Back in 2022, Polish rock magazine Teraz Muzyka published an interview with Johnny 3 Tears, with just a snippet available on the web for Polish readers (which can still be found here, including Hollywood Undead’s mention on the cover of the issue featuring Behemoth).  Since then, we’ve been able to grab own copy and (Teraz is still selling the back issue too if you’re interested) translate for our English-speaking readers.  Check out the full translation below-

Teraz Rock — October 2022

Issue 235

Interviewer: Robert Filipowski

 

Hollywood Undead: Real Life Stories

Interview with Johnny 3 Tears

 

On its latest album, Hollywood Undead takes us on an emotional,

but not a very optimistic journey through California. What is Hotel Kalifornia about? One of the band’s vocalists told us.

 

— Hollywood Undead is not the first time it shows the dark sides of California and America in general, but it seems to me that Hotel Kalifornia is even darker than your previous albums.

 

Johnny 3 Tears: Yes, because it’s fucking getting worse (laughs). We’ve always commented on what’s going on. This is not just about California, but about the world in general. Over the last two and a half years everyone has been through a lot, it’s been a crazy time, which no doubt permeated the album. When we recorded it, it was already a bit better, but it’s still a different world. Creating music in such circumstances, it is impossible to avoid the darkness.

 

— Reportedly, the biggest problems in California today are homelessness and drugs.

 

Johnny 3 Tears: Oh, yes, it has gotten out of hand. In general, California today resembles a third world country: there are very rich people and very poor people. Many middle-income people have left because housing has become very expensive. I think this is the biggest problem and from it come other problems: drug abuse and homelessness. These have always been problems in California, but today they are even more of a problem.

 

— It’s hard not to notice the reference in the title of your album to the Eagles’ Hotel Kalifornia , but you guys show a completely different side of California. Is that why you decided to write the title with a «K»?

 

Johnny 3 Tears: That’s what we had in mind. Between the title of Eagles and ours there is full separation, Because we are writing about something completely different. They are two completely different stories.

 

— To me, your idea of writing the name of California with a «K» is also associated with Mortal Kombat, where the creators decided to write «combat» with a «K» because it, in their opinion, looked more aggressive.

 

Johnny 3 Tears: (Laughter) I love Mortal Kombat. I also remember that there was a movie called «Kalifornia» (Dominic Sena’s 1993 film starring Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis in lead roles – ed.) and he was also one of the inspirations. But Mortal Kombat is also a good reference.

 

— Hotel Kalifornia is heavier than the last few Hollywood Undead’s last albums. In a way, it’s your return to roots.

 

Johnny 3 Tears: We didn’t do it on purpose, but it worked out that way. Maybe the mood of the environment made it the sound of the music. However, we did not assume that it would be a heavier album.

 

— The track Chaos is quite a banger. Anyway most of these numbers seem made for concerts.

 

Johnny 3 Tears: It makes no sense to write a song that you like, but which you don’t want to play live (laughs). We always think about whether a particular song has good energy for concerts.

 

— The Wild In These Streets clip makes reference to Grand Theft Auto’s excellent game, but its lyrics are said to have been inspired by parties in Paris.

 

Johnny 3 Tears: Parties in Paris? Hmm… Ah, I already know what it’s all about! Jorel talks about the parties in the catacombs in Paris that we used to go to. We ate mushrooms there, which was quite scary, but it inspired part of the writing. And the atmosphere of Grand Theft Auto as much as possible matched the clip, because this game is becoming a reality in California.

 

— Hourglass is the most punk number on the album…

 

Johnny 3 Tears: We wanted to write something about our childhood and growing up in Hollywood. And when we started working on this piece, we wanted it to sonically also reflect our childhood. So it’s very punk, because we grew up listening to punk, we grew up on it. I, for example, liked Black Flag, Good Riddance, Dropkick Murphys, Bad Religion, Pennywise, No Use For A Name. Mainly I was interested in punk from Southern California, but one of my favorite bands is also AFI from Ukiah located more to the north.

 

— Punk rock and hip hop have something in common: they are street music.

 

Johnny 3 Tears: And he tells stories from real life. Punk rock is more suburban, representing the middle class, and hip hop is more urban, but I agree that both genres are a representation of the counterculture. Today hip hop is very popular, but for a long time was underground and not very commercial. That has changed, but both genres started underground and represented a particular lifestyle. Bands like Green Day and Blink-182 made a name for themselves, of course, but they started out as regular punk bands. So was the same in hip hop, which was born on the streets.

 

— That brings us to the track World War Me, which is the most hip-hop-oriented on the album, with a vibe of old rap in the vein of N.W.A, Wu-Tang Clan or Eminem.

 

Johnny 3 Tears: «World War Me» is more in the hip style 80s and 90s hip hop, a bit like Run-D.M.C. with powerful drums. That’s the kind of music we also listened to and it also permeates our creativity. Everyone remembers what

listened to while growing up, because that’s when one is most susceptible to influence. But on the other hand, the 1990s proved to be excellent for both rock, punk and hip hop. Today’s music can’t match them in quality. For me, the 1990’s and early 2000’s were the peak. But there are still many excellent artists, so you never so you never know.

 

— And what do you think about the fact that rappers are increasingly recording punk albums more often? Machine Gun Kelly, for example?

 

Johnny 3 Tears: I think it’s great. In Hollywood Undead we made music from the beginning that we wanted. You expect a rock band to play only rock, and from a hip hop band that it will only play hip hop. But since we didn’t listen to only one genre of music, why would we want to create only one genre? So I wholeheartedly support guests such as Post Malone or Machine Gun Kelly, who are coming out of the hip hop drawer.

 

— Since your debut, Swan Songs, it has been fourteen years now. And it seems as if only yesterday Hollywood Undead was a new phenomenon on the scene…

 

Johnny 3 Tears: Man, this is unbelievable. Frightening is that time flies so fast. When we started, we were kids, and now I have a wife and three kids. What the fuck happened? But we are lucky that we are releasing our eighth album and we continue to play, even though life has changed a lot since our debut. I try to enjoy every day and live in the present.

 

— Which album by Hollywood Undead do you consider the most important?

 

Johnny 3 Tears: In my opinion, on American Tragedy we achieved what we wanted to be – there is everything from direct hip hop to heavy rock. That album defined our sound.

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Scrubsauce
Scrub has spent the better part of the last decade bouncing back and forth between Los Angeles and Denver. His prior contributions to the Hollywood Undead fandom include providing content for famous Hollywood Undead tumblogs like HoodAsFuck and Vik Winchester's blog. His time in LA allowed him to provide the community with behind the scenes tidbits, music video shoot info, and exclusive live recordings of Han Cholo.
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