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Interview conducted August 05 2016
Interview published August 16 2016

"I would like to sell one more record than Michael Jackson's Thriller so I can retire and live in a resort somewhere."

The all-star band The Dead Daisies released their 3rd album, Make Some Noise, on August 5th and when the band was in Sweden, for an appearance at Skogsröjet festival, on that very same day of the album release, Metal Covenant met up with vocalist John Corabi and guitarist Doug Aldrich for a few questions about their brand new creation.

"They wanna see this thing happen."

Tobbe: So, a new record out today, so what does it bring to the overall brand of The Dead Daisies?

John: It's our first record with Doug and in a way it's the next step for us. It's just a straight ahead, kick-ass, rock 'n' roll, no-frills record and definitely the next step in the Daisies repertoire. (Doug:) It adds to an already cool catalogue of songs that they have. Every record has its own thing and has a progression, but it's got a common thread. I mean, like for example, John was on Revolución, so it sounds like the same band automatically. You know, it's just a really fun record. We had a good time making it and hopefully people feel that when they hear it.

Tobbe: So what is your main goal with the record, you know, as physical record sales are decreasing?

John: Me personally, I would like to sell one more record than Michael Jackson's Thriller so I can retire and live in a resort somewhere. I might be overshooting the runway with that wish, but… Honestly, you know what, I can't speak for everybody, but my goals are to just write the best songs we can, recording the best that we can sonically, so that they sound great and then go on stage and just play and have fun and kick ass, you know what I mean? The music industry is so weird and it's so hard to tell what's gonna connect with people and what's not gonna connect.

So once the record was done and we turned it over I just kind of go [dusting off his hands], you know, whatever, and it's like my brain goes to the next phase, which is playing live. So as far as goals, honestly, I would be lying if I didn't say we hoped that it sold a ton of records and people just embraced it. You know, obviously that's what we're all striving for, but, you know, now it's in the hands of the universe, so.

Tobbe: So what's your opinion on Spotify and such channels, because that's pretty close to illegal downloading if you look at the money the average artist gets out of it? It's been around for a while now.

John: It's been around, and I think eventually they'll figure it out and they'll make some adjustments, you know what I mean? There's a lot of people that are complaining about it. On one hand it helps newer bands kind of get out there and get their music to the masses. Honestly, I think it comes down more to the fans.

Once the fans kind of embrace the fact or realize that they like the band, but they also realize that, you know, not to bring business into it, this is how we make our living and if they understand how Spotify and all those things work, maybe they will actually be more apt to go and buy a physical record or an actual download that is credited as an album sale, you know what I mean? But it's really up to the fans, you know.

(Doug:) You know, it's interesting too, there's a lot of people, especially in Europe, that really want the hard copy. If they're a fan of the band they want the hard copy, because generally at home they have a system that's connected to a CD-player that sounds killer. And a lot of times, you know, it's just nice, that when you wanna hear the record, just grab it and put it on.

But you're right. It makes it difficult to get paid, but I mean, that's the world we live in, so we have to face it and just try to find a way to adapt. But my goal for this record is, is that we build more and more for the band as a whole and I hope that we can get to the point where we're headlining some festivals, you know, in the next couple of years. It'd be great.

Tobbe: A little step by step.

Doug: It's definitely step by step. I mean, right now we're low on the bill on some of them and we're high on the bill in one or two. But it would be nice to keep moving up, you know, and I think this record will give us that opportunity.

(John:) Yes, it's definitely building now. From where we were, even last year when I joined the band, to now, I can see the momentum. I mean, as a group we can feel it, we can see it. You know, there's more and more fans that are writing, that are on our social media sites and it's like the fan numbers are growing, growing, growing. And now there's even a little bit of a swell in America.

Radio stations now are starting to play it and fans are excited that we're coming to play with Kiss. So it is growing, you know, but like Doug said, it would be cool to be able to come to some of these festivals and be up here, you know what I mean? [John points at the biggest names on a festival poster right beside me.]

