Marq Torien and the Bullet Boys are back with a brand new record called, “Elefante’,” and it may not be what you expect. It seems that in today’s musical climate you either have bands saying that they are not going to make records anymore because there’s no money in new music, or artists mass producing sub-par projects at the will of a record company that cares more about names than quality. I am happy to report that the Bullet Boys do not fall into either one of those categories. The band has composed a solid collection of songs that captures the bands original spirit without feeling retro or dated. The best way that I can put it is that “Elefante’’” is very much a relevant record in 2015. I truly believe the songs on this record will appeal to longtime fans of the band, or to the youngsters out there who have never heard of the band before. I know there are a lot of new releases out there right now, but I truly believe this record is truly worth your time and money. I could tell you all about it, but instead I will let Bullet Boys front man, Marq Torien do the honors.
There have a been a lot of things said about Marq Torien over the years by lots of people. I don’t know anything about that. I do know that I have had a chance to speak to him on two separate occasions and I have found him to be a sincere and likeable guy who can’t say enough kind things about the people he has worked with over the years. His excitement about the band’s new record is refreshing and contagious. To put it in Marq’s words, the guy is a sweetie. (Read on and it will all make sense….) Ladies and gentleman, this is Marq Torien…
The Music Room: Congratulations on the new record, “Elefante’.” How does it feel to finally have it out there, and what has the initial reaction been to it?
Marq Torien: Well, before I answer that Tony Tony Tony, I wanted to thank you so much for having me on your site brother . It’s been a long time and I really want to thank you. As far as your question is concerned, man, we’re like to the moon right now. I can’t tell you. We’re on top of the world looking down on pollution daddy. When magical things happen in your life as a musician, and you know you took a risk and put a whole lot of hard work in to it this…I mean, here’s this little band from L.A. called Bullet Boys that put out this massive new record and took a risk. I can’t tell you what the risk is, but the band is so excited that the risk we took is absolutely paying off and we are receiving these amazing accolades from the media and musicians and especially our fans, family and friends who encompass into one body. Dude, I can’t even tell you.
TMR: I can really tell that by listening to you…
MT: And I really mean that from my heart Tony. Some guys say that, but dude, I thank everyone out there for being so supportive of me and Bullet Boys for all these years, and are really behind this record, “Elefante’,” and are pushing it out there. You know, people are saying that we have the album of the year and making very bold statements. I sit back and just go wow! You just get those magical wow moments where it’s like wow, they get it. You never know… We’re all really excited about it and can’t wait to get out there and do one of our first headlining tours in many, many years with our friends Tracii Guns and Rudy Sarso, and our friends from overseas, The Killer Bees . It’s going to be a great night of music and we start out in the early part of July. We’re going to be three or four different sets for this tour. I’m real excited about it man.
TMR: This conversation is really refreshing to me because there are so many artists out there today who are saying that they are not going to make records anymore and they are just going to go out and tour. As a fan that’s a bummer because to me it should be about the music. So I get excited when I hear how excited you are about this record. I wish more bands would have that kind of heart.
