The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

PAUL TALKS TO FARCRY's RONNIE PARKES ABOUT FARCRY

AND BEING IN A BON JOVI COVER BAND

 

 

 

PH Hi there Ronnie my name’s Paul welcome to the Rockpit and thanks for taking time to chat to us



RP Hey Paul, thanks for having me.



PH First of all introduce yourself to our readers



RP Hey Everyone, I am the bass player in Farcry on Kivel Records and also in The Bon Jovi Tribute band Slippery When Wet from New Jersey Rockin' here at the Rockpit!

 

PH You are in two bands at the moment FarCry and Slippery When Wet. How hard is it to juggle your time between both bands?

 

RP Farcry does not really have that many shows booked at the moment, so right now it's not a problem, If Farcry's schedule picks up... then we may have a problem. But since Tommy Frustieri is also in both bands we just "blackout" dates as necessary. Last year Pete, myself and Tommy backed Ted Poley at South Dakota Rockfest where Farcry was playing as well, playing in two different bands at the same festival was interesting. That has been the hardest I have ever had to juggle between multiple bands. Especially because Ted's music is tuned down a half step so between retuning, rehearsals and shows and learning songs that was a busy time, a really great time though, I really liked playing with Ted he was really great. We actually have another project going with VICK LeCar so it's going to start getting busy again. 




PH What came first for you FarCry or SWW?

 

RP  Of the two bands SWW came first. 

 


PH How hard is it today for a musician to make money playing the music they believe in?

 

RP It is and always has been difficult making money doing your own material. The way most bands start out is getting a band together and trying to play out wherever you can, selling tickets or getting paid 1 dollar per person that is there to see you out of the 10.00 cover charge.



RP If you start an original band in the hopes of being a millionaire you are in the wrong business. It takes a long time and a lot of persistence to build a following and finally start making at least a little money. Because when it really comes down to it all the Promoters, agents and venues care about is that you are bringing in people, which is money in their pockets. Once you start bringing in people and doing it consistently, then you can you can start demanding a nice fee for them having you there.  

 

 




PH How do your FarCry band mates feel about you being in a tribute band and particularly a Bon Jovi tribute band?

 

RP It doesn't seem to bother anyone if we have other projects going on, it certainly doesn't bother me if they are doing other things. As long as the commitment is there to give it our all it doesn't matter what we do in our spare time. Actually Angelo Mazza's cousin is also in a Bon Jovi Tribute based out of Massachusetts and I got to meet him at a Farcry show in Massachusetts, funny how that worked out. As far as the type of music I think just being a musician you need to have an appreciation for all types of music so I really doubt anyone cares. I know Eddie Campbell who was in Ted Poley Band was also in a King Diamond tribute and no one really seemed to care.   



PH Is it a labour of love for you, a way to keep your hand in or a way of generating income? Or maybe all three?



RP I would have to say all three. I really love playing, I enjoy being out and about and who doesn't want to get paid? I came to a realization at a show one night a friend who has always been playing only his original music was talking to me about work sucking and not having any money and I said "why don't you start a cover band?" and he looked at me like I just mad a pass at his sister.

 

For some reason he feels it beneath him and his artistic vision to do something so dreadful as to be getting paid to entertain people playing his instrument that he lives to play, just because he didn't write the song himself. I don't really understand this way of thinking. I know he is not the only person that feels this way other people have given me that same strange look. I look at it like I live to play my instrument, I love playing live and that is what you doing when you play live you are "entertaining" people! They say being "successful" is being able to do what you love. So why are you miserable driving a truck or whatever you do and not getting paid doing what you love to do? So what if your not playing the music you wrote? No one is saying stop writing or trying to get your vision or music out to people. If you have to have a "job" why not do what you love to do? I mean if you did get successful with your own music aren't you still really doing the same thing? Getting paid to play your instrument in front of people and getting paid to entertain them? Of course it will never be as emotionally and personally rewarding as your own story and song and people singing along with your feelings but who says you can't do both?. By the way.. don't think it's so easy to make good money being in a cover band or tribute band. That is someplace that ALL they look at is how many people can you bring.  


