Seattle Sound Live talks to Kevin Wood and Tony West from Malfunkshun about the vision for the future and Love Rock!

Seattle Sound Live talks to Kevin Wood and Tony West from Malfunkshun about the vision for the future and Love Rock!

Malfunkshun is best known as the founding fathers of the Seattle Sound that formed some of the best music that came out in the 90’s. Brothers Andrew Wood and Kevin Wood formed Malfunkshun around Easter day back in 1980, some 34 years ago. Although, best known for Andrew Woods contributions as the flamboyant front man. Malfunkshun is on their way to a whole new level of Love Rock, bringing the magic that it once held years ago with the new energetic front man.

Tony West is no stranger to the music industry and with his previous highly acclaimed band Blacklist Union. Tony has demonstrated that he has a ton of talent to bring to the table, exactly what it takes to bring Malfunkshun into their next chapter with his highly spiritual attitude, charisma, vocal talent and stage presence to leave you definitely wanting more.

SSL– First off I would like to thank both you guys for taking the time to talk to me and Seattle Sound Live.

Kevin & Tony – No problem, thank you

SSL – It seems like there is a lot of new and exciting things happening in the Malfunkshun camp, with the announcement of Tony West as the new singer. Tony made his 1st appearance at Louie G’s back in March as a guest appearance with Malfunkshun, shortly after being announced as the official front man how did that come about, or was it something that just felt right?

Kevin– Tony and I got to know each other on line a couple years ago. We finally met up in person in Santa Rosa not too long ago and starting talking about the tribute show for Mike Starr’s memorial. Tony mentioned that he was great friends with Mike. I asked “why don’t you come to the show and sing a few songs with us as a fitting tribute”’. We played the show and when Tony sang the Mother Love Bone tunes and the Alice in Chains tunes it literally raised the hair on the back of my neck. So, I asked him if he would like to step on board to sing with Malfunkshun. He happily accepted.

Tony– For me it just organically happen, something that happen to evolve it was really a no brainer because we have a good vibe and chemistry playing with each other I think it’s awesome and I am truly honored.

SSL – Yeah, it’s kind of like the next chapter of Malfunkshun it’s like evolving into the new Malfunkshun ..And not trying to replace Andy in any way.

Tony –You can never replace anyone who has passed unfortunately, however you can let their legacy live on, I think that is what is important to do and you’re talking about “love rock” and people being good to each other and being a channel and being open and not being so L.A. so to speak or so full of yourself, there is a message in Malfunkshun. Of course Andy and Kevin started that message but, I absolutely as a fan, I think that message should continue.

SSL– As a side note while transcribing this interview while Tony West talks of “love rock” my time stamp was at 3:33….Most will understand this reference…if not 3:33 stands for LOVE !

Kevin – Tony has love rock in his bloodstream. He has the feeling and the vibe and he knows what we are all about. Malfunkshun is an open experience that is all inclusive. There is no exclusion, love rock and that’s what Malfunkshun has been preaching all along. Tony and I are on the same wave length with that concept and I am really excited with the direction and where it’s going.

SSL– What is the direction you guys are taking it to?

Kevin – Live, we are playing songs from Back to Olympus, some Mother Love Bone, the Malfunkshun Monument CD, and the recently released singles as well as some All Hail the Crown. We are also working on new recordings with some exciting surprises. It’s the same direction from day one!

Tony – I have to say on the other hand it’s very honorable and noble that people have a concern of anything like that because it proves that the music has an emotional attachment to them, so to me, …listen I already got a nasty email and my response to them was very human, it was like if you’re a friend, then you should know it’s about the music, we are only carrying it on. No one is wanting or trying to replace anyone …I have lost a lot of people in my life, you can’t replace anyone. Let’s get back to carrying the message like Kevin was saying “keeping it alive” and keeping that spirit going man just because someone is on the other side that doesn’t mean their legacy has to die and it’s a mutual legacy. There are two brothers in the band, ya know.

Kevin – A lot of people love Andy and I love him too. He is a brother and I know he didn’t want the whole thing to stop when he passed away. He told me this when I was on retreat in Sedona many years ago. I know he is extremely happy with the way things are going right now with me and Malfunkshun.

Tony – For me when we did the first show at the casino, I was on the side of the stage and prayed on my knees and said to the spirits above to please let me be a channel for this music for the people that are emotionally attached to it, including his brother, mother, family and friends and please don’t let this make it about myself, because I don’t play music for that reason especially the Malfunkshun stuff, I understand the emotional attachment cause I am attached as well, my job is to delivery it how the people love it ..It’s not about me it’s about the music.

SSL– Yeah, that is heavy and very admirable for you to be so open and passionate with us, not many would share that, Thank you! I think it’s pretty cool its coming back and coming back in this way, Everybody loved Andy and his stage presence and with Tony being added to the mix with his very own unique style. It seems that there are enough people out there that miss it and want to see it come back ….

Tony – Or the people that never saw it live, like when we played at Louie G’s there was a girl that came up to me in tears so happy because she never heard of Crown of Thorns and that’s what music is about, that kind of feeling touching the fans.

SSL– Exactly that never heard it live, there is a big difference, especially to those not old enough to see it live back in the day, I mean I was there, I can say I was personally blown away.

