TKO / War Babies vocalist
Brad Sinsel

FIB MUSIC:  What happened to David Krebs (Aerosmith Manager, Heart)? Does he have the clout that he once had?

influence Brad:  He definitely doesn't have the clout he once had. When it was Leber-Krebs, they were an amazing team. But what made them amazing was the two of them. When it just became know, Steve Leber went into Broadway shows......Krebs never recovered from that. But at this point, Krebs still has money coming in from Aerosmith and their he doesn't really have to work.

FIB MUSIC:   Krebs owns part of Aerosmith's publishing?

Brad:  Yep.

FIB MUSIC:  That's some deal they must have signed.

Brad:  Well, I'm not sure about the details of it, but we all know that Aerosmith had some tragic times......I mean, it's pretty well covered in their book. One of the first things you do when you are hungry, is sell things off....They didn't lose their money.....They're still making their money, it just that Krebs gets a portion.

FIB MUSIC:  So, any cool stories come to mind from the "Let it Roll" Tour? Any cool Cheap Trick stories?

Brad:   That requires beer. (laughs) We got along really, really well with the guys from Cheap Trick....they were a lot of fun. That was a good band in my book and it was a little bit of relief from opening for the Kinks. In fact, one of my favorite things from that warm-up tour with the Kinks was...we used to play four night running in these upper New England...all these guys with round glasses and beards and dirty sweaters...and they are stroking their beards and shaking their heads, while everyone else is booing. So, by night four, we just couldn't take it....I think we were half-plastered when we went they start booing and finally I just couldn't take it anymore and just waved everyone off and said fuck it, I'm out of hear. Then all of a sudden I hear this huge "SUCK MY COCK" and it's coming from my mic, which is still full throttle. So, that became sort of the mantra for the rest of the tour. Somewhere out there it's on tape. I have to track Evan down...I think he may have a copy of it.

We were also out on tour with Heart. They were so female-driven....their dressing room had the fine wines and herbal tea and we just had BEER....fifty gallons of beer......Booze everywhere. Because the girls ran the show, the guys weren't allowed to pick up on the girls. So it was a Roman freakin' holiday.

FIB MUSIC:  They wouldn't allow you to pick up on the girls.

Brad:  Ann and Nancy didn't think it was kosher that they were taking advantage of their was kind of a women's lib kind of thing. Which left the field for us.

FIB MUSIC:  Oh, so you guys were allowed to pick up girls, but the other members of Heart weren't.

Brad:  Right. They weren't allowed to partake.
FIB MUSIC:   I thought you were saying she was cutting you guys off as well.

Brad:  No, no, no. But they were pretty much horrified. I think Nancy Wilson had a little more humor and I think she got the band...but I don't think Ann did. She came in the room once, to tell us good show....and she said, "if I come in is everybody going to spit on me?"

But probably the greatest thing, like I said before, when we finally got everyone from Yakima on board and we all flew to Japan. That was really great. It was three days of festivals. The Japan was a weird deal....I think there was Heart, followed by the Beach Boys, and then some band called Fire Fall, kind of a hippie-based band, then us and then a japanese band called the Southern All-Stars, which was really bizarre sounding because one second they would sound like the Beach Boys, then the next verse they would sound like Ozzy, then they would sound like was bizarre. But we were pretty much a balls to the wall rock band. We didn't really belong on the bill, but we were definitely the ugly Americans on that leg of the tour.

FIB MUSIC:  Which one was the guitarist that said he was gay and then quit?

Brad:  (LAUGHS) Ummm. That would be Tony Bortko.

FIB MUSIC:  And he quit because he was gay?

Brad:  No. These things get out in the press.....

FIB MUSIC:   No, it's something Adam Bomb said in his interview with us.....I was trying to find what he said exactly, but I couldn't.

Brad:   Yeah.........I mean (sigh), it's pretty much anyone that has worked with Adam, he has to do what he can to end their career, so his can continue, if that makes any sense. Which is really an ugly way to go through life. Tony was a brilliant player. Ask anyone....ask Mike McCready (Pearl Jam, Mother Love Bone), who his biggest influence was and he will gladly tell you it was Tony Bortko.

FIB MUSIC:  Didn't he also helped write "Give into the Night"?

