Interview conducted April 22 2018
Interview published May 10 2018
"It's actually kind of scary, because a lot of
the bands that I really loved are starting to slow down and stop."
The Dead Daisies came to Stockholm,
Sweden for a gig on the tour for their new record Burn It Down and guitar
player Doug Aldrich took some time to talk
with Metal Covenant.
Tobbe: The new record. Let's talk a little
bit about it. It just recently came out. In what way does that record
kind of take the band forward on its musical path?
Doug: We decided we wanted to make something
a little bit different than the last record. We did really good with
Make Some Noise, but we didn't wanna repeat it, because a lot of times
you can get into a rat race just trying to chase yourself. We don't
wanna do that, so we said "What do we like about Make Some Noise
and what could we make to be better?" and we agreed that some of
the heavier riffs were really great live, so we wanted to get some heavier
I was really happy that we got some softer sides too, you know. Stuff
like Judgement Day and Set Me Free, you know. It kind of pushes the
envelope; pushes the sound a little bit. Each record with the bands
that I really liked when I was a kid, like Zeppelin, had all a different
flavor. And looking back, we didn't plan on that, but looking back it's
kind of like that a little bit. I'm definitely not comparing us to Led
Zeppelin though. [Laughs]
Tobbe: And you work with Marti [Frederiksen]
again. Was there ever a question whether to work with him?
Doug: You know, since we had done well with the
last one we thought it was
It's a great place to record. His studio
[Sienna] is a complex and so you can have 2 or 3 rooms going at once.
The band can be playing in one room and John [Corabi] can be working
on lyrics in another room, or I can be doing solos in one room and he
could be doing singing in another room. It's just a good place; it's
a good vibe there.
But Marti was hired to produce and we wanted
to stick to the traditional producer thing. You know, where in the '70s
a producer was really in charge. So Marti was in charge. Marti had the
last word on everything. Sound, mix, direction, everything. Personally,
I sometimes would disagree with certain things, but I mean, I just put
my idea out there and then it's his choice, you know, what we do.
But he's super talented. Marti is a very talented
producer and songwriter and he definitely keeps us kicking ass, like
when we got together to write, he wouldn't bring any ideas, but we would
bring him our ideas and we'd start going through them and he'd help
us with polishing them up and finishing them. And
then we would just record them on an iPhone. You know, very rough, and
then we kind of listen to them once and we pick maybe 20 to go through
and then narrow it down from there.
Can there be any disadvantages with making the record a group effort,
instead of, like, working on your own at your own place?
Doug: It depends on what you're trying to achieve.
I mean, if you're trying to achieve perfection in your own brain, then
yes, working by yourself is better. [Laughs] But if you're in a band
and you're trying to represent the band and everybody is involved, it
definitely leads to things moving very fast. You know, that's why we
can go in and make a record in 2 months, 6 weeks, whatever, because
everyone is pushing for every idea. It doesn't matter if it's mine or
yours or somebody's, we're always working towards it. We split everything
equally, so it's not like you have to go, like "Oh man, I'm not
gonna make as much money, so I got to get more songs in there.",
you know. We don't do that. We just split it.
Tobbe: It must be hard to find a group of
guys that are so open-minded to other people's ideas, right?
Doug: After you get to a certain point
I mean, I've been through those things with Whitesnake, where it was
me and David [Coverdale] doing everything, and I kind of felt like it
would be nice if we could do it as a band more. But it's not the way
some bands work. You know, they do it in a different way and with this
band it has always been "Everybody works together on everything.".
And the other thing that's cool is that, you
know, David [Lowy, guitar], who's the founder, basically likes everyone
to work with their strengths, so it's not like everyone is trying to
do exactly the same thing at the same time. You know, I'd be working
on this, he's working on that and everyone is working on their own part
of the process. After being in so many bands and working, it's nice
to be in a situation where everyone does care and everyone is working
on it. And that's where David, with his guitar style
can appreciate how he approaches it. It's something totally different
than how I would do it.
if I was going for the exact sound in my head, whatever I might wanna
be doing, I might do something differently, but for Dead Daisies the
mix of his guitar and mine sounds really good together, 'cause he plays
a different way than I do and vice versa. And he has a very more honest,
simplistic approach and I come from when, you know, everyone wanted
to be Ritchie Blackmore.