    

PH Now a few questions about SWW How did you all meet?

 

RP My brother Mike is the lead singer and founder of SWW. He formed the band back in 2000 and wanted me to play guitar and I turned him down and here I am 11 years later and I'm in the band playing bass. Mike and I have been in a few bands together him on bass and me on guitar. The most popular was a band called "Cleavage" which was popular in the NY/NJ area in the late 80's early 90's. The Original lineup for Slippery was Mike Parkes on vocals, Chris Radice on guitar, Sean Faust ( Rivera/ Bomma, Into Darkness,  Neil Rambaldi) on keys, Mariano on Bass, and Dave Marx on drums. Eventually Johnny Leigh (Young and the fabulous,Ritchie Ranno's all Starz) replaced Mariano on bass and Eddie Faust (Rivera/Bomma, Ted Poley Band) replaced Dave on drums and Slippery really began to build in popularity. Eddie left and Johnny O became the drummer. I got Divorced and Johnny Leigh Moved to California and I became the new bass player. Eventually Johnny O left the band and Tommy Frustieri ( Tommy John) became the new drummer. This has been the lineup now for about 4 years and the band is as strong as it's ever been.




PH Are there other local Bon Jovi cover bands that you have turf wars with?



RP The thing with Tribute bands is their ability to travel, so the turf wars are over a much bigger scale. What is starting to be a problem now is the economy. A year or two ago people would pay to fly you out and bring you to them. Now they are more likely to use a Local Tribute band to save money. Even locally Clubs are suffering because people aren't spending money like they were.

 

There usually is not too much of a problem unless there is another Tribute band with the same name. That can cause confusion. But as with all bands, as the band becomes more popular you build a following and you start to make an identity for yourself, but still the person doing the website for the venue may google the wrong band by accident. So you end up getting a lamentent with your band name and some other bands picture lol, it's not common, but it has happened. Slippery When Wet is going on 11 years now and still going very strong. We have played all over the US and the Caribbean and the band is pretty well known. We work with a lot of agents and are exclusive to none so we get calls from different places all the time. There are times when maybe we hear of another Bon Jovi Tribute that got a certain show in another state or something like that but in the NJ area most people know who we are or have heard of us. Being that we are all from New Jersey and all grew up here we have a certain connection to the music and attitude that I feel gives us an edge over other bands. It's like a Beatles Tribute from Liverpool, you grew up here with it, so it's easy to emulate because it's part of you.  

 

 

 



PH What was your favourite era of Bon Jovi?

 

RP Of course the 80's era but I do like a lot of the stuff through out his career. Their musicianship I think is underrated and his songwriting is just amazing. His songs do what songs are supposed to do. I can say from experiences that people go crazy singing along and dancing and just having a great time when you play "Living on a prayer, Runaway, Bad Name" it just goes on and on "Always" " I'll be there for you". It really is pretty amazing he has so many great songs.Then there are songs like "Dry County" He really has had a remarkable career. 



PH Have any of Bon Jovi been to see you guys perform at all and if so did they make any comments to you either positive or negative?



RP We have had Neighbors, people who work for him, people who grew up with him, people who worked wih him, But noone from the band has ever made it out to a Slippery show. Once I was told David Brayn was coming but he never made it. I have heard that he knows about us but I don't know what he thinks of it. We would be honoured to have any of them come down and see us or come up and play and after doing it this long it would mean alot to us.



PH Do you think there is a time limit for tribute bands and do you think your in this for the long run?

 

RP Tribute Bands are relatively new to the whole scene and really are something in their own right. Generally Tribute bands have high caliber musicians the songs are performed note for note all the little nuances of the recordings and the look and the show. They also have the ability to travel unlike conventional "cover bands". If it's done right it will never go out. Unless it's done poorly, then it wouldn't last anyway. People know they are not going to see the real thing but they are expecting you to be just as good or at least close to it. The more you look and sound like the real thing the better you will do. We do the Bon Jovi show from the 80's with that look and feel. We play songs spanning his whole career, we do the exact recorded arrangements in the recorded key. John himself tunes down a half step and has been for years to help save his voice. Those guys have been touring for what seems like forever. Very few can pull off the modulation in Prayer in the recorded key night after night it's a little on the sadistic side lol. So it's a Tribute in the truest sense of the word.