Brad:  Yeah. The guy was a..........he, Rick Pierce and I penned everything on "Let it Roll". But the guy was want to work on a song and you could sit down with him and have songs written in no time at all. But he was a bizarre guy.

FIB MUSIC:  Why did he leave?

Brad:  Ummm. He and Adam weren't getting along. There was a lot of tension. Adam did what Tony, Rick and I did when we infiltrated Mojo Hand. He infiltrated TKO, brought Gary in and did his best to push Bill Durham (drummer) and Tony out. By that time, Tony was just frustrated and wanted to move on.

FIB MUSIC:  And Adam's like a little kid, at this point, right? Isn't he like seventeen?

Brad:  Oh Yeah. I knew I was in trouble when we were recording "In Your Face" and one morning, we're all staying in this house on the beach in Hawaii and I come out, the first one up and I look on the table and there's a box of Lucky Charms and Count Chocula.....and I'm like....yeah, it just doesn't look right. The few dates that I did with Adam, it was always the big joke when they would ask, what will you have to drink and I would say, I'll have a beer and they would ask Adam and I would say, he'll have a pedialyte. (laughs)

FIB MUSIC:  Any cool moments stand out from the "In Your Face" recording sessions?

Brad:   UMMMMMM. One of the funniest things that happened over there. This is when Sea West studios was on Oahu and we were out on the north end, you know it's rural. They just don't like white guys out got no business being out there. But somebody had talked us into playing a show. They were going to have this kind of miniature Woodstock. I'm like, sure let's do it.....this is like early '81. We get there and there's like ten bands on the bill and they are like all laid-back-pot-smoking-Samoan's.....and playing laid-back-pot-smoking-Samoan music. And we were the only band with like Marshall's and a lot the band's were playing like ukulele shit. We get in this theatre and there is dirt on the floor and there's chickens out behind it....the whole theatre is just filled with ganja and these people are just waxed. So, we hit the first note and their jaws dropped and they never moved until the first song was over and then they emptied the building. (laughs)

FIB MUSIC:  So Rick Keefer ("In Your Face" Producer) was based out of Hawaii and that's why everyone recorded there?

Brad:  I met Rick in '76 and he had a studio in Seattle at the time. I had worked on a couple of projects with him and later ran into him when TKO did "Let it Roll" at his studio in Seattle and that year he did the Heart album. With the proceeds from the Heart record, he packed up and moved to Hawaii....moved the whole studio from Seattle to Hawaii and hasn't been back since.

FIB MUSIC:   Ok, that makes sense. I was wondering why everyone was going to Hawaii to record. Even Adam cut his records over there, right?

Brad:  Yeah. Well, pretty much we had cut a production deal with Rick, so it was his out of pocket..... we kept a good chunk of publishing to fund the thing and get it out there. Of course, we didn't see much out of that. (laughs) But the important thing was to get that music out there, at the time, because that's the hazard of being young and doing business.

FIB MUSIC:  Did TKO ever cut any music videos?

Brad:  There's one really bad one from the "Below the Belt" days. But I haven't seen that in a long and I'm not sure if I want to see that. (laughs) But the first video I did for MTV was with War Babies, but we just kind of got bulled over by a pseudo-english female producer.....and I just wanted to get it out there. All of our ideas got watered down, because they were deemed as too look at them. I think, the first video was for "Hang Me Up" and it had a lot of televisions in the background and we had a lot of old public domain footage, which included an old Junkers Ju 88 German aircraft and they were concerned about that and there was also some footage from some old Nazi propaganda thing.....they were so up-tight about everything. You look at them now and it just pales in comparison. After the first one, I said ok, we'll never do that again. So we tightened in the reigns for a song called "Blue Tomorrow", which was a song written about Andrew Wood (Mother Love Bone, Malfunkshun). We were managed by the same management. We were managed by Kelly Curtis, who was a long time friend. I had met Kelly when he was working with Heart, back in the 70's. But he was managing Mother Love Bone and co-managing Alice in Chains and managing War Babies. Then Andy died and he kind of put all his energy into Pearl Jam, which certainly paid off for him.

FIB MUSIC:  Yes, it did. So, you were friends with Andrew Wood?