Tobbe: For how many records can a band actually
collaborate with a producer without coming out, like, too similar in the
end, with every record?
Doug: I don't know. We'll see what happens. I
think that if we weren't feeling that the songs were working, then we
would probably take a step back and say "You know, we have to rethink
this thing.". But we have so many ideas to choose from and it's
really fun to see how a record kind of takes shape. I mean, we had 3
or 4 songs kind of partially written, and we have a full arrangement,
that we would put down, knowing that it was gonna change.
It was like: here is the guitar solo, "Okay,
we play the chords", but I'm thinking to myself "I'm definitely
gonna change those chords, so when the solo comes back to the riff it's
fresh.", or something like that, in my head. But it's like "Okay,
just to say it's a finished song. Cool!". And we know we've got
some things to work on. But it's really
cool to see how we get all these songs together and they start to take
shape and then you start to pick and choose the ones that are gonna
go together. And it was not on purpose that we made a different sounding
record, but it just kind of happened.
So, I think it's interesting. I mean, it's a
good question. I think when you get on a run with a producer
long as everyone's contributing, and it's not like, you know, the producer
is just telling you what to do, maybe it'll stay fresh, because we're
always pushing, like: I already have a couple of song ideas for another
record. It's not for anything else but The Dead Daisies. It would only
fit for The Dead Daisies. But I'm excited about, you know, whenever
that process comes, if it's this year, or next year, or something, it'll
Tobbe: I was reading the liner notes and
how come you have only lyrics to 4 songs there and the rest of the lyrics
you have to find on the web?
Doug: I did not know that, to be honest.
Kind of weird to me.
Doug: Yeah, that is kind of weird. I didn't know
that. That's a management call. They have some interesting ideas that
are actually pretty cool. You know, 'cause it engages people. So if
somebody is interested in the lyrics, they're gonna go there. When I
was a kid, if I was listening to a song I liked to look at the lyrics,
just to see what the song was about. But after I had looked at them
I would only listen to the guitar. I was always focused on the music.
Tobbe: But aren't people supposed to get
some extra stuff when they buy the physical product? I would say so.
Doug: Yes. I would say so too. That's a good
point and it's noted. I'll have a word with them. But I didn't know
Tobbe: The band definitely has its sound
of course, but in which way do you look at the band's progress, like,
in an uncertain time for rock music?
Doug: It is uncertain times for rock music, but
the people that love classic rock, or classic style rock, still wanna
go and see shows. I mean, I do. I love that stuff. It's actually kind
of scary, because a lot of the bands that I really loved are starting
to slow down and stop. Or people are dying, you know. But I think that
people still love it and people are bringing their kids to it. Like,
my kids love rock. I got a little boy who's 8 and a girl who's 2 and
they love rock. You know, we'll have dance parties to Bruno Mars or
whatever, but when it comes to, in the car, Mötley Crüe wins.
You know, it's funny, with some of the simpler
songs, like: I was in the studio and I was listening to the mixes back
and both my kids were in the backyard on bikes and they came to the
studio door and they're sitting there and they're both going like this
[Nods a couple of times.] and I'm like "That's cool!", you
know. I think, for my boy, it's because: when I left Whitesnake I took
a job in Las Vegas and I was playing in basically a cover band, but
it was with guys like Howard Leese and Robin McAuley, all these guys,
and we were playing at this casino [Hard Rock Hotel & Casino]. It's
called Raiding The Rock Vault, and it's a really great show, and it
was a lot of fun, but the thing that it was was, that in between Whitesnake,
it was an opportunity to play and I could still be home with my boy.
lived with me in the hotel, with my girlfriend, and he came to the show
every night, and he loved it, you know. This show has all these great
songs, like Stairway To Heaven, and songs from The Doors and Hendrix,
like All Along The Watchtower, and then it goes all the way through
'til the '80s, 'til like Bon Jovi or Van Halen.
