It’s All in the Name
Derek Day says Classless Act thrives on energy
Classless Act frontman Derek Day bounces with energy first thing in the morning.
He’s feeling great and strives to always have fun, whether it’s on or off the stage. Day said he’s here to make people happy.
“We like to have fun,” said the Eagle Rock resident, calling from snowy Syracuse, New York. “That’s pretty much all we do.”
Fans can get a taste of it themselves when Classless Act plays the Knitting Factory North Hollywood on Friday, Dec. 30.
“It’s rock ‘n’ roll,” he said. “You’ll hear a little bit of something fresh going on. If you hate every single song on our album, you might like a 2-second piece of music. That’s what I tell people: we have two seconds for everyone. When you see the live show, you’ll get it. The vibe is always great on stage.”
Day honed his skills busking on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. He admitted it was a little daunting at first, but when he loosened up, he found his calling.
“The first year or so was really tricky,” he said. “But it was something I was looking at since I was a kid. I would go visit there. At 13, I already had so many ideas. It was hard to break out of my shell, but that’s how I learned to break out of my shell.”
Influenced by Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Guns N’ Roses and Bowie, the LA-based five-piece Classless Act brings a fresh, young take on a golden age of music.
“I have a little disco in my blood, too,” Day said. “My mom bumped disco in our living room. That got me into my true passion, which is melodies and what makes a song really groove and sing.”
They’ve been applauded by the likes of Jane’s Addiction and only released their debut single, “Give It to Me,” in 2021.
“It’s humbling,” Day said about the compliments. “You just want to make these guys proud. We’ve had the chance to work with some of these people like (Metallica producer) Bob Rock and (The Darkness singer/guitarist) Justin Hawkins, who’s a real clever dude; very artistic and awesome. At the end of the day, you can only speak with your work.”
Classless Act’s debut, “Welcome to the Show,” quickly racked up 2 million streams, which led them to The Stadium Tour with Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Joan Jett and Poison. Motley Crue’s Vince Neil appears on Classless Act’s album.
While the music tells its own story, so do the members of the band, hailing from around the globe. The band — which also features guitarists Dane Pieper and Griffin Tucker, bassist Franco Gravante and drummer Chuck McKissock — formed in 2018 when they met through friends via social media.
They quickly bonded over anthemic rhythms, shreddy guitars, soaring vocals and clever arrangements. For Day, writing lyrics wasn’t the easiest thing at first.
“Lyrics are daunting,” he said with a laugh. “It has to sound good. It has to have voice. It has to sound fresh. You don’t want to write about what other people are writing. Now, I really love lyrics. Once you start journaling for yourself, it’s not bad.”
Before joining Classless Act, Day recorded a few EPs and one full length by his first year of community college. After releasing his first solo-experimental EP in the summer of 2016, he opened for Steve Vai’s 25th anniversary tour of the “Passion and Warfare” album.
From there, he hit up NAMM and then opening slots for Ted Nugent for his “Rockin’ America Again” jaunt. His resume also includes stints with Living Colour’s Vernon Reid and Corey Glover for the Chuck Berry tribute at the Lincoln Center. The Fender-endorsed musician joined Living Colour on its “Shade in the USA” tour, and Steel Panther in Fort Lauderdale.
In 2018, he and Reid collaborated on music and that March, Classless Act asked him to join. Their sixth show as a band was a gig opening for Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators at the Palladium.
Classless Act is filled with young veterans if the two words can be used together. Day said he’s been in the business for 15 years and everyone has released records.
“We’re all in love with each other. We’re all brothers,” he said. “It’s crazy to say our first album dropped this year. It’s like, ‘Whoa. This is crazy.’ This weird social media thing has been intertwined with beautiful synchronicity and good timing. We went through different members. They had two other singers before me. Once we got this right combination, it was like the Power Rangers.”
When he’s home in Eagle Rock, he writes music and works around town as a session artist. He loves his German shepherd, Stella, to death, even though she’s the “clumsiest thing ever.”
He’s looking forward to his hometown show.
“It’s just the most electrifying kick ass; you can’t take your eyes off it a spectacle,” he said with a laugh. “We love to have so much fun on stage. I learned how to move around the streets by busking. I love having a good old time. We’re a little funny, a little jokey, a little classless — it’s all in the name.”