Tobbe: And you're doing a signing session later tonight and you did one when you were in Stockholm last year…

John: Honestly, it's rare when we don't do one. Like there was a club that we played the other day in Germany and it was packed. It was sold out and there was nowhere for us to set a table up, so, you know, they asked us not to do one. But normally, every show that we do, we'll go to the dressing room, dry off for a couple of minutes and we come right down. And we actually have our own posters that we give to the fans and we'll sign old records, new records, posters, pictures, whatever, so. We try to do that, at least for a half hour, 45 minutes, an hour, or something like that.

Tobbe: So let's get back to the album a bit. What has inspired you lyrically on Make Some Noise?

John: Life. I mean, if you ask me about anyone of the songs I can probably tell you where the inspiration comes from. Like with Long Way To Go, you can't turn the news on without some crazy bullshit happening, or seeing something in Paris, or in America, or Germany, or whatever, so. You know, it's just life. I mean, there's songs on there about some of my past loves in my life, with All The Same.

There's another song called Last Time I Saw The Sun, which is basically about our life on the road. You know, so it's just things we see, things we hear and things we say. Somebody will say something that's catchy and it's like "Oh. That's a great hook line.", you know, whatever. So it's just life.

Tobbe: During the studio sessions, did you all gather together or was it more like fly in/fly out to do your work?

John: No, we were all together. (Doug:) Another cool thing about it, you can hear it and feel it on the record, is that everybody was working together on every song, you know, and trying to help take it to the next level.

(John:) And to expand on that. You know, at one point I was in a room and Doug was in a room and figuring guitar solos out. And I was right off the same room and he would come in and "Hey, what are you doing?", you know, and look at my lyrics, and I'd read stuff to him. just to get a feedback. You know "Is this cool?".

Same with all the other guys and if I get stumped on something there's no real ego where I'm like "I have to be the lyric guy!". We all help each other, you know. Even with solos. Doug would come in and go "Hey Crab! What do you think of this?". So we're all very open.

Tobbe: But you perhaps didn't contribute equally to the songwriting, like 20/20/20…?

John: Everything is completely equal, yes. (Doug:) Except John did most of the lyrics. Marti Frederiksen was really good, because he and John worked along together to kind of tweak stuff. But I mean, the majority of that stuff, it was John.

Tobbe: So Marti, with his skill as a songwriter, how much could he actually contribute to guys of your experience?

Doug: A lot. The little things can make a big difference. (John:) Yeah. It was cool. I mean, first of all, when we started the record we really didn't have any songs written. We all just got into a room, Doug had a bunch of ideas on his computer, I had some on my phone and David, you know, all of us. We sat down. The cool thing about the band is that at one point I was looking around the room and Doug had a guitar, David had a guitar, I had a guitar… Marco had a guitar… Brian had a guitar… and even Marti had a guitar

So if there was ideas and we'd get to maybe "Oh, God, what do we do here?", somebody would go "How about this?", you know. So it was all very equal. We had about 20, like, I call them maps. We had like 20 maps for songs and then we sat down and we sorted out, like "OK. What's the best 13, 14, 15 songs?" and then everybody went into a room. Brian was set up. Everybody was in the room together and all the tracks were laid down live. You know, like the rhythm, the bed tracks. So it was very much a group effort, you know.

Tobbe: Beforehand I see it like: bringing experienced musicians, gather them together in a room and supposedly everyone knows best…

Doug: Well, that's the thing. You have to trust each other. We're all friends too, so that helps. You can talk if somebody's coming from the right place and they're just saying "Hey! What if we try this? Check this out! What do you think?". And it was: nobody was trying to push anything and it was just trying to be helpful with the song. Like I would get stuck with something I'd pass off to John or vice versa, right? And then there was a couple of things where, you know, we were trying to work on something and John just like "I'm gonna go over here and work." and he came back and "Hey guys! Check this out!", which was totally different than what we were working on, but it's like it inspired us.

