Interview conducted June 8 2022
Interview published July 15 2022
"If I look in retrospect, I should've probably
stuck to one band and continued."
After a career including writing
the leading soundtrack for the '80s movie Cobra, working and co-writing
with Kiss, the Ramones, the Plasmatics and many more, as well as doing
solo stuff and the bands Voodoo X and Crown Of Thorns, it's pretty remarkable
that Jean Beauvoir, the man with the mohawk,
still is kind of an underdog in the music industry.
Metal Covenant met up with this
lightsome fellow at Sweden Rock in June in order to sort his career out
a little bit and to find out what he's up to at the moment.
Tobbe: You've aged well, man.
Jean: Well, thank you, thank you. I try to keep
it together, you know.
Tobbe: So, let's get to it. I think many
people don't realize what great impact you actually had in music, like,
30 or 40 years ago, right?
Jean: God damn! I don't know, I don't know. [Laughs]
You know, I think I made some contributions. You know, I always wanted
to try to keep some independent careers, like as a producer, as a writer,
as an artist. It's just personal challenges and personal goals to see,
"Can you do that? Can you have 3 independent careers, that can
work together, but can also stand on their own?". And I'm a bit
of a workaholic, I have to say, so I end up just doing a lot of stuff
all the time.
don't know what it is and it's like I wonder sometimes, "When are
you gonna relax a little bit?". [Laughs] Even during the Covid,
I was writing a book [Bet My Soul On Rock 'N' Roll: Diary Of A Black
Punk Icon]. And then I wanna make a new album now. And I'm doing this,
and I'm doing that. I guess it's just the way I work. You know, just
to try to do as much as possible.
Tobbe: If we go back a long time ago, to
1985. The song Feel The Heat did some great stuff for you personally,
Jean: Yes, it did. That Stallone thing was really
helpful, because, you know, it wasn't that it was just a song on the
record or in the film, but he used it for his campaign. And it came
as a surprise, you know. We were finishing up the solo record and Feel
The Heat was gonna be the first single.
So he was in Burbank, at Warner Bros. Studios,
walks in and sees Mary Lambert, who actually, I think, did Pet Sematary.
She's a big director, and she was editing my video. He saw it and said,
"That's the song I want as a campaign for my film.". And a
lot of people don't realize it that at the time he had the biggest advertising
budget and the biggest release in, I think, 2300 theaters, of any film
in the history of film. He broke his own record of Rambo.
And Cobra really went on to last. It's a cult
movie now. So it was a big deal, because every theater played the song
for the commercials all the time. And it was everywhere, so it was very
helpful. It was. A good luck. It's what it was.
Tobbe: And also other stuff for Kiss and
for the Ramones. That also did some good, I guess.
Jean: Yes, yes. Those were busy times actually.
That's right, 'cause I had Kiss, Nona Hendryx, John Waite. There was
a few people, all at the same time, because I would just go from one
thing to the next.
Tobbe: About writing and producing music
for other artists. Haven't you ever felt that other guys get the attention
that you actually deserve?
Jean: Aaah. [Laughs] You know, sometimes. Sometimes
you feel that way. Even though when I went into it I never really looked
at it as a competition. I looked at it as an honor and also almost like
you get brought in to be a member of that band for a moment. So writing
with Kiss, or playing bass on Kiss records, or something else, to me
that was a great thing. I was a big Kiss fan when I was young. And I
felt, "Great that I can make that contribution.".
I never felt like, "Oh, I wish Uh! All Night was made for me.".
I know that is for Kiss. It's written for Kiss. And the same thing with
the Ramones. When they took me into the studio, you know, you tried
to be that 5th Ramone and trying to get the most out of them, and combine
your thing into them. But I don't look at it like it's me, even though,
you know, sometimes I played a lot of the instruments, and you sit around
and go, "Wait a minute! This is really me, with Joey singing.".
You know, and that makes me think sometimes.
But I don't look at it like, "Oh, I'm mad about it.". I just
kind of look at it like, "That's pretty wild!". You know,
it's good for me to know that you can accomplish this. And that's why
I wrote a book. I realized later that it was a good idea to put everything
in a book so that people can actually know later up. You know, before
I die, to be honest. You know, I have friends dying left and right.
