Shari Black Velvet: Your new EP, ‘Bombshell', has a female on the front with bandages and blood dripping. What does the cover symbolize? Is she the bomb of the bombshell?
Jacob Bunton: Exactly. She's the bomb of the bombshell. Her name's Rachelle Hoffman, she's really cool. She's a tattoo artist in Arizona and she's also a model for different tattoo magazines and that whole lifestyle. We met her and just thought that would be really, really cool. I like the whole imagery of the record ‘cause it's something that everyone can read into. I won't give it away too much because everybody can come up with their own thing. Some people look at it and just see a hot girl with tattoos, other people look at it and see something that's disgusting and ugly, like “Oh my God, how can such a pretty girl ruin her body with all those tattoos?” then other people get it and see the bomb of a bombshell. There are so many different things so I think it's really cool, the whole imagery thing and how everyone gets something different from it.
SBV: Lynam had a song called ‘Save My Soul' on a previous album, ‘Tragic City Symphony'. When have you been saved?
JB: My friends saved me. Basically any time you're going through anything really, really hard, really, really bad, you always really know who your true friends are because they're the ones who step up, they're the ones that always have your back and literally every time that something really tragic or really bad has happened in my life my friends have been there. My true friends like David, my drummer. And Mark. My bandmates, they're my best friends in the world. So yeah, to answer your questions, yes, my soul has been saved every time I've gone through something hard and those guys have been there to pick me up.
SBV: You're in Adler as well as Lynam and you've been writing with other artists too. As far as Adler, what do you most have in common with your bandmates, Steven Adler, Lonny Paul and Johnny Martin?
JB: A love for great music, a love for rock ‘n' roll, a love for all of that. More than anything, music. We bonded over music first but then we just grew to love each other personality-wise. You can't find a better group of guys than those guys.
SBV: The debut Adler album, 'Back From The Dead' was released in November 2012. Although Lynam have now just released 'Bombshell', are there any plans for a follow-up to ‘Back From The Dead' for Adler?
JB: Yeah, we're going to record something next year. There will definitely be a follow-up. Everything's kind of up in the air right now because there are a lot of rumours and a lot of fires brewing over whether or not Guns N' Roses is going to get together and do their reunion tour and all that stuff so we're just taking it one day at a time. My hope is that Guns N' Roses will get back together, the original, and go on the road, because I'm the biggest G'N'R fan in the world. I will be at every show! Or every show that I can. But up until then we're going to keep going with Adler and start recording the new record in the new year.
SBV: Wouldn't it be cool if Lynam supported Guns N' Roses?!
JB: That would be a dream come true. That would be insane, I can't even imagine.
SBV: You contributed to Gus G.'s album ‘Brand New Revolution'. You co-wrote 5 songs. One song was ‘Burn' which includes the lyric, ‘I'll never forget your words ‘til the day you burn'. Whose words have stuck with you?
JB: You can't ever take back what you say. You can apologise for what you say but you can never take the words back. And now with text messaging and everything else, if you get into an argument, especially somebody you're really close with, those are the people that can hurt you the most, the people that you're close to. And it's their words… and actions but words that can really, really hurt. You can say you're sorry but you can never take it back. And sometimes things are so hurtful that it makes the friendship or the relationship irreparable where you just can't repair it. You just literally don't want to have anything to do with that person again as long as you live. You just wish they could burn! Haha.
SBV: Have any positive words stuck with you?
JB: Absolutely. Lots of positive words. There have been so many positive words over the course of my life. My grandfather always had positive words for me, my mom had positive words for me and of course friends. And relationship-wise, there's good and bad with everything. Good and evil, white, black, all of that. That's what life is about. Balance. And a lot of times, songwriting, not with just me, but with songwriting, you'll hear a lot of songs that sound really negative but they're actually not really negative, they're positive because it's what the person has to do to get it out. You always hear the stories, it's a form of therapy for whoever's writing the song. Sometimes you write the song because it makes you feel better. It sounds like it's a negative but it's actually a positive. And then it's out and you don't have to think about it anymore.
SBV: Moving on, how long have you been vegan?
JB: Three years. Well, vegetarian for three years, vegan for a year and a half or so.
SBV: You said you started eating clean to feel better.
