A week prior to the June 24 release of their debut album, titled Welcome To The Show, Classless Act embarked upon The Stadium Tour alongside Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, Poison, and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. Truly a dream come true for any band. “Oh my gosh! It’s just been incredible, unbelievable,” says Classless Act vocalist Derek Day.
The size of these stages Classless Act steps out on night after night is remarkable; very few bands get to play stadiums. Clubs absolutely, arenas maybe. Not a lot of rock musicians get to perform at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Wrigley Field in Chicago, Fenway Park in Boston, Rogers Centre in Toronto, BC Place in Vancouver, and Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, to name but a few; these venues are enormous!
“It’s just so euphoric,” states Derek. “The stage itself is just a big, big playground. A lot of space, a lot of real estate to really experiment and have fun, and just focus on the music and performance. We’re having a great time, and we have to thank Mötley Crüe and their management, and Def Leppard and Poison and Joan Jett – they’ve all been so lovely to us and treated us so kindly. They gave us a chance. Like you said, not everyone gets to do this; especially before their album drops. It’s just mind-blowing! And we’re so happy to try to help rock ‘n’ roll be a thing.”
Doors on The Stadium Tour usually open at 3pm, and Classless Act hit the stage at 3:30pm, making the absolute most of their 20-minute set. “Yeah, sometimes they’ll push it ‘til 3:45pm, but that’s pretty much the gist of it. Definitely, for everyone to get there at 3:30pm would be the smart move, yes, please,” implores Derek. As far as their brief allotment of time goes, “You know, it’s a freaking metaphor for life! Life is short enough, and 20 minutes can feel like a whole lifetime in a way. It’s not about how long, it’s about the quality. We’re really just giving our all and trying to represent ourselves the best we can. It’s a big one-hitter, quit ‘er. I think it works great with this lineup because with all the other bands, it’s a long, long show. Every band has at least an hour of music. So, we don’t want to tire your ears out, we just want to warm you up. We want to make you feel good and show you some new music. We’re just trying to have a good time, and soon enough, we’ll be doing our own headlining things.”
Stylistically, Classless Act is Los Angeles meets Boston meets Great Britain. That translates to Guns N’ Roses, Mötley Crüe, and Aerosmith meets Queen and David Bowie. Taking it back to the beginning, it was 2016 when Classless Act first got together, and Slash’s son London Hudson was on drums. “This is correct,” confirms Derek. “He’s a bad-ass drummer, he’s got a lot of charisma! We were writing stuff, and we were ready to sign with Better Noise Music, but I think everyone had different vibes on where the music should go. Also, schedules in LA are very hectic, and London was still in school. It just didn’t work with the plan of constant recording, videos, and touring. London and another member wanted to start a new band in a whole new style, which is totally dope. It was a very amicable split, like, alright cool; you do that, we’ll do this. Hope everything goes well.”
Fast forward to 2019, and the current lineup of Classless Act met online via TikTok and Instagram. “Yeah, that’s right. We even played a couple of shows with other members in 2018. But it was a very different band with a different style. When we found (guitarist) Griffin Tucker through TikTok, it was the perfect fit. That’s, I feel, when it became a real band. That was actually 2021. We considered it to be a real thing a little bit later on because we were still finding our feet. It was a painstaking process, there was a lot of moving around.”
Regarding the origin of the band name, Classless Act, Derek reveals that “One of the members saw it in a magazine, talking about a political figure at the time, and we thought it sounded cool. When I joined the band, I wrote some lyrics for the song, and the band took shape with it, some melodies… it gave it more of a meaning. The lyric is, ‘Welcome to the show.’ Welcome to our band – experience this, but also be a part of it. Be a classless act with us. We like to have fun. We like to take things lightly. Nobody’s perfect, we’re just trying to rock ‘n roll.”