I'm not lying. You know, that's crazy. And started sort of thinking,
"It's time to maybe let people know what you did, so that it lives
Tobbe: And are you still as active as you
were before with writing songs, and producing, and recording stuff for
other artists, or have you slowed down a little bit?
Jean: You know, no. To be honest with you, I
did slow down while doing the book. But I still ended up doing stuff.
In the past, let's say 5 years, I had 2 K-pop big hits, with Swedish
and Norwegian writers actually. I was signed to Universal publishing
in L.A. and a guy named Pelle Lidell, who was the head of Universal
publishing in Sweden, told me, "Come over here, and come do some
work.". He was a fan from back in the day. He says, "We're
doing a lot of this. And with different artists.". And I always
like adventure, so I came here and did that.
So, we have those, plus I have something with
Lordi, that Paul Stanley and I wrote. Like A Bee To The Honey was a
song that Paul and I wrote in 1989, and Lordi was doing a special record
where they were thinking, "What if we had a hit in '89?",
even though they didn't exist. And we were writing together.
We wrote 7 songs together in, like, 3 days. Not
fully written, but you know, the melodies, anything. And I told them
I have got this song. They listened, they said, "This is great!",
and they put it on the album. It was a single for them, which gave them
the highest charting album in Germany. Then it just got released on
the album [Humanimals] that has 7 albums at the same time [Lordiversity].
That's crazy. [Laughs]
got to say that guy is a hard worker. He doesn't stop, you know. So
that was one thing. And LustfingeR is a German band that asked me to
come in and do something. A collaboration for their 40th anniversary.
So we did a new version of My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down and we did
a great ballad together, as a German/ English duet, which is pretty
So that's going. And then I'm gonna start working
on a new album. And I'm in the middle of speaking to a company now about
doing a new video. So I would do a film to follow the book. And of course,
more records, and touring, and everything else. So, I still keep busy.
Tobbe: For the last 30 years you have kind
of jumped back and forth between your solo stuff and Crown Of Thorns.
Is it hard to make up your mind to what to put your effort in, like, in
a certain point in time?
Jean: Yes. To that point there is a little bit
of what you asked me before, "Do you feel that other people are
getting credit for your work?". The first Crown Of Thorns record
was for the most part a group effort, 'cause I had Tony Thompson, and
you know, Micki Free. And some other people, but really those two. But
I did the lion's share of the work on that record. [Laughs] Most of
the guitars, and all the vocals, you know. So it was a lot.
And then at the next records, a lot of times
I did everything. I played all the instruments. I did everything myself.
And then I started saying, "Well, this is not right.", because
I'm giving credit to something that
And people would say, "Get
the original guys!" or "Get this band together!", and
I'm like, "But it's just me in the studio.". [Laughs] So I
started feeling a little strange about that.
And that's when I decided that I was gonna stop
and put everything into my name again. Because that was the most successful
thing I had, to be honest, the solo record [Drums Along The Mohawk].
For some reason, I don't know if it's 'cause I wanted to hide behind
something a little bit, or to be in a project name instead. I'm not
sure if that was the reason or what, but I just said, "I think
that I'm short-changing myself here.". You know, 'cause people
would say, "Look at Jean Beauvoir. I don't see anything."
and then I see this and I see that.
I finally said, "Let me bring everything back under my umbrella
and try to do something that has a little bit of everything, that maybe
shows a little bit of the big picture.". Songs you wrote, a Kiss
song, or a Ramones song. I was pretty surprised actually that the Ramones
songs went as well over as they went here.
Tobbe: I loved them.
Jean: See. I wouldn't really have expected that.
I was like, you know, Pet Sematary, I was thinking, "Oh, I don't
know. Is that right?". Because the truth is nobody else is playing
it. The Ramones don't exist. Who's playing it? Shocker? Nobody plays
it. Kiss are not gonna play
So these songs have gone into the
abyss, so I might as well do them, you know what I mean? So I just started
thinking, as an idea, "Let me try to combine all of these things
and maybe it makes an interesting variety of a show.".
