Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to chat with David Black of the hard rock band Seduce. Best known for their appearance in the Penelope Spheeris cult film, ‘The Decline of Western Civilization: Part II‘ where they were the only band not based in Los Angeles to be featured in the documentary. Their unique sound integrates the weightiness and authenticity of classic rock, unabashed brassiness of glam, danger of Detroit grit, and the ferocity of power metal. David and I chat about the first two Seduce records being re-issued on vinyl via Prudential Records, what it was like growing up in Detroit as a young guitar player in the late ’70s and early ’80s, the evolution of the music industry from his entrance into the scene until now, and so much more! Read the exclusive interview with David below!
ST: You guys have had a pretty cool year. Especially with the news of the fact that they’re putting the first two Seduce records out on vinyl again. Give me a little bit of background as to how that happened, because I know that obviously those records came out in the mid to late eighties and they’ve become something that a lot of metal fans really try to find and want as part of their collection. This is the first time they’ve actually been put out and distributed since then, right?
DB: Yeah. It’s just weird how the whole thing is. The vinyl thing, the collector thing. That phase of music collecting. People are interested in it and I couldn’t have anticipated it back then, you know what I mean? It’s like it’s kind of strange and interesting at the same time. Jason, from Prudential Records, they’re here in town and we just met through friends of friends and we never really could decide what we want to do with it. And we knew we wanted to re-release it. They’re just really cool guys and they run a great company. So, we just thought we’d entrust them with letting them do it.
ST: It’s really cool though, because like you said, it’s one of those things that I feel like has happened over the last couple of years where, personally, for myself, I am a big vinyl collector and everything like that. I get a lot of the older vinyl, a lot of the newer vinyl. So, I guess it must be really interesting for you guys from that perspective.
DB: Can I ask how old you are just out of curiosity?
ST: I just turned twenty-one.
DB: See, that’s great. A few years back people were saying that vinyl is coming back, and I’m like, “Vinyl is not coming back, what the fuck are you talking about?” I just didn’t see it at all. But, then it happened. This is beautiful and amazing because now people are going back and discovering stuff. They’re going back and buying stuff they like and hearing it again the way it was supposed to be.
ST: That’s what I always say too! For me, it’s not just getting it in a physical copy, which is a big part of it. I love getting the older records because that’s how the music was originally put out. It was pressed on vinyl, that’s how it was originally supposed to be played, and that’s how it sounded. It didn’t go through all of the digital compression and everything, so I 100% agree with that.
DB: Yes, that’s it, that’s the whole trick. Honestly, when we made those records it was on tape. They weren’t designed for digital. They have a different kind of warp just by the way we put them together and the equipment that was available at the time. I’ve heard some stuff on vinyl that hasn’t come out too good but I think this stuff came out pretty good.
ST: The re-issues of the Seduce records are now available for pre-order, right? Or are they actually on-sale already?
DB: The first one’s on sale, the second one is just coming out now. It might be pre-order but I know the second one is right on the doorstep here because my phone’s been blowing up.
ST: I know throughout the years you’ve stayed playing guitar, you’ve done a lot of different things. You go to NAMM, go to a bunch of different conventions. Have you been working on any new music? Have you ever thought about putting out another record?
DB: Sure! Actually, we had a third Seduce record that we were thinking about maybe doing. It’s not really in the can, but we have plenty of material to do it that we didn’t record before that’s still in our set when we play. I played in a band called Crud with Vinnie Dombrowski from Sponge, it was kind of an industrial band. So, I still play with those guys and still record with them. Honestly, I kind of got something on my own on the side but don’t tell anybody because I’m shy and it isn’t even close to being done! I try to keep it all going because I started playing when I was a kid, so it’s something I’m not going to stop doing. It’s something I need to do.
ST: Totally, and you guys [Seduce] even did a couple of shows around a year or two ago, right?
DB: Sold out! They all sold out. Every poster, almost every t-shirt. Packed. Like I said, if you would’ve told me back then that it would’ve been like this now I wouldn’t have believed you.
ST: I get it! I’m coming at it from someone who is in the younger generation, I really discovered rock and metal later on of course, and I know you probably get asked about it constantly but I watched The Decline of Western Civilization: Part II’, and besides the bigger metal bands that I knew from that time that documentary exposed me to a ton of different bands: London, you guys, and so many more and that’s how I got introduced to Seduce and I know I’m not the only one.
DB: I definitely think a lot of it is because of the movie. That carries a lot of weight and we were really lucky to get in that. When I go to NAMM, I work for Friedman Amplifiers. I’ll walk around and people will throw a line at me from ‘The Decline of Western Civilization.’ It’s weird, but it works well for the band because it let us leave our mark at the point in time. You’ve got to figure, when the first Seduce record was recorded I was your age. The circle of life, the passing of time, it’s just really weird how it all works now. When I was your age, bands were kind of done when they were like thirty. They didn’t hang on like they do now. They just kinda… disappeared.
ST: You guys even stood out in that documentary because you wasn’t from LA. You guys came from Detroit, and I’ve seen that story play out before. I love Alice Cooper and he started out in Detroit and moved to LA as well. But, I wanted to talk to you about Detroit and your experience getting your start there and then going to LA. What was it like for you guys to go to LA during that time from Detroit where it was a completely different kind of rock scene, different people, etc?
