Dangerous Toys / Watchtower / Broken Teeth Vocalist
FIB MUSIC: Your band "Broken Teeth" are part of the
"Shiprocked" cruise. Tell us a little about that?
Jason McMaster: The promoter saw us at
rock the Bayou Fest in Houston last year and liked it alot; (he) called our
agent and thats about it. The best thing about the festivals is they bring
out all the cool rock bands, and getting on one of those, especially the
main stage, can be fruitful. We have never played a cruise before, so this
will be an adventure. Plus there are alot of cool bands on the bill,
Queensryche and Tesla, Skid Row as well.
FIB MUSIC: Any other news about "Broken Teeth"? What upcoming tours can we
expect and is there a new album forthcoming anytime soon?
JM: We are workin'
on a new CD. The working title is "Viva la Rock, Fantastico". Danko Jones
sings on the title track as well as another song called "Big Spender". If
you don't know Danko, go to dankojones.com and listen, watch some youtube
vids on him. He has a killer rock style in the vein of old AC/DC and Thin Lizzy
with some Motorhead sprinkled on top. The songs are killer, we do a few of
them live in the set already. The new CD will hopefully hit the streets
later this year. We are leaving for a short tour of the midwest USA next
week. SXSW(South by Southwest Music Festival, Austin) is this week, and we are doin' a few shows here before we head
out. We are already starting to work on more new material, it's good that
we have so much material to peel off.
FIB MUSIC: Anything else to promote?
JM: My old
bands Watchtower and Dangerous Toys are busy this year. Watchtower will
co-headline the "KEEP IT TRUE" german metal fest in April 2010. A new Watchtower
release is in the works. The Toys are doing a few festivals this summer.
You can find all about this stuff on myspace, of course.
Dangerous Toys - "Teas'n Pleas'n" live performance
FIB MUSIC: What influences you these days?
JM: The only newer artists over the past few
years that have done anything for me is Danko Jones, and Airbourne. Alot
of people don't get those bands, but I feel like music needs to speak to
you on a personal level, and not just have some mass appeal. These simple
three-chord rock bands that have inspired me in recent years, made me
realize that there has been so much crappy rock/metal coming out, that it
made me stop searching for new music. I gave up on looking for new
releases. The good stuff will bubble to the top. Getting into metal just
because it's metal doesn't work for me.
I love metal, it's part of who I am. The latest Slayer, Metallica, Motorhead
and a few others are inspiring (because) they are such institutions, and can
still crank out incredible material(maybe some bad ones slip in there
sometimes), its like they find themselves each time they write and
release their craft. That's what it's all about. And yet still, I feel like
their music is speaking to me, and also has the mass stroking appeal, it
must be speaking volumes, now isn't it!
FIB MUSIC: Who were some of the artists that inspired you the
JM: Aerosmith, AC/DC, Judas Priest, Elton John, Queen, UFO, Thin
Lizzy, Metallica, Motorhead - truly, the list is never ending.
FIB MUSIC: I was privileged to catch a performance of Sad Wings, your Judas Priest
tribute band, at a show in Dallas. You guys seemed to have a lot of fun
with that. What's it like to do that project?
JM:I love Priest. I have
toured with Priest, I can die a happy man being able to say that. The Sad
Wings gig is just alot of fun, me and some friends came up with the idea
to form the tribute after seeing a few tributes around the Texas area
having so much fun, it was a no brainer that we needed a Priest tribute in
Austin. There is one in Dallas as you know called Judas Rising, they have
been real cool and we are playing with them June 20th in Dallas.
FIB MUSIC: I also understand you play in a Kiss tribute band
called SSIK. What's that like and do you enjoy one more than the other?
have a few tribute bands, its just a way to let off steam, play some songs
that actually meant something to the influence of my craft. It's such a
blast, and good for the soul.
FIB MUSIC: Tell us about your early years in Watchtower.
JM:Started in 1982, right after I moved to Austin, from Corpus Christi. I
met these guys, started playing covers by all of our fave metal bands, and
then wrote a shitload of original material, that was so weird and
technical, yet keep a very thrash metal base. We have been coined as "the
pioneers of progressive thrash metal". It's truly a band that European fans
will not let die. I am fortunate to have been a part of the Watchtower
camp, and have learned so much. I cut my teeth as singer for this band,
and now i am still going back to record, play live, and get respect from a
movement that is so strong, it's an honor to be garnered with such respect.
FIB MUSIC: Although Watchtower did not achieve national fame, you guys
were quite popular and influenced bands that went on to national fame. Do
you feel that Watchtower got its due?
