Derek Davis of Babylon A.D. Interview Part II

Derek Davis of Babylon A.D Interview

Derek Davis of Babylon A.D courtesy of Derek Davis

Straight outta San Francisco, California, Babylon A.D., which has been fronted by charismatic lead vocalist Derek Davis from the start, showed the world that the Bay Area had the goods when it came to glitz and glam.

To be sure, Babylon A.D. was and is hair metal through and through. But there was and is a level of grittiness to their music as evidenced by their first album, for example, Babylon A.D. (1989), which features classic tracks “Bang Go the Bells,” “Hammer Swings Down,” and “The Kid Goes Wild,” which, for film buffs out there, was featured in RoboCop 2.

Three years after their debut, Babylon A.D. dropped Nothing Sacred in 1992. The record was just as strong as their first, but like most bands out of the ‘80s, grunge had its way with Babylon A.D., and no new music surfaced until 2000’s American Blitzkrieg.

Since then, Davis has kept at it, dropping Revelation Highway in 2017. Now, in 2024, Baylon A.D.’s long-awaited fifth record is upon us in the form of Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day. With the help of original guitarists Ron Freshchi and Danny De La Rosa and two new members, drummer Dylan Soto and bassist Craig Pepe, Babylon A.D. seems poised to keep on trucking for the foreseeable future.

In support of Babylon A.D.’s latest studio record, Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day, Derek Davis beamed in with ClassicRockHistory.com to dig into history, new music, what’s next, and more.

What inspired you to become a musician, and what keeps you inspired? 

It’s just something in my blood, I guess. I love songwriting, playing instruments, trying new types of music, and producing.

What was the rock scene like where you grew up?

Y&T, Journey, Earthquake, Eric Martin [Mr. Big], and Benny and the Jets were all popular bands when I was in high school. I used to go see all these bands, and it really inspired me to play or be like them.

What were some of your favorite spots to take in shows as a kid? 

Oakland Colosseum, “Day on The Green,” was the biggest; Winterland is where I saw my first concert; it was Fleetwood Mac, and wow, was that place crazy at that time. Bill Graham was the man who ruled the Bay Area and all of the big shows.

Did any local musicians inspire you as you were coming up? 

Dave Meniketti [Y&T] was and still is the greatest guitar player from the Bay Area. They played at my High School when I was a freshman, and I was hooked!

What are your most poignant memories of Babylon A.D.’s early years?

Mayhem, madness, and a whole lot of wild, crazy fun were at play nearly every day, recording, touring, and meeting people you never thought you would. It was a fantastic ride.

Of your older work, what albums mean the most and why? 

I like all our albums; they are like your children. I had a hand in every song we ever wrote, so they are all very special. Our first one [Babylon A.D.] is very dear to me because it was our first, but I would have to say, as a writer and lyricist, I like “American Blitzkrieg” the most.

For the new record, Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day, where are you pulling from in terms of songwriting? 

I pull from all my life experiences, and I take in a lot of my friends’ experiences in life and write about them, too. Some just don’t know it. Sometimes I wake up, and the songs are halfway done when I’m sleeping. Also, I watch a lot of movies and sometimes get ideas from them, too.

Which song means the most to you, and why? 

“Face of God,” a brand-new song off the new album, Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day, is the most meaningful and inspirational song I feel I have ever written. It is the truest and closest song to my heart.

How do you view the way you sing today versus the past? What has changed most? 

I sing a lot better and have more control. When I was young, I forced it a lot; now, I just cruised through a song with a little bit more soul.

What’s one thing about you as a musician that you’d like people to know and understand? 

I’m in this for life, ‘till the end, and I have a lot more to say! I have many songs written already in the can; they just need to be released. So, stay tuned.

Do you feel Babylon A.D. gets its due? Why or why not? 

I think we came out one to two years too late for the scene at the time. I’ve heard this from a lot of fans and people, and some of it had to do with our label, Arista. They were not known as a rock label, so it was hard for them to promote us like the Geffen or Atlantic labels. But we’re still in the game, and I believe everything happens for a good reason. I’m all good with where we are at. I would not change a thing.

Do you have any regrets or anything you would change? 

None at all. No regrets.

Is it tough releasing new music as an older artist today? How do you overcome that? 

I don’t even think about it. I still run, jump, hit, kick, sing, and perform as good or better than I ever have, and I have a lot more ideas than I used to, so I am pretty damn happy.

What do you think of the idea that rock is dead? 

Who’s the dummy who said that? The Who? In 1970? I prefer “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Rainbow!

Would you ever consider using backing tracks like many of your contemporaries do? 

Fu*k no. If you can’t pull it off live, get the fu*k off the stage!

What are your short and long-term goals? How will you achieve them? 

There is no grand scheme at play. I just wake up every day and thank God that he lets me do what I want. And right now, all my focus and energy are on the new Babylon A.D. album, Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day!

Derek Davis of Babylon A.D. Interview Part II article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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