Interview With Jeremy Asbrock
(Ace Frehley, Genes Simmons, and Thee Rock N Roll Residency)
Shannon W. - What made you want to play guitar?
Jeremy Asbrock - “Ace Frehley. Kiss. That’s pretty ironic considering my last two gigs.”
Shannon - Since you were a fan of Kiss as a kid, can you talk about how it feels to come full circle and to now play with Gene Simmons and Ace Frehley?
Jeremy Asbrock - “Sure. I couldn’t be anymore grateful and it also is proof that if you are obsessed with something you want to do, or an idea, and you stick with it and don’t give up, you can achieve that dream. I didn’t specifically set out to play with Gene or Ace, I kinda wanted to be in my own band and one day maybe open for Kiss. I was in a band called The Shazam, for 15 years, and when you’re in a band for so long and the wave doesn’t break, you can either give up or move on to different things and I did that. Philip (Shouse) and I started playing together for fun. There weren’t many tribute bands, at the time, who played the kind of rock n roll that we liked to play so we started doing that and it turned into Thee Rock ‘N Roll Residency. From there we started playing with all these people we admired. It’s all about not giving up.”
Shannon - Because you are friends with all of the other guys in Ace’s band, how do you think that changes the band dynamic onstage?
Jeremy Asbrock - “I’d say we’re probably more connected than a band that is just put together. We were friends before all of this happened. Philip (Shouse) has been my best friend for 20 years and Ryan (Cook) has been my other best friend for 9 years so it was like we were put on this adventure together. We don’t have to come back and tell the other guy about it, we are experiencing it together and it makes it a little more fun to look over on the stage and give a knowing smile to the other guy when something cool happens.”
Shannon - Are you working on solo music at the moment?
Jeremy Asbrock - “Honestly, not really. I have a 4 year old son and he’s currently out of school due to COVID-19 so most of my day is taken up being a family man. Me and Philip have an unreleased EP produced by Michael Wagener. It’s just sitting in the cloud and we’re talking to a record label about releasing it but we haven’t had the time nor the wherewithal to put it out on our own. Putting out music on your own is a lot harder than people make it out to be. It opens up a Pandora’s box of putting the artwork together yourself and coming up with the money to pay for pressing, are we gonna just put it out on CDs or are we gonna put it out online or are we gonna try to do vinyl. Up until recently, we have both been too busy to even think about it but we have reopened the conversation. But when I do sit around and play guitar and tinker around on riffs I came up with. But it would be a real stretch to say I sit around and write songs because I don’t really.”
Shannon - What is your all-time favorite riff?
Jeremy Asbrock - “Coming up with an all-time anything for me is hard. I love the ‘Parasite’ (Kiss) riff. Eddie Van Halen is my all-time favorite guitar player so I would have to include something by him, I love the riff to ‘I’m The One’ and even ‘Hot For Teacher’ I mean that riff is badass. The ‘Highway to Hell’ (AC/DC) riff is awesome. I don’t know, I don’t have an all-time favorite riff. I’ve got a laundry list of all-time favorite riffs.”
Shannon - Can you describe the importance of music in your life?
Jeremy Asbrock - “I mean it’s been pretty much my everything as long as I can remember. My mom told me that I used to climb a bookshelf to get to the record player on top to put on the song ‘Dream Weaver’. That was the first song I was obsessed with. I got my first Kiss record when I was four and it was an immediate obsession. I always knew I wanted to do this and so I was doing a ton of reading in Sixteen magazine because it has Kiss in it. I had a subscription to that magazine when I was in first grade and I started reading about Kiss. When I was in third grade I started reading about Circus magazine and that opened the doors to all these other bands like Motley Crue and Ratt and Van Halen and Quiet Riot and the Scorpions and twisted Sister. That was the year heavy metal went mainstream. We then got MTV and I would sit and watch the videos all day. I wouldn’t say it plays an important part in my life, I would say it is my life. It’s my livelihood, it’s my hobby, I met my wife because she needed musicians. It’s a bigger thing than a part of my life, it created my life. Life as I know it is based around music.”
