Maq Torien: Bullet Boys Shooting For The Skies

©John Barry Photography

 

A lot of things have been said about Bullet Boys mastermind, Marq Tornien over the years. Some not very kind. It would be easy to be intimidated by this larger than life figure based on all of the hearsay out there. I can still remember my first encounter with the iconic front man. Bullet Boys were playing on a cold Tuesday night in Cincinnati. It also happened to be the night that my grandmother passed away. After the show was over, I was getting ready to leave the venue when I was told that Marq wanted to speak to me. Torien stepped away from the group of fans waiting to meet him and pulled me aside. He shared some very special words that I will choose to keep to myself at this time. But in that moment, any and all negative things that I had heard about this man were forever squashed. 

Later in the following year, I had the chance to speak to Marq to discuss the band’s upcoming album, “Elefanté.” Once again I found the singer to be a humble and gracious person who was truly passionate about what his band was doing. Now, two years later the Bullet Boys have just finished a brand new record, “From Out of the Skies” and are hitting the road to do what they do best. Marq once again took the time to talk to me about the new record, new friends, and what the future holds for the Bullet Boys. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did. If you are like me, you will eagerly awaiting the brand new Bullet Boys album!

 


 

The Music Room: Hey brother! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. We talked a couple of years ago, right before “Elefanté” was released. So I want to go back in time for a moment to say congratulations on that record because it was so good.

Marq Torien: Thank you so much, Tony. I’m so glad you liked it.

TMR: I did, and I think a lot of people did. It was a great step for the Bullet Boys. And now you guys are already working on a new record with Frontiers Music, right?

MT: Yes. We just finished it up and finished the mastering process. WOW!!! (laughter) It’s just been ridiculous. This record is completely supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. It’s completely out of the box. All of us or completely nuts and out of our minds for trying to attempt something like this. I think we managed to paint some broad strokes and I’m really excited about our fans and the public listening to this. We’ve worked really, really hard and it’s coming from a great place from us.

The album is called “From Out of the Skies” if that tells you anything. It’s definitely not a predictable record for us. I’ve really pulled from our punk, R& B and funk roots on this record. I was thinking that I really wanted to do this album for the ladies and all of our gals out there who have been following us. We love women so much and it’s that time to give back. This record really has some beautiful pieces on here that hopefully people listen to and get a different side of the Bullet Boys. I opened up my heart on this one for real and it’s spilling all over the record. It’s a really honest record. It’s not something that’s really easy, Tony. It was something that was very difficult for me as a lyricist and as a writer just to open up like that, but we managed to pull it off. We’re really proud of this record…all four of us.

We have our new drummer, Joaquin Revuelta just joined the band almost a year and a couple months ago. His playing on the record, I just have to tell you, Tony, it’s unreal. He is an amazing drummer and percussionist. He’s a real artist…he’s just an amazing cat. We talk all of the time and he’s been very helpful nit picking this record to a certain point. That was a really big thing for me that he’s been so dedicated to having this record be at a very high level. And Chad’s (MacDonald) bass playing on this record has just been so profound. He just manages to surprise me all of the time. He just really brought it on this record. I can’t even explain it to you, it’s just one of those records…probably my favorite of all the ones we’ve done as the Bullet Boys.

If that wasn’t fun enough, we were so blessed to…Joaquin was very influential to actually introduce me to Jesse Hughes. Jesse Hughes is the lead singer, creator, and founder of Eagles of Death Metal. My favorite band. He came like a magical blessing and came and sang on a song called “D-evil.” We actually didn’t really know each other and Joaquin knows Eric who also plays in the band. One night they were hanging at Jesse’s house and Joaquin told him, “Marq loves you to death” and Jesse was like, “I love Marq!” Then Joaquin told him that I had a song that I really want him to sing on. He said when and where? It’s just one of those things and I was freaking out. So he shows up and we just hugged each other. I mean everything that the band went through just crushed my heart. It’s something that I’ve never seen a band go through and Jesse, to me, is just like a super hero…for real. For him to take the time and come sing on our record…it’s just so magical, Tony. You are going to die when you hear this song.

 

 

TMR: What was the track called?

