Chicago based sleaze rockers The Last Vegas first came to the public’s attention in somewhat unusual manner in 2008; they defeated over 800 other bands to win a contest run by music store chain Guitar Center, and the prize in that contest was, among other things, a record deal and the chance to open for the almighty Motley Crüe on their Saints of Los Angeles tour. It was an amazing opportunity, and The Last Vegas certainly grabbed it with both hands, and since winning the contest they’ve embarked on headline tours in over 17 countries worldwide and released three critically acclaimed albums, one of which was actually produced by Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx and his long-time collaborator and Sixx AM/Guns n’ Roses guitarist DJ Ashba. The Edge caught up with Last Vegas singer Chad Cherry before the Southampton date of their recent tour to in support of their new album ‘Sweet Salvation’.
How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard it before?
It’s kind of hard to describe our sound without comparing us to other bands, so I’ll keep it simple. We make hard-ass rock and roll!
What’s your personal favourite band?
A lot of the bands I love are kind of the old school, classic rock kind of band, bands that were still called old bands even when I was a kid. I particularly like Cheap Trick, Aerosmith and Alice Cooper. Anything that could be called arena or stadium rock really. Before I got into all those bands though I was more into stuff like Black Flag and The Misfits, all sorts of underground punk rock bands.It was always so exciting for me to go into the record store and have to hunt for the album I wanted. Being able to own music and look at the artwork was always a big deal for me. It’s nice to be able to have a physical copy of something and read all the little liner notes the band wrote.
How did you get into music?
I’ve been in bands ever since I was a teenager, I started out with some underground punk bands and spent a while trying to be as cool as them! [laughs]As I got older I gravitated more to the classic rock sound that I listened to as a young kid. When I moved to Chicago and met The Last Vegas, they were doing the same kind of music that I liked and it just went from there really.
You got your big break winning the guitar centre competition to open for Motley Crüe, and then your album was produced by Nikki Sixx. What do you think about the Crüe’s recently announced break-up/retirement?
Well, they’ve been around for a long time, and in that time they’ve made some absolutely amazing music. That said though, maybe it’s not a bad idea for them to get off the stage for a little while, and make some room for some other acts to get up there and step into the limelight a bit more.
Did you stay in contact with any of them after the Saints of Los Angeles tour and the album recording process was finished?
I still see DJ Ashba every once in a while and every now and then we get the opportunity to open for Guns n’ Roses. We didn’t really keep in contact with Motley Crüe through.
What’s your favourite thing about touring?
I just love making friends through the music. When you play a show and you see that you’ve made someone’s day by coming all the way to where they live and performing the songs they like, I like that the most! People appreciating what you do always feels awesome. Even the slightly insane people who stalk our social media, and have love affairs with the bands members in their own heads are all part of the experience and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened when you’ve been on tour?
Well, one of us got divorced on tour once, that really sucked! We’re pretty good at hiding our emotions when we’re out on the road though!
What’s your favourite song to play live?
That’s a really hard question! [laughs]It’s like trying to pick my favourite letter of the alphabet. I like all of our songs really. I love the new ones, because they are so new but ‘I‘m Bad’ is a bit of a crowd favourite, and it gets everybody going so I’d say that’s one of the best to play.
What else have you got planned for this year?
On this trip we’re doing the UK, and then we’re going over to Europe, where we’re going to play Spain and a couple of other Scandinavian countries. Then after that we’re doing a couple of festivals, and I know we have something coming up with Rob Zombie. I also work on my clothing line, Chad Cherry clothing whenever I’m not out on the road.