MT: Yeah, me too dude. I think that with musicians there is a bit of a fear factor when you’re writing. If you’re out there listening to people who are telling you don’t do this and don’t do that and what’s the point of writing a new record? I don’t see life like that. I never heave. My parents raised me…I dedicated this album to my father, Elefante’, and they’ve never put the word quit in me. So when I embarked on writing this record, I wanted to write something that would inspire me and let me show my musical prowess that maybe people didn’t really know or don’t know what type of writer I really am. I don’t want to be known as, even though I am blessed for writing the song “Smooth Up,” I don’t want to be known Tony, as the Smooth Up guy for the rest of my career. It’s something that I have respect for, but I have other things to say. We wrote a bunch of sex joint tunes back in the day, and its all gravy. This record is very spooky-sexy. It has peaks and valleys, and it shows the different sides of me. It’s a really diverse record but it’s encompassing, its one body…it’s Elefante’ as a whole. You’re not going to find any weak songs on this record. I didn’t want to write a song where there were weak songs because I’ve listened to so many albums as of late where there are two good songs on there and the rest is all just filler. Even the great artists and the pop artists of the day. I want to listen to a whole record man. We wrote this record so we could say that we want to listen to the whole thing. We don’t want to fast forward any tracks. We’re finding that people on ITunes are picking up the whole record. I really think that people who revere music from our genre, or any genre, they’re extremely intelligent and they don’t just want to listen to the old songs all the time. They’ve heard them. So why not give people who have been with you for so long something new to sink their teeth into? Something with a musical prowess that says we’re not quitters. We’re going to continue to play music and write music. All of the bands that I revere, not from our genre, are able to write new music and are hailed for it. I see their careers are blossoming and are constantly doing things. Some of these bands up there are writing the best material of their careers because they are taking that chance and taking that risk to take some time and to really craft the songs to tell the story. I think that is really important, especially in American Rock n Roll music. If we’re not doing that then, I mean shoot…I don’t know why people are in music. I don’t have ten writers like Taylor Swift or Bruno Mars do. I’m not trying to hate. But I have me and my life and that’s it. There’s a process in it. It’s a labor of love to try to write something that is kind of beyond you. That’s my whole take on it. I’d really love to see some new material from some of these artists that I love exploring genres. It would be amazing, but they won’t do it. That’s on them. Hopefully this new record will inspire some people out there to say well shit, Marq took a risk…let’s do something man. Our guys like Nikki Sixx who took a risk with his new band Sixx AM and putting out some amazing material and touring on it. I just love that. I have mad respect for that. If I can mention our friends from Armored Saint, they just put out a brand new record and the thing is slamming. It’s a great record and probably better than anything they’ve ever released. Hats off to those guys for taking a risk and taking a chance with their musical prowess.
TMR: And John Bush is one of the best metal vocalist out there.
MT: Yeah, Johnny…John he’s stupid good. To me, I don’t revere musicians for being that good. I revere them as people and human beings first. I’m a little bit different in that way. I don’t care about how you are musically. I care about if you’re a sweetie or a meanie. (Laughs). You too, right? Who wants to be around meanies? I think we’re all over that. There is enough of that trolling around the internet constantly. I’ll stick to the people who want to enjoy life you know?
TMR: I swear man, I think you can read my notes here cause your answering all the questions I have set to ask you.
MT: (Laughs) Cool, cheers man.
TMR: I know that “10 Cent Billionaire” came out in 2009. When did you start thinking about this new record and how long did it take for you to get this massive record out?
MT: It took about two years, and that’s just because I was putting together and taking apart the songs. I was writing new lyrics, thinking I have something done and then saying no it’s not done yet it needs to be better. I’m all about that. I was taught that at a young age when I was signed with the great Motown records. I was taught that by the people that I’ve worked with; our brilliant producer that produced our records at Warner Brothers, our friend Ted Templeman…the great Ted Templeman, Benny Medina, my mentor, the brilliant Andy Johns, may he rest in peace, the great Berry Gordy…I could go one and on. I mean all these great cats that I was around when I very young trying to be a sponge to soak up the knowledge of how I would do this. I have to give my producer, Mr. Ryan Greene all the credit in the world for believing in what I wanted to do and taking a risk with me. We laughed and we cried…we sweated over this record together. It allowed me to have my musical prowess with the band to do something that was out of the box and that wasn’t trying to reinvent the past.
TMR: That is so true with this record. It definitely pays tribute to the Bullet Boys sound, but it also breaks new ground for you. Was this something that you intended to do?
MT: Sometimes you do stuff on purpose, but this wasn’t a purposeful thing. I just want to have an organic sounding record that wasn’t so linear sounding. I hear all of these records that are extremely linear, and after a while it gets hard on the ears. You go, where’s the warmth? Where’s the bass guitar? I’ve got to give a shout out to my boy, Chad MacDonald and tons of props to his amazing bass playing on this record. It is a very high level, and I hale him. For bass players out there, we kept the bass up on this record because the Bullet Boys sound was always very big, heavy bass that filled the room…big kick, but with a warm sound to it where it wasn’t just biting and tearing your ears off. I was able to help create that with the great Ted Templeman who taught me everything. I’m hoping that you hear some Tedisms on this record because I can’t thank him enough from my heart. I know there were times when we disagreed, and agreed to disagree, but he was the guy who stepped out in faith with Roberta Peterson and Mo Ostin and signed me and my band and believed in my ability as a vocalist and a writer. Here are all these cats that I’ve worked with Tony…If you don’t take what you’ve learned from them to try and do something special, I mean what the hell am I in the business for? You know?
