By: Lisa "Sunshine" Svelnys- Host, Hollywood Rock Underground TV
A staple in the Hollywood Scene, THE HARD WAY has played with some of the TOP NATIONAL ACTS that built "Rock and Roll". With and INCREDIBLE new drummer, and bookings all over The Strip this summer, you will not want to miss one of these MIND BLOWING shows. I got a chance to spend some time with THE HARD WAY 's frontman, Eric Jeffreys. Never shy, big hair, big lyrics, HUGE sound, MASSIVE heart, to discuss the importance of music in schools, and what is really behind the political rants he is so famous for.
THE HARD WAY began as the brainchild of vocalist Eric Jeffreys (formerly of the Boston band EXPOSE) who, after moving to Los Angeles, sang in several local Hollywood hard rock & metal bands over the years. By chance in late 2009, Eric crossed paths with guitarist, JOE “DROCK” JOHNSON who was a working with several acts ranging from rock, metal, classical, alternative & even jazz, live & in the studio. The two hit it off immediately & decide to go in & record a song Eric had written called, Alone. During preproduction, they worked up the song & built upon it until it began to take on a life of its own. Impressed with the outcome of their first endeavor, the two embarked on another tune & another, to strikingly similar results.
Through Eric’s associations over the years with several notorious Hollywood rockers, he approached ALCATRAZZ bassist TIM LUCE to lay down the bottom end & and add his incredible voice to the mix. Tim has toured the world several times over with acts ranging from NELSON to ROGER DALTREY His experience live & in the studio, has proven to be extremely beneficial in the development of THE HARD WAY sound.
With the addition of Swedish guitar virtuoso, JOHN HULDT (also of the band AMPORA), a whole new dimension was added to the live performances. John is an extremely accomplished “in demand” player and is currently teaching the advanced rock classes at LA Music Academy. He further does clinics, tours, plays locally with several bands and performs regularly in Europe. John has won several talent competitions and most notably was one of the top 6 finalists in Lee Ritenour’s 6 string theory competition in 2011 and was awarded “Guitar Player of the Year” in the 2012 South Bay Music Awards.
Once they saw where this was headed, they needed a solid, versatile timekeeper to hold all this together & give it the punch it really deserved. Enter the infamous BOBBY ROCK, a bombastic, high energy, extremely hard hitting thump-master with a true sense of style, rhythm & thunder necessary to go to the next level. Bobby is also the current drummer for LITA FORD & has been touring internationally for many years & has made quite a reputation for himself in bands like VINNIE VINCENT INVASION, SLAUGHTER, ALCATRAZZ, HARDLINE, NITRO, etc.
THE HARD WAY Has Performed at the SUNSET STRIP MUSIC FESTIVAL as well as shared the stage with Lynch Mob, Lita Ford, Michael Schenker, Faster Pussycat, Bulletboys, Great White, Michael Monroe of Hanoi Rocks, Stephen Pearcy of RATT, Gilby Clarke (GNR), Ritchie Kotzen (Poison/Mr. Big/Winery Dogs), Enuff Znuff, Dizzy Reed (GNR), TUFF, LA GUNS, Keel, Steel Panther, Rhino Bucket and many, many others. . .
Lisa "Sunshine" Svelnys, Host of Hollywood Rock Underground TV and Hollywood Correspondent for Xombiewoof Magazine had an opportunity to get together with Eric Jeffreys of THE HARD WAY for an interview and to bring you the story here and now!
Lisa: What is the driving force behind your lyrics?
Eric: I like to get down & dirty with my lyrics. There are lots & lots of dirty, gritty, disgustingly hard sides to life & many, many stories to tell. I lace my lyrics with a truckload of street vernacular & colorful metaphors. But most importantly, the song has to say something. I don’t have the patience or the inclination to write some “Oh baby, baby” Justin Bieber crap. Just listening to it makes my IQ drop. There are too many real things to talk about like our scumbag politicians & the corporations that own them, the dumbing down of America & the destruction of our way of life & the depths of our depravity. When you stop to actually see what’s happening to real people, how can you write that mindless garbage? So obviously, I bitch a lot!
Lisa: How would you categorize your music?
Eric: OH, we’re definitely a hard rock band. Since we’re always heavier & more raucous live, we can fit in nicely with metal & even thrash bands at times but at heart we’re a lot more like Guns n Roses, Skid Row, WASP, KISS, Ozzy, etc.
Heavy grooves, strong hooks & NO cookie monster vocals!!!
Lisa: Tell us about your new drummer, what excites you most about your current line up?
Eric: Our current lineup is nothing short of phenomenal. These guys are the most incredibly accomplished musicians I’ve ever played with & I’m truly honored to call them my brothers & partners in crime.
Our drummer is the legendary Bobby Rock, He is also the current “Thump-Master” for the LITA FORD Band & has toured the world with VINNIE VINCENT INVASION, SLAUGHTER, ALCATRAZZ, HARDLINE, NITRO & many, many more.