DB: Well, it’s weird because we were only out there to be in the movie. We never played around other bands or did anything. We signed our deal to IRS which was based in California, but we were playing a lot in New York. That was where we got signed. We were different from a lot of those bands because we weren’t in that club. So, it kind of worked to our advantage. From being in Detroit, I think it was to me personally, it was the golden age to be a guitar player. When I was like seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, you could get in a cover band and there were tons of clubs. You could go out and play and people would come to see bands play. It was a form of live entertainment on a very large scale. There would be ten to fifteen clubs on any Friday or Saturday night. They all had bands and they were all good. I kind of came up in the middle of all of that, and now it’s kind of gone. I feel bad for the guys I know in town who were coming up behind me, because dude, you missed it. You missed the whole thing.
ST: Like you said, I feel like Detroit sometimes, maybe a little less so now that a lot of people are discovering the history of Detroit’s relevance in music, but I felt it was overlooked as a music scene. Everybody looked at LA.
DB: For YEARS! When Seduce signed our deal, I think we were the first band to sign a major here in like ten years. There were no A&R guys coming to Detroit looking for bands or anything. Honestly, I think that’s why a lot of the bands were good because people did it just because they loved it. No one was getting signed so no one was expecting to get signed. You just went out there with your bro’s, threw your best game down, and that was it. That was what it was about. There was no end game like how it is now. I moved to California later on, you would go to auditions and people would say, “Who do you know? Who’s your lawyer?” That’s not why I started doing all of this. Like I said, when I was younger, it didn’t have anything to do with lawyers, it was about my guitar.
ST: It definitely seems like from everything I’ve heard and seeing all of the bands that did come out of Detroit, it was more of a authentic scene than LA in a lot of different ways.
DB: Very much so. People try hard, they’re locked up all winter because it’s snowing so they sit in the basement and practice. They write great songs and do great things. There’s a lot of great bands around here. And then, time goes by, and then Jack White really put it on the map.
ST: Right. I just. think it’s such an authentic place for rock and roll. We saw that way back when with Alice Cooper, the MC5, Iggy Pop, and everything. Did you ever seen any of those groups when they came through Detroit?
DB: I remember seeing, and this may seem really dumb with the way everything is now, but I remember seeing Ted Nugent in Detroit when he was great. Ted Nugent was great back in the day before all the wango tango… like when he first started doing his solo stuff. He was so good. It was one of my first shows. It changed my life. Ted was like a guitar god of Detroit, it was cool. He was the biggest star, and then other big bands came along and changed everything. Van Halen, Judas Priest, and all of a sudden they were playing a lot of hard rock on the radio and all of a sudden it was on MTV. It was just really weird how it all happened, and you’re just standing in the middle of all of it playing, making the best of it.
ST: Definitely. You guys recorded those two records and you even spoke about the fact that you have a ton of that material that you didn’t have the chance to use, is it interesting now looking back? I know you mentioned it’s strange to see how these albums have lived on, but do you ever sit back and think about how crazy it is that you’re still, even right now, you’re doing an interview for Seduce?
DB: Every day. I never thought that I was going to be doing this, it’s great. I feel so lucky. I really do. I’m really happy, my life is cool. I’m happy with things, I’m happy with myself. All this Seduce stuff? That’s great. They’re coming out on purple vinyl. Wow! Go figure. It’s perfect.
ST: You don’t see that a lot anymore. I’m actually right now I’m in college, I’m doing a case study for my being, my senior thesis about a lot of the bands from the seventies and eighties that have left a really long-lasting impact. Whether you were Seduce or any different band. You don’t really see that a lot nowadays. You have the Top 40 hits and then you kind of move on and a year later.
DB: It’s kind of ‘flavor-of-the-week’-ish. I’ve noticed that too, because there’s songs I really like and then they just kind of fade really quick and then the band breaks up before they do their third record. When Aerosmith came up, I remember they had a bunch of records before they had a hit. The way bands came and developed… it was just different. What a great thesis to write, because there’s a lot of reasons for that.
ST: Now, aside from the fact that labels aren’t really even a thing anymore if you are signed to a major label if you don’t have a hit record the first time you put anything out, you’re tossed to the curb. You don’t have a chance.
DB: Sure. It’s the same way in movies. There are no bad movies anymore because the studios can’t afford to make them. It’s a cost/profit benefit thing in there. Record companies don’t take chances. Think of all the great bands out there that now years later, they couldn’t get a deal now because of the way things are. It’s just weird how it changes. It always evolves, it’s always turning into something new.
ST: I think that we’re seeing a little bit of something coming back. I see a lot of different bands coming up and even some artists that are transitioning into rock and metal. I feel like it’s coming back even a little bit, which makes me a little bit hopeful. But I mean, it’s great that you guys are still working and that you guys have these records coming out. I know a lot of people are excited about it. I want to get one, too, because I really I love those first two records that you guys did. And I hope that you guys end up going forth and work on that third one!
DB: Who knows, depending how long all this COVID stuff goes on, it might be something to kill the winter!
ST: There’s no better time than right now! Well, it was so great for you to take some time out of your afternoon to speak with me. I really appreciate it!
DB: Of course, thank you for taking the time to talk to me, it’s really nice. I enjoyed it. Thank you!
Thank you so much for checking out this interview with David Black, vocalist and songwriter of the band Seduce!