We didnt look for anything other
than to be able to play Europe, and hope the USA would catch on to what we
were doing as much as Europe did. By the time things started to happen, it
was time to move things around, I joined Dangerous Toys, and continued to
support Watchtower and the things I had helped start with 'Tower. I helped
them find the vocalists they used for demos, and tours, and recording. My
friends, Mike Soliz from Militia, and Alan Tecchio from Hades(NJ) filled
in for me. It's been a wild ride for all involved in the 'Tower camp.
FIB MUSIC: Who are some of the musicians / bands Watchtower influenced?
JM:I don't want to
make a list of people who I think we influenced, but, there have been
countless times bands have mentioned Watchtower in books, interviews, and
liners saying that we did , in fact, have something to do with how weird
their music might be, considering that so much metal music is quite
mundane. And there isn't anything wrong with that, just cool to be part of
the progressive metal movement, and have the runners mention your band you
were in while still in high school. Two bands obviously wear Watchtower on
a sleeve, Death-Chuck Schuldiner, and Dream Theater-Mike Portnoy.
FIB MUSIC: What was the Austin scene like back then?
JM:Back in the early 80s, Austin
wasn't very metal. But, the dam had broken wide open with
Anthrax, Metallica, Slayer, etc.. Lots of Metal Blade records bands started
coming through. The scene was no different than it was in many american
metropolitan cites, as well as suberbs of such same type landscapes. It
caught on fast, as people who were looking for something heavier and
heavier, the more watered down rock n roll became. Alot of the classic
rock bands actually helped all of this thing get going. Old Whitesnake and
Deep Purple, as well as when Dio joined Sabbath, it sort of puts a family
tree perspective on it, since all of those bands are sort of related.
FIB MUSIC: What's the current music scene in Austin like? How
has it changed for the better?
JM:I can't say its better. But i think there is
so much about it that, well, you had to be here to see the city grow. It
was a different city with different values. Now it's pretty much turning
into a huge business metropolis. The beginning of the end sort of thing.
Too many people moving here after they hear how cool it is. But, that
happenes to every "cool" city. Metal is bigger here than it was back in
the day. I think and hope that I have helped get it on the map. There were
very few looking into heavy metal in 1982. It is not that way now.
Dangerous Toys with Alice Cooper
FIB MUSIC: Tell us about your early studio experience recording "Energetic
Disassembly"? Any funny, cool, sucked or brilliant moments? Feel
free to share more than one.
JM:The reviews of the "Energetic" release from
1985, have been quite humourous, and an assortment of good and bad at the same
time. As monumental an effect as it had on metal fanzines and listeners, and
now to be a fore-runner of that movement, and legendary status of that
release, I read the ones that say how much they hated my "helium/Mickey
Mouse" falsetto voice and laugh. It's funny because I agree with them, it's
all i knew how to do back then. But the power of truth lies in the ideas
that it created for others who actually understood what we had going on in
the songs, and not just that this and that sounded bad. No funny things
happened in the studio that year, it snowed during the sessions, and that
was rare for central texas, that was Winter 1985.
FIB MUSIC: Where did you record the album? Do you remember what the recording budget
was? Who produced it?
JM:Yeah, we spent a few grand. Technology has grown so
much, we used tape, of course, and all analog gear. We recorded at Cedar
Creek Recording, in South Austin. The place is still there, but, they
have completely upgraded the gear of course. Fred Remmert who
engineered/produced, is the onwer, and still works there.
FIB MUSIC: Any idea how many were printed / how many were sold?
JM:4500 copies, vinyl and
cassette. Considered rare, of course. A collector's piece. The vinyl goes
for about $300 on that collector's circuit. It has been re-issued on CD a
few times, and is very available nowadays.
FIB MUSIC: Why does it take four years to record a follow up album?
JM:It doesn't. You can write and record all day long, if you have money in
the bank, and are prolifically talented, and don't have to work a day job. I
get stifled when I have no time to be reflective while writing songs for a
new release. 'Tower hasnt put out a record in almost 20 years, and we are
working on one now. It's different for every release, and every band.
Interesting question either way.
FIB MUSIC: Did you guys tour at all?
How often would you play shows?
JM:We played shows all through the '80s just in
Texas. We did two shows in San Francisco that are legendary now, as they
were the last two shows we did with original guitarist and founder, Billy
White. - Watchtower toured without me. I joined the D'Toys by the time they
had the "Control and Resistance" record out. They did Europe and the US with
Coroner. That was about 1991.
FIB MUSIC: Same thing for the 2nd Watchtower album, "Control
and Resistance". Any cool memories from that experience?
