Date: May 2003
Taken from: eSpudd
Interview conducted by Jayson Murray [Spudd]
eSpudd Exclusive Interview:
It Was My Idea: An interview with Billy Milano
He's an underground legend and profane lover of music. He also doesn't have any problems when it come to speaking his mind. Some people love him, many others hate him, but he doesn't care. He's the one and only Billy Milano. He's been wading through the music industry for almost 20 years now, and he has no intentions on leaving anytime soon. With a new M.O.D. album on the way out and an official website (www.BillyMilano.com) on the horizon, Billy is settling back in for the long haul. I luckily had the chance to be able to spend some quality time talking with Billy about all his recent activity and what's on his mind. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Jayson [Spudd]: How does it feel to have a new album out?
Billy Milano: Well I think it's you know, I'm happy, I'm happy that it got done and finished the way I wanted it to be finished. It took along time with a lot of obstacles, a lot of things were against me but at the end of the day I got pretty much everything I expected. I definitely think it's the best record I've written and stands as second in my career to "Speak English Or Die". So I'm very happy about this record and very excited about it.
Jayson: Have you been keeping tabs on the initial reaction of it from the press and fans?
Billy: Yeah. There have only been a couple of mediocre reviews, the rest of them are stellar. There have been two bad reviews. One from a friend of mine, which I think is great that he actually spreads his mind, and one from a magazine in Germany. But the rest have been amazing.
Jayson: That's good news, that really have to make you feel good about what you have done.
Billy: Without a doubt.
What did you think of it?
Jayson: So far I'm still enjoying it. The only problem I have is that there are too many radio edits and remixes and not more original songs.
Billy: Well you can wish in one hand and crap in the other and see which one gets filled first.
The radio edits are a very conscious effort from me because one of the biggest problems in college radio stations is that they won't play my music because of the language, and my record label never serviced, this has been a big problem with M.O.D, never serviced radio edits for any of my records. So if there was a song they couldn't play, they wouldn't play it.
So this way, I think I added four of them, anyone can get the radio edits. Any big radio station or a little one or a public one or even a pirate one, anyone can play it. That was a very conscious effort on my half because people get tired of one song very quickly if that's all they [the radio stations] have to play. Actually, this was very well planed.
Jayson: That does make sense when you explain it like that. Cause if Nuclear Blast isn't going to make any edits for you then you have to take it into your own hands and do it your way to make sure people can have access to them.
Billy: A lot of people have said, "Oh well if you didn't have those radio edits then the record would only be 35 minutes", and the bottom line is that I don't care. "Speak English Or Die" was 23 minutes, and "Rein In Blood" was 21 minutes.
So fuck everybody. They don't like it? Oh well.
Jayson: A year or two ago when you were talking about this new M.O.D. album you said you were going to change the name to "Milano's On Drugs".
Billy: That is absolutely right. Well, you know, when I wrote this record I was doing the writing for S.O.D.'s "Bigger Than The Devil" with Scott and Danny, and as it came down you know the band never toured and broke up basically again because, whatever, I just don't like those guys.
To be honest with you, I started writing a record and was thinking S.O.D is kinda heavy record you have all these bands playing heavy stuff. A couple of my friends were saying, "Billy, you should do stuff that's tuned down like the new style stuff and get yourself some new kids to play guitar.." I thought that would be too obvious, so what I decided to do was write a record that I thought I would listen to.
As I was continuing with it and writing it I saw a TV show on VH1's Behind The Music about Weird Al and that's what inspired this record. The songs have a parody feel but are not necessarily covers and I was stoned when I did it so that's where the whole "Milano's On Drugs" came up. And after I hear this record I realize I really was fucked up.
Jayson: Were you at any point going to do cover songs like Weird Al?
Billy: Not at all. He inspired me to write songs about certain things like, "Rage Against The Mac Machine" about these rich kids playing music saying 'fuck the system' but they are using the system to rich. I didn't want to write a song called "Fuck Rage Against The Machine", what I wanted to do was write a song about their hypocrisy, "Rage Against The Mac Machine". Which is basically rage against the dollar machine, the corporate machine, so the song is really about hypocrisy not about them but it certainly is referenced by them in the lyrics as well as the sound of the song itself.
Jayson: That's one of things I like about that song. I like how you incorporated several pieces of their large radio hits.
Billy: Yeah, well you know, they should shut up.
Jayson: They have, for the most part.
Billy: Tom Morello is still out there spouting his communistic shit. Whatever, little rich boy.
Jayson: Another songs you went off in is "De Men Of Stein" with the techo stuff and Rammstein.
Billy: It's not really against them, it's just the parallels of the parody sound. The music sounds like that kind of scene but the music doesn't really reference them at all as people or as a band. But it certainly references them in the techo and the title.
The song itself is about fascists and fascism in that whole music scene. The German people feel that they own the world a service to be the police of music, and anyone who even says anything remotely hard lined is shot down by them. But they accept whole heartily the references of fascism in their style of clothing and in the techno music scene without question. And I find that double standard really pisses me off. But you know what? What doesn't piss me off?
Jayson: I don't know.
Billy: It's not really about them, its about fascists and fascism.
