Interview by Roxanne Blanford
Paul Stanley is the greatest frontman in rock history. Heâ€™s non-stop entertainment and thatâ€™s what itâ€™s all about: ENTERTAINMENT AND ENERGY. Thatâ€™s how I like to think of BEAUTY SCHOOL DROPOUTS, as entertaining. We put on a real show when weâ€™re up there, and we have a great time doing it.â€?
So begins this conversation with Steven Fallon, the entertaining and exhaustingly energetic frontman for New York Cityâ€™s BEAUTY SCHOOL DROPOUTS, a full-throttle, sexy, modern punk version of classic Ramones melded with the showmanship of KISS and nurtured at the sonic knee of Johnny Thunders and Steve Diggle.
Spirited, opinionated and not afraid to let anyone know whatâ€™s on his mind, Fallon details how he and his hometown pals put the glam/punk band together in 1990, during that oddly suspended time in rock after the Ramones put punk on the map and before the commercialization of â€˜grungeâ€™ turned it into money-making pop.
Playing lead guitar and vocals, Fallon is joined by James â€œCheeâ€? on bass and vocals, and Gino on drums. In the early days, BSD included Cheeâ€™s brother, Sal on second guitarâ€”who actually named the band after the song from â€œGreaseâ€?--- but after the band went on a nine-year hiatus (â€œin which we all did some other stuffâ€?, Fallon explains), Sal left the band in 2000 and BSD have been a three-piece ever since.
â€œWhen we started out, we went with the long hair look, kind of a New York Dolls thing. I remember back then, when we played our first show at a club near the Queens/Nassau border in New York, we went over really big as people in 1990 really hadnâ€™t seen anything like that in a club for a long time: Just fun punk music and a wild showâ€”guys dressed up, wearing make up, the whole bit. Of course there was some kind of power outage that stalled things for, like 15 minutes, but it was a good time. To this day we STILL play many of the early songs and they sound just as fresh today as they did then, Iâ€™m glad to say.â€?
Besides Paul Stanley (and, by default, the entire KISS band), Fallon speaks highly of and passionately about being inspired by The Ramones, the Buzzcocks and The Rolling Stones.
â€?Some people say the Stones should â€œretireâ€?, Fallon starts.
â€œWhy!?? They tour a year at a time or more, and their live show today will destroy just about anything else any other band out there attempts. And, letâ€™s be honest: Touring takes a lot out of you. Thatâ€™s why these 23-year old pansies donâ€™t want to tour for more than 3 months. Itâ€™s fucking grueling. But the Stones, they donâ€™t stop. I donâ€™t think they know how.â€?
While heâ€™s far from being Mick Jagger, or even Iggy Popâ€™s bastard son, Steven Fallon is a ball of unrelenting energy onstage. Adorned usually in black, leather and sporting eyeliner and black nail polish (â€œRight now Iâ€™m using Urban Decay, Soot and Perversion nail polish. I always try to look good for a show. MAKE-UP RULES!â€?), Steven Fallon is prone to work up a major sweat during a combustible BEAUTY SCHOOL DROPOUTS set, and the infectious madness spreads through the audience like an untamed virus.
Maybe itâ€™s all the sugar he ingests (â€œI couldnâ€™t live without breakfast cereal. I like the good ones and the â€˜badâ€™ sugary ones, like Frankenberry. I positively live on cereal !â€?), or maybe itâ€™s just an innate compulsion to deliver high octane music to the masses wanting to be shot out of their boots like a cannonball. Whatever it is, a BSD show is not the place for the faint of heart.
â€œWe are NOT boring, depressing or preachy. We have a blast on stage and we fucking perform! We put on a show, in fact, we put on a memorable show!. We connect. We look crowds in the eye, and just love getting up there to do our thing. And, I feel weâ€™re the best at what we do. Weâ€™re there to have fun. Not to preach our views on life or politics. Make up your own mind. You donâ€™t need a performer to tell you how you should think or feel!â€?
Trumpeting the new BEAUTY SCHOOL DROPOUTS CD TIME FOR YOU TO GO (available through the bandâ€™s website), Fallon is an advocate of ass-kicking rock, for putting it all on the line live, and leaving nothing behind. Itâ€™s for the love of playing, for the crowds who cheer and remember their songs, and just for the hell of letting loose.
â€œThere are so many bands who get on stage and never smile, never cut loose. Why bands do the whole â€˜depressedâ€™ act, I donâ€™t know. They seem like theyâ€™re having such a dull time. I mean, why donâ€™t they just go home then?â€?
â€œPaul Stanley is in his 50â€™s right? And, he still blows them all away. He sings, plays guitar, and does splits all at the same time! Itâ€™s not easy, man. And he still has a great time doing it. You canâ€™t take your eyes off him when heâ€™s up there. And, he looks great! Heâ€™s the best.â€?
Continuing, Fallon concludes: â€œIf I could play as long and for as long as some of these pioneers who are still getting it up every night, playing for two hours or more, and still having a blast. ..? Yeah! Why not? Iâ€™m very energetic on stage and feel Iâ€™m just getting better all the time. So, sure. I wanna play until Iâ€™m as old as Mick or Paul. I wanna play until I drop.â€?