We basically were just going crazy working on new ideas and really into it, but Marti could add a lot because he would make small tweaks. Just little things that would make the song really come together or, there was one period at the very beginning when there were so many ideas flowing and he decided "Let's break you guys into groups. John and Marco go in one room. Doug and Brian go in one room. David and I will work together.".

We all had a specific job to do that day and then we got together and "Here's what I got! Here's what I got!" and it's for the better of the record, you know. But the thing about the record is, and this is what I like about it, it's easy to listen to, it's easy to digest, it's fun rock 'n' roll. It's not meant to change the world, but there are some really cool lyrics going on and some really time sensitive lyrics that are interesting when you read into it, 'cause he's kind of a strange cat, John Corabi, and you never know what's really going on in there.

But the record itself is a fun, easy to digest record and it kind of just starts off and kicks ass and keeps kicking ass. I really enjoy that. There's another thing that Marti had suggested was: we had a couple of ballads that we were trying to see where they would fit and there was one in particular that we really liked. We cut it and Marti said "You know what? I just want you guys to sound kick-ass raw rocking. I don't wanna slow it down. I wanna keep it going.". Just keep the record up.

(John:) Yeah. And, you know, the one thing Marti kept saying was, like "These songs have a very Aerosmith - Rocks, AC/DC, actually even Guns N' Roses - Appetite For Destruction. It's very bang, bang, bang, bang, bang!". So he goes "No. We can come back to the ballads later. Right now, let's just do a kick-ass, straight ahead record." and we were like "OK."

Tobbe: You have 2 covers on the album, but aren't the Daisies big enough to stand on its own feet nowadays, if you know what I mean, and use your own songs?

Doug: It's fun though. It's still fun to play. I mean, and put our spin on 'em. We were only gonna put one on the record. John suggested we'd try and have a shot at Join Together [by The Who], because he loved that song. Everybody loves that song, but you forget about how great that song is. And he actually suggested Midnight Moses [by Alex Harvey], on the previous record, to the guys.

So he had some credibility, so we tried it and it worked out great, you know. And then, one day the management came in and said "Hey! I want you guys to cut Fortunate Son [by Creedence Clearwater Revival] too.", 'cause these guys had been playing it all over the world last year. So I had a listen and learned the arrangement that they were doing and we played it live. We just did it on the spot. It wasn't meant to be on the record. It was meant to be an extra, a bonus.

(John:) Like a bonus track. The record company heard it and they're like "No. We want 'em all on there.". But it's kind of too, like, you know, a lot of people were throwing things around, like, you know "Supergroup" or this or that and you know what? At the end of the day, we're just, honestly, music fans. These are bands that we grew up listening to, we grew up admiring and it's kind of our tip of the hat to them, you know what I mean? So we'll always do 2 cover songs on our records.

I don't see the harm in it, you know, and even when we play live we throw a couple of covers in and we get the audience singing along. It's something that they've heard a million times, whatever it may be. Whether it's All Right Now [by Free] or Midnight Moses or, you know, something by Led Zeppelin. We just kind of randomly throw these things out and they grab a hold of it for a minute or two and then we can actually do our songs as well. You know, it's a party.

Tobbe: You know, most all-star bands or supergroups or whatever they're called, they only last for 1 or 2 records, but now you have 3 records out and what will make you different from all those other bands and continue growing?

Doug: Well, one thing is, is that this band tours a lot. A lot of those bands don't tour that much. I mean, I'm a fan of Black Country Communion for example, and they never tour, you know. And that's what's cool about Dead Daisies. We're ready to throw down and get it out to the fans, meet people after the show and do whatever it takes to build.

(John:) Our management is already poking shit for next year, you know what I mean? So the band does tour constantly. You know, I think this record actually solidifies this lineup. We're going out and we've been getting great responses from the audiences when we play. So we're just gonna keep the ball rolling, you know I mean? And as long as fans wanna hear music from The Dead Daisies we're gonna give it to 'em, so.

Tobbe: I looked at your touring itinerary and it was like packed until Christmas or something, so my question would be, even if you've already said a few words about it: What is 2017 gonna be like for the Daisies?