There’s also a song called “Classless Act”. Not many bands write a song that shares its title with their name. Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath come to mind, but apart from that… “It was very free-flow, natural. It wasn’t like we have to write a song with our name; it just happened. We had a piece of music that felt like it was the band – let’s write some melody and lyrics. We didn’t think too much on it.”
And none other than Vince Neil from Mötley Crüe makes a guest vocal appearance on “Classless Act”; talk about a huge attention getter! Derek relays how that came to be. “Well, first we had to get on The Stadium Tour. Then it happened through a long process of management with a lot of moving parts. We recorded a lot of the album at Tommy Lee’s studio (in Calabasas, California), because Bob Rock produced some of it, and he mentioned that we should do it there. That got us in the Mötley Crüe universe, in the ether. And it helped. So, once we were on the Crüe tour, we realized that our namesake song had that Crüe vibe, that Vince Neil swagger. We thought it would be something he would sing back in the day, and nowadays. We reached out to Vince and said, ‘It would help us tremendously, obviously, if you sang on this. But it would also help the song to be awesome.’ And he sang on it! He found a day where he could do it, and he did it in a few takes, sent it over, and that was that. He killed it on the track. We’re super honored to have him! He was very kind. We had to do it remotely cause we were on tour and he was rehearsing, he just knocked it out and it was really cool.”
Following “Classless Act” is “This Is For You” featuring Justin Hawkins of The Darkness; another big selling point. However, Justin is only playing guitar on the song, he’s not singing. “Yeah, that is correct. We really, really appreciate his musicianship and his songwriting. We’ve written songs with him, and the song he plays guitar on, is something we didn’t write with him, but we really admire his musicianship. So, we just begged him, please play on this track. And he said, ‘Of course!’ It was a nice gesture.”
In addition to Bob Rock, who is a very well-known producer, having worked with Metallica, Mötley Crüe, and The Cult, to name but a few, there’s some other big names helping behind the scenes on the debut album from Classless Act. Namely, former Buckcherry guitarist Keith Nelson, and Joe Chiccarelli who’s helmed music from The White Stripes and The Strokes. The result is tremendous but taking directions from different producers could have been problematic. “And don’t forget, right before the album, we did pre-production with Michael Beinhorn – he’s done Marilyn Manson, Hole, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden. Michael helped us get a real good groove going as a band. But he couldn’t produce the record due to scheduling conflicts. When we worked with Bob, he helped us with hooks, and taught us to put the right pieces in the right places. Whereas Chiccarelli helped us open up fresh, new ideas. Somehow it became cohesive, but at the same time it gives the album a little something for everybody. We really wanted to make an impact with this first album.”
An absolute standout song on Welcome To The Show is “Time To Bleed”, it has such a Slash feel to it. “This is a song that we wrote over and over again; we couldn’t necessarily get it quite right,” recalls Derek. “This is how we met Justin Hawkins (from The Darkness). Our management realized we were struggling with this song, and they suggested we reach out to Justin; he could be the secret little thing. We recorded it a few times, we have different versions of this song. And this was a track that Keith Nelson produced. The title can lead you astray, ‘Time To Bleed’ sounds quite metal, but really, we don’t have time to bleed when the world is falling apart. It’s a song of hope and strength.”
The final track, “Thoughts From A Dying Man”, is such an elaborate way to end the album. There’s so much going on in that song. “I’m so happy that’s the closer of the album,” admits Derek. “I think it brings everything together. That’s a song by Franco Gravante, our bassist. He plays piano, guitar, and percussion; he wrote that song top to bottom. I was just the interpreter. There was also other versions of that song too, where the drums came in earlier, and we had different lyrics. It’s like a commentary on Franco’s life and his journey, leaving Argentina and travelling to America, leaving the ones he loved behind. It’s a very big, big tune. I respect the heck out of it. I love it. Every album should have one of those.”
In closing, Derek asks, “Please follow us on Spotify, we really appreciate it. It helps rock ‘n roll get out there. It helps our music get out there. It also helps other unheard rock bands get out there. We’re Classless Act, expect more of us.”