After releasing two albums on Arista Records and shooting a video for “The Kid Goes Wild” for the RoboCop movie, Babylon A.D. may have fallen victim to the destruction caused by the grunge scene, but according to vocalist Derek Davis, they never truly called it quits.
“We all kinda grew up together, like cousin’s or distant brothers or something, so it wasn’t really like we ever really broke up. By the time ‘94 came around and Nirvana was super-big and the music that was coming out right then, it was like we needed a break. We were tired, mentally tired as well as physically tired of banging our head against the corporate f*ckin’ bullshit that you have to do when you’re on a major label. And plus we’d been partying way too much all those years on the road and needed to get a grip on reality.”
After returning home, Davis says that the band licked their wounds, grew up a little bit, and found that music wasn’t the only thing that they were going to do with their lives. While he and drummer Jamey Pacheco did a couple things on the side musically, he says it “wasn’t all satisfying like the Babylon A.D. thing was.” And since the music was still pumping through their blood and they felt like they had something more to say, they eventually released another album.
Instead of being force fed their image by a major label, the band went on to release their first live album in late 1998 and their third studio album in July of 2000 on Apocalypse Records, their very own label. Davis says, “We really felt that the record label that we had been on previously never really gave a good representation of the band, we were always told what to do.”
The live album, entitled Live In Your Face, was composed from various live tapes that the band had collected over the years from 1990 to about 1994. Davis says he sat down for about three weeks or so, listened to everything the band ever recorded, and picked what he thought was the best representation of the band live on stage. And though all original band members were represented on those recordings, their bass player Robb Reid has since decided that “music wasn’t for him.” He has been replaced by Pacheco’s brother Eric, who Davis says has “always been one of the clan, either he comes with us on the road – he’s always been there. He’s always been a great musician and songwriter in his own rite.”
After two years of writing and recording, their third studio release American Blitzkrieg was officially released on July 4th, and though the band approached the album as they had done with their first two albums, it was the first time they had total creative control.
“Before the record label would have a big hand in picking the songs and telling us what songs to put on a record, how to sound, what the production should sound like, things like that. This record we just basically threw caution to the wind and we’re able to do whatever the f*ck we want, because there’s nobody else telling us what to do.”
And with control the band said what they wanted to say, sounded how they wanted to sound, and did what they wanted to do. And though there are many fans who love the release, Davis realizes that there is a portion of those die-hard Babylon A.D. fans wondering why their latest release doesn’t sound exactly like their first two albums. He explains that it is no longer 1990, and that Babylon A.D. is moving forward though he doesn’t’ think the album is all that different.
“When you’re a musician, you just keep writing, you don’t stop and say ‘well let’s see, in 1990 we wrote a song called “Bang Go The Bells” so lets try to write a song like that’.”
He adds, “I do think it sounds like our other stuff – I think most people think it’s just like the next record. If you listen to the first album and then the second album, you can definitely tell there’s a difference between those two albums, this one just happens to be about seven years later after those ones were made. So, in between there might have been three or four albums, but we would have gotten to this point anyway.”
The band will be playing shows in select cities, as well as doing interviews and other promotions in support of their album, but Davis says it’s not like they are kids anymore saying “give me fifty bucks and a bunch of beer and chicks and I’ll play.” Now that they’ve grown up and have homes, touring is more like business, and it’s all just a matter of supply and demand.