Legendary Rock Interviews: Q & A with Acidic lead singer Michael Gossard

By John Parks

For a young band coming up, let alone a band from Southern California, it’s hard to find more validation than garnering the interest of legendary Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx, but that’s exactly where the band Acidic found themselves earlier this year when Sixx tweeted that he was digging their song “Drive Thru” and planned to feature it on his radio show.

Sixx isn’t the only artist digging Acidic, as Candlebox singer Kevin Martin appears on their latest album, and the guys have similarly made friends with other tourmates like Trapt and Hinder.

The band is on the road with Smile Empty Soul opening up minds to their sound, which is probably best described as a blend of their 1980s and 1990s influences, mixing the energy of bands like Green Day with the delivery of bands like Candlebox and Jane’s Addiction.

Acidic will be performing at Take 20, 438 U.S. 20, Cherry Valley, Ill., Nov. 20, and I recently interviewed singer/guitarist Michael Gossard to find out a bit more.

Q. Thanks for talking with me. For those new to the band, can you tell us how you guys arrived at the name Acidic and what were some of your initial experiences prior to forming the band in 2007?

A: Thank you for the opportunity. The name Acidic was the arrival of compromise between band members and the frustration of coming up with a name that is memorable and concise. As many bands will tell you, coming up with a good band name is hard. We found ours on the side of a Diet Rite Cola can! Prior to Acidic, I was influenced by the touring lifestyle. I got a chance to see the country touring with a few smaller acts and playing gigs as an opening act for bigger bands. I fell in love with it.

Q. Six years is a good chunk of time for a young band, and you have no doubt changed a lot since the formation of the band. What experiences have made the biggest dent on your career trajectory to this point?

A: The biggest dent in our career trajectory has been a scramble of many, many incidents, big and small. The most meaningful change comes from a myriad of seemingly insignificant events that pile up like a staircase to greater success. Meeting and becoming friends with such established bands as Hinder, Trapt, Candlebox, Fuel, Smile Empty Soul, and so many more has made a huge difference in our journey. Touring with Armed Forces Entertainment, playing for our troops in Kosovo and at two USAF bases in Germany was incredibly meaningful as well. 

Q. Touring has been a big part of your lifestyle, taking up most of your life, to be honest. What kind of effect — positive or negative — has this had on your relationships or your families?

A: Everything has its positives and negatives. Touring does take us away from our families a lot, but it also allows us a greater appreciation of the time we do get to spend with them! I am grateful for it. And in a way, it expands our “other family” — the fans and new friends we’ve met along the way. We have several “homes-away-from-home” now that we never dreamed we’d have, in cities and states we never thought we’d visit. 

Q. You have a song and video I really like called “Uninspired” and interestingly, it’s quite different from many of your other songs, including “Copper Man.” Is the diversity in your material a result of different songwriters within the band?

A: The diversity of the material comes from the diversity of experiences we have while touring, as well as other songwriters we’ve worked with. We see so many amazing things, and we are always evolving musically because of it. For example, the Armed Forces Entertainment tour took us to Ramstein AFB in Germany, where we saw wounded soldiers being brought back for treatment from the Iraq War. That moved me so much that I wrote a song about it, which became “The Brave” on the Chronic Satisfaction album. 

Q. Your band seems to have a penchant for jangly, unhinged guitars, and in general, you seem to pride yourselves most on emotional intensity and highs and lows rather than calculating precision. Is that fair to say?

A: I would say that music is emotion extrapolated through sound. What we do and what we play comes straight from deep inside. I would also say that we appreciate perfection, but realize that we are not, in fact, perfect, and the little imperfections in our music are what make it so unique and intriguing. You’ll always know it’s living, breathing and organic — nothing manufactured or too processed.  

Q. You have been championed by Nikki Sixx on his show, toured with numerous national acts, and captured the mind of your audiences on a nightly basis at your live gigs. Given the substantial amount of successes you’ve seen in the past seven years, do you ever see days where you’re just plain frustrated and wished things moved even faster for the band?

A: Everyone gets frustrated by life. However, I try to channel it into positive energy to get us moving forward always. Besides, sometimes the frustrations are what inspire new songs and new themes and new lyrics. Everything that happens to us contributes. Both the ups and the downs make us who and what we are, to this very moment. Yes, of course, we want it all now. We want it all yesterday! But we know it’s something we have to just keep working toward. Every step is a step forward, even if it seems like it isn’t one. We have something great in our hands, and the only thing we can do is show it to as many people as we can!

From the Nov. 13-19, 2013, issue

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