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







JON STEVENS is currently in the US reaching out to the kids on the Rockstar Energy Tour with a brand of Classic Rock that would surely have their parents nodding their approval. DEAD DAISIES is one of the most exciting new bands of the year and yet they have to travel to the US to find an audience: we asked Jon amongst many other questions is Hard Rock dead in Australia? It was an interesting conversation… and I also planned to be the first interviewer not to ask any questions about Noiseworks…


Dead Daisies is:  Jon Stevens | David Lowy | Dizzy Reed | Richard Fortus | Marco Mendoza | Alex Carapetis for most of the Uproar tour.


Dead Daisies U.K. Lineup: Jon Stevens | David Lowy | Charley Drayton | Richard Fortus | Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones) | Dizzy Reed






Mark: Thanks for taking the time to talk to THE ROCKPIT Jon.


Jon: Hey no problem, it’s all good.


Mark: You are currently on the ROCKSTAR UPROAR Tour with the likes of Alice in Chains, Jane’s Addiction, Coheed and Cambria and Walking Papers: It’s an interesting mix of bands, a little heavy, a little out there.  How are you going down with the audience as a band?


Jon: How are we going down? We get on, we get done and we’re finished. I can’t really say how we’re going down; all I can tell you is when we play people go apeshit and that’s great as when we hit the stage no one knows who we are or who is in the band and so there’s no preconceptions. So the response is pure and that is the ultimate to me. The best feeling is when we play and you see people say ‘What the fuck is that!?’ It’s a bit of a shock.
Mark: What’s it like to be up on a Festival stage I guess surrounded by a lot of young kids, is the Dead Daisies brand of Rock and Roll translating well for the younger crowd?


Jon: Very much so. And the feedback is awesome. Just a bunch of guys up on stage playing their thing, just instruments and no tricks of technology.


Mark: How’s it feel to be in the US? Which I guess is the spiritual home of the Dead Daisies sound?


Jon: No, no, no, it’s not in the US, it’s not anywhere. This is just music. In the last ten months we’ve come through a lot: we wrote the songs, put together the band played some shows then got invited onto the US tour and now over here it’s pretty crazy. It’s just honest music we’re playing, with great musicians. The songs were written on acoustic guitar and I’d play them anyway regardless no matter where we were.


Mark: In early interviews you likened the DD to straight forward rock – getting back to bands like Faces, Bad Company, Free – were those bands primary influences for you back in the day


Jon: As a singer yeah, Paul Rodgers is amazing. Back in the day you had some great voices: Paul, Elton, Rod Stewart, and McCartney – he’s a great singer and even to this day he still sings that Beatles shit in the same key! To me that’s mind-boggling. As a singer its mind boggling as a singer I know what it takes to get that energy going to perform.





Mark: We last saw you at Stone Music Festival in Sydney with Noiseworks – your voice was in amazing shape – how’s it holding up in the US and what secrets do you have for vocalists out there?


Jon: Actually my voice is better than it’s ever been it’s no secret, and the fact it’s better is for a whole number of reasons. It’s like a chippie, like a plumber, you know; like a Wall Street guy. When you do what you do and you know what your limitations are and you know how far you can push it… Music is like, nothing else, as a singer there are things that you know physically about yourself; actually it’s more like an athlete where you have to get up to the plate every damn night and deliver. Because if you don’t deliver people fall away. I’ll always give everything.


Mark: You certainly look like you’re having fun over there and a lot of it is getting back to Australia. Who came up with the ‘Tour Secret Tips’?


Jon: Mate I have no idea! And I have no idea what’s going back to Australia. To me Australia doesn’t even know about the Dead Daisies – they’ve got no idea, and they probably don’t give a fuck.  We’re just one of those bands that have to go overseas to get appreciated because they don’t appreciate us in our own country. Australia is so caught up in those cheesy talent shows that are controlled by the only two record labels left in the Australian Music Industry.  It’s very controlled, it’s bullshit. I’m a ‘Muso’, I play music, and I’ll play it wherever, I’m not interested in the Australian Music Industry or how it works anymore.


