Blacklist Union’s Tony West has seen more than his share of tragedy over the course of his lifetime. After an abusive childhood and a move to Hollywood at age 13, West had to overcome personal adversity, drug abuse and much more in order to rise to the top.
Through luck and hard work, West managed to make a career out of music. Although his is a true story of rock and roll in the streets, it’s an upbringing he certainly wouldn’t recommend to anyone else.
Blacklist Union’s most recent album, 2012’s Til Death Do Us Part, continues West’s trend of honest, high-energy rock. With its guest appearances by Wayne Swinny (Saliva) and Jon E. Love (Love/Hate), the album’s killer riffs, combined with West’s thought-provoking lyrics, create a powerful wall of emotion.
West dedicated the album to former Alice In Chains bassist Mike Starr, who died in 2011. As a result, Til Death Do Us Part becomes more than just a tribute to one of his longtime friends; it’s therapeutic art and a constant reminder that life is fragile.
I spoke with West about Til Death Do Us Part, his own life and what’s next for Blacklist Union.
GUITAR WORLD: What’s the process like when it comes to writing a Blacklist Union album?
There’s really no set in stone process. We’ve written songs together as a band in rehearsal, and sometimes I’ll get music handed to me and I’ll write something to it. Then there are times where I’ll just sit down with a guitar player and write out the record. There’s no one set way of doing things.
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