Interviewed by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
John Corabi was a feature in many bands which includes the likes of: Angora, The Scream, Mötley Crüe, Union and ESP, Ratt, Twenty 4 Seven, Zen Lunatic, Brides of Destruction, and Angel City Outlaws. There can be no doubt about the contribution this multidimensional musician, song writer, singer and guitarist has made to the annals of Rock. Not only is he a force to be reckoned with but ultimately he is a Rock Legend. We took some time out to have a chat with the lead singer of the Dead Daisies.
MGM: So you are now in the Dead Daisies and you have a new album that’s about to come out. How did you come to join the band because the last time I actually saw them over here in Belfast it was Jon Stevens that was singing.
JC: I’ve been touring here in America with my band so I just got home from a one-night gig and my phone rang and I look down and its Marco Mendoza. And I hadn’t spoken to Marco in you know a year or so. So I picked up and he proceeded to tell me about the band and the band wanted me to come down. I guess my name was in a hat or I was one of the guys they were thinking of that they wanted singing with them. I don’t know exactly what happened, you know. I kind of learned my lesson being in Motley you know what happened then or whatever between the guys went on. That’s between them. I’ve got nothing to do with it. So they just asked me to come down. I met the guys in LA. I went to Cuba with them and then they asked me to do a record so, here I am. It all seems like a big blur because it’s all happening so fast.
MGM: You recorded “Revolution” album in Cuba but as you were in a unique country wasn’t it a strange environment to be recording an album?
JC: Well we played a few shows down there and we actually rehearsed in a recording studio. And you know we were rehearsing for the shows and we had we had looked at a thing where we were going to have some of the Cuban musicians come in and play certain songs with us throughout the show. And we were like sounds really great for the life of me We had a couple of percussionists and other musicians come in and were really great so we ended up recording a couple of the songs and listening to them with them while they were there, we were wanting to have a little keepsake for our trip to Cuba.
MGM: Marco in particular I know is a keen student of other musical genres and styles of World Music.
JC: You know honestly man, those people over there they have such a great outlook on music and they have such great outlook on life and you know if they are closing the embargos and stupid things from America to Cuba. They had difficulty even getting guitar strings and bass strings and just the things that we take for granted. And they just have this weird way where they are “hey man nothing matters you know” we just play music and you know the whole thing is very rhythmic and you know so it was just such a great experience to be able to get on stage with then and just see their enthusiasm and see all of them involved and the audience. Just the whole thing was just an unbelievable trip so it was quite eye opening.
MGM: You and Tommy are the new guys in the band. I had just wondered with the revolving door that the Dead Daisies seem to have with musicians coming and going. Is it difficult to obtain a band identity?
JC: Well you know, its funny there is a bit of a revolving door, its not really a… its weird it’s a…it’s the way its set up you know they call me they talk to me. When I first started talking with them, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it or not because I’ve got my own band here in the States.
MGM: Do you mean recently?
JC: Yes. And we are doing the Motley Crue material that I wrote and it’s been going great you know and we really have been picking up some steam and I love the guy that I jam with you know. So I’m doing this thing and they called me and it was – its very normal like with the idea that the Daisies is just to put a band together where everybody can play their asses off Jon Stevens is a great writer and a great singer but the one thing their manager and the guitar player they said “You know we just want to have fun “WE JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN!!!” They left it open like “hey Jon if there’s ever a chance … you know if we’ve ever got shows and you already have prior commitments you know its okay its no big deal you know what I mean well get somebody else to fill in for those shows and then when you’re done you can come back you know what I mean? So the list of musicians that have been in the band – it seems long but a lot of them are just guys that kind of filled in with you know…you just said with Tommy Clufetus. Tommy will do this tour with us but then Monday and Tuesday he’s coming back. Or like Brian’s (Tichy) gig – Brian will come back but Tommy will now be on that list of musicians that has played with the Dead Daisies. I think there’s a cool band here, but a lot of the other musicians are friends that come in, like when we went to Cuba, we had Bernard Fowler and Daryl Jones come down with us and they sat in for a couple of songs. But they are just friends. The Dead Daisies said they wanted to bring some friends down with them and just give the Cuban audience an opportunity to see a bunch of different musicians. So they are on the list you know Jackie Barnes just did the record with us you know what I mean? But there is a core band here, its just a lot of the names that are on this list are people that you know for lack of a better term “Fill Ins” for somebody who couldn’t quite make it you know what I mean?