JB: Yeah, I started eating clean to feel better. I love animals but it was never an animal rights issue for me like most vegans. Most vegans are vegans became they love animals and the whole animal cruelty thing. You watch documentaries like Food, Inc. and see how animals are treated and how sad it is and it's absolutely horrible, that's what makes most people vegan. Maybe it has been three years since I've been vegan because Steven and his wife Carolina, she used to make fun of me for being vegan. She would want to cook and I'd be like “I can't eat that,” so we'd go to vegan places and she'd be like “You're so skinny, you need meat on your bones!” I'm like “I'm skinny because that's the way I was made, it has nothing to do with what I eat, it's just genetics. Meat's not going to put anymore meat on my bones, you can eat healthy, you can eat right,” so she would always give me a hard time or make fun of me, and then Carolina saw that documentary, Food, Inc. and literally, the next day, she's never eaten meat again. She's been vegan now for over two years and she's one of those people that constantly posts animal cruelty things on Facebook, constantly posts pictures of her food, constantly will preach at everybody. If someone's eating meat she'll go off on them. And I just remember she used to make fun of me for being that way. I think that's cool but the whole reason I became vegan was because it was health reasons. I just wasn't feeling good. Any time that I would eat meat I would realize, in this country at least, that I would feel really, really bad, I would get sick, I would have really bad stomach problems. And then I watched the same documentaries that everybody else did and it of course bothered me how they were treating the animals but it also bothered me what they were feeding the animals before they would slaughter them. The old saying, ‘you are what you eat' and they're feeding them genetically modified corn and all kinds of other stuff that's just terrible and then I started looking around me, and all of a sudden you'd see 12 year old girls who looked like they were 18 years old because they've all filled out, they've grown boobs because of all the hormones. You'd see guys that would be six foot tall and you'd be “Wow”. All that crap they're putting into animals to fatten them up, humans are ingesting that and in America especially, we've got a big problem with obesity. Part of that is because of the hormones and everything else. When I stopped eating meat I started feeling better. I never had to worry about getting big, because it's not in my body type, but when I stopped eating meat I just felt better. Of course I loved animals but I just wanted to feel good.
SBV: So you do think it was what was in the meat that was making you feel ill, then?
JB: It absolutely was. It was all the hormones and stuff that they feed animals. For instance, a cow is supposed to eat grass. That's just natural. That's what a cow's supposed to do. She's supposed to graze on grass all day long. But the slaughterhouses over here, they don't feed the cows grass, they feed them GMOs, generically modified corn, that makes them two, three, four times as big as they're supposed to be and the cows get so big and so fat that it's really sad, their legs break. They can't even support how much weight they're gaining. And they keep feeding them and feeding them and feeding them. So they finally slaughter them and they have these huge, huge cows that have a lot more meat on them, then we, as humans, ingest that. If you have a sensitive stomach and sensitive body, it's going to make you sick. If you have a normal body that's not real sensitive, well, it's going to make you big like it was the cow. The food that they ate, now you're ingesting that. But yeah, I definitely started feeling better after I started eating clean.
SBV: You've said that David (Lynam drummer) is also vegan, but because he has a kidney disease. How has being vegan helped him?
JB: It's keeping him alive, keeping him healthy. Yeah, he has a kidney disease and the doctor told him, “Absolutely no more meat”. At first he was like, “Ok, no more red meat,” and the doctor goes, “No. No more meat. The enzymes that meat have are affecting your kidney.” So he's on medication to take for the rest of his life. At first he was starving all the time. He was so hungry because vegetables just wouldn't fill him up. It didn't matter how much he ate, it was in his head. The way that we're raised in the South, everything has meat in it. Everything has animal products. Even our vegetables are cooked in animal fat here. So the way that it is down here, if you don't eat meat, you feel like you haven't eaten dinner yet. You feel like you haven't eaten lunch. You feel like you haven't eaten breakfast. Vegetables are just the side items. Meat's the main course. So once he attacked that, the mental block, same with me, now he gets full off the vegetables and he feels a lot better too, as we both do. And it's cool being on the road with someone else that's vegan. If everybody else is wanting to go to some steakhouse, me and David can go off and find something else. It's hard doing it alone.
SBV: How important is it to be healthy when you're in a band?
JB: That's a loaded question because some people will tell you not very important at all – live fast, die young. Haha. Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll… alcohol. Me, I think it's incredibly important to be healthy. Me, I always want to put on the best show that I possibly can for the fans out there that are spending their hard earned money to buy a ticket. So I feel it all starts with you. You can have a great show, you can have great stage props but we've all been to shows where the show might look good but the band members were kind of a disgrace because they couldn't remember words to songs because they were so drunk and they messed up, they're out of breath. They can't put on the best show because they're not healthy. I don't ever want that.
SBV: You mentioned going to vegan places. How do you find them on tour? Do you search them out?
JB: I go to the TripAdvisor app on my phone. Whatever town we go to I'll go to Tripadvisor and I'll type in ‘vegan restaurant' and see what's near and then I'll also use the Googlemaps or whatever the map is on iPhone. I'll just speak in and say ‘closest vegan restaurant' and that'll pop up.
