Phil Varone: Waking Up Dead
Updated: Nov 6, 2022
I interviewed Skid Row's Phil Varone at the end of 2006. I had a music blog called Rock Sellout at the time. I stumbled upon that interview this evening, cleaned it up a bit, and decided to give it a new home. It's been a while since I heard his name mentioned. I hope he stayed on the path he was on when this interview was originally conducted.
At what point during the shooting of Skid Row’s ‘Under the Skin’ did you and Fabio decide to make the film ‘Waking Up Dead’?
We didn’t really know what we had till a couple of years later. Fabio had an idea of putting a movie trailer together to see if there was any interest. Once we knew there was, him and I started the editing process, to piece together this story. We used my personal tour footage, along with Fabio’s footage, and then we interviewed fiends and family to tie it all together.
Are there any plans to release ‘Waking Up Dead’ on DVD? If so, when can we expect it (and where can we order it)?
The DVD will be out in '07 for sure. It will be available in all the stores, as well as online.
I have not had the pleasure of seeing ‘Waking Up Dead’ yet. Is there a moral to the story?
I guess it’s just be careful what you wish for, and if you do get your dreams, be aware of everything around you. Your money, friends, who you trust to handle you. There are a lot of scumbags in the world, and they seem to surface when they can get something from you.
What advice would you give a kid with stars in their eyes? What have you learned about the great rock 'n' roll cliche?
You will never tell a kid who wants to be a rock star to stop. It was dream of mine, and I say always try for your dreams. Just know that statistically, you have a better chance of winning the lottery than becoming rich and famous making music. Especially these days. The business has changed, and radio is controlled by one company. I remember when having a monopoly on something was illegal. But I guess that was when we didn’t have the most corrupt government in the world.
When did you finally realize your drug use (lifestyle in general) was a means to an end? What were the initial steps you took to get on the right track?
I just woke up and had enough. I called a doctor friend of mine, and he called a treatment place for me, and I started my journey. I live every day like I can fall back into it. You have to respect the power of drugs to stay on the right path. We are only human.
I recently read that you’re a comedian these days. Have you noticed any similarities in the backstage antics of comedians that rock 'n' rollers are best known for?
Oh there is no back stage antics right now. I’m just trying to make people laugh. I can care less about trying to get girls these days. I did enough fucking for ten lifetimes. This time around, I’m staying focused on my goals, and not getting sidetracked. I have to say, comedy, is a fun world to be in.
Tell us something about Phil Varone, that you’d like to share, that we can’t find on Google.
I wish I could but Google is too good! I will say that I’m putting my SEX, STAND UP, AND ROCK 'N' ROLL SHOW on tour in '07, so look for us in a city near you!