– Hi, thanks for your time. What are you currently up to? How is everything just after releasing your latest album?

I have been living in New York City and raising my 12 year old daughter which is quite a difficult job.

– This new record is «Rock On, Rock Hard, Rock Animal». What are your expectations on it? And how is its feedback being so far?

It was just something I wanted to make. I wanted to record my old bass player and drummer before they quit on me, so I brought them to New York City and we recorded everything that we knew, and wrote a few new songs to round it off.


– This album keeps your usual identity and style intact, in fact you have always remained true to yourself. Is it something easy to do after so many years into the music world?

Well I used the same guitars and amps and it’s my voice recorded into the same mics & tape machines as when I recorded all of those other albums. And it was mixed where I did Fatal Attraction. So it’s basically the same formula as what I did in the past.


– Moreover the Rock world has changed a lot since you started but, how do you manage to transport with your music the same feeling and energy?

I live in my own tragic bubble, I have no fucking clue what anybody else is listening to or playing.


– And what are your thoughts on the current Rock scene?

I’m not sure there is one. It depends on the city.


– You have always featured some covers on your albums, but this time you’ve made an exception. Is there any special reason behind this?

Antisocial is a cover song. There are 36 songs on the complete version of RORHRA, and you probably heard the original part. There is Kiss & ACDC and everything I’ve ever played live on stage.


– Talking about such, what are some of the songs you would like to cover someday?

You’ll have to get the complete version


– And how could you describe your new opus in just 3 words?

Rocks like Fuck


– Reviewing a bit your history, a long time ago you played in a cover band (TYRANT) with GEOFF TATE. How did that band get together? That’s going way back.

There’s a story about it on my myspace.


– You later played some years with a band name TKO. What are your memories of that period?

It was 30 years ago. I was just a kid.

I was playing with a 16 year old drummer named Gary Thompson I met at Bandstand East, a music store near my dad’s bakery in Bellevue, Washington. I used to hang out in music stores like Bandwagon in Crossroads and they’d let me play the guitars & amps. I have and use the same amps & guitars I used back then, today. Gary & I decided to start a band, we rehearsed in his parents basement.

It was a typical 1970’s rehearsal room. A basement in downtown Redmond. We even did our very gig there as a three piece called Rage with Scott Earl, a bass player from Redmond. It was Gary & I, we were the rock kids that got the rock scene going.

Redmond High School – Age 15

I started playing guitar at age 12 with my BFF at the time Chris DeGarmo, we were pot buddies (kids started early back in the USA in the 70’s) and we went to my first concert together, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Jeff Beck, & Starz at the Seattle Kingdome. A guy name Dave Pierce was a truck driver for my dad and he used to take me on the Bakery delivery routes & he was the was the first guy to ever smoke pot with me. He gave me my first guitar, a Les Paul Copy. He had a Gibson L6 he’d sometimes put it in my dad’s office and he show it to me & play it, I was amazed.

Chris & I became friends at school because we both smoked pot and we were 12. I destroyed the Les Paul, then a 2nd one, then I got a Fender Mustang & a Fender Champ amp for my 13th birthday.

I loaned Chris my Fender Mustang & amp went I went to Isreal with my dad & when I returned, Chris played me Over The Hills And Far Away over the telephone. He learned it note for note. I thought it was the record. I got jealous & I started getting good after that. We both took a few lessons from Rick Knotts of Rail & Company. They were the big band in Bellevue. He showed us the blues scale and bar chords. That’s what started rock ‘n roll. Both my Marshall amps used to belong to Rail & Company.

We used to hang out with other pot smokers, Chris’ older brother Mark would smoke pot with us, & we’d listen to Led Zeppelin & Aerosmith. Chris & I started learning the guitar together. I managed to get better equipment cause that bakery made a lot of money, & I was a spoiled brat. We always had a bit of competition, in the end I’d say he won, as his band after high school developed into Queensryche & became very successful. Way to go Chris DeGarmo!

