In a brand new, exclusive interview with Rock N Roll Universe, SILVERTIDE vocalist Walt Lafty discusses the band's upcoming, as-yet-untitled album, the follow-up to 2004's "Show And Tell", the band's extensive touring which took them around the world opening up for VAN HALEN, AEROSMITH, MÖTLEY CRÜE, VELVET REVOLVER, ALICE COOPER and KID ROCK over the past 29 months. Also covered in the interview is Lafty's recent European tour with SANTANA, where the vocalist filled in for AEROSMITH frontman Steven Tyler, replicating his vocals on "Just Feel Better". A short excerpt from the interview follows:
Rock N Roll Universe: What can fans expect from the sound of the new album? Will it be in the same vein as "Show And Tell" or will there be any differences?
Walt Lafty: "Well, strangely enough, our rhythm section got even tighter than on the first record. That's just from my bass player and drummer just playing together now for four, five years. They're finally getting to the point where they're starting to feel comfortable with stuff. Whereas before, we were kind of young. We were a band for a year, we got signed, went to L.A., did the record. We were just like 'Holy crap.' We just wrote a bunch of songs, played them a bunch of times and said 'Oh that one.' Like anything bands grow over time. It's a bit heavier on some of the stuff, and a bit lighter on some. It's going to have much more of a spectrum I know that."
Rock N Roll Universe: What are your expectations, sales wise, for the new album? What would make you happy this time around?
Walt Lafty: "I'd be happy to go a little bit above what we did with 'Show And Tell'. Last time I think we did 150,000, I think. I would like to go probably about 200,000. We're a live band. Every band would like to say they'd like to sell 10 million records. The reality of the situation is, it doesn't really happen these days. You have special cases of course, but it doesn't really happen to many records like it did in the '90s, where the average rock band sold three million records. You have to really earn that these days. Which is good and bad. It's good because we're putting in all this time. We've toured more than anyone I know in the past two and a half years. We toured for 29 months straight, I think. That's where we sell. We sell albums at the shows, when we're opening up for other bands. We have a really killer mentality where we just walk out there and give the best performance that we can give. Every single night. Because if you don't feel the music, how do you expect one 15 year old kid in the crowd to? How's he going to feel it? Or do anything with it? If you just go up there, stand still, play the fucking songs and stare at your shoes. If you don't connect with them, and tell people what the song's about, help them relate to it, they're not going to understand. When you go that extra mile, that extra length, then people turn around... and you say, 'This song is for every goddamned person that pulls you down and makes you feel like a total asshole, when they're the ones that are fucked up.' Then people go 'Oh shit, I've experienced that, I've had that feeling, that emotion.' If that happens, then you've won. You've won that battle. You're doing it on an individual basis. As opposed to mass marketing where you just put a song on the radio and a bunch of people go buy it because it sounds catchy."
Rock N Roll Universe: Also, speaking of touring, you guys did a series of dates opening for VAN HALEN back in 2004 on the first leg of their "reunion" tour. What was that like? Did Edward [Van Halen] or any of the members of the band have any advice for you?
Walt Lafty: "Yeah, we didn't even have a record out then. Sammy [Hagar] just said 'Have fun with it.' He kept on telling us that the whole month and a half. He just kept on insisting, he's like, 'You just have to have fun with it. You just have to constantly remind yourself that it's a good thing, and you're in a good position. You're in a great situation and you have the world at your fingertips.' He was always focusing on the positive side of that, really forcing that down our throats. Just have fun with it. Even then we were touring in a van all the time. Sleeping in it, pissing in it, eating in it, everything. He just said, 'Remember this. You're going to look back on this in 30 years. Whether you're hugely successful or not, you're going to be like, 'Wow, I got a free ticket around the world and it was a great time.'' Eddie was all about just having a good time. I didn't get one serious conversation with Eddie Van Halen the entire tour. He was mostly just a bundle of fun to be around. He was just confident, 'Hey, let's have a drink, a toast, let's have this.' He was a really, really fun guy."
Rock N Roll Universe: What shape was he in at that time? It seems like he's kind of in bad shape these days...
Walt Lafty: "I know he had 18 surgeries on his tongue to get out the mouth cancer. That's a bummer, I'm sure, but he survived it. I heard he had a hip replacement, but he didn't tell me that. Just to be up there, and to try and do that again, for whatever motives or reasons you have to be on that stage. Whether it's for the money, or for the music itself, or for the sheer joy of living that experience over and over again. Because nothing gets close to being onstage. Whatever his motives were, he loved it. You could see that, after all the years. What's even weirder was, I just went down with my wife about a month and a half ago to see LYNYRD SKYNYRD at The Borgata in New Jersey. We had a buddy of ours who gave us some free tickets so we went down. Let me just say, I never had anything to do with that band. I had a couple of their records, I dug their stuff a bit, but when they play 'Freebird', you still get chills up your spine. That, to me, was a good feeling. That you can have all these things go wrong, you can have members of your band die. You can have horrible, horrible tragedies, and still in 30, 40 years you can still make the song feel that good. There's something to be said about that."
Rock N Roll Universe: Last summer the band also toured with MÖTLEY CRÜE on their "Carnival Of Sins" tour. Were you a fan of theirs before going on tour with them?
Walt Lafty: "You know what, I knew the songs from on the radio. Our lead guitar player Nick, he was kind of into them for a long time. Man, that tour was just nuts. That was an insane tour. I had a blast, and was definitely a fan afterwards. I was really impressed by the stage show, and the energy put out. That day, from day one, we showed up the first day, and there were four huge gallon and a half bottles of Jack, and they said, 'Welcome To MÖTLEY CRÜE, SILVERTIDE.' We were like, 'Oh great.' (Laughs) I don't remember a lot of stuff from the tour, but I did have a lot of fun. (Laughs)"
Read the entire interview at www.rocknrolluniverse.com.