Brad:   Yeah. It was one of those weird things where he was a fan as a kid. My last conversation with him, he had just got out of rehab and he was asking me about tour buses. He just didn't care about anything, as long as he got a tour bus. I was like, I gotta be honest with you, I used to feel the same way, but after a couple of weeks....(laughs) won't feel the same way....end up with B-O and somebody's stinky shoes...., but he never got his tour was really tragic....that guy was just loaded with talent.

FIB MUSIC:  Beyond TALENTED...I agree. You'll have to read our interview with Kevin Wood. I loved Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Nirvana....I never really liked Pearl Jam, but Mother Love Bone was something special.

Brad:   Yeah. It really was.

FIB MUSIC:   Anything stand out from the day you signed your record deal with COMBAT? Why did you choose that label?

Brad:  Rick Keefer got that deal and you know, I've had better deals. (laughs) But I learned something about working with labels at that point. Because, I had come into the business on the gravy train, where they would develop a band, or artist. In hindsight, I can see what I was doing. I kind of masterminded this thing, because there is, at some point in time, a point where they're going to pull the plug. My thought was, let's just stretch this thing out. So, my conversations with the label president went something like this, "We're not quite ready yet, send more money" (laughs) was like a record label welfare thing. I managed to make a living, by requesting more money and to his credit, he kept sending money. But after we left the label, he changed his policy to "Nobody gets money". I talked to somebody that was on the that label and they said, "I don't know what you did, but all I said was, "We need some money.....and he (COMBAT Prez) stopped me and told me this long story about how much money he spent on TKO". (laughs)

FIB MUSIC:  It's a bit funny, because COMBAT was more of a thrash label.

Brad:   Yeah.....Yeah. I think he had high hopes. So he took a shot, you know?

FIB MUSIC:  No videos in the Combat budget, right?

Brad:   Yeah. They talked about doing one and then he started giving me some of my own medicine.... "Well, we're not ready yet." But for a small label they did a good job of promoting the band.

FIB MUSIC:   What was the biggest difference between your time on a major label and an independent one?

Brad:  Well, it depends on what era you're talking about. Like "Let it Roll" was in the Gravy Train Period, where there was just gobs of money thrown at you. Huge tours. Huge recording budgets. There was an industry crash in '80, which just kind of devastated everything and they kind of retooled their thinking on, just how much money they should be giving these bands. I did have a really good hands-on relationship with COMBAT. Although it was a small label, the distribution was Important Records, which Barry Coburn also owned; it was in the same facility. COMBAT was just a stamp for Important Records Distribution, so he did have some money to spend and to his credit he know, son is just launching his music career and I'm trying to explain to him how the industry has changed, since his dad was in it.

FIB MUSIC:  How old is your son now?

Brad:   He's eighteen.

FIB MUSIC:  Is he a vocalist?

Brad:  Yeah, he sings and he's actually a guitar player.....he's a guitar player, but he's totally in the punk thing. What I like about it is that I spent my years being influenced by Iggy Pop. It's a good place to get your #$###$, but I urge him not to dwell there forever.

FIB MUSIC:  Do you want to plug his band, or would he kill you?

Brad:  I would probably be the kiss of death. (laughs) I just actually took a bunch of cameras into a local teen club and video taped their first was painful...... it was painful (laughs) What I like about it is he just LOVES the music and you can see that passion. I had to struggle with him, with the whole Anarchy issue, all these geopolitical kind of statements.....Ok, so let me get this right, if Anarchy is the way,.....well let's say somebody likes your guitar and they just take it, is that ok? He's like nooo. (laughs) So we spend a lot of time arguing about political stuff. The older I get, the more conservative I get.

FIB MUSIC:   In our interviews with Scott Earl and Adam Bomb, they both stated that no one could get you to come out to LA. But eventually, you decided to make the move. Why did it take so long? How long did you stay?

