In 2012, Blacklist Union released our album Til Death Do Us Part. I dedicated the album to Mike Starr, former Alice In Chains bassist, who passed away in 2011. I’ve known Mike since I was 17, and his death broke my heart. He was a great performer and an even better person. Til Death Do Us Part was my way of paying tribute to his legacy. The album also became a reminder for me that life is fragile.
Tracks to Highlight
Having your life be controlled by drugs is an unfortunate path. I was lucky to have gotten away from them, but some of my friends weren’t so lucky. Those people are either sick, dead, in jail or at the point of no return. “Blown Away” is about being powerless while watching your friends die at the hands of drugs. I urge anyone suffering with addiction to call the SAMHSA national hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). If you can’t kick the habit on your own, there’s no shame in asking for help.
“Diggin’ 4 Gold”
This song is about how everyone in L.A. wants to make sure they’re getting something out of every situation they’re in. It’s always a negotiation to see how much they can get in return. There’s no altruism anymore. Todd Youth called me one day with a killer riff, and that was how the song came to be. Writing the song and creating the “Diggin’ 4 Gold” music video were both a lot of fun. “Feed the Snakes” on this album has the same vibe as “Diggin’ 4 Gold,” calling out posers and those who cling to the status quo.
Most people have exes who mentally destroy them for a while. My ex leaving me was the inspiration for “Alabama Slammer.” When she left, it resurfaced all the unresolved emotions I had from the death of my first wife. I realized I had never properly dealt with those emotions. What the song turned into was an anthem for anyone going through a rough breakup. I think one of the most powerful lines is, “I am the king and you are not my queen.” It signifies that there is hope in reinventing yourself after heartbreak.
Creating the Album
Til Death Do Us Part wouldn’t have been possible without Jon E Love on guitars, Wayne Swinny on rhythm guitar, Dave Novotny on bass, and Paul Crosby and Hunt Sales on drums. The album was produced and mixed by Chris Johnson, who is always great to work with.
As with all my work, I used emotion and passion to turn elements from my life into songs that can resonate with my audience. Personally, “Game Over” is my favorite to sing, but there really is something for everyone. I stick with that standard rock n’ roll vibe with no filters, and I hope anyone who listens to the album can vibe along with me.
Between Sleaze Roxx, Blabbermouth, Guitar World, Rock Your Lyrics and more, the album got a lot of positive reviews, and I’m forever grateful.