Fleur the Kiwi
In the past twenty or so years, Sean Okin has created a lot of music with a number of bands — Alice in Smack, Sexcess, Cut Throat, and others — as well as solo. On the 2012 edition of Soundwaves Christmas, Sean performed his song “Into the Light.” We met up with Sean at Neto’s in Santa Clara in late December. He sat outside with us after Bad Boy Eddy’s set and answered the Heart of Rock questions, and then did a full interview (coming soon).
From now until the end of time (or until too many people die for us to continue), DGT&G will be interviewing rock ‘n’ roll artists—famous, not-famous, and the vast numbers in between—and asking each the same five questions. Over time, their answers will become a repository of the heart of why people play rock music. Read on and enjoy …
DGT&G: Why do you play rock music?
Sean Okin: Now or when I started? Well, I started because—there’s so many reasons to start. Music moved me more than just about anything else. And I always had a dream to be a singer. I remember being at a Judas Priest concert … I was always into music. I was DJ’ing before I was singing. I always kind of fantasized about being a singer. I’d get on the microphone before any of the people were in there, and I tried to sing. I’m like, “I might be able to do this.” So I grew my hair long. People kept asking me if I was in a band. And I was like, “I’m not. I’d like to be—I’d like to try it.” So I tried it out and it worked out. So, I’m like, all right, this is my starter band; let’s make a real band now. I found out I could do it, and I ended up taking voice lessons. Now music is my therapy. It’s such a big part of me now. I couldn’t imagine life without it. If life gets difficult, I have to sit down there with my guitar and write something. It’s not like when I was younger. I was trying to—so I could play all these places—be a rock star. I think I tried to be a rock star, and I ended up being a musician.
DGT&G: What else could you see yourself doing?
SO: Oh, I could—let’s see. There’s some odd things I could see myself doing. I think I could be kinda like a spiritual talk show host; motivational, inspirational talk show host. I took a slight crack at it. That was still in my drinking days, so let’s see how I could do. I think I might take another crack at that at some point. When I have enough time. But I also wanna be someone who helps people find their best life. Maybe like a life coach. But I’m really into organic food and natural living and protecting the land. I’m very motivated by natural, healthy living, beautiful things. But then I think I still want to play music though. [Laughs]
DGT&G: Do you have any regrets about taking this path?
SO: You know, I did at one point because I was blaming things that alcoholism actually was causing. I was blaming music, but as we found out later, you don’t have to drink or do drugs—you can be completely sober and still do music. They don’t go hand in hand necessarily.
DGT&G: A lot of musicians have figured that out.
SO: Yeah, you either figure it out or—you know, death.
DGT&G: Question 4.
SO: I’m knocking these out! [Laughs]
DGT&G: What’s your favorite part about creating and playing rock music?
SO: Being able to get someone else to understand something you’re going through. And it helps them get through something in life. It helps me get through things I don’t understand in life. It’s something else to be able to move somebody, to reach somebody and make their life better.
DGT&G: If you could create your dream rock band, who would be in it?
SO: That’s funny. This is the one that I remember looking at, going, “I would know how to answer this when I was younger, ’cause I would have chosen a bunch of favorite rock stars. But now I would want some of my best friends in it. I would say—oh good, Steve’s not here—I didn’t want to say, if he was in front of me. [Laughs]
DGT&G: What does he play?
SO: He plays guitar. He’s also a recording engineer. So we wrote a lot of songs.
DGT&G: What’s his last name?
SO: Braverman. I would definitely have him. I would have Ramsey on drums, he was my drummer in Cut Throat and Alice in Smack, an Alice in Chains and Godsmack cover band. I have so many guitar player friends that are amazing. How many guitar players can I have?
DGT&G: It’s your band.
SO: I want to put down Darwin and Ken from Cut Throat, and my guitar player in Hawaii, Clint Harrell. Then I get to play vocals, I’m not just producing? Sean Okin on lead vocals. [Laughs] And some acoustic guitar, very limited.
DGT&G: Do you have a bass player?
SO: Who would be my alternate bass player? There’s so many good—let’s see. Wow. [Thinking] No… no… [Laughs]
DGT&G: You’ve got a lot of options.
SO: We got a lot of bass players. Well, I’ve got too many. Who am I gonna choose?
DGT&G: You can pick more than one bass player.
SO: Can I? [Laughs]
DGT&G: It’s your band.
SO: Wow, it’s my band. Yeah, drummer and guitar players play bass.
DGT&G: You’ve got one, two—you’ve got four guitar players.
SO: I’ve got four guitar players.
DGT&G: You can have the James Brown Orchestra. [Laughs] The two tiers. [Laughs]
SO: Do I get any background singers?
DGT&G: Oh yeah, if you want.
SO: Oh, I could have Sebastian [Bach] sing backup vocals.
DGT&G: Well, if you’ve got four guitars, you probably need two bass players to balance it out.
SO: Yeah, you probably do. Probably need a couple of bass players. Hmm. [Laughs]
DGT&G: You might even need an extra drummer.
SO: Yeah, I probably could. [Laughs]
DGT&G: Adam Ant has two.
SO: [Laughs] That’s true. I wouldn’t mind playing with Flea.
DGT&G: We approve of Flea.
SO: I’ve been listening to a lot of Red Hot Chili Peppers lately. Oh my God. He’s above and beyond. It’s hard to just fit the music without sounding like you’re showing off.
DGT&G: And he does acrobatics at every show. [Laughs]
SO: Well, yeah. I’m taking Flea. [Pause] Oh no, wait! How can I forget one of my best friends and the most perfect bass player for me on the planet? My friend, Steve Grange. Whoa, almost forgot the most obvious answer!