Queensryche - Geoff Tate (2001)


Queensryche Interview - Interview conducted Thursday 20th October 2001.
Geoff Tate, who is the lead vocalist for Seattle's own Queensryche, took the time to talk to Justin Donnelly about the bands new double live album 'Live Evolution'.

Why a live album at this stage in your career?
It wasn't planned at all, and was a kind of a spontaneous in our decision to make it. Our new record company Sanctuary inspired it. We went out to dinner after they came to see us play, when someone suggested we should do a live record. The next day, following a lovely dinner and several bottles wine, we had an agreement to do a live record. (Laughs)

How was the track selection organised? Did you decide to slip in some tracks that hadn't been played for a while?
Their (Sanctuary) idea, what they would ultimately like to see, was a well-rounded record. And the more we (The band) talked about it, we came up with more and more songs we wanted to include on it. It just turned into a big monster. Then we thought, 'Wow! We've got so many songs, why do we just represent our entire career by taking a couple of songs from each record.' So anyway it was sort of growing and growing and it turned into a very large live record! (Laughs)

You have some unusual songs in the set. In particular are some from the 'Rage For Order' album. Is there anything that was a real challenge to play live considering that they hadn't been played in some time?
Well a lot of it we haven't played in a long time. Some of the songs, I think, we've never played live before. 'London' from 'Rage For Order' had never been played before. We came up with a big master list of all the songs we wanted to try, and it came down to a deadline we had to meet. The whole project was very quickly done. It was executed very well, but in a short period of time. It was really up to the guys in the band to learn the songs that they didn't know, and to rehearse them in a short given amount of time. These are the one they could play by the time the show came around. (Laughs)

Was the track listing also dictated to some extent by the fans that log onto the website with requests?
Sure. We collated their input, the record company's input and the band, and came up with the list of songs featured.

Were there any songs that are hard to perform live?
(After a long pause) There aren't any songs that I would call impossible to play live, but some are difficult. A lot of Queensryche songs are difficult to play live. It's quite a difficult question to answer because everybody (In the band) has their own opinion of what's difficult to play. For me, in the physical standpoint, no, they're not that difficult. It's just the mental aspect of putting yourself in that place that's always a bit difficult. That's because some of that material is really, really old, and I'm not in that same headspace any more. So it's kind of interesting to journey backwards! (Laughs)

What sort of preparation was there for this album? Also, was there anything that was fixed up after the album was recorded?
Well we really wanted it to be a real accurate representation of the band playing live. And for me, I approached this thing really differently. I didn't rehearse with the band. I just came in for the sound check for the show, then played the show. So the music was all really fresh for me. I hadn't rehearsed it into the ground, so to speak. There was a lot of excitement and it was new and different. It was a new sort of event for us to do and I felt really good for those two nights, and it went really well. I wanted to project that accurate representation of that. As far as the music goes, I'm not really sure if there were any touch ups in the studio or not. I'm not sure what was done there.

Now, you're in the studio recording at the moment. Was there any temptation to put a new Queensryche song on the live album?
No. Queensryche hasn't written anything for the new album yet. I'm in the studio now working on my solo project. As for Queensryche goes, we are scheduled to start writing and recording in January 2002. So we really haven't done anything since the shows in July. And we don't expect to do anything until January.

What would you say best sums up the direction of the material on your forthcoming solo album?
(After a long pause) Well you know my entire career I've worked with one band and one group of people. And at this point in my life, I'm kind of recognising a want, and a need, to branch out and have different experiences with different musicians. So I wanted to do a record that was a collaborative effort and with as many people as I could. So I started contacting people that I really liked, those who I liked their writing and their playing, and in a short time I had a whole list of people that I was working with and collaborating with. This is really a record of collaborative music with different people, rather than a focussed project with the same people. And I wanted to do something that was very different to Queensryche. Different from what they would do, and could do, of course. I really started writing without using guitars and I found that really inspired me (Laughs). All my life I've been surrounded with very loud guitars, and this was a complete departure from that.

So would the material be more electronic, or vocally influenced?
I would say it's revolved around the singing. The songs are voice dominated rather than guitar dominated songs. The main instrumentation is rhythm and a vocal. It has plenty of chord changes been done by keyboards, or bass guitar and that sort of thing. There is some guitar on the record, but it's not like anything like riff style rock guitar.

So there will be plenty of opportunity to flex those vocal muscles?
Yeah. This album has been in my head for a while. Really it's more or less an exercise in collaboration with different people. That was what I was really after.

So will the album come out under your name, or a band name?
I haven't really decided yet. It's still a work in progress really. We just got into the studio last week, and the first week is purely laying down drum tracks. So it doesn't really have a title yet either. I'm kind of waiting to see to how it all sounds when it's done. That will decide if it should be called one thing or the other. It's so varied. It doesn't really have a theme to it. I want to see if does develop a theme for itself by the time we get done recording it.

Is there any particular reason why you decided to release a solo album now?
Well I think when Chris (De Garmo) left the band (Queensryche) that really was the instigator for starting a project like this. I have sort of envisioned myself only working with Queensryche for my entire career, and when he left the band, it sort of forced me into looking for other people to play with. I guess that's what kind of did it! (Laughs) It started me on a sort of hunt for a collaborative effort. So, here I am doing a completely separate record from Queensryche. It's kind of unexpected for me, but I'm really enjoying it. I think it's a good exercise really, because when the next Queensryche album comes around, I'll definitely be ready and excited to do it. I've been immersed in another way of thinking for a while, and it'll be nice to come back to familiar territory. Something far heavier anyway.

Have you heard the other Queensryche solo projects, like Rockenfield/Speer (Scott Rockenfield - Queensryche guitarist and Paul Speer) or Spys4Darwin (Chris De Garmo - Ex-Queensryche), Vin Dombroski (Lead singer of Sponge), and Mike Inez & Sean Kinney (Alice In Chains rhythm section)?
No. I haven't got around to those yet.

What sort of direction will Queensryche be heading when they head back into the studio?
I can't really answer that because it changes once you start writing.

How do you feel about other band in the progressive field such as Dream Theater and Transatlantic? How do Queensryche fit into that genre these days?
Well I'm really unfamiliar with those bands, so I couldn't really comment! (Laughs)

Do you compare yourselves with any other groups?
Oh I try not to! (Laughs) I really don't listen to a lot of other people's music. I'm pretty consumed with what's going on in my own head. And I never consider myself a part of any kind of movement really. It's a movement of Queensryche and that's probably it! (Laughs)

Where's your main source of inspiration for the music and lyrics these days?
It's the same place it's always been. Really, it's just life experience. When was that (Lengthy pause), I guess after 'Operation: Mindcrime' that I got rid of my television. I guess since then I really been trying to focus on myself and what's going on inside of my own head, my circle of acquaintances, friends and family. I sort of look to that as my inspiration, as apposed to world events, politics and things like that. I'm pulling all the inspiration from my own resources.

How do you look back on the last album ('Q2K') from Queensryche?
Well 'Q2K' is a good example of the band experimenting with the new chemistry. Probably lots of people don't know this, or have ever thought about it, but with Kelly (Gray) coming into the band, he became the main songwriter. He wrote every song on the record, physically. So his style and his influences and his way of thinking about music is what that record is all about. The things he's heard and the things he hears in his head all came out on that record. That album saw Kelly and I working and writing together for the first time on an album. So it was really our first attempt and our first try to put something together. Chris was the main writer in the band for years and years. He's a very talented musician, and I think some people probably forget that. Everybody seems to think that everyone contributes and writes in this band. That's not always true. It's usually one or two people who define the sound and the style of any given record or song. Scott (Rockenfield) has contributed something like three songs in twenty years. It's difficult to collaborate with people who don't work! (Laughs)

Do you guys have any input towards the re-release of the 'Operation: Livecrime' D.V.D.?
Oh yeah. Jimbo (James Barton) remixed it not long ago. I have a good relationship with E.M.I. I talk to them regularly about what their plans are for re-releasing Queensryche stuff. They call and get input about what we want it to look like, and if we would like to add anything to it at this time. We've been trying to get our different record labels to work together. That would allow us to put new stuff on the E.M.I. re-releases and old stuff on the new releases. Unfortunately they haven't quite seen the light yet. (Laughs) They kind of operate in the old school way. That means it's tough competition.

There's the usual argument about promoters unwilling to take the gamble and bring down groups like yourselves down here, but have you ever wanted to play down here in Australia?
Well if you guys had better beer, we'd probably be there! (Laughs) No, just kidding. We've always wanted to come to Australia. Always wanted to. There are a few places in the rock and roll influenced world that we haven't played yet. Greece and Spain are just a couple. We haven't been there in all these years. We know quite a lot of people in bands that have been to Australia, and we have friends there as well, so we know all about it. We've just never had the opportunity to go down and play some shows.

Do you think Queensryche still has something to prove to people out there?
Well I don't quite look at it in that sort way. I see music as a reflection of life, and life is still going on. So there'll always be something to write, talk and discuss. That's the beauty of art and expression, and that's what music is. Music isn't competition. It isn't like a sporting event where you have something to prove, or be competing against another band or artist. Record companies deal in that kind of world. They're the ones selling a product, and using the sports team mentality to operate their business. Music is self-expression. It's much more than competition or sporting events. It's people's feelings and their thoughts about things. So in answer to your question, yeah, there will always be something to say and write about, and there will always be a perspective on an event.

After a rigorous and deep probing interview (Not), I was more than happy to leave Geoff to enjoy what was left of another beautiful, gorgeous sunny day at home.

For information on Queensryche and related bands, check out the following sites-

The official Queensryche website-

Geoff Tate's solo website- http://www.geofftate.com/

Michael Wilton's (Queensryche guitarist) solo website- http://www.michaelwilton.com/

Chris De Garmo's (Ex-Queensryche guitarist) new band Spys4Darwin website-


© Justin Donnelly 2001


Loverboy - Mike Reno (2001)



This interview was conducted before the untimely death of Loverboy bassist Scott Smith. It's an interveiw that unfortunately didn't get aired at the time, but is still highly relevent today. Hope you enjoy it. I hope to follow up the interview with some new comments from Mike shortly....

Thank you for calling Mike...
My pleasure.

That's great. I must confess, I'm a longtime fan - since about '85 I guess.
Yeah. Great.

How are things?
Things are great. Busy, working hard. Lots of concerts, you know, traveling around.

Loverboy have been on the road haven't they?

Who have you been touring with? Just yourselves?

OK. What do you see the recording status of Loverboy right now? Is there anything planned?
We just finished a live album. (Live, Loud & Loose - OUT NOW!)

Oh you've done that, great.
We just mixed it; it'll be out soon. Sony Records is handling it.

Oh, great!
We will be touring to go along with it, as usual, but we thought we'd try something that's interesting. We're going to play live just like the CD is recorded, so we're going to come bang right out of the box just like the CD. Just for fun. We've got about 80-100 shows; they just keep piling in. We've been having a lot of fun.
We just recorded a few new ballads. We wanted to record some ballads that we'd written, just to get them recorded. It was kind of fun, we had Phil Collen, the guitar player from Def Leppard, help us produce one of these songs and it turned out great. It was that Diane Warren composition, so it can't be all bad.

Wow. OK.
That just got finished, and maybe we'll place them in soundtracks or something.

Yeah, you guys have had a long history with soundtracks and you as solo as well haven't you?

It's a great medium to get a song out there, I think.
Sure it is.

OK. So you're back on Sony for the live album. Is that because they own the songs or are they just interested for a change?
They liked it. We'd run it past them a few times. We went out and recorded a bunch of stuff from the last few seasons on the road.
We sent it to them and they said, "You know what, this is a good idea." But then they wanted to try something different, of course, to throw a little bit of a pain in the ass back in there.
They said, "Instead of releasing this newly recorded live record, let's go back to the vault and find the old King Biscuit Flower Hour, Westwood One, Rockline type shows and release those." So we found those tapes in the vault and we spent 3 weeks mixing them. So we've got live from Dallas, live from Vancouver, live from Cleveland, live from Kansas. You know, a mixture of live from everywhere and a little story to go along with each song. Nina Blackwood from MTV fame, she did our biography on it, or our liner notes.

She talked about the '80s and stuff, so it was kind of a good package. I just OK'd the thing three days ago, I checked it all out, checked out the artwork, and said, "Just go to press."

Sounds interesting. Is there anything off the latest tour on there then, or is it all classic?
It's going to be classic.

We pushed to put a few new songs on it, and we had a meeting with the record company and the guy said, "If you want me to be perfectly candid with you, your new songs are going to get buried, because it's going to be sold as a live album with classic hits on it; nobody's going to push the new singles, so you're wasting your time. Let me just look around and find a soundtrack for the two new songs." Because they really like the new songs.

Oh good.
But they didn't want to waste it putting it on an album that won't be promoted as…you know, they won't send it to radio and they won't do the promotions on it.

Lazy bastards.

I saw your web site by the way.

Thank you. You did? Excellent.
I saw your web site through a friend of mine, Brad Gillis.

Oh Brad? Excellent!
A friend of his and a friend of mine. I was down in San Jose doing a show and we were hanging in my hotel room, and he says, "Pump this on," so I pumped your web site up and I went through the whole thing and I said, "This is great!" I get home 10 days later and my manager, Gail at the office, says "This guy wants to talk to you," and I said, "I know that web site!" It's a small world huh?

It is a small world. In fact, I've been trying on and off to get an interview probably for 12 months, but I guess I just struck it, last time I called, Gail wasn't working there or something and I kind of got the right channels this time I guess, so I'm really pleased.

<Mike talking to someone in the background: It picks up again. It picks up again on the other end of that area. No. Go up the street, past the school, take a left, go up through the stop sign and back around the other side. OK.>
Sorry about that.

No problem, no problem. So do you guys maybe do a studio album sometime soon?
We're looking forward to it. We've got some new songs and we've got the creative juices flowing.

Excellent. How did you perceive the success of Loverboy VI? Were you happy with that?

It got buried a little bit by CMC, or whatever, in the States?
Yeah, there's no hard feelings. What it is, is it's a small record company that kind of has a certain amount of exposure in a certain amount of area. They're very limited. We knew it going in, but we had all these songs that we'd recorded and we wanted to put them out. Sony wasn't interested at the time. Of course, Carlos Santana comes along and now Sony's interested in everything, right?

Yeah <laughs>.
They're just a bunch of fuckin' idiots. But the only thing is, they're our idiots, right? So you've gotta go with the flow.

They're a major label, they're all the same aren't they?
And consequently, we did what we did and we're proud of it; it's just something that's there and we move on and forward and sideways and wherever we move. Just keep movin' baby.

It was a different style, the rest of that catalog, wasn't it?
You know what we did? We just recorded a bunch of eclectic tracks and we had fun experimenting with things, and we did it all in-house just down the street at Paul Dean's house, and we just had a ball.

Awesome. I love "Big Picture" that's my favorite track. I think it's a smokin' track, great vocal to it.
Appreciate it.

I did hear rumors or a suggestion that you guys might do a box set either live or studio or both or unreleased or everything or…Has that been thought of?
Well we've just finished digging up some tracks from two different eras; from the Get Lucky era and from the Lovin' Every Minute Of It era. What these tracks are, are tracks that didn't, for some reason or another, didn't make the cut. And if you recall, back then they didn't want more than 10, 11 songs on an album because it would make the album sound too thin.

So a lot of times, we'd cut 16, 17 songs for these albums, and then we'd pick from…get the top 10 or top 11 songs. Well, what Sony wanted, and we just finished getting, for those 2 eras that I mentioned, the Get Lucky and the Lovin' Every Minute of It, we found tracks that didn't make the cut for those various reasons, and we're remastering them, and they're going to be re-releasing Get Lucky and Lovin' Every Minute Of It with maybe 3, 4 new tracks on each CD.

Sony's going to do that?

Killer. I'd love to get that. I've got the old CD's but they could use remastering. You know what I'm a big fan of is your…not the official big remastered Best Of album you did, but the Big Ones you did from earlier, the three Bob Rock tracks.

They were a killer sound, a big sound.
Yeah, thank you man. That was a lot of fun doing that.

It sounds like you were having fun actually, kind of loose and rocking.
Well we went back in to Little Mountain Sounds, the infamous little studio that started it all for us, and we went in with Bob Rock and Mike Frazier and all these guys we work with, and they've all gone on to become super-huge producers in their own right, and we had fun.

Did those three tracks get a little lost, you think?
Absolutely. They got totally lost. It's the old same old, same old.
What do you do when you live in a shoe, huh?

<laughs> Employ a record label, I don't know.
You just go for it and you hope everybody does the right thing. Nine times out of ten, somebody drops the ball. I don't harbor any grudges or keep clinging on too much to negativity; just let it go, if it happens it happens if it doesn't, oh what the fuck.

That's what you've gotta do, I think.

Yeah, otherwise you'd kill yourself almost wouldn't you?

You know what I've got a rough copy of here, it's not A grade, but it's not bad either, it's a copy of your as yet unreleased solo album from…I don't even know when your recorded it. When did you record this one?

Is it that old?
And, I'm trying to find out how people get copies of the goddamn thing; it's driving me crazy because I just got the tapes back from Sony who said they couldn't find them, and when we were gathering tapes from the archives to remix these live broadcasts, the archivist did me a favor and looked around for my solo album and he found the tapes, which they said they had lost. So now I have those tapes back and I'm just in the process of remixing it and putting in some better sounding drums and things.

OK. So you're still working on it; that's great.
It's a work in progress, and I will probably be putting it out on this company I'm involved with right now called Rockforever.com.

We're setting up to do MP3 downloads and we do as of now…it's a little thing I do on the side, with a bunch of my singer friends from The Cars and Survivor and John Cafferty.

Right! I was just recently talking to Jimi....
Yeah, well, did he talk to you about that Voices of Classic Rock thing we're doing?

We just do stuff that's private and it's usually involved with corporations or the Army bases of America all over the world, and/or things that usually surround fun stuff like we'll go golfing for a few days, play a concert and it's with Ben Orr from the Cars, Mickey Thomas from Starship, Mike Reno, John Cafferty, Jimi Jamison.

Mickey Thomas is a particular favorite of mine.
Yep. I'll see him tomorrow.

Oh really? Tell him to make a solo record already.
OK. Will do.

<laughs>. He's a great singer.
Yeah, he is.

This is a very classic solo album, I must say.
You like it?

I love it.
I should put it out then?

Oh, absolutely, yeah.
How did you get it, just out of curiosity?

Well, when we formed this company Rockforever.com, I decided that might be a better place for it so I kind of cut all ties thinking that maybe this might be a better place for it, and since I've done that they've given me a bunch to remix it and remaster it so I'm going for it.

I know MTM was interested at one stage, are they not part of it anymore?
Not so far. So far it didn't work out that way.

OK. I'm sure they'd still be keen to release it though. It's a great album.
Some guy in Statton Island was printing copies off and selling them on the web.

Oh shit, really?
And it's really hard to track this guy down because it's all postbox and stuff.

Statton Island, OK.
It was a Statton Island post office box. It was Vinnie Carmosy or something, I don't know. It was an Italian name, but his first name was Vinnie, I know that for sure. From looking in the files I can remember that much.

If I hear anything, I can pass it on I guess!
I just find it a little unfair that some guy can beat you to the gun on your own music.

Oh sure, absolutely. That's why when I got a copy of this I kept it to myself!
What song should I release as my first single?

Well. Let me see. "Still in Love" is such a huge ballad, which is fantastic. But I really like "Take Me Back" though. That's a fantastic track. And "Affection" is obviously a killer rock radio song I would think.
Yeah. I agree with you on all three of those.
"New Messiah" kind of catches you off guard, but it's pretty weird.

It is actually....it's different. Absolutely different, and "Guilty As Charged" is a good up-tempo track. "I Say Go Again" is another good value track.
I guess I should release it.

Yeah. Absolutely. I think you'll get a great response from it personally.
Yeah. I was recently in Japan and Korea.

OK. What were you doing down there?
We were doing shows for the U.S. Army bases, for the, once again it was The Voices of Classic Rock.

Oh really?
We were hired to play a series of Army bases in Japan and Korea. We were over there for eight days.

Oh, wow. Damn, I wish you had an Army base down here. You could fly over… <laughs> That's a great collection of voices you wouldn't see in your average day concert is it?
You know what, it's really a fun thing to play because you get to hear all the singers singing their hit songs and the band doesn't change; it's Mickey Thomas's band. He's got a cookin' band, right?

So it's one band playing all the music and the singers change. You get 3-4 songs from one guy, then the next guy comes up and so on and so forth, so it makes for a real fun night.

Damn, that would be….You should record that.
Well, we do uplinks, so if you want to keep on track of that, try to get Rockforever.com up on your computer and just follow it a little bit. I know we're doing a show pretty soon. I think it would be half a week past Easter Sunday from Euro-Disney; it's going to be a live uplink.

Oh. Wow.
That'll be with Rockforever.com, and I think it's be sponsored by Yahoo! and/or one of those companies like that, or maybe even a company called, oh gee I'm trying to think because we just did a big concert for this corporation, all these young geeky looking guys from these computer companies, they're all billionaires and they hire us to come down and play concerts for them. Oh, Pulver, pulver.com.

Pulver.com. You can find out about it from either that or…

I'll give you a huge plug on my site, you'll probably get some extra traffic through there.
Yeah, so the company that we formed, all the partners, and all the band mates that I told you that I was singing with…we all formed a little company so we can release new songs and we don't need a record company and kiss their ass.
We can release new songs and we can uplink live concerts all over the world, and we can have chat lines, and special events and things. So that's at Rockforever.com. And, that's going to be a good thing for us, because we can almost feel like we're in control of our own destiny a little more so than we have been in the past.

Hey look, whatever my site can do, please let me know...
That's a fantastic site you've got.

Thank you. Great.
Get the challenge going. All these corporations that want to have staff parties. Put the challenge out. Bring Loverboy over.

Fantastic. I'd love to see it. That'd be great. Tell me, I must ask you while I'm here, I'm a big fan of the Just-If-I album.
That was…when did you record that? That must've been '92 or something.

Yeah, '92-'93. It's tough to remember exactly, because I do things for the love of the art. I don't necessarily get locked into what the hell it was and when it was.

Yeah, it was such a small label wasn't it?
Well what it was, was there was a bunch of guys that got together for recording's sake and then put it out and then we never really found a label, we just found some people in town that wanted to run with it a little bit.
We let them run with it, but it was very limited. But one of the songs, "Cindy's Song", actually ended up being on a Movie of the Week thing over here and it got a lot of attention.

OK. There's some really pretty deep songs on there wasn't there?
Yeah, it was pretty cool.

Yeah, it was a side step for you I thought.
Well, that happens. You work a certain venue all your whole life and you really have fun if you get to go out of it a little bit.

Was it good fun working with Neal Schon?
Yeah it was. It's always fun working with him. He's a high energy guy, you know. A really great musician. A good friend. He's touring with Journey again.....

He is indeed.
I was actually working in a CD store in Canada when Just-If-I came out and I nearly fell over when I saw it. Otherwise, I don't think I ever would've heard of it.

What part of Canada were you working in?

I was in Toronto.
Oh yeah.

You're in Vancouver, right?

Unfortunately, you guys didn't tour there that summer.
I guess not. We used to play the CNE quite a bit, but it kind of died down. We were at the Juno awards this year.

Oh really?
For a tribute to Bruce Fairbairn who passed away untimely.

Yeah, that was sad.
And his wife... they were inducting him into the Hall of Fame, posthumously.
And his family was asked to come out and receive the award. And she asked if Loverboy would give the award rather than the person they had chosen. For some reason, even though we've won more Juno's than anybody else in one year, I think they harbor some kind of grudge; I think it's because we like to tell jokes and go off the script.

<laughs> You know you can't go off the script on awards shows.
Piss on them, I say.

<laughs> Good idea. You've had a lot of solo stuff yourself, not only…well you haven't had a solo album have you, but you've had Just.if.i and several soundtrack tunes, there's almost enough there for you to do a solo sort of collection, best of, yourself.
OK, I'll do it.

Yeah! <laughs>
Send me the budget, and I'll get it done for you.

Yeah, I wish.
See how it works?

Absolutely. You'd like to do something like that?
You know what? All I do is sing, tour, and write. Nothing's changed for me. What's changed is the record business because all the old guys have retired and all the young guys are trying to find new bands.
We get left in the lurch; nobody gives a shit about us, so it's really a tough situation. Hence, I feel…that's why I feel so happy about having the Rockforever.com thing in place because it's giving me the chance to do whatever I want. And sure as shit, if it starts to catch on, record companies will come up and say, "Gee, we really love you. We were wondering if we could make some money off of you."
You know how they are; they're just a bunch of fuckin' idiots. I don't know what else to say, because it's the truth. I have very little use for these pigs; however, there's no hard feelings.

<laughs> I do like that. Can I ask you about a couple of other songs that you've sung?

How did you get involved with the David Foster album, the track, "All I Ever Needed"?
That's a song that's going to end up on my solo album.

Oh really?
I have a version of it with me and David writing the song. Just him at the piano and me on vocals. It's killer.

It is a killer song. Yeah.
He asked me to come down to do the backing tracks for his solo album. And while we were there, he asked me to come over early one day and see if we couldn't write a song and that night I had a dream. I dreamt all the lyrics and I woke up and wrote them down and I hummed into my tape recorder the melody. And I went over and he said, "Do you have any idea what we can do?" and I started him off on this thing. And he started playing it and it developed in about an hour into that song.

That's a killer song. So you're going to add that to the solo album?

That makes the solo album even more amazing.
I got the OK on that one, because it was a 50/50 co-write, so it's OK for me to go ahead and put that on; I talked to Foster about it.

That was a cool fun thing, because we were recording down in his Malibu place and some of the other singers that were there were Bill Champlin from Chicago and a couple of girls, and we were just doing the backing tracks and having fun. You know, singing a few songs and then standing outside and soaking in the sun. It was really awesome. That was a fun trip.

It sounds hard!
Well it's not hard when you're with all those pros, you know. You start singing and WHAM.

Absolutely. Another track I love is the Dream a Little Dream track, "Whenever There's a Night".
I forgot about that one!

Yeah, that's another killer ballad eh?
I should put that one on the solo album too.

Oh yeah.
<starts singing: Whenever there's a night I need love …>

I must say, that is one of my all-time favorite ballads.
Really? What is it on? How do you get that? I don't even know where that is.

I actually got it when I toured the States from a second-hand store. I finally got the CD of it from a cut-out bin or something.
I'd love to get a copy of that one.

The Dream a Little Dream soundtrack? Do you want me to burn off a copy for you?
That would be awesome!

Yeah. I can do that.
That would be awesome.

Give me your mailing address Mike, and I'll burn one off for you.
<Mike gives his address>

That would be awesome dude.

Easily done. No worries at all. That's just such a great track. The other one that's a favorite of mine, is from Iron Eagle, "Chasing the Angels".
I forgot about that one too.

Did you really? <laughs> Yeah, that's a big rocker.
Oh that is a big…oh just hang on half a second <pause>

The kids are just running in from school and I have to let them know that mom is not home

Very cool.
<To his kids: Hey, mom's not home and I'm on the phone, so you guys just come in and settle down, get something to eat if you want.....I don't know, we've got company> <to Andrew: my brother's here>.

Oh really.
We've got three kids.

When Uncle Steve shows up, everybody likes to Rock and Roll.

Oh Party Time?
Well, kid's party time, you know.

Jumping on Uncle Steve.

Keeping you busy.
Oh yeah.

Yeah, I've been to Vancouver, just for a week; I enjoyed it a lot.
We're getting the early summer here, it's like 80 degrees and sunny and beautiful out.
What part of Australia are you in?

I'm in Hobart, Tasmania believe it or not.
You're in Tazmania down by the devil.

Yeah, with the devil, that's right <laughs>
How do you get over there? Do you take a ferry?

Ferry and fly, yeah.
It's got to be pretty over there.

Well, that's about all I had for you I think Mike.
Well, if you plop me a line on the e-mail I gave you once in a while, I'll fill you in on some of the latest.

That'd be great, and I'll continue to plug and look for Rockforever.com and see if I can send some people your way.
I appreciate it.

I will burn off a couple of tracks and send them to you, I guess.
You are awesome.

A pleasure, a pleasure. Absolutely anything I can do. And I expect to see this solo album released shortly. <laughs>
Right on.

All right. That's great. Thanks Mike.
All right Andrew.

Good talking to you.
Nice talking to you.

You too. Take care.
Bye now.

Say hi to Mickey for me.
Will do.

Thanks mate.
Bye now.

Bye, bye.




Kelly Keagy (2001)


T h e Time Passes I n t e r v i e w





Hey Kelly, thanks for your time again. The album's out in Europe, are Frontiers are going to do the US release for you?
If I can get something better, they'll go for that. So I'm going to see if I can use some of my contacts around that I know. But any of the companies that I know are majors and they're not really keen on signing an act like me.

What, good music you mean?
Yeah. They want all that..., anyway.

Maybe if you dye your hair blond and wear shorts or something and a baggy top.
And pierce everything and brand my face. And play music with no melody in it at all.

Absolutely. And scream a bit more.
It's not a sign of age is it?

Definitely not.
I think we just like good music.

Yeah, we do. And you know what? I've got some kids on the site that e-mail me and say, hey, I'm nineteen and I haven't been corrupted by the crap on MTV. Some of those kids do like good music.
That's cool. That's great.

That's encouragement. They're not all thirty and forty year olds e-mailing me!!
You know I met this one kid from Holland or someplace like that. And he came over to a Chicago show that Night Ranger did. Here's this young kid, about twenty years old. And he was over visiting or doing something and traveling. Came to our show and you know, loved Night Ranger ever since he was a little kid. It was really amazing.

Now where would a twenty year old have heard of Night Ranger?
You know, I don't know. He just found music over there somehow in the record stores, so got into it.

Awesome. I'll tell you, I've also had an e-mail from a fifty-six year-old Night Ranger fan.

Well I guess we should talk about this album, eh?

All right, well let's go. The opening track, "Anything Goes".
A great rocker. One of the early tracks wasn't it?

It's one of the earlier ones that Jack and I and this guy Aaron Zigman, he's a songwriter…we wrote that song for a specific movie that was supposed to being done. It's called Rock Star.

And so there was at least a thousand writers trying to write for that. And so they had to sift through. It was a couple of summers ago now. So we wrote that song just for that, and it was just a little, funky demo. I sent it to Frontiers because I wanted this to be a rock album. So that song really turned out good for me.
You know, you need songs like that. I was really glad that I could use it.

It's a good, honest, hard rocker. And probably one of the closer tracks to a Night Ranger tune on the album.
Yeah, I think there is a lot of material on here that sounds like Night Ranger.

The funny thing is, it's just how everybody brings their personality into a band. You know, it's kind of like when Don Henley goes off and does his own stuff, you hear that voice and you know it's the Eagles. Kind of what some of this stuff does for me when I listen to it.

Exactly right. I was actually going to bring this up later on but I'll bring it up now for the sake of it. Night Ranger always is a blend of personalities. You've got five very prominent songwriters and singers in the band, which is a rare task, isn't it? But this does sound like a Kelly Keagy album. This does sound like an individual.
I was hoping that it was going to be like that. You know, that's why I'm glad I had a lot of time to make the record, so I can think about this stuff. Because I'm the type of person that needs to absorb, you know.
When I'm working on material, writing it, or after I've written it and I'm considering it for an album, I like to listen to it and just kind of like let it soak in. And it was nice that I had that much time to figure it out, so I could make it like an individual album. Not so much just sound like the band that I play with.

You debuted "Anything Goes" at the Gods last year. Did you get any feedback off that track? Any response from the people you talked to that night?
You know what, I've gotten e-mails from a lot of people recently saying that they love the track and they couldn't wait for the album. It's really great. Specifically, they like that song but they were kind of bunching it in with the other songs too. They weren't like confronting that song so much as they were saying that they like the whole style and sound of the record.

Sure. One of the tracks that I hadn't heard before, because as you know I've had a quite a bit of time with a lot of the songs off this album, and I thank you for that. But one of the new ones which I've only just heard is "Acid Rain" and that really caught me as a great sort of more modern rocker.
The original demo was recorded over at Jimmy's house with Jack and I and Jimmy cutting the track. And that's another song that was written for that Rock Star movie. Or was being written specifically for like the soundtrack for that.
And I don't think anybody ever heard that song. I really don't know the background on if Jimmy ever sent that or if it ever got sent out to the record company. I'm pretty sure it did, because when we were traveling I know that Jimmy and him got together and wrote two songs. And then I offered my services because they didn't have a drummer. And they were just writing together on guitars. So I offered my services and I cut the drums. And then Jimmy sent me the track just like about three months ago and I put it together. I put Brian on there, playing, Brian does a trade off guitars with Mike Aquino.
He's the guy that plays on Jimmy's stuff.

That's cool.
But that was one of those tracks that was kind of cool and I got a chance to play on. Not really thinking it was going to go anywhere, you know, as far as me.
I didn't get a chance to add to the writing, it was already written, so that was cool. I didn't mind, I just wanted to come in and play. It was cool how it turned out because I got a chance to actually put my stamp on it. Produce it, sing it. It was really pretty fun.