Brad:  I stayed a little over a year. And what I found, at that time, was it was a dumping ground for a bunch of wannabe's. No real talent that I could see. I couldn't find anything that was working for me. I was in a creative desert state, where nothing was really clicking for me. I had a newborn son, which I don't think Scott could relate to.....but I guess it doesn't have anything to do with him...I don't know. (laughs)..... There were factors, you know, I was more of the mindset that.....if I'm going to move from Seattle to LA, let's start organizing. Scott was down there and he had all his........nothing was really I get to LA and Scott is all into the GLAM scene, which is something I had done during the New York Dolls era, with the Whiz Kids and I didn't want to take steps backwards into that land. I had kind of developed into this kind of mainstream bluesy, rock thing. It was great for him, because he hadn't done that before, but I just didn't want to take steps backward. What was funny, I finally packed up and drove out of LA and got approached by Richard Stuverud, he says, "just come and listen to my band" and I listened to his band and they were ok. Then he says, "why don't you do some gig's with us" and I went, you know, I feel like retiring anyhow, but I could have a bar band that I played with on weekends. Maybe play the Central. But I'm already easing into retirement here and next thing I know, we get a record deal and it's War Babies and there I am out on the road again and I'm like "Fuck, how did that happen?"

FIB MUSIC:  No Kidding, right when you leave LA?

Brad:  Yeah. It happened within six weeks after I left LA.....So I went to LA to find a record deal, which was waiting for me the whole time in Seattle......And I had talked to a lot of the record weasels and they were actually saying how much they hated when they got the call to take a look at one of the LA bands, because usually its just shit. My favorite thing is you'd walk down Sunset Strip and there would be all these guys dolled up like Madonna, with "HERE." (laughs) That and seeing those poor bastards with the soft shell guitar cases, hoofing it down Sunset on their way to Guitar learn how to be a rock star..........that's a great scam. Only to bested by the BIT, the Bass Institute. (laughs)

FIB MUSIC:  Anything stand out from the "Below the Belt" recording sessions?

Brad:  Heavy drinking.....a lot of partying....a lot of fun.

FIB MUSIC:  Did you tour for that record?

Brad:  UUUUMMMM. No. What caused that to be recorded is, we were in Detroit supporting "In Your Face" when I got word, right before we went on to do a simulcast, that no salaries were coming. It was Barry's idea to get us out on the road and then we would live off our earnings from touring, he just hadn't bothered to tell us that. We basically were stranded. So, I did the right thing and didn't tell the band until the show was over. We all got very, very drunk and I called Rick Keefer and he says let's do this as soon as you get home, I'll book the flights and let's start recording the next album. Because COMBAT has to advance the money for a new record. We ended up going to Hawaii and recording that "Below the Belt". The guys, Scott, Kjartan and Ken Mary were really happy.

FIB MUSIC:  Ken Mary recorded the drum tracks on "Below the Belt"? He just left before the release?

Brad:  Yeah. There was just too much downtime between the end of recording and the release. But the three of them having to had toured on "In Your Face" in support of everyone else's work, they were really eager to do the recording and show their own stuff. So, everyone was excited to record that record.

FIB MUSIC:  And COMBAT started making payments again, or did you guys just take from the budget?

Brad:  Oh, we got some money, but not a whole lot. But it eventually killed the whole band and that's when the big move to Los Angeles happened.

FIB MUSIC:  That's when Scott moves to LA, right? Then he forms the band Bang Gang?

Brad:  Yeah. (laughs)

FIB MUSIC:  Was Scott in Bang Gang before "Below the Belt" came out?

Brad:  You know that's a good question. I can't remember when that came out..........that's a good question and I'm too old to know the fucking answer; how's that for you? (laughs) I think it came out, but no touring came from it. He may have left to go down and get stuff started at that point.

FIB MUSIC:  Well it sounded like Scott was waiting for you to come down.

Brad:  You know, he's always saying that, but what was I coming down to. And he was in a different place in his career. I had done some major things and being the ego star I am, couldn't see myself on Sunset Blvd, handing out flyers, begging people to come see my show. LA can be an ugly environment. Great place to visit, but I hated living there. Great place to record, do business, but I hated it. Other people love it, I just have always been a small town guy I guess. Who was that godfather guy, the guy with the club......Gazzarri....what a sicko that guy was. You see him in a zoot suit, with a couple of strippers and the guy was like seventy years old, but his whole schtick was, you had to pay to play. I could no more do that..... I might do it once, because sometimes you've got to do stuff like that. But I picked up real quick on how things ran down there and I was just not into it.

FIB MUSIC:  What was an average amount that bands had to pay, in order to play a show?

Brad:  I don't know. I didn't do a single show the whole time I was down there. I did a lot of drive-by, get to know, jam sessions with people that I were told were super-players. I would get in there and go, "boy this sucks".

FIB MUSIC:  So nothing from "Below the Belt" was ever played live?

