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Classless Act – Derek Day

Classless Act – Derek Day

By: Lori Smerilson Carson

Did you ever have an experience that changed the course of your life? Lead Vocalist Derek Day did, and now he and his bandmates guitarist Dane Pieper, guitarist Griffin Tucker, bassist Franco Gravante and drummer Chuck McKissock whom comprise Classless Act are changing and more so expanding rock and roll music. Their debut album WELCOME TO THE SHOW displays their amazing and extraordinary talents and Florida fans had the opportunity to see their outstanding show in Miami and Orlando, and now can see them in Jacksonville on July 2nd at TIAA Bank Field.

Catching up with Day while traveling the country with this history making stadium tour of Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, Poison and Joan Jett, he revealed some details about Classless Act’s show, their debut album, how he and his band came to be where they are and what fans can look forward to.

SFL Music: How did the tour come together? How were you all invited?
Derek Day: Oh my gosh! Well, I’ll tell you one thing, it’s a lot of moving parts. Management talking to management. All sorts of things, but what really helped was, we had Bob Rock produce the record. At least half of the record and Bob you know, he’s done Metallica Black Album, Michael Buble’ and Mötley Crüe’s DR. FEELGOOD album, and he mentioned like we should record this in Tommy Lee’s studio and that kind of put us into the ether of the Mötley Crüe universe, and like show our vibes to Tommy. He would come down every now and then and listen to the unfinished material and share two cents about this and that. It helps, so over time I think that helped a lot and yeah, that was pretty much how we kind of went on about it.

SFL Music: Vince Neil is on your song “Classless Act”.
Day: Yeah.

SFL Music: How did that come about? It’s a great song!
Day: Yeah, once we were on the tour, we got to know the guys a little bit. We had this namesake song and we felt it sounded like Vince. It felt like Vince and we reached out to him asking like hey, please if you would sing on this record? Like it would help us tremendously obviously, but it would also help the song. It feels like you. It feels like the band. So, we were on tour. We couldn’t go over to Nashville where he lives, but he also was rehearsing for the stadium tour at the time. So, he just found a couple of days to sing and knock it out. He really killed it.

SFL Music: You sing the first verse, right?
Day: Yeah, yeah.

SFL Music: How did it come about with Justin Hawkins being on the song: “This Is For You”?
Day: That one’s funny. It started off as just us wanting to write with him and we never dreamed he would actually be on our record. We had a song we needed to finish. We must have written ten different versions of it and our management suggested we reach out to Justin. He worked with him in the past and had his number and he just said, “yeah sure.” He listened to the demos. We wrote a couple of songs with him and we became friends over WhatsApp and chatted. Over time, we just asked him, like hey man, you want to play on my record? He’s like, “sure.” And you know, he’s an incredible guitar player, so it really made it shine.

SFL Music: It’s another great song. What is the song “All That We Are” about? I like the line “isn’t enough to keep us alive.” What inspired that?
Day: Thank you. That song was written amidst the pandemic and it’s like lockdown in the city. It’s right when the band had recorded the first half of the album and everything shut down. We had to just kind of sit down and you know, think about what’s going on in the world. Not just medically, but socially and with everything going on politically. It’s really just a reflection on who we are as a species and who we are as like, what are humans? Are we doing the best we can to look out after each other? Are we kind enough? Of course, you can take it as you will. Its open to interpretation, but it’s talking about just the human race in general and who we really are under a lot of stress and pressure.

SFL Music: What about “Storm Before The Calm”? Great title and when I heard the song, I was really blown away. It really shows your range and awesome voice. What inspired that song?
Day: Thank you so much again. I really appreciate that.

SFL Music: You’re welcome.
Day: That one’s just like you know, we were just like writing a bunch of songs. We must have written so many songs during the pandemic. That was one we were so hungry to show the world who we were and I think that song was kind of birthed out of, everyone was like looking for rock bands. Modern day rock bands and not that we weren’t unimpressed or anything. We just felt like man, like there needs to be a new kind of rock and roll. Not necessarily brand new or new like fresh or like completely new stye or anything. Like rock and roll needs to return in a certain light and we’re gonna be that storm. It was a song about coming out. You know, our first debut record. We just wanted to come back with a bang. It’s like, I don’t know. I guess it’s really like a egotistical type thing if you think about it (he laughed).

SFL Music: The song “Give It To Me”, is that a cowbell on there?
Day: Oh, you bet that’s a cowbell on there! Absolutely! In the studio, I was trying to get every instrument to be the cowbell. If it were up to me the whole thing would just be (he laughed).

SFL Music: So, you’re into cowbells. That’s cool. You played guitar and trombone when you were young. Did you play drums too?
Day: Boy, how did you know about that? Who told you that?