A very cool vocal you've got there.
Yeah, there was another guy singing on the track originally. So I just decided to use the song. Sarafino liked the song and you know, there you go! I just kind of went in there and cut away at it. It happened. It was really fun. Especially with Brian. Got a chance to do a little trading guitars with Mike Aquino.

Oh, sure, sure, yeah.
Yeah, he played on Jimmy's stuff and he's doing the Mecca thing.
Joe Banner. So he's like a local guy in Chicago. It was nice to have him come in and play on that. He also played on "The Journey" and he played on some of the tracks that didn't make the album. I don't know if you got any of those demos I sent you. I don't know if you got any of those songs like "Ear for Thunder."

I've got "Ear for Thunder", I think I've tracked down about three I don't have.
Yeah, so "Ear for Thunder", there was another song called "Faith", "Torch of Faith".

Yeah, that's the other one I've got I think.
So Mike and Brian Bart both played on that. Brian and I put them together in the studio.

Now that you mention it they are both similar to "Acid Rain" so that's why. OK, yeah, I've heard those two tracks, they were great, again.
Now, "Time Passes" has to be one of my favorite tracks off the album.
I love what you've done with the track from the original demo. You've kind of hollowed out the first verse there, haven't you?

I just stripped it down. I played the intro guitar on it, and played the... the whole intro was basically just me by myself in the studio. As it starts to build, I added Brian. When the track kicks in with the drums and stuff, that's when Brain enters with me. So I basically played. It was fun.
When I was putting this stuff together, I never thought, ever, that my stuff that I was recording was ever going to be used. It had a feel about it, intros, you know, this and that. Like on 'Time Passes" especially, it just had a feel about it that I didn't think that I wanted to replace. It just felt so good.
Then once the track gets into it, then Brian's there and you know, he's a really good guitar player so he could fill in what I wouldn't really be able to play. I'm a very simple guy. Just play simple chords. I can manage. As long as I'm not out there by myself too long (laughs). But it was really fun actually being able to use some of these tracks. I thought I was going to end up replacing them all. That's what you do when you're a songwriter. You just put the basic thing down and you go, here's the song. And you bring in guys and you have good players fix it up. You know some of the stuff really worked. So that was kind of like my decision.
I was hoping I was making the right one. It did turn out good.

Absolutely. I tell you something that is throughout the whole album, but an example of it, is when you do the pass through the first verse and go into the chorus you've got a spanking drum sound.
That was really fun to record because we got a chance to record over at the school of music here in Minneapolis where Brian is a part-time teacher there. And so we had a chance to go into this like unbelievable studio to record drum, and using all this great equipment and stuff. It was really, really a great experience. That was really fun. We kept wondering if we were over-processing the drums a little bit but they sounded so good in that room that we just wanted to keep it like it was. Big and giant.

Is there a particular sentiment behind the song, the lyrics?
You know what's fun is that originally I was writing it kind of like somebody's search for spiritualism or looking for... I'm not terribly religious but at the time I was trying to be a little bit more spiritual. I think this song came out of that. Because the lyrics kind of seem like you're talking about a woman. But at the same time, when I was originally writing it, I wasn't feeling like I was writing about a woman. I was actually kind of talking about a Supreme Being, or God. So that's what I was thinking about. Then I put in a couple of funny lines in there about the car. In the second verse, I just kind of wanted to have some sense of humor in there because it's kind of a dark song.

It is, it is. In fact, the first thing I heard from you, when you first made contact, you sent me a five-track demo which "Time Passes", "Bottled Up" and "The Moon" were part of. And I just remember finishing the fifth song going, Wow, that was one dark, segment of music. The whole all five songs.
I know, I know. There's definitely that side of me. And I'm glad I got to explore it a little bit but not make the whole record that way. Because I mean that was the original five songs, was really the first inspiration for the album.

It was intense.
Pretty weird. Yeah. I mean you know, like when I listen to it even now, I try and space it out so I don't listen to it too often. I'm not absorbed with my own music but I listen to it just to kind of go back and kind of reflect. That song is definitely pretty dark. I know Bottled Up is kind of an angry song (laughs). I just hope people don't get depressed and like jump out the window when they hear it.

Let's jump to that song now. If you don't mind me getting personal, maybe it's not even personal, I don't know, but where did the inspiration for that song come from? Who were you angry at in the song?
On "Bottled Up"? Actually, I wrote it with Bruce Gaitsch who's a really good friend of mine who's written with Richard Marx and people like that. Yeah he was in that band that I was in.

King of Hearts...
Yeah, Timothy Schmidt was kind of a part of that band in the beginning. He never actually stayed in the project because everything about the Eagles and all that, going to get back together. Bruce was going through a divorce and I was kind of having some problems in my personal life.
He was going through a divorce, well that was kind of the whole thing, it was like, man, I don't care about the money. I don't care. Just like, you can have everything. I just want to go. Kind of like, there's a new song out, kind of the same thing, it says that same kind of thing. You know, just like, go away.
I mean, you know when you get hurt in a relationship, you just want to move on. That's kind of what it is. It's just like a moving on song. It's kind of angry but, that's the way it goes.

I can remember listening to it going, Ah man, Kelly's in a really bad place.
I hope he's OK!

(laughing). You know, sometimes writing songs like that is a really good thing because it's cleansing. You're releasing it. So it's a good thing. I just hope that people just don't go, "Ah shit!" (laughs). But that's how I felt at the time. And there's a lot of other positive stuff on the album.

Oh there is. It's very well balanced, I must say.
That's what I was trying to do. You know, I'm really glad, again, that's another reason why I had a lot of time to get into it. You know, a lot of times bands don't have enough time to think out their material and sometimes it doesn't turn out good. That's why I probably won't make another record for ten years.
Just kidding!

I hope it's not that long! OK, what about, "Before Anybody Else Knows"? I love this, it's another great rocker isn't it?
Yeah, you know what, this one was written totally over, through mail.
I had met Jim Peterik and I was talking with him about this song and I said, I'm going to send this thing to you. It was the first thing we ever wrote together.
And I sent it to him on a cassette. I had all the melodies and a lot of the music done. And I just hummed this melody to him. Because you know, for a while I was just kind of like, didn't have anything to say. So it was nice that Jimmy came along because he's always got great things to say. And he's always really positive about it, coming up with great titles and stuff. So that was like, Jimmy wrote all the lyrics to this song. And came up with a title and everything. And he was just like, within a week, he sent it back to me. He goes, thanks man for making me a part of this song because it just came out. It was amazing to me that he came up with this idea about Icarus, the melting wax and the wings thing. It was such a great touch. Just a really great story. So I really got behind it. And the tape he sent back was just like him playing it on piano. Which was so unlike what the song was. But that was the way that he wanted to..., so I could hear the lyrics. So he sent it back to me that way. That was a really great track. I was like the first thing that we got going on, and then I knew I wanted to write the rest of the album with him.

I'll sort of digress a little bit, but you and he have great respect for each other don't you?
It was so amazing. I remember when Jimmy first sent me the stuff to do a World Stage show with about three years ago and the first track was that song "Vehicle". I know this is kind of his stamp, him individually.
But he's written so many other great songs since then, of course everybody knows. But when I heard that first track, It reminded me of...the first time I heard it was like in high school. And he was just barely out of high school.
Which is so incredible. And I just thought to myself, God man, this guy has got so much soul. I want to work with this guy. I really want to get serious with this. So that's when I sent him "Before Anybody Knows".
And then we started writing "Too Close to the Sun" and a lot of good things came out. You know what? I think I kind of overlapped didn't I, a little bit. I was talking about one song, I was talking about "Icarus". That wasn't in "Before Anybody Knows". Sorry, I'm getting mixed up on my own music.

That was "Too Close to the Sun" wasn't it?
Yeah. That whole thing about Icarus was "Too Close to the Sun". But "Before Anybody Knows I'm Gone" was like a song written about riding a motorcycle. That's one of my passions, is riding a bike. And Jim, I don't know if he ever has ridden a motorcycle but I think that I was telling him about it. That's where he came up with the idea for the lyrics for that song. You know, we were talking about riding and stuff like that, riding motorcycles, that was that one. I'm sorry I kind of got mixed up.

No, that's all..., we'll edit this, don't worry [Sorry Kelly....I decided not to edit it!!]
Are you recording this?

So you can sift through it...[Maybe :0]

Tell me about the last ninety seconds of this song "Before Anybody Knows".
Oh yeah, you mean all that train wreck stuff? That's what it is, it's like a train wreck isn't it? Well basically all that stuff got kept in there from the demo.
When I brought the track to Brian I had played guitar and some bass and had all this stuff on there. So I was going to cut all that out. That was just like an out-take thing, I was going to fade the song out. But it was so exciting; it was so weird.
I had never done anything like that in a band. Have a big fan at the end and have it just go on and on. And I remember the days of Grand Funk Railroad, where they used to do shit like that for five minutes (laughs). So I cut it down to about one and a half or two minutes. I just remember, that's one of the things I really like about Grand Funk Railroad, is get to the end of a song and they'd just go (guitar sound) and they'd hold it for like five minutes. And just annoy the shit out of everybody. So when I said that to Serafino like that, I knew he was just going to go 'Well we definitely have to cut the end off'. But he didn't. So I said, you know what? I like it too or something and just leave it in there because it sounds like we're in there jamming, which was what we were doing.

It's good fun. I love the ending. You just start spanking the drums and there's this little mini solo in there, there's like this noise.
Yeah, and all this like everybody's like doing like you know (whirring noise). You know like, doing the eighties, you know pull the bar up and....That was one reason I wanted to keep it in too, is because the drumming aspect of it.
I thought well this kind of features me, you know, getting to flail away a little bit. And so I said you know, let's just keep that in there.

Yeah. Good stuff. I mean it's a drummer's record. You're a drummer; it's your record. You should be able to play on it.
You know, I didn't want to do a solo or anything like that, but I just figured well this is the closest thing, the closest I can get to the solo.

The first ballad on the album is track five, "Too Much to Ask".
Right. What a great track that is. That was written during the original sessions that I got together with Kevin Chalfant and Jimmy.
I went over for about three days, over to Chicago in the summertime when Night Ranger had a break from touring and got together with those two. And when you get those two guys in the room together, I'm telling you, boy, stuff starts flying out. Images and great, you know, insight on life and stuff like that. That's where that song came from, is we wanted to write something about..., not so much a love song. We wanted it to be a humanitarian song. You know, and asking that question about... Is it too much to ask? Did I want a better life for my fellow man and my kids, friends? That's where that came from.

Great sentiment.
Yeah, that was fun too. We recorded that at Jimmy's house too, which was really fun to record at Jimmy's house and the Pro Tool system.

I think I've heard that mentioned in the last three interviews I've done.
Pro Tools? Yeah, everybody's getting on that. I didn't want to do that on this record too much though, you know? I was kind of skeptical when we did that at his house. I was like, well, you know, I don't know if I can really get the sound I want and everything like that. But it turned out to be great. Especially when we got to the latter tracks which is like, "The Journey" and some of those other tracks where I got to mess around with the drum sound a bit more and stuff.
So it was fun.

Cool. Now I saw you guys all in action, you and Kevin, of all the places, in the back of a taxi-bus on the way to Liverpool that day. [The day after last year's Gods Festival].
On the back of the bus you guys just started writing a song, and Jimmy's got his recorder in his pocket, then suddenly he's out recording everything....

You know, that was the beginnings of a song that didn't make the record. We didn't actually get to finish it. Actually "The Journey" was one of those songs we wrote over there. Jim had this idea, he was fiddling around with it in church across the street from the hotel we were staying in London.
He brought his tapes with him of course down from Liverpool and brought it out. I thing you're probably going to find some songs on the next Kevin Chalfant record on there too. They were doing a lot of that too. I think "The Journey" was one of those songs, and there was another song. What was it? A song called "You're Everything I Need in a Woman". But that didn't make it on the record. We wrote about three different ideas that turned out to be..., they're going to be songs on future records.

Just to see you guys at work was a privilege. It was just fantastic to see you guys, you know, take any opportunity. Again while we were waiting for a taxi at the Liverpool Docks building in the rain...
People must think like we were like stoned or something!!
Because we were like oblivious to anybody around us. We didn't give a shit, it was like, I've got this idea! Hey it goes (sings some notes).
We were getting goofy with this recorder out in the middle of...I mean sometimes I'd just laugh. I would just laugh because I'd look over at somebody and they'd be like going 'Huh'? Like, what's wrong with these guys? Ah, these bloody Americans. So it was really funny. But at the same time it was energizing.

I was sitting back there in awe, I was just going, I'm in another world.
Wasn't that fun to go to Liverpool, man?

It was a blast. It was really fun, yeah, one of the best days out I have ever had.
Jim's a funny man, isn't he?

Isn't he great?

OK, so "Too Close to the Sun", we're done with "Bottled Up". "Too Close to the Sun", you were referring to the lyrics there before.
Yeah, I was talking about the lyrics. About, Jimmy wrote some really fantastic story ideas on Icarus. I always thought that was such a great story about him flying too high. And it's just kind of, it's so true, you know, how that works in life. We're all trying to get somewhere and sometimes we might take the wrong path. Who knows. Or it might be the right path. But society thinks it's the wrong path. So, I always thought that that was such a great lyric, and that was a song I wrote...another one I was writing in my studio on guitar and ended up keeping the bass tracks and guitar tracks that I originally had done. And it worked out great. And the song didn't change a whole lot from what I had done in the studio. And the melody, the melody was pretty much sound when I sent it to Jim and he tweaked it with lyric and stuff like that. That was another one that Jim wrote all the lyrics to that one and "Before Anyone Knows I'm Gone". He just had such a handle on it there wasn't a thing that I could change. It was so perfect.

Oh, that's cool. I think that musically it sounds a bit like Man in Motion.
Really!? The song "Man in Motion"?

The album, the album.
Oh that's great. I always liked that album. I thought that was a great record. And it never got it's just, fair play. That's when things were changing; at the end of the '80s everybody was like 'well we don't want to play you guys anymore'.
Or whatever was going on. I don't know if it was that. It was just, you know, hey, music changes. That's what I like about pop music, it's always changing and it's very positive. You know, hey, that's what happens.

Now another big rocker. One that keeps turning out to be one of my favorite tracks because it's one of the new ones I'm sort of living with now and that's "Wrong Again".
"Wrong Again"?

That one originally was written by Brad and myself and Gary Moon, when we were writing for the 'Mojo' album. And for some reason when we went to cut the track for the 'Mojo' album, the song just didn't work. Or something, or the producer didn't think it was working because a lot of the new material that we had written, it was kind of, I don't know, it was getting passed up. And I always loved this song.

It's a great song.
And I kept it. I kept it close to me because I just think it's a great song. There's a lot of inspiration in there. And even though it's just a simple little pop lyric in there, there's something in it. There was a great fiery performance in it, with Gary and Brad. So I took the original tracks that we did at Brad's studio in like 1993. Something ridiculously far away like that. See, that's one thing I like doing. I like taking something that was originally good, and building on it. And I think I did that on some of the songs on this record.

So that one, I kept the original vocals. I kept Brad's performance. And I put new drums on there and I mixed it. I'm kind of weird about that. If I like..., if something sounds good. I don't want to re-record it just because it's like five or six years old. The performances were good. I analyzed it. I sat there for hours and just went 'Is this any good'? And then Brian and I, we had to really work to make the drums work with the old tracks. Because we had cut the track live in Brad's studio so there was no metronome to follow. Nowadays the drummer will cut tracks to a metronome track so that everything will be smooth throughout. Well there was no metronome track on this. So this is where the computer really came into play. Really made that song happen. Because the timing was all over the place. And so when I cut my drums, I had to speed up and slow down and speed up to what was going on like a live performance.
When I got back into the studio it didn't sound good like that. So I made it, we basically..., Brian pulled his genius and made that thing. We sat there and said, OK, this verse is rushing, OK, stop. What can we do. We had to take every single track, individually into the computer and splice it together and made that track groove.

I mean it was like..., it was something that took about twelve hours to do. It was like, when we got done with that, we were like looking at each other going (growling noise). Just growling because it was so frustrating. That song would have been done a long time ago. I was kind of, one of those things, like it would have been done in an hour. But just for the fact that we didn't have a metronome, trying to cut to it, just made it really hard. I loved the song so much I really wanted to work and make it happen.

And Gary's vocal sounds great in there.
Doesn't he kick ass!?

Oh, he's awesome.
Gary's always impressed me with his range, his vocal range. Because on some other things that we had written together a long time ago, he can sing down low too. So he's not always singing up in his higher register. So that's something about Gary. He's just a tremendous singer.

In fact he showed us just how low he can sing on the bus on the way back to Liverpool didn't he (laughs)? Do you remember that?
(laughing). I know. Him and Josh singing together, doing that low stuff. Oh my God. I thought they were going to break the windows.

Did you get that on tape?
You know, I think he got some of that. Because throughout Josh was doing that. So I think that they probably recorded it.

Great stuff! All right, "When There is a Woman".
Now that's a song that Jimmy wrote totally by himself. And I had a demo tape of all these songs that Jimmy had written. Like twenty songs. And that one just jumped out at me. I thought, God, if there's any song that I would like to put on my record that I haven't written or that I didn't have any part of in writing, that would be one song I would love to do. And so I just felt an emotional bond with the song. So it was great, going back over there and re-cutting all the tracks with everybody. Using Mike again on guitar and of course Jimmy played keyboards and basses on some of these songs. I'm not sure which one's he played on, I'll have to look at the credits here to see what he played on. But of course working with Jimmy as a producer is really fun. Because he's got so many ideas it's just unbelievable. That was great. That was really fun.

The big anthem of the album, "The Journey".
Yeah, "The Journey". Now getting to that one, that's the one that we wrote in the church over there in London. That was a great little inspiration to have Jim say come on let's go to this church. And he saw this piano back there, well he kind of felt like he was being driven by you know, like I've got to get to a piano and we've got to work on this thing. So we asked the church manager there if we could go and sit down at the piano. And we apologized up and down. Can we do this? He kind of like was looking at us funny because you know, here we are, Americans all dressed in leather or whatever we were wearing. Jim was wearing a leather jacket, I was wearing some jeans or whatever. And he was like OK, but just five minutes. So we went over there and he brought his little recorder and we got the very inspiration, beginning of inspiration for that song down. So we started to get the melodies and all of the chord changes down. Jimmy had a lot of it going already before I came in. So that was really a great, great little thing, was being able to go into that church. Then we actually went back the next day and said, after we had worked on it in the hotel, and said back in there, and the same guy again, 'Oh you guys again!' Are you back again? But he was really nice enough to let us go back in there and do that. Got it down. That was cool.

Some great vocals on that album, but also on that song.
Oh, thank you, thank you. Yeah that was with Jimmy at the helm.
It's really nice to have Jimmy out there listening to you sing because he's such a great singer himself.
Very smooth. Your voice is very smooth on that track.
Yeah, Joe Vana joined us on backgrounds on that.

OK, awesome. That will make a good live track. I hope.
Yeah, we were thinking about doing it for this show, this upcoming show for World's Stage coming up. You know, it's kind of like we're going to have people returning from that last show, which know Jimmy's material off the World's Stage record. So I think it would be better to keep it just to that. So we decided not to do it here. But we are going to do that song "Long Road Home".

Yeah, now that's a great track, isn't it?
I wish you could come to that.

Don't tease me.
Last year was so fun. It was so fun you know, meeting Kevin again. You know I've know Kevin for a long time. But seeing Kevin again and having him come out and do a song. And the audience was so into it and Jimmy's got so many great songs.

Yeah. Hasn't he!?
You know, it was just amazing.

I'll make it my ambition to see the show one day.
I think he's going to be doing this for a while because he's kind of like an icon there in Chicago.

It's just so hard to get anywhere from down here.
I understand. I'd sure love to come down there.

Look, the last track is one I particularly..., now you wrote this all on your own and I'm really envious of the lyrics. I think they're awesome. I think it's a very personal and very sentimental, touching song. I love it.
Which song are we talking?

“The Moon”.
The moon song. Now that song. That was just like one of those kind of songs where I'm just sitting around with my acoustic guitar and strumming and I just started to hum this melody and pretty soon the lyric came and I just..., it's kind of an endearing song. It's a nice song, you know? It's got a beautiful melody to it. And then having that kind of heartbreak lyric in it. But it still has hope to it. It's not totally like loss. That's what I like about the song. It's got both.

It's like a positive song in the face of something, like event that's incredibly negative or whatever.
And then one of my favorite parts to that song is that bass. The bass that plays the melody. The bass guitar, I went to Brian's house and we were trying to make something different out of the song other than just like an acoustic song. I wanted it to be something special. So by having that bass play the melody, which is kind of unusual, I thought that that was a really a nice touch. So we messed around with it in the studio and then I just said, and Brian was going to play, and it was a frett-less bass. And I just said, why don't you just play the melody. What about playing the (hums the melody). So he started messing around with it and so he incorporated his idea in also the melody of the song. So that's how that part came about. Really a great song, and when we put that together with the break in the bridge where the strings come in. A little string quartet comes in and plays. Isn't that great?

I hadn't heard that over the demo and I was like, hang on! What's this!?
I know. Definitely it's nice to be able to take time. I'm going to come back to that. You know because then something special comes out of it. And I'm going to make sure that I do that on any other records that I do in the future. Because you really need to put more of yourself into it, and I think that's what I've done on this record. And I just wanted to really give my all and I'm thankful that I got a chance to do that.

Definitely. It comes through, believe me.
The labels hate me doing stuff like this but I'm going to anyway.
Tell me about the couple of tracks that didn't make it. Particularly the Japan bonus track, "I'm Still Here".
I was disappointed. I had an argument with them about this for not putting it on the album.

No kidding. You know what? You don't know how much I argued about songs.
I tried to get "Here for Thunder", I mean every other day I was like driving them nuts sending an e-mail saying, I really think you should take a look at....
And after a while it was like, don't ask about that song again. Fuck that.
You guys are missing the point here, you know. Get it together. I would get mad at them. You know, we had some arguments. So that was "Here for Thunder", but "I'm Still Here", I don't know why they decided to leave it off.

Yeah, it's off the European. It's a bonus track for Japan.
You know what, they might use it somewhere else. I'm not sure what they have planned. The album they put out last year, they had "Goes" as a demo. They might release it that way or something. I haven't heard them say that but I'm just thinking that they might.

It deserves to be heard by a wide audience.
That's a song that I've had around for a long time. And it just never worked with Night Ranger. I brought it in, you know it just never really worked until I actually got a chance to tear it apart and really make it sound better, and make the parts fit together better. You know I think when I brought it to Night Ranger it really wasn't finished.

Right, OK. It does sound like a Night Ranger tune, that's what I first thought when I heard it.
Yeah, I think it does. I really think it sounds like an earlier Night Ranger song. But at the time when we were writing like Neverland and some of those other songs we were trying to be a little more newer and more current. It's too bad, there's some really good songs on those albums. It's just too bad that we felt like we had to be a ..., to maybe change our style a little bit. I think I'm trying to say, be too hip. I mean even though the albums are great, I think that we should have just did what we did and not worried about it. But, you know, I don't think it would do any good anyway the way radio is. They wouldn't have played anything that we did.

I thought Neverland was extraordinary.
I thought Neverland was a great record. And I thought Seven was great because it had great rock songs. That song "Kong".
I means it's such a tongue-in-cheek song but it's such a fun song. If I ever get the chance to play...

Yeah, I've never heard you sing like that before!
I know. I know, that's kind of what I like. It's cause I got a chance to be, you know..., Paul McCartney used to do that all the time. he used to put on another personality to do what was right for the song. And that song just needed this like, guy that looks like his throat was going to explode out of his chest (laughs).

Tell me. How long did it take you to recover after singing that?
Oh yeah, I definitely couldn't talk very well. But you know who sang with me on there right? You knew that it was Jack Russell.
That was singing with me on that track. That wasn't all me. Jack Russell sang with me on the choruses.

Yeah, that's right.
So that's what gave it that sound. Both of us were like going 'Don't want no...' Pretty fun. But I want to do that song live. If I go over to the Gods festival, I'm going to do some of these songs I've been wanting to do off of...you know, I'm going to take one song off of Neverland, one song off of Seven, and some old Night Ranger songs and then do some Kelly Keagy songs.

Very cool.
It would kill. You better make us headline baby. Because we'll kill. You know what I'm saying!? And then I'll bring Jimmy Peterik along just to like smile, looking at me and go, yeah you think that was good, huh? Check this out. Jimmy's got a few songs in his back pocket he'd like to play for you. It's like shit, man. Stack the deck here.

That was pretty funny wasn't it?
Oh, wasn't it great? I mean they love Jimmy over there.

They loved all of him. The crowd. The Two Fires set brought the night down. It was just awesome.
It was really fun. It was fun seeing Serafino dancing (laughs). I was like looking over and Serafino was dancing and I was like 'Holy Shit'! We must be good (laughs). I don't think that was the best performance that that band had ever done but I think it was a fun performance.

It was a lot of fun.
Plus in the situation, Kevin was just like so sick. His back was so out of it. That's too bad. Hopefully he'll get to come back this year and do it again.

Fantastic. Look I could pretty much go on talking to you all day about Night Ranger and stuff but this is actually a Kelly Keagy interview so we should stick that.
I know. Keep breaking off to that band.

I mean I've been a fan of Night Ranger since, I think the first track I ever heard was "Interstate Love Affair".
Oh yeah. No kidding! A movie soundtrack right?

It was. It was on the Teachers wasn't it? Or something like that?
I think it was on Teachers, yeah.

It's the first time I ever heard you, that's what got me into you guys.
That's funny you mention that song because we had just been toying with adding about five new songs in the set for the summer tour and that was one of them on the list.

Absolutely. You know, like I said, I'm side tracking again but my favorite Night Ranger album is Big Life.
Big Life, yeah. I like that record.

That had a unique sound.
I really liked that record. I liked working with David Foster, was really fun. Such a great producer. He got to get in there and play with us a little bit too on keyboards and stuff. That was really fun.

This is a funny thing. I've never heard any song from Big Life live.
When we toured on that album we played "Rain Comes Crashing Down", we played, I think it was on there. We played "Big Life". The song "Big Life" live. What else did we play? Oh we definitely played "The Secret of My Success".

I'd love to hear that live. It's one of my favorites.
That song, we're going to rework that song for live this summer.

Awesome. And the other one I love is "Color of Your Smile".
Oh, yeah. You know we did a video on that song.

Did you?
Yeah, it never got released. When Night Ranger..., when I was just out two weeks ago doing a show in California, this old friend of ours came up and had all of our videos on a VHS. And he goes, here. I looked at it and I was like 'Oh my God!' There's this song, "Color of Your Smile". I was like flipped out. I was like 'Holy Shit', I can't believe that I remember that.

You guys have never done a VHS of clips. Never did a video of clips did you? Just a couple of live ones.
Yeah. We did that, what is the name of it, it was like Seven Wishes Live.

Yeah. That's right.
Is that what you're talking about?

And there was another. There was some other live performance that we did in Japan. And then somebody filmed a show we did in our hometown in San Francisco on New Years Eve on the Seven Wishes tour. It was like the last show on New Years Eve.

I'd love to see some video clips one day. I'll have to see if anyone's got them over there.
Do you know how to convert over to...

Yeah a buddy of mine's got a player that plays both.
No kidding. Because I want to put some of those things on my site.

Oh yeah, he's doing that for me. Because I'm doing video clips online.
Yeah, really? Well maybe if you can convert some of those things over we'll coordinate it and put it on both of our sites.

Any thing else you want to add Kelly?
Nah, I think that we pretty much covered it. I think this was a real fun interview to do.

Yeah, me too! Thank you!
No, I think that I spewed my mouth off enough. I think I'm done (laughs).

Fantastic. On that note I'll leave it.
It was good to talk to you man.









c. 2001 MelodicRock.com & Andrew J McNeice.

Thanks again to Ron Higgins for transcribing the Interview.







Giant - David Huff (2001)



David Huff: I tried to get in touch with you, I guess I had the wrong number or something.

MelodicRock.com: Yeah, Mario kept saying, “I'll get him to call you”. For some reason something in me tweaked that like, well what number is he going to call?
I know it.

But I thought, oh he must have it under control because I've got my phone number on the website, but he had my old number, so…
That's what it was. Actually it was a fax number or something, so I faxed something.

Oh it's a fax number now is it?

Oh dear. It's not mine. <laughs>
Isn't it funny, man. Yeah, so I sent them a fax and then I called Mario and said, "Man I don't think it's the right number." And he said, "I think I got the wrong number, my mistake."

Not a problem. Great to finally catch up with you anyway.
Yeah man. So what part of Australia are you in?

I'm in Hobart, which is the capital of Tasmania.
Oh my gosh. I've been to Australia one time and loved it. I went through Sydney, Perth, I can't remember all the places...Brisbane, and...

Melbourne, maybe?
Melbourne, yeah, that's it.

That's a pretty good tour. Who were you there with, just yourself?
That was with a guy named Michael W. Smith.

Of course.
Probably 10 - 11 years ago.

He's pretty well known down here.
Yeah. It was fun. Michael's a really good friend of mine; we kind of grew up together. So, yeah, it's wild man. We stayed... we were there almost two weeks, and I loved it. It was very cool.

You didn't get down to the wild state?
No. Well they had certain things booked and all that kind of stuff and we didn't really have time to go and do our own thing, so that was a bummer.

Yeah, well you'll have to get back down here again.
Oh, big time, man, big time. Very cool people.

Yeah, we're kind of laid-back, I guess. Similar to where you are, the Southern sort of laid-back feel.
I told Mario...I mean do you know Mario & Serafino [Frontiers] pretty well?

I told him...I mean, you know our history right?

Of course!
How we met and stuff. I kept telling Mario, Dann and I, we love...it's just Dann, and Mike and I in Giant officially. I said, "Man we love doing the music and stuff", but just when music changed so fast that we just kind of...I guess you could call us spoiled because we didn't want to go tour small clubs and stuff, especially when we were just getting into production and playing on a bunch of records.
But when Mario said, "Man we need to do another record", I said, "Well gosh man are there still fans out there?" I didn't know if there would be any fans out there, you know. I hear every once in a while somebody will say, "When are you going to do another Giant record," and I'm like, that's not really enough people to really warrant another record.

Have you seen my message board?
You know what? I just did a minute ago. It was very cool.

What do you think? Good response?
That's incredible. I wouldn't have believed that there were that many fans out there.

Oh yeah. I'm adding more daily, believe me.
Wow. That's incredible. Well I hope they like the stuff that we're putting together. Basically, this record is a bunch of stuff that was never released.
These are kind of like the hidden stuff.

Let's talk about it. What tracks have you got?
I'm still compiling it right now. There is some stuff that we're fixing in the studio. We're actually going back in to record some stuff. But right now we've got some songs that we wrote, like a song called "You Will Be Mine" that was never... they weren't put on the records, just because they probably didn't fit the theme of the record. There's a song called...I produce a lot of records too so I have like thousands of songs in my head at the same time. There's a song called "Don't Leave Me In Love" [Now featured on the Union 4 compilation] a song called "Over You". Those are the ones for sure and then we've got a couple of live things.

What are they?
We did some live stuff on a program called RockLine.

Oh, sure. Yeah.
We've got some of the stuff... I think on that one it was "I Can't Get Close Enough", "Shake Me Up", stuff from the first record. "It Takes Two". We did that with Bob Coburn. When our band first got together, Bob Coburn broke our record in LA. And so we used to do private parties for them, KLOS, because they were so kind to us. Mark and Brian, we still keep in touch with them. As a matter of fact, last year, they keep asking us as Giant to come out and play for their Christmas shows, which we did two, three, or four years in a row. They keep asking as to come out, but just because of our schedules...I was in Las Vegas at the time and I couldn't do it. At the time I was playing with Vince Gill and Amy Grant. They did a Christmas tour and I had already committed to them. We definitely would've done it, but they didn't want to do it without me so they didn't do it. But we still have these private shows with them and Rock Line was like...it was kind of a private show but obviously over the radio.

It was in a private setting, you know. We invited all the people from the station down and played, so it was kind of fun. It was a party; it was great. So we've got some of those songs and we've got a couple of songs that we had written that...when we did Giant records we cut about 14 songs, 15 songs a record. But we had written a bunch of songs at the time back then that we never quite finished. We had done vocals and we had done stuff like that on them but we just never...whether it was the mixing or whether it was finishing the guitars or whatever. I mean, I've got stuff in my vault and I went to my brother's house, he had just moved, and I said, when we talked about doing this record, I said, "Man, I need to go through your tape vault to see what we have,” because I'm sure we have a ton of stuff that's just sitting around, and I went through, oh my gosh, I opened up his garage and he had like 2 or 3 boxes of tapes - none of them were marked.

No? <laughs>
So I spent hours listening to some stuff and I still have a bunch of DAT's and stuff to go through, but I mean, I found some cool stuff that I totally forgot about. Some of the stuff was mixed and recorded back when we did Giant. For whatever reason, whether the song didn't fit or whether we had one like it on the record or whatever, it just didn't make it on the record, not because they weren't good; they were cool songs.

