Ex-SKID ROW/SAIGON KICK Drummer PHIL VARONE Regrets Making 'Waking Up Dead' Documentary

Ex-SKID ROW/SAIGON KICK Drummer PHIL VARONE Regrets Making 'Waking Up Dead' Documentary

Former SAIGON KICK and SKID ROW drummer Phil Varone was interviewed on the latest episode of "The Double Stop With Brian Sword" podcast (web site). You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On "Waking Up Dead", the 2007 documentary from Varone which followed Phil through four years of drug abuse and wall-to-wall sex with groupies while drumming for SKID ROW:

"We started shooting that, like, the end… maybe 2003, I wanna say… towards the end of 2003. We shot all through 2004, and we shot during the making of the [SKID ROW 'Thickskin'] record and stuff like that. So it was over the course of a few years, to be honest with you. 'Cause it wasn't like we sat down and went, 'Let's start shooting it.' It was compiled from footage that was already shot, and then we continued shooting when we knew we were gonna do it."

On how the idea for "Waking Up Dead" came about:

"To be honest with you, it's something I regret doing, 'Waking Up Dead', because I think, for me, it was done too hastily. I think I was in a mindset that was very much dark and… [It's] not anything that should have been shot, because when I look back at it now, I'm kind of embarrassed. And I don't feel that way about the music industry. I don't feel that way about a lot of things anymore. But it was time. I just got out of the band [SKID ROW]. I went through rehab. We told things. And you're a little screwed up in the brain at that point. You need some time. They tell you: don't make major decisions, don't get into relationships. There's a lot going on in your life. And especially leaving the thing that I love the most — music — I was definitely in a weird mindset, and I think that if I had a chance to do it again, I wouldn't have done it; I would have definitely just shelved it and not put it out. But it is what it is. It has helped people, which I love that. I mean, if it meant that it helped one person from killing themselves, then it's worth it. But in the big picture, people always ask me, 'Do you regret anything from touring?' I regret putting that movie out, because I think that it was disrespectful to the music business, and I think it was just bad timing, because I think I didn't have a chance to really kind of digest and decompress from what was going on in my life. So you kind of got a very raw, more emotional thinking than truth, if you will."

On why he left SKID ROW and the music business:

"I left just to get healthy. I mean, I was on a collision course out there. My world was falling apart, or so it seemed. As I look at it now, it was probably me. [Laughs] I think it was more drama. I felt that as an entertainer, I could do more. Not be in a better band or anything like that — I meant just do more in entertainment. I wanted to write, I wanted to act, I wanted to do comedy. I wanted to really kind of explore my talents and not just be a drummer. So I really had a great time with SKID ROW; it's some of my best years. I probably had the most fun ever with those guys; I really did. 'Cause it was, like, the big arenas… It really gave me a chance to make money and be a rock star and play well and get to know a lot of great people. But I thought it was time to move on and try… And I never joined a band or anything. I moved to L.A. and I started standup comedy, and I started writing. I started script writing, I went to acting school and just went that route, and had a great time doing that as well. [It was] another experience in life."

During a 2014 interview with "The Classic Metal Show", SKID ROW guitarist Dave "Snake" Sabo was asked about "Waking Up Dead". "I thought it was gross, man, to be quite honest with you," Sabo said. "See, that's just a lifestyle I never cared for or partook in. I never did drugs. The worst thing I ever did was drink too much vodka and puke, and that's basically the extent of my shit. So to live that and to see that, I thought it was pretty gross and disgusting, to be honest with you. I don't have any empathy for that situation at all, because you have choices. You make choices in life, and that was the choice that [Varone] made. And I don't wanna be a part of that or a party to it. So, I guess the only thing I can say is that I thought it was pretty gross."

In a 2006 interview with Metalshrine, SKID ROW bassist Rachel Bolan stated about "Waking Up Dead": "I haven't [seen it] and I don't support it at all… That's [Phil's] world. I don't do drugs and the guys in the band don't do drugs. I don't endorse it. That's his world, and he wanted to put our image in it, and being the fact that the guy was only in the band for two years... The fact that he thinks he has the right to go out and use the SKID ROW name is preposterous. Yeah, that's his world, not ours."

Varone later fired back at his his former bandmates, writing in an "open letter": "Hey, David, nothing like commenting on a documentary that came out seven years ago that not only you and the band are in, but you also signed releases and were paid for songs. But I guess seven years later, it's gross. It wasn't gross when SKID ROW begged me to come out and finish a tour after I left the band because your drummer sucked. And I guess it wasn't gross listening to how bad the band sounded when you could barely stand on stage and play 90% of the time? You know, like the time we played a bowling alley and you were at the bar at noon? Oh, my bad, I forgot you don't do drugs or drink."

As for Bolan, Varone continued: "That unoriginal 5' 8" walking cliché bass owner needs to be taught a lesson on how not to run his mouth. Now I understand why Tommy Lee sent him an email that said, 'I don't have enough middle fingers for you.'"

Interview (audio):

philvaronewakingupdeadcover

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