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UGLY KID JOE KLAUS EICHSTADT INTERVIEW 2014

HARD ROCK INTERVIEWS 2014 - UGLY KID JOE GUITARIST KLAUS EICHSTADT

UGLY KID JOE

Ugly Kid Joe are back! 21 years after their last visit to Australia the band is back co-headlining with Skid Row and bringing us a taste of their latest release 'Stairway to Hell'! We catch up with co-founding guitarist Klaus Eichstadt!

 

MARCH 2014

UGLY KID JOE burned brightly for a time back in the nineties and at the height of their fame they were topping charts around the world, the guys did particularly well downunder and now 21 years later they're back with SKID ROW and Australia's own DEAD CITY RUINS to blow us away all over again thanks to the guys at Killrockstar!

Mark: Hi, it’s The Rockpit, in Australia, how are you?


Klaus: I’m good, sorry I missed your first call, I’ve been out snowboarding! I’m up in Lake Tahoe, and we’ve finally got snow, the first time in forever, so I had to hit it! Is there snow in Australia?


Mark: There’s no snow over here!! (as we speak it's warming up to an impressive 38 degrees - 100 in farenheit)


Klaus: Is there ever snow there?


Mark: Yeah, there is snow in the mountains in New South Wales and Victoria, in winter, which is your summer time.


Klaus: Can you ski and snowboard?


Mark: Yeah, it’s pretty good.


Klaus: Wow, that’s cool, I didn’t even know that! I was wondering about it, I knew you could in New Zealand; they have pretty high mountains over there, but wasn’t sure about Australia.


Mark: We've got pretty much everything here, no Lake Tahoe though, man that place is beautiful!

 

Mark: It’s great to see you coming back, after the reformation in 2010; can you tell us what triggered that?


Klaus: The break up was totally amicable, there was like no big deal, we just went off to do our own thing. The next thing you know, Dave became a really successful producer, and Shannon joined Godsmack, years later, and funnily enough they ended up working together on a Godsmack record in about 2010. I guess one night they went out, and my guess is they had a few drinks and started reminiscing about the good old days, and out of the blue they said, let’s call Klaus and do a record!! At the time, Dave had a really kick ass recording studio in Louisiana, state of the art that he built from scratch from the ground up, so we could do it at his place for free! They called me up and said what do you think? And I said if those guys want to do it, let’s do it! We started digging through old tapes and newish tapes, and I found a few songs that I liked that I had, and then we got together as a band in 2011, then we worked on a couple of new songs, and ended up recording the new record. We ended up with about 12 songs, 6 were already done, and the others never got totally finished, so we stuck with the 6 and decided to do an EP. Once we’d finished the EP, we went in and put our name out, to see if we could get any tours, and it kind of went from there, and of course heading to Australia!


Mark: Wow, and you’ve got some great slots in between, I think the EP has just been re-released with the full download set, and there’s a bonus DVD on there as well, which is cool! I was looking at some footage of the Polish Woodstock date that you played, it was crazy!!


Klaus: Yeah, that was ridiculous!! It was the biggest show we’ve ever played, ever!!

Mark: The last time you were down here, if my research is right, was 1992, at the height of your popularity, I guess!


Klaus: I think you’re correct, we came down twice, I think it was 93, and we came down in 1992, to play an awards show, I think it was, the Australian Music Awards, we played “Everything About You”, but we didn’t actually play it, as it was all backing tracks. There was a big grand piano there on the stage, and we had our bass tech, Tim come out and play, and that song has the piano part which we could do live, but as we were doing the backing tracks, we thought we might as well have Tim pretending to play the piano, so it was fun for him cause he was on TV!!


Mark: The new EP, “Stairway to Hell” is fantastic! Are you happy with the reception for that, so far?


