Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Interview with Billy D'Vette of Pair-A-Dice

Pair-A-Dice played around the clubs on the Sunset strip back in the scene's prime of the late 1980's. Now they are back again with an album due to be released very soon. I recently interviewed guitarist Billy D'Vette to find out some about the band's past and also their plans for the near future.

MM-So tell us a little about the history of this band?
BD-Pair-A-Dice played an important part in the rise of the L.A. Metal scene in the 80s. Founding members Nick Masella (bass) and Paul Lancia (vocals) started Pair-A-Dice together in 1986. Daz (drums) joined soon after, followed by Billy D'Vette (guitar, vocals) and Dave Marshall (guitar, vocals). This solidified the line up that went onto becoming one of the most exciting live bands on the Sunset Strip from 1986-1990.

MM-Do you have a release date and an album title for your new album?
BD-We recently pushed back the release date. We are re-mastering three of the tracks so the release date has been delayed until the end of March. It will be self titled "Pair A Dice”.

MM-You played at the Whiskey, the Roxy, Gazzarri’s and other big clubs back in the mid-late 80’s. What was the scene really like back then? How competitive was it?
BD-We played them all. The Roxy, Whisky, Gazzarri’s, Troubadour, Gazzarri’s was always a fun and relaxed place to play. The Troub had a great vibe about it. Always loved to hang at the bar there. The Whisky was cool, but not always the best sounding room. The Roxy had the best sound. We had some great shows there although it was never a very cool place to just hang out and have a drink. The real party was always outside on the strip walking up and down Sunset blvd passing out flyers from the Whiskey up to the Rainbow and Gazzarri’s. The scene was wild back then all of us long hair rockers took over Hollywood during that time. It was very competitive we would go out late at night in teams with boxes of flyers and staple guns and plaster every telephone pole in Hollywood the next night your flyers would be covered up by another band ( Warrant, Tuff Etc. ) so you would just go out the next night and rip their flyers down and put yours back up. It was a battlefield on the streets of Hollywood to see who could cover the streets with their band's flyer. This war started with Poison they were masters at this tactic and perfected the art form that it later became. It was dog eat dog out there on the streets.


MM-What were some of the wildest shows that you have ever played?
BD-We played many wild shows with girls taking their tops off, fights in the audience, ect. I do remember one show we did at the Whiskey where we wanted to do something different so instead of going on stage all decked out in studs and leather. We played the show in nothing but boxer shorts. We found these boxer shorts with dice all over them so we went on with nothing but our boxers on. Girls were pulling down our shorts through out the show it made for an interesting night at the Whiskey.

MM-In 1989 you got to go play in Japan and you were unsigned at the time. How did you manage that and what were those shows like?
BD-That was a great time… everything was so new to us. We had no expectations, we just wanted to have a good time. The fans were great to us and still are. I remember one time when we were touring in Japan after a show we jumped into a van and we were being chased by several cars through the streets of Tokyo by fans. We almost crashed into several parked cars trying to get away. Smashing a hotel TV, getting flashed on stage and having panties thrown at us were all very good memories of that tour.

MM-Why did the band break up?
BD-Paul wanted to start a solo career.

MM-Did you get any offers from labels back then or not?
BD-Yes we had offer from Geffen in the works when Paul left.

MM-When and how did you decide to reform the band?
BD-Last year I was going through some old pictures and got the idea to start a Myspace page for Pair A Dice. I just wanted to share some of the old memories with the guys. Little did I know that it would snowball into what it has today… We started getting emails from all kinds of friends and fans. (Old & new) Then we were asked by Retrospect Records if we wanted to join the label and release our old demos. From there we were asked to do a reunion…. And here we are!!

MM-How did you come to get signed by Retrospect records?
BD-They found us on Myspace and remembered us from the Sunset Strip shows.


MM-Do you approach writing and playing any differently now then you did back in the 1980’s?BD-Not really… for me it all starts with a cool riff or chord progression on guitar and a melody line. I pretty much write the same way now as I did back then.

