INTERVIEW: John Corabi – The Dead Daisies

The Dead Daisies

 

With a new, and we reckon their best album so far ‘Make Some Noise’ about to drop on August 5th The Dead Daisies are set to embark on a three month European and US Tour, taking in some of the biggest European Festivals and even slipping South for their first trip to the Loud Park Festival in Japan. We caught up with John Corabi to get up to speed on band developments – the loss of Dizzy Reed and Richard Fortus to Guns ‘N’ Roses and the new gunslinger onboard – Doug Aldrich. We also talk about John’s current solo projects and how he manages to fit it all in!

 

The Rockpit: Hi John thanks for taking the time to catch up again today, the last time The Rockpit spoke to you would hav been on the last Dead Daisies tour with Marco in Perth and at the Secret Show in Sydney.

John: At Frasers Motorcycles that’s right! You know that seems like such a long time ago but it really wasn’t!

The Rockpit: We first interviewed you before the release of your solo album back in 2012 and it seems like every time we speak you have more and more going on!

John: You’re right I’ve been with the Dead Daisies now about a year and three months and we’ve already done a world tour, two albums and I get on the plane to leave for the next tour tomorrow morning – so it’s crazy!

The Rockpit: And it all kicks off for the band on July 14th at the ‘Bang Your Head’ Festival in Germany. A nice big show to get the blood flowing!

John: Yeah the one I’m really curious about though is this ‘Woodstock Festival’

The Rockpit: I don’t know a lot about it just that it’s the big one in Poland! It’s huge and I think it’s been around for years, have you heard of it before?

John: I don’t know, I’ve never been there before, I mean I’ve been to Poland but never seen this Festival, but apparently Everybody is saying it’s the biggest Festival in Europe and it’s like 150,000 – 200,000 people so I’m pretty curious about that one.

The Rockpit: And you guys are on the main stage are you?

John: I don’t know, I’m not too sure, I think we’ll find out when we get there. (EDITORS NOTE: the Dead Daisies play the main stage in a great 70 minute slot from 7.20 to 8.30)

The Rockpit: I heard that they got even more people than that it will be a great stage to play. (EDITORS NOTE: average attendance over the last four years according to Wikipedia and the festival website put attendance at 625,000 for the three day event).

John: I have some friends in Poland and they’ve emailed and texted me and said you’re gonna love that one man, so I’m kinda freaking out in a good way about that, it’s gonna be a lot of fun.

The Rockpit: It’s a lot of time on the road, the tour kicks off in July and runs all the way to September with a few dates in October including a first time at Loud Park in Japan?

John: Yeah we’re doing loud Park I think in October and I believe they are trying to set us up so that we can go back later in the year and do a full tour.

The Rockpit: And hopefully tag on a few Australian dates! The big news though of course is the upcoming release of the new album ‘Make Some Noise’ out worldwide on August 5th. I think it’s pretty much my favourite Dead Daisies album so far, you’ve ditched they keyboards and even though it’s sad to see Dizzy (Reed) go I think it gives the album a more Riff Rock sound. It sounds to me like the album Aerosmith should have made when they reformed and put out ‘Done With Mirrors’.

John: Yeah it’s… you know it was really funny, David Lowy put the band together as you know and basically, if I’m informed properly he was the one who never really wanted a keyboard player to begin with, he’s always wanted an Aerosmith / AC/DC kinda vibe. I guess it was Jon Stevens who wanted the keyboard player in the beginning so when Dizzy and Richard went back (to Guns ‘N’ Roses) David was like, let’s just try this and see if it works with just two guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Let’s strip it down and go! And I think it came out pretty cool!

The Rockpit: It came out really well! The last ‘Revolucion’ was actually done quite quickly with song-writing recording and the whole process happening pretty swiftly, was it similar with this new album?

John: Yeah, this one was actually even quicker. With the last record they had a few ‘starts’ with some of the songs as they’d been working on a few ideas with Jon, so we finished those, I did a bit of lyric tweaking here and there, but we wrote and recorded mixed and mastered 17 songs in 32 days. This time we brought Doug (Aldrich) into the fold and we literally didn’t have any songs, we just started with riff ideas. We wrote for about ten days and we had about 22 what we thought were pretty strong ideas, and then we say with Marti (Frederickson, producer) and went through the 22 and ended up recording 14 of those. And we did it all in about 5 weeks as well so it was all very quick.

The Rockpit: How was it working with Marti, he’s produced some great albums, had you worked with him before?

John: No, actually I think Bryan (Tichy) has worked with him on a couple of things, but we’ve all known Marti, I mean I’ve known him since ‘The Scream’ days, he was in a band that did some shows with The Scream, and I just sort of kept an eye on his career, you know when he started producing and doing bands like Brother Cain, before he got onto the bigger stuff like Aerosmith and Ozzy and Motley Crue, so this tie we basically wanted to do the record here in Nashville, and David our manager asked us if we knew of any producers down here and we spoke about Marty, Michael Wagner is here and a guy called Dave Cobb who did some of the Rival Sons records, so management called all three and we went with Marti. And I’m very happy we did, like I said I’ve known him forever and he’s just this really cool super mellow dude , and really talented he’s not just a producer, he’s a song-writer. You look at his history and he co-wrote ‘Jaded’ and a bunch of other stuff with Aerosmith and Ozzy and Motley, and so as well as being a great producer he’s got that extra set of ears and eyes to take a look at everything!

The Rockpit: And another interesting thing about the album and for me a pretty cool one: no ‘obligatory’ ballads! Just a real Rock and Roll album!