So he heard that stuff when he was 3 and 4, and
really, this is the truth, is that every night after the show, we got
done like 10 o'clock, it was summertime so my boy would sleep in with
me, we'd go to dinner at this Mexican restaurant in the hotel and it
was owned by Vince Neil, so that's how my boy loves Mötley Crüe
so much, including John Corabi. Even though it was Vince Neil's restaurant
they played Hooligan's Holiday and some other songs and he was like
"Man, Mötley Crüe, dad.". Like "Who's your
favorite band?" - "Mötley Crüe!". "Who's
number 2?" - "Guns N' Roses". It's awesome.
Tobbe: Does he see you as kind of a rock
star or does he even care about what you're doing?
Doug: He doesn't care. We are a very typical
family. The funnest time is dinner time, you know. Breakfast and dinner.
Everyone is making a mess, eating, and having a good time. The whole
thing, music thing, is: That's my job and that's what I love to do,
but the second most thing that takes up my time is being a dad; that's
Tobbe: Please explain what being a member
of the Daisies means, in comparison to other bands you've been involved
with over the years.
Doug: It's really interesting. That's a good
question. 'Cause it's a band, in most senses, but it's very organized,
like a corporation would be, and that's something that I think David
He likes to instill in anything that he's doing. I mean,
we have budgets that we have to try and stick to and we have timeframes
that we have to stick to. And I'm not used to that with other bands.
Even when I would do a solo record, you know,
the producer would go "Doug. Look. If you need more time, man,
the music's worth it. Take it! Do it!" or the record company would
go "Hey, we'll give you some more money. You can pay us back. We'll
give you more money if you need it.". With this band it's like:
we have a budget, we got to stick to it; we got a timeframe, we got
to stick to it. And being focused is really how I think The Dead Daisies
is moving forward; hopefully moving forward. Yeah, it's different than
a lot of bands that don't have that structure.
know, with Whitesnake for example, David Coverdale is the boss and even
though you might be a songwriting partner and a business partner in
that sense, when it comes to what's gonna happen he makes the call,
totally. With this band the management decides. "Guys. This is
what we're trying to do. What do you guys think?" and then we go
from there. It's a little strict, you know, but I like it, 'cause you
get good results from that.
Tobbe: After several lineup changes in the
beginning, the lineup has now started to stabilize a bit. It's only Deen
[Castronovo, drums] who's new now. So, how do you guys look at possible
lineup changes at this point?
Doug: I mean, If you ask me I think that this
lineup that we have
Of course, I love Brian Tichy. He's one of
the greatest drummers I've ever played with and he is one of the greatest
in the world. He's so fucking good. But he didn't wanna commit to a
whole year and they wanted to have the drummer that's on the record
commit to promoting the record, you know, of course. So we got Deen,
and Deen killed it, and Deen's amazing, and he's such a great, positive
guy. Killer drummer. So I feel like this lineup right here is
This is pretty good. I mean, everybody is covering their zone and everybody's
into it and everybody's having a good time.
So I think it's pretty stable and I think the
fans want it to be stable. You know, in any band that they like; you
don't wanna see people come and go. But sometimes it's inevitable. You
know, things happen, or people get other offers, or, like in my situation
where my daughter is two. In a couple of years, I don't know. I mean,
I might not wanna go on the road for 6 months, you know. When she's
4 and is going "I need my daddy.", you know. So, we'll see
how well it goes.
Tobbe: Family is probably the hardest part
of being a touring musician.
Doug: Yes, it is. The thing is: is that with
The Dead Daisies we work 6 months out of the year. So 6 months I have
at home. I've thought about it a lot, like: my son told me at the end
of the last tour "Dad. I need you. You can't go on touring."
and I'm like "I'm not. I'm going to be home for 3 and a half months.".
And that means, like: I will wake up every day and do breakfast with
him, take him to school. Everything after school and homework, me and
him, all the time. So, that's important and it's hard to be away, but
I think it works out.