Bloodgood : 2007-04-23I interviewed Bloodgood at GMA 2007. Left to right: Oz Fox (also in Stryper), me, Les Carlsen, Michael Bloodgood. Check out the concert pics.
Randy: Did you play both Knott's and Disneyland in the mid 80s?
Michael: Never did Disneyland.
Randy: So it was just Knott's.
Michael: Yeah, we had just, it was in November, and we had just finished recording.
Les: We were going to do Disney but, as it turns out I guess, Minnie Mouse didn't like us.
Randy: So it was definitely Knott's then?
Michael: Yeah. We were doing our first record at Costa Mesa, and we played the John Wayne Theater. That was our very first LA show.
Randy: Is that an indoor or outdoor theater?
Michael: That was indoor. The following year we played outdoor because the following year we were doing our second record.
Randy: When I saw you--well, I might have seen both, because I know I saw you outdoor. Did you have the green lasers on the outdoor show? Do you remember green lasers shooting through smoke?
Michael: Knott's Berry Farm.
Randy: You had the big smoke pots going on.
Les: Oh yeah, at the John Wayne Theater?
Randy: Okay, is that what it was then?
Randy: That was what, about '87 or something?
Michael: That would have been '85. Our first album came out in '86, about three months after the show.
Randy: So it was real old school. That's where I go back, to '85 or so.
Michael: That's going back about as far as we went.
Randy: Probably farther than anyone here at GMA, anyway.
Michael: Our first shows before that were playing with Stryper in Seattle and then doing another show with Darrell Mansfield in the fall of the same year.
Randy: Anyway, as soon as I saw you guys there, I went to the Christian bookstore and found out when it was coming out, and got everything from that point on.
Randy: Just dug that one out because of Mark being on it. Really enjoyed the stuff, and to tell you the truth, I've been going to GMA every year, my daughter couldn't make it this year, she usually comes with me. She's stuck in Amsterdam, she's been an au pair over there and she's coming back tomorrow, so I almost canceled GMA, then Brian emails me and goes, "Well, you've got Bloodgood and Joanne Cash." I thought, "A little history, go back, Bloodgood's there, they're probably playing, Oz is in the band now. Okay, I'll come to GMA again."
Randy: You guys are a big part of the reason why I bothered to show up at GMA again this year.
Michael: Thank you. That's great.
Randy: Talk a little bit about background. Obviously, I know you guys' background as far as the band, but what I'm interested in is your reunion, how it came about that after years of putting that concept to bed for a while, you decided to get the band back together.
Michael: I had always prayed about it, and every time I prayed about doing it again, I really felt there was just a check. It wasn't time. I had a pretty serious thing happen to me a couple years ago. I almost bought the farm, and I don't mean purchase real estate. It was kind of from that point on that I really began to pray in earnest because I really just had a desire to play with Les and the other guys in the band, because we're such good friends, and it felt like there was a new born legitimacy to what we did. Before, it was "Oh, look at the big hair!" All of a sudden, my fifteen-year-old kid's just going, "That is so awesome!" So I just began praying, "Lord, now?" And it just seemed like, "Yeah." My wife was totally into it, she was totally behind it. I called Les and Les said, 'Yeah," and his wife Joy, same thing. I knew with Les and our wives backing us; wives have always been such a big part of our ministry, that I thought, "Okay, the Lord's putting this together." So I contacted Paul and Mark Welling. I'd been thinking about asking Oz for many years if I ever put the band back together, even though I knew Stryper had reformed by this time, I still said, I really felt, I was driving down having dinner with Paul Jackson, matter of fact, I felt the Lord said, "Call Oz, now." "Okay." So I'm on 405 and I called Oz and asked him to join the band. He got Michael Sweet's blessings and stuff, here we are.
Randy: That like the papal blessing? I was just in Rome last month.
Michael: It is, pretty much.
Oz: Let me just say that we're pretty close in Stryper over there, and appropriately I think it was the right thing to go to them and say, "Hey, you know" and at that point they were feeling like, "Yeah, you know, why not? It'd be good for you to do something like that." It was just really nice. It was very orderly, so to speak.
Michael: Yeah you want to do things decently and in order.
Michael: The thing is, we haven't said this before, but Stryper, our very first show was with Stryper. And the fact that we even got that opportunity was a huge deal for us. To come from relatively jamming in a garage to our first gig playing with Stryper was a big deal for us. They didn't have to do that. After we played the show these guys were really gracious to us. Janice was managing you guys (to Oz) at the time, brought us back stage to rehearse. "I want to talk to you guys."