Brad:  Well, we had been playing songs from "Below the Belt" while supporting "In Your Face". About half the set was from "In Your Face" and the other half was the new stuff that was going to be "Below the Belt", so it was well road-tested.

FIB MUSIC:  And Ken Mary just leaves because of the time-lapse between things?

Brad:  Yeah. You can't hold a band together, with that many high-strung people, with lagging support from the label and that's when things fall apart and it did.

FIB MUSIC:  How was it working with Ken Mary?

Brad:  Excellent player. Originally I picked him, because he reminded me of Gary Thompson, kind of had that Bonham groove, but ummmmmm, he was strickly business and a Christian from what I understand and very religious and I think he put up with a lot from Scott, Kjartan and I.

FIB MUSIC:  He was very religious back then?

Brad:  Yeah. Decent guy.

FIB MUSIC:  He didn't really partake in the after-show fun?

Brad:  Oh, he'd have beer. I remember the show we did after the simulcast, where everyone found out that salaries had been halted, we made the label rep go out and buy us as much booze as possible. This was kind of a secondary show in a cramped venue and probably 400 people, or something like that. We get tanked on champagne and I have this memory of Ken being so hammered.....none of us could even play and that's the only time I think I had seen him hammered. I think he hit himself in the face with a drumstick.....that kind of.....I think Scott fell down....I remember the label guy looking at me and he was just shaking his head, going whoa fuck, I'm going to get killed.

FIB MUSIC:  You were kind of known for your drinking, right?

Brad:  If I were what the legend is, I never would have put out what I put out. But I am legendary in the times that I did choose to have some fun, it was stuff you write home about. I mean, my influences are like Keith Moon...great rock characters like that. I used to love those stories about Lincoln Continentals and swimming pools and tv's out windows. I grew up on that. But I mean Rock's a business. So I was usually the guy holding everything down.

FIB MUSIC:  Were you ever into drugs?

Brad:  No, I haven't ever really been a drug the 80's I was a big beer drinker, but you know, you only have to do something outrageous once and it kind of grows from there. But I never could have gotten as far as I did if I lived up to the claims I run across. You know, when you first hear it, you think that's not true and then you have to sort through it and go I can see where they would see that.

FIB MUSIC:  It only took me two interviews to figure out, but the band Rail and Company was the band Rail?

Brad:  Yeah.

FIB MUSIC:  The same band that won the record contract from the video competition on MTV?

Brad:  Yeah. How do you win a record contract, that was always my question. They were a cover band.

FIB MUSIC:  All I remember is the lead singer wearing those furry David Lee Roth boots.

Brad:  Well you know when EMP (Experience Music Project) opened, the big rock museum in Seattle. We did the big grand opening and the band that went on right after us was Rail and at the end we did a cover of....with all the metal guitarist from Seattle.....let's see.....Mike Derosier from Heart and Steve Fossen from Heart played bass and drums respectively. So, you have like twelve guitarist on there doing a montage of Hendrix songs. So, two of the guys from Rail are in it and I'm thinking how in the fuck did they get on here. So, we had this meeting the night before to discuss, we are in the catering area and I think it was the guy from Metal Church comes in and goes up to the "furry boot" guy and says, "Dude, Dude, you're the furry boot dude!" (laughs) And he's like "Come on, tell me you're going to wear them". And the guy was like, "Well, no, I actually donated them to the museum".

FIB MUSIC:  What year was that?

Brad:  That was in 2000.

FIB MUSIC:  So, that's what those pictures are from, the ones with you and Metal Church.

Brad:  Yeah. Dave Wayne. He's from Yakima too, or was. I never really got the whole story of what happened to him. I heard he was hit by a car, or something and died from complications.

FIB MUSIC:  I think that's all they really released.

Brad:  You know a guy named Jeff Gilbert, writes for Guitar Player Magazine? He had a lot to do with getting their (Metal Church) career together. It was his job to put the bill together to do the tribute to Hendrix, with twelve fucking guitar players, of course, he brought in Metal Church and I also looked at the list of who he was bringing in and I thought it looked a guest list for one of Jeff Gilbert's Keg Parties.

FIB MUSIC:  So Rail was really popular in Seattle, but they were playing mostly covers?

