Interview by Danny Coleman
“We had a little time off; at our age now they try and give us a little time off so that we can take our arthritis medicine,” laughed a very relaxed and well rested John Corabi during a break in The Dead Daisies current tour which saw he and the band recently return from runs in Japan and Europe.
Comprised of Corabi on lead vocals, Doug Aldrich on guitar, Marco Mendoza on bass guitar, founder/guitarist David Lowy and current drummer Deen Castronovo, the band is loving life and enjoying recent success overseas and even now in the United States. A recent trip to England only served to buoy the five rockers confidence and based on crowd reactions; they appear to be firing on all cylinders.
“It was insane! It was funny, before we even got to England all of those shows were completely sold out,” said an appreciative Corabi. “All of the shows in Europe were either sold out or close. We’ve got a new album out called, “Burn It Down,” and it’s been very surprising as we’re actually charting on American radio which is a first for the band and the Billboard charts in America. We are charting on a bunch of charts in Germany, England and everywhere. It’s weird how the charts work; I don’t pay attention to any of that stuff. I’m just waiting for when they give me the green light and management comes to me and says, OK you can start shopping for your Shelby GT Cobra, then I’ll know that things are good (laughs).”
Despite their best efforts, it seems they struggle for the same results here in the U.S. and as stated the band is just now charting for the first time on American radio and often seem to fly under the radar but that appears to be changing.
“It’s weird, it’s different perspectives in different countries; not to sound weird but the only country where we are flying a bit under the radar is America. Everything takes time and we’ll eventually get to where we want to be. The music scene in America is different than it used to be, it requires a bit more time and patience and work but we are definitely seeing growth everywhere that we go and that’s even here. Hopefully I’ll be able to order that Shelby Cobra soon but I won’t put a time frame on it (laughs).”
So as a unit; does the band feel a letdown going from sold out European shows to less than the occasional stellar crowds here at home?
“No not really; look, like you were saying earlier, we’ve all been doing this for so long, we know how it works. This isn’t the first band that I’ve done where I’ve had to work it from the ground up. I’m not sure if Marco, Doug and Deen have ever been in this situation before but we understand; you’ve got to earn your stripes in America just like you do in Japan or Germany. America is a little bit of a harder market, it’s such a huge country and there’s a gazillion things to do here. I did an interview with somebody from overseas and I said, when I turn my TV on I have 1800 channels (laughs) and nowhere else in the world will you turn the TV on and have that many channels, it’s crazy. So trying to get somebody in America to leave their house, first of all get off their couch; that’s the big one, put their remote down, get in their cars, you’re spending money for gas, spending money to park, spending money on a ticket or cover charge, maybe have a couple of beers and buy a tee shirt, you’re talking a couple of hundred bucks. I’m just as guilty, I’ll have friends text me and say, hey we’re in town we’re playing here or there come on out and see us and I’m like, yeah OK cool and then I’ll talk to my wife and she’ll come home from work and be kind of tired and by then I’m like, yeah I’m not feeling it either and we stay home and watch eight episodes of, “Sons of Anarchy” (laughs) and we say, ah lets just stay in tonight; so I’m just as guilty of it as well. Overseas, for some reason when a band like us goes to Europe or Japan it’s more of an event, it’s like the whole, “They’ve Arrived,” type of thing. I don’t know why it’s that way but if I could figure it out and bottle it I’d be a very wealthy man.”
“I remember when I was growing up in Philadelphia and I was playing in the cover band scene/club circuit and we were doing originals and covers and there was this place where Jon Bon Jovi recorded next to one of the clubs and there was this band that came over from England. They stayed in Philadelphia for a while and recorded and played some shows while there and I remember those guys would go out and come to some of the rock bars to see who was playing and then suddenly they did a show with zero press, nobody knew who they were, we hadn’t heard a lick of music but they walked into a few of the clubs that we were struggling to sell out and it was like chaos. They were completely sold out and I was scratching my head and even the guitar player laughed and said, “It’s amazing how far an English accent will go,” and it was just because people saw them, I mean just saw them around town and bopping around the clubs a bit and they told people, “We’re in town and recording where Bon Jovi recorded”and word got out that an English band was recording where Bon Jovi did his record and people went crazy; so it can work the opposite way too.”
Yes, the music scene is definitely different in today’s downloadable world and with recent proclamations from various publications and online forums that the millennial generation has caused the, “Death of rock music” by abandoning the genre in droves for techno rock, Hip-Hop and/or rap music; does Corabi feel that the audiences have become less enthusiastic about The Dead Daisies or rock music in general?
“No,” he stated with conviction. “No because I think the thing that has changed everything, I think the fans are still there; when you go to these big festivals anywhere in the world the fans are still there. I think the methods that we the musicians and record labels use now are different; there is no MTV and radio has become very programmed. There’s Clear Channel, Live Nation and I think they basically own just about every freaking radio station on earth and every concert hall. So what’s happening is, you don’t have radio, you don’t have MTV so these bands are having to figure out how to promote themselves. I think that part is different, the fans are still there but they don’t know that The Dead Daisies just made a new record but here is where our management company has been incredibly genius about the whole thing. They figured out, oh there’s no MTV so we’ll use YouTube, there’s no radio so we’ll bombard Pandora and Spotify and hit iTunes; we’re going to work the audience through social media. They’ve been incredibly smart at not just alerting everybody to our tours and records but they’ve actually brought the fans into our world and they’re great at it! I don’t think the whole rock is dead thing is happening, I think that the bands are having to figure out new methods of getting the word out. I think some things are different; obviously record sales. Bands that would sell five million, three million or whatever albums, those days are gone unless you’re Madonna or a massive U2 type band but even those guys are figuring out ways to get their record out there; what was that record that U2 did where they basically worked out a deal and gave Apple their album for people to download for free? So even they’re figuring out different ways of getting through to the audiences; things are changing and the only thing that’s a drag right now is record sales. Like I said earlier there’s so many free files being shared and sharing sites that the bands are not making the money that they used to make that way. Years ago you’d go on tour to promote your record and you’d sell the record and make your money there and now you put out a record to promote the tour that you’re doing and that’s where the bands make their money so it’s kind of weird and you don’t make the money that you used to. I look at when I was in Motley Crue and I think about Nikki Sixx’s house and his toys; those days are gone. Motley and a bunch of those bands that made money in the 80’s would not have made that kind of money now because of the way things are set up, things are just different but it’s not dead.”
The Dead Daisies are currently back in home in the states and gathering momentum with each and every show. These veteran performers bring an energy and personality to the stage that many of today’s acts lack. Hard rocking, good time music combined with likable personas from each member makes for a great combination that is always worth the price of admission.
To discover more about The Dead Daisies, please go to www.thedeaddaisies.com.
Danny Coleman (Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 10 p.m. EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.)