MT: It’s called “D-evil” and it will likely be our first single coming out of the box. And we are excited because Boots Electric is going to be directing our first video from the record. So we’re really excited about that. The storyline for this video…I can’t even talk to you about it, Tony. It’s just so rad. Out of the brilliant and loving mind of Jesse, he came up with this really great story for us.

I just want to thank the band, especially Jesse for coming and being a champion for my band. I’ve really never had anybody come and do something like that and invite me into their music family. It’s actually a very loving band…it’s really influenced me with Queens of the Stone Age and Foo Fighters. When I was really, really down in my personal life…I was going through an awful divorce and it really changed my heart. It crushed and ruined my heart. I went and listened to a lot of their music and for some reason, it just really opened up my heart to say we have to do this thing again with the Bullet Boys but we have to reinvent this thing for real. We were a band that was known for writing a lot of sex joint songs back in the day. We were a great band and did our thing, but you had guys quit back in the nineties. I’m not a big fan of quitters and I’m not a quitter. So we just carried on and kept on doing what we were doing and now we are in this place where we are reinvented. We recorded this record. We were very fortunate and blessed to be able to record it at 606, which is the Foo Fighters’ studio. For David Grohl to have us come into his home to record our record is just really profound. So shout out and big time love to the Foos and David Grohl for inviting us into his home and letting us cut this really special record for us. For them to take that risk and see that we’re taking a risk on this record. It’s just…I can’t even tell you. It’s just so freaking magical. There is no other way to explain it.

So here we are. We finished the record and the next thing we’re going to go into is doing a video. I’m so excited cutting this video. It’s going to have a lot of guest stars in it. It’s an amazing story board. You’re going to see us like you’ve never seen us before. We’re really going to step out on this one and do some different things. It’s a really exciting time for us, Tony. I feel very blessed. Again, regarding everyone, I have spoken of…I just want to thank them from the bottom of my heart. I really can’t put it into words.

 

 

TMR: I can just tell just from listening to you. There’s a lot of love and good things going on. One thing I love about talking to you is that it’s like you already know my questions. I don’t even need to ask what I have written down. One thing I am curious about is, is it easier to be the Bullet Boys today? For a long time, there was the stigma of being a retro act or big hair band. It seems like the music world has changed here lately and there are fewer labels going around. “Elefanté” kind of proved that. It was in no way a throw back record or a big hair record. That was a rock n’ roll record.

MT: Absolutely. Listen, I love rock n’ roll so much. For all intents and purposes, I shouldn’t be doing this anymore (big laughter.) But I continue to do it. I love music. I love creating. I love writing. I love touring. I’m so blessed that people love to come and see my band. I never really felt that my band fit in with that genre. We weren’t really writing that stuff. We never had the big ballad at the time and that kind of stuff. We were a shoot from our hip rock n’ roll band with R&B and punk rock flavor and groove. I always felt like I was a character from the Island of Misfit Toys. I never fit in really. Whether it be good, bad or indifferent, never really had the strong support of my genre. It really hurts my heart because I don’t think people sometimes get me. But to be accepted into a genre that isn’t yours, and respected from a genre that really isn’t yours is really mind boggling and so heart warming. I mean your heart is on fire because you don’t know the people that you have touched that are so far out of the box. You never know. We’re starting to find this out as a band…and the fact that we’ve reinvented the band. It’s going on eight years that myself, Nick Rozz and Chad MacDonald have been working together. It’s already our second record together. To be able to carry out what we’re doing in this tough business. We have such a great team behind us now with management and people that are just there for us and ready to release this record next year. It’s crazy man. We’re just really stoked.

TMR: Yeah man, I came across the first two records here recently (At Everybody’s Record) and as I was listening to them I heard that groove you are talking about. I love it and I’m so glad you’re still doing it.

MT: Thank you so much. I’ve gotten really close recently with Jeremy Spencer of Five Finger Death Punch…and I hate to drop names like that, It’s more of a shout out than it is dropping names. But I just love this character and he’s such a big supporter of the Bullet Boys. We’re constantly talking and texting back and forth with each other. And Jason Hook played in Bullet Boys for quite a while and we did a record together. I’m just so stoked and proud that Jason has done so well in his career. He’s a prolific writer and performer. He and Jeremy have done so well. I love FFDP. They’re just great guys. For guys like that to come out and to get that kind of love from those guys, it just makes our day.

 

 

TMR: What is the timeline? What’s the timeline for the single? The video? The album?