OK. So how many tracks do you envision the album being?
We're going to put I think like 11 or 12 on there.

Great! Any brand new stuff?
Sort of, there's a couple songs that are obviously brand new; we're going in, like I say, we have to go in and we have to finish them, but we're kind of recording spontaneously. We're going to be fixing some stuff, because all of us own studios, so we're just transferring like hard drives around. I'm kind of overseeing the finalization of everything, but yeah, if we need parts done and stuff then we'll just kind of do them here and there. But for the most part, probably 85% of all the recording was already done on all these songs, and we just have to do a few add-ons and a few fixes and stuff like that. And some of them we're going to re-mix. Yeah, so there's a couple of new songs; one new song is called, "Can't Let Go". There's a song called, "Oh Yeah". I think that's it so far.

And there's one other one I just found; I can't remember it. You know what, it was on a set of master tapes that I didn't have the...I think it's called, "The Sky's The Limit", I think that's it. That is it, that's right.

So three sort of tracks that you're going to record from scratch this year?
Not from scratch. I mean there's still some stuff on there that we had already started, but some of the ones, like there's some basic tracks that we just started that's just not finished. So we're not starting anything from ground zero, not yet. We haven't decided to do that just because we have so much stuff in our vault, you know, "Let's release some of that stuff, you know."
Kind of underground kind of thing.

So one plan is to have maybe 8 or 9 studio tracks and maybe 3 live tracks or something?
Yeah, exactly. Something like that, yeah. It just depends on how many songs, because I'm finding new ones every day. I wanted to put a couple of the live songs that we did from, I think it was the Marquis Club in London, there was a couple of songs we did...it was either there or...one of the shows in London we did, it was a kind of acoustic unplugged kind of thing.

It was very cool, yeah, we did it live; I might put some of those on there too.

You might have to have a studio side and a live side on a double CD.
Yeah, exactly. I mean nobody ever got to hear some of these things, you know what I mean, these things that we did.

I'd love to see a live side and a studio side.
Yeah, it might be kind of like a combination of both of them, you know.

OK. I should tell you....I had an MP3 on my site of the "Stay" done acoustically from the B-side of a Sony single.
Oh yeah!

Yeah, and that is seriously one of my most popular ever downloads.
Oh cool!

It was absolutely... my ISP rang me up and said, "What the hell have you done? It's going nuts, the traffic's going nuts." And I've done it 2 or 3 times because people keep requesting it.
Yeah everyone has, everyone's done that.

It was a great acoustic version; it was a really great unplugged sort of… really good.
Well thanks man.

So I think some unplugged tracks would be popular.
Yeah. It'd be a little different, you know.

Yeah, absolutely. But I'll tell you what, the feedback's been fantastic. The people are really pumped to see you guys back.
That's just like, seriously, very overwhelming. We obviously didn't think anything...it's not false humility either, I'm being serious, it's been 10 years and we don't know, it's almost like another lifetime. We're all caught up in our production. Dann and I produce records non-stop, and Mike does tons of studio work, so you know, we just kind of forget about it. I mean, it's not that we forget about the records, because we actually loved doing the records and we had a ball touring and stuff. But honestly, I told Serafino, I said, "Man, I'd be surprised if there are people out there that want a record." He kept coming to me and saying, "Man, you just don't know."

So we talked for about a year and a half; I don't know if you knew that or not. But I said, "Well it's going to be hard to commit to a record, you know, we just don't know if there's any interest out there - why do one, you know?" And the main thing, we definitely didn't want to go searching out a US major record deal from the States, like the typical ones that we've done, because that's something that we just don't want to do. Period. Mainly because of the fact, once you sign a record as a band, it's like everything else, you've gotta go tour to support it, and when you're doing...I produce 20 - 30 records a year, I'm just slammed.

Yeah, you can't...I don't want to give that up, you know?

Yeah, for sure.
Plus, I've got commitments. If we did that it would be kind of like, I need two of me <laughs>. So that was our reasoning. Then I met Serafino through a friend of mine named Kevin who got us in touch with each other, and Serafino and Mario, when I was in Chicago, they flew to Chicago and we had lunch in Chicago, and I was like, "Man, these guys are crazy." I mean there's got to be something; they must really like Giant, so I formed a real good friendship with them and we just kind of honed away for about a year and a half on the phone and finally came up with...I said, "Man, I've got all these songs...it's going to be hard to do a record on the schedule starting from scratch right now with all of our commitments...I said, "But man, I've got a ton of songs in our vault, I mean, just in mine." I said, "Why don't we go take some of these masters out and re-do some of these things," and I said I just want to do it to see if there's any interest out there anyway. And then I said, "Well if there's interest out there, with some stuff that we've already done then...it's kind of like a barometer...if there's interest there, then that might push us to do like a, start from scratch, a real full-on new record.




Serafino (Frontiers) and David Huff


Well that's what I was going to ask you actually. If this goes well, you can envision doing a full new studio album?
Yeah, definitely. And like I said, we love dealing with Serafino and Mario, and that's what I told him. I said, If this is got response, if you can convince me and Dann that this is got any kind of response, then we'll do a record. We'll do a live one, I mean like a real one.

That would be fantastic. Have you or can you get Dann to have a look at this message board?
Yeah. I'll definitely do that. Our kids are on spring break right now from school and I think he's in Florida as well. I think he's still down there because I tried to call him the other day to let him know I was going to do this interview and he hasn't called back yet, so I think he's out of town.

Yeah, Dann should know me because I've done an interview with him and I keep in touch via his partner Mike.
Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Through his assistant or whatever. In fact, the first time I heard of from Serafino, this was on, I actually e-mailed Mike who talked to Dann and said… came back with, “We don't know what you're talking about.” <laughs>
You know what's funny is we didn't tell anybody what was going on until it was done. I didn't go around talking to anybody. I got asked from a few people here in the States, but I said, “You know, we're thinking about it, but who knows.” Because it wasn't done or signed or anything and everyone felt the same way. Dann was not definitely going to tell anybody because then his phone would've probably rang off the hook. As a matter of fact, when the first thing happened, Mark and Brian from KLOS called and they want to know…they want us out there…they want to know what's going on. Because Mark and Brian, they used to play our record every morning. Brian was a real good friend of mine when I lived in LA and he used to call me at my house weekly and they're on at like 5 in the morning. He used to call me every other week and ask me our opinion about different bands and play some of our songs. They were so cool to us.

Very good. Awesome. Let's see if we can get it going again!
That's very cool of you man. That's a very impressive tribute man, we appreciate that.

Oh it's my pleasure. I love you guys. Since I got Last of the Runaways in an import store in Melbourne on a trip, I've been a fan since day one. I love those records.
Well like I said, we had a ball doing the records. You know, Dann and I are really close brothers, we're very close, we try to find projects every once in a blue moon, but a couple of years will go by before we can actually work on something together. We're together all the time with our family and kids and, you know, we love doing this kind of stuff. We love playing this music. We definitely miss playing it live.

Yeah. Let's talk about that. What are the chances of you doing a couple of live gigs - not a tour - just a few one off gigs or something?
You know what, that's exactly what I had talked to Serafino and Mario about.
The only thing that we could do would be to put together like a 2 week little stint in Europe or whatever and/or if we ever want to go to Japan, Australia, whatever, we could do the similar kind of thing and put as many shows in that 10 days or 2 week period...10 days would probably be the best. Somewhere in that kind of situation, but we're definitely up for it. What they're doing right now with Mario is kind of fishing together and trying to see if he's going to pull some stuff together for festivals all at kind of the same time, you know. But yeah, we'd definitely do it. Probably the hardest guy to see if he wants to do it is Dann.

Yeah, I thought so.
But he said he'd be glad to do it. He goes, "Man, I'd love to do it," and, you know, everything's just got to kind of work itself out. But I have a feeling that we could, we'll work some of that stuff out.

Did the guys tell you about their annual festival, that they do their own, the Now and Then Gods of AOR in the UK?
Yeah. When is that again?

It's the first week of November generally.
Yeah, in November.

And by God I'll tell you what, I've had about 20 - 30 e-mails, this is separate from the message board, 20 or 30 e-mails saying, "What are the chances of them doing The Gods, because we'll go?" This is even guys in Australia saying, "We'll fly to Europe if they do The Gods."

And that includes me, I'll be there! <laughs>
Well that's I think the last thing I talked to Mario about was about that scenario, that situation, I said, "If it's something like in the Fall", I said, "There's no way we could get ready before the Fall," because of my and Dann's commitments to record production. I don't think we're gonna be able to make it this time.

Yeah. Well if you could, the response would be huge. This is serious - people as far as here in Australia have said they would fly to Europe to see you.
Wow, well they definitely mentioned their festival and stuff, and, of course, we'd be honored to do it. I think I'm going to go over in July to do some press stuff - I think.

Oh, Ok. That's cool.
Sometime in June or July. I think I'm planning on doing that kind of stuff.

Is that when we might see this record surface?
Well, I think, we're shooting for it. There hasn't been any official date yet, but I think we're shooting for sometime probably by the end of Summer. We're like on it right now.

So a July/August sort of thing?
Yeah, probably more like August.

Because I've been for like the last week I've been compiling photos of when we recorded the record and some stuff on the road and stuff. Kind of like a nostalgic kind of, you know...we're trying to put together a really cool booklet of stuff that we did, personal photos and all that kind of stuff, and then we'll probably put some new photos in too.

Wonderful, wonderful.
Yeah, I'm compiling all that stuff right now. I'm almost done with all the photos, kind of getting all that stuff together.

Awesome. I would love to have a sift through your vaults, I can tell you that.
Oh my gosh <laughs>. Pretty funny man, I'll probably take a photo of all these tapes and stuff man, it's just pandemonium, that I had to go through personally in between sessions and stuff, recording sessions, listening to all these DATs, you know...OK, so this is on this master tape and trying to find where tapes are - pretty funny. But it's been cool man, it's been cool. It brings back a lot of great memories for me. We all had phenomenal memories in that band and everybody is just totally...Dann and Mike and all the guys who actually played with us when we actually toured, a couple of the sidemen, they're very excited to do the same thing.

I'm really pleased to hear that, because I know Dann was always somewhat reluctant. Even when I interviewed him he was very reluctant, and I asked him, "What about unreleased songs?" and he goes, "No there's only 4 or 5 tracks that are laying around." Where somebody else had told me like there's 10 or a full album's worth. I'm going, "Why be so secretive Dann?" I wonder why. And he didn't want to give anyone the air of opportunity.
It's not really secretive; I just think he's probably...

Is he pretty much of a perfectionist?
Oh yeah. Definitely that. But it's also been so long. I mean, he forgot a couple songs that I played him, and when I find stuff off these tapes I go, "Dann check this song out," and he's like, "Oh my gosh, I forgot about that." You know, you do so many songs he definitely forgot...I forgot about songs and I'm pretty organized, you know, about where songs are and stuff and man, I found some stuff on tapes that I totally forgot about. So yeah, there's some pretty cool stuff out there. And like I said, if there's enough interest generated, obviously Dann and I still write a ton and we've actually played on different records together at the same time, and it's been actually pretty cool. We've backed up a couple people in the States here, actually in Tennessee, backed a couple of people up just as gestures of our friendship to them. Not as Giant, but 3 of us and a couple of other players. There's definitely a special chemistry there.

Fantastic. Because you all hang out there in Nashville don't you?
Yeah, we live...I mean, we all live right on the outskirts of Nashville. We all live right around like 20 minutes outside of Nashville, but we work in Nashville all the time. We run into each other all the time in Nashville in studios and stuff.

I have a very good buddy who I lived in LA with for 4 months in '92 / '93 sort of time, a very good buddy of mine who I lived with there is actually in Knoxville.
Oh yeah.

Yeah, he swears I've got to get out there and see the country.
It's pretty cool man, it's a different place. It's a nice place to live, there's a ton of music going on here, a ton.

I'd love to get down there and see it. I've been to the coasts, but I haven't been down South.
Well if you ever do, this is my studio number so you are definitely welcome; you definitely have to let me know.

Thanks David.
I'll have to have you out to the pad for a barbeque or whatever.

Oh barbeque, you're speaking Australian lingo now.
Yeah, that's what I'm saying. Hey that's what we do when we haven't seen each other for a long time, like Dann and I, we barbeque in summer weather, it's just beginning to be summer here in a month or so, and that's what we do.

Fantastic. Do you speak, or hear of, or see Alan Pasqua these days?
Haven't seen him or spoken to him for years.

He kind of just disappeared didn't he?
Yeah, lets see, we moved here to Nashville and he moved to, I think it was Santa Fe, New Mexico, and that's almost as far as LA from here, you know. It's actually more out of the way to get to than LA, because LA flights from here are easy.
But no, I haven't heard or seen him for probably 8 years. And every once in a while, I heard he comes through town every once in a while and plays on some records here and there...but no, I haven't.
It's hard enough, trust me, it's hard enough seeing your own brother in town and Mike, you know, 8 months will go by before I've seen Mike.

Yeah. We'll sit down at a studio and like I'll see his gear there or he'll see my stuff there and we'll say, "Man, let's go get a drink and catch up." Everybody's just busy, you know. It's hard, you know, and we all live, we probably live about 20 minutes from each other. You know, when you're busy man, it's like, it's hard to do anything.

Absolutely. I've got a couple of side questions, what was the recording budget for the first two Giant albums? Just to get people's perspectives of what crazy numbers were...
Our budgets? Well let me put it this way, because I was always told not to give the specific numbers out, but it was more than a half million dollars to start with.

Let's put it that way. I mean most recording budgets are 300K to maybe 400K and those are pretty nice sized recording budgets, and ours was more than that.

Wow, because it was such a big sound.
Yeah, but we also did some pretty extravagant things, we recorded over in England, which I have some photos; I have some photos from when we recorded our first record over there that are going to be in this whole thing too, so. Yeah, but you know, we flew from LA and stayed in London for 3-4 months and recorded. But it was a phenomenal experience and if it ever came to, I can probably sit down and write a short book of how we actually recorded the record, if anybody is interested, if anybody actually wanted to know how we recorded stuff, you know.

Well it's a very intricate record, that's why I think people would love it, because...
Yeah, there was definitely a very specific way of how we did things. We definitely have our way of recording. It wasn't the normal, go in and cut things as a band and see ya, you know? We definitely thought out parts a lot; we tried a lot of different sounds and actually had a lot of guitars going on – a lot of stuff going on.

Is that going to be reflected on this new record?
Oh yeah.

You're going to mix it up and...
Oh yeah, oh yeah.

What do you think the style will be?
Well, I mean, this is not new Giant stuff, this is basically stuff that was in the can that we had before that were just kind of like basement tapes, or whatever, lost tapes and, you know, just collecting dust. I think there's some really good stuff on there and that'll remain to be seen what people think about it, but there's some really cool stuff on it, some great guitar playing, phenomenal guitar playing stuff. I'm trying to pull together a lot of stuff, there's a couple of really informal things that we did in our own studios that I might put on there just to add a little personality in there. It's not any specific stuff, I don't want to give it away yet, but there's some personal stuff that people might really dig and session guitar players and stuff.

It really does sound like to me that you should be putting together a double album here.
You know what, that's what Serafino asked me to do, and I was like, "Man, dude, I don't know if I can do a double thing, I don't know if we can do a double album yet, I mean, let's see if there's interest on this one and we'll put stuff all across the board on it. We'll put old Giant stuff and we'll put some live stuff on there, we'll put some secret kind of basement kind of tape stuff on there and then see what people think. Obviously, if we were to do another Giant record, it would be...Giant has its own certain sound, I think.

Oh absolutely.
But we would...we're all pretty modern in what we, you know, in our sound and all that kind of stuff...of course I program and we used to use a lot of drum machine stuff back then when we did Giant and if we did a new record right now it would all be based around guitar riffs which is what our band was...big, it would sound big, but it would be a combination of what's out now. It would have to be really rhythmic, I think, because that's what's on the radio, that's just, that's music. Everything has melded together as far as so much groove and all that kind of stuff, which is great, because that's right up my alley, that's what I love to do.

It would be very cool rock, but with cool underlying grooves on it, you know? It wouldn't be machine grooves though, it wouldn't be dance stuff...

I get what you mean.
You know what I'm saying? I mean, look at Bon Jovi's "It's My Life", they had some cool loops in there.

Oh yeah, absolutely.
I thought that was pretty dang cool.

Yeah, I wish the rest of the record was a lot more like it.
Exactly. And since Dann and Mike and I all write a lot, I think it would reflect that, it wouldn't be like a Giant III or IV, it would be something new and fresh, but it would still have the Giant signature on it, you know.

Awesome. I think that's all people could ask. Let me just ask you about a good friend of yours and friend of mine who I've talked to a lot over the last couple of years and I feel very sort of sad for is Van Stephenson.

His death was very sad indeed?
I hadn't talked with him for just a little bit, but he is...my family was in contact with him.

I put a message board online for him as well and people are sending... and I'm going to mail that to his wife and family to read and keep.
He was a phenomenal person, a phenomenal writer, singer and musician, all that stuff, and your heart and your prayers and thoughts all go out to someone like that, because with a family and a wife, that's stuff that you just pray to God that you don't have to deal with in life.
Nashville's a strange place because it's a small community of musicians, but then, with everybody's schedules, it just seems like a year can go by before you see somebody that you know and it's like, "Man we have to catch up," cause everybody's busy. But Van's family, is definitely in our thoughts and prayers.

One other quick question...
By the way, I just had to interject something, when I met with Mario and Serafino the first time, they asked a lot of Giant questions so if it takes me a minute to answer something, I mean every time they ask me something about Giant, I look at them and go, "Um... I think." I had to think back a little bit man because it's been awhile, it's like I said, like another life time, it's pretty funny.

Yeah, its been about 9 years since Time To Burn.
Yeah. You figure, it's like OK, you gotta start going back in your memory bank a little bit.

Yeah, absolutely.
OK. Sorry.

I just wanted to ask what the story was with a band called David and the Giants?
There was a band out of Mississippi and I think we got confused a lot and they got confused a lot because there's a guy in the band named David Huff.

Yeah. But they even use the Giant sort of name? <laugh>
Yeah, well, you know what, I think if you go back, I think they had the name David and the Giants before we had Giant.

Oh really?
Yeah, I think so, I'm not positive but I think so.

I don't know their music, I couldn't even tell you exactly what kind of stuff they do, but I do know they're out of Mississippi and the name is very confusing. When we came out with our first single, I remember this because when our single came out, they had a song on the Christian...they're a Christian band, and they had a song out on the Christian charts that instantly got a ton of spins because they thought it was us.

Oh really?
Yeah, and I think they got hits a lot from our release. But they're very sweet guys they're very...the one guy...I've met them before and I know there's one guy that used to be in that band and his name is Keith Thibodeaux, he used to be little Ricky on "I Love Lucy".

And he was the drummer so I got to know him a little bit and he was a pretty cool guy. I don't know those guys very well but I do know they are very sweet guys, I mean they're really cool guys, but it has nothing to do with us and we have nothing to do with them.

Very funny coincidence.
Yeah, isn't that weird? I mean, we didn't name our band Giant. I don't know if you know the whole story of how we got signed?

To make a long story very short, we had some demos that we had done and we had had a production deal with Atlantic records with another producer that just was not...it was not a good deal, we didn't have a manager, we were just session players and we had done some demos and this guy had had...this producer had us in a production deal and we had actually gotten sound in a studio and we had gotten some advice from a friend, from a personal friend of ours, and they said, "Man, you need to call this manager and you all need to get management before you sign and don't sign anything," so we backed off and found out that the deal we were in was not good, plus the producer did not want Dann to sing.

Oh really?
He wanted to find another lead singer, yeah.

Dann's got a killer voice.
Yeah, and we were all like, you know what forget this man, we love your voice. So where was I going with this story?

The naming.
Oh, so we had done some demos and I think Dann had worked with Herb Albert and Herb...I'll never forget it...Herb called one day from his car phone and he said, "Man." Basically, he had heard a couple of those songs and said, "Man, I want to sign you guys." That's where we got management and stuff so we got signed off some demos and we had met with our A&R guy and obviously came up with some songs, but we didn't have a name; we never thought, you know, let's name ourselves this and that, and I don't know if you've ever had to come up with a name of a product or something, but it's really hard to name yourself, because you're too biased, or you get too introspective or whatever, and a friend of ours had somehow come up with the name. Obviously it comes from the James Dean movie, I guess Rock Hudson/James Dean movie, an old...I don't know if it was a Western or not...but it was an old movie called Giant.

And it just so happened to be coincidental with the fact that we had seen a photograph in a silver like diner one day and it was all kind of like black and white photography that ended up...the shot on our first record cover was one of the photos that we had picked up, we had bought it from the girl who did the photography. We took it to the label and sad, "Man, we dig this shot," you know, and it became the album cover, and the name came from a friend of ours who had seen the movie Giant and everything kind of fell together that way.

It wasn't us who named it, and someone came up and said, "Man, your music kind of reminds us of this."

It is giant isn't it, it's a big sound.
Yeah, so just so everybody knows the inside scoop, we never really...that sounds a little presumptuous if you ask me, you know, we think we're big, you know - it wasn't that, somebody else named us.

That's cool.
I wanted to name it, of course, the David Huff Band, but...

Nice <laughs>
Yeah. <laughs>

Very good, that's great. Well that's about all the questions I had for you David.
Good man.

I appreciate your time and maybe we can keep in touch.
Man, let's definitely do.

Yeah, please do.
I'll get them to do that, and like I said, I can keep in touch. There's definitely a heavy possibility of us doing these dates in the fall.

I think that would be absolutely tremendous.
So like I say, it just has to coincide with our schedules and as long as we know way out front. But I'll tell you, everybody wants to do it; there's not a hesitant person in the group who doesn't want to do it, we just kind of have to pull all the details together.

Yeah, I'm really pleased to hear that.
I've got the sound men who used to tour with us and I mean, I've had more people...tax and all that kind of stuff...hey, I'll go over there and don't pay me anything, I'll just go over there and just do it.

I'm like, man, I don't think Dann and Mike have seen the response yet of what's happened, you know, but I'll speak for them, they'll be very overwhelmed like I am.

Thanks for your time man, it's been great talking to you and hopefully we'll hook up in person.

Yeah, absolutely. That'd be great.
All right. I'll e-mail you my address. I'll put a little response to the thing, and thank you on behalf of Dann and Mike. Thank you, we feel honored that you even did a page like that, good Lord, that's very nice of you.

Oh, I'm an absolute diehard fan and it's a pleasure.
Well thanks, Andrew.

G'Day now.

Once again, thanks for Ron Higgins for taking the time out to transcribe the interview from tape. Thanks mate!

c. Andrew J McNeice, 2001.





Journey - Neal Schon (2001)




Thanks for calling, great to talk to you again.
Yeah, Rindell gave me a heads up yesterday, said we were going to finally do this, you know. I've been putting this off because I thought it would be better to do like sometime before the record was coming out...it kept on getting pushed back.

Is there any way I can get a little more volume out of your phone?

Possibly. You can't hear me real well?
Not that well.

OK. Now I can hear you pretty well. Maybe its just a case of redialing or...
That's definitely what it is, it's a bit of my tinitus.

So the years of standing next to an amplifier have taken there toll?
That and a lot of the symbols, you know, symbols are like really loud when you get drummers up on risers, you know, the sound comes right down directly at your ears. And, you know, loud motorcycles <laugh>, loud guitars and loud motorcycles.

You ride do you?

Where about, just around your home there?
Yeah, well, you know, I go for a longer ride sometimes with friends, you know, we'll go...I've driven to LA before and back, you know, up to Lake Tahoe, and you know, just down to Hollister, CA, I mean it just depends. I can go scootin' around here just to get some air or I can take a longer ride.

Nice and relaxing.
Yeah, very relaxing .

Absolutely. So Arrival is now actually getting released in America. How amazing is that?
Well, its been a long time coming. I mean I think we've been done with this thing, besides the two extra tracks that we recorded just a bit ago, we've been done with it close to a year now.

Really? That long?
Well, not quite, but it feels like it is.

Yeah, I reckon. I mean it's been 6 months since Japan got it isn't it? How do you feel finally about that now?
Well, you know what, I think it's a good record and we're ready to go tour and we're ready to support it and, you know, that's about it, that's all I can really feel right now. It's not even out over here yet and, you know, there's quite a few fans that have bought the Japanese version of it and they seem to like the material live in Japan when we just played there so we're looking forward to just touring and having some fun with it.

Yeah, It's a great album. I think people will re-buy the American version.
Yeah. Well you haven't heard the other two tracks.

No, no.
I wanted to get it to you. I remember the fax that you had...the e-mail that you had sent me and, you know, I don't even have a copy of the songs.

We like said to each other, OK, when we finish those two songs we're not...none of us are getting copies, and no one at the label are getting a copy. Nobody's getting it until it comes out.

That's cool. Therefore no one gets an advanced preview right?
Yeah, well, I felt like after all the Napster, you know, the thing that happened with the record, that's the least we could do is have a couple of surprises for people that didn't buy the record yet.

Napster's just about shut down, what's your whole take on it looking back now?
Well, you know what, I have to say that, you know the whole ordeal with us with Napster was pretty shocking in the beginning, that they had gotten it from, you know, one of the execs at Sony, and it was passed on through somebody in Europe and, you know, we were all shocked. I mean, the record was just done it wasn't going to be out for months and here it was all over Napster. I mean I knew that once the record would come out it would be all over Napster like everything else is, and then I had my feelings about that too. I felt that it wasn't a bad thing but the artists do need to receive a residual and so do the companies, you know? I mean its just like, you just can't get stuff for free like that when there's artists involved; this is how we make our living. So, you know, I think until they come up with something, you know, I've been reading about it everyday in the paper, it seems they've appointed like a mediator to come in between the companies and Napster to try to come up with some sort of solution and I think that's going to be difficult to come up with, you know, the exact solution. They'll come up with maybe some basic solution and something to work immediately but then I think its going to have to be modified as time goes on. But I think that they, you know, the attorneys have spent enough money, the companies have spent enough money that they will definitely think about that before they close the books on the first mediation sessions.

As a band, did you guys do anything to try to get the tracks removed off of Napster or try and limit the damage?
You know, there wasn't much that we could do. Once they have it, they have it. You know, the label was upset about it. I was initially upset about it then I just said well, you know what, there's nothing you can do about it, and then I just started reading, like you and I have correlated before, I started reading the reviews on the record and it was something that actually worked in our favor I feel at this point.
We got to read the pre-reviews from our fans and what they thought of the record and, you know, a lot of them said the same thing that I was saying when we were in the studio, that, you know, it was a great record but it would've been greater with another couple of rock tracks. Or just more evened out as a record, you know, with ballads vs. rockers. And so, I think that all-in-all in the end that it worked for us.

Yeah, I think it might have as well. I certainly feel the same way, I mean it's a fantastic album and I think it's your best sounding album, but yeah, a couple of rock tracks is great.
What did the band feel, what were you talking about when you gathered again in the studio? Were you all in favor of re-recording a couple of tracks?

Well you know what, it all started from me. I started the whole fire. You know, I went on our web site and I started talking about, you know, everybody was asking what ever happened to "World Gone Wild" and this other song "Good Times" that we were playing live and then all of a sudden we weren't playing it, and then it wasn't on the record because John Kalodner didn't OK it and Kevin had never heard it and so everybody was asking about the song, "Why is this not on the record, I can't believe it didn't go on the record." So I started a fire basically on the web site and I said, "How many people would like to hear this and how many people would like to hear this sort of a song and what do you think if we added it to the record" and everybody came back almost like 100%, yeah do it. And so once I got the fire started then I got on the phone with management, then I talked to everybody in the band and basically twisted arms real good and then we went back in the studio and did it.

Lets start with the recording of the album. When you first got to the studio for the first time, did you have the songs written or did you right before you went to the studio?
No, we wrote the songs, we were prepared before we went to the studio. We actually wrote for like two years.

Yeah, it's been a while hasn't it?
Yeah, we had been writing for some time, you know. It was like, quite a bit of material was sitting there before we went into the studio. Actually, there was enough for another record, and then everything went down to our A&R guy, John Kalodner. He listened to it all and he picked his favorite tunes and then he sent his favorite tunes to Kevin Shirley and that's what we recorded at that time.

How do you feel about, you know, do you have to go through Kalodner to get the budget approved or whatever?
I think that's the way business works these days. I would love it to be more amicable between the band and our A&R guy though, and John, you know, in the future - if there is a future - you know, that we can sit down at a table and we can talk about what our needs are and what his needs are. I mean obviously they want to have some stuff that they can get played on the radio, and so do we. It's not like we've never paid attention to that.

Exactly. You're a very commercial band.
When Herbie was managing us everything's changed quite a bit. In the beginning, you know, we pretty much wrote all of our own material, and we orchestrated all of our own material and we went into the studio and we played live and then we gave it to the record company. They never really heard it before it was done. And that was a clause that Herbie had put into our old contract with the label, that we would have total artistic control. And somehow when the new contract came about, that clause was not, you know, in there any longer. And so we had to go through different channels and this is just the way business is right now.

Well, you'd think with a band with your track record, they would be a little more trustworthy don't you think?
I would like to hope so, yes. I think they were very worried though because it's a new record, you know, with a new lineup and they wanted to make sure. But I think that also we wanted to make sure as well, so I wasn't really worried about it.

How did you go towards picking a producer? Was Kevin Shirley just such a success from Trial By Fire that you thought, we'll do it again?
You know, we got along really well with Kevin during Trial By Fire and I really think he was a big fan of the band, and we became very close just friend-wise as well as musically, and he became a good friend of the band and it just felt like a natural thing to do.

Was the feeling the same during the recording of Arrival?
Yeah. Absolutely. You know, I mean, the only thing that I kept saying that everybody got sick of was like, you know, we can't have all of these ballads on this record. And then Kevin will turn around and he'll say well, you know, look whose names are on the ballads. And yeah, I did write a lot of music on this album with Jon and everybody else this time, a lot of ballads and a lot of rock too, but I had no idea that, you know, they'd pick every ballad that all of us wrote, you know what I'm saying? Actually I was figuring, like, if I wrote three ballads or co-wrote on three ballads that, you know, maybe one or two would make it or one would make it and the other two wouldn't, so I mean I felt like overwriting like having more than enough material was better than just having enough.
Then you could pick the best stuff and leave the other stuff behind.

There's quite a different sound on Arrival than there was to Trial By Fire. I actually thinks it's one of the best produced albums you've ever recorded, what do you think?
I think it sounds really great myself. It definitely sounds like the band and it sounds like us live, and that's basically what we did do. We went back to playing live like we always have. Journey has never really gone into the studio, with the exception of a few songs, and ever cut like rhythm tracks, or like laid down the drums and a bass and a rhythm guitar and then go back and overdub. We always just go in and play live, and I play live solos and then I go back and put rhythm guitars on later. Or if I need to clean up the rhythm guitars, I'll do that later, as opposed to, you know, a lot of different producers like to work different ways but I know for myself it's better to catch me live as far as soloing and stuff like that and actually jamming with the band.

Well the record certainly does sound live.
Well it is.

I just think the sound of the album overall is just fantastic, are you happy with the way it turned out?
Oh yeah. Yeah I think it sounds great.

Lets maybe go through the tracks on the album and just get your thoughts on it now that you've had a bit of time to live with them. "Higher Place"?
"Higher Place" was something that I had written a long time ago, I mean actually the music and, you know, we hadn't really done anything with it. I had the music sitting up at Jonathan's and we hadn't really worked on it. And we were running out of time and he was busy doing some other things and so at the last minute I had grabbed the remainder of my rock stuff that we didn't get to and I went up to Jack Blade's house and it was really the first time that Jack and I had ever written together and worked together and, you know, that was what came out of our first day of working together.

That's pretty incredible for a first day's work.
Yeah. I had all the music basically then, you know, I mean we tossed around a few melodies and he wrote most of the lyrics and then, there it was, you know?

Amazing. You two make a great partnership if I do say so.
Thank you.

Yeah. I want to see some more work.
Well, you know, we have a natural thing going on you know, Jack and I. I mean every time we get together and we write something… we actually just co-wrote something for Ozzy Osbourne.

Oh great.
I have no idea what it sounds like now because he's re-recorded it, but the initial demo that I sent, or that we sent, I thought was awesome.

Fantastic. Ozzy Osbourne heavy, that's what I like the sound of.
Well its funny, you know, I don't get a chance to play that type of heavy guitar all the time so I was hoping he was going to leave it on the record, and then at the last minute, I think Sharon came in. He loved it apparently. Jack told me that Ozzy loved it and he loved my playing on the actual demo, and, you know, Jack for a week straight, Jack was calling me, and he kept saying "He loves this and I think he's going to use the demo and re-do the drums and bass or something."
I said wow that's cool. And then at the last minute I think Sharon came in and it was going to be a...I think he wanted to add it to his record as well, this was for some interactive game he has coming out.

Who was that that wanted to add the track?
Sharon his wife.

OK, Sharon, yeah, sorry - sure.
Yeah, she I guess got involved because she manages him, you know that.