 

This is Shangrila http://youtu.be/LKhWmdslWio

 

SSL– I also had the pleasure of catching your last show at the Pointe Casino, it was actually the best show I had seen in a long time, It felt like I was taking a trip back in time, kind of like bringing that early Seattle grunge movement back to life but, with a new and fresh feeling, I mean you can listen to YouTube videos and albums but there is nothing better than the experience of hearing and seeing you guys live.

Kevin – I think we have the chemistry to do that, I have been playing these songs in front of people for years now and as time goes by, more and more people hear this stuff that they never heard of before on a record or on the radio and it still moves crowds and the energy is still there.

SSL– I agree, so, what’s the deal on this west coast tour?

Kevin – We are concentrating right now on getting booked in the North Bay area, San Francisco area and Los Angeles.

SSL– And while we are on that subject …a fan wants to know what is going on with the U.K.

Kevin– That is still in the works. We are looking at fall, but, nothing written in stone yet.

SSL– Seattle wants to know when you are coming back.

Kevin – We will be back in April 2015 if not sooner but we are booked for our annual event next April at the Pointe Casino. Celebrating the Seattle sound.

SSL– Anything sooner?

Kevin – If not sooner, umm, Seattle is our home turf. We are always open to shows in our home town. We love Seattle, our home city, home of the Seahawks. We will be back.

Tony – I have something to say about Seattle, ya know I have been in Los Angeles for 25 years and I have been spending some time in Seattle the last few years and I never had before, but there is a lot of heart in Seattle and something that has been gone from Los Angeles for a long time. Maybe, those that live there or being involved in Seattle don’t see it anymore, but from an outsider looking in, I was welcomed with open arms people are very supportive of me under the circumstances and L.A isn’t that much and that speaks volumes to me about Seattle and why there was a movement as big as it was of rock and roll it’s very clear to me and I love Seattle.

SSL – And Seattle loves Malfunkshun, but it would be cool if you guys could get the love rock in all the states, is that one of your goals? There is so much un charted territory out there. Isn’t there another new younger generation that doesn’t know anything about Malfunkshun?

Kevin– Yes, we are booking all over the states. The younger generation of people that we play in front of doesn’t know about Malfunkshun or the history. The response from them is terrific and they end up cheering us on and become fans. When they find out after the fact it is a big bonus for everyone.

SSL– When they put two and two and together?

Kevin– Exactly, it’s a pretty cool thing.

SSL– I think that is contributed to your diverse set list, with the original Malfunkshun, the Mother Love Bone and the new stuff is what is going to get people hooked.

Kevin– It’s all good, we switch it around but everyone leaves with something that they can cherish.

SSL– And there is new songs in the studio? What’s going on with that? Can you give us some details?

Kevin – We are working on new material as we speak. Some powerful, emotional and have everything that love rock requires. It’s a good thing and people are going to be blown away. I can assure you that.

SSL– Okay, that brings up another good question. There was a fan that wanted to know if any additional Andy Wood solo songs coming out to surface? Anything that was hidden or not released?

Kevin – There are still tons of material left over from Andrew. Only a fraction of it was released in the box set.

I really enjoy pulling from what was left behind. I am closer to his spirit when I write with his words or pull out one of the old riffs. I did put together a collection of Andy / Kevin songs called Malfunkshun Monument back in 2010. Regan Hagar, our drummer from the 80’s played on that release.

SSL – Right! I have another fan generated question; did Andy ever ask you to consider joining Mother Love Bone?

Kevin – No, they were pretty tight as a band. That is, it was Green River with Andy and a new drummer. The core members were tight as in close friends. I totally understand the dynamic.

SSL – I am about out of time, is there anything else you would like to say in addition to such an informative interview?

Kevin – I just want to assure everyone that we are going to continue on and put out some really cool new stuff, play the old stuff, we have Tony who can nail the vocals, when people can hear it, they are going to be blown away at how the energy rises when he comes up to the mic. I am just busting out with excitement to have people come out to the shows, buy the material online and just join in with the love rock celebration.

SSL – We can’t wait either, really excited about the next chapter.

SSL – I always like to close with that “one” question to get to the heart of the matter that comes with being a musician, What inspires you and what kind of advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

Tony – Life inspires me, love, hate, birth, death, being happy, being sad etc…..as far as advice to aspiring musicians? Do it because you love it …if u plan on striking it rich be a plastic surgeon instead.

SSL – Got to love the honesty and humor in that response.

Well, that’s a wrap. It was such a pleasure to talk to you guys and I wish the best for you both and Malfunkshun’s new adventure, Thanks again for your time.

Kevin & Tony – Thank You for the interview, have a great day.

Well, Seattle that was a small peak into what is going on, if you’re a fan like me, please keep an eye out for the Malfunkshun Facebook page for show announcements and info at https://www.facebook.com/OfficialMalfunkshun and their website at http://malfunkshun.org/

 

LOVE ROCK AWAITS US ALL

 

 

 

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Shanna Torp

Shanna Torp

Shanna is a contributing editor at Rock Paper Rock and the resident interview guru. She is currently the Owner of SLT Social Media Services and is gearing up to finish her BA in marketing.


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