Derek Day Of Classless Act Interview;
Dropping Debut Album, Opening The Stadium Tour
June 6, 2022
Derek Day and his band, Classless Act have a lot going on. Fresh off a tour opening up for Dorothy, the band is now gearing up for the opening slot of the much anticipated The Stadium Tour featuring Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison, and Joan Jett. Besides that, they are also set to drop their debut album, Welcome To The Show on June 24th.
This album has a throwback rock vibe, yet it sounds fresh. They had some famous friends help out on a couple of tracks as well. Justin Hawkins lays down a blistering solo on "This Is For You," and Vince Neil sings on their latest single "Classless Act."
We had the chance to speak to Derek Day about his band and whirlwind expectations of the new album and playing in front of tens of thousands of people on The Stadium Tour.
Greg Drugan: Hey Derek, congratulations on your debut album that’s coming out! When is Welcome To The Show going to officially drop?
Derek Day: June 24th!
GD: I really like what I’ve heard what I’ve heard so far. You’ve got an ‘80s throw back, hard rock vibe, but yet it sounds fresh.
DD: Oh cool, thanks man! Hell yeah!
GD: People like Gene Simmons keep saying that rock is dead. I say that they haven’t listened to bands like you and other young rock bands that are keeping rock alive. I actually think rock is making a comeback. What do you think?
DD: Absolutely! In the last twenty years or so, there are these really cool rock and roll bands, or rock styles and vibes that happen in little scenes. We just don’t pay attention to them because it’s not on Top 40 music. Rock and Roll has never been dead. It’s always screaming from some dark corner of the universe. We’re just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many great bands out there and we’re happy to be a part of it.
GD: I just saw The Darkness about a month ago and they were fantastic. How did you get Justin Hawkins to play the solo on “This is For You”?
DD: Oh man! We were just so fortunate. Our management knew their management and during 2020 when everything was locked down, we just had to write music. We had this one song that was not really cutting it. We wrote like ten versions of this one song and our management said, “what if you had a Justin Hawkins twist?” So we reached out to him and he said, “sure!” So he helped us finish that song. After that, we became friends. We would Zoom call and just chat with him. He said that he saw the Hawk signal up in the sky so he grabbed his guitar and went into the studio. He was happy to do it.
GD: That’s a good guy to be friends with for sure. Now, you guys just released a new single with Vince Neil, how did that collaboration come about?
DD: First, we got offered to do The Stadium Tour. We worked with Bob Rock and he said let's record the album in Tommy’s (Lee) studio in Calabasas. So we got to know Tommy and we sent our music to their management. Over a long consideration and debate, they decided to put us on The Stadium Tour. We then realized that our theme song, which is the name of our band, has this Vince Neil, kick you in the face vibe. So it was out of necessity that we asked him. We said we think you would kick ass on this and it would help us out a lot, obviously. He just said, “yeah!” We said we are on the tour, so he was like “cool, synergy! Maybe I’ll even jump up on stage and sing it with you guys.”
GD: How cool would that be?
DD: That would be insane!
GD: He sounds fantastic on that track.
DD: Yeah, he really frickin’ kills it. He did it remotely from Nashville. So we didn’t get to hang out but we felt the camaraderie.
GD: Now, you guys have a pretty unique story as to how you put the band together. Can you tell me a little bit about that process?
DD: I always say it’s the modern day newspaper ad. The modern day Recycler. It’s all through social media. Our original guitar player hit me up on Facebook, because they were auditioning a singer that I was in a band with. I came over and I loved it. The bass player hit us up through Instagram and he was on tour with another band, but he wanted to join this one. Then we found Griffin, our guitarist on TikTok. We needed a lead guitar player who was awesome, but he lives in Dallas. We said, “Please be in our band.” It was really cool of him to say yes. On that note, I had already been following the rhythm guitarist for years before Classless Act was even a thing. I was a fan of his, he had a good look and good style. Social media is a big fan platform. So we started following each other and then we formed the band.
GD: That is pretty cool. How did you guys record this album? Were you able to get together in the studio or did you record it individually because of COVID?