We were both in love with this girl from school Jil Rivet. She was perfect. We were 13. Like 6 years later he told me he fucked her, years after everyone graduated. He told me she made the rounds & fucked everyone she knew in school. That I don’t buy, but way go Chris DeGarmo!

We did a lot of stupid shit kids do, we’d hang out and play pinball & video games at a place called Foosball next to the Mustard Seed 2 in Crossroads. We had sleepovers, smoked pot & talked about girls & getting laid, & hitting puberty. We’d buy 20 dollar bongs & get caught smoking pot by my dad, or try and pretend with Chris’ mom we weren’t stoned.

We were always in competition, but I lost it to a girl named Pam in Friday Harbor when I was 12. My parents were divorced at age 7 and I was being sent back & forth between my mom & my dad every time I got into trouble, which was often. I went to a lot of different schools. Degarmo’s parents were divorced too. We had a lot in common, it was all about getting stoned.

Another schoolmate at Highland Jr. High was Michael Wilton. He would later on take some guitar lessons from me after I took a few college courses at Cornish Music School for high school credit. He came to my dad’s house & paid me 20 bucks to show him some scales I learned at Cornish where I failed.He played bass in 8th grade & we did a jam together in the music room one day during class. The teacher Jack Kunz hated me, but most teachers did. I was a brat and a pothead who played loud music. I brought in my Marshall & Flying V that I just got. We played with a drummer who was the kid in school that everybody thought he was going to be the one to «make it». His name was Mark, who was one grade higher. I don’t think the guy did much after that. Eddie Jackson was the bass player in Spectrum for a while. He was already in high school. We used to play Bad Motor Scooter, I think we did a few gigs.

So as a 14 year old I got caught selling a joint for 50 cents from a guy who got busted showing it off to someone in class. The teacher took it, sent him to the principal, they called the police, & he narced on me. His name was Billy Biggs. I got taken to court, I denied it, they gave me 20 hours of community service & I got shipped me off to live with my mother back in Friday Harbor. I did nothing but try to play guitar, I got into trouble there hanging out with stoners. And got shipped back to live with my dad. I started to get good at guitar. I was hooked on the group Rush who’s concert I saw at the Seattle Paramount. My father moved to Kirkland, and that’s when I met Gary Thompson.

Gary & I had somehow found an older bass player named Randy Nelson (28) and he knew this 38 year old singer named Jake who could sing like Steven Tyler, our band was called Spectrum. We did a few gigs, & Jake quit because basically, I was 15 years old and we were gigging at schools. Still I was 15 and gigging, & being in a band was a great way to pick up girls & I fell in love with all of them, anywhere, anytime I could.

This new band called Van Halen had just come out. I saw them & met the guitarist, Edward Van Halen. They were supporting Black Sabbath, but I spent the whole Sabbath show getting Eddie’s autograph, and staring at him through a backstage curtain. He signedthe wheel of Led Zeppelin 3 album cover writing «Make your mama scream for me». I was with Chris Jacobson, another guy that worked for my dad, & he also gave me a guitar which I destroyed.

Edward Van Halen at the Seattle Arena. I was in the front row!

That summer, Gary’s best friend Mike McCrae & myself followed Van Halen up & down the west coast. We went to at least 10 shows. They started the Van Halen 2 tour at UPS college in Tacoma. We knew these 21 year old girls who came to our gigs with Jake, Susie Wimberly & Debbie who worked for John Bauer Concert Company. Debbie & Susie dated Edward & David Lee Roth on te first Van Halen tour. McCrae was in love with Debbie, but she tried to fuck me at an after gig party at my dad’s condo. I loved her but I was good friend (and stupid) so I set her up with McCrae instead. The party moved outside to watch them through the window shade I left open. McCrae pussed out, she was in my bed naked & he was too shy to fuck her. They eventually found out they were being watched. Later John Bauer divorced his wife Ivy & married Debbie.

Debbie booked the hotels for the Van Halen tour & we got the list of where they were staying & their fake hotel names. We booked a room at the same hotel. The first one was the Roadway Inn in Tacoma Washington.

