If one were forced to hand-pick a group of iconic musicians to put together onstage and watch them have a go at it, it would be tough to do better than the lineup the Kings of Chaos will bring to Hollywood’s Seminole Hard Rock Live on Friday. For those unfamiliar with the Kings of Chaos, they’re sort of like the Avengers of rock ’n’ roll: a convergence of legendary players who happen to be friends as well, combining forces in the name of good times and good tunes. The supergroup fights the evil of boring rock while performing the classic songs of its members.
This particular iteration — which changes almost every show (save for some core players) — features guitar hero Steve Stevens, best-known for his work with Billy Idol; Duff McKagan, Gilby Clarke, and Matt Sorum of Guns N’ Roses fame; Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top; Robin Zander of Cheap Trick; and Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple/Trapeze/Black Sabbath. Yeah, that’s right — this ain’t the JV squad. We caught up with bona fide guitar hero Stevens to briefly pick his brain about playing with the Kings of Chaos.
New Times: What’s your favorite part of playing with the Kings of Chaos?
Steve Stevens: The core of this band are all friends here in Los Angeles, so it’s always great to play with guys that you genuinely respect both musically and as people. The other great aspect is getting a history lesson straight from the creators of some great songs. A perfect example would be that since Robin Zander is guesting with us, we’ve been learning Cheap Trick songs, which has totally reaffirmed for me what finely crafted classics they are. After going through “Dream Police,” I just had to find out how the hell they came up with that middle section, and I mentioned in rehearsal that it was almost like something off of the debut King Crimson record. Well, evidently I was correct, and that was one of the inspirations.
If you had to pick one, who has been your favorite guest player to jam with?
That’s a little bit tough to say as every guest brings their own catalog of songs and style. That said, I am always amazed by the unbelievably vast knowledge of blues and roots rock that Billy Gibbons has. Learning his tunes in rehearsal has been an absolutely mind-blowing experience. He is also gracious and generous beyond belief.
Has playing anyone else’s tunes put you out of your zone or taught you anything as a player?
Billy Gibbons has asked me to play some of the strangest chords in existence [laughs]!
Kings of Chaos. 8 p.m. Friday, May 15, at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Call 866-502-7529, or visit seminolehardrockhollywood.com. Tickets cost $55 to $85 plus fees via ticketmaster.com.