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Kristy Majors is perhaps best known to rock fans as the guitarist for glam metal band Pretty Boy Floyd. Raised in New York, Majors was influenced by the city’s punk scene and formed his first group, Sik Bitch, in the mid-1980s. Despite modest success, Majors eventually decided to relocate to the west coast to embrace the Los Angeles rock scene.
After an unsuccessful audition with a local band, singer Steve Summers poached the drummer, Kari Kane, and Pretty Boy Floyd was born. After recruiting bassist Vinnie Chas, the group tried out countless guitarists before Majors was brought on board and soon the group were signed to MCA. Their debut album, Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz, was a major success and spawned two hit videos, Rock ‘n’ Roll (Is Gonna Set the Night on Fire) and I Wanna Be with You, whilst the track 48 Hours was featured on the soundtrack to The Karate Kid: Part III.
Pretty Boy Floyd split in the early 1990s but Majors continued to work in the industry as a music scout. Although the band eventually reformed again several years later, Majors also embarked on a solo career with the albums The Devil in Me and Sex, Drugs & Rock N Roll, as well as the Ramones tribute For Those About to Sniff Some Glue… (We Salute You). Most recently, Pretty Boy Floyd paid tribute to the legendary KISS with their album Kiss of Death.
Kristy Majors looks back on twenty five years of rock ‘n’ roll.
Growing up in New York, you must have spent many nights watching groups perform in venues like CBGB. How would you describe the music scene on the east coast at that time and which gigs in particular do you have vivid memories of?
It was amazing. I had the opportunity to see the Ramones, Blondie, the Velvet Underground, the New York Dolls, the Plasmatics, the Dead Boys and Talking Heads at CBGB’s when I was a kid and that changed my life. More specifically, the Ramones concert and music was incredible. That made me pick up the guitar and the first song I ever learned to play was Blitzkrieg Bop. I also loved the hardcore scene of Anthrax, Overkill, SOD, etc., so I was exposed to a wide variety of music that influenced my life and love of music.
Were you disappointed when vinyl was replaced by CD, as your first album, Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz, was released when LPs were still popular and bands could release picture discs with gatefold sleeves?
We were the last band on MCA Records to be released on vinyl, CD and cassette. I actually prefer CDs. I really can’t tell the difference because technology is so advanced now that you can make amazing digital/analog music and push the limits of mastering and sounds. My cassettes would always get worn out and my LPs would get scratched but I know there’s huge fans of LPs so we are considering doing limited edition vinyl for our new releases.
How has your attitude towards the industry changed since you first signed to a label and now you are older would you say you approach your work more from a business perspective than just that of a musician?
I like being my own boss. I have no one telling me how to dress. That they don’t like a song, the video needs to be edited, you can say fuck on this song, etc…. We can do whatever we like and the freedom is a blessing. Yeah we have to do a lot of work being our own record label but we are making so much more money this way thanks to the internet and touring. Wait till you see and hear PBF in 2011. We’re gonna shake things up.
Why did you decide to re-record several songs from your debut album almost a decade later for Porn Stars?
We were offered some good money to record that album but looking back I wish we would have passed on that. The album has some cool songs besides the Leather Boyz tracks but they didn’t come out the way I wanted them to. I now have my own recording studio and I’m getting the PBF signature sound on the new recordings.
Do you feel more pressure walking onto a stage as a solo artist than you did as a member of a band?
Not at all. I love performing and playing live music. It’s a rush that’s unexplainable. I need to take better care of my voice on the road cos I lose my voice very easily from being a loudmouth.
In interviews you have referenced Frank Sinatra as someone that you admire. Have you considered venturing further out of the rock genre with your different projects and perhaps attempting something with a jazz, blues or swing vibe?
I did? I love Frank. He’s a legend but my two favorite musicians are Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Yes I have recorded a few of their songs in my own style that will be released on a future solo album. I love all styles of music and a good song is a good song. I don’t care what genre or label you want to put on it. It’s all rock ‘n’ roll to me.
Why do think the metal scene is mostly male dominated? While artists such as Joan Jett, Vixen and Courtney Love have enjoyed considerable success, many still consider metal to be a boy’s club.
I don’t know. You have to have some balls to play rock ‘n’ roll and tour. It’s tough touring and a hard lifestyle to live. Joan Jett, Courtney Love, Wendy O Williams, Brody Dalle have balls. I would love to see more female rockers out there.
Over the years you have covered various KISS albums, but how did you come to record an entire album in tribute to them? Do you recall when you first discovered their music and in what ways have they influenced you as both a musician and a performer?
I saw KISS at Madison Square Garden when I was twelve-years-old and WOW. That was a show. They had everything from a Broadway show to a Fourth of July explosion and the songs all in one. Nobody was ever like that and hit me over the head. KISS was one of our biggest influences in PBF and Ace’s guitar style is in my blood. We were messing around in my studio and started tracking a few Kiss tunes with some new gear and they sounded amazing, so we decided to record Kiss of Death, PBF-style. I don’t think any fans will be disappointed with the record.
Many rock stars from the 1980s have since embraced reality TV, is this something that you would have an interest in doing and have you ever been approached regarding this?
I have been approached on several occasions but I despise reality TV. In fact, I haven’t watched regular TV in years because everything is reality but the funny thing is it’s all scripted. It’s not real, it’s fake and planned out. A lot of people are becoming famous for nothing. No talent, just because they’re on a reality TV show. Last year I was out and the New Orlean Saints had just won the Super Bowl. Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian were leaving a restaurant and the paparazzi was more interested in Kim then Reggie. WTF, here’s a guy who just won the Super Bowl and nobody gives a shit. Kim Kardashian is famous for what? Absolutely nothing.Has there ever been any kind of reunion with your former group Jett Blakk and do you still perform any of the material from that era?
No. Those were fun times for me as a kid. Sik Bitch, Jokers Wild. I don’t perform any of that music.
While many groups from the 1980s have struggled to survive over the years, Mötley Crüe have continued to enjoy success by adapting to current trends. Would you say that you have tried a similar method?
I don’t try to please anyone nowadays except myself. I hope people like what I’m doing and enjoy the music I’m releasing. SDRR is a collection of personal lyrics that I never really get a chance to express in PBF. This is my outlet for getting things off my chest and a healing process for my damaged life.