JM:Since I didn't
record the actual release on "Control", I don't have any stories. I joined
Dangerous Toys in 1988. I did sing on the demos for "Control". Which since
then have been made available on CD(Demonstrations in Chaos-Rockdrome
I have only heard about how hellish it was with the engineers. Word is,
they went through a few different guys at the helm before they got the
record done. That was in Berlin in '89-'90.
FIB MUSIC: What's going on with the release of "Mathematics"? What happened in 2006
that killed the project, and do you expect it to be released anytime
JM:The songs were not very good. I don't want to make a record that I
cannot be proud of, that I cringe to hear. I cannot imagine the backlash
from reviews and fans. Since then, we have thrown alot of material away.
and have regrouped with what we feel to be much stronger material. We are in
the process now.
FIB MUSIC: In 1987 you joined the band Onyxx, which later became Dangerous
Toys. How did you meet Tim Trembley and what was it like working with
JM:Those guys used to come see Watchtower play. They knew Billy White,
and that's how I met some of them. Mike (Watson) had come into my work a couple of
times looking for bands to play with. But, when Tim asked me to fill in
for his band, just doing covers and stuff, who knew what the future would
hold? Tim was alot of fun, and I miss him. He wrote lyrics for the songs
on the first Toys record that are now legend to me.
Dangerous Toys receiving Platinum Record Award for their 1989 self-titled album
FIB MUSIC: Any good moments stand out from the day you signed your record deal with
JM:We ate, we drank like we had never eaten or even seen food before. It
was a happy time, with or without a recording contract.
FIB MUSIC: Did you guys get a nice signing bonus? If so, what did you do with the
JM:I think it was a few grand apiece. I went to the titty bar. I
think the other guys bought some gear, and some of us saved it.
FIB MUSIC: Talk a little about the recording sessions for
"Dangerous Toys". Any cool memories from back then?
JM:It was cool, working with Max Norman. Great stories about Randy and
Ozzy. Max also did Dirty Looks stuff, so it was cool to hear about that
too. Max would make me sing everything like 20 times, it was alot of
work. But, I think it just taught me alot, to get the best he could out
of the tracks. We all learned alot.
FIB MUSIC: What was that time like for you?
JM:Hollywood 1988-we were getting to spend some time out in the bars, hang
on the strip a bit, and it was still the infamous "sunset strip" days. It
was not uncommon to see Guns 'n Roses, or LA Guns, or anyone out somewhere.
FIB MUSIC: How long did it take to record the album? Where did you record it?
first Toys release was recorded at Sound City in Van Nuys, CA. The newest
Metallica record was done there. Funny thing is, Rick Rubin, who produced
the new Metallica, was there when we were in 1988, recording a band called
Wolfsbane, in which the singer did a record with Iron Maiden years later.
Trippy, its also where Fear-the record, was recorded. The same
engineer worked with the Toys.
FIB MUSIC: Do you remember what the budget was for that record?
JM:About $300K. I think
we went over budget a bit, as well.
FIB MUSIC: Describe the time you spent touring in support of the first album. What
were some of the bands you toured with? Also, share any cool memories from
JM:First tour was a mix of radio sponsored tours(Z-rock), and legs
with Junkyard, then Tora Tora and LA Guns. We did Europe with Faster
Pussycat and The Almighty. Then we did a leg in arenas with Bonham and The
Cult. It was a learning experience, and a pretty wild time.
FIB MUSIC: Dangerous Toys went Gold back in the eighties and
eventually platinum. Were the sales enough so that you guys recouped
JM:We haven't made shit.
We sold some records, but there are so many middle-men, by the time it
comes to any of us, it ain't much. These days, the best money we have ever
made as a band is doing reunion shows in the summers. I don't think we ever
recouped any expenses.
FIB MUSIC: In 1991 "Hellacious Acres" was
released. Again, describe the studio experience. How was it different from
your earlier studio experience?
JM:Roy Thomas Baker(Queen, Cheap
Trick, Journey, The Cars) produced "Hellacious". He was eccentric and
flamboyant, but I thought he had some good things and some bad things that
he brought to the album of songs. But, overall, we were not ready to
record. We didn't have the right songs yet. We had been pulled off the road
by the label in order to have a record released in the "profit margin
window". I don't think it's our best, to say the least. But, alot of people
love the record.
FIB MUSIC: How much did the record company increase your recording
JM:Maybe $100K, making it about $400K, we may have spent $500K.
FIB MUSIC: How long did it take to record the album? Where did you record it?
LA again. Summa on Sunset is where we did some vocals. Track Record and
The Record Plant we tracked drums. I think we did some at Village Recorder
as well. We were there about 2 months.
Broken Teeth - "Stick It In" - Recorded live at the Melody Inn on April 14, 2007 in Indianapolis, IN.
