Interview with Sami Yaffa
Sami Yaffa is currently a member of both the New York Dolls and Mad Juana. He has also played with Hanoi Rocks, Jetboy, Joan Jett, Murphy's Law and others. He has mainly played bass, but has played guitar in some projects as well. I recently got to check in with him and ask him about his past, present and future.
MM-What are you currently up to?
SY- Trying to clear my head....Preparing for the release of my band Mad Juana's new album "Bruja On The Corner" in June.
MM-What have been some of the biggest highs and the biggest lows of your music career?
SY-It's all a rollercoaster ride with pure exhalation and manic depression, but it's all good...highs are many, but the lowest was Razzle's passing.
MM-What were your thoughts when you first joined the New York Dolls?
SY-Foggy, confusion, what the fuck, holy shit etc...
MM-What is your favorite Hanoi Rocks album and why?
SY-Day late Dollar Short, they sound like the Scorpions!.....actually "Back to Mystery City". That record is out there...
MM-The albums you did with Hanoi Rocks in the early to mid 1980’s still seem to be influencing young bands even today. Why do you think that is and does it surprise you that those albums are so influential?
SY-No, they were shining ,brilliant albums and we were young and gorgeous,who can resist..I don't really know the reason for that. It was just pure fuckin' fun, people can feel it, it was honest, no bullshit, this is who we are, if you don't like it you can shove it where the sun don't shine attitude that was contagious..
MM-What do you remember most about your time in Jetboy?
SY-Nothing at all, I lived in fuckin' Hollywood,didn't I.....a swimming pool, somebody had a pet hamster.....lot of silicon.......ugh...fog....
MM-Do you approach writing and playing any differently now than you did say 25 years ago?
SY-Yes, I can write and play now.
MM-You have been in a lot of projects over the years, some for short periods and some for longer stints. Was there ever a time where you thought about giving up on music and just going and doing something else as a career?
SY- Yes, when I played w Joan Jett, just kidding...after Razzle's passing I was pretty burnt out , we had been on the road for solid 5 years, I was pretty much sick of it all....took a break, raised my son etc...
MM-You have played in bands, recorded a lot of albums and toured all over. What have you not done in your music career that you would still love to do? SY-Fuck a chicken, strangle a lawyer, set a manager on fire, give the roadies a raise, play on the moon...
MM-Is the music business easier or difficult for you now than it was in the 1980’s?
SY-It's the same quicksand...keeps eating perfectly good musicians...it just keeps changing, you as a musician have to now do more that just play. Every motherfucker is downloading music for free so us musicians starve, almost makes me not wanna come up with any new music anymore, makes me puke.
MM-What would be your advice for a young band just starting out?
SY-Kill you manager,you'll get notoriety and worldwide fame, hopefully you'll do time for manslaughter, with good behaviour you'll be out in 5 years. You will be the biggest sensation when you return on the stage.
MM-What do you hope to accomplish by the end of 2008?
Finish painting my fence...have world tour with Mad Juana and New York Dolls, learn to drive a car....
MM-Do you have any regrets in your music career?
MM-If you could only listen to three albums over the next month then what would they be?
Llilliana Butler"Queen of Gypsy Soul, Lee Scratch Perry "Return of the SuperApe" and Iggy &The Stooges"FunHouse"
MM-Is there anything else that you want to say about any of the bands you are in or your music?
SY-Yes, I would like to thank Shiva,the Kali-Bitch and the most high for New York Dolls and Mad Juana,Karmen Guy,Sylvain Sylvain,David Johansen,Danny Ray,Steve Conti,Nico Camargo,Marni Rice,Brian Delaney,Steve Rodriquez,Paul Garisto,Dustin Luna and my dog Elvi
***Thanks to Sami for doing the interview.