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Samantha Seven:
Returning FUN to 

Meet Samantha 7.  Here to return "fun" to rock 'n' roll, the trio seems well-equipped.  Backed by a debut album of infectious pop-rock tracks and one of rock's most distinctive guitar styles, they're also ready for their smart lyrics and tongue-in-cheek attitudes to shatter the image of the "rock star."  And, if anyone knows about being a "rock star', it's Samantha 7 founder Cecil "CeCe" DeVille.

In the '80s glam rock/hair metal musical movement, no group had bigger hair or more flawless make-up than Poison -- which CeCe epitomized.  Poison lived the life -- the sex, the drugs and the rock 'n' roll -- and, with songs like "Talk Dirty to Me," "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" and "Unskinny Bop", topped the charts.  But the onset of grunge rock in the '90s, nearly killed many of the bands of that era,  including Poison!

Not content to sit on the sidelines, CeCe has used the time in-between Poison reunions, tours, and CDs to clean up his act, kick some bad habits and pull together bassist Krys Barrato and drummer Francis Ruiz.  Samantha 7 was born to introduce a whole new generation of music fans to rock 'n' roll.  (You'll find they've injected the true story of their meeting -- through mutual friends -- with an extremely fun, purposely un- "rock star" twist here.)

Momentarily on pause due to their drummer's broken leg, the group wrapped up a national tour and now looks toward dates in the spring opening for labelmates Great White, which might be considered Poison's contemporaries! 

In the meantime, the band takes a time-out to tell YourMVP Magazine, in no uncertain terms, why this band isn't CeCe's "side project" away from Poison. CeCe dishes the dirt on his former group and tells us why Samantha 7 is actually far more viable for today's audiences than Poison!  Collectively CeCe, Francis and Krys discuss their CD, life on the road, how the Internet has impacted the music industry and why it's so damn hard to find a woman in LA!

CeCe DeVille:  How's your leg?  Are you going to be able to play?

FR:  . . . Yeah.

CC:  I don't like that.  That's a pregnant pause!


FR:  I rehearsed the other day with my left leg . . . and it was cool.

CC:  Great. It doesn't have to be perfect.  As long as we've got the . . . vibe.  We need the Francis vibe.

Krys Barrato:  That's what I said yesterday.

FR:  I'm working hard at it.  

CC:  In fact, if you don't play the kick drum too hard it might be a good thing. 

<All laughing.>

FR:  <laughing> That's what I was thinking.

CC:  I'm only kidding.  I need you just the way you are.  Enough of that . . . I think this is on his dime.

YourMVP:  What happened to your leg?

FR:  We were in Jacksonville, FL, and I got hit by a car. My leg got ran over,  so I'm on the injured list right now.

KB:  It was beautiful.

<FR laughing>

CC:  You know how there are two bones in your shin?  He broke both of them.  In the beginning I was like, "Oh, you pussy . . . get up."  It didn't look like much.  I was like, "Alright, he's the drummer and doesn't get no attention and has to break his leg."  Then I get the X-rays and both bones -- you can see it -- aren't even touching.  Both bones!

You were literally run over by a car?  How'd that happen?

FR:  Actually, we were talking to each other -- CeCe and I -- and we were approaching an intersection.  I was looking at him, and he went into the cross-walk. I thought it was clear.  When I stepped into it, the car ran over my leg.

That can ruin a tour!

FR:  Well, I missed a couple week off the tour because of it.  Luckily our tour manager knows how to play drums.  He filled in for the few shows we had left.  I'm going to be back up and playing . . . and back in action.

Tell us how Samantha 7 got together.

CC:  I tell that story all the time.  Give that one to Krys.

KB:  Well . . . We got together through mutual friends.  I was doing a soundtrack for adult films and CeCe happened to stumble across one of those films.

CC:  Just for the musical content. 

<All laughing.>

By pure accident!

CC:  Not for anything I was watching . . . <clears throat>  I always like to . . . <clears throat again> . . . To see how music accompanies such adult situations.  Usually I don't even have the picture on!  Usually I'll pop in the adult film and just have the "soundtrack" on.  On that particular day, it just happened to be like the Groove Monster George Clinton meets Bootsie Collins from hell.  It was like . . . <Imitates sound, heavy bassline.>  And I'm like, "Oh, my GOD!  If this is the way some guy is fucking, he must have like a gargantuan dick!"  You know?  And I put the picture on, and I see . . . Oh, it's not.  It's just the soundtrack.  Then at the end of it, it says "Music by Girth."  I was like, "Oh, boy . . . "  But you could tell it was a bass.  So I called up my friend, who happened to get me the movies, and said, "Who is this 'Girth' guy -- and is he interested in playing in a band?"  So that was . . . anyway, go on.