And wanted to add it to the record as well I heard. But who knows, I mean this is just hearsay from me. I don't know the real bottom line of the deal… what it's gonna be, but Zakk Wylde came in and I think he replaced almost every guitar that I did. She had him re-do everything, and so, I haven't heard it yet.
But I think that he's a great guitar player and so I'm sure he did it justice.

Sure. What about "All The Way"? You described it earlier as a bubblegum song.
Well, you know, this is no mystery for anybody who knows me and has known me for a long time, that I'm more in to... I'm not a pop meister. You know what I mean? I mean we do play pop music but, I mean, always my role in Journey, except for on a few little occasions here and there, is to play like a really melodic solo over Jonathan Cain's songs, like "Faithfully" or "Who's Crying Now".
My role in the band is always to bring in the ass kickin' rock. And, so, this is what I do naturally and this is what I love to do naturally, even though I do melodic work very well and I realize that now, and it's something that I just added to my, you know, overall picture of everything, of how I look at music and what I like to play on, and so this was one of the more popier songs on our record and, you know, I mean I co-wrote it with the guys, but still in the end, I wasn't certain about it, you know?
But I think it's a good song though, I think that Kevin, you know, twisted it up a bit and he had me play some mandolins on it and some different instrumentation like that, that really made it come from a little bit different place.
Before the mandolins were on it, I really was not sure about it. But now when I hear it, I think it's a good song.

Oh it is. It's a great ballad. Absolutely. "Signs of Life" is one of my favorite tracks on the album.
That was actually one of the first tracks that Jon and I worked on when we got back together. We started writing for a new record when we didn't know if we were going to have a band or not.

This is after the Perry departure?
This was after we were just in, you know, we didn't know what we were going to do. The band was basically in hiatus, he had hurt himself, and we didn't know what was up. You know, I had nothing to do at the time and Jon didn't know what to do, and I said why don't we just start writing.

Actually, I think that's about the time that I interviewed Jon last time, yeah.
I said, why don't we start writing, I mean, you know, maybe Steve will decide that he wants to come back, maybe he won't, but at least when we decide what we're going to do, and we figure out what's going on, we won't be starting right at the beginning again. So I felt that we used the time wisely and we just started writing right away and we started compiling material.

Any other songs of that era that made the record?
Yeah. There is actually. "All the Things" was one of the earlier tracks that I worked on with Jon. "Signs of Life", "All the Things"...

Yeah. Absolutely, we'll run down them. On "All the Things", that is just a wicked guitar solo you've got going there.
Actually, you know what, it's a good guitar solo but the one that I played on the demo, I thought was even better.

Yeah. I just - it was like, you know, off the cuff and I always play the best when I'm not thinking and it's like usually the first take for me when I'm completely blind with what I'm going to do. And then I have to go back and try to copy it, you know, or reproduce it, you know what I'm saying, after that. And it never comes out quite as good. I thought definitely in that song, that was the case.

It's a wonderfully heavy, basic blues riff isn't it?
Yeah. I wasn't really sure about that song.

You know, when we did it, I mean, I liked it, but I wasn't sure that it was a Journey song, you know? You know, it's sort of like, that's been the consensus of people now that I've heard the record too, from what I can gather, I think it's really more of a live song, than it is a record song.

It sounds like a Hardline song, actually.
Yeah. Easily. You know, those are a lot of my riffs and ideas as well as on all the Hardline stuff. You know, I wrote a lot of those heavy riffs.

And it shows a great side of Steve's voice doesn't it on the record?
Yeah, definitely. He's a chameleon, Mr. Augeri has a lot of different things he can do and personally I think one of the best songs for him vocally on a record is like "Kiss Me Softly". I really like his R&B inflection.

Yeah. Let's talk about that track. Another Jack Blades track. You and him?
This was, you know, Jack and I were sort of on a roll at this point and we had written like four or five tunes, and, you know, I just went up to his house and we were writing every day. And I didn't really have anything in mind, and I started playing this riff that I was messin' around with, for months and I actually pictured it much heavier, the same guitar riff that it opens up with, you know, but it was much faster, and it was heavier.
And so I was explaining it to Jack and he just went back and he hit like this loop that he had, this R&B loop that sort of sounded almost like a seal R&B loop on a drum. And then, you know, he goes, "Try playing that against this". And so I played the riff, and then all of a sudden, I was playing really clean Stratty like guitar, sort of like "Walks Like a Lady" type clean Strat tones, and we just went with it that way.
And, you know, by the end of the day, we had a completed song, and we sent the DAT out to Steve, and then Steve messed with it a bit more and he changed a few of the melodies on the front. He actually sang everything in a lower register.
I had written different melodies originally and he used pretty much the same phrasing, and he lowered everything and he sang it sort of in this low sexy type thing, you know? I was really happy with what I heard when it came back; I thought that he did a really great job on it.

It's really a neat song. It's a real change of sort of angle isn't it? While remaining flowing with the rest of the album, it's just a little something different.
Well, you know, I think it's important that we move in different directions. In the future I would like to even, you know, be more experimental like, you know, I love the time period in the band when we were doing Frontiers and Escape; I mean we were really experimenting a lot. I think now is not the time to be really, really safe all the time. You know what I mean? Everybody knew we needed to get our foot in the door with this record and just make people aware that we are working, we've got a working entity here, we are gonna tour, and that we can make music again, you know? I'm just hoping that the next stuff we work on, everybody's got an open mind to be a bit more experimental and try to go in to some new directions.

Talking of something like that, I love, I think "Living To Do" could've come off of Late Night.
Thank you. Yeah. It was something that my father and I had written a lot of the chords before he passed away. It was a couple of years before he passed away, and it was one of the last things that him and I sat down on a piano and we were playing together and I've got a couple still in my head that we wrote that I've never done anything with yet and they're probably going to pop out somewhere. I was like…I woke up one morning and I remembered all the stuff that we were doing in that song, and I was going up to Jonathan's to write and Kim Tribble was out, the lyricist that we worked with, on that song, and went up to Jon's and I just started playing it. I said I've got this bluesy idea and before the day was out, that song was sitting there. We really didn't change much at all in the studio on that one from the demo.

It's the first time I've heard that guitar sound I think since Late Night, it was great.
Well it's more of a blues inflection for me, you know?

Absolutely, Absolutely. It's a great track.
"I'm Not That Way" got left off of the American release...

Yeah, this is another one of the songs that I brought into the band.
You know, I brought in all the chords and originally I was playing it on acoustic guitar and it had more of a Sting feel to it. And in the end it ended up sounding more like a Backstreet Boys thing to me, I don't know. I think that we missed it a little bit on that song. Even though it turned out well, I think that we missed the boat on that one a bit. And, I think it's a good song; I still think it's a great song, but I would've preferred it to be done a different way and I think that it was smart, you know, removing that one from the record at this point.

To me, it sounded a little bit like, "It's Just the Rain" from Trial by Fire.
Yeah. I mean we needed some uplifting stuff, you know what I mean. We didn't need another slow song. I'm talkin' tempo, I'm going, you know, we've got a lot of same tempos here, we need some up tempo, up tempo, you know?
I think that we made the wise move there.

Now the record goes out on a great song with "We Will Meet Again". I really liked the drum sound. Where did the drum rhythm come from?
Well, you know, it started a long time ago. I came up with the drum riff and Deen changed it. He changed it into his own thing. Then we changed the whole song around, with the addition of the piano to it and Steve's melodies that he put on it.
It just blossomed into a very cool song. We were playing it live in Japan and it was just a great song to play live. It actually jams a bit more live than it does on the record.

How are you finding working again with Deen?
I love Deen. Besides being a phenomenal drummer he's a phenomenal singer and he really adds a lot vocally in this band.

Awesome. And how do you find the lineup on stage these days compared to the old lineup?
Well, you know, it's different, it feels different, but if feels great. It's a bit more rocky, everything seems to rock a little more with Deen. You know, you can't take anything away from Steve Smith, he's an amazing drummer, and Deen will be the first guy to tell you that. It feels different, but it feels good.

Steve Augeri, really, I don't think you could've picked a better singer.
Yeah, I think...you know what...<laugh> I've got a friend over here that's delivering a Buddha right now, in my garden <laugh>. That's awesome. Hold on one second Andrew.

Sure, sure.
<talking to another person> He's like, come down here.

Where's he from?
It's Michael Carabello, my friend the conga player from Santana. He's getting me a birthday present, a concrete Buddha in my garden.

Lovely! A Buddha! When's your birthday Neal?
It's February 27. There's a bunch of birthdays in this last month. Jonathan's is the 26th, I believe his wife's is the 22nd or 23rd, and Rindell, our tour manager, was at the beginning of the month, Steve Augeri's was at the beginning of the month. February was full of birthdays.

Well happy birthday for the other week!
Well thank you.

All right. Tell me, what songs didn't make the album then? How many have you got left over that you actually recorded?
You know what, I really haven't counted, but there's quite a few.

That many? <laughs> Not two or three or anything?
Yeah, and some really good stuff as well.

OK. Any plans for it?
You know what, when it gets around time and we get done with the tour, when we start thinking about putting another record together, we'll have to go back through and decipher that and sort of skim through everything and see what lives and what doesn't. But I think it's good stuff even if it doesn't end up being Journey material I think that it does have life somewhere else.

About a year or two years ago you shopped a demo with Steve Augeri and you gave it to your friends to listen to. Was that right?
Oh yeah, we let people listen to it and they thought it sounded great.

How many tracks was on that?
We had recorded "Remember Me" and it was a few others. There was about four or five songs.

OK. I just wondered if there were any songs on there that didn't make the album?
Yeah, there was probably...I can't remember exactly what was on there, to tell you the truth, it's been a while. Jonathan might be able to tell you, he would probably remember.

OK. So what are the chances of you and Jack Blades doing a record?
Well you know what, we've got some really great material that I actually wrote for Journey that we didn't end up using that I was dumbfounded at, actually I thought it was really a lot of the stuff we were missing elements of, you know.
And Kevin, I guess, didn't hear it, the material, he didn't think it was what we needed. Although I thought it was what we needed and what I wanted to do, you know. So there's some great stuff sitting there and I think I'm going to sit on it a while more cause Steve Augeri has added to it and he's actually co-written some of the stuff with us now and he put vocals on it and it sounds wonderful.
So I'm going to sit on it for a bit and wait and see what happens when we go back in to do another record. If it doesn't make it at that point, then I'd have to say, yeah, that Jack and I are going to do something with it. Obviously we'll get a different singer to sing it.

Maybe Jack? Or maybe you and Jack?
Well, you know, I was thinking actually, if we were going to do something like that, Jack can sing, I can sing, and, you know, we can use Deen on drums and he can sing all the high stuff.

That'd be cool. I want to see that recorded.
Yeah, well it's not going to sit there forever I can tell you that because I think the stuff is smokin'.

Awesome. But there's no immediate plans?
I want to sit on it for a little bit. It sounds like it's the type of material that's not going to get old really fast.

Yeah. Now you're an all right singer, when are we going to get to hear you on lead vocals again?
You know what, I'm ready to open my mouth again and start singing. I really am. I'm just completing two records right now.

What are you working on?
I've got two solo projects that I've been finishing, and they're both instrumental records. One is, of all things, this is for Higher Octave, so I came up with this idea a while ago because I was well overdue to give them another record and they started calling and said, "We'd really like to get another record, you were supposed to have one like a year ago, or two years ago, you know, we haven't gotten one since Electric World", and I'm like, Oh man I'm so busy, what can I do? And so the first thing that popped into my head, I was like so what if I do a record of all, the biggest hit ballads of all time.

Yeah. And so they ran it by everyone at the company and they ran it by Virgin because Virgin distributes them and they all loved the idea.

What kind of tracks do you have on there?
I did "Caruso" by Andrea Bocelli, and it's a great version of it. I did "Hero" by Mariah Carey and it's rippin' guitar, it's not a little jazz record. It's not supermarket music or K-Mart music, or elevator music, is what I'm trying to say. It's actually very bold, screamin', singin' guitar. "Hero" sounds amazing I think. I think they all sound really good. I've got "Hero", and then I did Roberta Flack, "Killing Me Softly", and I did Bryan Adams, "Everything I Do, I Do it For You", I did Shania Twain, "From this Moment", I just did "Our Love Goes On (The Titanic Theme)", which is like ripping. And these were all very challenging songs to do, if you can imagine, because they've got amazing vocals on them, first of all; so I have to sort of simulate this vocal without sounding like elevator music, so you can't really just play the melody on the guitar. You have to dig into the melody, find the melody, and then you have to do your own thing to it. For the most part I'm really happy with the way everything has turned out. Now I only have one song left to do and I'm doing a Leon Russell song, "Your Song", but I'm doing a Ray Charles version of it.

Ray Charles, great stuff.
Yeah, Ray Charles does an amazing version of this with orchestration, so it's a really well orchestrated record and its actually just myself and Gary Siramelli and he is like this amazing programmer and he basically did all the strings, he did everything, the drums, the bass, everything, on the computer. And I could just not believe how good they sounded when I heard it back. What was the other song the Andrea Bocelli had that was a big single?

I don't recall the name.
It has an Italian title. I can't remember the name of the song, but I did that one as well.

Hey, I need some music for my...actually, I've got to congratulate you here in a minute, but I'm getting married in January, so I need some music and this sounds ideal.
Wow! Cool! This record will be out by then.

When's it due?
It's going to be done very shortly. They're going to stick it out pretty quick here. The going title I have for this record right now is called, Voice. It's basically, my guitar is the voice on all these songs. And then the other one that I'm just finishing right now too, is more of a techno fusion type record, and it's very cool. I've got Omar Akeem flying out here next week to put on drums, and this one is a bit more jammin', you know, there's like some jammin' guitar on this record. I don't really know what the title of this record is going to be yet. I'm thinking of calling it Playground.

What label is that for?
That's for Higher Octave as well. I had some time off here and I owe them three more records, so I figured I'd knock out a couple while I had some time off and that's what I've done.

Nice to have the talent around to do that.
Well, you know what, it was a lot of work. My playing is the least work out of everything, I mean I have to sit there and mess with it and end up being happy with it until I'm happy, I'm not going to let it slide. Igor Lynn did this record, so what I did, I found two of the greatest guys that do this sort of work where they build the tracks and everything, which takes a lot of time, and I hired them both at the same time and got them working on two separate projects. Then at the end, they're both getting done about the same time and I just come in and I play on everything. Then we move things around if things are not working. It's a great way to work man, I love Pro Tools.

Yeah, everyone raves about that program.
It's a really wonderful way of thinking and working. One of the records I made right downstairs at my house in a bedroom. It's amazing and it sounds huge.

You're getting married very shortly? Congratulations.
Yeah. I'm getting married this month (April) on the 28th.

Great stuff. Congratulations.
Thank you.

Where are you getting married?
In Minneapolis. I've got Prince's old band The Power Generation, most of the people from that are playing at it.

That's nice. A nice wedding band! <laughs>
Yeah, Michael Bland and his band.

Hey, can I hire you guys to play at mine?
I'd love to say yes, but I really don't want to start playing weddings <laughs>

I could never afford it.
You can use our records though.

You guys did play a wedding though last year didn't you? Whose was that?
Oh man, I can't even remember. I tried to forget about that, because I couldn't believe that I was doing it. It was for quite a bit of money and this guy was this big, you know...

I heard he had some money.
He had a lot of money. I mean he flew us down in Lear Jets and flew us back in Lear Jets, it was all pretty incredible.

I couldn't offer you that.
Actually, Rod Stewart played at it, we played at it, REO played at it, and I think one other guy...I can't remember his name...a guitar player/songwriter.

Have you got the support of Sony for this? Are you pretty happy with their support, do you think?
We're going to find out here. I think they've got a lot to work with and I hope they don't blow it.

Me too.
I know they won't blow it and I'm really not worried about it because I'll tell you what's going to happen. As soon as we hit the road, that's when it's going to start picking up, I really believe that. And "Behind the Music" has helped already.

Really? I heard it was a great show. People are saying it's one of the best ever.
It was a good show...I would've liked to have seen more of some of the other members of the band in it. I thought it was mostly the Steve Perry story. But I think that in the end, it was all a very positive thing for everyone, and the ratings of the show were very high. As soon as the show came out, our catalog just went nuts.

Really? That's great. Steve Perry's last words on the show left everyone shaking their head, what was up with that?
You know what, I have no idea what was up with that, and that's what everybody said on the show. I said it on the show, I said I don't know how you can not feel a part of something that you're completely controlling.

Tell me this. You guys were out on the road on the Raised On Radio tour and you were playing two Steve Perry solo tracks in your set. How is that not being a part of the band?
Yeah, I'd like to know that myself, I don't know.

How did you feel about playing "Strung Out" and "Oh Sherry" in the set?
You know what, to be quite honest about it, I did it because we had played one of my songs off of the record I did with Jan Hammer; we were playing "No More Lies". So I very well couldn't say, "No I don't want to play something from your solo record", because I had already done the same thing.

I didn't know that.
But I would've preferred to have just played Journey material.

This time around there are so many songs to choose from, are you just going with the hits and the best tracks off the new album?
Actually, no. We're digging back into a lot of our old material as well.
Before we went to Japan, we rehearsed for a couple of weeks, and we worked up all kinds of stuff. Sort of wiped the webs off everything and refreshed it and brought it up to date. We're digging back into the past and then we're digging into more of our obscure rock songs, and we're updating them. You know, when we played in Japan, we played a different set every night.

Yeah, I heard that. Rindell said that.
We're going to be doing that more in the States and we're even going to be mixing it up more so.

Great. What about playing outside the states? Have you go any plans at all at this point?
Well, you know what, we need to get offers. We definitely...we played Japan, we played Central America, and we had a blast doing both of those. We would love to come to Europe, we'd love to come to Australia, but we need to get offers from promoters.
Before we can do something like that, and preferably what I'd love to do...I mean I've been to Europe before and I've played the little theaters tour, and that would be all right to do that, there's nothing wrong with playing smaller places and that's not where I'm coming from, that I don't want to do that, but you end up losing your ass, money-wise, doing that. I'd prefer if there's some big festival, like rock festivals going on, where there's a lot of bands...I want to get in front of a lot of people. If we come over, I would love to get in front of a lot of people and just do an ass-kicking set, and not play a bunch of small venues.

What about a club/pub tour - something on a smaller scale?
The only thing, the only problem is, there's not much money in it, and it gets very expensive to load all the equipment, and road crew, it's just expensive bringing everybody like that when you're playing very small places and you're not big.
You end up losing a lot of money. Which, at this point, we really can't afford to do as a band.

What about doing a stripped down tour, just you guys and your guitars and jut picking up stuff there.
Well that's a possibility, you know, I've been talking with everyone about that, there's definitely...I don't need to bring all my stuff. I can rent gear and I can still get away with that, there's no big problem.. I think we can all do that. But we have to get an offer on the table so we can all look at it, so management can look at it and we can say yeah or nay.

You guys would love to play the UK, I guess? Have you got any firm plans, other than the US at this point?
No. Not really, we've got like about close to three months worth of dates I just saw yesterday in the US and that's it for right now. The tour is now is with John Waite, Peter Frampton, and us.

Tell me, you've just jumped into my next question, John Waite, what's happening there? Is he going to join the tour?

That's awesome I think.
Yeah, he's decided that he's in.

Too cool...
You know, I kind of started a rumor on our web site to see what kind of excitement it would generate from our fans. I'd have to say most of them were very excited about it. So a lot of them weren't crazy about my idea, I had an idea about John Waite opens the show, Peter Frampton plays, we play, and then John comes back on and plays with us at the end of the night and we play some Bad English songs, and our fans went, "No, I think that Journey should close the show, Waite should not close the show with you guys, but it would be great to see you guys play with him in his set, at the end of his set." So I went, that's a pretty cool idea.
So once again, using our web site and the Internet you can get it first hand from what your fans think you know.

It's a great medium isn't it.
I love it.

Yeah. I remember, I think I was the first one, I was talking to Jonathon, I was talking to Rindell, I was the first one to put online that Steve Perry was officially out, and I got absolutely abused and shit-canned for it.
Yeah, well that's a touchy subject. Ever since "Behind the Music" came out, I mean all kinds of people have different feelings about that show. All I can tell you is that it is just the topping of the ice burg, that show.

I mean, they didn't want to make a big controversial show even though it was sitting there. You know, they had interviewed Herbie Herbert, they had interviewed Irving Azoff, a lot of us, you know, were tied and gagged and were not able to talk because of contracts we had signed with each other. But I'd have to say that a lot of this stuff, they could easily do a Part 2, and a lot of it got left on the floor, a lot of the real stuff people want to know about.

Really? Was there more to the Steve departure than just his hip then?
Well, no, I'm not going to say that, I mean who knows what the real reason was, but there were a whole lot of logistics that were not gotten into, and pros and cons about a lot of things.

Yeah. But I think you guys have picked up and done the right thing, you know, you can't sit around so long and wait. I think you've got a wonderful singer working for you now.
Well, you know, that was one thing in the show that caused a lot of controversy, in one section it said we waited months for him. And I called up the producer and I said months? Are you kidding? We waited years. We waited ten years and then we got back together and then it was close to two years.
We asked for a commitment from him, we just said, "Do you want to do this or do you not want to do it, we'll wait for you if you do want to do it, if you'll commit to it", "No, I can't commit to it, and I can't commit to doing my operation", and so at one point Jon and I turned around to each other and just said, look, we could be sitting here forever, I mean, do you want to move on, or do you not? And I said, we've got nothing to lose at this point. We had already rebuilt this thing somewhat, and I want to continue doing it.

You guys auditioned, or thought about a couple of singers - you only auditioned a couple - one of which was a bigger name. I really couldn't see it working, but you must tell me, describe how it sounded, with Geoff Tate from Queensryche?
Yeah, he was a really great guy, a super nice guy, we got along really well.
We ended up writing a song, but it sounded nothing like Journey.
You know, and a lot of people are like, you know, I'm reading...I haven't posting anything on our site because there's so much heat and commotion going on there right now, and everybody's feelings about Perry being gone and the new singer Steve Augeri and how he's just a copy of Perry and blah, blah, blah.
Naturally, we had to get someone, because most of our music was based around Steve's vocals. It was not like Van Halen where everything was based around my guitar playing. It would've been much easier had it been like that, just to pick up somebody completely new that didn't sound anything like Perry.
But years ago when I heard Steve Augeri's voice when he was in Tall Stories, I said, this is when I was in Bad English years ago, and I heard him on the radio and I go, man if we ever wanted to put Journey back together, and Steve Perry didn't want to do it, I would call this guy, because I know we could make it sound like Journey.
It's nothing verbatim you're trying to copy everything this guy has done, but you need to have someone that has similarities to be able to pull off the old material.

Of course.
Because basically, that's what our fans want to hear, all the greatest hits, and then they want to hear everything up and above that. And how would you do it with someone that can't even sing that stuff? So that's the whole reasoning.
I mean people are like, some people are pissed off that we got someone that sounds like Steve, but I just know that there was no other way.

Yeah. I think if you go back and look over history, most bands that have had a successful replacement vocalist have done the same thing.
Plus, I know we made the right decision because this man is a great guy.

Yeah, I keep hearing that.
He's got his feet firmly planted in the mud, and he's a Brooklyn, New York guy. He comes off that way, you know I've never seen him act different, he's just a very cool guy, he's a very gracious guy, he's got the ultimate respect for Steve Perry, and our fans. He's trying to do as much justice as he can do to the older material.

Yeah, I heard a little bit of the live stuff, I'm looking forward to seeing the DVD come out, when's that due out?
No, not the DVD, but the live TV. There's a free TV thing that Irving has worked out, Irving Azoff has worked out where people that have dishes, satellite dishes, are going to get an hour free show of that, and it'll be running the whole month of April, I think.

Cool. And what about the DVD release?
We don't know when we're going to put it out. We're still talking with them, it's already finished, and it's very good, I actually haven't heard the 5.1 yet, but Kevin did.
My company Nocturn, my company with Herbie Herbert, is going to be going out with this this time, so we're going to be using the brand new screens we got in back of the band, so we'll be having cameramen on stage with us every night. There's a zillion different ways you can record the band every night with hard disk recorders that are out there, and I'm just saying, we've go the cameras, technology is here to be able to record the band every night. I said, "Lets record every night", you know what I mean? And then we're going to capture one of these shows is going to be pure magic. It always happens. But it never happens when you only set up one date to record. It always turns out to be good, but it's always not your best show. So how can you do it unless you record every show?

So you might do a live record down the track?
Well, who knows? If we go out and we end up recording every one of our shows, that would be easy to do. I could see us doing a double live record.

Yeah, please don't cut it to just 15 tracks, let's do a double.
Especially, we'll be switching setup every night, we'll have so much material that by the end of the tour we'll have covered, like, you know, 40 or 50 songs.

Describe to me with one word, or one sentence, your last live album, Greatest Hits Live.
I don't know. <laugh> That's my word, "I don't know".

I heard you weren't happy.
I wasn't happy with the choice of....everything that was picked, once again, I had no control over. Steve had picked the material and Kevin mixed it, and I thought the performances that were picked, were definitely not some of the better ones that I had heard that we had done.

Is it a little bit studio fixed?
No. It was not fixed at all.

Completely live?
Completely live.

Although some of it needed to be fixed. That's what I'm saying, I mean, it seemed like all of the tracks that were picked were tracks that I had out of tune guitars in, or Jonathan had glitches in the keyboard. Usually the band is right on, but you do have nights where people make mistakes and it seemed like all the tracks that were picked were guitar mistakes and keyboard mistakes and not sounding that great and, I don't know, I just did not care for the sound.
If you listen to Captured and then you listen to that, it's very weak.

Well hopefully, you'll get a chance to make it up. Let me ask you about a couple of songs quickly if I can. One of my favorite tracks, I don't think I've asked you this before, is a track called, "I Can't Stop the Fire".
Oh, with Eric Martin. Yeah, I wrote that years ago for that movie "Teachers".

You played on that though didn't you?

Because I've never read the credits on who played on it.
That's me on guitar. Actually, I wrote the song with Eric.

Yeah, I though so. And who else is in the band there?
I can't remember who played drums on that or bass. That's a very long time ago.

Did you record anything else, or just the one track?
No, I remember I did that track, I did "Just One Night", that was off of one of Eric's first records.

Of course, his first solo record, yeah.
I think that was it I'm not sure, there might have been one other track I can't remember.

So it wasn't like an album project or anything
No, we just got together and wrote a few tracks.

OK, because I'm a huge fan of Eric Martin, I must interview him soon here one of these days, but I thought he'd be a good person to do a project with.
Oh absolutely. We haven't actually been talking about that, but it's funny I run into him every once in a while and him and I definitely had some chemistry when we worked together. That would be interesting to toss around again, actually.

I actually think it's one of his best vocals he ever did.
Yeah, he can sing, man.

He's awesome. Another guy I know you're a bit of a friend of and I'm a big, big fan of and one day I'll get a chance to speak to is Sammy Hagar.
Yeah. Actually I just spoke to Sammy.

Oh did you really?
Yeah, and so I talked to him about...I'm going to be going over to his house in the next few weeks. I'm going to go over there and I think him and I are going to sit down and write a few songs.

Fantastic. You two guys have to make a record together.
Well I told him that, you know, the Piranha Blues release we did I said man, he goes, I'm talking to him and he's in Mexico and he said, "What's this record you stuck out Piranha Blues?", and I said, "Man, I played some of it for you" and he didn't seem to like much of it when I played if for him, it was in the rough stages, and he says, "Man, my cousin called me and he says this record just kicks ass", and I said, "Well, yeah, it does kick ass and I would've loved to have you singing on it". Richard Martin did a great job, but I would've loved to have Sammy Hagar, you know?

Yeah, cause you did the HSAS didn't you, that still sounds great today.
Yeah, I know, I love that record.

Oh God, it's so good. Did you get the re-mastered CD?
Yeah, I have the CD.

Oh it's fantastic.
We rehearsed for two weeks, wrote like 20 songs, in two weeks, rehearsed for two weeks, and then went and recorded live, and then we went back into the studio and I added a lot of overdubs on some songs, but basically all the end tracks were live, like all the lead guitar solos, and the bass and drums and vocals.
And then I just enhanced it on some tracks, I put more rhythm guitars, whatever.

I was in San Francisco in '92 and saw Hardline with Mr. Big. That must've been like a San Francisco rock reunion or something, because you had Eric Martin there, but you brought Sammy Hagar out to do "Top of the Rock" at the end of the Hardline set.
Yeah. Then you heard some real lungs <laughs>. That guy has got some serious lungs, I'm mean full out volume. Him and Jimmy Barnes, man.

Oh Barnes, yeah.
Him and Jimmy Barnes, have got sirens.

Did you know, it's an absolute fact, to this day - they still regard Freight Train Heart across the world, and definitely here in Australia, as his best record.

Absolutely, without a doubt. He's singing some absolutely appalling shit these days.

Oh yeah, he's doing these cover records and these horrible soul blues records, even his rock albums don't really hit the spot, he needs good song writers with him. Working Class Man and Freight Train Heart were just wonderful records.
Well that's the only time period that I paid much attention to him because you don't hear much of him in the States.

I should send you what he does these days, I mean he's still a great vocalist, but, you know. You guys were going to do a band thing with him permanently weren't you?
With Jimmy?

I don't know, I don't recall talking about a band. I mean, I had played a few shows with him and played on the record, that's about it.

Yeah, OK. You didn't think of a more permanent thing to do with him in the States?
Well at the time I was still in Journey, I mean, we still had some stuff going on and I wasn't about to leave that, and really I had not gotten an offer from him to play in a band permanently. He had another guitar player, Johnny Diesel, and he was a great guitar player.

Yeah, he still is, he's good. I'm sorry I diverse on the subject a bit...Sammy Hagar, what are you going to write with him for, just anything?
Who knows until we get together, it's been a while since him and I sat down and tried to write anything so who knows what it's going to turn out to be, it's going to be very interesting.

Fantastic. I'd love to see you guys do a record.
I'd like to write him a really classic heavy ballad, like a heavy power ballad, something that's just classic though. You know, it's easy to write rock with Sammy, you know, it's so easy for me to write rock and roll with the guy.

Yeah. I like his softer stuff actually, so that'd be good if you could. I like it when Sammy slows down. Have you heard any of the craziness of what Van Halen are up to?
I haven't heard anything and I have no idea. I'm just like whatever man, I can't tell what's up.

Do you think Journey could get away with going 18 months without even a press release?
Well we went along for 10 years without a press release!!
We never broke up and we never had a press release. Steve just didn't want to work and we were on a hiatus. Hiatus for ten years you know.

That is a shocker isn't it?!!
OK, tell me, to wrap up Neal, I sent you that cover CDR of bands doing Journey songs.

Oh you sent me that tape, right.

What do you think of bands going out and doing Journey stuff. What do you think of the material?
I was not that impressed to tell you the truth. I thought "Edge of the Blade" was interesting....

Actually I thought that was probably one of the better ones.
Well I thought it was one of the better ones of all of them but there were really some not so good ones.

Yeah, I know, there were a couple of shockers.
But it's flattering that somebody even wants to do your material.

I thought the last track, "Separate Ways" wasn't great. (James LaBrie version on the Rock Superstars Vol. 3 CD)
It was not that great.

I think probably the best track on there was actually the acoustic, "Send Her My Love".
Yeah, I recall that.

But I did like "Edge of the Blade" (Jorn Lande), I thought that was pretty good and I thought "Stone in Love" (House Of Shakira) was pretty good too. Do you get a laugh out of bands doing that?
Well I wasn't laughing, no...well actually I was laughing a little bit inside, it was funny to hear someone else doing your stuff. I've never actually heard a Journey cover band. I know there's a lot of different cover bands in different parts of the States that do Journey material, one in Chicago, and one in...I can't remember, there's a band called Escape that does our stuff, I don't know if they're Cleveland or Chicago, or something like that. There was one in LA a while ago, and I've never heard any of them, so I don't know, you know, so it was strange to see or hear anybody doing our material.

One last question to wrap up. I'm actually doing a second web site to run in conjunction with my current one. It's going to be based on classics, all of the old stuff that people have missed, because that's what I get asked all the time, you know.
Oh, I think that's a great idea. Records that sort of went by the wayside.

Yeah, exactly. The most common question I get asked is, "I love all this stuff that you've got on your site, I've just come back into the fold after 10 years in the wilderness because of MTV and all that. What have I missed in the mean time?" So this is what the site is going to concentrate on.
One of the things I'm going ask different artists is "What do you consider the best rock albums out there"? Have you got favorite records that you really admire?

Yeah, absolutely. They're all really old records. Any one of the three Jimi Hendrix records, the first three. I love all of Led Zeppelin's stuff, but I really like the first record. I love all of Jeff Beck's stuff, but I really love that first record Truth. For rock records with vocalists, I think that him and Stewart were really great in that time era. And I love the first Small Faces record with Rod Stewart.
I thought that was a great party band. There's so much good stuff man, but I loved all the Cream stuff. I particularly loved Wheels of Fire, because that was the record that really sort of took me and stuck me in the improvisation world of guitar. Listening to that record I sort of figured out how I could move around on the guitar. And then you know, that's just rock, but I have my favorite Blues records and Jazz records and all different genres.

