Eric Jeffreys – The Hard Way

Interview by Metal Babe (Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen)

The Hard WayI made a last minute decision to catch The Hard Way at the Viper Room on Wednesday, March 14th, and I am really glad that I did! I’ve seen The Hard Way several times, and they are, hands down, one of my favorite local bands in L.A.

Their set consisted of six songs, including Diabolical Bitch, Alone, The Walking Dead, American Douchebag, This Ain’t Love, and Cavewoman. If I had to pick just one favorite song, I would go with The Walking Dead, which was their first single, but I love them all. I love their energy, and what they stand for. Before they played Republican Douchebag, Eric talked about what is wrong with the Politicians today, and then got everyone to put their middle fingers in the air at the end of the song.

Not only are they a killer band, they also have a message. I see great things happening for them. I caught up with Eric Jeffreys after the show and talked a bit about the band, their past, and their future.

All Access Magazine (AAM) : First of all, how did you come up with the name The Hard Way, and what does it mean to you?

The Hard WayEric Jeffreys: After going through about 70 different name ideas, none of which really worked for us, my wife came up with it and it really just seemed to fit. Most bands write some songs and go out and play them to develop their sound before going into the studio and recording an album. We did the exact opposite. And with the state of the music industry these days, you’ve gotta do it all yourself with no label support. To me that’s the hard way. Plus, the name definitely describes our sound. We are a hard rock band with some metal influences and some commercial influences. No cookie monster vocals!!!

AAM: How long have you guys been around?

The Hard WayEJ: We started writing and recording the record in 2009 with no real plans to play live. But the album came out so strong that Drock and I decided that we needed to play this stuff for the people. The crowds have been extremely receptive so I believe we made the right decision and we’re having an incredible time!!!

AAM: Who’s in your band, and how did you all come together?

Eric Jeffreys (vocals)
Joe “Drock“ Johnson (lead guitar)
Tim Morris (guitar)
Chris DeStefano (bass)
John Licali (drums)

Drock use to work for me several years ago and we just kept in touch.

The Hard WayTim has worked for me for a couple of years now. John was a friend of Drock’s, and he introduced me to him when our original drummer went on tour with Def Leppard as Rick Allen’s drum tech. Our original bass player was Todd Chaisson from Tuff, but shortly after we started playing he moved to Cleveland with his family.  Chris was a friend of John’s, so when Todd left he brought Chris over.

AAM: Who writes all the songs?

EJ: It’s an evolutionary process. Every song begins with me. However, once I’ve completed the body and lyrics of the song, I get together with Drock to flesh it out a little more so that it’s not such a single-minded, narrow view. Our collaboration at that point brings it up to another level. But once we bring it to the band, it takes on a whole new life of its own. It definitely becomes harder faster more “in your face”.

AAM: Your song “Republican Douchebag” definitely has a strong message. Aside from the obvious, what exactly is the message that you are trying to get out there?

The Hard WayEJ: Our government is for sale to the highest bidder. Our politicians are pimped out like a bunch of $2.00 whores and their greed is so blinding that they can’t or don’t want see the big picture of what they’re actually doing to our country. They certainly don’t care about any of us. Look at FOX News. Fair and balanced my ass! Corporate ass-monkeys. MSNBC is not any better on the other side either. We are ALL peasants to them. The only time they even notice us is when they look down to see who they’re stepping on. You hear the rich bitch about class warfare. We’ve been at war with the rich for years. Problem is nobody bothered to tell “US”. They’ve been systematically stealing the Country, piece by piece, bit by bit. Hell, the Occupy movement went on for over a month before any of the media giants even mentioned it was happening. And the ONLY reason they started covering it was because Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert started making fun of these giant media outlets for ignoring it. So next, they started demonizing them as a bunch of dirty hippies, druggies, winos, etc. for drawing attention to their activities. How are the Tea Baggers patriots & the Occupiers subversives? How does that work? Both are grass roots movements attempting to affect change in our society. See, you probably don’t want to get me started on that subject LOL

The Hard WayAAM: Wow. You are definitely passionate about your beliefs. It’s people like you, who use your voice to create awareness, that will make a difference. Who would you say are your biggest influences as a vocalist?

EJ: Axl Rose, Sebastian Bach, Myles Kennedy, Blackie Lawless, Dave Meniketti

AAM: Very cool. I definitely see the Axl Rose and Sebastian Bach influence in your vocals. The song ‘Cavewoman’ has Axl Rose written all over it! The Hard Way is definitely one of the hardest working bands in L.A. You are always out there, promoting yourselves, and playing all over town. What are some of the recent shows that you’ve played?

EJ: We’ve done several Hollywood all-star shows, BulletBoys, Enuff Z’ Nuff, etc.  We have a couple of things going on within the next month with Richie Kotzen, Rhino Bucket, and Pretty Boy Floyd. You know what they say ”If you’re not growing you’re dying.” So we just keep pushing on.

AAM: What show stands out to you the most?

The Hard WayEJ: My favorite was the Enuff Z’ Nuff show. Donnie Vie is a genius and is one of my musical heroes. Nobody can wrap themselves around a song quite like him. It was a GREAT HONOR for me to share a stage with him and Chip. They are so underrated.

AAM: If you could tour with any band(s) out there, who would it be, and why?

EJ: That’s a tough one. There’s several, Slash, GN’R, KISS, WASP, Sebastian Bach, Volbeat, Megadeth, etc. Somebody edgy that can work up the crowd. We seem to thrive in that situation.

AAM:  What’s next for The Hard Way?

EJ: Well, we’ve started writing and recording the new record. We’re only a couple of songs in so far, but it sounds great. This one’s gonna be a little heavier than the first one. We’re so much heavier live than on the first album and this new record with definitely reflect that edge.

AAM: Very cool. I know at live shows, you are always walking around handing out CD’s after you play, which is totally awesome. If fans don’t live in the Los Angeles area, where can they pick up your CD?

The Hard WayEJ: We’re on iTunes, Amazon (worldwide), Rhapsody, Zune, Spotify, Napster Practically everywhere.

AAM: Is there anything that you would like to say to your fans?

EJ: You are us and we are you. There is no difference. We do this because it’s a labor of love and we are truly grateful that with all the sounds out there, that you took the time to hear what we have to offer. There are not enough words to describe how much you mean to us. We thank you and absolutely appreciate the time you’ve taken out of your busy lives to share with us.

AAM: Very well said Eric. It definitely goes both ways. Thank you so much Eric for your time.  For more information on The Hard Way, please visit their Facebook Page at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Hard-Way/147063538687764 or their website: www.thehardwayband.net

Also, if you’re in the Los Angeles area, make sure to catch them at one (or all) of these upcoming shows:

3/24 Brixton w/ BulletBoys & Pretty Boy Floyd
4/19 Whisky w/ Rhino Bucket
4/28 Brixton w/ Ritchie Kotzen

 Keep Rockin’