We are ONE OF the top drawing bands in the New Jersey area and have been for the past few years,we have done shows here in Jersey by ourselves and had attendance over 700, so as long as we keep pulling numbers like that we'll be around. We are going on 11 years now and I think that's pretty long for a tribute band, but I am willing to stick around and see how long it lasts.




PH And now the obligatory cover band question. If your counterpart in Bon Jovi gave it all away would you step in?

 

RP Are you kidding?! In a second! Hey it has happened before with Journey and Judas Priest. I don't think it would ever happen with Bon Jovi or I would be pissed if I was Hugh, because they never really made him an official "member" of the band. I love Farcry so I would have to think about it for a min or two....



PH Who were your early influences when you were growing up? Which bands did you listen to?



RP I really listened to what ever I could get my hands on and listened to a wide variety of music. But I listened to everything from KISS and AC/DC and Black Sabbath to Bruce and Frampton, Yardbirds, to Jazz, Sinatra, and even classical

 

PH Was there one particular song or album that made you want to pick up the guitar or was it something that you always wanted to do?



RP I would have to say KISS they were a big early influence on me, I can remember listenening to the early albums and being captivated by the sound. It really got me going



PH If you weren’t a musician what do you think you would be doing?



RP Brewing Whiskey and Ghost Hunting

 


FARCRY

 



PH With FarCry is heading over to England this year to play at Firefest how do you feel about playing the UK?



RP I am really looking forward to it, This is the first time in England for Farcry and there are some greats bands and friends playing so it's gonna be a really good time. 



PH Do you plan to play any other European dates while you are over there



RP I would love to, but as far as I know right now that's the only show there.



PH How did the Firefest offer come about?



RP Farcry has been getting very good response right from our inception. We have been getting favorable reviews and there has been a buzz about the band. We played Melodic Rockfest 2 last year and the response was great and people were there from all over the world, so I belive that played a big part in us being at Firefest this year



PH Mark my editor is hoping to head off to Firefest this year and hopefully catch up with Pete, I think he’s taking some West Australian Shiraz over to share. If FarCry had a cocktail made in their honour what
would be in it?



RP Well, Pete is a beer drinker and an English beer I know of is New Castle. My poison is Southern Comfort. So  I guess we could call it a Castle Comfort Bomb



PH Can you tell me how you feel about the current music scene and what pisses you off about it



RP Autotune. I really don't like that robo pitch sound. I just wish mainstream music would get back to real instruments and melody. It really seems to be lost in the pop music of today.



PH A re there any bands about at the moment that have caught your eye that you would like to catch live



RP believe it or not as one of my biggest influences I have never seen KISS live, someone asked me to go last year and I wasn't able to and I regret it again! I have to see them! I just wish I could have seen them live in the 70's, Foo Fighters

 

 

FarCry - the new CD is out May 21st

 



PH What are FarCry’s plans for the rest of 2011?



RP Our second release "Optimism" is due out in May and I am anxiously awaiting to hear the final mixes. The album is strong from beginning to end. We have Firefest and another show in August here in the states that will be a really good show, and hopefully we'll be on another festival or two.  I just can't say what it is right now because the details are being finalized and I don't know if this will be out before everything is set. With an album with this much good material on it it's going to be a really good year for Farcry.




PH We always ask this question at the Rockpit what’s your take on the meaning of life



RP You got to be in it to win it.

 

YOU CAN PRE-ORDER FARCRY'S NEW CD NOW AT KIVELRECORDS.COM

IT IS DUE OUT ON MAY 21st. ORDER YOURS TODAY!

 

 

Paul spoke to Ronnie Parkes March 2011