Interview by: Robert Cavuoto
What do you get when you put five all-star musicians together to make a record; you get pure adrenaline driven rock n’ roll in the vein of Aerosmith, AC/DC with Van Halen-esque solos! The Dead Daisies will be releasing their third CD; Make Some Noise, due out on August 5th via Spitfire Music / SPV and it celebrates the kind of classic rock that has gone missing since the early 1970s when performed in sweaty clubs and hallowed concert halls. The CD is dripping with strong hook, memorable riff and an uncanny knack for melody.
Songs like “Long Way To Go” couldn’t have been delivered better by AC/DC. “Mainline” and “Last Time I Saw The Sun” brings to mind the likes of Aerosmith. The title track “Make Some Noise” is nothing less than a self-confident, tongue-in-cheek rock statement that summarizes this album’s general direction.
David Lowy raised the bar with a high-caliber line-up of musicians that includes John Corabi of Mötley Crüe on vocals, Doug Aldrich of Whitesnake & Dio on guitar, Marco Mendoza of Whitesnake & Thin Lizzy on bass and Brian Tichy of Whitesnake & Billy Idol on drums and speed bag!
I caught up with John Corabi while in NYC rehearsing for their upcoming summer tour with Kiss to talk about the making of their new CD and what we can expect from Mick Mars’ solo CD that is also working on.
Robert Cavuoto: I’m a little late to the party with The Dead Daisies but now a fan after listening to Make Some Noise and your 2015 release; Revolucion. How did you come to join the band?
John Corabi: David Lowy our other guitarist and the original singer, John Stevens, wrote songs and did the first CD and EP with Marco. I don’t know exactly and don’t want to speak out of term but there was a reason that John couldn’t go to Cuba. Marco called me up and said to come down and check out the band. I flew to LA to meet everyone and shortly after that we were in Cuba. Two week later we were in Sydney Australia doing a record. It’s been non-stop since.
Robert: Did you have audition?
John Corabi: No, I knew Brian and their keyboardist at the time Dizzy Reed as well as Marco. Management did a little homework on me and went back to listen to my old stuff. I think Cuba was really my audition [laughing]. I think they brought me to Cuba to see what I was like to work with and how I worked an audience. Of course to make sure that I wasn’t a raving lunatic or didn’t have “Lead Singer Disease!” [Laughing].
Robert: The band has had a lot of line-up changes, is that intentional or is it’s a perpetual quest to find the right players for a long term band?
John Corabi: I can’t speak from the beginning of the band. One thing I can say is David told me he wanted to put together a killer band and with some killer musicians. The selling point for me, as I had a solo band that I have been touring the US, was we are going to make a CD and go on tour. David said if there are some shows that I can’t do because of previous commitments than they will get someone to fill in for me. When I come back, I come back. If you look at the line-up, Richard and Dizzy had to leave as they will be touring with Guns n’ Roses for the next 2 ½ years at the least. Richard was the person that suggested we reach out to Doug.
Marco had a commitment with Black Star Riders or Thin Lizzy so they called up Darryl Jones to fill in for him on those dates. When Marco was done he came back. Same thing with Brian, he couldn’t do the Kiss tour in Europe as he had prior commitments so we got Tommy Clufetos of Black Sabbath to fill in. We are all friends and have a Rolodex with millions of friends who we have known for years. If someone can’t make it, then we will get someone to fill in. So all those names that you read about is just a misleading stat.
Robert: Tell me a little about the two Daisies’ CDs that you are on. They both sound different yet equally as good?
John Corabi: I can honestly tell you that when we go into the studio there’s no blueprint or formula. I think the eclectic sound we had on Revolucion was because of the keyboards. When Richard and Dizzy went back to Guns, David told me that John Stevens really wanted keyboards but he wanted just two guitar, bass, drums and lead singer. So we agreed to go that route for Make Some Noise. We had some songs in the works that were slow and trippy; Zeppelin –esque, but when we listened to all the songs together there were 12 songs that sounded like a CD and a couple of odd balls to the left. That’s not to say that they won’t be used in the future, but the overall sound of the CD was these twelve songs. It’s got an old school Aerosmith, AC/DC, or Guns n’ Roses vibe.
The funny thing about this band is that we don’t give ourselves a lot of time to record. We live all over the world with David in Australia; I live in Nashville, and the other guys in LA. So when we decided to get together for this record as well as the last one, we didn’t have any finished songs; only riffs. We literally wrote, recorded and mixed in five week. The last record took only 32 days and that was because they had a head start with three songs already started with John Stevens.
Robert: Which song on Make Some Noise has your biggest imprint?
