Johnny 3 Tears Of The Hollywood Undead: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview

Johnny 3 Tears of the Hollywood Undead Interview

Feature Photo: courtesy of BMG Music/

While perpetually classified as “nu-metal” by some and “rap rock” by others, it’s no matter to the members of the Hollywood Undead – they’re just going about their business.

To that end, the band’s latest business pertains to Hotel Kalifornia, specifically, the deluxe version of the L.A. group’s 2022 effort. Indeed, if you’re a fan of the band, this one is for you. It’s loaded with extras, additional tracks, and more. Beyond that, the group is set to hit the road for the upcoming warmer months, with many outdoor shows surely to be in the cards.

And so before you boil something down to a specific classification, give it a listen first. Ultimately, music doesn’t have to be “traditional” to be metal. Most know, but some need to be reminded that metal comes in all shapes, sizes, and creeds and broaches a great many sonic fields. With that ethos in hand, the Hollywood Undead will keep doing their thing to the beat of their own drum.

In support of the deluxe edition of Hotel Kalifornia, Johnny 3 Tears beamed in with ClassicRockHistory.com to talk new music, nu-metal, and a whole lot more.

Can you recount the origins of Hotel Kalifornia We’ve always written songs about California because it’s like a microcosm of the best and the worst of us, and Hotel Kalifornia is sort of a cry for help, I suppose. It’s hard to keep up with the vicissitudes of our home and the humanity (or lack thereof) it represents. I guess we were always sort of writing the album all the time.

What are some of the inherent themes running through this record, and which songs are most meaningful to you?

Societal changes and our place in it. It’s hard not to become nihilistic in today’s world, so maybe it’s the struggle to remain human in what appears to be an unfeeling world. I feel that “World War Me” encapsulates that struggle or war within us all, the fight against ourselves. That’s a war you have to fight all the time. Another is “Hourglass,” which means a lot to us because it’s a song about our childhood. When we recorded the album, we were blocks away from where we grew up in Hollywood, and it was so natural to touch on, very cathartic.

Tell me about the deluxe edition of the record. What extras will fans be treated to? 

Well, we’ve got five new songs that I think are all great. A lot of people think deluxe, and they think b-sides. But it has some of my favorites on it. We’ve also got a very special appearance from one of our favorite artists today.

You’ve shared the recent deluxe single, “Evil,” recently. Tell me about the track. Why didn’t it make the original track listing?

It’s always hard keeping records, even with the material that represents the story best. So, sometimes songs don’t go on solely because they can’t fit the story. But Evil is definitely one of my favorite tracks we did; it’s about that voice in your head that I see whether you’re good or bad every day.

How have the Hollywood Undead progressed since their last record? What sort of approach to songwriting did the band deploy?

I’d like to think we take what we learn from each record and apply it to the next. But in reality, we all change over time, and it doesn’t take much effort to have a new approach; life does that for you. When we record, we just try to keep the discussion honest – authenticity is probably the most important feature of our music.

As the vocalist and bassist, how do you view your role? 

To keep it real. I try to write songs from the heart and make sure that they have an impact emotionally on me. Because if I don’t feel it, no one else is going to. Pretty simple, but that’s what works for me.

What gear did you use for this record?

I used my Shecter bass, Kemper guitar profiler, and Neural DSP guitar plugins. I went with those things because I feel they complement our sound best, and they’re reliable.

Considering you staddle so many genres, how do you view the Hollywood Undead’s place within the rock and metal world?

That’s a good question; I don’t really think about it, I guess. All we care about is if the songs are good; what genre they fall into has never really been a consideration of ours. But I’m metal as fuck, bro. I’ve always felt that metal is best represented in your ideas, not the riffs, the way you dress, or any of the semantics. That’s just me, though.

How would you best classify the band? Does it bother you that people often boil the Hollywood Undead down to nu-metal?

Oh, it doesn’t bother me; it actually only bothers me for other bands. Like when someone says Korn or the Deftones are good “nu-metal” bands, it’s ridiculous. They are some of the finest bands of the last thirty years, and both of them belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Adding the “nu-metal” label as a form of derision bothers me because they deserve to be viewed as just amazing bands, period.

What’s next for you in all lanes, and what are you most looking forward to? 

We’ve got a lot of touring coming up. Obviously, the deluxe album. We’re gonna finish recording some of our earlier music. And then, of course, we are always writing. No matter what comes next, we’re always in motion and never stop.

Johnny 3 Tears of the Hollywood Undead Interview

Feature Photo: courtesy of BMG Music/

Johnny 3 Tears of the Hollywood Undead: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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