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
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
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
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, 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.]
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
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?".
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
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.
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.
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
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
(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.
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?
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
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
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
(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
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
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
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.
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.