John: Yeah, you know it’s funny, there were a couple of songs that we had that we worked up, it’s so weird when you’re putting together an album and working up the track list! It’s not that they were bad songs but when we put them in with the rest of the stuff, we were like , this thing is pretty much a no-nonsense, straight ahead, kick ass sort of record and there were a couple of songs that were equally as good but there was a little more production on them. We had this one song that we were working on called ‘Waves’ and it was a beautiful song but very Zeppelinesque, there were a lot of mood changes on it and at one point we were talking about having some orchestra bits on there… kinda like ‘The Rain Song’ on ‘The Song Remains the Same’ (The extended version of the Houses of the Holy track). So we just sat and kinda looked at everything and decided to go with those 12 that made the album, and some of the others we may take a look at in the future, I know the song I was just talking about I talked to the guys and said that if we didn’t use it as I have a solo record coming out I’d love to use it for that record. So it’s weird how records eventually develop as you never know what you’ll end up with till you’re done.

The Rockpit: It’s just refreshing to see a band in the groove putting the foot to the floor for a bit of no nonsense Rock and Roll.
John: I think if we had any blueprint at all, and we told Marti this through our management, it was that we just wanted to do this Seventies Hard Rock and Roll record and Marty was like ‘I’m in, Let’s do it’. I know your opinion of the album and I must admit I agree it does kinda remind me of old AC/DC or the ‘Rocks’ era Aerosmith.  Just straight ahead, no frills go!

The Rockpit: As well as the Daisies you’ve also got a lot on too. You did that work with Mick Mars which we’ve heard a bit of earlier in the year, it sounded great, do you have an idea of when that project might see the light of day?

John: You know to be honest all I’ve done so far with Mick, it’s crazy, is just those two songs. You have to understand that Mick really didn’t have any time at all till the beginning of January; his last show with Motley was New Year’s Eve and I just finished touring with the Daisies on the last record, I don’t think I got home till December 21st, and we had already scheduled time to start this record ‘Make Some Noise’. I also had a lot of things on my plate when I got home. I had to finish mixing a live record that I have coming out, I did one of my shows doing the ‘Motley Crue’ album in its entirety and Michael Wagener mixed that for me and when I turned that in, I went in and did those two songs with Mick and next day I took my wife on vacation for a weekend – we went on the Def Leppard Cruise just as a spectator. I came home from that and I literally started again with the Dead Daisies the next day and we’ve been going nonstop since.  Mick and I have talked and I don’t know when Mick and I are going to be able to get in a room together, and I don’t want to hold him up, but at the moment it’s looking like between The Daisies , my solo band, shows I have I’m probably going to be booked until December 21!

The Rockpit: Wow, it’s pretty busy and keeping you out on the road away from home must be pretty hard.

John: Yes, I guess we’ve learned to deal with it, my bank account loves me but my wife is saying “What? I don’t know if I signed up for this!” (laughs)

The Rockpit: And here I am interrupting you both watching your movie together! (John and his wife were watching ‘13 Hours’ when I called, which he recommends).

The Rockpit: Of the songs on the album are there any that you love more than the others, and that are sure to make it into the live set. I know I have my favourites but there’s nothing really on there I wouldn’t want to hear live?

John: Well to be honest with you we just rehearsed in New York for a week and I can say that we’ve been putting together different sets for shows over the next six months or so. We’re doing all these different shows: acoustic shows that we’re doing at Hard Rock Cafés, so we have a set for that, then because we’re doing a bunch of festivals and other headline shows we needed a 45 minute set a 60 minute set and then a 75 minute set. So I’m pretty sure that at some point we’ll pretty much be playing all of the songs from the new record.

The Rockpit: The Dead Daisies are also well known for putting a few covers on the albums to get the crowds going, the Who cover ‘How Does It Feel’ is great and when I read that you were doing ‘Fortunate Son’ I was kinda disappointed as so many bands have covered it over the years, until that was I heard Doug’s guitar!

John: He’s a beast! I mean when you’re standing on the stage and you turn around like I did last year, and you see Brian Tichy, Marco Mendoza, David Lowy, Richard Fortus and Dizzy Reed, and then Richard and Dizzy say “Well we gotta go” (Back to Guns ‘N’ Roses) I was just like, you know I love Richard’s playing, and it was actually Richard who said you should get Doug Aldrich. And we all thought that would be a great fit. I’ve literally known Doug since he was 17 back in Philadelphia we grew up in the same town, so we go back a long, long time but we’ve never been in a band together. And I always knew Doug was a great player but then getting into the studio with him and being able to work with him, not only is his playing great but he’s a great song-writer too. And having him involved in this the transition was so smooth and we really didn’t miss a beat so it’s been awesome.

The Rockpit: So before the solo album you have the live record of the ‘Motley Crue’ album show which we loved when we saw it; I guess by the time that one comes out Nikki will have changed his mind about it again? (laughs)

John: Seriously, all I’ve got to say to that is ‘No Comment’! (laughs)

The Rockpit: Your last solo album back in 2012 was an all acoustic affair, and we’ve talked to you every year since, this one though is going to be the all-electric affair you promised us?

John: Yeah the next one, you know I have a bunch of ideas and I’ll have little two week windows when I have time off, so my thought process is we’ll get the guys together during those windows and start working on those ideas . Even if I can go in and just lay down just two or three ideas with Michael Wagener at a time, I should be able to have a new solo record, electric, ready to go sometime next year I’m hoping.

The Rockpit: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us today John. The new The Dead Daisies album is out pretty much everywhere on August 5th. Have a safe flight over the pond and take care of yourself. See you Down under again soon.

John: I hope so. Aright buddy, always good to talk to you, thank you.

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