We were front row for the Van Halen show at University of Puget Sound & I got on McCrae’s shoulders to take pictures. I still have the slides.

I took these photos and turned them in as an assignment for photography class.

After the UPS show we caught Michael Anthony & the roadies having a pizza fight in the hallway. I asked Mike to take a photo with my guitar. He put his teeth marks in it.

Michael Anthony holding my V.

Then I asked Michael Anthony if Eddie would sign my V. He said «ask him yourself» and he yelled out «Hey Ed». Eddie opened his door & we ran up to him, & he ducked behind the door but didn’t close it. I ask him if he would sign my V, he invited me & Mike McCrae to come in.

I was so excited. Edward Van Halen was my world. He was just a kid, 22 maybe. I was 15 but I felt like I was 12. He scratched an autograph in the back of the bit, put some teeth mark in it, & then I said, how do you play the intro to «I’m The One»? He played in on the V. Mike & I were fucking amazed. I asked him, «Am I doing this right?» And I played the solo to On Fire. He told me to hold on, opened up his Haleburton metal suitcase. We noticed he had girls panties with Edward written on them in marker & pulled out a Dan Electro neck & guitar body & a screwdriver. He put the guitar together then and there & strung it up.

He pulled out some cocaine in a bindle & did a bump on a guitar pick. He said «I’d offer you guys some, but I don’t have that much.» I’d done it a couple if times before but I never really got high on that back then. I was a pothead. He also had a little roach of joint he was saving to put him to sleep.

He was the absolute coolest, most beautiful, person let alone rock god I’d ever seen. I pulled out every Van Halen riff I knew, & I knew most of them. We’d play together & then he’d stop & I’d do the solo riff, like in I’m The One. He was blown away. I was this tiny little kid, & I could play. He showed me every guitar trick & riff on his 2 albums. He told McCrae I was better than the guy in Bad Company & I should start a band but whatever I do, he told me, «Don’t just copy me like every asshole in L.A., take it somewhere further, somewhere else.»

He signed a piece of hotel stationary for me «Adam, keep pickin’ your ass off» and he dated it & wrote the room number on it. It’s in a book somewhere that I can’t seem to find but I’ll find it. It;s actually what started me looking through all my old shit. I keep finding other things, but not that book.

We sat in Ed’s room for three hours. Just him, me & Mike McCrae. I didn’t take the camera in cause I didn’t wanna scare him. He was the nicest rock star I’ve met still to this day, & if I could ever influence anyone the way he did me, it’s really all because of him.

After we left, the roadies were still throwing pizza & trashing the hallway. Alex Van Halen put his teeth marks in my V.

Alex VH at The Rodeway Inn. I got a B on this picture. «Needs Spotting»

We got backstage most gigs like Seattle Coliseum & followed them all the way to the California World Music Festival.

Mike McCrae, Michael Anthony, & Rudy who was Edward’s guitar roadie.

We’d always stay in the same hotel, we’d see Edward in the mornings, he’d invite us in while he had his breakfast. His manager Noel Monk came in & told us to leave Ed alone while he eats & Ed said «no don’t worry, they’re cool», & he let us stay.

Alex Van Halen backstage Seattle Center Coloseum.

Michael Anthony used the name Biff Malibu at hotels

I went to the airport to see Van Halen off when the tour ended. Thanks to Debbie, we also had their flight info. I said hello to Alex & sat down with him while he waited for his flight. He asked me how I got money to get around, he’d seen me everywhere from Seattle to California.

I didn’t have an answer, if they were playing, I was going. He told me how he’d seen Black Sabbath at a festival & 200,000 were in Ozzy’s control. I still told him I though Sabbath sucked. They had just broken up after Van Halen demolished them last year. Never Say Die was the tour. The didn’t have to say it. Alex talked to me till he boarded. That was the best education anybody could ever give me. I followed them again the next year when Rail & Company was the support act for 18 shows.

