NECR: Today we have another exceptional artist; he is on bass and vocals for the ever morphing hip hop/rock/metal band Hollywood Undead and he is none other than Johnny 3 Tears. Welcome, hello, it’s an extreme pleasure and thanks for giving us your time here at NECR, how are things going in the Hollywood Undead world?
Johnny 3 Tears: Well the pleasure is all mine thank you very much. Things are good man, were ready to get out and play some more shows, we just got back from some European dates. It’s good to be back in the States and we are ready to do some shows and play some new music
NECR: The Hollywood Undead is a worldwide, highly brilliant, recognized band. Briefly, can you give us a small synopsis of the Hollywood Undead and its history from your perspective?
Johnny 3 Tears: Yeah, let’s see. Were we like a lot of bands, we were a bunch of kids who played music together from kind of the get go, you know, thirteen, fourteen years old. We were kind of in and out of different bands together. Then people came and went and the guys who were left standing, you know when bands would break up, like most groups and at the end I think we formed Hollywood Undead partly out of desperation because nothing we had done had worked and we’d been doing it for a long enough time where it was creatively, I think, the thing that made it individualized is because we kind of let everything go and typically when you’re in a band your like; oh we want to write this kind of music or this is the kind of band we are. With Hollywood Undead it really was strictly for us, we were just like; let’s just write what we want to write because at that point, you know, we were eighteen, nineteen we kind of had given up and we were going to do this or go do that and it was odd because it was the last band I was kind of going to be committed to and it was the one that worked out and I think that is partly because we had let go of expectations and kind of just did what we wanted to artistically from the very get go and we were fortunate because it connected so. And we were lucky on two fronts because we knew exactly what we want to do musically and we don’t have to, when we go in and write records not trying to please someone else or anything along those lines and that’s exactly what we want to do and we are very fortunate.
NECR: The Hollywood Undead is back at it again, you just released a single called “Gotta Let Go” and I like the story behind it. What do you want to tell us about this single?
Johnny 3 Tears: You know, I guess, what I would say is that like most people as you go through life and things like that, I found, when we wrote the song, at least from my personal experience, you hold onto a lot of things that I don’t think are necessary to hold onto. I find people like to place blame on themselves as opposed to acknowledging themselves for the things they do right. It seems to me that we think of our losses and our failures far more often than things the things we all accomplish and that we do. “Gotta Let Go” is really about just letting go of the experiences in our lives that we all tend to hang onto too much and maybe embracing the things we do right and the things that are good about life and letting go of the negatives. I think if we dwell on those things a little less everybody’s lives will get a little better.
NECR: You also just released a video to accompany “Gotta Let Go”, you categorize it as a “Visceral experience about letting go of something we all have to part with in the end”. Could you please expand on that a little more?
Johnny 3 Tears: Well that, you know the video; we really wanted it to be an experience for people. So, we thought of what’s the one thing, ultimately that we have to let go of that we think about on a continuous basis which is life, you know, itself. I personally at least think about death half my day, it’s a constant reminder of it around you all the time the fact we are on a ticking clock, so, I think when we did the video we wanted to share that experience with some, obviously that’s not something I know about yet, but I will. We tried to kind of re-imagine what it would be like for someone going through that experience and obviously it’s a darker video and the tone is darker but we really actually wanted it to be uplifting and create a sense of relief as opposed to something you have to let go of that you don’t want to and I’m hoping at the end of my life that’s how the experience goes for me. Hoping, being the key word, but that’s the way we interpreted it and it’s just an artistic thing and obviously everybody’s going to reach that point individually and in a different way but that was what we were kind of going for with it.
NECR: It seems Hollywood Undead has more music on the way to coincide with “Gotta Let Go”. Can you give us an idea on what to look forward to with even more music coming from you guys?
Johnny 3 Tears: We have some more like up tempo tracks, we always try to keep our show, we kind of write music that we know we want to play and these songs that are coming out are going to be more up tempo, they’re not going to make you think about death constantly so, in that sense they’re good and there very much a celebration of life as opposed to the opposite so, the stuff we have coming out, although it’s a little darker, it’s definitely more up tempo and stuff that were looking forward to playing live. Those songs will be coming along real soon and I’m really looking forward to that. “Gotta Let Go” is definitely a certain interface on the phone, these are much different, so, it will be nice to lighten the mood up a little bit.
NECR: Hollywood Undead is on tour as we speak and it is kind of a mixed bagged with dates, I know you have a couple New England dates coming up as well. What would you like to tell us about this tour and these New England Dates?
Johnny 3 Tears: Well you know, we love, especially playing the Casino ballroom; it’s hard to get up there. For whatever reason, it’s always hard to tie that place into a tour, tour. So, those shows are markets that we like to play that we very rarely get to, so when we were going to do the show up in Montreal and they said there are some dates we’d like to add, so we kind of got to hand pick these shows we got to do and that was the first one we asked for because we love getting up there during the summer, we’re always in the northeast during the winter which is everybody, including yourself who lives up there knows, can be as not as nice out. So it’s nice to get up there during the summer and play some summer shows up there, were just looking forward to it and being up there when the weather is good and seeing some old friends and playing in some places that we don’t get to play, that we’d like.
NECR: Hollywood Undead has been at it hard in 2018 and is monstrous in its ability to produce very positive results. According to the press I got and I quote. “2018 has been a massive year for Hollywood Undead. The band recently clocked 1.1 billion total U.S. streams across their catalog, as well as garnering 1.7 million total Shazams, 57 million total global streams of their latest album, FIVE, and 30 million views on all six music videos from the record. Their music has also landed on a number of impressive playlists: Spotify’s ‘New Music Friday and ‘New Noise,’ and Apple Music’s ‘The A List Rock.’ The five-piece have also accumulated 5.5 million total Pandora artist station adds and 2.7 million total Pandora radio spins on their latest album”. This is more than remarkable, what would you say has attributed to all this?
Johnny 3 Tears: You know, I didn’t even know any of that stuff, I don’t even know what a shazam is but it sounds good. Honestly, we have a really good base and we’re really connected to our fans, one thing I’m really proud of is that our fan base isn’t like a revolving door. For instance, when we go play up there, I’ll see at least twenty percent of an audience that was there the first time we played there. That, to be honest, is something that I’ll probably be more proud of than getting a new fan base, which is obviously important for a band but being able to stay connected, we’ve kind of grown up with some of our fans, we started out when we were real young and some of the fans that we still see now, I’ve seen them go from teenagers to adults. Kids have seen our shows and then get married and they come as couple with their kids and stuff and that’s something I’m really proud of and I think being able to stay connected to the people that have supported the music since day one has been vital not only to success but to our interest in continuing to keep going and stuff like that. I think that really is what it’s all about, building a base that actually cares about the band as opposed to, you know a lot people listen to pop music, someone has a big single, it comes and goes and that’s kind of it, it’s fun to listen to for a weekend or something like that. We have people who care about the music in the same way that we care about our music and that is vital to our success and the reason we choose to keep making music as opposed to an automaticity or paycheck or something like this, that keeps us honest and it makes us care about it and keeps the music legit. I think that really is it, I think it’s the kids who’ve been listening to us since day one that are still there, they keep us going to. It’s a mutual relationship like any band should have with their fans; it’s not just a one way street. For us, I think that’s very important and that really is what I can attribute it to.
- Johnny 3 Tears – vocals, bass guitar
- J-Dog – vocals, guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, synthesizer, programming
- Charlie Scene – vocals, guitar
- Funny Man – vocals
- Danny – vocals, keyboards, guitar, bass