Shannon - What is one band you listen to that you think people would be surprised by?
Jeremy Asbrock - “Good question. You can pretty much look at me and be able to tell what I listen to. I do enjoy listening to classical music when I drive, I find it to be relaxing. I do go through musical phases too, I went through a bluegrass phase where I actually learned how to play bluegrass-style banjo. I probably couldn’t still do it because it’s been a long time, but I do know some of that stuff. I got into finger-picking guitar stuff because I was into Fleetwood Mac and I would read interviews with Lindsey Buckingham and he would talk about different guitarists who played that way. I saw Bill Monroe in a little club in Hendersonville, Tennessee on a Wednesday night. There were probably about 7 people in the audience. He came to our table and sat down for a minute and I watched him play. He’s a bluegrass legend. That might surprise some people.”
Shannon - Other than playing music, what else do you love to do?
Jeremy Asbrock - “I like to cook. I’m kind of a ninja in the kitchen. I am the chef of our household, it is my hobby. Between music and cooking, after having a child I don’t have much time for anything else. The older my son gets, I am getting to reconnect with all these things I enjoyed as a kid: like playing baseball, going for a bike ride, and stuff like that.”
Jeremy Asbrock - “I grew up listening to hair metal when it was all brand new and that kind of music was my obsession. My walls were postered with all those bands and they were all really big on MTV. They all fueled my passion for guitar playing and many years later when I started playing on the Monsters of Rock Cruises with John Corabi (who replaced Vince Neil in Motley Crue for awhile), it put me on a playing field with all those bands. After doing a few of those cruises, I became good friends with most of those bands. At one time or another, most of those bands were posters on my walls and the next thing I know they’re my friends and I’ve played with a lot of them. Even John, we did the live recording of the Motley 94 album that you can buy, it’s a released recording which put me on the Motley Crue tree, even if it’s only a little twig, I’m still on that Motley Crue family tree. Eric Brittingham from Cinderella was Thee Rock N Roll Residency bassist for a long time. It’s a trip to become friends with all these guys who were one time just posters on my wall and people I looked up to. To have them consider me as one of their colleagues is amazing.”
Jeremy Asbrock - “Another little piece of trivia here, Poison filmed the ‘Your Mama Don’t Dance’ video two nights: one in Louisville, Kentucky and one in Nashville, Tennessee. In the guitar solo, there’s one little scene where somebody is running down a ramp and if you look at the crutch that somebody in the crowd is holding up, that’s me and my brother. I actually have a bunch of friends that are in that video.”
Jeremy Asbrock - “It was Enuff Znuff that got me into harmonies. Up to that point, Poison and Warrant were my favorite bands, but there was just something different about them. They were way more melodic and they had these soaring harmonies. I really connected with it. I noticed at the end of their record they had a thank you to The Beatles in capital letters. So Enuff Znuff opened the door to The Beatles for me. When I was a senior in high school, I did my term paper on The Beatles and then after that, that opened the door to all things classic rock. Unfortunately I stopped listening to a lot of hair metal, but I started listening to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and old Aerosmith. The Who had an HBO concert that was coming out when I was 8 years old and my brother told me they were in the Guiness Book of World Records as the loudest band and I said ‘oh my god, I have to see that’. So I got into them pretty early because of that. Then I discovered Van Halen and got into hair metal. I was very lucky to be at the age where I could read and buy magazines when the bands were first coming out. Radio didn’t really play those bands, but MTV was playing them. Even if MTV was only playing the videos late at night after I had gone to sleep, the magazines were still writing about them. Thankfully my parents were supportive luckily. I’d say ‘Hey mom will you buy me this Dokken record?’ and she would. I got Dokken ‘Tooth and Nail’ for my 10th birthday.”