SBV: I had a look on happycow.net and discovered that there's a place called Golden Temple Natural Café in Birmingham, Alabama – where Lynam are from. Have you ever been there?
JB: Oh yeah, it's been here as long as I can remember. It might have been here my whole life. Yeah, it's down Southside, it's right across the street from another restaurant, Surin, a Thai restaurant. It's also a health food store as well. It's pretty much the only one that's a true vegan/true vegetarian place here and it's kind of far from my house so I don't go there a lot. It's pretty much the only place. Like I said, even down here, restaurants that you go to that just have vegetables are still cooked in animal fat. And there's still bacon thrown in. Like if you order greens, or anything like that, there's always bacon thrown in. Even if you're like, “I'm vegetarian” or “I'm vegan,” they're like, “Here, have some greens” or "have this”. Everything's cooked in animal fat.
SBV: LA has loads of vegan places. You're in LA a lot, right? Have you been to vegan places there?
JB: In LA I'm at Veggie Grill almost every day. And Sun Café. That's my favourite. And one other place called Crossroads. There are so many places. My favourite vegan restaurant of all time was in LA, it closed down a couple of years ago, it was California Vegan. I went there every day. I love it because it was vegan Thai food and I love Thai food.
SBV: Are there any vegans that have inspired you?
JB: Actually, yeah. My producer friend, the guy that actually introduced Adler, kind of put this band together… his name is Jay Ruston. He is the guy that, he's a big producer and mixer. He's done Stone Sour and Anthrax, Steel Panther, the list goes on and on… Pop Evil, Theory Of A Deadman… he's the guy that does all the big rock bands, he continues to inspire me on a daily basis. He's a very disciplined vegan. He's just a great human being. He's inspired me in so many ways I can't even list the ways.
SBV: How long has he been vegan?
JB: He's been vegan forever, like over ten years. Jay is awesome. Straight up, he is awesome in every way.
SBV; There are more and more celebrities going vegan and eating vegan now. It's starting to be more accepted. The other week we saw a video about Stevie Wonder being vegan. People like Bill Clinton eat vegan, Mike Tyson and then there's Miley Cyrus who has been talking about veganism. Do you think it's good that it's becoming more popular?
JB: Yes, usually when something becomes popular like this, kids around the world, not just kids… people in general, seem to model themselves after celebrities, so even if they're doing it and don't believe in it, and are just doing it because everybody else is doing it, they're actually saving their lives and they're actually getting healthy in the process. Yeah, the more people that come on board with it is definitely a good thing.
SBV: I know Steven Adler is kind of involved with Fur & Feathers Animal Sanctuary in some way, which was founded by Nancy B. Sayle. His wife works at the sanctuary. Do you know about that?
JB: I don't! Steven is not vegan. Just his wife is vegan. Whenever they go out together they'll always go to a vegan place but Steven eats whatever he wants. But he's eating a lot healthier now than he used to. Yeah, she's real passionate about that and Steven's real passionate about dogs. He loves, loves, loves dogs so he's usually on board to do anything to help dogs.
SBV: Looking at David (Lynam)'s Instagram, he has a lot of animals and has fostered dogs. Tell us about that.
JB: He has a farm. All their animals are pets. None of them are for food. They take care of them. The pigs and everything, it's weird, they're just like dogs. They're real sweet and loving. He used to have goats. His wife is a big animal lover. He's a big animal lover too but every time she finds an animal she brings it home to keep as a pet. They've got a crow right now; a bird, his name is Korbin. He was hurt, he couldn't fly and they nursed him back to health.
SBV: Finally, I noticed you visited Jon Bon Jovi's Soul Kitchen the other week. Although it's not vegan, how was that?
JB: It's cool. I like the concept. If you can't afford a meal then you can work it off. I'm one of those people that I don't ever, ever believe in hand outs, because it doesn't help anybody. When you just give them things it doesn't help them. It doesn't ever encourage them to do something for themselves. People have this entitlement mentality, it's awful. So I love the whole system there that if you're hungry, come on, there's a place for you, wash some dishes and you can have a meal, or clean the windows and you can have a meal if you can't afford it. Or if you can afford it, pay whatever you can and help the next person. I think that's awesome.
SBV: I like that they have a vegan option. I wish the restaurant could be fully vegan though!
JB: Not in New Jersey. New Jersey's like in the South, there's no way!
Visit www.lynammusic.com for more info - and buy 'Bombshell', out now, over on iTunes-
Listen to 'Send You Back' below.