Randy: Michael's mom?
Michael: Yup. "Yeah, I think there's something very special about your band," and she just kind of mentored us, so we've always had just a great respect and appreciation for Stryper, even way back when we started. Oz was always really great to us. He was always very congenial, invited us up to his room after the shows we had done. We just dug him from the get-go.
Oz: After that I just shined 'em on.
Michael: He did, pretty much. Became a rock god.
Oz: Didn't answer their phone calls.
Michael: No, no. (laughs)
Les: When their first album went platinum, pretty much. (pantomimes telephone call) "Hey Oz, it's Les Carlsen from Bloodgood." (pause) "Oz?" I found out years later it was just a drop out. He was on the other end, "Hey Les, man!" But yeah, I struggled through years of rejection.
Randy: Speaking of history, are you doing anything with Sindizzy?
Oz: You know, that's pretty much over with. The guitar player, Bobby MacNeil, moved to Montana and started some other business there. The drummer, Johnny, is a youth pastor at a church in Clairemont, California.
Michael: Although we met with Timmy Gaines last night and he wanted to know if he could replace me. No, Tim, no.
Randy: Would it still be called Bloodgood?
Michael: No, I don't know what it'd be called. Strypergood or Goodstrype.
Michael: Gainesgood. But I put him back. I put him in his place.
Oz: I'll tell you what, we'll still use Bloodgood, you won't be able to use your name in any way.
Michael: Call my attorneys. They can't use my name anymore. It was funny, we were threatened by that weren't we? By somebody?
Randy: I know this is a frequently asked question, but I know when I was a kid, listening people were asking about it; "Bloodgood? Is that like the blood of Christ, good, all that?" No, it's actually the guy's name, unless he legally changed it, and people went "No, no, it's not really his name." Turned out to be a perfect name for a heavy metal band. Your parents had the right idea.
Michael: And my parents' parents' parents' parents' parents. Somebody asked me when I changed my name to Bloodgood, and I said, "About five or six hundred years ago." It's a legitimate response.
Randy: What nationality?
Michael: Dutch. They came over in the 1600s and then anglicized it.
Randy: Definitely has the right ring to it. I noticed that you had planned to do some modeling for Abercrombie and Fitch. Why'd you turn that down?
Michael: I did? You better call my manager. Well I've actually reconsidered since then.
Randy: Any open avenues, right? And then for Les, same thing, you feel you've reached the age where you've got to give up on an NBA career?
Les: Yeah, pretty much. (laughs)
Randy: It have anything to do with leaping ability?
Les: I think so. White guys can't jump.
Randy: Yeah, I think you probably made the right choice. Stick with the music.
Oz: I had to give up great white shark wrestling. That was just getting hard.
Michael: I'll fish for something else besides that.
Randy: I know you've got history with Oz, because of the first show, but I actually did a little research last night. And early job, I'm thinking running sound for someone else's band, maybe someone named Jackson. Does Paul give you some grief about that.
Les: Actually I ran sound for Jackson, Michael did lights. We were the sound and light crew for Paul's band.
Randy: How long did that go?
Les: Oh, I don't know. A few months.
Michael: It seemed much longer than that.
Les: He got saved out of that.
Randy: Paul ended up in Bloodgood. He told me last night, "Make sure you give them some grief about their early career, pre-Bloodgood."
Michael: Well we have lots of pre-career stories. Post-career stories and mid-career stories. (laughs)
Randy: Mid-life crisis. What's the future look like as far as you're working on some new material, you've got something coming out, do we have a timetable, what are we looking at?
Michael: Well, Thursday.
Les: Next Thursday.
Michael: We're playing Thursday.
Randy: You start writing?
Michael: We're writing now, we probably have five or six tunes done.
Les: If we'd drop this interview and get started. (laughs)
Randy: Have you started recording?
Michael: No, we're just doing GarageBand stuff on his Mac and I've got a little portable digital thing that I'm writing music on with Paul.
Randy: Oz, are you still in the LA area?
Oz: Yeah, I live in Rancho Cucamonga.
Les: He lives right near me, actually.
Michael: Paul and Mark and I are still up in Seattle.
Les: So Randy, what we're doing is we're really on it. We're writing for that next record and as soon as it's done, we're going.
Michael: So we're looking for a producer, talking to a couple guys, we have already, and just really praying about where the direction we're gonna go is.
Randy: Sometime maybe 2007, early 2008?
Michael: I hope this year.
