Song
"'Big fat song on the radio' is the hook. It was obvious, straight ahead and "Here's our big, fat song. Here's an obvious song… Put us on the radio". These songs were written around the time that we were having dinner with the Trauma Records people and trying to write songs that they'd be into. We were trying to get our record to a major label."

You & I & Him
"There's another classic thing that everyone can relate to, whether you listen to the song as a guy or a girl. It's obviously about You & I & Him and in LA there's a lot of that going on. It's life."

Rule Me
"'Rule Me' is another angry pop pop song. It's about not letting anybody rule me. It's putting your foot down or your shield up and saying 'f**k you, you're not gonna push me around' in whatever situation you want to apply it to.

The Ballad Of Sandra Bullock
"That song is about the drug Speed Meth Amphetamine. Ryan wrote that when he was on the road with Gilby Clarke. Instead of calling the song 'Crank' or 'Meth' or something, at the time Sandra Bullock, the American actress, was in the movie Speed with Keanu Reeves. Ryan's got a real good way of trying to do a twist on everything, so he called it 'The Ballad Of Sandra Bullock'. It has nothing to do with her, it's just about the drug, Speed."

Gone So Long
"Ryan has the experience of touring and it's about being gone. Feeling like you're gone so long that you're out of touch with you friends. That's what I get out of it."

"'V' is the ballad that Ryan wrote for his wife Victoria. He calls her V for short. It goes 'Wait up for me, V'. Like when he's in the studio rehearsing or recording."

Great Day
"'Great Day' is us turning all the negativity and rejection that we got in the beginning around. While all the s**t's going bad, let's just be happy; it's gonna be a great day."

Poster Idol
"Candy Lovin' is a poster idol. She was a centrefold. Tommy Lee was one of my poster idols. It's a song about people you look up to and help you through. Somebody to respect or dig. We all have poster idols."

Freaks Come Out
"Ryan and Stefan used to work at a lingerie store in LA called Playmates. It talks about closing the store at 5.30pm. It was a crazy time. They met tons of girls and they were selling lingerie. It's just about working a s**t job. And all the freaks that would go out to Playmates - strippers, porno whores getting gear. It's real fast, real punk rock. We used to end our shows with that."

My Bad Knee
"We did a bonus track, which is track 77. Ryan's infatuated with the number 77 and the year 77. It's 15 minutes after the record ends. We have a phone ringing from our ansaphone. It's kinda trippy 'cause sometimes you'll be doing something in your house and you hear the phone ringing. It's real ansaphone recordings from our hotline and then there's this track which we recorded called 'My Bad Knee'. Ryan hurt his knee playing basketball and it's about his bad knee. Our manager at the time said it was a horrible song and it would be a waste of time recording it but we recorded it anyway. We wanted to put it on the record so we put it on as a bonus track. We were advised not to put it on and not to name it, and the funny thing is that that was one of the songs people thought was a great song. That was a surprise. But we were advised not to put it on the record. We were also advised to change our name 'cause we'd never be in Walmart. F**k it! Marilyn Manson's in Walmart! The most offensive thing about Dad's Porno Mag is the name Dad's Porno Mag and that's why it's Dad's Porno Mag DPM - so we can be in


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