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A Dirty Dozen with GENE LOUIS from BULLETS & OCTANE – May 2024

According to a recent press release: “Bullets and Octane is a hard-hitting rock band hailing from SoCal. The band has been touring in Europe and North America since 1998, performing with Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour, Social Distortion, Bad Religion and Eagles of Death Metal amongst others, as well as headlining their own tours. The band has been writing and recording new music in anticipation of releasing a new album and hitting the road in 2024. “Space Lord Symphony,” the first single released in 2024, has been getting rave reviews and the band is excited to release their new single “Vampires.” We get frontman Gene to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

The most recent Bullets And Octane, release “Vampires” was slightly influenced by a song called “I Ain’t Your Savior“ from the B&O release on RCA records called In The Mouth of the Young as it was partially a tip of the hat sonically to an old fan favorite from the previous album.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

My father was a Dixieland jazz drummer out of St. Louis Missouri, and I was introduced very young to different styles of music, my father, jazz, my older brother, loved hair metal, my neighbors listened to classic rock, and all my friends listen to Punk Rock and Grunge growing up. I realized quickly when my father put the drumsticks in my hand and set me behind the drum kit, that I found my passion. Still to this day, I smile ear to ear whenever there is a musical instrument in my hands.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Building off the previous question I would say, going to a very small venue in St. Louis Missouri in the 1990s with my father to see the Brian Setzer Orchestra on such a small stage with an 18-piece Big Band was definitely one of the highlights of all of the shows that I have seen over the years. My goodness it was so electric!

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

When I think about collaborations, the list goes on and on, but as far as musician\producer\co-writing a song together, the first name that comes to mind is Butch Walker. He is amazing at all of the above, and it would be such an amazing collaboration. It would be a dream to spend a month locked in a studio with that gentleman.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

One of my personal favorite things to do when not creating music in the studio, or on the road that really helps me unwind is getting up early in the morning and going outside for hikes and jogs which clears the mind and rejuvenates the body and spirit. Definitely recharges the batteries.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe, or you disagreed with?

Bullets And Octane have been called many things over the years. I simply like to describe it as rock ‘n’ roll. There’s always interesting fun guitar riffs and jam-packed with vocal melodies and hooks. Although some reviews have called certain B&O albums, “metal,” I honestly don’t find that to be an appropriate observation. Like I said, straight up, rock ‘n’ roll.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Ha ha guilty as charged! I love breaking out the acoustic for a good old fashion sing-along. As far as food and drinks are concerned, I feel like the band is always on the go so much there’s not much time for a good old fashioned barbecue or a fancy drink by any means lol.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Well, Bullets and Octane just had the pleasure of working with a true gentleman, and legend, Steve Stevens from Billy Idol. I think I could speak for every member of Bullets when I say that we all were very excited and starstruck growing up on his influential guitar playing. We are so grateful that we actually got to work with him on a brand new single called “No One Gets Out Alive,” and shooting the music video with Steve Stevens was amazing. This song will be the follow up single after “Vampires.” Such a great talent & human!!

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part about being a musician besides being able to be creative and self-expressive, is truly the connection with an audience. Being spontaneous and feeling the energy in the room is so electric and contagious, just feeding off each other in a live setting. If I personally had to do something else as a profession at this point in my life, with so many different good and bad life experiences, I think that I would enjoy life podcasts, having conversations with people, sharing stories, and sharing life advice and connecting.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Ha ha well, in all honesty, this is one of those questions that I could do without if that answers the question lol. Although it would be nice to be asked in depth about some of the lyrics in our Bullets songs, which always seem to be overlooked in interviews. There’s a lot to be said when you dig deep in the lyrics about self-healing, acceptance and overcoming the past.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I personally feel that there are a lot of moments and situations that personally felt like a misstep over the career of Bullets. I must say it’s not the easiest task when you’re very young to make all the right decisions as things are ever-changing as you’re thrust forward in a very judgmental business. A lot of these mistakes have brought us to where we are today, so it’s hard to wonder if there is regret. It is what it is, and you can’t change your past, but you can continue to look and move forward.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

There are so many albums that I wish I could’ve been a part of, putting a little bit of a different twist musically on it, or just putting my stamp on it. But the beauty of music is that you must appreciate and accept others self-expression and their musical choices. Off the top of my head, I would’ve loved to have played on Chris Cornell’s first solo album, Euphoria Morning. I love that album; it’s amazing and I would’ve loved to have participated in the creation of it.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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