What do you think of Mr. Santana making a good comeback in the last year or so?
I'm really happy for him. I'm especially happy for him that he's a guitar player <laughs> and, you know, that I play with him and I'm glad to see someone that's a bit older than me that had a big comeback like that. It's exciting, you think to yourself, "Well, the same thing could happen to anyone, you know."
You come with the right record at the right time.

It could even happen to Journey.
Absolutely, I definitely think we're a contender.

Lets hope it starts with Arrival!
Lets hope man I'm keeping my fingers crossed. We're going to give it our all. We're going to pull out all the stops and we're going to give it our all.

Fantastic, fantastic. Well, I think you and John Waite on tour together is the most marvelous idea, I hope that comes off.
Well it's funny, you know, John and I had talked about a while ago, and I was saying to Jon, "We couldn't find anybody that we liked that was available to go out with us."

I thought Jonathan wanted to beat John Waite up.
No, no. I mean the past is the past. I heard that Waite thought that we both hated him. You know, maybe at the time when the band broke up we were not fond of each other.

Things just got frustrating?
Yeah, things got very frustrating and twisted up, but I mean so many years have gone by, I don't hold grudges against anyone. I don't hold grudges against Perry, I don't hold grudges against anyone. It's just, time moves on, people change and this is what you have to go with.

Actually, I've got one last question. Everything's going so well with you now, the record is fantastic, it's one of my favorites, I think it's better that Trial By Fire, etc. Steve Perry comes back to you now and says, "I'm ready to come back to the band. I'd like to." What do you say to him?
I think that we've got a solid band right now and there's no going back. Like he said in the interview on TV, he said, you know, when Jon called him and talked to him and said, "Well we'd like to move on", and Steve said to him, "Well there's no coming back", and Jon said, "We realize that."

I think that's the right thing to do, have some consistency. Lets hope there's many more Augeri fronted records to come.
You know what man? This is our first record in a lot of sense to me, it's almost like, I'm looking at it like we don't have any other records out there. Sure, we're playing the greatest hits and we're able to pull that off with Augeri, but really it's our first record, and so I think we're going to acquire a lot of new fans as well as take some old fans with us. We'll lose some of our old fans which is natural when you change the front man. But I think all and all, all we have to do is stick with it and keep pumping out great music and we're going to be fine.

I agree. Fantastic. OK Neal.
All right Andrew.

I think that's about it. I think I've covered everything.
That should hold us over for a while.

Absolutely. Great stuff. OK well we'll talk via e-mail.

Thanks for you time man
You're welcome.

Thanks buddy, I appreciate it.
Yeah, thank you. G'Day now!

Thanks Neal. Bye, bye.













Journey - Jonathan Cain (2001)





Thank you for the call, I've been looking forward to talking to you for a while. How are things?
Things are good.

Excellent. You must be in a pretty buoyant mood, two weeks out from the Arrival release.
It feels a little anticlimactic with the Napster thing, you know, it kind of took a little of the shine off of it, but I think all in all, our fans are ready for it, and it's just nice to be surfacing with a new album and some new energy out there.

It's been about a 6 month drawn out process now hasn't it? How have you found that? It's pretty odd isn't it?
Well, I think you have to have some sort of launch today, and when you've been gone as long as we've been gone, and obviously we've made some changes, you have to be careful not to just drop it out in a crowd.
I think when our schedule release in October... it looked awfully crowded and it didn't look like the record company was ready, nor I think, did we have the kind of tour we wanted either. I think we have a summer crowd, you know, truly I think our fans like to go to concerts in the summer. So we're just catering to what our core audience seems to lean towards today, to be user friendly, you know.
They've really stuck with us through thick and thin, and it's a shame that a lot of them knew about the album, or were waiting for it. If you really wanted it you'd get it from Japan and so many people did, which was great. And so that's why we decided to come out with some new art work and put a couple of new songs on it. We actually paid for it out of our own pocket.

Did you really?

This is what, to keep it from the label or to keep hands on control over the songs?
It was sort of to give our fans something extra for waiting. You know, we've got a lot of respect for people that've stayed with us. I think that's the main thing, you know?

OK. Well the feedback I've heard is absolutely phenomenal.

It's almost universally in high praise, not only just acceptance but in high praise.
That's good. We felt like we were going in with a lot of stuff. I mean, Neal really got amped up there right in the 11th hour and really got inspired. It was pretty cool, he really got into it. I'm actually very proud of what he did as a writer; I think he's really stepped up a few notches as a songwriter on this album. I think he was great before, but I think he really came through with some great stuff.

Absolutely. There were a few preview tapes being handed out there by Sony in Europe wasn't there, which I created a bit of a fuss in the beginning there, as you know.

I hope I've been forgiven for that!
Yeah, what are you going to do, everybody makes mistakes!

Yeah, but the record, unfortunately, these preview tapes and the quality thereof and also the tracks that were missing don't actually give the depth to the album they deserve...
It's unfortunate that we have people like that, they get one track and that's it, you know, but there's so much music, that they don't really go any farther than that. It's really funny, you know, they haven't even listened to the album. So what are you going to do. If they have that kind of mentality, it's very difficult...and I think in the end they were just being cautious, but it's a little bit nervous. Probably the new singer and whatnot, so they were probably holding their cards close to their chest.

Tell me how the label in the US have been towards Steve and the recording.
Well, they've been very good, I have to say.
The label has been very generous. This latest commitment to the Direct TV special was really awesome. They came through with some big dough to tape the show in Vegas, you know, and that was really a sign for me that they're totally into this and they're in for the long term.
And when you look at any big corporation, you have to look at, what have they done for you lately, and lately they've done a lot. I have to say that I feel the love. <laugh>
I think we all do, we feel very grateful to be sitting on a Direct TV month long concert.
It came out great.

I hope somebody can do a VHS copy for me over there because I look forward to hearing that.
It's awesome, it really is.

And that's going to be the same print for the DVD isn't it?
Well the DVD is much longer. We have two hours, the DVD is two hours long, and this is only 87 minutes so we had to cut it short.

Do you have a DVD planned release date?
Not yet. I think we're still playing with it. We're going to wait and see. Who knows, Sony may just bomb it out there.

Just this week, or the last couple of days, you've come out with a great list of concert dates.

That's a pretty long tour for a 30 year old band or 20 year old band.
Yeah, but you know, we're up for it. It's worth it when you go out there and you're promoting your new album even though many people are rooted in the old stuff, this tour is going to be good because we're going to mix it up quite a bit and probably play a different set every night. We have so much to play, that we just decided that ala Springsteen, you know, we turned it around.
We did that in Japan, we had 7 shows and 7 different sets.

That makes it really interesting for the people who come the other nights.
We have a lot of return visitors I've noticed in the crowd.

You notice familiar faces out there?
Oh yeah. A lot of them will travel to six shows maybe over the summer, or five shows, as many as that. And certainly it's worth giving them...now we're down to 90 minutes because of Peter Frampton and John Waite so it's not going to be a 2 hour show. It'll be more brief, you know, so it's more important to spread it around a little bit.

Tell me, how did John Waite get on the bill? I'm so impressed, I'm a huge fan of John.
He's a friend of ours from way back and we just thought it made sense in a rock and roll history sort of way, and he's available. We knew he was out there traveling…we hadn't spoken to John in years, and we were kicking it around. Supposedly the Baby's re-issue that's coming out on One Way really got everybody kind of thinking about, Hey what about…and of course Bad English, and just the connection with our band. I think in a way we've come full circle, we really have. Journey has evolved back into a touring band and a rock band.
After the Central America, then it was just like, wow, people are very excited for the music. There was really an amazing welcome there. They were so excited, and it's good to have people interested. They were great, and it just made sense that if John was willing to come, we could have fun with it.
But certainly it's not one of the best slots to open up with the sun in your eyes and all that, but he's going to be a trooper, he's going to go out there and give it his all, and, you know, he's a very professional guy. When he gets onstage he's pretty awesome.

You guys have had a slight history of animosity; it's good to see that that's sort of disappeared.
Oh I've never really ever had animosity towards John. Nothing but respect, you know. Maybe that's been played up a lot, but John had to do what he had to do. We all got to do what we've got to do. In the face of a fight, whatever it is, whatever it is John was wrestling, during that time in his life, you just have to look at that as, that was then. But it doesn't erase what you do together.
What he and I have done together with the music we've made over the years, we both cherish. And I don't think he'll tell you any different. When you look at what the two of us accomplished in our brief encounter, we always came up with a winner, and we've always had some sort of radio action and critics response to what we did. He was going through a real chemical kind of time in his life where his brain was all wound up with whatever, that's just what you expect from those creative people, that's out of control, there's no breaks, just like his album.
He is kind of a no brakes guy, you know.

I have interviewed him and talked at some length and, yeah, he's a wonderful character. I really do enjoy talking to him.
Yeah, well, he's right out of David Copperfield.

Absolutely. I was going to say before, you said, "Coming full circle", that sounds like a good name for a song....
Actually I did one on my solo album.

That's what I was referring to!
You guys, you and John Waite, write some incredible tunes together. A lot of those, to this day, still remain unreleased. Do you think there's a chance they could see the light of day on a compilation or something?

I don't know. He was so weird about that. We have an album full of stuff we've written, and I know the bootlegs have gotten around. It's funny, I thought at least a couple of them would turn up, and that's why I did "Wish I Was There With You" because I thought, hey this is too good, you know.
And I can think off of the top of my head at least three other songs that are worthy of…but, I don't know, I think he's pretty fussy and picky about what he does these days. He figures, hey, that's then and this is now. It's all disposable, you know, to him. So unless he wants to put demos out, but he's too much of a perfectionist I think. Most singers are, especially great singers. He's just very much a perfectionist and I don't think he would want that so enjoy the demos while you've got them.

I have got some of them, but I'll tell you what, they're in pretty shoddy condition. They're like 27th hand copy generation or something.
I know. I've got it, but he'd probably kill me. I still have the DAT copies of a lot of the stuff we did. I wish I had more of the multi-tracks, because now with Pro-Tools we can do anything. They're all gone.
We didn't do anything on multi-track. We had a lot of those weird machines. They were kind of like a KY, 12 tracks or something, we did most of our demos on. Did you hear the Dr. Pepper commercial, The Baby's cut?

<Laughs> No.
It was a good one. We pulled that one out of the archives. It was the last thing we recorded as a band.

What a swan song.
Yeah right, but we had to pay the rent. That's how desperate we were. We just did it, you know, so we could get through the summer.

Wow. You know what. I was listening to a Westwood One, you know, they do their live recordings. It was a Westwood One box set from a Sammy Hagar concert, and the first major corporate commercial for the whole box set was a Coke commercial, and I said, "I swear I know that voice", and it was actually John Waite.
There you go.

Paying the rent.
He did the rent.

Exactly. Jon, are you going to do…back to the live sort of thing…are you going to, you know, there's talk of doing maybe some Babys or a Bad English sort of mini set or some songs.
The problem is time. Time is like an issue there because we have the fans there for a long time. I think a song or two would be nice. I imagine we could do a mystery song a night. We could work some up at sound check and then let it rip. I think that's what we'll probably end up doing. I don't know how exactly that's going to work out, but certainly we have to take advantage of that.

I remember John saying once, he thought you were such a tight band, that you were such a great live outfit, that he really regretted not recording a live album. Do you think anything like that might ever happen?
Which with what, The Baby's?

No, Bad English.
With Bad English? Oh man, I don't know, you know, the Bad English thing, it just kind of, you know, it was the end of that mainstream rock, you know.
It was a shame that we never did anything live; I mean, we should've; we could've, certainly, and I had some tapes that were pretty special, you know, that we had done at the Wharfield. I mean, if we had taken a truck into Wharfield and recorded, it would've been good, but there wasn't a lot of money. We spent a lot of money on the videos, there wasn't any, you know...we spent so much making those silly videos that there wasn't any cash to do that. So unless there was a reunion kind of thing where we go do a bunch of clubs, and Baby's and Bad English, in the same breath, you know.

That would be awesome.
Which could actually be fun, but it would have to be just for fun and somebody would have to be willing to promote it, and book it, all of that. It's just so expensive to tour, you know.

It is, absolutely.
I don't think it would sell any tickets.

Oh, come on!
No, I swear. Small theaters is a possibility, but then you have to have somebody to open up, and you gotta make people come. It's pretty tough, we've all got our own careers now and that would have to be something that a promoter would have to come to us with and say, "Hey, I really want to do this, what do you think."
I know a few crazy promoters that would probably go for it, but I'm gone so much with the Journey thing, which comes first; we've got to get the good time in while we can.

That's absolutely the priority, yep. I had a lot of response to a lot of things, one is the very positive response to The Baby's reissue. You must be glad to see that on CD in stores finally?
Yeah. It was great, it needed to happen. Is it out yet?

Yeah. Absolutely.
It's for sale?

How are they selling it?

The Baby's?

There's three albums on...
On the internet?

Yeah, I think it's actually through a subsidiary...it's in stores and everything.
Yeah, I thought it came out good, I did. I think they did a great job. I'm actually working on putting my album out with them too, a compilation of the best of the different releases that I have, so we're going to try and do that too.

Great. Now what releases would that take in? The Piano With a View and Body Language?
No, that would just basically be...because those are still out on Higher Octave.

That's what I thought.
Intersound went out and then the Swedish thing had some different songs so I did get to put an 18 song compilation together and we're working on trying to get a Jonathan Cain best of on the shelves that way.

Great. Any unreleased stuff on that maybe?
Yeah, I do. We're going to try to do a bonus CD so there's an extra five songs that are sort of polished demos that I've done.

Wow. Fantastic.
It should've been together by now, but it's taking forever, so I don't know if it is going to happen before these or not, but I got to talking with them and it seemed like a good thing to do with it since I don't have a label anymore.

That's led me into two separate questions, but I'll jump back one just quickly. The Baby's, there was apparently a few bonus tracks that could've been included, but someone or whoever, maybe yourself maybe someone else changed not to go with that.
Yeah. They weren't going to give us any money for them.

Oh, OK so you felt...
Yeah. About money.

That's all right.
Yeah, I had one song...I don't know if "Stick to Your Guns" made it or not, did it or not?

I'm not sure. I think it was a straight reissue of the exact album.
Yeah, that was it, it was over money I think. I have one with the extra tracks, you know. But the studio sessions one, no, there isn't any. Yeah, bonus tracks, "Stick to Your Guns" and the Dr. Pepper commercial, but see, this is a special thing they did just for us, so you guys don't have that.

No. We need to get that.
<laugh> Too bad.

Well, I mean that would be giving away a free track.

Yeah, for sure. They should give you a small royalty.
Well, they would have. If we would've put it out, you know, but...

Nothing up front eh?
I don't know, it was just one song and I wrote it anyway so... and I own the publishing, so I don't know what they're going on about. It was me singing actually.

Yeah, it was me. I did the lead vocal. I actually pulled it off the Union Jacks album in the final hour because it was one of those sort of dark songs that didn't quite fit with the feeling of Union Jack so it just seemed like a good thing to take it off, because it stuck out, it wasn't flowing well so it probably would still stick out, you know? "Hey, what's that?" Who knows, I may put it on my Best Of, you know?

Yeah, do it. Do it. Go on. Absolutely.
Put it on the Best Of Jonathan Cain and so people get to hear it.

Yeah. Throw it on there.
Well it's a terrific track by the band, they played great. It sounds a lot like Robin Trower actually. It's got that same smoky thing, and Wally played his Blues and Tony and Ricky played awesome. It's very, very sort of almost Bad Company I sent the song actually to Lynyrd Skynyrd just recently for consideration on their new record so maybe it'll turn up.

Good for you.
It's called "Stick To Your Guns".

Yeah, you know, twenty years later. Twenty-one years later.

Can you believe that? Twenty years.
Yeah, I'm an oldie but goody now.

Yeah, well I just turned 30 and everyone's calling me old, so. It's an amazing career isn't it?
Yeah. It's been great. There's really so much to be thankful for, you know, with the songs and the fans but I've been very lucky and fortunate over the years.

If I dare say so, it's a tribute to your songwriting.

Well, it's what I love the most to do. It's great to be able to look back on it all and say "Wow", I mean it really started with John, you know, so he and I really...I joined the band and I was in awe of what he could do and he's really in my mind one of the guys that were important for opening the door, because he showed me integrity, he showed me style, and certainly in a rock and roll sense. And also how to live, and how to act, how to behave. How to be silly, you know? You need to learn the game, to learn the ropes from somebody, and he was kind of like the guy who showed me all the tricks.

That's awesome. Tell me, you were talking about bootlegs earlier and I don't even have a bad copy of it, but I'm absolutely losing sleep over it, because I hear there's an album of demos, or at least a selection of 10, 12, 15 or whatever, that you did with one of my favorite singers in the world, Eric Martin.

What was that for?
That was for publishing, our catalog. Eric was actually singing songs for my publishing company, Warner Chapel. And he was such a great singer that I'd pay him to sing these songs, and yeah, he did some beautiful demos for me. It's funny that you say that there's a bootleg of what he's done, because, yeah, he did great stuff and I have quite a bit of it.

I don't even know any one who's got a copy of it; I just heard the two of you had done something, and I thought, "Oh my God, this just sounds perfect."
It was good. Some of the songs were kind of silly, but a lot of them are legitimate pop songs. There wasn't a lot of rock on them, they were pretty much pop ditties, but some great ballads that he sang for me. I think they could still be hits, you know, but they're just sitting there in the Warner Chapel catalog getting old and dusty.

Shame on them, shame on them.
Yeah, right. And we never got any of them covered which was crazy; I think Eric sang them too good.

Yeah, isn't he an absolute gem of a singer.
Yeah, wait till you hear this stuff, it's like, "Ooh, now who would sing this."

Yeah, one day I'll get to hear it.
E-mail me your address and I'll see if I can get some archives for you.

Well if you dig Eric you'd like some of this stuff cause I think there's like 5 songs, I don't even know if there's that many, I'd have to look. I just found an old copy of Allies, my original version, you know, and it's so funny because I did it on my little 4-track so it's all hissy and stuff but I must've scared somebody because I wrote it for the Frontiers album, and it never saw the light of day.
Steve Perry just refused to let me have a shot at it. We tried to do it as a duet, and it just wasn't his song, and it just sort of went down the wayside.
I'm glad that Heart got a hold of it and recorded it, but a lady just asked me for a copy of it so I went digging for it and actually found it so I'm going to have to see if I can de-hiss it and send it to her. It's funny, the sound of my voice and everything is very, very, intent, I can tell I was really on ten, you know.

I like the sound of your voice.
I did one song for the Journey album that didn't make the light of day either.

Oh did you really?
Yeah, it's really good, but it's not Journey. I wrote it with Eric Bazilian.

Oh God, I love Eric Bazilian; I can't believe that because you wrote "To Be Alive Again" with Eric didn't you?
Yeah, this is the other song from that session and that's one of the songs I'm going to try to include on my Best Of, you know. It's brilliant; it's really a cool tune.
I thought I could maybe get me a deal somewhere but wishful thinking.

I think you're both genius songwriters; I think Eric's brilliant.
Yeah, this is definitely Eric; the song is very sort of Celtic, you know. It's funny because when I got with him I just kind of got that vibe from him so I came in with the song the next day after we wrote "Alive Again" and we went to town on it, and it was some of the most fun I've had in a while, you know. We just got out there and I brought back this real funky piece. I've just done a baby band too I'm very excited about Nicole Murphy Lady Day here at the studio I just produced them, I'm trying to get them a deal now...that's exciting, some young blood.

So you take a producer helm them?
Well, I just did it here at the house. I liked their demo so I had them come up and I gave them a little more of a manly sound.

Great. Just to sidetrack quickly, I've got Eric Bazilian's solo album here.
It's brilliant isn't it.

Some great stuff isn't it. There's some killer stuff on that record. He's worked very hard on it...I have a copy of it. It's a shame, you know, it's not getting any publicity.

Yeah, it's disappeared.
It's hard.

It is hard. I was going to say I'll send you a copy if you haven't got one.
No, I do have one, yeah. It's excellent, really, really good.

Fantastic. Another one of your solo works...I don't know anything about it, but I've got a CD-R of it here is Taine Cain.

That sounds old, if you don't mind me saying so.
Tiny Cain?

Tanne , T-A-I-N-E
Yeah, that was my ex-wife's that was old, that was 1979.

It sounds late 70's. Sorry to bring up you ex-wife there. <laughs>
I did that before I joined Journey. Actually right at the end of The Baby's I was making that record with Keith Olsen.

Oh, great producer.
Yeah, I made the record with Keith. There's some good songs on there.

It's a very sort of fairly pop rock album.
Yeah. She ended up getting a lot of action in Europe on that. She did very well in South America. She went over to France; they loved her over there. But she's a B-Movie queen now, you know?

Is she? <Laugh>
She's in all those soft porn movies. I've been gone from that for like 18 years or something. I've distanced myself from that.

We'll move right along from that one then.
Yeah <laughs>

Tell me then...favorite tracks off of Arrival?
I think "Higher Place" is awesome. Great performance from the band, great song from Neal and Jack. Even though I didn't write it, I gotta love it. And then I love "Signs of Life".

I love "Signs of Life"
Thanks. "Loved By You"

It's a killer song.

A great Blues track.
Yeah. I like, of course, "Alive Again" is awesome, you know. And then, "Kiss Me Softly"; I didn't write that one, but really like it.

Great piano. You're playing in a higher octave sound there aren't you?
Yeah right, we went a little into that Sade kind of thing.

That great soft piano, it's beautiful.
"We Will Meet Again" is a cool track and nothing comes close... well you haven't heard the new song, but "Nothin' Comes Close (To Your Kiss)"; it's a pretty slammin' rock track.

You haven't heard it yet.

No, I can't wait. I'm going to have to wait for that one.
Yeah, it's one of the new ones. I just threw that one in there.

What did you think of "World Gone Wild", how did that one turn out?
It came out very good. It's one of those songs that just kicks butt. The ladies don't seem to get it but guys seem to. I know a record company guy that didn't like it, but it's all right, they get over it <laughs>, "The lads want it on."

Too bad.
Well we play it live and people are...it just kind of motors. It's one of those powerful...I think lyrically I really dig it. I think the lyrics and. actually it was an old lyric that we had had from some other...some other guy had the title and John and I were trying to write the darn song. We made a demo of it and nothing ever happened with it so I said, you know what, this will work. A good title. I keep titles, you know, in my notebook.

What about the new cover. Is that to distinguish it from the Japanese?
Yeah, it's very different. It's very sort of black and manly, you know. I don't think we have a black album, and we just thought that it is a departure from what we've done. Well actually there was...Departure had a little black in it I think, but this is very kind of statement like, you know, with our logo in the center. You can spot it from a mile away because it just stands out. You'll hear a Journey fan he'll go, "Hey, I don't have that." We tried to get visual with it. The other cover was a bit soft, the Japanese cover. We thought, maybe it'd get lost. You know, CD's are so small.

Yeah, aren't they.
And that's all you've got. You need something to stand out and jump out.

For sure. Tell me, I heard a rumor, or somebody e-mailed me a question, is there a different version for Best Buy stores?
Very good question.

I just heard...somebody E-mailed me and said there may be a different version with one extra track from Best Buy.
They might've done that. They might've put the Japanese song on. I don't know that to be true.

OK. I'll check that with Rindell.
Yeah, I know there's 15 on the new one, so that would be 16 if there was an extra track.

Steve Augeri. I talked to him last week. An absolute gem.
Yeah, a wonderful guy.

Could you have picked a better singer?
Yeah, I think he's the guy. One of the reasons why we're still moving, you know. I mean I don't think we would've been as successful on moving this thing forward if we hadn't met Steve. He was another guy who opened up the door for Neal and I. We were just like chomping at the bit and enter Steve, you know.

I remember talking to you at the time when you were sort of getting real shitty with Steve Perry just sitting around and waiting.
Yeah. It was a long time. It seemed a lot longer than 14 months, but that's a long time when you're waiting especially when you're going to tour and you had a platinum album. Fourteen months is a lot of sitting around when you had a big tour on the board.

Absolutely. I think Augeri is an absolute legend.
He's the guy that goes to the next plane, he's an ambassador that represents the legacy of what Journey's about. He's a great guy to have at the helm, you know. He's got the moxy. He's tough, and he's humble, and he's talented.
And he's funny too. He's always joking and doing his Marx brothers thing. He's just one of those guys that are very passionate and dedicated to his craft.

Was the studio atmosphere and was the whole thing much better for recording wise?
Yeah. We had a lot of fun. It was easy. And Kevin Shirley made it easy because he's a fun guy and we tried to keep it in a club house atmosphere.

I think the production on this is second to almost none as far as previous studio ones.
Yeah I think so too. I'm very happy with it once again. Kevin is quite a master at that. He was the link from the past.

Tell me. Have you spoken or heard from Steve Perry at all?
Have not. I'm not sure what we'd say to each other at this point, you know. He kind of said it on VH-1 on Behind the Music.

Yeah tell me about it.
I know he wishes we weren't doing this but we're doing it so...it's against what he really wants to happen but he's classy enough not to stand in our way. I have to give him that. He's very classy to stand back and let us move forward and not be pulling lawsuits and what not.
It could be much worse so we have to look at it from the good side of what he's allowing us to do in carrying on.

Yeah, you're not heading into a Styx or a Survivor type thing.
No. It's not like Creedence Clearwater where John Fogerty is suing for the 12th time. You'd think he'd just leave them alone, they're just making a living, you know, singing his songs. Selling records for him. So, yeah, but Steve got us there, the resolve on that was, it was all done business-like and very, leaving member with a lot of respect kind of situation.

That's good.
Yeah, we treat each other pretty good, and maybe some day we will talk, you know.

Do you think, if he walked back and said, "I'm ready to sing for the band and tour" and that stuff...
I don't even want to touch that. <laugh> No way. Can't go there. At this stage of the game, we're moving forward and I think Steve's moving forward with his life.
I don't even think he'd consider something like that.

I appreciate your answer there. I said the same thing to Neal, and he just kind of cracked up and said, "Get out of here".
Yeah, we ain't going there. It's true he's very, very proud and responsible for what he's about, so there's just no way he would even consider it.
Like I said, he and I when we talked, it was just like, you know, "OK well then carry on and don't expect anything to ever return the way it was," and there was no going back, just like I said in the interview on VH-1.
We wish him the best and if he gets out there again, then we wish the best for him, because he's also a big part of this thing. All those contributions are mightily regarded here at our camp. So we're not in the business of undoing anything that he's done and certainly we hold his contributions in the highest esteem if anything. We went to Central America and were playing "Lights" and they were all singing it, you know. We were carrying on his tradition and his contributions and his passion for what people love about Journey.
If anything, we keep his spirit alive in our own way.

Great stuff. Anything you want to add Jonathan to the fans.
Oh boy. I just want to thank them all for being so passionate and loyal in an age where loyalty seems to be crumbling. We seem to have some awfully staunch and dedicated fans and I think there's no greater rock and roll fan than a Journey fan, and honestly, I think they're right up there with Metallica fans.
They're die-hard and we owe a lot to them and to their interest and passion, and we thank them. That's why we do what we do, and why we're continuing to do it. The fans are certainly a big part of it and make it bearable and fun enough to be gone from your family for months on end. They're the fun part and they should know that that's how we feel about it. I know both Neal and I and the rest of the band can say that they make it really, really worth it every night. That's what we look forward to is getting to play that stuff and sort of coming together in maybe a spiritual way and having that celebration of music that we share in common.

Fantastic. Fantastic. Well I wish you the best of luck.
Thanks Andrew, yeah.

I'm sure you will, you're all seasoned pros.
Yeah, send me that E-mail and I'll see if I can dig up some old junk for you.

I would absolutely, totally…junk.
It's going to be all hissy and stinky, but you'll have it for posterity.

Fantastic. G'Day now. I appreciate your time, and it's great talking to you again.
OK Andrew. Carry on!

Thank you.
We appreciate what you're doing for our side of the business.

Most of the time <laughs> when I'm not causing shit storms or anything.
Well, yeah. Be a good boy now.

I will.
Keep me out of trouble, OK?

I will.
Otherwise, management will call me and go, "Do you know what you said." <laughs> No, I think I was pretty succinct in wrapping it up and certainly, yeah so… you've got to stir it up once in a while.

Hey, did you see Behind the Music, the VH-1 thing?

No. We do have it here in Australia, but I have no idea how many months we are behind. I'm going to try to get someone, even Rindell said he might try and do a VHS for me.
Yeah, Rindell should send you one. You should see it, it's something.

I'd love to see it.
It's definitely something.

Especially that last three minutes. <laughs>
Oh, you heard about it?

Yeah, I heard about that.
Yeah, I was like…I think my mouth dropped. I wish somebody had a picture of me when I was watching. I was like, "What?" But see, I was the first one. They hit me with that and I didn't say anything to anybody.

I walked out of there and I think Ross was next and of course I had not said two words to anybody about what they spoke to me about because they wanted everybody to just be off the cuff, right?

Surprise, yeah.
Yeah. OK. Well take care then.

Thanks Jon, I appreciate your time.
All right. Bye, bye now.

G'Day now. Bye, bye.









Journey - Steve Augeri (2001)




I can not tell you how long I've been bugging Rindell to set this up for me, and hoping that it would come together. Because I am a huge fan of your work, let me say.
I'm flattered, I truly am. I've read your reviews and the kind words that you've said about me. I'm thankful, I truly am.

You have some big shoes to fill. I think you've done it with ease.
For me, although I've been at this for nearly three years now, it still seems, for this first record, I still feel like we got a ways to go as far as finding the right niche. But I think we're on the right track. I think every time we play together whether it's rehearsal, recording or shows, we still get a little closer to our final destination. And I think as time goes by, I think by the next record, I think we're going to get it. If you like it this time out, I hope to think you'll really like it next time, cause I think it will be that much more where it should be.
We did a lot of experimenting through the past three years. We were fearless. We tried a lot of different styles, a lot of different directions and we figured hey, you know, we've got time. Let's break down the barriers, let's not be this or that, let's try it all. After Kevin picked his songs, it became Arrival.
But before Arrival, we were all over the place. That was a lot of fun. We learned a lot about each other, we learned a lot about each other's musical influences and backgrounds, we dabbled in a little of this and a little of that. It was a lot of fun.
I'll tell you, it was a great deal of fun.

I've got some questions regarding the songs. What I think is very cool, and somewhat ironic, is the first line you sing on the whole album - 'So I think I've got it all in place now'. What do you think, does that just about sum it up?
You know, it's funny how that just happened to be the opening lines. Sort of like when we do our shows, when I sing "Separate Ways" its like 'here I stand' kind of a thing. It just worked out that way. Yeah. I mean, I have Jack Blades to thank for that lyric (laughs).

It just seemed very fitting. Your voice sounds immaculate. It's a fabulous line and it just sounds great.
I appreciate it. I first heard a batch of songs. That was a batch of, I think, three that Neal had sent me that he had written with Jack. And each and every one of them was better than the last. One after the other knocked my socks off. That one was absolutely wonderful. In fact, there were a handful of others that I couldn't believe didn't make the record. I personally think you would have absolutely flipped out because they were really melodic, really in vain of classic melodic rock. One song in particular, that we hope to see on the next record.

This is your first recording in several years as a singer. You've been with the band nearly three years. I can't believe how quickly that's gone. On the eve of the U.S. release, what emotions are you feeling now?
Well I'll tell you, just now I'm getting a little excited. The record could have easily been out a year ago, as far as I remember. My memory isn't as good as it should be. After age 40 , I kind of lost it (laughs).
Right now, everything is starting to come together. We've released two singles out through American Radio here in the states. And they are slowly but very, very surely gaining chart position. I just checked the charts yesterday. It's a nice sure movement. They are jumping up about 10 spots a week. If we continue this gradual climb up the charts, by the time the record gets released, in about a month's time, I think we're going to have some really great chart position.
And by then, hopefully the record company will feel very confident in promoting the record as they should. We all have our fingers crossed. There are no guarantees in life. No matter who you are. Especially not for Journey. Especially in the position we are here, right now. But I think, I take a look at the charts, and things seem to be taking shape very nicely and we're feeling very confident.

What support to you feel from the label. Do you have the feeling that they are behind you?
I'll put it to you this way. I've heard from their mouth, that we're going to get wonderful support. That they love the material and they are going to give us the support. But seeing is believing. The truth of the matter is, you can only have faith. We are all going to put our faith in the music and in the band. As long as we have faith in ourselves, we're going to make this thing happen.
I have all the faith in the world in these guys. With that alone, I feel very confident.

That's a great attitude for sure. I don't think I've seen any interviews with you thus far, or not many at least, a couple in Japan obviously. For those who don't really know the story, I just wanted to cover how you got hooked up with the band in the first place. You've got a mutual friend in Joe...
His name is Cefalu. I'll try to make it brief. Because it's long distance. I don't know, what time is it over there?

It's eight in the morning.
Ah, good morning! Have your coffee? I'm making a cup of coffee right now, how about yourself?

I just make one for my fiancée actually.
Congratulations. Good luck to you.