Backstage at VH in Seattle, I met this guy that had a guitar with a locking tremolo bar that he invented and he was showing it to Edward. His name was Floyd Rose. He offered to make me one of his tremolo bars for 300 dollars. A few weeks later I got a Boogie Body strat body & neck from a guitar repair shop called Guitar Works. I used to hang out there & smoke pot with Mike Lull who used to repair guitars at Bandstand East. Guys like Roger Fisher from Heart used to bring in guitars to him get big bags of weed. My dad bought the guitar body & my aunt gave me the money for the tremolo. It was the 5th Floyd Rose tremolo bar ever made.

I used to take that guitar to concerts and I’d speak to the guitar roadie & I’d get backstage to show guitarist this new tremolo bar. I met Pat Travers & Pat Thrall played my guitar during their concert. Matthias Jabs from Scorpions played it on stage too. I met Neal Schon of Journey, I even got to roadie for The Baby’s with John Waite for one show. I had to do the guitar changes. They paid me 50 dollars.

Gary & I stuck with the bass player Randy Nelson and we advertised for a new singer and tried a few guys. It was always a problem to find a singer. One day this guy came into Gary’s parent’s basement. He was older, around 22. He had a perm afro & he came in a beat up VW brown van. His name was Jeff Tate. He could sing Rush & hit the high notes. He said he was impressed by the atmosphere we created in Gary Thompson’s basement. We had a few pars wth blue gels, & some posters on the wall.

Jeff who much later changed his name to Geoff was from Tacoma and he lived with a blond girl. Sometimes we would rehearse at my dad’s bakery after it closed. The Bakery was a huge operation with a restaraunt, 20 trucks & 50 employees. Jeff got a job there as bread slicer.

We called the band Tyrant after a Judas Priest song, no one had ever heard of these groups before. We learned some metal songs like We Will Rock You By Queen, Victim Of Changes by Judas Priest, Bastille Day by Rush, Celebration Day by Led Zeppelin & Rock Bottom by UFO, Can You Feel It & The Tower by Angel, rock stuff, but Geoff was trying to get us to play more progressive stuff like Yes & Genesis. Gary & I were rock kids and we only played metal. Jeff blurted out one day that he wanted to change his name to Jeff Waterfall. He was a hippy. The name stuck as a joke, we were vicious kids and we had this little circle of friends our age so we’d goof on the old guys.

Being in a band was a cool thing when I got to high school. We played the Lake Washington High School Senior Keg in 1979, I was just a sophomore & a guy named Jeff Obert who was a senior asked me if we’d play. It was out in some field with a truck stage & a generator. Jeff had his van there and fucked 3 girls. He banged this chick Cory Houston who was really stacked & everybody wanted her in school. Jeff always pulled the really hot high school chicks. I was really envious of him at the time but I was so much younger than everybody I knew. He also nailed a chick named Julie that was Marion Molton’s girlfriend. She was a skanky blond & a dropout. Marion was a pot dealer and a dropout too. He had his own place near the school, and we’d go there and get high. Marion took photos at an outdoor Tyrant gig that was put on during the day at Lake Washington High School. He made this mock album cover and called it Long Live Rock and Roll, after the Rainbow song we did. I have it somewhere and if I can dig it up, I’ll post the photos.

TYRANT at Lake Hills Roller Rink: Gary Thompson on drums, that’s me on guitar, Jeff (Geoff) Tate on vocals & Randy Nelson the bass

We were also gigging at Lake Hills Roller Rink in Bellevue. We did the battle of the bands in the summer of 1980. It was put on by the 2nd sleaziest promoter in history, Craig Cook also known as Craig Crook. His company was called Unicam or Uniscam. We went all the way to finals, it was over the course of 8 or 10 weeks. We were up against a band called Ridge, that played My Sharona, and Ridge was managed by Unicam. The drummer was Ken Mary who later played with Alice Cooper. I was told by a judge that it was rigged. All the judges except one were Unicam employees that week. There was no comparison, we were rock gods in Bellevue.