SFL Music: Your publicist. She’s good. I do my research.
Day: Absolutely, no that’s fantastic! Yeah, I do play a little bit of drums and a little bit of piano and yeah, I try to get my hands on anything I can just for the sake of keeping it creative and new ideas and that’s the cool thing about this band. Everybody plays a little bit of everything, so it keeps the dynamic nice and like respectful and you know, we’re all kind of like there. We can all kind of interpret things certain ways.

SFL Music: You guys met over social media. Is that what drew you to form the band Classless Act?
Day: Yeah totally. I mean, we were all doing our own thing. Like I was on tour and Franco the bassist was also on a tour and Griffen had bands out in Dallas, Texas and everybody was just doing their own thing, but we were just fans over social media and we liked each other. We liked each other’s aesthetic and playing, and we thought this combination of people could really kind of breakthrough. It was kind of like the necessary formula to make our presence known.

SFL Music: What drew you to choose music as a career. I read your dad took you to see Jethro Tull and Deep Purple and your music teacher gave you the gift of being in an all-summer vacation music program. Is that how you knew you wanted to be a musician?
Day: You know, I’ve done some things like I picked up the guitar by ear when I was very young, like nine or ten years old, and I did some talent shows. I did one particular talent show. It’s like the first talent show I ever did like in fifth grade and I was just playing the guitar. It was a Jimi Hendrix song, but there was a microphone onstage, and what I did was, in the middle of the song, I realized time was moving slowly and I had energy. I just went up to the mic and I started singing lyrics. It was supposed to be instrumental, but I just started singing, and I think it was that moment of spontaneity that surprised to myself, unbeknownst to me and the audience, but most to me. I didn’t know I could surprise myself like that. I realized performing and playing music, this form of art seems to be really exciting and involves a lot of spontaneity and to this day, years later, it’s just like yeah, we’re still doing that and it’s constantly refreshing. Even if we’re playing the same set over and over again. There’s a new way to say a line. A new way to sing a song or a new way to act out a performance and its always just fun. So, I think that talents show’s like, I want to do this forever.

SFL Music: I’ve heard you’re an amazing front man. What can fans look forward to with the show?
Day: Man, I wish I could tell you something and it just turns into a visual because you got to just see it, and it’s like super high energy. Everyone’s having a good time. Our debut album is WELCOME TO THE SHOW and we mean it. We want to invite everyone who listens to us or experiences us, to be a part of us and be a Classless Act with us. So, it’s very like you know, interactive and the audience really, it’s a lot of communication between the band and the audience and it’s just super fun and its very present.

SFL Music: Your album came out on June 24th. Are there any videos people can look forward to?
Day: Absolutely! We have about five videos out right now and the day we dropped the album, we dropped a new video for “All That We Are”. Did you happen to see that, Lori?

SFL Music: No, I didn’t yet. I’ll have to look for that.
Day: Absolutely! I mean, for now I’d love to just promote the four we just released. “This Is For You”, “Classless Act”, “All That We Are” and “Time To Bleed”. They’re pretty new videos in the last four months. We’ll be out touring for a while, but any chance we get, we’ll try to make some more content and put it out. As soon as we’re back home, we’ll put something else out.

SFL Music: How did you all come up with the name Classless Act?
Day: We looked at a magazine. I think it was like Time magazine or something and a journalist was talking about a certain political figure at the time in America and he called him a classless act and we just thought, that’s cool. That has a cool ring to it and it sounds dirty and sleezy and cool, but once we wrote the song, we realized we could turn it around and we could make it more fun and maybe shine a light on what isn’t perfect. Just because its classless or imperfect doesn’t mean it has to be terrible or detrimental to society. It could just be the evolution of a human spirit.

SFL Music: What advice would you give to a new band?
Day: I would say just always be prepared and find ways, you know, you could say the word shocking, but maybe exciting is a better word. Find ways to be exciting because I do see a lot of rock and roll bands. They say rock and roll is dead, but if you look in L.A, it’s like everybody’s in a band, or if you look in London, everyone’s in a band and everyone’s trying to do this and that, but there’s a lack of urgency in the songs their listening to. People come out and see great shoes, but they need to put it into their music. Keep working, keep writing, always be ready to have a demo to give to someone because that was kind of where we were and that’s kind of how we got our big break. We had stuff recorded. It wasn’t even released. It was just ready to give, and just make sure its urgent and exciting and excites you most of all, but it’s something that can maybe make a wave in an ocean.

SFL Music: That’s great advice. Was there anything else you want fans to know?
Day: I got to shamelessly and shamefully plug my band (he laughed). It really super-duper helps if you guys follow us on Spotify. Anyone experiencing this interview, please follow us on Spotify. It helps the algorithm. It helps rock and roll in general get out in the playlist. Please do that, and we the band Classless Act love you. We love you. We really do welcome you to the show. Be a part of us. Be a Classless Act with us and we’ll forever be in debt to you.

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