TMR: You know, there is this record company out there that takes the bands from back in the day and just mass produces new records from them, but there is never any tour or promotion behind them. Really there is no heart to what they are doing. Just talking to you and hearing your excitement about your new record…that’s what it’s all about. As a fan, I can’t tell you how much that means.
MT: Thank you Tony, because that’s where I’m at. People can say a lot of things about me, listen man, I’ve taken a lot of ridicule and guff, and I still do. But I’d just like everyone to know out there that I just try to turn all that hate out there into love, because love wins over everything for me. I’ve been in a position in my life in past years where physically and mentally I really didn’t want to be in this business anymore and really didn’t want to be around on this planet. So, I’ve gone through some things in my life where you just have to suck it up, pull up your trousers, throw your head up and learn from those things. Don’t be a victim, but learn that things happen for a reason. God brings people into your life and takes people out of your life for a reason and we don’t know the reason why. I won’t know until I visit that big rainbow in the sky and then maybe at that point I’ll know. I have a lot of faith in God Tony, but I’m not a perfect specimen. I try not to point fingers, I look at the mirror and when I point a finger at the mirror there’s always five pointing back at me. I’ve made many mistakes in the past. I’m just trying to walk forward and do what I need to do for my family.
TMR: It seems to be working for you man because you have a new record while some of those people who are pointing fingers are still living in the past. They have proved that by their actions in the past few months. I’m not going to say any names…
MT: Nah, we’re not trying to hate. I’m not about the hate. We are a band that loves everybody from all walks of life, of all colors and of all sexual preferences. We love on everybody. I think that’s very special because people know that about the band. Maybe some bands aren’t like that, but we’re all from the island of misfit toys. I revere all of the communities in this world. Gay, straight or indifferent, everybody is coming to the party on this record. I love everybody with all my heart.
TMR: Dude, I know that is 100% true. I saw you back in November here in Cincinnati and that same night I had a loss in my family. The kindness and time that you gave to me, it was 100% real and genuine and I’ve never had anyone from a band show me that kind of love. I really appreciated it and that will always stick with me for what kind of guy you are.
MT: Thank you Tony. And that’s what I’m there for bro, I’m supposed to do that. I love you guys so much, everyone who’s been supportive of me. People like to say that guy’s crazy or full of himself. Tony, the last thing I am is full of myself. I’ve been through so much dude, I just want to let everyone know… let us have our time. I think it is our time. I think I have a hit record Tony. It’s not something that we wrote , but it’s something that we were blessed with. God gives me my voice, I can still sing like the first record. I’m playing guitar at…I’m at that point at my guitar prowess that I’m so excited about it. I play every day. I’m already trying to finish up my solo record that I’m going to be releasing next year. It’s a completely different animal. It’s completely drawing from my R& B prowess and soul and rock. I can’t wait to step forward with my solo record and tour on it.
TMR: You already touched on it a bit, but you’re getting ready to hit the road with a pretty big tour. What can we expect? A lot of time you go to shows and only hear the old stuff. With the new record just dropping, what are we going to hear?
MT: Never expect the expected. Always expect the unexpected with the Bullet Boys. You never know. I’m really open on stage. I always speak my mind. Expect that we’re going to sweat from head to toe and that we go out there and put on a show. There is no lack of energy. That’s the only way I know how to do it Tony. We’ll be playing our hits, and drawing from a lot of music from Elefante’ because people have really been asking us to play this record on tour. We’re working out our set list now. We’re going to be some of the old and a lot of the new. Because if you keep looking in the rear view mirror you’re never going to get out of the driveway.
TMR: That’s what I wanted to hear. And I have to tell you that it’s just not the music that I like, but I really dig the artwork. I hope that cover makes it onto a t-shirt because I will be sporting that for sure.
MT: Dude, it’s so on a t-shirt! We’re working on that now. Thank you for saying that.
TMR: Okay man, I am not going to take up anymore of your time because I know you are busy. I just want to congratulate you and the band on this record. You truly deserve it. I wish you all the success in the world brother.
MT: Thank you , you’re awesome Tony, Tony and I’ll tell you what…. (starts singing “It Feels Good.’)