Darrell, a lifelong professional musician, is internationally renowned as the former drummer and founding member for multi million selling hard rock act KILLER DWARFS, as well as Nikki Sixx produced southern rock act, LAIDLAW.

As one of the most high profile and well travelled drummers of the 80s and 90s hard rock era, he’s shared concert stages worldwide with Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, ZZ Top, Pantera, Lynrd Skynrd and several others.   On formulating AUTOMAN, he vacated the drums for front man duties and is set to be Back In The Sun again!

Q Hi Darrell, when did you form Automan and how did you come to choose the other members of the band?
A The band was formed in 2002. It was just Carleton Lockhart my writing partner and myself in the beginning. I met Carleton out of chance. I formed an ACDC trib band first to test the waters and find my vocal range and stage antics as a front man. Carleton was apart of that with me. We performed 30 live shows, and I was ready to put the original act together. I had met Carleton years before actually when his old band had opened up for the Killer Dwarfs in Halifax. On our first effort, we wrote and tracked all instruments on the EP ‘Test Drive x 5” that is released on Unkledunk Records/Indie Pool and available at all download since 2003. In 2004 we built a live band around the EP. John Fenton was an easy choice. Long time friend of mine and a brilliant bass player and singer. He was also in the ACDC trib. Drummer Adrian Cavan was recommended by friend and engineer Adam Cree. It turned out that I taught drum lessons to the guy that taught him drum lessons. Figure that out. We are connected there. We had a fifth member in the beginning briefly. Second guitar player. It just didn’t seem to have the magic as a five piece. You have to see Carleton play guitar live. He is a very unique talented player.
Q Please describe Automan’s music and your targeted audience.
A I grew up in the 70’s and am influenced by bands such as Areosmith, Johnny Winter, ACDC, Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck etc and Carlton’s influences are similar. The band is a pure blues rooted guitar Rock & Roll band. Our targeted audience is anyone that has an ear for real music that is not watered down and over produced and is bluesy guitar heavy ROCK & ROLL.
Q Did you grow up in a musical family?
A My father is a jazz piano master. I grew up with a tambourine in my hand jamming to Dave Brubeck standards at 4 years old. My mother sang in the church choir. If this is not enough. My cousins are from famed 60’s band Steppenwolf. The Macrohen brothers. Stage name Jerry Edmonton was drummer for Steppenwolf and his brother with the handle Mars Bonfire wrote the monster hit Born To Be Wild. The Wolf was another big influence of mine. Sadly Jerry was killed in a car accident in 1993. Jerry and I were very close. Dennis lives in Arizona USA.
Q I read on your record label site www.unkledunkrecords.com…huge personal commitment few understand…”.  Did you appreciate the pitfalls and slog when starting out with your record label and as a musician?
A Rock & Roll is just that. Rocky with many hills and valleys. I had paid more dues by the time I was 18 and signed my first record contract with Killer Dwarfs than most musicians have in a whole career. I was in my first band at 9 years old. In my first touring club band Sphinx at 14 years old. My parents signed a consent form with the Liquor License Board so I could be under age and perform in clubs. Sphinx was a cover band of sorts and we toured Canada performing 4 sets a night 6 days a week. I sang 16 songs a night from the drum kit, so you see; I have always been a singer. As far as the label. I have more respect now for the labels I have been signed to over the years.
Q You’ve signed a major worldwide distribution deal with Megaforce/MRI/Red/Sony of NYC USA. Automan’s debut release "Pocket Change" will be launched March 17th 2009.
A Yes indeed. This is huge news and I am ecstatic about it. Megaforce are great people to work with. Official press release coming in 2009.
Q Who worked on Pocket Change?
A I produced it. Greg Looper (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) co-produced and mixed along with Matt Horton (Nine Inch Nails, Matchbox 20) who was apart of the pro-tools process of the mix. Adam Cree engineered, and a very important part of the recording process, Justin Shturtz mastered it. We recorded in 4 studios in 2 countries. The bed tracks were recorded at Iguana studios in Toronto Canada. All vocals and extra guitars were tracked at Dune Tunes Studio’s in Pickering Canada. The mix was done at Post Pro studios in Raleigh NC USA and the master was finished at Sterling Sound in NYC USA.
Q How have you grown musically since the early days?
A Most definitely. Even though I grew up around jazz and rock, I was closed minded to different musical feels in the early days. I have grown as a musician thanks to the players and producers I have had the pleasure to work with. Also all the great artists I have enjoyed touring along side of have enhanced me. I thank all for this.
Q Do you take things in your stride? How do you cope with the pressures of being the producer, record company, singer and songwriter? What do you attribute your versatility to?
A I am a personality that gets things done. Some only talk about it. I feel sorry for them. Every business comes with pressures that one has to expect and accept. I am the one that wanted this band and my own label along with all the financial and mental pressures of that. It has been satisfying to achieve what I have achieved thus far. It has not been easy and one needs a hell of a lot of drive to wear all the hats I have on at present. Today’s music business allows an artist to follow his own destiny to some extent, but the work involved is 24/7. I have started a management company www.doubledmamangement.com with some great minds. David Macmillan (Eaglerock) and Greg Looper (TPHB) along with Megaforce/MRI and good publicists (Sasquatch) have made things a lot less stressful for me now. I am concentrating on the live show and touring at present.
Q Do you feel the best is yet to come?
A Absolutely
Q You’ve worked with plenty of major significant people in the music industry.  Who stands out the most to you and why?
A Nikki Sixx really made me realize how much you should work on your own career as opposed to relying on management and lawyers. Andy John’s was an interesting experience in the production department. I think at present, David Macmillan who is a long time industry marketing genius who worked with EMI for years during the rise of Nickleback. I am enjoying my business relationship with him. 
Q Plans for 2009?
Q For fun, what has been the wildest Christmas gift you’ve bought and received?
A I found this license plate on the 10 freeway in Los Angeles that broke off an SUV. It had the cracked plastic casing still attached. I wrapped it and gave it to my brother one year for a gift. I don’t know why I thought he would think that was cool. I think living in LA was rubbing off on me. I did some crazy shit back then. He did not appreciate the gift. My one sister seems to send me blankets every year for gifts. I think she thinks I am still paying my dues. Sometimes I think I still am.


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I would like to thank Darrell for this interview.

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