DD: Man, you just made me really appreciate that we did get together. You are right, it could have been super remote. We recorded seven songs with Bob Rock but that was right before COVID hit. He had to go back home to Hawaii. We couldn’t finish it with him. But we needed better songs to finish it. So we got to meet up, distantly, and write some new songs. We had some writers from Buckcherry, some writer from Nashville and New York. We were trying to get some things brewing. We met up in Sunset Sound and finished the album. It was this really cool thing to finish it in the studio.
GD: Who were some of your influences growing up? I hear a little bit of Klaus Main and Jesse James Dupree in your voice.
DD: Woo, can you educate me, where is Klaus from and Jesse?
GD: Scorpions and Jackyl.
DD: Oh man, I love that! People say I sound like Geddy Lee and I don’t get it.
GD: I don’t get that either.
DD: I love Geddy Lee but I don’t get it. I love people like Axl Rose and Robert Plant. Just for their attack and their tone and their range. I also like low end like David Bowie and Tom Waits. I kinda mix everything into one thing.
GD: Besides singing, do you play any instruments?
DD: Yeah, I love playing the electric guitar. Before this, I was a lead guitarist. I play a little piano and harmonica. The last single, there’s a harmonica solo and that’s me.
GD: I wondered if that was you or Vince, because I know Vince plays harmonica too.
DD: That’s right! Technically, I can play any instrument in the world, but that doesn’t mean that I can play them good.
GD: Going back, who was the first band or artist you saw in concert and how did that impact you?
DD: The first band and proper concert was the Hollywood Bowl, Jethro Tull. I was very young and my dad took me and I love Jethro Tull. It impacted me so heavily because here is this rock and roll band that writes just these beautiful melodies, and they have a flute in there! They’re not my favorite band, but their style just flows through me. I strive to be a little weird and have that weird expression on my face and just put it out there. They were very influential.
GD: How would you describe your live act?
DD: Man, I would say it’s just madness. It’s a rock and roll madness. If you like the album, you’ll like the live act twenty times more. Everyone on the stage makes it a point to have the time of their lives and that helps the audience have a good time too.
GD: I missed your show in Cleveland with Dororthy. I had some friends that ent and said that you were great. What did you think of Cleveland and how has this tour been going?
DD: We just got back, it was amazing. Forty cities. It’s funny you say Cleveland, because Cleveland was my favorite show to be honest. Then we did Columbus the next day and that was my second favorite show. Something about Ohio has this beautiful rock and roll vibe. The House of Blues in Cleveland was so beautifully made and antique. When you have a good crowd, and Cleveland had an incredible crowd, you just play better. You have more fun and are more present. The tour was fantastic, there were no major speed bumps. Don’t get me wrong, there were a couple of injuries and a couple of car problems but everyone was healthy and we finished the show.
GD: You will be coming back to Cleveland this summer as you will be the opening act for The Stadium Tour with Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison and Joan Jett. What are your thoughts of playing on a stadium stage and in front of tens of thousands of people, you haven’t done that yet?
DD: I’ve never done that. I don’t know what to expect. It’s unfathomable.
GD: But you are ready for it.
DD: I’ve been waiting for this my entire life, so this is a big moment.
GD: Derek, it looks like you have a pretty busy summer lined up. You got a couple more weeks off, then you get to gear up for The Stadium Tour. In the middle of all that, your album comes out. It’s going to be a whirlwind for you. What do you have planned after The Stadium Tour?
DD: After The Stadium Tour, we actually might go out again into America. All the cities we hit, we may go out on our own headlining tour, maybe with another band. We just want to be on the road for the next two years. We feel like we want to show who we are in person with music and promote rock and roll.
GD: So you might do a headline club tour in the fall. You have to make sure that Cleveland is on that list, we would love to see you again.
DD: Oh yeah, Cleveland is like… we might book a few shows in that city.
GD: I’m looking forward to seeing you guys. I wish you nothing but success with the album and the tour.
DD: Thank you so much! That is awesome, thanks Greg!
GD: Derek, thanks for taking some time with me and I wish you safe travels on the road.
DD: Woo hoo! I’ll see you bud!
Check out Classless Act's debut album Welcome To The Show when it drops on June 24th. If you are going to The Stadium Tour on July 14th at First Energy Stadium, make sure to get there early and check out Classless Act. In the meantime, you can watch their latest video for "Classless Act" below.