TKO and War Babies frontman Brad Sinsel was recently interviewed by Andrew Daly for Vinyl Writer Music. War Babies consisting of Sinsel on lead vocals, Tommy “Gunn” McMullin on lead guitar, Guy Lacey on rhythm guitar, Shawn Trotter on bass and Richard Stuverud on drums released only one album — their self-titled debut record — back in 1992.
Sinsel was asked about his memories of recording the album War Babies to which he replied (with slight edits): “We chose Thom Panunzio to produce and Bill Kennedy to engineer at A&M Studios in L.A., which was our home for a few months. That facility is rich in history – formerly Charlie Chaplin’s studio – and it was inspiring to us all. Although there was a buzz in the air that perhaps there was something to this grunge thing, I think the labels hedged their bets in signing us as leverage against their investment in Seattle. I remember the sessions had visitors who would show up to listen and see what was happening. The most notable was Alice Cooper, whom I found to be a great guy, and we both had Ken Mary in our history to discuss and agreed we loved him but wished he’d pick which band he wanted to be in. [Laughs].”
In terms of whether War Babies’ lack of commercial success can be attributed to fans misunderstanding the band’s sound, Sinsel opined: “With the album done, we were set to launch in 1991; however, in its infinite wisdom Donny Ienner and his Columbia machine held back the release citing that, “We would be better off holding off as Michael Jackson was planning to launch his latest, Dangerous.” Well, that Michael Jackson album would end up eating all of our advertising budget and proved to be the death nil for us. Had we launched when we were ready, I believe the world would have been ready to receive us. But by the time War Babies was released, it was 1992, and the landscape had changed. Again, everything would’ve been fine if the decision-making had been held back in Seattle.”
On whether Columbia Records‘ mismanagement is what led him to leave War Babies, Sinsel indicated: “The capitulation was fast and clean. You had the inner workings and relationships between the band and label messing with the core, which certainly didn’t help. In typical industry fashion, the words, “You’re beautiful, baby,” pass like the wind. I myself was spinning through a divorce and wasn’t handling things in the best way; push came to shove, and I was out. They carried on without me but soon folded. It’s sad because it was a great fucking band.”
With the album War Babies reaching its 30th year anniversary, Sinsel was asked what were the plans in that regard to which he replied: “We are currently in talks with Rock Steady Records to release the album again, with the focus on songs recently unearthed as bonus tracks. By the end of things, Tommy and I were at loggerheads, but we have since moved on. I’ve had them out on some TKO reunion shows doing cameos, and we’ve had a blast. We’re in contact with Guy Lacey, and as I said, Richard Stuverud filled in for Matt Cameron during the recent Pearl Jam tour. How perfect is that? We’re all discussing live dates as we speak, and if we only return to Seattle, that’s fine by me. The bonus tracks are my favorite thing about this release, and I truly hope you all enjoy them.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Brad Sinsel at Vinyl Writer Music‘s website.
War Babies‘ “Hang Me Up” video:
War Babies‘ “Blue Tomorrow” video: