Back for the Dead

Tom DeFile said goodnight to Saigon and found three of a kind

The dictionary offers various definitions for the word "band." The first: a company of persons acting or functioning together. I guess the bands these four guys emerged from skipped right over Webster's and made up their own.

Singer Eddie Gowan (formerly of Queen Anne's Revenge), drummer Bobby Borg (formerly of Beggars and Thieves), guitarist Adam Wacht (formerly of Trouble Tribe), and bassist Tom DeFile -- who learned the hard way what the Kick in Saigon Kick stands for -- have created their own definition of what a band is. They fondly call it Left for Dead. "I found Adam and Bobby, and listened to twelve songs they had written," DeFile says. "There were a couple that had tasty attitude and I told them if that was the way they were going, they could count me in."

They did. DeFile swung his ax in their direction, and soon after that Gowan also plugged in. All four write and share equal input in every aspect of the band, an egalitarianism they might not have found in their previous groupings.

Already the foursome has cut a demo and begun the trying process of shopping it to labels and publishers. DeFile is also busy shopping around for a scenery change. Currently residing in L.A., he's eager to settle (back) into Florida's thriving scene. "L.A. is dead," he says in a breathy heave. "You could go out there naked with your hair on fire and no one would pay attention to you. In Florida, they nurture the bands."

DeFile knows whereof he speaks. As bassist for Saigon Kick he enjoyed taking part in one of South Florida's biggest musical success stories. Well, maybe I shouldn't say he "enjoyed" it, at least not after a while. "I was tired of being in a two-man band," DeFile says, referring to singer Matt Kramer (who has since left the Kick himself) and guitarist Jason Bieler (rumored to possibly be taking over singing duties for the Atlantic recording artists). "If you see all of our videos, the only one I'm in [for more than a few seconds] is 'Hostile Youth,' which gets the least airplay," DeFile adds.

Success sometimes should be spelled with a K in place of the second C. According to DeFile, once the money started rolling in, his relationship with his Kick cohorts changed. He says he's certain that Saigon Kick has their share of complaints about him due to his straightforward, tell-it-the-way-it-is attitude, and although he says he still respects Bieler as a songwriter, the personal conflicts were too much. "I really didn't like to party with them, and I don't think they appreciated that," the bassist explains. "They also didn't want to be seen in public. In the beginning, that was all right because there was a lot of mystique surrounding the band. People came to see who we were. But I just can't live that way. I'm not a recluse. I have a life."

DeFile doesn't mind talking about the past, and readily admits that the rest of the band came to him and told him that he just wasn't working out. "I've definitely learned from it all, and until Left for Dead gets signed, everything is still up in the air," he says. "Hey, even after four and a half years and two records for a major label, I'm still starving. And I still don't have my gold record."

 
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