MR: You know, it seems like a sea of records have been released here as of recent. The band, myself and management are looking for a beginning of the year release. That will give us the opportunity to go out there and massively tour on this record, all over the states and Europe. I know in February we are going to Europe, so we are actually going to be starting there on this record. Our first date is in Wales. So we’ve got a lot planned for this next year. The people we are going to be touring with next year…we’re setting up some stuff and I really can’t talk about it. It’s going to be a pairing of two bands and we’re going to be coming out there with a real special show this next year.

And another shout out thank you to EODM. Jesse just pulled me into the studio. They just got done doing the soundtrack to “Super Troopers 2” and Jesse and I sang a duet on this new soundtrack. It’s going to be really rad. Just wait until you hear it. It’s going to be really amazing.

TMR: Nice! Now you guys have a couple of dates coming up in the area. This Friday night you are going to be at MVP in Cincinnati. Then on Saturday, you are part of the line up at Loud in Lima in Lima, OH. What can we expect from these two shows? Will we get to hear some new music? Will we get some stuff off “Elefanté?”

MT: Expect a show like four wild dogs behind a fence.

TMR: ……Please elaborate. (lots of laugher)

MT: For real, we are just chomping at the bit. We cannot wait to play. We have changed the set around a bit. You never know with us. We always like to keep our fans guessing. We’re really itchy to play this new stuff, but management is telling us to cool it just a little bit. We’re actually going to start rehearsing with some other elements into the band for the next year. So as things come into play we will definitely get back on the horn and start talking about it.

MTR: As long as I get a couple of “Elefanté” songs to hold me to over until next time. Maybe a little “Tsunami.”

MT: For real, it’s on. We’re definitely playing some songs from “Elefanté.” I think we’re playing a couple of songs from “Ten Cent Billionaire” and “Burning Cats and Amputees.” We’re rehearsing and throwing some stuff around. It sounded great yesterday and we had a blast. We’re just excited to get back out. We’re definitely a live band. That sounds so cliché but we’re all about playing live and our experiences out on the road. That really is the key to this band. We do a lot of writing out on the road. Songs just seem to come out of experiences.

 

 

TMR: One of the things that I like to pride myself on here with the site is trying to be the anti-Blabbermouth. I’m not into the whole troll thing or click bait. I know there is a lot of crap out there. My question for you is, what do you think the biggest misconception is about Marq Torien?

MT: I don’t think people really know me, Tony. They’re making assumptions about my character that they don’t really know. That’s one of the biggest things. I’ve been told so many things about myself and what people think I am and what have you. My thing is this. Whether it’s negative out there. Whether it’s a bad situation you’ve been in. Or whether it’s people who come in and just say negative things about you, the biggest thing I’ve learned in my life is the ability to forgive. Forgiveness is the hardest thing for someone to do when they’ve done awful things to you. So anyone out there who has negative things to say about me…it’s a free world. You can say whatever you want. I would definitely argue that if you get a chance to know me, my character and the person that I am, you would never say that thing you’re saying. You’ve got to learn to forgive people, dude. A lot of people say a lot of awful things out there. I chose this business….my dad tells me that all the time. But I say it was chosen for me by the Good Lord. People are going to say what they are going to say. I would rather let the music do the talking. I really believe in our fans that have been here for so many years. I think they really know who I am and that I love them with all my heart. There is just so much negativity in this world right now that it’s consuming. It’s destroying our character as people. The media is a very bullying entity. We need more love out there. We need people to uplift our genre. To say things about these artists who are still out there in a positive light. I think that could really help this genre because of the fact that there are so many sites out there that are so negative and tongue in cheek with a razor blade as I call it. There are still a lot of artists from our genre who are putting out great music and that aren’t living in the past. I think they should be ingratiated for those things.

TMR: Well man, I am a fan of your band. That is why I am doing this. I don’t make any money off this. I love the music and the people who make the music. Out of the people whom I have been lucky enough to talk with, you have always been so kind and such a great guy. It’s a thrill for me. I loved “Elefanté” and I can’t wait to hear the new record. I can’t wait to see you on Friday night at MVP in Cincinnati and then on Saturday at Loud in Lima.

MT: Hell yeah, Tony! I can’t wait to see you, bro. I can’t wait for you to hear this record.

 

 

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