A band called Joker opened the finals. Joker was basically what is now Queensryche with a different singer, Paul Passerelli.

After Tyrant lost the battle of the bands we had a meeting at Gary’s house & decided to break up. It was kind of a bitter fight. We recorded the show, Gary & I thought the vocals were kinda gay. We were way too young & stupid to understand that the world wasn’t going to end because of a few tacky vocals. It got nasty. I was a bastard & threatened that I could get him fired from the bakery, I was a spoiled little prick but he knew I didn’t mean it. We ended on a bad note. I think we were all just really upset that we lost. It was in the Seattle Times newspaper. Gary & I were too humiliated to go on with Jeff Tate so Waterfall went down the river.

Gary Thompson and me backstage at the Moore Theater 1980

Jeff and his girlfriend still worked at the bakery after that. He eventually got fired for stealing bread or bags of food, as some employees took food home without asking. He got caught. My uncles were hard asses, but my dad always gave away food, especially to my friends. Jeff didn’t have much money & was really broke at the time. I always felt bad about telling him I could get him fired. After that summer Jeff said he didn’t want do bands anymore while he working at the bakery. Later he joined Myth, and I think it took a lot of convincing for DeGarmo to convince Tate to join Queensryche.

Then we reformed Tyrant with Brad & Rod Young. They were the twin brothers of Rail & Company singer Terry Young. They had band called Shifter. We did a concert at Bellevue Community College. We used to have these parties at my dad’s condo. At my 16th birthday party, a guy named Vic Carr left my party with 3 girls & one guy. They were cruising a nearby parking lot, a police car spotted them and went after him. Vic tried to out run the cops. The crashed 500 meters from my flat. Vic & the three girls all died. The one guy survived. I only found out when the cops came to my door the next day. It was quite a party.

I had another year of school & Gary graduated. We briefly played with Roger Fisher from Heart who had just been given the sack. He came over to the basement three times. He left a strat there & never picked it up. He had rooms filled with guitars at his house. He said in the Seatte Times that he was starting a band with Adam Brenner 16, & Jerry Thompson 17, Gary was pretty upset. Roger told us after that, «it’s not a band, you’re just helpin’ out ol’ Rog till he can find one». We really took things hard back then.

Then I joined TKO. I was 16 years old


– If I’m not mistaken you also did an audition for KISS with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, but you finally didn’t join the band. How do you think would everything have changed if you were a KISS’ member?

Photo by

I probably be rich and taller.


– And looking back now, could you say you prefer having carved your own solo career instead of being part of such a big band as KISS?

I wouldn’t have lasted 2 weeks in a dictatorship like Kiss.


– Anyway you have been through different experiences throughout all these years into the music world but, what’s left for you to get into the music business?

I have a goal. To get in to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall Of Fame before I die.


– You have also toured quite a lot so, what are some of the funniest anecdotes you’ve live on the road?

What’s tragic to some can be fume to others. Most funny stories have to do with personal friends making idiots of themselves or incidents with police


– And is there anything you regret about having done or haven’t done (attitude, album, etc.)?

I regret being on the road in July 2011. My wife died on July 28, and I arrived back home on the day she died. She waited for me. But the days leading up to her death while I was away, were very difficult and she was taken advantage of on her deathbed by evil people. I’m currently involved in a horrible legal battle with about 5 different lawyers and things could not be darker. It’s soul destroying.


– As I said earlier, you have always toured a lot, in fact the tour you are currently doing will take you to Spain, again to several cities. In fact you have always played in different Spanish cities, even the smaller ones, and I’ve also read you speak a good Spanish so, what have been your best moments in Spain?

Spending time in Madrid at The Rastro at A Pleno Pulmon but that was a lifetime away.


– And finally, what are your near-future musical plans?

Keep touring, try to get back to work and leave all the dark clouds behind me.


– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.

Rock On, Rock Hard , Rock Animal.


Sergio Fernández


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