The Bangkok Five features vocalist Frost, lead
guitarist Sweeney, guitarist Bobby S., bassist Coatez and drummer
Blanco. Their music is pure rock and roll- with talented singing (no
screaming), musicianship and thought-out writing.
I roused Frost from an early dreamy morning for a chat.
"I think the band started when the band started
touring," Frost says with a yawn. "I felt like we were putting
something together and not all the pieces were in place. That was when
the genesis of the idea came together. I was trying to put something
together that was rooted in almost a criminal operation, hence the
name The Bangkok Five. It wasn't band, it was more like a traveling
brigade of pirates.
"I didn't know this was real until we got attacked with
a baseball bat," Frost goes on. "We were in Seattle or Oregon, I don't
remember which, it all becomes a blur after a while, and some local
thugs started hard-nosing us for our gear. They weren't going to get
anything. They had baseball bats too. We're fine, but a lot of people
don't realize how dangerous it is. If it's not local haters trying
bummed out that their girlfriends are looking at you, then it's people
trying to steal your shit."
Frost calls Los Angeles home, but he's on the road so
much that he's technically homeless.
"I was forced to play piano at eight," Frost tells me
about growing up. "We were all forced to play piano and I hated it.
I'm dyslexic and I didn't know it as a kid and I was so hard to deal
with that they wanted to put me on Prozac. I was sitting there not
understanding what they were trying to teach me. I also had a lot of
temper issues, like I'd kick the piano, sigh and complain. The funny
thing was I learned how to read by ear, which I've recently learned
opens up a completely different part of the brain- the person who goes
that route turns into a writer.
"People who learn to sight-read generally don't play
unless there's music put in front of them. If you learn by ear you'll
always have it." Frost continues, "By instinct, I'm very creative.
It's debatable how that happens, but I will say that I'm a very right
brain person, a very creative person. When it comes to dates and math
my brain kinda fails me, but when it comes things like painting,
literature, music, I'm good with languages too."
Frost has always sung. He was a good imitator of other
artists and his friends would get him stoned to perform for them. As
he got older, Frost came around to the "idea of being a singer." He is
a big fan of James Brown and likes everything from Frank Sinatra to
Peaches, as well as '50s and doo wop. Frost also relates to Dave Bowie
who has said that he imitates various artists as a route to making his
own voice and style.
"To bring it all the way back around, I think that
music is in me to the extent where I don't choose, it chooses me. And
it chose me when I was child and it chooses me every day that I wake
up," says Frost.
Frost didn't go to college, but he has studied voice
with premiere vocal coach Gary Catona.
"I had the whole thing in my brain, but I didn't have
the prowess or the idea or the knowledge of the human voice to make
what I wanted to happen," Frost explains.
Working toward his career, Frost has done many creative
jobs, such as working as an installation artist and painting the walls
of clubs when he lived in Spain. He states that his weirdest
job was being a telemarketer.
When he's not busy with music, Frost is a graphic
artist and loves photo shop. He does much of the band's work and you
can see his poster art at
The Bangkok Five has played with a lot of hard-core
bands in strange places-- a hayloft in Ohio, a backyard outside of
Detroit, VFW halls across the nation, basements and more.
"We play with lots of hard-core bands. For some reason
that little circuit of kids understand what it is to be in a band and
they all want to be in rock and roll bands, but rock and roll is too
hard to play so they play thrashy hard-core shit because it's much
easier to play and doesn't demand musicianship," says Frost adding
that the kids get their licks in and can learn and grow to be better
As for the hard-core bands they play with, The Bangkok
Five often find themselves in demand. Why? Because of their stage
"People say when we perform, it's like we're going to
explode in the next 30 seconds," Frost explains.
I ask him to tell me about their writing process.
"We all bring riffs in." Frost says, "Sometimes I'll
write a whole song and bring it into the band and sometimes my guitar
player will write a whole song and bring it into the band. Generally
it's very collaborative. I'll give you a real good example, when 'We
Love What Kills Us' was brought in it had almost a two-minute intro,
it has all these parts and it was sawed completely down by the band
and the producer. The band likes to play their instruments so
generally there's a lot of superfluous stuff that I know is going to
go away, but I ride with it because it's fun.
"I'm not a player so to speak, I'm a singer/lyricist
kind of guy." Frost goes on, "I play the piano and the guitar, I play
the bass a little and keyboards and I program drums, I work Pro Tools,
I do everything, but I don't want to produce the band, I want to write
with the band and be the singer. When you start telling them what
works and doesn't work and getting a little too hands-on, the band
starts resenting you."
Creating music for The Bangkok Five is a team effort--
no one tells the others what to do, they work together for a common
"It just has to be good and a quality recording," Frost
says, stating that he values the studio over doing recordings at home
in the garage.
"Everybody asks how did you become a national act or
how did you get signed and it's like I worked my fucking ass off, man,
and I never gave up and I was nice to people." Frost shares, "It was
the fundamental thing- I worked hard, I have talent and I'm nice to
people and that's the key to making it happen. So many people get lost
in drugs and alcohol, bad attitudes and making it the easy way and
there's no easy way to make a great record. We performed live, we
didn't cut a bunch of parts together or make a drum track for someone
who couldn't play."
The Bangkok Five is still on tour, this time through
the United States, an plans to continue touring for the next two
years. They are garnering accolades, as well as endorsements from
companies like Fender. And you may even see a reality show about them
But Frost sums up the core essence of the group best
when he says, "The Bangkok Five is not about me as a singer, the band
is about the five of us."