Thank you.
Well, I'll make this short and sweet, or as short as I can.
Joe was a fellow Brooklynite who since moved to Neal's neck of the woods in San Francisco. It seems he was a Journey fan as a child. Neal was basically one of his idols growing up. Anyway, he turned out to be quite some guitarist. Before he moved out there, I had made his acquaintance and I actually sang on a few of his demos. Just brilliant. Along the lines of Satriani and Steve Vai.
This was after Tall Story's first record. And we were just getting ready to do the second album, more writing for our second album, and we befriended each other. Anyway, I did some demos with him. Off he goes to San Francisco.
Hadn't heard from him in quite some time until one day I get a phone call from him and by the time I speak to him, I had sung with Tyketto for a short time and basically went into retirement.
To put it as simply as possible, I had a great deal more success in my career than a great deal of other musicians, especially people that I know. I was able to release a couple of records. I toured some of the world. I made a lot of friends along the way. I was able to perform my music in front of thousands of people and I felt myself very fortunate. But at the time, success hadn't come my way. And the fact is, I have a family, I had a child. I guess I was doubting myself perhaps. I guess that's reality. I had to take care of business, so I took myself a nine-to-five with The Gap.
Actually, I did 2 years of construction here in New York. I became a manager. I was a maintenance manager for thirty stores in Manhattan. So when they would fall apart, I'd have to fix them. Everything from broken plumbing to electrical and painting, you name it.
So a year goes by and Joe Cefalu, this wonderful guitarist gives me a call. He says listen, Steve, I'm friendly with Neal and I was speaking with Neal the other day and he tells me that Steve Perry is no longer with the band and they're starting to look for vocalists. They are wanting to reform Journey and go on with another singer. It had been a year since I was working at The Gap and it was two years since I even sang a note in public. So I was like, that's really great but, regardless of whether I was singing or not, I thought it was just crazy. Out of my reach. It was a wonderful, flattering thing but I thought he was just bonkers.

I love this story, I love it (laughing).
Seriously. Put yourself in my position. You're talking about Journey, you're not talking about a baby band. You're not taking about amateurs. You're not talking about the little leagues. You're talking about the major leagues. Yankees, World Series.

I really do love this story, I'm enjoying this.
That's the truth. I was yeah, yeah, yeah. He said look Steve, you can do it.
Send me a tape. Tall Stories records at the time, or CDs were very scarce and rare. He said please send me a CD and I'll give it to Neal.
I told him yeah, OK, I'll do that. And a week went by. We're calling on weekends and after certain hours because we're both poor. So he takes a whole week until the rates drop like after nine o'clock. He calls me and says, Steve what happened? I'm waiting a whole week for this tape. I said look Joe, to be honest with you, I was never going to send the tape. I said I just don't think so, I really appreciate it, but you're crackers.
He said listen, I'm going to put it together. What three songs do you want me to put together on the tape? I said Joe, I don't even know. He said, I'll tell you what, I'll put this tape together. I'll pick the three songs, you leave it to me.
I did exactly that. We hung up. I thought he was out of his mind and I didn't think anything of it, truly, until I get a phone call three days later from Neal, or at least someone who said it was Neal. I wasn't quite sure if someone was putting me on or perhaps it was truly Neal. I didn't acknowledge that it was him, nor did I blow him off totally. I waited until we got off the phone.
I called Joe back immediately and he said Steve, you might want to sit down because what I'm going to tell you is going to blow you away. I spoke to Neal and I gave him a tape and it seems as though Neal knew of me from my Tall Story days. He was aware of the band. He and Jon both, when they were in Bad English, he was living in Los Angeles at the time and heard a Tall Stories record on the radio out there all the time. When Joe handed him the CD, he said we were already thinking about this guy. So it was just one of those synergy things, it was synchronicity, things just seem to come into place.
The only thing I needed to do was I begged Neal and Jon to give me a couple of weeks to prepare. Because after two years of not singing, I was basically like... nothing was really there. I auditioned; I had a weeks worth of singing with them. On the last day of the auditioning process, which was a writing and a get to know each other as well as a singing audition.
Things seemed to come into place in the clutch. Just at the right moment, the last day, down at the final wire. I guess I pulled it out of my hat. It's incredible. Sometimes I still don't believe it. But on the other hand, this is something I've dreamed of all my life. As crazy as it sounds, I was just telling somebody this today, this is what I've wanted to do all my life. I've just expected to do...not with Journey, it's still ridiculous. I always wanted to sing for people ever since I saw the Beatles on national television on the Ed Sullivan show here in the states. It just took me a little longer than everybody else (laughs).

Good luck to you. Good luck. I just think that's fantastic. And what does your wife think of this?
Well you know, she couldn't be any more happy. You know, obviously the pitfalls are for a touring musician, when you have a family. The hardest part is leaving them every so often for a couple of months at a time. How do say goodbye to your wife and children? Except thank goodness for long distance bills and cell phones. So you're constantly on the phone and you fly them out as often as you can whenever the schedules allow. We've done that the last two tours and we'll do it again this summer.

That's wonderful. This may be too broad of a question but is there any song you auditioned on for the guys? Like your first song.
Absolutely. The three main songs were "Don't Stop Believing", "Faithfully" and "Separate Ways". Here's the beauty of the story, at least for me.
As I said, I hadn't sang for two years and when I first got in there, it was pretty rusty, the pipes were real rusty. It took about a week to get them warmed up and I was a little intimidated at first sitting down with the guys. By the last day I said this is a do or die situation. Things seemed to be going my way that particular day. We recorded these three songs. After the recording they were going to send it off to John Kalodner at the record company to get his opinion. After the third song, the guys were pretty happy and Neal was kind of high-fiving Jon.
I was feeling pretty cocky and pretty proud of myself. And I had one foot out the door, I was on my way back on an airplane to New York City and I turned around and I said listen, there's one song I really, really would love to sing. All the while to myself I thinking, if I blow this, I very well could be blowing the audition.
But I turned around and said listen, can we just try "Open Arms"? I don't know what came over me, I was just crazy. But I did it, and I guess it turned out OK, because here I am, speaking with you. But it could have went the other way.

I doubt it!
I've never been much of a gambler. I'll tell you what's funny too. I was working at this day job and I told my boss over at The Gap, I said listen, I need a week off, a leave of absence. Which they were good enough to give me. But is was a gamble, going out there and doing this thing. Chasing that dream, that lifelong dream. Because I'd never been a gambler. I mentioned to somebody else, I've never been very ambitious. In fact I'm what I call an under achiever. You can give me that title. This was something..., there is a wonderful song by Ricky Lee Jones called "Last Chance Texaco". Basically it's about that last gas station before you hit the desert. This was my last chance Texaco. This was my last shot at my dream. That's the way I looked at it. And well, it worked out.

Fantastic. I did hear it once said that you used a vocal coach, is that correct?
Oh absolutely.

Just to train it up - to get fit again?
Well, for sure. I saw the coach immediately after I left the guys in San Francisco.
I flew to Los Angeles to see one of the finer coaches in the Los Angeles area. And this guy got me on track real fast. And then I saw a couple of people here in New York. And quite frankly, I truly needed one.
Whether or not I hadn't sang for two years or not because I kind of grew up singing just the way I wanted to and never had any true guidance. Going out on the road for months at a time you've got to be in amazing...you've got to be an animal to be able to last five shows, two hours a night during the week and go a few months at a time.
When I was younger, when you're younger, period, you have the muscle stamina, you have the muscle tone. But once you hit a certain age, this goes for female vocalists as well, just like your body, just like the biceps kind of wither away if you let them, if you're Charles Atlas.
Do you guys know Charles Atlas over there? I mean, Arnold Schwarzenegger works twice as hard now than he did when he was a kid. That's just biology. Long story short, you really have to whip yourself back into shape and I just couldn't do it, what I used to be able to do when I was twenty out of pure adrenaline and pure youth. So I had to go and see somebody that would teach me the finer techniques of singing and think of something that would get me over those long two, three month tours. And low and behold, I've had some great teachers along the way, and it's still a work in progress. Just like anything else in a profession or any kind of educational area you can always keep learning.
Different people can teach you different things. I'm happy to say that I'm studying with a couple of different people for the different reasons and it's great fun to be honest with you.

Are you conscious at all of your natural vocal comparison to Steve Perry? Or is it something that's just there?
Yeah, you know I wasn't aware of it so much until people kept approaching me and I kept on hearing it more and more and more.
Within the last 15 years or so, especially with Tall Stories. Obviously there are similarities in timbre and even style wise. But honestly, it was a subconscious thing initially. Then when we did the Tall Stories record, as much as Jack Morrow, the guitarist would deny it, he was the first one to keep telling me Steve, you got to lay off of the Perryism. That was the word he used. The Perryism.
That was the little joke, and I was like, I don't get it. I don't understand what you're talking about. Perhaps I was in denial at the time. I just didn't see it.
He was a wonderful writer and he wrote wonderful songs that were not unlike Journey songs. He was very similar in his guitar approach, they're both really great, wonderful guitarists and they have a lot of similarities too. So I think that also added to the Journeyisms, not just the Perryisms.
But was I aware of it. Initially no, until it was brought up to me.
Before Tall Stories, I worked with a band, in fact three members of Tall Stories other than myself were originally three Brazilian musicians. And one by one, they were replaced by an American musician in New York City. Before that, we shot the tape to Columbia and they actually said this sounds like Journey meets Sade (laughs). That was the very first time anyone compared me to Steve Perry. And then it opened the flood gates after that.
But I'll tell you one thing, I'm getting more comparisons now to Kenny G lately. The visual thing. I can't walk down the street without people saying hello Kenny!!

That's funny (laughing).
You should try it someday (laughing).

I'll jump forward a little. I'm a big fan of the Tall Stories album and I had that long before you were in Journey. It took me a long time to find it on CD as you were saying. But I have it, thankfully. And I think half the album you're yes, Journey-Steve Perryish, but the other half you sound more your own person obviously but there's a little bit of another favorite lead singer of mine called Glenn Hughes in there.
Way back when, I was watching television here at home, and this is going back in the seventies, and I saw...put it this way, Burn, I was just crazy about that particular record, and Stormbringer. Glenn just absolutely blew me out of the water. I had the pleasure of meeting him during the recordings of Arrival. He was in town writing with Pat Thrall. Those two, that Hughes/Thrall record just slays me. That record kicks.

'I Got Your Number'... ah yeah...
Cover to cover, from the coolest, grooviest stuff to the two heaviest tracks you ever heard. "Muscle and Blood" and ... anyway, huge fan. Just absolutely huge fan. That dude, what he does with his voice. He takes it from a whisper to a scream. He takes it from..., the dynamics that that cat has, I truly aspire to sing with his kind of passion and his kind of control. Never mind the technical side is the emotion. Just beautiful what he does. He's my kind of guy. He's my kind of vocalist.

Really pleased to hear you say that.
Oh forget about it. Forget about it. But before him, my very first concert was a Humble Pie concert. Steve Marriott was my truly, very, very first..., aside from the Beetles which everybody liked. I was fifteen when I saw Steve Marriott and Humble Pie here in New York I was first row, my brother had taken me for my birthday. And that's when I knew, I've got to do this. I really have to do this.
I connected with Steve. It's a funny thing, we share the same birthday.

Oh, do you really?
I could swear, I'm telling you there was some connection that particular night and I said that's what it's all about. I mean I'm a bigger fan that I am...that's why I'm so charged about music today, because I'm such a huge fan.
When I got back to music, after coming back to sing with Journey, after I left the guys, when I turned around I said listen: this is kind of a far fetched thing, me coming out here and auditioning for you guys. I told them, one thing I have to thank you for is this could go one way, it could work out, it may not.
But I have to thank you guys so much for just having me out here and getting me back in touch with my love of music. Because I actually lost it. Because when I turned my back, you kind of, sort of try to bury the past because it was very painful. They unearthed it and they gave it back to me. I said if this thing doesn't work out, that's cool because I got a chance to meet you and have a little fun.
But I said you really did give me a gift in just singing again. And I said the one thing I'll do, I'll go back and I'm going to sing again. You got me back into it and you gave me back my music. I thanked them. So I've actually had this kind of rebirth thing and I've been getting in touch with my old records that I grew up and was inspired from and influenced way back when.
That's one of them, those early Glenn Hughes records and Coverdale. Those two guys were brilliant together. What a team.

I'd love to see them on a record together. There was some word that someone was trying to do that.
Yeah, I don't know. You know Tall Stories, we had another great vocalist in the band that never really got a chance to sing as much as he probably should have, and that was our bassist Kevin Dutorian. Looking back in hindsight, I would have loved to have done something like the Coverdale/Hughes thing. I'm sure there would have been some tension between the two but boy, did it make great records. Don't you think?

Yeah, oh absolutely, absolutely. Magic.
Those guys were just better. One guy was just better than the next every song you put on. Holy man.

Two enormous egos and both really going at it.
I imagined, I imagined. But the talent was there so you got to give it to them.

Oh absolutely. Look, I've interviewed both of them and it was an absolute joy talking to them, it really was. They're really nice.
Yeah Glenn was really a sweetheart, he was great. And Pat Thrall, he's wonderful.

Looking forward to their new record.
Oh, same here. It's got to be great.

I'll jump to Tall Stories still while we're on that. I actually had an e-mail from Jack a little while ago, your guitarist.
You're joking, no kidding!

Yeah! I don't know if you two are still in contact, or do you see each other do you?
It's funny, the last I saw him was at that fellow who got me that Journey audition, Joe Cefalu. He invited me to his wedding and my wife and I arrived at the reception and there was Jack sitting next to me. So it was wonderful.
It was a great re-union of sorts and we just laughed and had a few. Actually we didn't have any cocktails. Not that we don't drink or anything but we just happened to stay sober that particular day. That same night I was flying to San Francisco to meet with the guys so I was minding my P's and Q's. We had a great reunion and we talked over old times. So how was he doing? What was the e-mail about?

He was good. I actually mentioned him on the site that the Tall Stories CD was getting re-released in Japan in conjunction with the Journey back catalogue. And he emailed me going, What!!?
Oh how cool is that?

I'll have to forward his e-mail address to you.
You know, in fact, I think he had given it to me but I misplaced it. I would love it. I understand, did he mention, right now he's on tour with a Broadway show?

He didn't tell me what he is doing.
Yeah he's doing a show out here called Swing. And he's on tour with them throughout the states and he's back on the road. In a different capacity. Let me tell you, Jack, he's a guitarist's guitarist.
He went to school at a very high level music college down in Florida, University. And he can play inside out. He knows that thing inside out, upside down.
He'll play anything from Wes Montgomery to Django Reinhardt and then Jimi Hendrix. And his boy was really Eric Clapton. Boy he could whip out any Cream song at the drop of a hat. And then he had his own thing, which was wonderful.

Did you guys ever start recording or finish recording any extra tracks other than the original?
We did tons of demos. In fact, this is the crazy thing about, unfortunately, what the demise of Tall Stories was this; we were demoing and demoing and demoing and at that time we got the record out, very similar to the Journey record, about a year after it had been finished and should have been released already.
It had been, I wouldn't say shelved, but it was definitely postponed, the release date. So by the time it had come out, the timing was so wrong, it coincided with Pearl Jam's release. The writing was on the wall. The music industry in the states was going to change, was going to push this new sound. Which is very healthy, I guess, to business. Not very healthy to Tall Stories.
Wonderfully for us, we happened to go out on the road for two months with Mr. Big and that was great. It got us some exposure. We did some gigs. We did two months of touring with them, which was wonderful. They were very inspiring. The history was, this music right now was starting to get ignored by the record company. Although you'd never know it because we rolled into Seattle, the home of grunge, back in '92 and we thought it was going to be the worst gig ever.
But it was the best response that we got out of the whole tour. It was ridiculous. That was the irony thing. The irony was that the folks, the rock and rollers that were truly into melodic and hard rock were...maybe they just didn't want to hear another grunge song. They really wanted to hear something fresh for a change. Which is kind of what's happening now I think, here in the states.
You know things are kind of cycular. I think this sound, just good melodic rock and roll is coming around again. It'd be played at least commercially on radio stations that is. I think we're at a good time, here right now. Things are starting to look good right now. As far as the Arrival CD is concerned.

So you've got a whole bunch of Tall Stories demos lying around.
Oh yeah, bunch of demos. And what happened was, we were playing them this, we were playing them that. And basically they were telling us that this sound was over. Steve, you sound like Steve Perry.
They sound like Journey tracks. That's when the Journey comparisons were really heavy. Basically the demise of Tall Stories was that we were getting compared to Journey a great deal at the time.
So it got to the point that we were starting to do songs that were absolutely out of my style, vocally. And I was trying, I was experimenting you know. I was brave, I was courageous. I'd give anything a shot, but it wasn't me. And as much as we tried, I was just going to feel like I wasn't true to myself any longer.
So quite some time passed by and I got a phone call from Brooke St. James of Tyketto. And Brook tells me, he says, you know what? We're writing a new record and I was wondering if you had some time. Won't you come down and we'll play some guitars together, try to write a couple songs.
So we had been friends together, Tyketto and Tall Stories. We were mutual friends. We'd go see each others shows here in the New York area. They're a great bunch of guys. I really like Brook a lot, and I said sure. At the time he never mentioned anything about Danny not being present.
So I took a drive out to the next state, to Jersey and started writing some songs. And as a week or two go by I start getting the vibe that Danny is no longer in the picture. I'm now three weeks into the writing sessions and their drummer lays on the deal that Danny is no longer with the band and would I consider, instead of just writing, would I consider singing with the band.
Actually, at the time, it wasn't even a Tyketto thing. They said, would you like to form a band? We were just jelling, and it was a lot of great energy and a lot of positive vibes happening. So much that, it hadn't felt like that with Tall Stories in quite some time. We were just getting a lot of negative responses from record company and management. As mush as we loved each other's music and music ideas, the thrill was starting to leave. The thrill was starting to go, and it was starting to emerge within the Tyketto camp. So it only felt natural, it felt like the right thing to do at the time, to join up with the guys.
And I said I had learned that Danny Vaughn was no longer with the band and I really enjoyed working with them so we gave it a shot. We started writing the record and I tell you we must have wrote it in a month. And we recorded it in even less time. We must have recorded it in two weeks. It seemed like that, everything went down that fast. Just before the record was going to be released, we had another name picked out, we were going to do music that we felt like doing. We just felt, stylistically, it was just the thing that happened. We didn't try to do this or that or the other thing. It's just what came out. Just before the release of the record, the record company gets back to the guys in the band and says listen, we are not going to release the record unless you release it as Tyketto.

And it was the worst thing for us because it really stiffed the fans. It kind of limited our chances of any kind of success because everyone that expected the record out really was waiting for a Tyketto record.
Not a rhythm and bluesy, we were kind of doing 70's influence in a lot of the songs and it was just not as melodic as the Tyketto stuff was. Unfortunately we turned off a lot of their old fan base. We wound up winning back a couple of them and making some new fans along the way but I tell you, no regrets.
Great guys. We really had great times. We went over to Europe a couple of times. Traveling with a rock and roll band is always a lot of fun and we really enjoyed each other's company. Made a lot of friends.
Again, as I said, just going out and playing music for people. You don't have to go out and make a million dollars. You get into this business initially because you love the art form. The music. And that's what we did. We had a good time. And like I said, no regrets. We went our separate ways.
But that, replacing Danny Vaughn in Tyketto, was a very huge learning experience for me. Because, when I got the opportunity to work with Journey, I had learned a lot of lessons and I knew I made quite a few mistakes. Well, not so much mistakes, I knew some things to do and some things not to do. Again, I think it was meant to be.

Obviously on your first tour, maybe even your second tour, a lot people didn't know that Steve Perry was out of the band. Did you feel a lot of pressure to pull off the best performance you could?
Whether or not you're replacing such a heavyweight of a vocalist in the first place, you always go out with that...you always want to give two hundred percent. Then you add the Steve Perry factor, and the replacement factor. Ask Gary Cherone and ask Sammy Hagar. Although, obviously both those guys were established. They had one up on me. Getting somebody who's an unknown, actually maybe it worked a lot in my favor also, it's hard to say.
Because it might have actually helped. But yeah sure, I felt the pressure. But as I learned early on, you just have to do your best. Because the minute you start thinking about it, that's when the slope gets slippery. You just do your best, as with anything. If you're a shoemaker, you just try to make the best pair of shoes you can. Same thing with singing.

Were you happy with the fan reaction?
Absolutely. I mean really. I didn't expect the response that we had gotten. We didn't expect to get everybody back, all the Journey fans. But I can honestly say that I think that we got the majority of the old fan base back. It's hard to believe. And I never thought it would happen, but they were open-minded and open-hearted enough to give it a shot. To give it a chance. And for that I'll be forever thankful.

The response to, the feedback I've got from people emailing me about the shows and any reaction to the album has been absolutely, unanimously positive.
I couldn't be more thankful. Not to say anything negative but you really can't expect..., and there are some folks. Neal and I laugh about it.
Every once in a while, there'll be a show and there will be one person out there in the audience. And for some reason, there's a beacon on them. They'll have their arms crossed and they won't have a happy face, a very sad face.
And you know, you have to respect it because they had the love enough for the band to come to see the band, and hear the music. I have to respect it. One of my most favorite bands also of all time was Led Zeppelin. And as much as I love David Coverdale, now they didn't try to reform Zeppelin, but I don't know if I would have been able to see Led Zeppelin formed with anybody else but Robert Plant singing. So I understand it, I respect it, and that's exactly how I approached singing with Journey. I'm not a cocky guy, although, maybe come talk to me a year from now. I've never had much of an ego (laughs). I hope it doesn't change.

I doubt it (laughing).
I mean that's just the way it is. I'm a pretty blessed guy. I'm just happy with my life. I've got a good life. No complaints.

Nervous heading into the studio to record Arrival?
Yeah, big time. Definitely big time. As much as I was telling myself, no.
The fact of the matter was, yes. In fact, just before the recording, we happened to get into this rehearsal studio. And do you think, after all this state of the art technology that you have, you get a world class band, get some rehearsals a week before, of pre-production, before a major recording.
And there's a less than adequate P.A. system, and monitor system. So for a week, I'm singing into the equivalent of, pick a Deep Purple concert, the loudest band in the world. I'm singing out of a, what do they call it, a vocal master. Which was a couple of ten inch speakers. My voice was toast. And here we are going in to record a Journey record (laughs). So I had to take two weeks off.

Absolutely. And I was frightened to death. I thought, oh my God, what did I do to myself? That's part of the game. You learn as you go. I was never experienced enough, never had I been in this situation where I would have known any better. I'll tell you now, next time I'll be a great deal more careful. You'll know to ask, look, I have to have this, I have to have that. I can't sing unless I can hear myself a little. Now I have that information. I'm programmed now, so I'll know that next time I go in to do the record. Everything turned out all right in the long run.
It gave me a little more grit, a little more gravel. Probably would have preferred to have been a little sweeter at times but that's all right, I was always a big Rod Stewart fan.

Rod's awesome but I think you sound sweet enough, believe me.
You know that was actually, my very first single, record actually, that I ever owned was "Maggie May". He was also one of my very, very early influences.

He's got a great voice.
Rod could do no wrong.

He's got an energy, hasn't he?
The best. He's got it all. The voice, the attitude, the look. He always did. And he still has it. He's still out there, just released a record, he's still on the radio. You turn on the radio and they'll play his new single and they'll play, you know, "Maggie May" back to back. And I'll say, That's my man.         

Yeah, I've got several of his records. I like them a lot. I was pleased to see that you're involved in the writing process on the album. You've got five songs that made the album. I thought that was great.
Yeah, I think in fact, I'm not a hundred percent sure but, I think with the American release there's seven. But none the less, whether it was a hundred percent of the record or no involvement, the fact was when I was getting into the situation it was enough to sing. Just singing. That was enough of a case load, enough of a work load to deal with. The great thing about being with the guys in this band is that they gave me the opportunity to get involved in the writing process.
A part of the audition in fact when I first met them was, as I said, was not only to the singing part, as well as seeing if we were actually compatible. If we could stay in the same room for like an hour and not end up at each other's throat. You know, any fist fights. Which is very important. But they also wanted to see if I had any kind of input as far as creativity. Coming from them, to be able to do that to a novice, or an unknown, was very generous and they certainly didn't have to. So, as I said, they were gracious to offer that to me and I couldn't tell you how happy I am that they did.

How may songs did you demo for the album? I mean there's like fourteen on there.
I would say a minimum of thirty. There had to be at least forty.

Oh wow! So there's that many demos sitting out there.
And if I may say so, there were some songs that were left off the record that I really wish had gotten onto the record. In fact, there's a song that the guys wrote with Geoff Tate.

Oh really!?
Yeah. That was absolutely amazing. Just amazing. The week that I went out to audition, we recorded four Journey songs and we recorded about four new songs. And one of them was a song they had written with Geoff and one other was "Signs of Life". In fact that was the very first song out of the bag as a Journey song. And it wound up making the record. So it has some staying power.

That's one of my favorite tracks on the album.
Yeah, I'm glad. Thank you. It didn't change much from the very first day. So it was a keeper from the beginning. And the Geoff Tate song was spectacular. Stellar. And it was just brilliant. And it didn't make the record and I swore it would. It had a great ethereal, great moody vibe to it. It was very Pink Floydish. It had that dark thing going on. And I hope perhaps a soundtrack. I think it would be definitely suited for a soundtrack or something like that. "Walking Away From the Edge" it's called.

I would love to hear some of this stuff.
You know what, if we meet up, I'll make sure we have a tape.

That would be great.
I should hope that we make it your way.

I don't think so (laughs).
Oh I think we're going to get there. We'll get to Australia.

I hope so!
I only hope so.

But if not, I'm going to try to make it to the States because I've got to see you guys.
That'd be great.

Favorite songs off the album, that did make the album?
I swear it changes. In fact, I'll tell you what, going in to the recording I felt exactly the way Neal did. We wanted to make a rock and roll record. And then after everything was recorded, I found myself listening to ballads, or at least the less up-tempo, and the less mid-tempo. I jump depending on the mood that I'm in, I play the music that I can relate to. And so if I feel like jumping into the car and I've got to get to an appointment that I'm late for already a half hour, I'll throw on "Higher Place". And it gets me there. It makes that hour drive turn into twenty minutes, and a speeding ticket.

I play it on the way to work to, believe me.
You know, I think one of my favorites is "We'll Meet Again". It's one of my favorites and I'll tell you, it turned out a great deal different than the initial conception of the song. I especially like it because the inspiration to writing it was...after coming off tour on the first record, I was so impressed, getting back to the fans and the fans reaction. I was so impressed with their reaction.
And it was so difficult at the end of the night, after a two hour and fifteen minute set, to leave these audiences that went from skeptical to just charged and happy and elated that they had been to a Journey concert. And I was equally as elated that they were enjoying us, that when we came off the road I had this idea of just trying to express how I felt about how I can't wait to get back on our next tour. And how we would meet again. And that was kind of the general idea of the song. And the funny thing was, Neal had written a song years ago and laid a demo on it of a couple of really incredible rock and roll tracks, and that was one of them. In fact if you ever heard it, it was a guitar song. It was a major, major guitar song. It was a huge guitar song with like the guitar, rock and roll song. And it turned out to be quite less than that, but still I think it turned out to be one of my favorite tracks.

Yea, it's a real moody track, isn't it?
What Jon turned it into was beautiful, and I'm happy it made the record. I love that.

It's a great track to end the album, isn't it?
I think so, yeah. I'll tell you what I like, getting back to the up-beat thing.
What I do like about the record is that, and probably what I'd like about Journey or what I've always liked about them is they are...there's always room for negativity in life. And one thing that these guys have always been able to do for me, is lift me up a little bit when I'm down. Or put a smile on my face, or make me feel a little more hope than there may actually be. Or hopeful for tomorrow.
And I think that's what I really like about this record is that it seems to have a common thread. Although the songs may be diverse, stylistically, there seems to be a common thread in positively. It's not for everybody, and not for all times because sometimes I like to put on a Black Sabbath record, especially with Dio, like Heaven and Hell or Mob Rules. My point being, I like to turn a Marshall up on eleven just like the next guy, and play hard and heavy and dark stuff.
But then you have to have the other side, and I think the other side, a perfect example of that is a Journey record. I think that although it may not be the Journey of yesterday, I think it still carries on that positive direction that the band always had before.

I think it picks up perfectly where you left off. I think it carries on perfectly.
We've been torn about the balance of the record, whether a slow, up-tempo, hard, heavy or this or that. But in the long run, at the end of the day, I was happy with the integrity of the music and definitely, definitely satisfied with that.

Tell me about the two new tracks you went in and recorded.
Here's the thing about the two new tracks, Neal is a rock and roll animal. This is what makes this band, or for that matter, many bands very special. This is what fuels them. You have two definite and dynamic personalities in the writing team. That being Jon Cain and Neal Schon. Jon can rock like the rest of them but his forte in my opinion....

He's the mellower one, isn't he?
I will be opinionated now. He can write a ballad or love song, whatever you want to call it better than anybody. And then Neal can write a rock and roll track better than anybody's business. So to me, in my opinion, again this is not factual, this is just my observation.

I tend to agree with you.
I think these guys have their fortes. So that being said, you got the best of both worlds. Somewhere along the line, I hope, somewhere down the line I want to find my place somewhere in the middle (laughs). But I like being the middle man right now. Where was my point?

Two new tracks...
The two new tracks, OK. I think one of them, to me, is absolutely stellar. And that would be "World Gone Wild". I think it's on the level of "Higher Place".

I can't wait to hear it.
To me, it's on that level. It's got a real musical and lyrical level of integrity. That's what I'm saying. The other track is definitely more of a party rocker. You know it's kind of, I'm not going to say it's a throw away. But it's definitely a party song. Every record needs to have a good time and it's like a no brainer.
It's a rock and roll song.

Something like "I've got a Reason" maybe.
Yeah, precisely like "I've got a Reason". So you know, it's like put on your jeans, let's have a good time, let's have a party or get a six pack and let's have our friends over and let's dance, kind of thing. Where the other one's a great deal more deeper. That's my view on them.

Fantastic. When are you off on tour again?
It sounds like we're going to be starting in the first week of June, it looks like. They haven't got everything one hundred percent confirmed yet. I'm still waiting for the actual schedule. It looks like something around June, first week of June.

And you've got my other vocal hero out on the road with you opening, John Waite.
Oh, you know, that's another crazy thing. I've had the Baby's Greatest Hits, or is it The Best Of? I think they call it The Best Of. The one with the bronze baby shoes on the cover. I've had it in my glove compartment box for a year before Jon and Neal called me. I used to go and I'd play that all the time. When I was stuck in traffic or something.
So I've always been a fan, I've always loved John's voice. And I've always loved their music. And it's funny how things come full circle. It's silly. It's really crazy. Honestly, I was as big a Babys fan as I was a Journey fan. It's going to be interesting to say the least. To have all these guys on the same stage and the same backstage area.

That's why I'm going to get over and see it. I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I'm going to get over and see the show.
It's going to be a rock and roll circus I assure you (laughs). They've got some great John Waite stories and they always amuse me with them. So I want to make our own stories for 2001. If we don't tell you in person, I'm going to make sure I have a couple of stories for you next year. Or at least after the tour.

That sounds pretty good. That sounds like a date.
Yeah, please make sure you come out first. That would be wonderful. If you come out, you could come see a couple shows.

Well, that's the only problem, you have to sell your third born, or first born to be able to afford the airfare out to the states.
I bet. And that flight's a bitch too.

And it's a shocker. It's not something you can do and just come over for the weekend. It takes a weekend to get there.
I hear that. Well you know what's crazy, it's just the time difference is wacky. That's what really knocks you out.

It is, it is. Like It's Sunday morning here, 9am. And it's the end of summer.
Yeah, and your toilets flush opposite.

When I went to Brazil I found that out, and I thought, that's amazing! Then I wondered, why do I even know this (laughs).

One of those things.
It's scary.

Look, it's been a real joy talking to you. And one of the things I've really picked up on while speaking to you, and I'm really pleased with, is that you're a fan of great music along the way as well.
I've got a young son, he's twelve. And I look at him and I think... wonder where he's going to be in ten, fifteen, twenty years. Where his life and his path will take him. And you can't choose for your children, just like my parents couldn't choose for me. Somewhere along the line, you see something that inspires you or you gravitate towards. And somewhere as a child I gravitated towards music as many of us do, whether as a listener or a performer.
It's such a wonderful part of life that should never be ignored. It's funny that I actually did it one short time, and I promise you I'll never do it again. It shines sun where there's been absolutely none, there's been a void for a long time. Puts a lot of smiles on a lot of faces where there normally wouldn't be. I'm in a kind of feel-good business and I'm glad to be doing it.

Well, you're certainly doing that now for a lot of Journey fans I can tell you that.
Well, I appreciate it. Andrew it's a pleasure to speak to you man, especially after all this time. I enjoy your website very, very much.

I appreciate the comments back. Thank you.
I'm curious, in addition to your website, do you publish a magazine as well? Or is it strictly the website?

No, it's strictly the website.
It's great. Because it's international. It's great to be on board.

Absolute pleasure. And you're helping me out by just doing this interview. Like I said it's great to speak to you finally. I can't wait to get it on line basically and see the reaction.
Cool! Well that makes two of us.








