Hugh Jass (center) is a former hairdresser, thus explaining the band’s perfect coiffs. Moe Lato is pictured second from left.
For at least one band you’ll see at Mammoth Rocks, the world ended in 1983
For the first installment of the Mammoth Rocks “Tribute Band” interview series, I chat with ex-male model and bassist Mao Lato and lead singer/ Welshman, Hugh Jass of the mega-successful arena rock band Wayward Sons. The band will perform on the Village’s main stage on August 27.
The Wayward Sons insist they’ve written every great rock anthem from STYX, Queen, Journey, Foreigner and Boston. They also insist that the year is not 2010, but 1983.
The following interview is rated MA for mature audiences only. It is also suggested that fathers keep their daughters a safe distance from the stage on the 27th.
The Sheet: Why don’t you tell me a little about how this band was formed.
Moe Lato: We all met in London. Most of us were in art school together. I used to be a male model, my guitar player was the lute player for Jethro Tull; I met him by sleeping with his wife. We actually became good friends. Anyway we were auditioning for a lead singer and our keyboardist is a masseuse …
Hugh Jass: (speaking in a heavy Cockney accent) Masseur, I think it’s called.
Lato: Yeah, masseur, and he was giving a massage to Jass. His hand got a little too close to his anus, then Jass screamed out a perfect C note.
Jass: Quite inspirational, actually, it just sort of happened.
Sheet: Tell me about how you prepare for a show? Is there a secret rock star ritual?
Jass: Jack Daniels and an Almond Joy.
Lato: I rub Ben-Gay all over my body. But yeah I drink a bit of JD. I’m trying to cut back a bit.
Sheet: I feel like if you’re in a band your top priority has to be image. Is rocking more about kicking ass, getting drunk and breaking stuff than it is about the music?
Lato: Image is important but the music really stands alone.
Jass: It’s like rock n’ roll theatre. We would be a great rock ‘n roll Broadway show, if there were to do such a thing. Hmmm, probably not though. Not a lot of theatre rock ‘n roll buffs. But if there’s a good chance of us getting laid at the end of the show, then I think we’ve done alright for ourselves.
Sheet: I gotta say, you guys have a really good look.
Jass: Well I used to be a hairdresser. Still am in a way. I make sure all the band members’ pubic hair is in order. You know, that it’s not sticking out of their pants all willy-nilly like.
Sheet: You guys tour so much. Tell me about how you maintain your physique on the road?
Lato: I swim quite a bit … in the nude.
Jass: Yeah, we’ve gotten kicked out of many hotels for this. But the ladies like it.
Lato: Not all of ‘em. It suits some of our fans.
Jass: I like to let my bitch run loose in the wild. Then I wait 30 minutes and chase after it.
Lato: Your bitch?
Jass: Sorry, my dog. I thought that was the proper way to say it.
Sheet: You all look great in tight pants and spandex. Does your band have a policy on crotch stuffing?
Jass: Our band’s policy is that if you can’t wear the pants then you’re not in the pants.
Lato: You mean the band?
Jass: Yeah, the band … then you’re not in the band.
Lato: We do stick things down there just to kind of accentuate the look. I try to stay away from things made of metal.
Sheet: Yeah, like in Spinal Tap.
Jass: Spinal Tap? Never heard of it.
Lato: Yeah, I think it’s coming out soon, I saw something about it.
Sheet: Sorry, I forgot that we’re in 1983.
Lato: We do movie stuff, too. We just worked on a song for Rocky III. It’s called Eye of The Tiger.
Jass: We wanted to do more things, but we just felt that the Rocky franchise just isn’t going anywhere.
Lato: They probably won’t make anymore movies after this one.
Jass: Stallone looks all old and saggy.
Sheet: Tell me about how you deal with all the groupies.
Jass: Fast lane to the right, slow lane to the left.
Lato: Our guitar player is always hammered by the end of the show, so that usually leaves more women for us.
Sheet: Do you pick ‘em out during the show?
Lato: Oh, absolutely.
Jass: But sometimes I get real sweaty during the show and I need a few moments to dry off before I get to all the women … To answer your other question, I stay in shape by just rocking real hard. I probably lose about 10 kilos of sweat a night.
Lato: We used to have a roadie whose only job was to dust Jass with baby powder during the show to keep him dry.
Jass: We fired her.
Sheet: Why was that?
Jass: Well, two reasons. One, it was just so much powder that I couldn’t breathe. It was everywhere. So we told her to only dust below the waist. But the real issue was that we just can’t have that much powder around the band.
Sheet: Are you guys into Karaoke?
Jass: You mean Bukake?
Lato: I think he’s talking about that thing in Japan.
Jass: Oh right. No, it’s a bit disgusting and weird.
Sheet: Are you talking about Karaoke?
Jass: Yeah, we were playing one night and this girl wandered up on stage. One thing happened and it ended up being sort of an accidental bukake.
Sheet: So you’re not talking about karaoke?
Lato: It was more of a misplaced bukake. Does that answer your question?
Sheet: Kind of. Tell me about the quiet side of Wayward Sons. What do you do when you’re not rocking?
Lato: I used to be in Playgirl, so sometimes I go down to muscle beach and just hang out with my old friends.
Jass: Don’t be modest. We go to church every Sunday no matter what town we’re in. We don’t really understand it, we just understand the rhythm of the service, you know what I mean?
Sheet: I want to play a little game with you guys. I’m gonna quiz you on some of your own rock lyrics. I’ll read you a lead-in to the chorus and then you just finish the sentence. Okay here we go… “You catch a pearl and ride the dragon’s wings …”
Jass: I don’t know. We wrote this?
Sheet: Okay, it has to do with a moment. Maybe a “heated” moment.
Lato: Oh! Heat of the Moment. Yeah, we just wrote that one.
Jass: Sorry I’m having some trouble with my short term memory. I can’t even remember the lyrics to Eye of the Tiger, it’s like “eye of the tiger…blah blah blah,” something about a challenge or pancakes or whatnot. Okay, give me another.
Sheet: “I closed my eyes and she slipped away…she slipped away.”
Jass: Heat of the Moment!
Sheet: That was the last question.
Jass: Oh sorry.
Lato: No, I got it. It’s More Than a Feeling.
Jass: Are you sure?
Lato: Come on, man.
Jass: Okay, give me another.
Sheet: Okay, last one. “I hear the voices when I’m dreamin’, I can hear them say …”
Jass: Can you hum a line?
Sheet: Yes (humming)
Jass: Still nothing.
Sheet: It has to do with carrying on. Carry on my…Okay finish this sentence, carry on my….
Jass: Rucksack. Carry on my rucksack and put it in the overhead compartment of the plane.
Sheet: No, try again. Carry on my….
Sheet: Alright I’m gonna say “carry on my.” Then you say the name of your band. Okay, carry on my…Carry on my…
Lato: Wayward Sons! Damnit.