Doug: Sleep. (John:) For a little bit anyway. (Doug:) One of the things that also is really cool about The Dead Daisies is it's got a big machine bind. You know, just management and a lot of people who are pulling together to help us, 'cause they believe in the band, you know. It doesn't matter who's in the band. They wanna see this thing happen. Now this lineup is feeling really good. It feels comfortable for us and we're all into it, so the whole machine is kind of working together. We don't really know exactly what the plan is for next year, but I know that it's gonna carry over.

Tobbe: With all these member changes, that you have had, how do you stick to the original idea as best as possible?

John: Well, here's a thing. I know if you go online or do research there's a long list of names that have been involved. David Lowy put the band together. Started it in 2012 with Jon Stevens. Jon is an amazing singer, you know, but at the end of the day they kind of did it backwards. Most bands get together, they find the members, and then they'll write for a while, and then they go to a record. They did it the opposite way.

They got together, they wrote like 20 some songs, and they went into the studio, and they hired people to play on the tracks, and then they went right out and hired a bunch of different cats playing with them. And, kind of, people fall along the wayside. They just aren't blending. You know, so they had a few things that they had to correct in that lineup. They eventually got Marco, Brian, Richard [Fortus, guitar] and Dizzy [Reed, keyboards] and, honestly, like Jon didn't work out, but…whatever. I came in and now Doug is here, but a lot of the people that are on the list wanted the things that the Daisies also does and that's making it kind of stress-free.

They know having a guy like Doug in the band. Doug is in demand. He does a show in [Las] Vegas and a lot of people are always asking him playing sessions. Same with Marco. Same with Brian. When we're done here, in L.A. [The band's current tour leg ends on September 15th], Brian is doing a few shows with Don Felder from The Eagles. You know, so, the thing of it is the Daisies move forward to book shows and if there's a conflict with somebody's schedule, it's no big deal. We have friends that we can call up and just fill in for a couple of shows.

Like last year, we did the record and Brian couldn't do the Kiss tour that we did, so we had Tommy Clufetos come in. So now Tommy is on the list. He's part of The Dead Daisies family, but Brian's our drummer. Brian is that guy. So they make it easy. You know, like if I have something that I have to do, you know, it's OK, we'll get through and we'll clear it out.

(Doug:) This has worked for me. I said from the get-go that I would prefer to not do that as much, because, I mean, I'd prefer that we'd just not do the gig, you know. Especially with the singer. The singer, that's the frontman, you know. I think that the more and more the fans get attached to a band like The Dead Daisies, the more and more they wanna see a stable lineup. And that's kind of what's going on right now.

(John:) But I think now we've kind of figured out how to give everybody a nice advance notice, like "Hey! We're gonna be touring in this part here…". So now this lineup should be… You know what I mean. But a lot of the names were just friends that filled in for somebody that couldn't make a couple of shows, or whatever, so.

Tobbe: Like when you're doing the Monsters Of Rock Cruises constantly.

John: Yes. When I go home from this, I get home on September 19th, I immediately start rehearsals to start to go out to L.A. and do Monsters Of Rock Cruise, so.

Tobbe: You must love those cruises?

John: You know, it's fun. It's definitely fun. You know what? Honestly, we've [The Dead Daisies] been so busy, so my band has just been kind of sitting like "Hey, well…", you know. So I'm like "C'mon. We're gonna go do the cruise.". They have fun. Everybody has fun. I pay them well. But when we have breaks…

I also have a record coming out in October. A live album, doing the Mötley [Crüe], the '94 thing. So when we have breaks I also wanna get out and promote that record as well. So I'm constantly busy, you know. But it's good, 'cause I am definitely not a person you want to leave in a room when I'm bored.

See also: review of the album Make Some Noise

John Corabi [Crab] - vocals
Doug Aldrich - guitars
David Lowy - guitars
Marco Mendoza - bass
Brian Tichy - drums
Marti Frederiksen - producer

The last two pictures taken by Krister Jakobsson.

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