Mark: It’s great to hear someone tell it like it is rather than tread on eggshells.  You’ve also just announced a November UK tour with the Black Star Riders, that should be a great double bill.


Jon:  Yeah, Dead Daisies started out with David (Lowy) and myself writing songs and making music and then people heard it and asked us if we would support them, you know Aerosmith, ZZ Top. And that’s the great past that people have heard us and they want us on the bill. Being invited to play those shows then being asked to play this huge Rockstar Uproar Festival in the US is just awesome. I mean Australia has a lot of festivals now… which I’ve never played… so to get invited out here is awesome.







Mark: If we can turn to the album now. ‘Lock ‘N’ Load’ is the first single that some will have heard already that has Slash playing and Co-writing – he doesn’t obviously just play with everyone – how did you get him on board?


Jon: Slash and I wrote the song.  I’ve known Slash for many years, we’ve been good mates since the mid-nineties and we’ve written a whole lot of songs together and Lock ‘N’ Load was one of them. I told him I wanted to record a song for my new project – so I sent him all the Dead Daisies music and he loved it, thought it was great, so I asked him if it was OK that I recorded the song and he said ‘no problem’:  If he’d said ‘no’ it would have never seen the light of day. Out of respect. So he played on it. It’s something he wanted to be a part of simple as that.


Mark: There are some great songs on there: ‘Yesterday’ is some great Bluesy Rock, ‘Washington’ I think though is my favourite at the moment.


Jon: Awesome.


Mark: What are you enjoying playing?


Jon: What I’m enjoying most is the fact that the songs are so much better live than they are on the album. It’s that old Australia tradition play the shit out of it. Record it and when you see the band live it’s so much better. Keep it simple.


Mark: ‘Miles on front of me’ sounds like a big Summer hit waiting to happen, any thoughts on what the next single might be?


Jon: I have no idea these days, no idea what radio wants or anyone else. Here’s the music – you choose! I’ll leave it up to someone else, the public has so much choice these days, all I can do is do what I do best.







Mark: The interesting thing for me listening to the album is that it does actually sound like an album. Now I don’t know whether that’s just down to the style of the songs?


Jon:  Dead Daisies is a real band playing real music, no technology, it’s real simple, real honest, so hopefully people will go out and hear the music, but the record then come and see us live. We’re ten times better live than we are on the record. And that is basically what music should always be all about. So many bands these days are so disappointing live because they’re so processed in the studio, There’s nothing like the real shit.


Mark:  we’re just about up for time now Jon, you good for a couple more?


Jon: Yeah mate.


Mark: If you could have been a fly on the wall for the recording of any classic album at any point in time, just to see how the artists created the music and how the magic happened, what would it have been for you and why?


Jon: Wow, hell. It’s a bit different to recording yourself, when you walk into the studio and you’re walking into their territory you defer always to the band, the personal dynamics, because half the band might not want you there… When you’re walking into someone’s creative situation, you’re like a ripple in their environment rather than part of the creation. Unless you’re invited into the inner sanctum of creativity you’re on the outer, just a ripple. It’s a hard question.







Mark: That’s a very interesting take on the question and one I’d not really considered in that way. Putting the dynamics to one side is there and album that has always intrigued you as to how it was put together?


Jon:  Stevie Wonder ’Innervisions’: When he made those records – wow!  He made his own music in his own world, like Ray Charles: I’d take anything by Ray Charles! Different to a band with egos at play – a minefield of egos sometimes, a slide show of ideas… Your question was  about an album though so it has to be one of those guys.


Mark: And an easy one to end with – What is the meaning of life?


Jon: Family… Family! Who cares what you do, what you achieve, who gives a rats arse, it doesn’t matter what you do, who you are, all that matters  at the end of the day is family.


Mark: Many thanks for taking the time out of your day to speak to us Jon; enjoy the rest of the tour. I hope we get to see the Dead Daisies back in Australia again soon.


Jon: You know what I bloody hope so, thank you.



Editor's Note: we did manage to get away without asking a single question about Noiseworks, but thought you might want to know that inbetween commitments with the Dead Daisies Jon is working on a new Noiseworks album...





Jon Stevens spoke to Mark Diggins September 2013





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