FIB MUSIC: July Alley was on the Columbia payroll for a long time before you went in and recorded the album. What was that time like for you?
Dereak: It was great they would fly in and take us to dinner
then to our favorite watering hole and open the company tab.
FIB MUSIC: How long does it take to record the album for Columbia?
The basic drum and bass tracks were pretty quick, and then we spent a lot of time on guitar sounds and vocals harmonies. I have always been big on that. It was great because Porno for Pyro was recording in the same studio on our days off. We were able to hang out with Perry Ferrell and Stephen Perkins.
Stephen actually played percussion on one of our songs as well as loan Jeff some drums for the recordings.
FIB MUSIC: Any cool, sucked, brilliant moments stand out from the recording sessions?
Dereak: Being in Hollywood with my band was the best memory. It was really a magical time in all of our lives the whole world was at our feet and we were getting paid to do the thing we loved most. Not many people can
say that, but smoking out with Perry Ferrell and Stephen Perkins was right there too.
Rob Gunderson in the studio
FIB MUSIC: Where did you guys record it? What was the budget for the record?
Dereak: Crystal Studios in Hollywood, CA.Vine/Santa Monica/about $200,000.00
FIB MUSIC: Describe a typical day in the life for the band
during this time in LA. From the time you woke up to the time you went to sleep.
Dereak: We had 2 apartments, John and me shared one and Rob and Jeff had the other. Depending on our recording schedule we would roll into the studio either in the morning or after dark and lock ourselves in. Then after we were through we would drive up to the Hollywood Hills listening to the Doors and other great bands, then we would go back to our apartments
and make prank phone calls to hookers and Celebes. You know typical band stuff!
FIB MUSIC: why did you guys decide to work with Matt Hyde?
Did you think of using any other producers?
Dereak: We decided to work with Matt because we liked his work he had done with
Porno For Pyro's. Yeah we had our pick of some top notch producers like Dave Jerden (Janes Addiction),
Matt Wallace (Faith No More), Brendon O'Brian ( Pearl Jam), and Rick Rubin (Chili Peppers).
FIB MUSIC: What was it like working with Matt?
Dereak: Matt was a cool cat; he really liked working on guitar tones and layering different sounds.
FIB MUSIC: Didn't you guys hang out with labelmates, Alice in Chains? Would you be so kind to share the story?
Dereak: Yeah, here in Hollywood at the Rainbow Room with Alice and a couple of guys from Circus of Power and before our A/R guy showed up we had all ordered steak and
lobster and literally had the table covered with beer bottles, the rest of the night got pretty insane.
FIB MUSIC: Didn't July Alley do several tour dates on the East Coast? Any highlights from that tour?
Dereak: Yeah we played Chicago and Rockford and some other places I can't remember. We got pulled over and got arrested for having weed on us in St. Louis. Something about being face down on the highway at 8:00 in the morning during rush hour traffic really wakes you up.
FIB MUSIC: Where did you get your tour van? Whatever happened to it?
Dereak: Tony Merceir (Dancin' with Mansun) two
of our roadies got it towed when it broke down on 75 central. I don't know.
FIB MUSIC: Why did the band change its name from July Alley to Flak Jacket?
Dereak: We needed a change to fit our new style, something harder. A name that could reflect bullets.
FIB MUSIC: Why did Columbia decide not to release the recording? Do you remember the day you found out?
Dereak: There was a lot to it. Before we signed, our A/R guy told us he was leaving the label because of his boss. He offered to take us with him, but we stayed with Columbia.
His boss decided not to release any of his projects and the guy ended up getting fired. KARMA!!
FIB MUSIC: What was that like for you to work that long on something, finally get signed, record and then get dropped
from the label? What were you feeling at the time? How do you feel about it now?
Dereak: I felt like shit then and now that you bring it up I feel like shit again, thanks man.
FIB MUSIC: How much did Columbia say you could pay for the rights to the master tapes?
Dereak: They never really offered to let us. Bastards!
FIB MUSIC: Why does the band break up?
Dereak: Hard to say, maybe we all felt a little lost and frustrated, or maybe a lot lost.
FIB MUSIC: Looking back, do you wish the band would have stayed together, or do you feel it had run its course?
Dereak: I would have loved for us all to stay together, but we all had to find ourselves.
FIB MUSIC: Please share a good or cherished Rob story. Feel free to share more than one.
Dereak: There are too many and some I would like to keep to myself, but Rob and I would skip everyday in 12th grade and go eat lunch and talk about someday becoming "rock stars".
It would take a big book to list half of the great times we shared. Rob touched a lot of people's lives in a huge way.
FIB MUSIC: What is John DeLuca doing now?
Dereak: Living in Raleigh North Carolina
FIB MUSIC: What have you been doing all these years? It looked like you released a solo cd. Anything else?
Dereak: I just raised my kids and kept on writing songs while they were asleep. It was
not actually a solo album I had written a couple of songs and John and I got together on a few also.
FIB MUSIC: Who plays on it? When did you record it and is it available for sale?
Dereak: John, Jeff, Rob and a friend of mine who
played sax. Some were recorded in the late 90's and some a few years later.
FIB MUSIC: Will you guys ever release the July Alley recordings?
Dereak: Yes, we are working on it right now; we hope we have it available for purchase on the Internet.
FIB MUSIC: Dereak Messer is transported back to the year 1987
and has been instructed to do two things differently. What would they be and why?
Dereak: Not to wear champs or fringe! Haven't you seen the pics, pretty funny!
FIB MUSIC: Any plans for the future?
Dereak: Our plans are to get our music out now. Although our new stuff will always be a
little different without Rob. YOU WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED BROTHER!
THE FAST 5
FIB MUSIC: What is your most disgusting habit?
Dereak: Watching midget porn
FIB MUSIC: What is the most feminine thing you do?
Dereak: Wearing women's underwear under my dress
FIB MUSIC: If there is a God, what is the first question you would ask God when you arrive?
Dereak: You mean I made it? Where's Rob? I have a bag of crawfish to share!!
FIB MUSIC: Greatest Rock band of all time?
Dereak: I would have to say the Doors, but we all know it's K-FED, he banged Britney Spears
FIB MUSIC: What were you doing 40 minutes before you sat down to do this interview?
The Basement Dayz Revisited
A tribute to Rob Gunderson
The Benefit Concert for Rob Gunderson's wife and kids will takes place at the Lakewood Theatre on December 2, 2006. Broken Teeth, featuring
Jason MacMaster (Dangerous Toys) and members of Pariah, are playing the event, along with Lowside, featuring members of Lillian Axe. A reunion show
for Dallas bands Spiders, Sanxion and the remaining members of July Alley / Flak Jacket. Plus "A VERY SPECIAL SURPRISE GUEST APPEARANCE". A
minimum donation of $10.00 gets you in the door, but
if you can afford it, please throw it down. Unwrapped Toys / Toy Gift Cards are also welcomed.
Rob Gunderson passed away on October 18, 2006. He leaves behind his wife Robyn and three young children, Laura, Ally, Jude, as well as, more
family, friends and those who came across Rob's path. The legacy that Rob leaves behind in my mind?
One of the nicest guys I've ever known.......Those Iowa cats were the coolest.
Donations to the family trust fund can be sent to:
The Gunderson Family Fund (Laura, Ally, and Jude)
C/O Wasington Mutual
1305 S. Hwy 121 Ste A110
Lewisville, Texas 75067
The Lakewood Theatre is located at:
1825 Abrams Parkway
Dallas, Tx 75214
1969 - 2006