Ace Von Johnson may be the new guy in the Faster Pussycat camp but that doesn’t mean he’s a rookie to bands. A long history of punk bands led him to Faster and Ace took time to tell Shockwave the whole story. Along with talking about his relationship to the band Adler and what Faster Pussycat has coming for new music.
Shockwave: I’m here with Ace Von Johnson from Faster Pussycat and you just got done being on stage with Faster, how did the set go?
Ace Von Johnson: I thought it was great! I thought it was great, it was way to early for me to be onstage. It was a great set, I had a blast. For 11:20 in the morning there was a fuck ton of people there and it was good. I had fun.
And, you guys have a show tonight, correct?
Yeah, we do. It’s…you tell me.
It’s Pittsburgh, I believe.
Yeah, Pittsburgh. This will be our third set in one twenty-four hour window in three different states, so I’ve got that going for me on next to no sleep and a lot of cocktails. So, I’m looking forward to it because that puts me that much closer to Monday’s day-off. Nah, I’m being facetious but yeah, I had a blast today and the hard part’s over so now I’m going to take a nap and do tonight’s show and tomorrow’s show. We’re kind of on the last half of this tour.
And, you were just onstage for a moment with Adler.
What’s your relationship with that? How did that come about?
That’s been like a flirty thing where if I’m around and they’re around I get up and I play with them. We did a mini-set at Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood for about a half an hour a couple months ago and Steven, Jacob and I have talked and I’ve gone over and jammed with them a couple of times. I think I’m like a casual, I don’t want to say the fifth Beatle, but you know. The next gig is the Monsters of Rock cruise in October so it’s a minute from now but I think I’m going to get up and perform with them too. Tonight was just one song because it was kind of last minute but hopefully there will be other shows in the future and if my schedule’s clear I’m absolutely down. Steven’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, not to mention he’s a fucking legend and Jacob’s probably the best front man I’ve ever seen and the same thing about him. He’s a brother, we go out and hang out in Hollywood all the time.
With you joining Faster Pussycat, how did that come about?
The story, truth be told, is that I was playing in a punk rock band called the U.S. Bombs and our booking agent was a guy named Charlie Overbey. Charlie, you’re a bastard and I love ya. And, he has his roots deep in this, sort of, rock genre. He was in a band called the Big Bang Babies in the 80s which is where Keri Kelli started from. It was his first band, Keri of Alice Cooper, Slash’s Snakepit and Night Ranger fame. Keri, if you’re also listening, I love you and you’re a bastard. So, yeah, Charlie saw me play with the Bombs and was like, “Hey, you’ve got a lot of energy and you’re fun to watch. Are you trying to get out of this punk rock thing?” I said, I was because I’d done Murphy’s Law and a bunch of other punk rock bands. He was like, “I’ve got this band with this guy from L.A. Guns, this guy from Faster Pussycat, this guy from Danzig and Brian Forsythe was in the band at one point from Kix.
There was this band called Charlie and the Valentine Killers, it was Americana, kind of Social Distortion meets Bruce Springsteen thing and I joined as guitar player. We did about two years worth of work, year and a half, we did a record, we toured with David Allan Coe and that’s how I got my foot in the door with a lot of people. The Michael Jackson track (“Hollywood Tonight”) I did came out of that. That’s how I met Taime (Downe, Faster Pussycat’s singer) initially, he was back stage in my dressing room, drinking my booze and I was like, “Who the fuck is this guy?!” and that’s how I met him. So, I was doing Charlie and the Valentine Killers and I met Taime and about a year later there was an opening in 2009 and they had me go over to Taime’s house and that was my first of two starts in Faster Pussycat. I sat down in his living room and played guitar for a minute and he said, “You can play, you look cool, don’t suck Bubba.” He gave me a CD and that was the end of it and I was in, I think I did a rehearsal or three and then they did some more dates with Michael (Thomas) and they brought me back in, initially in the beginning of 2010. That was it, that’s how I joined the band.
Where was your first gig?
It was actually Universal Studios Los Angeles with Gilby Clarke and it was, like a family rock show in the park at Universal so, every song had to have edits. It was like, “With a slip of the tongue, I’m in deep…” [Laughs] So yeah, “deep stuff”, but that was my first gig. Gilby Clarke took me aside that day and had a lot of really nice things to say, “Welcome to the family. Don’t take any shit.” and etc, etc.
What do you have coming up? Do you have any new recorded Faster stuff with you as a member?
Finally, something came out. It’s that cover of Eagles of Death Metal’s “I Love You All The Time” it’s a single. It came out it’s all for the Play It Forward campaign. All the proceeds go to the families of the victims of the Paris attack. It’s for a good cause so go on iTunes or Amazon, any sort of digital music outlet. You can download it, just Faster Pussycat “I Love You All The Time”. It turned out great, Gilby produced that, it’s awesome and so we’ll have some new stuff probably out within the year, original material but, ya know, as far as stuff that I’m on, that’s it. Finally, after six years, I’ve got one fucking song out. Go figure. [Laughs]
Awesome. Ace, thank you so much, man.
Faster Pussycat wraps up their tour at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood in mid-June before they get ready for the Monsters of Rock cruise in October.