MM-What were you guys doing during the 1990’s?
BD-We were Struggling too find an identity…LOL Dave went on tour with Vince Neil, Paul moved to Vegas started Lazy Jane; I joined Cold Sweat and then got a job. Daz moved back to Florida not sure what Nick was doing.

MM-Why do you think glam and hard rock fell out of favor in the early 1990’s?
BD-The whole 80’s metal scene was getting a bit over the top and over done by 1991 and as much as I hate to admit it I guess the music industry was ready for a breath of fresh air at the time. When the grunge bands like Nirvana came out of Seattle with a fresh new sound singing songs about how fucked up the world was it kind of opened our eyes up to a bit of reality. Many great bands did come out of that time Alice in Chains, Sound Garden and Stone Temple Pilots are still some of my favorite bands to listen to today.

MM-Why do you think that glam and hard rock seem to be making a comeback in recent years?
BD-I think kids today are tired of the depressed, dark lonely, I hate my life attitude that the grunge scene made so popular in the 90’s. I think the kids of today are starting to realize that they just want to party and have a good time. The music of the 80’s was all about just rockin' out with your cock out and having a kick ass time. Yes, we teased our hair and dressed like chicks but everyday was a big party and we had a great time doing it. I think the kids of today just want to let go have fun and get laid.

MM-Are you going to be touring to support your new album? If so when does that start and where will you be playing?
BD-We will be doing some shows in Los Angeles over the summer and playing Rocklahoma in July, 2008.

MM-Pick the band from the following pair that you prefer and tell why you chose them.
Bang Tango or Jetboy
That one is hard to pick, we went to Japan with Jet Boy but the two bands are worlds apart and we really had no chemistry with those guys. I would say Bang Tango, the guys were always cool with us.

White Lion or Great White
Never met the guys from White Lion. Did do a show with Great White at the Roxy once they were all very cool and the place did not burn down so that’s always a plus.

LA Guns or Ratt
Ratt without a doubt…. I would go to see them at the Troubadour & the Whiskey you could tell they were going to be the next band to make it big after Motley Crue. They had great songs and they had Warren, need I say more? Robin Crosby helped mix one of our demos in 1988. Robby Crane is a good friend and an X-band mate so I got to go with the boys in Ratt.

Poison or Slaughter
That one is a toss up, both Dave and I were asked to try out for Poison before they got CC and Dave even bought Bret’s Honda Rebel after he got his Taxi Harley. They are great guys. Tim Kelly from Slaughter was a very close and dear friend of ours he borrowed our Marshall cabs to record their first album. We spent many late nights drinking beer and playing guitar with Tim. After Tim’s unfortunate accident Dave went on tour with Slaughter as Tim’s replacement. Dave was playing with Mark Slaughter in the band Scrap Metal last year. I guess that one is a tie.

MM-Is there anything else that you want to say about your band or your music?
BD-I would like to thank everyone you have recently helped the band get reunited, Sam at Retrospect Records, Lorie from Sasii kat productions, Leanne and everyone who has helped with the street team. Most of all Big Nick who has brought us all together again and does such a great job with the myspace page. You can listen to http://www.smokintunz.net/ they play nothing but great hits from the 80’s and of course they play Pair A Dice so check them out. Thanks again to all of you who still listen and support all the great bands that came out of the 80’s metal scene… Keep rockin !!! Billy D’Vette


***Thanks to Billy for doing the interview.

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Blogger Hard Rock Hideout said...

Great Interview Mark!

I enjoyed it!

Rob Rockitt
Hard Rock Hideout

9:38 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

Wow, a blast from the past--a band I have not heard anything from in many years. Good catch.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your doing interviews now? Awesome!

Okay does using the word awesome outdate me? I hope not:-/

8:01 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Rob-Thanks. They were very much in the thick of things back then so he some good stories.

David-Thanks. I remember reading about these guys briefly back then in some magazine.

Mimi-Thanks for stopping by. I started doing interview back in September.

5:41 AM  

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