FIB MUSIC: In 1991 you also kicked off on a tour with Priest, Alice Cooper, and
Motorhead, but the tour was canceled after only 10 weeks. Why?
it was too short? We had a blast every night! I never knew it was only ten
weeks, seemed like 6 weeks. Lemmy talks about it in his book "White Line
Fever". I only remember a couple of dates falling off from lack of ticket
sales. '91 was rough for rock 'n roll. The dollar bill was blowing somewhere
else. And the masses follow that dollar bill. It was all comin' out of
Seattle for a few years.
FIB MUSIC: How did the poor sales on the 2nd album affect the band?
JM:No effects. We
charged on, playing music we wrote. We were up and down after about 1992,
we asked the label to let us go. We had been writing new material, and they
didn't want to do anything with it, so we got tired of their lack of
interest and they let us go as per our request through our management. 1994
and 1995 were alot of fun touring on our own terms. Alot of the do it
yourself thing started to come back into play. I was kind of glad about that.
You always know where your money is going when its coming straight to you.
FIB MUSIC: In 1994 the third Dangerous Toys album, "Pissed" was released. What
inspired the title?
JM:My manager wrote the weirdest thing in the liner
notes and submitted them to the label. I had never even seen them 'til the
CD came out. It describes how the industry that broke the band, had turned, but then, it thanks the ones who stuck by us when it got weird at the
label, and on radio. My lyrics are vague on purpose, but, alot of different
things came of the meaning after the song was written. The inspiration for
it was from a realization of something simple: noone knows you like
yourself, you can't please all the people all the time. Some fans say "Pissed"
is their fave DT CD. It probably should have been our second released.
FIB MUSIC: How was the studio experience different from your CBS studio days? Again,
share any cool, funny, sucked, or brilliant moments.
JM:Hard work with the major label producers. Long hours, 16 hour days, we
usually have one day off per week. It's not so bad. We got good tracks done,
(which is) the most important thing. We learned alot about our instruments, about
recording, about vibe and feel and time.
FIB MUSIC: After Michael Hannon left the band you took up the bass. Why did you not
replace him, and did you enjoy playing as well as singing?
JM:I have been a bassist since i was 13. It wasn't like I just decided to do
it. I played bass on the demos for "The Rtist 4merly Known as" material.
Tom Fletcher, who also co-produced the "Pissed" material, had the opinion
that if I was writing the styles, and lyrics and playing the bass lines,
that the feel would've been all wrong to have someone come in who wasn't
there during the writing sessions. Easier to just keep going with the vibe
we had. It wasn't personal with Mike, Hannon or Watson.
FIB MUSIC: It was rumored that you guys considered changing the name of the band.
Why?, and, what were some of the names you were considering?
JM:We had no names to consider, but we only discussed the idea, since the
material was so different. That mainly felt like since we had lost the
original members, the sound was changing with Paul, myself and Scott doing
the main writing for that record. It was accidental that Scott blurted out
:"The Rtist 4merly Known as Dangerous Toys" while we discussed the pros and
cons of changing the name, that was the perfect title for at least the
FIB MUSIC: The last "Dangerous" album, "The R-tist 4-merly Known as Dangerous Toys"
came out in 1995. Any cool studio stories?
FIB MUSIC: Mark Geary and Mike Watson's band Proof of Life is based in Austin? Do you
guys keep in touch, and do you play shoes together very often?
JM:Broken Teeth has had shows with Proof of Life,and Dtoys has done three-song mini sets at said shows. Usually people figure out that if those
bands play together, that there will more than likely be a little Dtoys
FIB MUSIC: In 2008, all the original members of Dangerous Toys got together for a
20th anniversary show in Austin. How was that experience for you?
JM:It's always an event when the Toys play, always a blast and always the
die hard old school fans from back in the day, mixed with the new fans, and
even some bring their kids, it's pretty cool.
FIB MUSIC: Jason McMaster is transported back to the year 1987 and is required to do
two things differently, what would they be?
JM:I wouldn't have spent all that money at the titty bar, and I would've tried
to convince management and the label to let me keep my place in
THE FAST 5
FIB MUSIC: What is your most disgusting habit?
JM: Eating whole bags of jellybeans in one sitting.
FIB MUSIC: What is the most feminine thing you do?
JM: Cross my legs and lean forward.
FIB MUSIC: If there is a God, what is the first question you would ask God when you
JM: God, why do some people actually believe that there was a talking snake
in the garden of eden, did you create the cro-magnon man too?
FIB MUSIC: Greatest Rock band of all time?
JM: Deep Purple
FIB MUSIC: What were you doing 40 minutes before you sat down to do this interview?
JM: I can't remember, since this email (interview) took me almost a week to finish.