Brad:  Well, they'd play like proms and shit. Somewhere in the scheme of things, they made friends with a local promoter, who got them out on the road with Van Halen....they started opening for Van Halen. But the thing about the furry boots is one night David Lee Roth started wearing furry boots and they sent the tour manager in there and he said to Terry, the singer, "you can't wear the furry boots" and the thing is, nobody had ever seen him without the furry boots. Rail came from upper middle class, well manicured families....their families were really supportive, like giving them money for gear, equipment trucks, PA' know, our parents were like "Get the Fuck Out". They were just spoiled little, what we used to call "Bellevue brats", it was kind of a well-to-do section of Seattle, at the time. So, we always hated them, we thought they were gay. The thing I remember the most is before the record deal, they were always getting these great paying gigs, but nobody wanted us because we were too hardcore. And they had some sort of radio sponsored thing at some huge baseball stadium, but when they were chopping out the billing, we got the headline. So they actually had to open for us. We had been out on the road for months and months and months and we came back and we were cocky. Their road crew were like these preppy kind of muscle guys with an attitude and we of my favorite guys was the lighting guy, who strapped a bowie knife on his hip and he would cut you with it if you fucked with him. So, at some point in time, they are taking too long on their soundcheck.....and our crew were seasoned, you know?. (laughs) We took no shit that day. It was one of the inner-Seattle.....we had already been out playing things like the Texxas Jam, but to actually headline above somebody who used to be ahead of you. At 23, it was like "I have arrived".

FIB MUSIC:  Three of your most fond memories from your days in TKO.

Brad:  The number one thing was the Japan Tour. Once we had everyone from Yakima onboard....and the songs that came out. We were able to put a couple of those songs that would have gone on that line-ups second TKO album. We were doing that in Japan....they were just thunderous and that was just a great time. know............other than that, it's just a blur of really huge shows. To get comfortable with playing 20,000 seats a night. You don't see that often, but that was a normal part of our life back then and then it got to the point where I got tired of playing 20,000 seaters and wanted to play clubs and get back to that instant reaction from small venues. We did some of those in conjunction with the 20,000 seaters and that was just beautiful. Signing, being wide-eyed and thinking I made it, not realizing that it's not just about getting the deal, it's about hanging on to the deal. But that original signing, that was just huge....that's before I got jaded and pissed was a naive, but beautiful time.

FIB MUSIC:  Do you remember what the recording budget was for "Let it Roll"?

Brad:  I think we spent $150,000 and it took us two years to record it, so we were on salary during that time. We road that gravy train as long as we could. I think that's where I learned how to take advantage of Barry Coburn. I had already been playing that game.

FIB MUSIC:  So your most found memories are from the first incarnation of TKO?

Brad:  Yeah. Absolutely. Because those were guys I had grown up with and you can't beat that. We all had the same goal, we played together in sixth grade for chrissakes and to be shoved into festivals and huge venues, it was a good time for everybody.

FIB MUSIC:  Any other moments stand out?

Brad:  Uhhhhhhh. Each of the incarnations of TKO had some really happy times, but most of those are when it's new and fresh and everyone's just excited to play, before the economics come in from a record deal gone bad. Then your friendships kind of dwindle. There were horrible wars between line-ups, for awhile. There was a lot of slagging in the press that went on.

FIB MUSIC:  Everybody was just talking shit about each other?

Brad:  Oh yeah. Just ugly shit. Most of it took place in the Seattle Rock Mag, the Rocket, which they just loved. They would call up and say I just got this quote from so and so and he said this about you; what do you think about it? Being young and pissed off, I would fire something back deeper and more cutting and that would cause them to say more shit. It just got to the point where we are all just brutal enemies and now I'm on good terms with them. I even love Adam from a distance.

Brad Sinsel PART I

Brad Sinsel MySpace Page

TKO MySpace Page

-Additional Reference-
Watch TKO / War Babies Videos

Read our interview with TKO bassist Scott Earl

Read our interview with TKO guitarist Adam Bomb

Click the Frog to visit
Full in Bloom Music's new
auction / store website,
Buy or Sell on Fibits

Search Fibits for Brad Sinsel cd's

Want to know when we post a new interview?
Join our Mailing List.

Click here to view our interview page.

New Releases




Cd Store

Music NEWS FORUM Directory HOME
(to post comments you must login or register)