Tobbe: You also made that Beauvoir/Free
album in 2015, American Trash, and in what way do you look at that collaboration
Jean: Okay. I kind of got talked into that, you
know, by Micki. [Laughs] Because, you know, when I did the first Crown
Of Thorns record, Micki wasn't really
Micki is a talented guy,
but he hadn't this stuff going on. I wanted to have a partner, I wanted
to have somebody to share things with.
But, you know, people sometimes, when you give
things, then they take advantage of it and, you know, then they want
too much out of it. So he ended up getting fired out of Crown Of Thorns,
because he just got to be just too much. His ego and stuff. But then
when he kept bothering me, "Can I get back in the band? Can I get
in the band?", I said, "No, but we can do something else.
[Laughs] I don't want us to open that can
of worms. But okay, let's do something.".
to be honest with you, he wanted to get the money, he wanted the label.
So we did that record. I think there's some good stuff on it, you know.
But it further confuses people, probably. I think it confuses people,
"Why a Beauvoir / Free record? Who needs it?". [Laughs] But
you have to do things to learn, you know. And we had our shortcomings
that we didn't get along for.
Then we got back together and we started, you
know, hanging out again. And so we wanted to collaborate and work together,
and we wanted to find something we could do it with, and I didn't want
it to be the Crown Of Thorns 'cause at that point I had already gotten
Crown Of Thorns back, I owned it, I owned the trademark, and I didn't
wanna mix that up.
Tobbe: But haven't you ever missed being
in a band that could have lasted pretty much your whole career instead
of doing things on and off?
Jean: Yes. The thing is my solo career was the
most successful thing. That's what sold the millions of records, you
know. Crown of Thorns did not do that. Voodoo X did not do that. So
every time, like even when I went to do the Crown Of Thorns record,
I was signed originally by Interscope and a guy named Jimmy Iovine.
Jimmy Iovine is a legend in the music business. He didn't want me to
make a band record, instead he offered me a solo record. But I was feeling,
"Oh. Ah. But I want
", you know.
Tony Thompson was a black drummer, who was a
great drummer, and these guys had no outlet, even though he was off
with Led Zeppelin and things like that. But he had no outlet. So I'd
run into these guys all the time and they were almost like, "Jean.
Jean. Can we do something?". 'Cause they saw I was already in that
door, and they wanted to try to get involved.
I kind of got talked into
[Laughs] But I liked the idea at the
time. But I realized that it started hurting me, 'cause even with this
festival, I got a call from a guy, many years ago, who told me, "Jean.
I'm a big fan of Drums Along The Mohawk and I'd like you to play the
festival.". I said okay and we started having conversations. Then
I said, "You know, well, I have Crown Of Thorns now, and I'm thinking
of doing Crown Of Thorns.". As soon as I said that, I didn't get
the festival for 5 years. [Laughs] It's just they weren't interested.
And every time I did that, it would give me pushback.
I still like the concept of a band, but you can have that as a solo
artist. Ozzy has Randy Rhoads, he has Rudy Sarzo. You can have a wonderful
band. And I like sharing things with the band, 'cause it can be lonely
being a solo artist, if it's you, by yourself, sitting in a studio doing
everything all the time. But if you're doing that for the band
then it makes no sense. [Laughs] And then the band comes
in and says, "Oh yeah! We're a band!". So it's a balance.
But yes, I should have. If I look in retrospect,
I should've probably stuck to one band and continued. But maybe that
Crown Of Thorns music wouldn't have been the same, maybe the Voodoo
X album [Vol. 1 - The Awakening] wouldn't have been the same, just because
the feeling that you got from these different guys, who felt that they
had a certain part in it. So it's confusing. There's a lot of times
in the music business that you go back and say, "I should have
done that. I shouldn't have done that.". And you lose years, 'cause
mistakes cost you. [Laughs]
So, I think I'm gonna stick to the one thing.
And I don't want people to think that that's gonna change the fact
'Cause for example, I've got a few songs that I've written already for
a new record, and it could be Crown Of Thorns, it could be Voodoo X.
They're just really good rock songs, you know. So it's not just because
it's Jean Beauvoir it's gonna get
soft. [Laughs] You know, I like
rock music, I like melodies, so it's always a challenge of trying to
find something that's a balance. And it's just what comes. I don't like
to have a formula.
also: a review of
the gig the same day