Randy: This year? That'd be great.
Michael: Yeah, yeah.
Randy: And touring to support it?
Randy: Denver, Colorado, great city.
Michael: Denver, Mile High.
Randy: Red Rocks, Stryper's played at Red Rocks.
Oz: Yup. We played Red Rocks.
Randy: How'd you enjoy that?
Oz: It was quite an experience.
Randy: Everyone sees Red Rocks and they think U2, right? Under a Blood Red Sky.
Michael: Oh, who doesn't?
Randy: Talk about history there.
Oz: You can actually go there and there's a photo of the different groups and stuff and we were one of the photos there, so it's kind of cool.
Randy: You ever play the Fillmore?
Oz: I don't think...maybe we have.
Randy: They have a whole wall full of photos with a lot of huge names.
Oz: I think we may have played there.
Randy: That's the big indoor venue in Denver.
Michael: That's a great part of the world.
Randy: Yeah, it's a fun place.
Michael: Except what's that football team they got there?
Michael: Who the Seahawks beat?
Randy: I seem to remember a couple Super Bowls...how many have you won?
Randy: I mean I like Jim Zorn and all, but John boy brought home a couple of rings.
Michael: Yeah, Mr. Teeth. We went in a restaurant wearing Seahawks jerseys and they wouldn't wait on us.
Randy: When I was in San Diego, I went to college down there with my wife, we were dating at the time, she got me tickets to go see the Seahawks and the Chargers, and we sat right behind the announcer from the local TV station. This kid had a shirt that said "Rattle Seattle."
Randy: I'll always remember that. That was back in the Dan Fouts era, probably in '82. I think Zorn was still playing for Seattle, wasn't he? It was right around that era, late seventies, early eighties. Anyway, I got to see the Seahawks then. My wife's actually from, you ever hear of a town called Forks on the peninsula?
Randy: That's where she grew up. And her parents moved to Montesano, and now they live near Olympia in a little town called Oakville.
Michael: Oh yeah, Forks is right between Spoons and Knives. (laughs)
Randy: It's right there on the coast. So that's all familiar stuff. Then after we got married we lived for ten years in California and then moved to Colorado. So you guys' home areas are all real familiar. That I-5 run up the coast.
Michael: Once you've done it once, you've done it too many times.
Randy: No doubt about that. Another subject area where I'd just love to sit and chat is you guys, I don't know about you, Oz, because we don't have your little bio online, but these guys are both interested in some history. I know you (points at Michael) have got the World War II stuff.
Michael: Yeah. World War II and Civil War.
Randy: World War II and Civil War, pretty passionate about that. Have you got to go see some of the historic sites?
Michael: Here? No, I never have time. But we finally got to Gettysburg, two of my relatives fought at Gettysburg.
Les: We actually went together.
Randy: My wife's ancestor, we were tracing the family lineage, and one of them was a Minuteman at Lexington.
Michael: That's great.
Randy: Yeah, that was pretty awesome.
Michael: I just can't get enough of that stuff.
Randy: When I'm not watching sports, it's History Channel. I actually taught high school history in California just after I got out of college. One of my students became a history teacher, so that was really cool. He hated history and now he's been a history teacher ten years.
Michael: All it takes is that one teacher to make the spark.
Randy: Yeah. Makes it worth it. All those years of pouring into a kid's worth it when you see him doing something like that finally.
Michael: It's kind of like our ministry, it's the same way.
Randy: You mentioned Stevie Ray Vaughan as one of your favorites. Do you know Mike Farris? I interviewed him earlier today.
Randy: Yeah, he sang in Double Trouble about two years after Stevie Ray passed on.
Randy: He's playing tonight.
Michael: My oldest son lives in Austin, too. He goes to the Stevie statue a couple times a year.
Randy: Has he had a miracle yet?
Michael: No, not yet. I haven't done that yet. Bring the candle and light it, but nothing's happened. Except I got burned with the wax one time.
Randy: Yeah, that'll happen.
Michael: That wasn't much of a miracle though.
Randy: But yeah, Farris has got a full eleven piece band playing tonight, Dave Roe, Cash's old bassist is playing tonight, so I'm hoping to catch that gig as well.
Randy: Oz, you've been busy. I checked out some of the Sindizzy stuff and that. Stryper, I know it's a little off topic, but you guys brought up Stryper a lot. You and Michael been planning or talking about doing a few more things or is Bloodgood kind of the focus right now?