KB:  No, no.  So that was it.  It was a phone call.  We started demoing some songs.  Got Francis involved.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

From what I read, Francis didn't make the cut at first.

CC:  Yeah . . . 

FR:  Yeah.  <Laughing.>

CC:  We auditioned.  Francis was one of the first guys. I didn't think he was into it.  I thought he didn't really like the band.  So we got this other guy, and he was really, really tall. <All laughing.>  Then we got rid of him because he couldn't play.  So then we went and saw Francis again at a club. 

FR:  They just happened to realize I was the right height, also!


CC:  And was he was interested. I just didn't think he was.  The thing was there really wasn't much to be interested in at the time.  I think we had three songs.

KB:  Yeah, three.

CC:  So it wasn't like we came with this whole big thing.  It was just like, "Here."  Remember we had those two little amps . . . We used those two little boxes and a little head.  I remember I couldn't even hear it because he was so . . . That's the other reason!  He was so goddam loud!

It sounds like your job could be in jeopardy, Francis.  If you lost any height from that broken leg, you won't be the right height any more!

<All laughing.>

KB:  The shorter the better!

CC:  If he's shorter, it's OK. 

FR:  Yeah, my new name is going to have to be "Ilene."

<All laughing.>

KB:  Good one!  

CC:  If he were Japanese, it would be "Irene"!

<Uproarious laughter from all.>

They say you were too loud for the audition, but everything I've read says you're the quiet one of the group!

KB:  Yeah.  I guess I get all my frustration and anger out through the drums.  Most of the time, speaking wise, I've been dubbed "Harpo" because of the internet.  I don't have a computer, so it's hard for me to get on.  Krys is our internet king.  Everybody that has a computer loves Krys.  They have what they call the "Barrato Harem."  It's a group of girls that love Krys because they always talk to him on the internet. Since I'm never on,  I got the name "Harpo" so everyone thinks I'm quiet.  When I get on the drums, I'm not quiet at all.

CeCe, you were just on tour with Poison.  Krys, what were you two guys doing while CeCe was on the road?

KB:  Vacationing.

FR:  Yeah, Krys took a vacation and went home for a little while.  I just stuck around LA and found different things to do to keep me busy.  I actually came to New Mexico -- which is where I'm from -- and did a couple radio spots to kind of keep people abreast while CeCe was out on the road.

Minnesota?  Krys, that sounds . . . exciting.

KB:  I was back there taking care of business.  Everything I could have done out here, but had family and everything back there.

CC:  But he happened to find someone, too!  He went there by himself -- but he came back with two.  There's a scene in "The Freshman."   No one tells this guy that someone is going to go with Matthew Broderick.  So all of a sudden he shows up and there's two people, and the guy's very nervous.  And he goes.  "Wait a minute . . . he says  he leaves with one -- but he comes back as two!"  He does that for about 15 minutes, and it's very funny.  That's what I was doing.  "Krys left  as one, but came back as two . . . "  But it's a good thing.

KB:  It's very spiritual.  I came back with two personalities!

So, in all of LA, you couldn't find someone -- but you did in Minnesota?

CC:  You don't want to find anyone in LA!

KB:  You don't wanna . . . Believe me.  I think we've all run the gamut out here. 

CC:  You know what? That's it.  In LA, it's the warning sign.  The women in LA are wonderful, but they're . . . The women in LA are as close to a "man" as you get.  An LA woman is like a man in any other place.  They know what they've got, and they're players.  You can't blame them.  If you move to LA, you were usually the good looking girl in Muskingum, MI.  So you move to LA.  And you realize your attributes have a timeline.  So you have to make sure you're doing the right thing at the right time -- because you don't have much time to do it.  By 30, you have to be married . . . and hopefully by someone that's a mover.  In LA, it's just a melting pot for people that are older, that have a lot of money and women that are pretty and don't have any drive or anything.  So there's a marriage there.  But for me, it's very difficult because I'm older and have <b>no money</b>.  <All laughing.> So once they skip the facade that I lost everything in the "Crash of '29", they realize, "Oh, my God!  I didn't even know you were that old -- AND I didn't know you were broke!"  So they immediately run off to someone else.  It's very tough in LA.  They're very streetwise and they know what they've got.  But in Minnesota, it's like you show up at their house in a 4x4 truck, and, as long as it's washed, you make a good impression on the family. 

Come on.  You guys are touring the country.  The women have to be plentiful.

