Talkin’ Chaos with Anarchy Rock N’ Roll Frontman Katey Ashley
Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen
Katey Ashley is no stranger to the stage. After playing hundreds of gigs, as a drummer and bass player, he found his true calling as a frontman. He formed his own band in 2015 and coined the genre “Anarchy Rock n’ Roll.” Katey Ashley is someone you need to see perform live to really know what he is all about, but in the meantime, check out our interview below and pick up a copy his ‘Slutty in the City’ 7” record.
ALISON “METALBABE” COHEN: Hey Katey! This interview has been a long time coming. I’m glad we are finally doing this!
KATEY ASHLEY: Yay! I’m glad to be here. Let’s commence.
METAL BABE: I’m glad you’re here too. Start off by telling me a little bit about your background as a musician. How long have you been singing? You play both guitar and bass? What’s your preference?
KATEY: I started this crap in high school. Like any naive small-town rocker I knew I wanted to make my mark. After playing drums for a year, I picked up a bass and dove face first into the punk scene, starting countless bands on bass. Records and tours followed. I switched to guitar where I started an iconic band called Straight Edge Kegger. People seriously love this band. Google it. This lasted a whopping eight years.
By an early age, I’d released 28 pieces of vinyl on both domestic and European record labels, and had played hundreds of gigs. I’d dominated my little scene and became some sort of punk rock guru to most. I got bored in central California and decided to move to L.A. Nowadays I play rock and live in Hollywood.
I’ve played bass for a few bands. Then I finally woke up and decided I was sick of lugging amps, tuning every five seconds, and memorizing peoples’ songs who didn’t give a sh*t anyway. I figured I’d give my hand being a frontman and use my name so I could do whatever the f*ck I wanted. It seems to be my true calling. I really enjoy it. Ya’ll are f*cked now ‘cause I ain’t stopping.
METAL BABE: Why did you want to be a singer in the first place?
KATEY: Singing is primal… Organic. My voice is unique. I was raised by a gypsy. I dunno, I’ve always enjoyed writing poems and lyrics and my ideas seem far from the norm.
I just get bored doing the same thing all the time. Singing has freed me of my musical rut.
METAL BABE: Very cool. Glad you found your calling. Your self-proclaimed genre is “Anarchy Rock n’ Roll.” How did you come up with this and what does it mean to you?
KATEY: It’s a long story about good and evil. The rock world crumbled… Blah blah blah. From the ash came Justin Bieber and Mariah Carey. “Anarchy Rock n’ Roll” is my protest to the music industry, as opposed to aspiring to be the next Jay Z or Taylor Swift. I mean, come on. What hard rock bands have broken out in the last 25 years? Steel Panther is a joke, and Buckcherry? The local bands all think they’re gonna magically crack the code to make it big playing hair metal in 2017. Um… Yeah.
I’m not stupid about it. I’m angry it’s this way. Instead of trying to run a Goddamn boot camp and give myself and my bandmates a false sense of a literal pipe dream, we’ll get f*cked up, destroy, (because we can) and most importantly have fun.
“It’s the destruction of hard rock while playing it.”
METAL BABE: Who’s currently in the Katey Ashley band and how long have you been together?
KATEY: We are going on the two-year mark. Danny Boner is on guitar, and Gabe Gunner is on bass. I just replaced my last drummer and have my good buddy Hector playing drums now. I have to replace members sometimes. People try to bring drama. I don’t play that game. The current line-up is solid. I love it!
METAL BABE: That’s great! It’s definitely better to stay drama free. What have you released to date, and what is the story behind the vinyl records for “Slutty in the City” and the split 7″ bootleg with The Germs?
KATEY: I did a few promo CDs. The vinyl, it’s just relevant. I self-released “Slutty in the City” 7″ myself. But The Germs split… Ugh. I found a box of those records on my doorstep and I’m still trying to find out how the f*ck this happened or who’s responsible. It’s clearly a bootleg. Matrix numbers are scratched off so you can’t trace anything back. I don’t mind, I’ve always adored Darby Crash. If you’re reading this how about some more copies assh*le? Bootleggers… This is why I fight crime on the weekends.
METAL BABE: That’s crazy. I had no idea on The Germs record. Glad I have a copy though. Sounds like it might become a collector’s item! Where have you played out so far as a frontman for Katey Ashley? I know you’ve torn up the stage at The Whisky a few times!
KATEY: Yes, we have headlined the legendary Whisky three times. That’s it so far. We’re just that Sunset Strip kinda band. I’d love play more, but I typically do two gigs a year. I want it to be special…. Almost intimate. A water-cooler band. Smiles on all the beautiful faces. I like amusing people. Shock value is a priceless talent and I’m a natural at it.
METAL BABE: That makes sense. You want each show to count. You are known for your live shows and crazy stage antics, and have thrown condoms and toilet paper into the crowd, smashed instruments, and use some unique and fun stage props as well. What can fans expect from a live Katey Ashley show?
KATEY: Fans can expect a complete and utter in-your-face hard rock assault with sides of chaos. I’m not giving anything away. You gotta come find out for yourselves. The venue can expect to clean up for a while after. It’s never pretty, but it’s all rock n’ roll in the end
METAL BABE: Who is your biggest influence as a performer? Who do you think was the ‘craziest’ onstage?
KATEY: I loved David Lee Roth. What a showman. I get my jumping from him, though I probably overdo it.
METAL BABE: (LAUGHS) I saw a photo of you doing a pretty crazy jump!
KATEY: David Lee Roth was fun to watch, and looked like he was having a blast up there. Darby Crash. GG Allin. Sebastian Bach back in Skid Row. He sang like crap onstage, but his energy was 110%. That’s what I love about shows. The mortality. The rawness, ya know? If I wanna hear a perfect version of the song I got the album right f*cking here. A crystal clean live sound is overrated if you ask me.
METAL BABE: What last words would you like to say to our readers?
KATEY: Rock n’ roll is a lifestyle. There’s no need to compete. Let’s put the egos aside and just have fun. Alison, I truly loved the interview. It’s people like you that make the scene go ‘round.
METAL BABE: Thank you so much Katey. I really appreciate that and am glad to help!
KATEY: Buy my records when you see them in the shop, and when my name’s on the marquee, expect one hell of a show! Wow. This was fun. Thanks again. Rock n’ roll!