Spotlight Band: ModelSaint
Skyla Talon (Vox/Guitar)
Finn Zigo (Guitars)
Tchad Drats (Bass)
Dan Laudo (Drums)
I first met Skyla back in March of 2004 when he was touring with L.A. based gutterglam band Killingbird, who had just released their second album Waste Another Yesterday. Along with a bunch of others from across the country, I planned a long trip to Las Vegas. Along with the typical gambling, tourist destinations, and excessive drinking (R.I.P. to the 99 cent margaritas at the now-defunct Westward Ho Casino), we went to a lot of concerts – and one of them was seeing Killingbird. They put on a tremendous live show and a few of us ended up partying with them after the show until all hours of the morning. We ended up at the Algiers Hotel on the Vegas Strip, and typical rockstar chaos ensued. When one of the owners came to the door and saw a bunch of dirty, tattooed rockers and beautiful ladies, no questions were asked and they kicked us out of the hotel. (The next time I would visit Vegas, I would find that the Algiers Hotel was closed and demolished. How’s that for karma?)
I kept in touch with the band throughout the years and even ended up getting the album cover for Waste Another Yesterday tattooed on my left shoulder. As time went on, for one reason or another, somebody in the band would end up leaving or replaced, so I slowly lost touch with everybody except Skyla. I followed his career from Killingbird, his two solo albums (2004’s All The Dead Flowers and 2009’s Last Of Summertime), Rotten Bastards side project with Killingbird vocalist Christian, to his tours with Scum of the Earth, and now ModelSaint. I had the chance to sit down with Skyla for an interview about Modelsaint, and this is how it went…
Interviewed by: Justin Bartz
You’ve been a part of several projects in your career, from the guitarist, songwriter and producer in “gutterglam” band Killingbird to playing guitar in ex-Rob Zombie guitarist Riggs’ project Scum of the Earth. Tell us about the transition between each band. How did you end up playing in Scum?
Killingbird was something I put together with vocalist Christian back around 2001. We’ve been writing together for years before then in previous bands. We put out three CD’s and had a blast. Killingbird took a backseat when I got the chance to tour with Scum of the Earth. I found out about the opening in Scum of the Earth through a friend here in Hollywood.
You started writing music for ModelSaint during your last tour with Scum of the Earth. The band is made up of really solid musicians (Dan Laudo from legendary metal band Prong, Finn Zigo from popular East Coast band JParis, and Tchad Drats from Killingbird). How did everybody hook up?
Touring with Scum of the Earth gave me a lot of free time to initiate the songwriting process. I met Dan in Scum of the Earth. He was the current drummer at the time. Mr. Laudo doesn’t live far from me so after all the trouble we got in together on the road it just seemed right to have him be a part of ModelSaint. I’ve known Tchad for years and he’s just as crazy if not more than the rest of us so we knew he was a good fit. We found Finn through mutual friends. Most of us already knew each other previously which made everything come together easily both musically and in the live performance.
You’re working on your album (tentatively titled The Great Confession). Describe to us the feel of the album. And when is the album due out?
These songs were meant to be played live. I had that in mind during most of the songwriting. High energy with a little more gang vocals then I’ve previously thrown in songs. My lyrics tend to lean on the darker side but never on purpose. A lot of times I’ll start out with a positive sounding verse then as soon as I have to come up with a chorus I get the “I want to kill someone” attitude. I’m seeking therapy though. We are definitely 80’s influenced and we all miss the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll so we’ve thrown in a little of our interpretation of that on the record. The albums done and waiting for people to hear. It’ll be available early 2011.
You have a few of the tracks on ModelSaint’s Facebook page. Tell us a little bit about each song:
I’m not too into explaining in detail what was all going on in my head when I wrote these because I love hearing the listeners translation, but here’s a few hints on what’s going on.
The Devil Is Real: Is the devil drugs? women? your parents? you?
Never Be Sober: Getting some while on something
Sin is a Beautiful Thing: This is our happy song about doing bad things
Starin Down a Loaded Barrel: A song of manipulation
The Simple Life: Booze and drugs = death…but fun
You’ve been compared by some critics to Wednesday 13 and Murderdolls, in terms of the band’s sound. How do you feel about the comparison, and what sets you apart?
Comparisons are going to happen no matter what. This band has had the least comparisons of any band I’ve ever been in so I guess I’m glad to finally hear one. I think people just hear the same raw vocal style. In my opinion there should be a lot more fucking bands like this.
Who has influenced you the most throughout your music career?
God… haha, just thought I’d throw in a little humor. Nothing specific, but musically it’s been the hundreds of bands throughout the years I’ve listened to. I’m sure I’ve absorbed a bit from all of them.
What are the best and worst parts about being a musician?
There’s nothing bad about being a musician in my eyes. Good quality recordings can be done at home and there’s no need for a record deal to get your music heard anymore.
Tell us a good road story or two. Names may be changed to protect the innocent (or guilty).
There are so many! Here’s a clean one. We were up late on the bus after a show headed to the next city. It must have been around 4 or 5 in the morning when suddenly I see sparks out of the window. This trailer is flying by us, scraping the road at about 65 mph. It swerves through all lanes on the freeway then in front of us. I yelled “Look, someone lost their trailer”. The bus driver yelled back “That’s ours”. I instantly went to thinking all of my shit if going to be fucked up and it’s the end of the tour. All we could do was watch all our guitars, amps, drums, merch…everything we had pass us by. The trailer hit the median after it went right in front of the bus. Luckily it came to a halt without flipping or damaging the gear. All that was ruined was the trailer hitch..for the most part. The cops came and stopped traffic and we put on another hitch and we were on our way.
Sex, drugs, or rock n’ roll?
Are you making me choose? It’s “AND” rock n’ roll!
What is the best advice you would give to any musicians starting out in the business?
Go for it! You’re going to die either way.
What advice would you give to the year 2000 version of yourself?
Be more positive and sober up asshole.
Does any one in the band have a specific pre-show ritual?
We love to bow our heads in prayer…sorry…more sarcasm. We don’t have too much of a ritual. Some members have their own but it depends on what town we’re in and what lovely lady is available.
What would be the dream tour lineup for ModelSaint?
We just want to get on the road already. We will be very accepting to anything that may come along.
When you’re not playing music, what can you be found doing?
I don’t have much time for much else. When I’m not playing music I’m writing it or spending time on the business side. Oh, but I also spend time taking long walks in the park and reading my favorite novel at the beach.
Any parting words for readers of TheyWillRockYou?
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about ModelSaint. Our fan base is exploding and we appreciate all of you. From this we can tell the need for music like this is in demand…finally. See all you fuckers on the road!