Oz: Stryper's going to be doing a new CD in the end of July, and we'll probably be going straight from July all the way to maybe September. Then once that's done, I'm sure there'll be some dates for Stryper, and some dates with Bloodgood.
Randy: Any chance of more joint dates like that first one? That'd be kind of cool.
Oz: We're hoping.
Randy: It'd keep Oz busy.
Oz: We've contemplated it. I've talked to Mike about the possibility, he's open, so we'll see what happens.
Michael: I'd go see that show.
Randy: I'll be there. Just pa Oz double.
Michael: He's worth every penny.
Randy: You end up coming to Colorado, you know that thin air. Of course, it's probably tougher on Les when you get up in altitude.
Les: Yeah, you don't know what's going to happen.
Oz: No, I don't think it's going to matter for this guy, he's like the Everyready Bunny. You can't stop him.
Randy: He was going pretty quick when you were chasing him around stage yesterday.
Oz: Yeah, actually yes.
Randy: Moving pretty good for a mature man.
Oz: I'm like the cobra, he's like the mongoose. I strike and he jumps. (laughs)
Randy: I remember the energy from Demon on the Run in '85, so looks like it's still there. I know a little bit more about what they've been doing in the interim, but what have you been doing in between since we last heard from Bloodgood?
Les: I own an art company in Southern California, and it's what I've been doing. I've been in music and worship.
Randy: What type of art?
Les: Just independent contractors and get artwork and they go out and sell it.
Randy: Graphic design stuff or fine arts?
Les: Monet, Renoir copies, photographs, motivational stuff. I've been doing that for a time as I raise my daughter with my wife Joyce.
Randy: I saw you guys have been married over thirty years
Randy: Congratulations. That's big. My wife and I got our twenty-fourth coming this summer, so next year's the big twenty-five.
Randy: My oldest daughter just got married last summer.
Michael: Oh, you're getting old, man.
Randy: The twins turn thirteen, kids number four and five hit teenage years, it's like I must be getting old. Felt twenty years younger last night.
Michael: You got a little work ahead of you.
Randy: Yeah, a little bit more.
Michael: Twin thirteen-year-olds.
Les: You felt twenty years younger last night?
Randy: When you guys jumped on stage. Whitecross, too, because I'd seen Rex and Scott back on the Triumphant Return Tour, they played San Diego back in...that would have been around '89, probably. So, yeah, last night was good, it was good to get younger again. I know David lost a little bit of the hair he had on that one.
Michael: Yeah, I just found that too. It was kind of scary.
Les: He actually had it until we asked him to play, and then he pulled it out before the gig.
Michael: He's just nervous.
Randy: Well, you know, he hasn't been on stage as much lately. More behind the boards.
Les: He did great, didn't he?
Randy: Yeah, it was fun. It was really a kick.
Oz: So awesome!
Randy: And then the great thing for me, which really says a lot about you guys, I interview a lot of young bands when they're starting out, but I was talking to Paul last night, you get past the eagle thing a little more as you get older and you get used to thinking he gave me a pick for my kid, my guitar playing son, and he pulls out a pick and hands it to me, it's an Oz Fox signature pick, coming from Paul.
Michael: I'd just like to go on record, those picks that he gave you, those are my picks, because every time we play, he asks me for a pick. No wonder I don't have any picks left!
Randy: Was everyone in the band playing Oz Fox picks?
Michael: Oz hasn't given me one.
Les: I'm going to get an endorsement from Oz Fox Picks.
Michael: Yeah, we're looking for an Oz Fox pick endorsement.
Randy: They like an official company now?
Michael: Les just wears his in the middle of his forehead.
Les: I use his exclusively.
Randy: That's pretty odd. It was just kind of a sign about he wasn't worried about Paul Jackson stuff.
Michael: That wouldn't work in our band anyway.
Randy: He said when it comes to solos, it's like, "You take it," "No, you take it."
Oz: I can't wait to use his picks when he gets them.
Randy: So you're first in line. He owes you one.
Oz: That's right, payback buddy. I need about twenty picks.
Michael: I can't get one because I can't fit Michael Bloodgood onto a pick. It's just too little.
Randy: You can go with MB or something. But no, it was really special last night. I really enjoyed it.
Michael: It was special for us, too. It was just a moment in time. This whole weekend was just awesome.
Randy: Last year I had a great time with Michael, chatting with him. The first couple GMAs it was like all these 19-year-old, twenty-year-olds, my kids' age, so the last two GMAs, I've got to talk to two guys I was rocking out to back in the eighties, so it's been a lot of fun.