Jayson: What songs didn't make it onto the album?
Billy: I had a song called "We Salute You" but it was also called "Back Not Black" that was an AC/DC style song, but I didn't like the way it turned out so I dumped it. I might actually finish it and release it on my website for free though.
Jayson: On the press release it says that the song "Get Ready" is homage to KISS. Was it really? Cause I swear you're digging into them.
Billy: Well that's a funny story. Here's one of those evolution's of me as a person as a result of writing music.
I was never a KISS fan. I never listened to a record by KISS, I never owned a record by KISS, I was just like, 'I don't like this band for some reason'. They sell coffins for their fans cause they are so fucking old. It's true, they really do sell KISS coffins.
But what was cool was I wrote this song and everyone was like, "You've got to write it about KISS", and then it came down to the vocals and I had nothing. I didn't know what to sing, I didn't know how to sing. So Paul Crook who produced the record said to me, "Billy, here's some old KISS music listen to it." And the more I listened to it, the more I liked it, and now I'm a KISS fan, which is kinda funny.
So there you go.
Jayson: Hahaha, Hahaha, that's great. That's my favorite song off the album, both of them, the normal and the faked live version, and that's just funny.
Billy: Yeah, well the record is supposed to be entertaining. Unfortunately some people don't think it's heavy enough, and I'm like, whatever, if you want heavy go buy Strapping Young Lad. I'm not heavy, I'm entertaining.
Jayson: But I wasn't sure with the KISS song cause you're making fun of them pretty well, and you sounded like Gene and you're using their corny song titles in the lyrics, but the press release said different than what I was hearing so I was a bit confused.
Billy: Well, like I said, they did it right. It's about entertainment. Anyone who goes on and uses their music to get a message across is fucking sadly mistaken. Everyone should laugh and be entertained my music.
Jayson: What else you got going on?
Billy: I've got my website, BillyMilano.com opening on May 20th but it's going to be tough. I'm running down to the wire you know.
Jayson: I know what you mean, running a site can get pretty hectic at times.
Billy: Especially when you have so much shit to say
Jayson: Oh yeah. You want to get it out right, quick, and in a timely manner so people will keep coming by.
Billy: I wanna do the best thing I can do, which is to entertain. It may piss a lot of people off but fuck'em, I don't care anymore.
Jayson: So it'll just be a site for you to rant away and just talk about what is going on?
Billy: What it really comes down to is that I have a political point of view that is mentioned in my music or touched on, and I also have a life outside of music where I show my dogs, and my cooking, and all my shit that'll be on my website as well as my production work. So it's not just about my records. I've never been a person to brag about my band or brag that I'm in a band or try to say that this is the only thing I am. I don't go out to many shows and try to shove my band down other people's throats like a lot of people do. I don't feel compelled to go to every show, to be on every website, and do everything, every tour, that's not what I'm about. There is more to me than that.
Jayson: Speaking of your political views you touched on them in the songs, "Making Friends Is Fun", and "Ass-ghanistan". Where did the lyrics come from? There is so much to pull from, how did you narrow it down?
Billy: Well, when you look at the song itself it's really about striking back and fundamental Islam and terrorists that follow it. The bottom line is that it's something you can say, and there are some things you don't want to say. I certainly don't have a problem with all Muslims, but I do have a problem with fundamental people who use the word "God" to kill. I'm not debating whether or not there is a god mind you, that's not what I'm talking about, but certainly terrorism was brought to a new level on September 11th and the counter to that terrorism was brought to a new level a month later. And now it's here, we gotta deal with it, so it's something I'm going to write about. Not that I didn't write songs about the Middle East back in fucking 1985, but what do I know?
Jayson: Another one I liked was "He's Dead Jim". But isn't that an older song?
Billy: Yeah, it actually made the record because we did it as a bonus track cause I took of one of the songs I didn't like and it was actually pretty good. And all I really wanted was a record that people got to enjoy and laugh at, or laugh with. Something that people would actually sit down and escape with. I felt that that song as we did it as a bonus track was as strong as the rest of anything I have done.
Plus even though it's an older song, how many people know that? I can't even find the old M.O.D. records.
Jayson: Any plans for a M.O.D tour?
Billy: Yeah, several. I have Ill Nino in November in Europe. I'm working on my Killith Fair Tour for America and Europe also. I got stellar reviews in Australia, and I want to get down to those territories. As well as Brazil, South America where I got amazing reviews, and I really want to see these areas before the get all fucking blown up. So I'm going to do my best and get out there and have fun. Life is too short. And you know what? After September 11th life ain't fucking worth waiting around for, you gotta live it.
Jayson: Any last words you would like to say?
Billy: The new record is coming out, if you like that kind of shit then check it out. BillyMilano.com is open May 20th. I have a fansite where a couple of songs are available for download if people want to check it out before they buy it. My website is going to have some cool shit on it. My whole thing is a steady pace, I wanna do everything nice and slow and when I get to the point where I want to out and tour I'll do it.
Jayson: That's all I've got for now man, you're off the hook.
Billy: Awesome. Thank you very much for the interview.
May 2003, Jayson Murray [Spudd]