David Coverdale (2000)

The Into The Light Interview







You know, if you make music your mistress....you've got to accept her mood swings.... David Coverdale - 2000

This was a big interview for me. As a long time fan and devotee of everything Coverdale, it took a while to get David on the phone and this was it. Lucky for me David was in a chatty and expressive mood. Unlucky that it would take me this long to get the interview formatted and online. David quite often switched topic mid sentence and was certainly vocal on many issues. He also has a fine sense of humor. I hope that comes through and I hope the interview comes together OK and makes sense...most of the time!

So, I owe you a debt of thanks I understand Andrew. Michael said you're an incredible supporter of what I do.
Well it comes from being a long time fan David and I've got this site down, I guess it's the least I can do.
Bless your heart. Very much, very much appreciated.

Thank you very much.
As you know, we're dabbling in this, this remarkable Internet thing for the first time for an old dog such as myself.

How're you finding that?
It's breathtaking, you know. It's also fucking expensive isn't it?

Yeah, can be.
Slightly. No I think we've got in actually with eyes wide open, you know, ready to embrace it and there are still, in the corporate aspect over here, there is still a great deal of bureaucracy to cut through. It's a lot slower; you know the cutting edge is not as sharp as I thought it was going to be initially.
So you know we're working on it. The most important thing for me is to know the problems and then, you know, work on the solutions.

But it isn't the walk in the park that I, you know, that I thought it was going to be.
No, I think the big companies still have a fair bit of control over it and they…
Well it's, it's all of that you know, twelve people to push a pencil across a desk.
You know so in essence, as I say the most important thing for me is to turn negatives into positives - we had the mini site up there for us, the davioverdale.com for, for a month you know it was as stale as old fucking bread.

So no, you know, we have all the contents let's get it on there, so I think Michael's going to down, you'll certainly have a relationship with my Manager and find out, hey what do you want to get some immediate stuff going and then we'll start adding to the, the library, the history, you know what I'm saying. And just deal with what's going on now with the Into The Light record.

Yeah, yes that's a good thing. …
Yeah, maybe we were too gunho, you know.

Oh, maybe not. I think the fans are happy to see you with a sight up there now, even if I was a little while coming.
You know, I'm from the old school Andrew.

You are indeed, well sorry.
Well yeah I'm old. I'm old school. I mean, trying to talk Jimmy Page into doing a video wasn't the easiest thing. You know this video scenario that was incredibly helpful to me certainly in the eras with the Whitesnake stuff.
You know it saved me five years of hard roadwork, you know to be all over MTV at the time. You know none of us in Purple ever made videos; you know what I'm saying. It's, you know, you give one of these young bands a box of rice crackers and they'll be, make a really interesting fucking video.
We have to go and do it with the audience, you know.
So now you're dabbling with the latest sort of new technology being the Internet.
Well I want to it rather than let it use me.
You know with the album, oh I dunno, probably about seventy percent is computer technology in terms of ProTools, I'm sure you've heard of that.

Sure, yes.
And, and I, I mean I did all of my parts and a lot of the over dubs from home.

It was, it, yeah, It was just a wonderful experience for me. But I used it, you know, as opposed to letting it use me because you know the tools with it's relative infinity within the digital domain, so you have to have the reins on, you know, to pull back a little bit at times.
…otherwise you'll be in over dub hell.
Don't ever give a guitarist a pro tools set otherwise, unless you want a seventy, seventy-six, seventy-two track guitar slay, you know!

Well let's, lets talk about Into The Light.

It's a little bit of a departure for you I guess, a great record though. It sounds a million dollars.
What Australian dollars?

Well that isn't worth much I'm sorry, we'll go with American!

It doesn't sound like it was done at home. I mean its sounds awesome.
Oh no, not all of it. I spent, you know, I probably went through the most creative patch I've ever known in terms of the writing and when I got into pre-production I rented a house not far from where I live. You know, very self serving of course, and flew all the musicians in for, for rehearsing.
And I was actually composing as we were playing, it's bizarre.

You know it was like God turned around and said okay here you go, here's another idea, what? Oh, thanks, you know.
So we were pretty routined and I ended up with over twenty songs, twenty-two or twenty-three pieces of music to go into the studio. So we actually went into a full blown, up-market studio in Los Angeles, which ended up three months, you know, doing all the tracks and over dubs and then I just got so tortured by you know being in the studio and away from my philly, I said I'm going home to recharge my batteries and Michael said well why don't we try doing a little bit at home.
And I went, Oh why not, you know, and that was it. I get up very early, you know Mikey was gracious enough to drive up the mountain in pretty early so I'd be singing at seven in the morning till maybe ten, then I'd play with my son, swim, you know what I'm saying.

And go back to work, it was great.

What a hard life.
Well no, well it is hard for me, you know its interesting that recently I've been reflecting that my passion and my tenacity has been tested, challenged you know, for all of my career, I've never been in control.

You've had a very interesting…colourful dare I say, career.
Oh indeed, indeed. You know, you know the big bonus is I wouldn't change any of it. You know the lows, the highs, the whatever, they were all part of the learning experience. But yeah, it's never been a walk in the park.
If I ever felt it was easy I think I'd be doing something wrong. I document, you know, experiences from my life and some are light filled or joy filled and others are, you know, you know the heart breaking stuff.

This, album seems to have a little bit of both lyrically, is the lyric content for Into The Light drawn on your current sort of reflection.
Completely, yeah. I mean, I had some of the musical elements of the album in place. For instance Riversong I've had a lot of the elements of that song for almost twenty years.

Yeah, but I never felt that I had the players to do it justice, to do it right. You know maybe one player here, two players there but never the full compliment.
I actually presented the idea to Pagey and he said oh it's a bit too Hendrix for me.

Which I fully agreed with, its my tribute to Hendrix.

You know and I wrote the song over Christmas last year, the actual, lyrics.
And, but yeah I think, anyway to go back to the technical aspect so yeah, I did actually embrace the old school of recording or traditional way of recording and then utilised pro-tools as well as the studio for mixing but from what I could see, there was really no difference. If I was the owner of a studio I'd be very concerned, you know. It may be necessary for me as yet I don't know, to go in there to do the drum tracks, you know. But for a guitarist now there's a fantastic line of equipment. I think it's a British company actually called Live Synch.

And they have a small amplifier with built in effects and actually a very friendly computer program called The Pod, where you can basically recreate amplifier images with a microphone that's six feet away.
This kind of stuff I would actually do in a studio, cause once I've finished drum tracks and base tracks then I'll line up, you name it every size of amplifier, small, small up until the real big stuff, you know.
And that's a couple of days to set that up. And then we can switch around and find out which sound is appropriate for the song.
Yeah, it's an old Page ploy. You know, Jimmy's an incredible sonic alchemist.
You know what I'm saying.

Yeah, for sure.
He definitely can take a pig's, you know, a pig's ear and make it into a silk purse.

You know and I learnt an awful lot just working with him. I've been an admirer of Page for well, infinitely longer than Zeppelin.

He's amazing isn't he.
He is, and he's a doll and I'm going to call on him this weekend because I've just read that he's had to cancel altogether the Black Crowes tour so I think…

Yeah I heard that, that's too bad.
Well I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago and you know he thought he'd be back on the road in a couple of weeks and when he described his injury it sounded very familiar to something I've got in my back.

Which certainly is not a quick fix, you know. But you know he sounded, he still sounded positive and optimistic and, you know, and happy which its obviously thrown curve by the injury.
But he, you know, he's recharged and ready to go. He just has to get his health, anyway I'll call him this weekend, see how he's doing.

Awesome… back to the other thing....
The last three or four years have been incredibly insightful, for me you know, really simple, really simple discoveries. The simple stuff should matter.
You know we complicate our lives so much, or allow other people to complicate it so much; you miss the simplicity of us. If you think about it, there's usually only two choices, yes or no. Not maybe, or I'll think about it. What's your first response, first natural response, you know. You know a thing's good or its bad.
I mean the human being is so fucking reckless.
You know you should turn right. Everything in your body's turned, you mind and you heart are saying oh, we'll turn right here, but for some reason we'll turn left, you know.
And that's been a lot of the things with me not following my intuition over the years.

Yeah, okay.
But I'm in a remarkably positive place and felt very comfortable being even more honest, you know, with writing my songs.

Yeah, well I did think…
So a lot of the stuff, you know, I created the identity of Whitesnake and then I think ultimately became a victim of it.
You know I'd be writing a song, well you say you're familiar with my work, songs like Here I Go Again or Now You're Gone or Judgment Day, you know, Here I Go Again, Love Ain't No Stranger.

Sure thing...
They'd start off quiet and then suddenly end up rising and oh my God, I'd better bring the band it. That actually became a positive musical identity of Whitesnake, that light and shade thing.
And, and now I'm curious where the song goes without that kind of accommodation.

So if it starts off light, lets see where it goes, just let it naturally flow and be responsible for the song as opposed to other musicians.
… I'd actually be writing and arranging songs to suit my players, do you get what I'm saying?

I do.
Now I actively look for musicians I feel will be appropriate to bring my song to life.

Okay, well tell me about the guys that you brought into Into The Light, how did you come to a decision?
Oh that, great guys, great players, yeah.
And they connected immediately, I was very very careful selecting them. The first one, well of course Denny Carmassi, my dear friend and my favourite drummer.

And a long time partner now...
Yes, he has shown me such loyalty as you know, a friend and musician, you know I'll work with him as long as he wants to work with me.

Yeah, he's one of my favourite drummers.
Oh, great stuff man. And a, a great guy too. I hope, well I hope we get a chance to meet but I'd love you people to meet Denny you know.

That would be great!
He's usually hidden behind his keg. But anyway obviously Denny was the first one who'd played.
I'd extended several invitations to Adrian Vandenberg, my little Dutch brother, to come over, I said I was, waving furiously get over and he kept making excuses which I couldn't really understand, and then...and so I said well look, I'm going to get on with it, you know, I'm tired of waiting. I found out you know, earlier this year, really what it was and for some reason which I still don't understand. He's coming over for Christmas by the way.

So I'm going to kick, kick the shit out of him I think. Why he didn't feel comfortable telling me that he had, I don't know if you remember years ago in '88 I had, I had back surgery I completely crushed the bottom vertebra in my spine.
From all the years of rocking and rolling - and ended up being crippled in front of twenty thousand people in LA. You know at the beginning of the concert I'd lost the use of my left leg entirely.

Good grief.
Anyway that was just, I'd crushed the vertebra over years you know years of rotating and bending, you know. Anyway Adrian had similar problems in his neck vertebra and it was really uncomfortable for him to play but for some reason he couldn't, he didn't feel he could share it with me, which is very distressing because we have a remarkable friendship. So however it was, obviously meant to be that, that I worked with somebody, you know, somebody else after twelve years.

Its been a while hasn't it?
Oh indeed, yeah, you know but that's a testament to the friendship we had you know and then we found out by coincidence Earl Slick lived in the Lake Tahoo area which is where I live.
And so, you know, I believe God just moves us around his chessboard, you know what I'm saying. I don't really think there are coincidences but cause Slicky and I you know we got together, got on very well as people and then I played him some ideas you know basically had a musical conversation after the verbal conversation.
And it was great to play opposite such a, you know, a natural musician who wasn't like dying to get to the solo.

You know, and he's a great classic style guitarist isn't he, in the vein of Keith Richards. And, you know, I just, I'll tell you another little thing when Adrian heard I was working with Slicky you know he went Oh how, great. So you know…

Yeah I'll bet.
Yeah, so Slicky you know help me slash and choose stuff, he wrote a couple of songs with me and stuff and we had a great relationship so I mean it was just great to play opposite a guitarist of that style.

I'm very impressed with his sound on the album.
Oh its beautiful yeah it's beautiful and his soloing is probably the best I've heard him do.

I agree actually.
Yeah, we had a great time working together. So he showed me the courtesy of driving over to my house you know on a couple of days a week you know on and off for about three months, three or four months you know while we got the tunes together and then the next person in play was the bass player, Marco Mendosa.

Now Marco and I have been talking for many years about working together but he's quite a journeyman musician you know so, you know getting the times right together so obviously it wasn't, evidently wasn't right for us to connect, and this time it was. And I don't know if you're familiar with him, I worked with a guy called Tony Franklin.

Yes indeed, I know Tony.
Well Tony and I connected very much, he's a stunning musician and a fine man.
And he was, you know, I said well you know do you want to do the record with us and he said well I'm really busy he had a tonne of stuff so I said okay and I, and I put in the calls to Marco to see if he wanted to fly up and you know play a few tunes and he said yeah so he came up, I made my commitment to him and then two days later of course Tony calls up and says I'm putting on hold the thing, I'm all yours and I went Oh God, too late baby.
You know, but you know we maintain a good good relationship and of course I was blessed to have him on a track.

Oh okay, he still played bass on that?
Yeah, well you want to see in all the credits, yeah he plays bass on it.
Yeah, anyway so the next one, Tony actually recommended Doug Bossy.
He's an extraordinarily talented young man, great singer, you know very personable and a really, really versatile guitarist. So he sent up some kind of audition, some tapes and I thought some stuff was okay and other stuff I didn't you know.
So anyway I kept thinking about it, and I flew him up to Tahoo, we connected very well, interestingly we connected very well and you know one of the things that I wanted with the, at the very beginning, well I didn't want two guitarists who played the same.
You know I wanted, you know, guys who could play off each other, basically like, the way I have it now the traditional style classic rock guitarist of Slick and the hot shot of Bossey, that's exactly what I was after.
But they get competitive to the point where I'm standing on stage and I've seen pictures of me in between two guitarists where their fingers are a blur, it's like two women nagging, you know, and I'm standing in the middle like a referee, you know so that really was how things sort of developed or degenerated really, you know so the emotional content of having a great, great guitarist which I've had at times was compromised by the competitiveness in a, in a negative way I should say.

But fortunately that didn't happen with Bossey and Slick.
When I decided to record in Los Angeles I thought oh well I'd love to work with Mike Finnegan. He's a keyboard player I'd heard of you know heard records that he's been on and stuff for years. Very, very soulful, very bluesy. Another great singer actually.
And, and of course he worked with my man, Hendrix, on the Electric Ladyland album.

Oh, really?
So of course having this tribute song to Hendrix, you know, the River Song, I thought oh wouldn't it be great to have one of Hendrix's players on the song, like the icing on the cake.
So, you know, he actually came in just to do the one track and he played so great and we connected so well as people I invited him to do the rest of the album and he actually, you can hear he plays incredibly.
And he, he plays the big, fat organ.

Oh yeah, oh yeah. The terribly overweight organ.
Right, yeah. It's great isn't it!
Yeah, I mean it was like being back with John Lord a lot of the time, it was great, you know.

Now there's a legend.
Oh indeed, indeed. And then while I was mixing I was missing a few bits and pieces I actually played some guitar myself on some of them and I got Reeves Gabrels, have you heard of him.

No, I haven't.
Now he used to be with David Bowie, its like I've got all of Bowie's guitarists in. He worked with the Tin Machine when Bowie was working with him.
And a bass player guitarist called Danny Sabre who does work with Bono and U2 and stuff and was gracious enough to add some wonderful elements on She Gives.
Yeah, so other than that I'm just trying to think what I can say. Oh, a killer harmonica player, Jimmy Z.

Oh yeah, I know him.
Yeah, I've got, he played on Missionary Man, Eurythmics, but I'd got down to see Etta James whose one of my favourite singers, and he, Jimmy Z's actually a sax player who just happens to blow insane, insanely beautiful harmonica.
And, and he did a feature with Etta and I went oh, I've got to get him on the record.
So I looked at all the songs and the only one I could really think of was Cry For Love but he brought a completely different dimension to the song.
So that was, that was just a thrill and a half. Who else plays on the record? Oh, the girl, you like the girl's voice. Linda Rowberry.

Yeah, that was, that was different, that was the first time you'd done that I think.
Well yeah, because I didn't have any bullshit identity to present, you know what I'm saying.
There's, I have a song called Let's Talk It Over, which didn't make the album you know very simply because I'm hoping to get Tina Turner to sing it with me.

Oh dear, wow.
I need to pull her out of retirement for like ten minutes long for a serious like power ballad blues epic.

Cool. Very cool.
You know from a whisper to a scream and I can't think of anybody else to do it with so I spoke to her, her gentleman, about a month and a half ago and he said oh well send me a copy of the song and I'll see what she says, you know cause it won't be high profile obviously it certainly isn't going to be a single or anything.
But, yeah but Linda's eighteen years old, or just turned nineteen now. Unbelievably talented. The bonus was I'd had this song which was actually a song I'd written for my wife years ago for her birthday, that's Wherever You May Go, and we recorded it, it was really pretty and I was going I'm missing an element, I'm missing stuff, so we added a harp, you know in terms of a concert harp, not a harmonica.
And I was going yeah that's cool, John X put the heartbeat on and a couple of things and I said that's great but there's still something else and a guy I work with on Restless Heart called Bjorn Thorsud - you know you might have seen his name on my other records as an engineer.

And this girl was his girlfriend; you know she's actually a songwriter.
She was in the studio and I said well that's fine. You know, and she was spectacular. You know for a girl that age to have the emotional element you know to be able to sing with an old fart such as myself.
I thought well just silver balls and emotion and it was the icing on the cake for the song and I thought it was entirely appropriate to put that kind of side you know at the end of the record.

Oh I was going to say it's a great song to finish the record off, actually, it's a really pretty song.
Thank you. Well its something else you would never have got out of me with Whitesnake.
Well quite honestly, I mean you know, you evidently know a lot about me in terms of my music.

So there are songs on there you know, some of the journals recently were all positive which were very nice, you know they were selling me the record rather than me selling to them. You know, they said well that could've been Whitesnake, that could've been Whitesnake, I said well yeah what did you think I was going to do I was the lead singer for twenty years, its not going to sound like Frank Zappa.

Well I did, I did hear at various points along the last twelve months, or six months even, that the record was going to be under the banner of Whitesnake. Was there any point that you thought it might be, or you really wanted to have the freedom?
Well I've got to tell you Andrew well there's no fear in what I do at all.
You know, the emotions - you have to get rid of.

But um, no I wanted to finish Whitesnake in the height of 1990 and EMI wouldn't let me because my contract was David Coverdale know as the artist Whitesnake.

Yeah okay.
Or known as the artist Prince, I don't know. And of course then I worked with Pagey for three years as Coverdale Page so I thought it was entirely appropriate to start working as David Coverdale in '94.

EMI puts out the Greatest Hits, had a lot of success with it and then wanted me to do, you know a Whitesnake tour. I said, well I wanted to tour basically to get the fun element back cause I'd worked with Pagey for three years and we'd only done like seven shows.
…so I desperately, desperately wanted you know to get on stage so I was tied up you know in essence doing the Whitesnake. And then of course I start to work on Restless Heart as a solo album. You know that, you know those were the songs you know the style of the songs I was approaching without the identity or the image of Whitesnake.
And then the new executive team came in and said you know following up the Greatest Hits they wanted another Whitesnake album and I said well these songs I don't really think are appropriate.
You know so Adrian and I sat down and talked and well let's just put some more guitars on and make it a bit more abrasive and whatever.
I feel very much that it was a compromise but I had really two choices, one was to go to war with EMI which certainly wasn't an appetising consideration or you know, acquiesce you know, compromise, so I think that Restless Heart probably should be much more like Into the Light or, you know, somewhere.
I, well yeah now you say that it makes perfect sense because I think musically it bridges the gap between Whitesnake and this new one.
Yeah, well I you know there are a lot of songs on there that I love Andrew so you know quite honestly I'm going probably re-mix some of them to, into the style that I'm working with now.

Well my, one of my favourites…
I must tell you my contract still is, if EMI turn around and go we want a Whitesnake record it will either be you know going to Court or, you know I, you know I don't know.
In my heart and in my hope and conviction I'm gonna work under my own name now and hopefully get their support in the future.

Okay. I did hear that you were approached by the great John Kalodner with an open cheque book to make another album with John Sykes.
Well you know John started a label which I have a feeling is not going to last much longer.

That's what I've heard.
You've heard that too. It was my birthday last week and John's always been extraordinarily gracious in remembering my birthday and he calls me every year and we were you know just chatting and he said 'I'm retiring'.

I went what? I think he basically wanted to champion a lot of the eighties acts and I don't think its been really welcomed with open arms as he thought.
The interesting thing is that there's a tour currently I think its still going on in the States, like a kind of retro tour for the eighties acts and their selling tickets but their not really selling albums.
And I think you know my feeling is you know I said to John years ago when he was proposing this I said I can't John, I said there's no reason for me to go back, I don't want to, I'm at a point in my life where I know what I want to do and its not to go back and re-write Still of the Night six times.
You know cause in essence, what he wanted to do with this label was to get all of these eighties bands, and I think he signed most of them.

Yeah, he signed a few.
And basically try to recreate the eighties sound, style of song, you know, now my vibe would have been to have cherry picked you know a bunch of the you know good players, say take Warren DeMartini put him together with John Sykes, get one of, you know, one of the better singers, you know what I'm saying?

And put a kind of supergroup of those bands together. I was really surprised he, where he went with it.

So, you know, sadly from hearing this news, I had a feeling that it really wasn't, you know, everything that he'd hoped, which is unfortunate because you know he's very passionate about, you know, about..

Yeah he is, and God bless him for that...
…oh indeed, indeed. But you know as I say I think he tried to do too much too soon and really that is, well right now I've got to tell you if you ain't fifteen, you know, with a blonde rinse you know and baggy pants there isn't a lot of opportunity.
The music business, you know, over the last fifteen years has been more fashion conscious than ever before, you know, and it's fine for the music business but its terrible for the career musicians, you know.

Yeah. Do you think when, in 1987 when you changed personnel to go from the album to the tour that that was partly a fashion statement or musically had you, you just wanted a change there?
Well no, I've never, I think one of the reasons I've had a close to a thirty year career is that I've never embraced fashion.
You know, if you make music your mistress Andrew, you've got to accept her mood swings, you know and that's what happens.
Now, now when it was screamingly obvious that there was no, no way I would be able to go out as Whitesnake then I'd lay low and write songs and prepare for the, you know the next time, the next wave. You know musical surfing, you've got to wax your surfboard between waves. And that was it and I'd fortunately done very well and I could afford to take breaks.
It'll get to a point where it's not negated by the media you know and suddenly they'll go Oh my God! What ever happened to those fun times with the hair bands you know what I'm saying. What goes around comes around, that's all I'm saying.
But all the same in that time I sold eight million albums…

Oh, absolutely.
… a great foundation for what I do, you know and the future remains to be seen.

From my observation on how things have gone it looks to me like you've made a very concerted or at least intelligent decision at some time to embrace MTV and the videos and the whole concept of the videos and that helped you immensely.
Yeah. And then it's just, you know, standing back and looking in and trying not to get, the most difficult time for me was the four years of the eighties, you know eighty six through to ninety one.

That was, that was literally like being on an express train, it was impossible to get off. I was working all the time, so my career was twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, and I was involved with a woman at that time who was a thirty six hour distraction a day, so I mean I literally had no time to sit back and go you know is this how I want it to be, you know and of course it was the most phenomenally successful time I'd ever experienced and I just had no, no time to plan or, you know what I'm saying, it was just, and even with all of my collective experience I couldn't stop the train.

And the record label probably wouldn't have let you!! They were making so much money off you.
Oh whatever, you know, whatever! haha.

Looking, looking, looking back on the two albums Slip of the Tongue and 1987 is there anything there you'd change?
I'd probably…I would like very much to re-mix those records.

Really? Why?
Yeah, I think they were great records at the time, but I think I could really contemporise them now with the team that I've got in place with Michael, you know, Bjorn and John X. You'll see these names on the record.

For my entire career I've tried to find my George Martin. Now let me explain.
You know the Beatles had George Martin. When they started to grow just being small, you know, pop song scenario that they started with the unbelievable positive there was George Martin who helped them realise their musical ambitions, musical, what would matter most.

Oh, absolutely.
You know and then of course moving in closer to the time you're looking at AC/DC, Def Leppard. AC/DC were a killer garage band, just phenomenal and when they got involved with Mutt Lange he made them into a world-class band. He helped finesse you know, without compromising you know, their integrity, their musicality, you know he just, he became like the sixth member of AC/DC and then of course he took that to Def Leppard. Def Leppard without Mutt is a very different scenario.

It is indeed.
So I've looked for years to try to find my sonic partner, you see what I'm saying, in order to do that, and I've you know, I've either approached people who I thought would be great to work with but perhaps didn't feel the same way about me.

You know, so it was constantly being thwarted and meant basically having to accept people that got the job done but it wasn't, you know, a sonic song that I was hoping for.
You've got to remember, when I, when I started writing Andrew, it was two albums a year at the time, you know there was no time to go for, a classy sounding record. You know it was in and out of the studio whenever we had time and the songs always became better, after we played them for a couple of weeks on tour. So we'd sit there and go why couldn't we have done this, you know or whatever, cause they would've been much better arrangements - knowing the song better when you went in and we got by on the fact that everybody was a good player and very supportive at that time, and, but yeah those records could certainly use a remix.

I can see, as far as 1987 goes I think its flawless, I really do.
I can see where maybe Slip of the Tongue might benefit from a little remixing though.

Well yeah, what it was I was working with the most flamboyant musicians I'd ever worked with. You know when Steve, you know one of the few musicians I'd love to explore some more work with was Steve Vai, because quite honestly when I got Steve involved all the tracks were done, all Steve had to do was decorate it, you know so I never had a chance, and then we were straight on the road, so I never had a chance to sit down and write with him or see, you know to explore what I could've done with him.
So he came in and inherited, you know and he loved the songs so you know which was a great inspiration for him to put those remarkable textures on but had I had more time with him I wouldn't have gone quite so over embellished.

Yeah, I thought it was a little bit…
I would have worked on more, more emotional content.

Yeah a little bit technical…
If there's a hole like a hole there, well why don't we leave that hole instead of putting a cap around it, you know what I'm saying.
Let it breathe a bit, so yeah, yeah I'd like to be more economical. The thing that I'm going to do now instead of compromising to accommodate musicians now, I'll accommodate the song.

Okay. Wonderful. That, that was the only flaw that I could possibly say of Slip of the Tongue, it was a little bit technical.
Yeah, well that's it. I've just got the new Steve Vai album and I've only, I haven't really had time to dig into it but to play it or some of the stuff that I was hearing was definitely more emotionally secure than most of his songs, and that to me, you know he'll be, he actually turned around to me and I was going wow that's technical, but I said I don't know if its telling me a story as much as I'd like.
You know but because of Adrian's then injury, you might remember he sprained his wrist and couldn't play, we were three months behind you know in terms of delivery, so I mean there wasn't really time to turn, to turn around and go oh, let's stop and rethink. It was just get it done, you know head down, get it done and get it out there.

But it was a very successful record, you know

For sure.
…a lot of the song Sailing Ships I would have loved to explored a lot more than we did. I actually enjoyed a version of Sailing Ships on the naked album that Adrian and I did.

Oh, that's a great album.
You know, as opposed to the actual album.

Tell me more about Starkers in Tokyo. I think that's the probably one of the most unplugged album in the history of unplugged records!
Absolutely and completely unplugged. Recorded in 94, mixed the following morning.

That's cool...
Yeah, well I'd made a gesture to Poland which as you probably know was under Soviet heel for like seventy years and or was certainly then end of fifty, you know fifty or sixty years and I'd never ever played there because of that threat.
You know I came from Deep Purple which was regarded by the Soviet as the most subversive group in the world, you know so it's a nice legacy that meant we couldn't get visas to work in those parts.
So you know then of course, then came solidarity thank God so it was basically a gesture for Poland that I did that thing with Adrian with no intentions of ever doing it again and the songs we picked I thought were, you know I felt were appropriate, you know, for the country, you know what I'm saying.
Cause it was actually for a national radio broadcast. Three songs, you know Sailing Ships which is a song of opposite directions, Too Many Tears which was stuff had gone before so you had to try your luck and move on, and then Here I Go Again which is like an extraordinarily powerful song to accompany that journey, you know so it was a nice gesture. So then of course the whole fucking world was going 'oh could you do that here' and its much cheaper to fly two musicians around than a band. And I'd just signed a new contract with Toshiba and we were ready to go over for Adrian and I were going over to do interviews, you know for Broken Heart. So Toshiba hear about this Polish thing and then say well can you do that here like a little concert. My first answer, second answer and third answer was no.

You know, I'm not a fucking folk singer, I think. And, and then I started thinking about it, this is a challenge. You know I write predominantly on an acoustic guitar and I envision what it will be like with electric guitar, you know, in my mind.
You know, but its very comfortable for me to write rock and roll on acoustic. So I thought what would it be like, it's a challenge, do it as a challenge.
So I flew Adrian over and we rehearsed for a couple of days, and said which songs do you think would work, you know cause all of the songs which were there were originally written on acoustic and I was really pleased with the way it came out. Of course the underlying thing that I said to EMI Toshiba, was that I must have control over this, if don't like it we don't put it on. And I'm not going to clean it up, its either all warts and pimples or nothing.

Fortunately it came out great and we had a blast, and the thing that got to me was being able to present the songs right in a, well you know there was only about seventy people there a specially invited audience and it was actually in the, Toshiba's studio and for it being able to be right in peoples faces with no screaming guitars and thundering drums, which of course I love, but just right there telling my story, it was so intimate, you know it was just like telling the stories to the person you wrote the song about. And that forever remains very much one of the plans I had but you know I ended up doing the farewell Whitesnake thing in 1997 so it started off rocking, slowed down in the middle then rock out again.
But of course that was, I was calling it a day, so it was more appropriate to try to finish twenty years of Whitesnake. But when I was actually I'd recorded Love is Blind for Into the Light as a full band song. But I kept listening to it and saying I'm missing something here, I'm missing something. And I didn't want to make a mistake, and then one day I woke up and said oh, lets try unplugged.

Acoustic guitars and a string quartet. So I go in there, in the studio, and everybody looks at me like I've lost it, you know, oh no Coverdale's flipped it man, and then once we started working it everybody was going oh yeah.
You know, this album is the most honest record I've made. You know, there's no question at all not only the song, but I'm not hiding my voice like I've done so many times on records before. A lot of the vocals that you're hearing is just dry, never dubbed, you know and it's in your face. I'm not hiding behind the dub.

It's funny you should say that I think your voice sound better than ever on the record.
Well cause you can fucking hear it!!!

You can hear it, yeah!
Well think about it, you listen to other stuff. There's so much cosmetic studio mixing…hiding.

Yeah, but I do love that about your music.
I do, I do love the overproduced records though sometimes, it's great.
Well if it calls for it, if it calls for it. But these songs didn't so. I tell you…
Well I'm just trying to think now, there's a lot of stuff going on in Living On Love, you know.

Yeah, She Give Me even.
Cause one of the things I've always enjoyed is arranging music symphonically. I'm a huge classic music fan. You know and I'm not putting my music on any kind of a level with Mozart or Bach but the circumstance is that I have learnt from them to put in movement. You know like one of the things that I enjoy in songs there's usually three movements which become a concerto whereas you have your verses, your choruses and what they call a middle eight or a bride, you know, the Beatles, the Beatles were a master.

…Tell you my second favourite album of yours, its hard to rate them, but I am a really a huge fan of the Coverdale Page album.
Oh me to. You know Pagey and me were talking a couple of weeks ago when he came over to start the Black Crows thing and he said you know I'm loving the record, cause we sent him a free copy as we did you (Side note - I had to pay full Japanese retail price for mine!), and he said I hope this album gets released before I left the States.
Well done. And I said well it's funny you should say that I've just made a compilation tape of Coverdale Page and Coverdale. Coverdale Coverdale Page!

You know, and he went oh get me a copy and I've called it The Knobs, which is the name we'd rehearse under. Actually I think you're the only one whose ever fucking heard that.
It's pretty happening, it really is.

I'm mean that Into The Light riff, the song Down To The River that I was working on for a potential second Coverdale Page record.

Well is there any change of another record?
Well I don't know. Pagey and I get on great. I wouldn't, well from now on; I feel I can tell you I've started my own record company in the States.

Oh, okay.
And basically I just want to be able to maintain an artistic integrity. After this one I owe EMI one more.

You know, and I don't want to have to make corporate records any more.

Do you know what I'm saying?

I think so!
You have know idea how limiting you know it is to work in a large corporate entity oh we need a single, if we don't get radio we're not going to sell records. It's like six condom sex, its so safe there's no risk anymore.
I mean, you know one of the things that people ask me you know is would you ever consider doing a band again and I said if it had Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck in, in a flash, you know.
But for instance now and certainly with pro tools I can turn around to Jeff and say “why don't we just you keep up with your career and I'll keep up with mine you know but when we have a bit of time lets just set up this domestic studio and do you know an unrestrained non commercial, just a couple of musicians jamming, you know.”

And I'd love to do something like that with Edward Van Halen.

Ah, there's a subject I was looking forward to getting onto!
Look at Edward Van Halen with for instance Danny Carmassi on drums, Marco Mendosa on base, big wailing power blues.

What an awesome line up.
Well yeah it gives me a boner!

Yeah, what an awesome line up.
Me too. I love it, I love the sound of it. Edward is just, you know, just a breathtaking musician.