CC:   Oh, yeah . . . sure.

FR:  They're definitely out there.

CC:  I've got so many opinions on that.  This is a men's magazine, and I know this is really the gist of the whole thing, right?  The thing is, they always say the grass is greener on the other side.  While you're touring, and while it is wonderful, you usually don't have time to have anything more than an encounter.  There is no time for anything to develop.  I know it's going to sound like I'm a prude because I'm saying, "Gee, I want something do develop", but as far as "meeting someone", it's very hard when you're on the road.  Everyone has their game face on.  The girls have their game face on because they want to get backstage and meet the band.  So they're going to be looking hot.  The band just finished playing, so matter what you do after they see you on stage, it's going to be a let down.  You just played your ace.  It's very hard to come offstage and just shut up and have that "aura." 

FR:  And not only that, but now days because the internet is so prominent, you have to think about whatever you do -- if you do have an encounter -- you're going to be able to read your own review on the internet the next day.  So, you know, you're basically not having sex -- or your encounter -- with that one person, everybody is going to be in on it.

KB:  Both performances are going to be reviewed!

<All laughing.>

CC:  And now insurance has gone up since the internet, too.  Basically you judge how popular you are by the number of death threats you get from stalkers.  I have to tell you, I'm hitting an all-time . . . I'm either really, really popular or I'm just pissing a lot of people off!  I've never had so many people hating me and wishing me dead in my life. '

<All laughing.>

What has the fan response been to your music and shows?

FR:  The response from the fans has been great.  Of the shows we've played, it seems like 90 percent of the people in there know every word to every song -- which is pretty amazing, especially for a debut record.  It just goes to show the record is great and people are clicking in to the lyrics and what the band is all about.  That's something we're very proud about.  We just need to get the record out to more people.  If it has that affect on the people that are coming to the shows now, it can be really, really huge and we're looking for the time when it gets that kind of exposure.

CC:  What happens -- and, again, I'm a little cynical in the world -- sometimes, now with the internet, in the old days you'd know if the album wasn't in a neighborhood or region, you'd go to a show and the people that were there would just have a blank look on their faces.  They wouldn't be anti the band, but they'd just be trying to get the lyrics and what the band is all about.  Now with Napster and the internet, you can see that people understand the band because they've been exposed to the music.  The bad part is that when you look at what you're Soundscanning, it doesn't match up.  You're Soundscanning maybe 10,000, maybe 15,000 records every two months.  The people that are hearing it are just three or four times that.  It gets frustrating in that respect.  The label is saying, "Well, you don't seem to be selling as much as Madonna", you know?  And I'm like, "Well, yeah, but you don't understand.  Everyone seems to know it."  If you can get it on the internet, I don't think people are going to buy it.  It's that double-edged sword.

So, you are against Napster?

CC:  In the beginning I wasn't, but now that I'm being bitten by it a little bit, I'm starting to change my view.  I wouldn't mind if they'd be able to download one song, and then if they liked it, they could go buy it. Because attention spans tend to be so short, people will download a CD -- as part of a group of maybe ten CDs -- and then spend all week listening to it.  Then it's very hard for them to come back and say, "Gee, I really like that" and then go buy it.  In that respect, I feel that in a new band especially it's difficult.  Everything goes upon how many records you're selling and what the priority is on the label.  So when we're fighting as hard as we are, every record we sell it's important it's noted.  When it's downloaded, you don't really get that credit.  Even if we weren't getting the money, but we were getting the [credit for it], at least the label would know there was something going on.

FR:  I think the idea behind Napster is not so bad.  I think it would be better if there would only be one song on there.  Or, like some record stores, when you can go listen to CDs, they'll only play up to the chorus of some songs. 

CC:  I'm not opposed to listening to something before you buy it.  God knows how many times you've gone to a store or heard a song on the radio and went and bought the record, and the rest of the album is shit.  You might as well have gone and bought the single.  Unfortunately, with Samantha 7, there's not a bad song on the CD.  It's very hard to talk good about  

things when it's your product. You always sound like an asshole.  But the fact of the matter is it's a really strong CD and it's a strong song-oriented thing.  If you like one song off the CD, you're going to like every song.  I think it's a really well-done record.  I wish people would just take a chance and buy the CD because I haven't heard anyone yet that has said, "God, I hate this CD."

I stumbled on it by fluke at a Tower Record listening station.  After hearing it had CeCe, I was interested.  After hearing "Framed", I wanted to buy it.  Everyone that I've let listen to it has been pleasantly surprised.

CC:  I know.  If you say CeCe DeVille, you have a different idea of what it's going to sound like. 

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