Klaus: We are really happy with it; we love the songs, and we of course we want to play the songs live, so we started off playing 2 or 3 live, and now we play all 5 of them, and they get a great response! I’m guessing a lot of people who come to the club shows are old school Ugly Kid Joe fans, so it was weird to us that the new songs got just as much of a response as any of the old songs, and that’s really cool, because you see a lot of old bands reunite and everybody just wants to hear their old songs. In our case, it was really cool because every time we play a new song, people would know the lyrics and know the songs, and they’d really move to it, and respond to it, and that’s why we really enjoy playing stuff live.


Mark: There’s some great stuff on there. Do you play “Another Beer” live?


Klaus: We have played it, but we don’t usually, it’s one we play every now and then.

Mark: When we were talking to people on the internet before this interview, the songs “Devils’ Paradise” came out as the favourite, but, everyone liked “Another Beer”, and I guess “You Make me Sick”, a few people were saying that’s as close as we are going to get to “Everything About You”!
You played a successful tour over in the UK, with the same line-up, that’s coming down here, how did those dates go?


Klaus: There were one or two shows that were ok, but for the most part they were 85% sold out. It was a really fun tour, for the fact that as a band and as a crew and the travelling circus as it was, it was really fun and everyone got along great, and that’s a huge deal, especially as we were playing in small clubs and we were all on top of each other, and in each other’s faces all the time. We got along great with the Skid Row guys, and also the Dead City Ruins guys, they were great and very funny, and a bit younger than us, so they brought a bit of the insanity of youth in to the mix!! They kept us on our toes and inspired us, and of course it was hard to keep up with them on those extracurricular activities!!! It was all good!


Mark: We’ve all got a bit older! It’s a tour that we’re certainly looking forward to; you’ll be over here in April. Is there any chance of a new EP, or a new album?


Klaus: Yeah, a great chance. I’ve been writing, and everyone in the band has been kicking around ideas, we just want to wait and make sure we have some material that we really like, and then we will get together and record it. It might be an album or a single that we release, do a video for one song and take it from there. We are so cool these days we can do whatever we want, with the website, Facebook and all that. I really think there’ll be a great chance we’ll have something new within a year.

Mark: Sounds good. The music industry has changed immeasurably since you went away. What’s your take on the way things are now?


Klaus: Honestly, that’s the one thing I really don’t get, is the business side of it, because especially now because it changes every month! I can’t keep up with all this stuff!  It’s cool with Facebook, because you can post stuff all the time. It’s great for the fans now, when I look back when I was 19 or 20, following a band that I like, it would be great to be able to follow them on a daily basis, and on tour, with pictures of backstage and playing songs, and in that case today, it’s a real 24/7, hands on kind of thing where you can follow a band that you like. What’s great for me, is if I like a song on the radio, I can get out my I phone and buy it like 10 seconds later!! The down side for artists is that it’s harder to make significant record sales of course, it seems like the giant pop acts with the big muscle behind them seem to completely take over, in terms of commercials and radio, and pushes out the smaller bands and up and coming bands. It’s harder to break a small rock band, let’s say, unless you have a huge conglomerate. That’s why there’s so much independent stuff going on, but none of it really breaks in to the main stream much, anymore.


Mark: I am constantly listening to music, and sometimes I hear something that’s great, and then find out its like 5 years old, and the band doesn’t exist anymore! It’s weird!


Klaus: Exactly! It is weird, you can find a lot more stuff, it’s easier for the fans, but it’s harder for the bands to make a living. It’s unpredictable too, that’s what it is!

Mark: If you could have been a fly on the wall for the recording of any album, at any point in time, what would it have been for you and why??


Klaus: “Highway to Hell”!


Mark: I knew you were going to say that!! It’s a great album! Now our easy question to close, what is the meaning of life?


Klaus: Oh, Shit!! I think life’s short and that you just have to make the most of it.


Mark: I think that’s right. It will be great to see you guys down here, I can’t wait! Thank you so much for your time, it was a pleasure to speak to you, and see you in April.


Klaus: Can’t wait, we loved Australia last time we were there and can’t wait to go back. Cheers, bye.

 

 

Klaus spoke to Mark Diggins March 2014

 

 

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