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

AARON DELBONO of EVIL EYE IMAGES

INTERVIEWS DAVE HENZERLING

 

 

Dave - aka David Michael-Phillips - has had a colourful history playing guitar or bass with King Kobra, Lizzy Borden, Geronimo!, Keel, Liquid Black, Icon, Big Cock and his most recent project Tunnel.

 

He recently chatted online with our San Francisco correspondent Aaron.

 

 

 

Greetings Dave! Thank you for taking time out to grace the Rockpit community with your wit & wisdom. What (or who) first inspired you to pick up a guitar? Who are your influences?


My mom forced me to take lessons when I was about nine years old. I never really liked playing the guitar until after she let me stop and I started to fool around with the instrument on my own. After I discovered Deep Purple and Kiss, it was all over…I was hooked!


Dave playing bass with Icon at Rocklahoma 2009

 

It was a thrill for many fans to witness the return of Icon at Rocklahoma in 2009, as well as the announcement of a King Kobra reunion with Paul Shortino on vocals. Is there a plan for either band to record new music, and if so, what relevance would it have? Would it be more for the fans or the bands themselves?


 

Both bands are writing new material as we speak. Paul, Carmine and I have put together a decent amount of songs for a KK release. I don’t have a very active role in Icon right now due to having so many other activities and prior commitments that take up my time. Between KK and Tunnel, I keep pretty busy.


When the rock music landscape changed in the early nineties, did you see the end coming? If so, what was your plan for continued success, and if not, how long did it take you to realize things were changing and what was your reaction?


I left the music “business” in the mid-nineties and went back to college to finish my degree. I earned my BS is Engineering at Arizona State University in 1999. In the meantime, I was busy raising four children with my wife. I started playing actively again around 2003 and haven’t stopped since.


What about your band mates & fellow musicians? How did they react?


It was every man for himself back then. Some stayed and soldiered on in a dying rock ‘n roll genre, others changed with the times – still others left the business altogether. Music, as we all know, changes constantly and we have to change with it.

 

 


I’ve had the unique experience of watching you perform with Bang Tango in front of thousands of screaming fans…and 12 hours later, with the same energy & professionalism, play 80s pop covers for a bunch of drunken college boys. It’s obvious you love what you do and have an incredible work ethic. Who or what motivates & inspires you the most?


I play music to have fun. That’s why I started doing this in the first place. If you don’t have fun, people can sense it and you wind up being neither successful nor effective as either a musician or performer/entertainer. I have fun and I think it shows - heaven knows I’m not in it for the money…!


At the conclusion of the Bang Tango performance, the legendary Dee Snider of Twisted Sister came out for a smokin’ version of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell”. That must have been a great experience. Please share a couple of your most memorable onstage moments.


That was certainly a “magic moment” that I’ll treasure forever. Hmm, let’s see: there was the time I got to sing “Lick It Up” onstage with Gene Simmons when King Kobra toured with Kiss in 1986. There was a huge festival with Quiet Riot and La Toya Jackson (of all people) on the beach in Acapulco, Mexico that almost turned into a riot. I got to play “Whiter Shade of Pale” with Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple) and Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers/Chickenfoot) at a benefit concert for the late rock photographer Lissa Wales. The list goes on…


Along with the aforementioned King Kobra & Icon reunions, you are also heavily involved in the bands Big Cock, which I understand is on hiatus for the immediate future, and Tunnel, a kick-ass batch of tunes you recorded with Scott Hammons. I love your work with BC, but I can’t get enough of the Tunnel CD (I’m listening to “Blood on the Highway” right now). How did that project come about?


 

Scott was the previous singer for Icon (before current vocalist Tarsha), and we just got together and started writing songs. Tunnel is the project I have been preparing for some time now and you can expect a lot more from that band. We’ve rounded out the lineup with bassist Matt Gonzalez and drummer Gary Bruzzese. Gary also plays with Glen Campbell, but don’t hold that against him.


Dave and the boys fromm Tunnel

 

What do you have on your calendar in 2010? Will there be any one-off gigs or festival appearances for Icon, KK or Tunnel?


Right now, there are tentative bookings for all three bands, so I’ll have to do some creative scheduling…

 

 


Going back to Big Cock for a moment, I read a review that said in part, “This band transcends irony, they transcend parody, and they transcend the genre…..to reach some other plane of existence, one only hinted at by every band that came before them”…pretty deep stuff. I have also heard some say the overtly sexual lyrics and band name turns potential fans off. What is your take on this and which BC song or songs are your favorites?

 

 


Big Cock was always meant to be the band with the middle finger stuck right in your face. We had a great time making those CDs and doing the few shows that promoters with the balls to book us allowed us to do. The name was both a blessing and a curse, but we all knew that going in. We had fun; the fans had fun – what more do you need? We wrote a cool song called “Bad Motherfucker” too…!


With your impressive resume & musical career, many would consider you to be a “rock star”, but nowadays it seems all it takes is 5 minutes on TV or YouTube to be considered one. Who presently do you feel is worthy of such a moniker?


How about “rock star” by night and “family guy” by day? I’ll take that…


Dave with Big Cock, live at Rocklahoma 2009

 

 

You’ve lived in the Phoenix area most of your life. In recent years, many of your colleagues have relocated to the area. What do you feel draws them there?


Arizona is a beautiful state and a great place to raise a family. I lived in Los Angeles for 12 years and had a blast. It’s a great place to be young and single – of which I am neither any more.


In addition to Tunnel, there is some killer new music out that deserves to be played at maximum volume with the convertible top down. What are you presently listening to in your car? What’s in the CD player or on the iPod?


Oh boy, I’m all over the place. Yesterday I listened to Halestorm and Shinedown, today I listened to Blackfoot, Michael Schenker and ZZ Top. Tomorrow, maybe Queen and Billy Squier along with some Pink Floyd and Yes?


What makes you laugh?


Spinal Tap.


Thank you again for giving us some insight into your life, career and what makes you tick. One final question……what is the meaning of life?


See answer to previous question.


 

Aaron DelBono

Evileye Images

March 2010

 

 

Rocklahoma 2009 pics by Shane Rockpit

 

You can read our review of Icon & Big Cock featuring Dave at Rocklahoma 2009 HERE

You can read Mark's review of Tunnel's debut album HERE