His bombastic power, precision & incredible feel is an awesome thing to witness.
Lead guitarist, Joe Drock has been with me from the very beginning. We built this band & wrote every single song together.
Joe is one of those guys who can play all genres of music very effectively & his soloing is loaded with those signature riffs that all guitarists spend years trying to perfect. Without Joe, there would be no Hard Way.
He is also the advanced guitar instructor at LA Music Academy & was the South Bay Music Awards Guitar player of the Year 2012.
Our bassist Tim Luce is also currently working with Graham Bonnet & Howie Simon in Alcatrazz as well as his many other contributions performing & recording with original members of The Who, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, Scorpions, The Eagles, and REO Speedwagon, among many others. Tim is also an accomplished recording engineer with many, many credits to his name.
Lisa: Why have you chosen "Rock n Roll for life?
Eric: It’s like a drug. THE BEST DRUG!!! And speaking as someone who knows a lot about drugs, once you get that in your system, you simply can’t live without it. The high that I get from the roar of the crowd is waaaayyyyyy better than any coke, speed, heroin, pills, etc., could ever be & I’m hooked for life. You lay your exposed, bare soul out there for people to either embrace or walk on & you let the chips fall where they may. I love the purity & simplicity of that. Not to mention all the craziness & debauchery that comes with it.
Lisa: What is your earliest memory of music in your life?
Eric: That’s easy, The Beatles, They changed everything. The way they could wrap themselves around a song gave it more feeling than anyone before them. I was 4 yrs. old when I first decided I wanted to be a singer. And then at age 8, I saw Elvis’ comeback tour when he was still skinny. I was amazed that so many people of all ages were so incredibly in awe of somebody simply singing a song. That had a huge effect on me. And then in 1974, I saw Alice Cooper’s Welcome to my Nightmare & that turned me towards KISS, Uriah Heep, Judas Priest, Rush, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, etc.
Lisa: How important is it that music is taught in public schools?
Eric: It’s essential. Music is mathematics & timekeeping. Brian May (Queen) is an astrophysicist. Tom Scholz (Boston) is a mechanical engineer. One of the most famous quotes from Albert Einstein is, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” Everyone has a song that’s part of their soul whether it’s Slayer or ABBA so music in school is absolutely critical to your overall development. No matter what field you ultimately end up in.
Lisa: How old were you the first time you were on stage, were fueled by applause, who were you with, what were you doing?
Eric: I was 13 or 14, in a band with friends from school. We played a festival on Tinker Air Force Base in OKC (A scene straight out of Spinal Tap), we were pretty rough but we thought we were God’s gift to rock n roll. You need a big ego to get up in front of a bunch of strangers to do this & we were loaded with it. But once I heard the crowd, I was absolutely hooked. After High School, I moved to Boston to go to Berklee College of Music to try to become a REAL musician. Hopefully, one day I’ll reach that goal.
Lisa: What musical stamp on the world would you like to leave?
Eric: I just want that one song that is never forgotten. To quote the movie Airheads: "I'm just average enough and screwed up enough that I could write a song that lasts forever." I want to hope & believe that one day, that could be me.
Lisa: What does THE HARD WAY have planned for the summer?
Eric: We are at the World Famous Whisky-a-GoGo for several shows this summer. The Whisky is our home on the strip & I just love playing that stage.
June 26 with LET IT RAWK with
- Jaime St James (Black n Blue/Warrant)
- Jeff Duncan (Armored Saint/DC4/Odin)
- Stacey Blades (LA Guns)
- Robbie Crane (RATT/Vince Neil/Adler's Appetite)
- Jimmy D'Anda (Bulletboys/Lynch Mob)
July 25 with LA GUNS
August 22 with THAT METAL SHOW with
- Eddie Trunk
- Jim Florentine
- Don Jamieson
Lisa: Are you writing? Is a new CD on the horizon?
Eric: Yes, we are currently working on our second record. We’ve already written about a half dozen songs & we’re already playing a few of them live now. We hope to have it done & out before the end of the year. This one will be a good bit heavier than the last one & will show our musical growth. However, the most important element will always be the grooves & the hooks. You always have to give your audience something to grab onto. Nothing beats an infectious groove & a solid, strong hook that makes people walk away singing & they can’t get it out their heads. That’s how you make your mark in this business.
Lisa: What drives you?
Eric: Time, We only have so much time to accomplish what we want in this world & we’ve got even less now than when we started this interview. The clock keeps ticking whether you bust your ass or sit on it. And let’s face it, nobody knows if we ever get another shot at this so it’s best to make the most of what time you’ve got left before you kick off. I truly love this band & what I bring to it and even more so, what I receive from my collaboration with these truly exceptional people.
This is MY happiness…………I really hope you ALL find yours!!!
Thank you so much Eric for taking the time to let us get to know you, THE HARD WAY has several shows this summer, check the schedule, websites, friend on Facebook and stay in the loop, you NEVER know who they will be sharing the bill with .... And it ALWAYS ROCKS!