Let me take you to that, the whole big EVH scenario.
Oh there was nothing in that, there was no, absolutely no foundation of truth, who started that I'll never know.

Well, funny that, but a member of Van Halen's entourage, actually rang me and proceeded to give me two hour's worth of details about it. Still not sure of their motive.
Well there was, somebody was posting interviews that I was doing, which I haven't done interviews for three fucking years until recently. You know, that I'd done and interview sitting there with my manager talking about how yeah I'm in Van Halen now, I'm not going to do this, I'm going to do that, but what?
So I think it was, I don't know where it was, I think over Christmas last year I said to Mike I tell you what this has got to stop, I said so I called a mutual friend of Edward and myself and said look call Eddie tell him I had nothing to do with this, nothing, it just got ridiculous. I've heard, I've heard since middle eighties I think it was I'd heard, you know before Sammy was in, I heard they were going to approach me, but I mean, you know, think about it since I left Purple I've always done my own thing. You know, why would I join anybody else, I know what I want to do.

You know, but the last time I saw Edward was in 1993. Pagey was with me was in my hotel suite in London and there was a knock at the door and fucking Edward was standing there. It's like ten o'clock in the morning. Page and me were having a pot of tea and I said do you want a cup of tea Edward and he goes, have you got a beer and goes straight to my mini bar!
That's, that's my boy and just sat and talked and that was the last time I saw or spoke to him. And that was 1993.
And nothing, I've heard three rumours over the years. This was by far the worst, this one last year that I was going to be, you know, invited to join Van Halen.
Other than Edward I've never met them. But you know my admiration for Edward goes...You know me and guitarists!

Sure, absolutely.
…The logical, the logical extension of the human voice is the guitarist who can use his instrument as a voice. You know that's all I've ever tried to do with most of my musicians which is, you know, when you come to the solo try to continue telling the story, as soon as I stop singing its your turn to tell the story. Most of them just turn around and go “ooh an opportunity to play loud...”

So do you think maybe somebody in the Van Halen camp sort of started that as a way to sort of bridge an approach to you, to sound you out about it.
I have no idea. There's a lot more, you know we're all connected, you know what I'm saying, but no I don't imagine so, not at all.
I think quite honestly that there was so much corporate pressure to get David back involved I don't think, I don't think they would've had a chance but you know Edward's welcome to join me baby.

So you'd certainly do a collaboration but you'd never join the band as such?
No, no not at all. There's no reason for me to. You know I've got so much music coming out of me right now, you know why would I want to go and sing, well I love the early Van Halen stuff, well what I would say is the rockier bluesier stuff, you know, you know a huge fan of their musical ability but I wasn't that big a fan of the music itself, you know, but I like Van Halen, no question.

Okay, well let's hope you do this collaboration one day, that would be very cool to hear.
Oh we'll know, we'll know, I mean look the most precious commodity in my life is time, you know normally I'd be going oh yeah I hope so but quite honestly one of the things I've done in the last couple of years, Andrew, I've reversed, a noticeable reversal in that I realised that most of my life I've had a career with a private life that interfered with it, and now I have a private life you know and a wonderful filly and incredible, wonderful life and my career bubbles around that.
So, you know if I have free time unless its something extraordinary I'm going to be watching my boy grow.

Yeah, that's great. That's great. Tell me David, on of my favourite ever songs you ever sang is a track called the Last Note of Freedom.
Oh Days of Thunder, yeah.

Who plays on that song.
You know what, that was a favourite of Tom Cruise.

Was it really?
Yeah, he wanted, you know wanted my involvement. I was in the middle of the Slip of the Tongue tour and I was actually under the weather and normally I would have said no I don't have any time, but the huge carrot that attracted this old donkey was working with Trevor Horne.
You know Trevor Horne I'm a huge admirer of, one of the greatest producers I've ever heard and it was an opportunity to work with him so I chartered a private plane and flew down.
I tell you what it was I was actually ill at the time, I'd just finished a show in San Francisco so I, you know I took the opportunity of slipping home up to Tahoe, then chartered a plane, flew down, walked into the studio and said Trevor I'm as sick as a dog, if it doesn't work at least I've had the pleasure of working with you. So and he offered me a huge split, (a joint of marijuana), that was the medicine I needed.

Well you put in a great vocal.
Thank you very much.

Who played on it though, musically, I've never seen credits.
I don't know all of them because the music was in place, well most of it, when I got there and its been strange you know because we got a lot of mileage, radio in America wanted that very much that Trevor, when I was working with him then, but this was only like a day of work then I flew home, but he was so under the pressure from David Geffen to finish the record I don't think it was one of his better mixes so I had a guy called Chris Lord Alge re-mix it and they were talking about it being a single so there's an actual much better version in the can than the album version.

Yeah, much better. I mean I never listen to the record and that's sad because I'm such a big fan of Trevor but you know I could see there's he's under a lot of pressure and you end up compromised, you know.
If you're tired, you know overworking and stuff like that it compromises your perspective. I know that better than anybody.

Oh I'd love to hear that other version.
Yes indeed.... You know what brother; my housekeeper's been gracious enough to prepare my dinner.

Oh, yeah time to go.
Is there anything you want to wrap up, bro.

Not really, I think you've covered everything.
Oh it was just nice having a chat with you bro.

Absolutely, did you know that there's a label in France that's re-released the Slip of the Tongue 1987 albums.
Well you know what, I picked it up last week when I was in LA.

And if you think Mr. Coverdale's unhappy with it, you're right.

Oh, really.
You know I've actually got lawyers looking into find out who authorised it.

Ah, an EMI thing?
Because I most definitely didn't so I'm definitely be going to have my lawyers waggle and spit.

Oh, okay.
No I don't know who authorised it, I would never have approved it. You know not only is it music that I own but there's an old song on there which has nothing to do with my work now which is Walking in the Shadows Of The Blues, so I don't know who authorised it but they've obviously done it in some strange way which my lawyers will find out.

I presume its just EMI in Europe.
Not only that, but I hate the name of the record company, Axe Killer.
Michael actually told me that, he surfs the web all the time and of course he's worked with me for thirteen years and he knows I would never have approved it, but we'll find out, you know. Quite honestly, as unhappy as I about it, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it, you know if somebody's bought it, the music, you know what I'm saying, I just want to know who authorised it because as far as I'm concerned they were out of line.

Fair enough too. There's another interesting Whitesnake album out there, well its not Whitesnake but it's did you realise that there's a tribute album to you now.
Oh, why, why not buy the original?
I, somebody sent me a tribute to Deep Purple years ago. I put it on and went “Oh My God!” and that's, that's the only one I've ever listened to.

Well I should send Michael a copy of this so you can have a listen to it.
What, is it funny. Oh, you know what, I saw, I tell you what, I saw a review in Burrn, the Japanese mag.

Well obviously I can read it but you look at the points.
Oh that's, its been reviewed in there, it's a Japanese release, that's right.
It wasn't a very good point scorer. I think they gave it like sixty or something.

Well I've actually reviewed it on my site as well so Michael should search it out for you. It's actually not a bad tribute album, as far as they go but my point in the review was with songs this great its hard to butcher it.
Oh whatever, but I think some of the old, the old you know, members of Whitesnake involved there.

There is yeah.
Great players, Andrew, great players. But to me its like let the past go and move on, write something new. You know, let it there, the songs are there. You know what I'm saying. The guys played great on them but they just keep beating it into the ground.
Oh yeah. I gotta go bro.

No worries David.
Andrew stay in touch, stay in touch with Mikey. He always lets me know what's going on.

I'll do that.
Thanks for your support babe.

That's a pleasure David!


c. 2001 MelodicRock.com and Andrew J McNeice.






Johnny Gioeli (2000)



So Johnny, the first question I should be asking you, is what have you spent your time doing with life after Hardline?
Well, me and Joey started an e-commerce company that's going real well.

In 2000 we're going public

What exactly is the company?
It's a company called FULLe-com. What we do is handle the complete end-to-end transaction for an Internet site. Pretty much the Internet company comes to us and we don't do anything on the front end, we don't build sites or anything like that. We're all back office. We'll handle all the credit card authorizations. We have 327,000 square feet of distribution. We ship the product direct to the consumer. We do all the data storage and online reporting. We run Internet business for about 600 corporations. We started in a little eight by eight office 2 years ago in a little 3 car garage. We have 55 employees just on this coast.
We have offices in New York and Vienna, Austria.

Who else is the 'we' in that?!
My brother Joey and myself run the company. Joey is CEO of the company. My sister is also involved.

You are either incredibly smart cookies or had some fantastic advice or both?
Well you what is funny is that, this business is no different to making and selling a record. You have a story to tell and you go into pre-production. You build the record and promote the shit out of it. You release the record or release the stock and try to support it by working your ass or. The process is very much the same. Joey and I were always the business guys in Hardline. It just comes very easy for us. I attribute a lot of it to timing. The first time in my life I was really in the right place at the right time.

Yeah ok. Now tell me you obviously don't need to make records for a crust anymore but it's good to still see you involved.
Yeah it's in the blood. I gotta do it.
You are right though - financially I don't have to perform or make a record for creating revenue. I still have to do it or I will die internally.

It was a several year gap between the Hardline and the Axel Rudi Pell album.
Yeah it was a bunch of downtime that's for sure. It was out of the frustration of the band life. It's not having control of where you're going. It was the most frustrating part of music for Joey and I. The other thing was the fact that we had to make music to make money. When we were kids making music for fun and creating something was everything. Then all of a sudden you are forcing yourself to pick up a guitar or forcing yourself to write something that someone is going to like. That's when we looked at each and thought this sucks. This whole thing just fucking twisted on us. It's not supposed to work this way. That's when we decided we have to make a move to something we can control and we tinkered around with some things. We owned some rehearsal studios and we had a snowboard clothing company. We tried many things and it was Joey's brainchild to tinker around with this Internet thing. We had no idea what a browser was or what Netscape was. We had no clue. So we shipped product. I don't know if you guys have a 1-800-FLOWERS down there. We ship their orders.

No, but I know what you mean though.
I have 27 distribution clients. It's amazing. We ship anything from candles and food. We ship those infomercial products you see on television. We ship all that shit.

That's fantastic.
Thank you. I was telling a friend of mine today who was asking me how my daughter is. Katie (Caitlin) is 3 and a half. I said who knows I've seen her literally about 3 hours all week. When I come home she has to go to bed. That part of it is not fun. It still beats touring though.

Let me take you back to the start quickly. I've got a couple of question to ask you here. You first got started with Brunette…Why didn't that ever come to fruition? Timing again?
Probably. I think from a songwriter's point of view we weren't there with the music. We were a little dated. Although we were packing them in Hollywood, we were breaking like The Doors records at the Roxy and the Whiskey on the strip. The record companies were just thrilled but they didn't quite get the music. Now I look back I can understand. It wasn't right for that period. We were a little dated. In my opinion I think that group had a serious chance because it was incredibly marketable. We had 17 feet of hair and everybody looked like a brother. It was a good looking band I think. Almost the entire audience was girls and not that I minded that at all. I don't think we brought in a good mix of people.

You need a balance I guess...
Yeah you do need that.

You did record demos for the band and they are quite well traded around the fans these days.
Yeah I've heard of a few bootlegs out there. I actually have some people that check on all these auction sites like E-Bay and see what the hell is going on. I'm finding stuff I never even new we had.

Is it worth thinking about releasing some of that stuff?
I think we'll just leave it alone. Eventually I have a goal to make a disgusting amount of money in this business that I'm in now and then get back to music. I want to get back to my roots to when I was making music just to make music. That to me would be the ultimate life. Stylistically and musically I don't know that I'd go back to that direction. I think I'm looking more to the rock/pop and big ballad kind of sound. Something a bit different to what people are used to me doing.

Hardline was obviously an incredible band. People that visit my site often vote that as a benchmark album to comparing other albums. Do you still get good feedback on the record?
Yeah, absolutely. I know that you are aware of Sons and Angels the JVC group are begging me to come over 2001 and revamp that Hardline stuff. So the Japanese fans of Hardline could witness what that sounds like live.
I may give that a go.

I caught your show in San Francisco back in '93 . It was Mr. Big and the Electric Boys. The band smoked on stage!
That was a great tour. The goal was to try and destroy Mr. Big!! (Johnny said this is good humor folks!!). That was a very good tour for our morale and our ego. Truly you caught me enjoying every gig on that tour. I've had some miserable tours. The one with Extreme in Europe I would rather have been chopped into little pieces and sent home in a bag.

Why's that?
It was one of those tours that didn't sound right. The fans were not our fans. Every night was a battle to win the fans over. I nearly had to pull my pants down to try and get a reaction. It was a bitch.

On this particular show I saw Neal steps aside and Sammy Hagar steps out. The crowd just went wild.
It was so funny I had talked to Sammy and said make sure you know your own lyrics. He said don't worry I got it. He comes out singing all the wrong frigging lyrics and Neal and I just look at each other. This guy he doesn't care (laughs).

I've still got a Dean Castonovo drum stick he pitched into the crowd.
Oh what a drummer he is.

He's a machine.
He is just a mind-blowing musician. He's over with Neal at the moment. They look like they're catching a good wave with this Journey thing. I think the last I heard from Neal was that they are potentially using some of the songs that Neal and I wrote for this record.

What happened with Hardline? Who dropped the ball?
Our AOR Paul Atkinson left the record company. The new guy that came in was Ron Overman. He was a very respected guy but the only one that didn't respect him was Neal. The first meeting we had Neal just went ballistic on this guy verbally and Andrew I'll never forget it I walked out the door and I told our personal manager that's it we're done.
The very next day we were done. So do I blame Neal. Yep I certainly do. Could we have stayed together as a band and re-shopped another deal. Yep. The sad thing about the Hardline deal was and I'm open to admit it once the money was gone the band was gone.
Neal, Dean and Todd had a lifestyle to keep intact. They weren't really willing to dig in the sewers like Joey and I did. It was a shame.

How much money did the album cost to make?
It was half a million.

It was way to much. We had a 12 million dollar record deal. It was one of the biggest record deals for a new band in a very long time in this coast.

Bloody hell...
Bloody hell exactly.

Well you didn't piss it away then obviously?
No Joey and I saved every bloody penny. I know many people that have just lost everything. I knew there was a life span of about 3 years and Joey and I had this pact that if we could eek out a solid 3 years of income by enjoying our music then we are done. We have nothing to be ashamed with. It was time to move on.
Do I miss it though. Yeah.
I'm going to be doing the Bang Your Head Festival in Germany. This is old school rock. You know I want to play but I can't get the hell away from the business right now. So it's a struggle but I hope to open that up.

After Hardline you guys had a second project?
What we tried to do was not to disappoint the fans. We had to music all ready to go for the second album but couldn't' convince anyone to record it. So we started regrouping it.
Joey and I were always the foundation of it anyway. Neal was only going to be a producer in that group. He wasn't going to be a player but he twisted our arms. We turned him down the first time. We didn't want him in the band we just wanted him to produce.
We had a different vision. But anyway we started to have kids, which didn't make us want to sit on a tour bus for a year. Joey actually has 3 kids now. So we tried you know.
I do feel that every one that brought the first record deserved to see us play live or witness a second record at least. I especially feel we ripped off the Japanese market. We sold a shit load of record in Japan and the deserved more music and a live show. Maybe before I check out I may be singing Hot Cherie when I'm 60 but I will do a live show for some of those people.

Axel Rudi Pell e-mailed me and was looking for a new singer and I put him in touch with James Christian who in turn nominated you. How did the approach come?
It was strange. I had some of my guitars advertised for sale and this guy comes over to my house and I have a studio built into my house with all the Hardline posters up and the Billboard charts and this guy is like you're in Hardline. I said yeah I'm the singer of Hardline and it turns out he is a fan. We got to talking and he's become a very good friend of mine and he went back to his house and went to some Hardline page on the internet and put up on the message board that he met me. Axel accessed that Hardline page and e-mailed that guy that brought my guitar and said please forward this message to Johnny. I emailed Axel and we conversed via email for a year. It was old school stuff and I told him I could sing that sort of stuff in my sleep. So I told the family I'm going over there and I'm gonna make the record. He's like a brother.

You've made 2 and a half albums now?
Yeah that's right.

You sound a little different to Hardline.
Yeah. Journalists always say how do you compare guitar players. Neal to Axel. You can't compare. Neal is very polished and his chord knowledge is amazing. This is a more Richie Blackmore sloppy kind of style. I mean that in a good way. I don't have to be selling millions of records. I sing with people I enjoy working with period. I don't have to be top ten in the Billboard. I just want to sing and enjoy people.

I gave both records around the 9 out of 10 mark.
Oh thank you. I'll email you the reviews because I think I said several times that you were singing your ass off.
Oh thanks. This Maquerade Ball record I practically had to squeeze my testicles to get some of those notes. Holy shit.

I was going to say there was some pretty intense singing on this one.
I cut that whole record in 5 days. 4 days for the whole record and on the 5th day I touched up some harmonies.

You must have been busted after that?
Yeah I slept for a frigging week after that. I was fucking beat up. I put myself in the studio and I sing until I'm dead.

I'm really surprised it only took that long.
Yeah well I just don't have that much time these days.

How and where did you record the Sons and Angels record?
That was through Doug Aldrich. The music co-ordinator for the project got in touch with Doug to put them in touch with me. I started off by singing just one tune for there Sonic the Hedgehog project. I met Jun and we got along right away. That project led in to the Nascar Project and then JVC decided to turn it into a record.

So the Sons of Angels have both those songs on it?
Yeah that's right.

So how many vocal tracks are on there?
It's a vocal album with one instrumental song. What the music was written for is those entertainment games. So they are selling it as a band. We didn't write those songs for the public we wrote them for those games.
The unfortunate thing about that record is that I sang it sick as a dog. I was supposed to go to Japan to record and my schedule didn't allow that so they decided to come to me. So we record it here in LA. I got the nastiest sinus infection and sore throat so my range wasn't as great as I wanted it to be. I think it works ok though. I wrote some of the stuff on there too. Just think video game when you are listening to it.

So you guys are still based in LA then?
No, we have offices in New York so we jump back and forth. We are still LA boys.
I'm technically in San Bernardino, which is towards Palm Springs.
What's happening in your neck of the woods? How's the music scene?

It's not bad. Aussie is doing all right at the moment. It's more pop than anything else at the moment. We've got a few great up and coming bands that are going to make an impact at pop radio.
So how about Joey? How is he these days?

Joey is full on business guy and he's got one goal and that is to make this business a public one. That's all he cares about. He only misses one thing - Joey and I started a group called the Jiz Rivets with a Mexican drummer. It is the most hilarious full on punk. Joey often mentions that was the most fun he ever had. Joey's put on about 40 pounds. Oh my god it's funny.

That I would have to see…
I will send you a photo someday!

Thanks Johnny and thanks also for your time, appreciated.
Thanks Andrew…



Mitch Malloy


As you know and many readers of the website know, I have been privilege to seeing you record this album from the very start, thanks to you keeping in touch and updating me on the progress. I hope the questions can help reveal some of the hurdles you overcame.


So mate, standing where we are now, on the verge of the release of your third CD and the first to be independently record and released by yourself - how do you feel?!!
I am laughing at that question because I am so tired and overwhelmed at the moment I can't believe it. This tour is scheduled too close to the conclusion of the record and there are way too many details to be handled.
Let me put it this way, if you could see inside my head, you would scream. LOL!
Other than that, I feel great that the record is finally finished. And am happy to be able to give something back to the fans.

Looking back, would you recommend other artists out there reading this to take a similar path?
Laughing under my breath again, hum......not sure what to say about that one. I am not sure I could recommend how I am feeling these days to anyone.
I am much more compassionate than that. LOL.
But yes, as far as having creative control, I would recommend doing it yourself.

I think the most positive thing you have said to me is that you are really happy to at least be in total control of your destiny and the record you are making. Was that the single most rewarding part of the solo process?
In a way it was, yes.

On a similar note, you have also told me that this whole process is obviously financially challenging - were those financial restrictions the most frustrating part of the recording process?
The money aspect was very frustrating, cause when I was on RCA/BMG, those records were free from budget constraints.
We had the best of the best at every turn. On this record I had to do whatever I could to make it happen. As far as asking guys to play for free, or very very cheap, or just playing it myself. I played WAY more guitar on this record then I would have, had I had the big budget. It was good in a way though, cause I normally come up with guitar ideas and then give them to the guitarist, well, on this record I mostly just came up with the idea and then played it myself. Victor had some guitar ideas as well. It made me a better player.
And it made me a better engineer, producer and so forth.
Cause I had no choice, I HAD to do it myself. When Victor came in to the picture it made things much easier. And he gave me the energy I needed to finish the record.

I did laugh when you came back to me over the last few weeks with problems both to do with mastering and also in the manufacturing process. What was going through your head at this stage?!!
I was very frustrated, to have worked so long and hard and then to not be able to get the final process done properly. There were just so many problems during the recording and then to have it done, and then the mastering itself was another problem, it was making me crazy. But now it's done and done well, so there you have it.

Can you describe for everyone else just how many steps there is to releasing an album?
Wow! big question. Too many things to say here. It is very very detailed and complicated. You just don't have any idea unless you do it yourself. It's a little crazy to do what I just did. I don't want to do it again this way.

How was it also being the producer of the album? Was it a blessing or a curse not to have a guiding hand like Arthur Payson?
You don't know how many times I wanted to call Arthur and ask him to help. Especially with the engineering. But I couldn't cause he is very busy and I didn't have the money to pay him. He would have been fantastic to work with again and I would do it in a heartbeat. He is very good.
But as most people don't know, I co-produced that first record, and am a natural born producer. I have tons of ideas in the studio and I know how to make things work most of the time. That part of it was a blast!

The producer Sir Arthur Payson was rumoured to be a alias for Desmond Child?! Is this right?
Arther Payson is NOT Desmond Child and that rumour pisses me off because Arther is a very talented man and I was the first artist he produced without Des. He was trying to break away from the Des camp and he thought I was the artist that could help him do just that. Des wanted to be involved but Arther just wanted to do it without him. And after singing on Des's record I had no interest in having him produce me. He was MEAN in the studio! Now Des and I are friends and working with him now might be fun, but then he was in a strange place and he wasn't very nice to me. Or anyone else as far as I could tell and I am telling aren't I!!!

Back to the record - You obviously have spent a lot of time on this album - how long has it been now since start to finish?
I took a lot of time off and a lot of breaks so I would say it was about 6 months solid, maybe more.

Anything you would change at this point?
Well, I don't want to scare anybody, but I would change some things and might, when I make some money from it. We will see. I would like to maybe hand it to a great mixing engineer and have him take it into a world class studio and remix a few tracks, maybe the whole thing. But that will probably never happen. I am a perfectionist, so for me it's hard to let it go and just call it done.

Let's talk about the actual songs on the record. Over what time period were the tracks written?
Some years ago, and some more recent.

Is there many others that didn't make it to the recording process?
Yes, some newer ones that I LOVE didn't make it on to the record. There just wasn't time to record them. So they will go on the next one.

The album I think has a range of emotions on it. A great deal of the songs have a real positive vibe to them, while there is of course a few songs of heartache also.
Where did the lyrical inspiration come from when writing this time around?

It was the same as always, just my life experience. What I go through, what I have been through and so on.

A personal question. There is obviously a great deal of difference between the Mitch Malloy that released his debut album and the Mitch that is today. Are you generally contented with life?
I would say so, most of the time. I am MUCH happier now than I ever was.

Any favorites from the album that are close to your heart?
It depends on the moment really. I am very fond of You Lift Me and It's About Love. And Places Only Love Can Go.

What tracks are you planning on playing live with your upcoming dates?
We are doing most of the new record depending on the show.

Let's take it back to before the album got underway and take it backwards from there. What was the spark to get this started?
It was the fans. It was the www.mitchmalloy.com site and the fans writing in and saying nice things and asking for this record.

It has obviously been a few years since the last record and you have been busy, but what inspirational moment got you started writing and recording again?
The web site and reading the messages from the fans on the website. I am proud to say, I have some very articulate bright fans and they know just what to say to me to get me going.

There was a time there when melodic rock was almost exchanged for a country feel. Were you totally burnt out on the rock n roll or what?!!
I am a very musical guy. I can appreciate good music in any form. I have a very acoustic side to me as well, and I tried to translate it into country music, but I learned that what I do isn't country music.
At least not by Nashville's standards, It's just really acoustic pop/rock. It was a great learning experience for me.

You moved to Nashville, what happened after that and why didn't we get that country album?
It wasn't meant to be, Nashville really took me in and wanted me to work in their market, but at the end of the day, it just wasn't me.
They tried to twist and turn and mold me into what they do, and after awhile I just about broke, or maybe I did break. It was just too far away from who I am as an artist. I had to walk away from it. Again though, it was a great learning experience.

Any chance of that happening or are you back to ROCK for good?!!
Ha, I would have to say, I think I am back to rock for good. Yes.

Another very interesting thing happened while you were out of the limelight so to speak. The great Van Halen experience!!
How did you and Eddie Van Halen hook up?

A guy who worked for their management at the time used to be my road manager and he kept calling me and telling me they were going to fire Sammy and that I was going to be the next singer in Van Halen and he was calling and calling and finally I got annoyed by this and told him to stop and that I didn't think I was a good fit in VH and that if he was serious he should have Ed call me.
A week later Desmond Child calls me and says he has just left Ed's house and was writing with them and that they were talking about me and that they were watching my "Anything At All" video, and that he told them that I was perfect for them, and that they would be lucky to get me, and before I knew it, I was on a plane to LA. Ed did call, a bunch of times. He was great.

Things went so well, you actually recorded a demo with the guys - live in the studio. For the record! What tracks did you jam on?
Yes, it was Panama, Ain't Talking 'bout Love, Why Can't This Be Love, Don't Tell Me (What Love Can Do), Jump.



And what were you thinking while this was going on? Total disbelief?!!
LOL, it was very surreal. It was pretty cool. Valerie was very nice to me and Wolfy and I had a great connection. He just took to me right away. Ed was very taken with that as I recall, he told me I must be the guy cause his son loved me. It was cool. It was very nice. Ed is really a great guy, and so is Al and Mike. Ed was treating me like I was his best friend, his little brother. He still does most of the time. I miss him at the moment.
I have not talked to him in a while. I hope he is okay. He was very encouraging on this new record. I sent him You Lift Me, It's About Love, and Draw The Line and he called me while he was still listening to it and was very very excited and saying things that I couldn't believe. I can't really repeat them here without sounding like a total egotistic ass, so I will just say, he was very flattering.
I hung up and yelled at the top of my voice. That felt way better than when he told me I was in the band. I felt like he accepted me as a peer when he like my music.



I suppose I should tell of the moment when he told me I was in the band.....
On the 3rd day I was there, I got a call as I was staying in Ed's guest house. They told me they wanted me to be in the studio control room in 15 minutes.
I went up and sat there and waited, And a few minutes later, Ed walks in stops and says, "well, you are an amazing singer, you look great and you are one of the nicest guys I have ever met, we just talked it over and congratulations, you are in the band." he walks up to me, I stand up and he kisses me on both cheeks gives me a hug and turns and walks out of the room. I sit back down at the mixing board and say out loud, "I am in Van Halen, shit, now what"? I think I giggled a little in disbelief. It was a very strange moment.


So the unanimous verdict on Ray Danniels as a manager is shit to say the least, were you another victim of his control over the band at this stage?
Well, I am not positive as to what happened there, but Ray told me at first that no matter what happened, he wanted to manage me.
I already had a manager though. And he told me he wanted me in the band. I think it's best I reserve comment any further on that one.
I actually wrote Ray a letter, passing on the gig. It just didn't feel right to me at the time, what with all the MTV thing with Dave and all that.
They never told me they were doing that with Dave, and as far as I knew, I was pretty much in the band at that time. I knew they were going to audition Gary, but they told me they didn't really want to, cause they wanted me. And then I see them walk out on stage with Dave, I called Mike and told him that I thought it was a mistake and that they had just made it nearly impossible for ANY singer to come in and be successful cause now EVERYONE thought Dave was back.
I never heard back from them, and while I was waiting, I sat down and wrote a letter and had my manager send it up to Ray saying, thanks for the shot, but I am going to have to pass.
It wasn't an easy thing to do. I heard from Ed a few weeks later. I met Gary over the phone that day as well. Gary is a super nice guy. A real class act. I am very impressed with him as a person and would think he would be a very good friend to have.
We are not friends, I am just saying, there are not that many people you meet in life that are as gracious as Gary Cherone.

You did keep in contact with Eddie for a long while after this, but he wasn't happy at all with you when you recommended something to him was he....can you tell us what you said about what he needed to do for a vocalist?
Ed actually asked me what I thought, and I told him.......DAVE!
You need to get Dave back, and he raised his voice saying, "You know what happened and how he was such an ass and what he said to me and did to me, and you know how hard it was to get him to sing in the studio", and I said, but Ed, you had Dave singing Desmond Child songs.
Dave isn't that type of singer, you had him singing melodies he can't sing, and what you need to do is just let Dave be Dave. And then he got even louder and said that he wrote all those songs/melodies, and that Dave just wrote the lyrics and sang them. That's when I shut up. I love Ed, he has been like a big brother to me in a lot of ways. Who am I to upset him. But he did ask. And whatever happened with the Ed / Dave chemistry worked, and I just think that it will always work.
Even if Ed did write all the melodies, obviously they have the same vocal range and they are connected with that. It WORKS! At least it worked. I have never met Dave, but he doesn't seem THAT bad to me. I don't know, I just love Ed and I want what is best for him. If he doesn't want to work with Dave, then he shouldn't work with Dave. I mean, you wouldn't wish for your friend to be unhappy just because it will please the fans. Life is too short for that.
But he did ask, and I did say Dave. I guess at the end of the day, music isn't everything. And those guys have already given us a LOT of great music to listen to. Maybe that is enough?

How do you think Van Halen with Mitch Malloy as lead vocalist would have sounded?
Well, that's easy, all I have to do is go put in the tape and listen to it. :)
It sounds just like Van Halen with me singing. I had Asked Al on the first play back in the studio. I said, "what do you think?" "Does it sound strange hearing my voice over your music?", and he looked me right in the eye and said, "no, not at all, it sounds great"!

Everyone has opinions on the job Gary Cherone did as singer #3, what do you think alienated the fans so much?
The MTV thing. I just don't think the fans could get past that. I do think though that if they had had a hit like they did with Sammy that they would have had an easier time of it.

Back to all things Mitch Malloy, I wanted to ask you about your debut album and what followed it's release.
In these rock circles it was praised and is continued to be praised as a great AOR album with some killer AOR vocals. What promises did the label make prior to it's release? As far as promising to promote the shit out of it and how big it will be?
The Label told me in the beginning I was the great white hope! that I would be bigger then Bon Jovi! I worked my ass of promoting that record and I think we sold 100,000.

What the hell happened?!! Was it a case of major label screw over again?
Yes! I was on the tonight show with Jay Leno but it was too late. The song I did was "Our Love Will Never Die" The Label had already pulled the promo on it, so it was just stupid marketing! Here I am on one of the most powerful shows in the world and the label's not even promoting the single. And also they had no power! I learned a lot about the biz in that year. Too much really! They couldn't get me on MTV cause they had no power. No big acts to throw their weight around with. It was frustrating but an incredible experience at the same time.

With a critically acclaimed album (at least with the fans) it seemed a curious change in direction after just one album, with your second album Ceilings And Walls. Can you describe what was going on in the lead up to writing and recording the album?
After I got back from Europe, the head of the label sits me down and says "It's time to start thinking about a new record" I say, But I never got to tour! HE says! " YOUR GETTING TO MAKE A NEW RECORD" AND gives me this look like, DONT SAY ANOTHER WORD!! SO I just sat there while he told me how girls wanted to fuck me and how I sang ballads so good and how I had Michael Boltons Mngr. And he should be able to put me on tour opening for him and BLAH BLAH BLAH! So he says WE are gonna take you Adult contemporary, Well little did he or I know, but I was not allowed to be in the same building as Michael Bolton. (Why would an artist that HUGE at the time, be scared of ME????) BTW - I didn't find this out till after the C&W record was out!

So I fired my Manager. Asked to be let go from my deal and just thought, "I have to get out of New York and out of this horrible biz." So I came down to Nashville, got a pub deal and thought I would try my hand at an Eagles kind of record.
I had a few deals but at the end of the day all Nashville wants is one just like the last one, so I didn't really fit in to their little idea of what country should be and I have no intension of doing so. The stuff I was doing was Melodic Rock with some steel guitars! They thought it sounded cool and fresh but then they got scared thinking radio wouldn't play it. So they tried to make me do stuff that I didn't want to do. NOT AGAIN!

Now while all this is going on I'm writing more and more stuff like the first record and I hook up with Jeff Lamprecht - the guy who did my web page and I go look at what all the fans are saying and I'm like, WOW people out there still remember me and they miss me and they want me to rock and I'm like, "OK then, - Lets ROCK!!!!"

Anything else we have to cover?
I would like to thank my fans. They have been the real source of inspiration for this record. I would also like to thank who ever it was that came up with the idea for the Internet. It has made all of this happen for me.






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