CLASSLESS ACT – A COOL CONVERSATION WITH DEREK DAY
As I was driving home from taking care of some errands, I get a call from Selena. She’s the PR agent for the band Classless Act. It seems I’m a few minutes late for my interview with lead singer Derek Day. The group is currently on tour supporting Dorothy and time is of the essence. As soon as I reach home I scramble to set up my gear. Derek picks up immediately and instantly I can feel his unbridled enthusiasm and effervescent personality. I can tell this is going to be a good time and I wasn’t wrong. Derek had a smile on my face throughout our entire conversation.
Classless Act is a five piece juggernaut based out of L.A. Besides Derek, the band is composed of Dane Pieper (Guitar), Griffin Tucker (Guitar), Franco Gravante (Bass) and Chuck McKissock (Drums). Their sound is spectacular. They combine the raw energy and fun of straight out rock and roll with modern twists and turns. Their music is ageless with a fresh sonic flair.
Classless Act’s new single is a huge banger. “Time To Bleed” offers fiery guitar licks and audacious rhythms. It’s a heated barrage of spirited intensity. In addition, the song is aflame with cinematic fury. “This Is For You” is their supersized 2021 hit featuring Justin Hawkins from The Darkness. The track showcases aural explosions and riff driven guitars.The tempo is manic and the song exudes a state of edgy chaos. Day’s voice is extremely brazen with sonic ferocity. His devilish personna pops right off the record. And the encompaning video is just as crazed.
This band is just a total delight. As I mentioned before, the group is currently on tour with Dorothy and Joyous Wolf. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. This summer Classless Act finds itself on a stadium tour with the likes of Mõtley Crue, Def Leppard, Poison and Joan Jett. Not to shabby for such a young band.
Hopefully you’ll enjoy the following interview with Derek Day as much as I did.
AMP: Can you give the AMP readers a brief history of the band?
DEREK: Most of us met around 2018 on social media. We were all following and fans of each other. I followed our rhythm guitar player, Dane, for a while before we actually met. Dane reached out to me and wanted to know if I was interested in starting something new since his band’s lead singer was leaving. Our bass player, Franco, was touring with his Argentinian band when he got wind we were looking for a bassist.
We found Chuck at a punk show in the valley. He was so good that we had to have him. Finally, we needed a lead guitarist. We found this kid from Dallas on Tik Tok. Griffin is an amazing guitarist and singer. He flew out and we totally vibed. We all left projects so we could play together. It’s all due to our mutual infatuation with the idea of creating this raw rock and roll concept. It was a magical sign from outer space. And here we are!
AMP: Tell us about your new single and how you hooked up with Justin Hawkins?
DEREK: The new single is called “Time To Bleed” and our bassist/producer Franco wrote the music for it. The tune is something he had for a while and we are extremely proud of how it came out.
As for Justin, we had written with several different people in the past. With “This Is For You”, we just couldn’t get it right. The melodies were there but the lyrics needed work. Our manager once handled The Darkness, so he called Justin to give us some assistance. We reached out to him out of necessity and Justin came in with some amazing lyrics and ideas. Since he was in Switzerland, we had these amazing Zoom recording sessions. We collaborated on several songs but this is the only one that made on the record.
AMP: What is the band’s favorite activity to do on tour?
DEREK: That’s a good question! We’re still trying to figure that out. Some of us need to get some sleep and others like to run and swim. We all like to find a nice little restaurant to eat and shoot the shit. Eating is our supreme activity.[AMP] If you guys ever find yourselves anywhere near New Haven, CT., my wife and I would love to have you over for a hearty home cooked meal. [DEREK] Heck yeah! You’re on. We’d love that!
AMP: How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?
DEREK: A spark of rock and roll madness. It something that may feel familiar but we always surprise you with something new and exciting.
AMP: What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan made that made you cringe or disagree with?
DEREK: That’s another great question! Let me think. There have been many. I didn’t cringe but I couldn’t understand the comparison to Geddy Lee. I know I have a high voice and I should get it but I really don’t. The shame is I get that alot. Don’t get me wrong! I love Rush and Geddy Lee but I still don’t see it.
AMP: What’s the band’s chemistry like?
DEREK: It’s pretty great. Actually, it’s getting better. Even though we’ve known each other for awhile, I feel we’re just starting to discover each other as people. We’re just understanding what makes us tick and what ticks us off. The chemistry is always growing and getting deeper. On stage, it’s indescribable. In the van we are cool and having fun but on stage we become this crazy animal. It’s awesome!
AMP: How was it working with some of the top producers in the industry like Bob Rock?
DEREK: Incredible! Bob always has a million great stories since he’s worked with everyone. He is super humble even though he’s a genius. He would suggest a hooky idea and it would make the song. Then when you hear the final product, you definitely hear that Bob Rock vibe. It has that big hit sound. Working with the other producers like Joe Chiccarelli was also a thrill. Joe is a mastermind. He knows how to get that perfect sound you’re looking for, especially by musical era. If you want a 80s feel, Joe knows how to EQ it perfectly. Working with these gentlemen has been eye opening.
AMP: You are embarking on a huge stadium tour this summer. How did that happen and are you stoked?
DEREK: Nah, I’m really bummed about it! No, I’m totally excited! Since you mentioned Bob Rock, we recorded about seven songs with him. For our sessions, he flew in from Hawaii and used his buddy’s Tommy Lee’s home studio. Tommy would come down now and then and play air drums to our songs. How cool is that! Occasionally he would say “that is sick, dude”. We were totally starstruck by it all. But we got on his radar. Our manager reached out to Mötley Crue’s people and played them our songs and videos. They thought it would be a good fit and threw us on the tour..
AMP: What’s the one thing you want your fans to take away from your music?
DEREK: A feeling of cathartic relief. If you are having a bad day or a rough time, we want to offer you some escape. Everyone, including me, uses music as a release. On a long travel day I use music to bring peace and balance back into my life. That’s what I want our fans to feel. We want to take them away from the world’s troubles. At least for a little while.
By: RALPH BEAUCHAMP