John Corabi: I would probably say “Last Time I Saw the Sun.” It started with a riff that I had, and then I wrote the lyrics. There wasn’t any one song that any one guy brought in; it’s all a group effort.
Robert: Did you play any guitar on this CD?
John Corabi: Nope, when you have two guitar players like Doug and David why bother! [laughing]
Robert: Will you be playing guitar at the live shows?
John Corabi: I play acoustic on “Lock n Load” from the first record and I play acoustic on a couple of songs when we do a headlining sets. I can do it but there’s really no need, they don’t need a third guy shitting on their parade [laughing].
Robert: My favorite song on Make Some Noise is “Long Way to Go,” what can you tell me about it?
John Corabi: That was actually a riff that David had. He would get to the venue before a show; pour himself a glass of wine, and sit there and play up for up to 30 minutes before we would go on. During that time he would play all these little riffs and exercise. When we started working on the CD in the studio, he pulled that riff out from those practice sessions. There was something about that riff that had a bit of jerkiness to it. I couldn’t figure where to sing, how to sing to it, and what to write about. One day when we were in the studio and David had just finished playing his guitar part for that song and he as walking out of the control room. As I was walking in, I asked him how it was going. He said, “We have a long way to go and no time to get there.” The light bulb went off. I sat down and wrote some lyrics about how the world is so fucking crazy nowadays. “Let’s talk about what we are seeing on the news everyday and we can say whatever we want and that we want to change everything and make it better but in all honesty we have a long way to go, no time to get there. As fast as we want to change the world it’s changing that much faster, we have to figure it out.”
Robert: On Revolucion; I love the song “Midnight Moses” it’s such a great song?
John Corabi: A lot of people don’t realize that it’s a cover song. A band from the 70’s called The Sensational Alex Harvey Band wrote it. They were really crazy looking. The keyboard player wore a bathrobe, the bassist wore his underwear outside his jeans, and the guitarist was a mime! They were a very theatrical band. When it came time for us to make the CD, the band is always looking to include a cover song so I suggested “Midnight Moses.” They loved and it and we did it live in Cuba, I said, “Heeeey” to the audience and they said it right back to us, 2,000 people. We looked at each other and said that might be the second cover song for the CD [laughing]. It’s a rowdy anthem that people love. I also remember a cover band growing up in NJ/Philly area called the Dead End Kids who used to do and I loved it. This was my tip of the hat to those two great bands.
Robert: I know that you have worked with Mick Mars of Motley Crue on his solo CD, what can you tell us about it?
John Corabi: I did a couple of tracks with him. I would like to help him but I told him that I don’t want to do anything half-assed for him or me! I have to figure out how to do it without spreading myself to thin. Whatever he needs me to do I’ll do it if I can.
Robert: Do you know if he is looking to form a band for the CD?
John Corabi: I think initially it started as me helping with his CD and then I started to get more involved. In all honesty Mick and I are great friends. He would call me and ask if I was going to be around on a weekend? I’d tell him I’m in Europe or where ever and when I got back he would be gone. It was hard to line everything up. Instead of dragging things on and on, I’m going to see if there is any way to make it work.
Robert: The songs that you helped Mick with, what style of music were they?
John Corabi: The only thing we’ve done are those two little snippets of music he put out. He got off the road in January with Crue as I got off the road with my solo band. I ran into the studio to do those two songs with him and then went on the Monsters of Rock Cruise. The day that I got home from the cruise, I dropped my wife off, and then went into the studio with the Daisies.
Robert: What was the story behind the recent photo of you and Vince Neil, it seems to have attracted a lot of attention?
John Corabi: I’ve known Vince since he came back to Cure. I was in the studio with them when they were recording Generation Swine. Back then, on many occasions we would talk about the situation and life. Recently we both ended up doing a festival in Nashville called Farm Rock. I played both nights; once opening for Tom Kiefer acoustically and then electrically for Vince. We were on the bus talking about how fans are so surprised that we get along and laughing about it. One of the guys in his band said let’s do a photo, the next day I was having some fun with it and posted “Look who I ran into…” Then he put it on his Instagram page. He is a great dude; he has never been anything than super cool to me.
Robert: You are touring with Kiss this summer, is that intimating in any way?
John Corabi: Honestly not at all. They have an amazing show and put the professionalism in professionalism. We all have known each other for so fucking long; it’s like going out with a bunch of friends. It’s like a dude fest. Gene Simmons tried to sign my first band before The Scream in 87 or 88. Doug Aldrich auditioned for Kiss in in 1982 after Ace Frehley left. I’ve met Paul Stanley and Gene several times when I played in Union with Bruce Kulick as well as Eric Singer from the band ESP when we toured Europe. They treat us great and we respect the shit out of them. I look forward to getting back out with them.