MGM: What about the songs themselves…were some of them already done by other musicians before you joined the band?
JC: Well yes, there were a couple of songs that were written before I joined up with the guys but we actually got kicked out of – we got together and we went to Australia we went and recorded there and they had three – I think there were 5 songs that had been started you know kind of written or started writing a couple with Jon Stevens and then the two covers that we did. So when I got together with them we set up shop in a room with a couple of acoustic guitars and keyboards, bass we just started working on some songs and I think we wrote about 11 more songs so at that point it was the first week we got together, second week and we just started recording everything. While we were recording, drums Jackie came in and finished the record for us because Brian Tichy couldn’t make it. So Jackie Barnes is playing drums and Jimmy kept popping in the studio and he’d be like “hey guys how are ya? “And everything the loveable Jimmy Barnes that he is. So he was coming in and one day he just came in and said “Hey man, I got a couple of songs that might work for you guys if you’d like to check them out”. So he asked if we would be interested and we said we’d be honoured. Like David Lowe he knows Jimmy David said “well you know what – we would love to do this song but only if you will do it as a duet with John. “ And he said sure so he and I went in and we recorded the studio song and him and I sang on it and I think it turned out great.
MGM: That’s the one I was thinking of in particular. I’m a big Jimmy Barnes fan and on listening to the “Revolution “album I said “that sounds like Jimmy Barnes on that track”
JC: Yeah its weird man and you know what to be honest with you I had heard of Jimmy but I had never really heard him never really knew him and he came into the studio and he opened his mouth and I’m like holy god this guys sings his balls off so that was quite a challenge. I said to Jimmy “you are trying to make me look bad” and he said, “Stop it”. He’s a great guy though, he’s so fucking talented and just cheerful to be around working with him was very awesome.
MGM: I understand that you are heading out on a European tour with Kiss. With your previous work with Eric Singer? Did you call in a favor is that what that was?
JC: Well no I actually DD already had this tour set up. But for me it’s going to be cool because like I said I’ve known Eric for God years. I think Eric when I moved to LA in 1985 or 1986 my ex wife worked in a hair salon and she used to cut Eric’s hair. So Eric was like one of the first people that I met in LA and he actually heard my band some demos and stuff that we had and he tried actually setting me up with Quiet Riot waaaay back in the day when Kevin Debrow first left the band. And then I met Gene Simmons later on; Gene tried to sign my band so he’s always been a huge supporter of mine. So you know it’s cool, they already have a tour set up but I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be great actually playing a lot of these festivals in Europe and doing the thing with cancer it’s going to be like a family reunion. So it’s going to be very, very full.
MGM: Moving away from the DD for a second – you touched on there about your time with Motley Crue First of all when you replaced Vince Neil those are massive shoes to fill You then of course released a very, very strong album did you feel though that they stabbed you in the back when Vince returned to the band ?
JC: You know honestly, I may not have thought about it while I was doing it in the band. But at the end of the day looking back at it it’s been an amazing experience and I totally understand why they did what they did. We were getting absolutely no support from the record label. The fans were mixed at best. Now in hindsight I think it’s a great record.
MGM: I think it’s a great record
JC: I think it’s a great record, everybody played great and I think that now that a lot of the fans can see that now after I left the band. A lot of fans didn’t like it at the time though and they did the record a huge disservice. I just did a show a couple of weeks ago I have been touring the United States using the motley 1994 material with my band. And I just played a gig in Tulsa Oklahoma and this guy came over to me and he shook my hand and he said I have two things to tell you, he goes number 1 I just want to apologize, I was one of those guys who didn’t want to know nothing about you being in the band when you were in the band. He goes after Vince came back I bought the record and he goes I can honestly say that I feel that that might be the best record that Motley Crue ever made, So he was really cool, he saw the show and he was blown away he thought everybody really played just like the record he was very impressed with my son. My son is my drummer, so he was very impressed with and you know so it was so old school and I don’t hold any grudges. I don’t look at it like they stabbed me in the back or that I got a raw deal… a lot of people do that as well but you know…me being in motley has allowed me 20 years later to still have a career. I’m still playing to people who still check out my records they still come to my shows and I’m still doing interviews so it’s always going to be a part of my life
MGM: you have indicated that you have had a long friendship and musical relationship with Eric Singer not solely through The Union album I just wondered if you want to do something else with the Union.
JC: The Union to be perfectly clear never split up. Unfortunately we were doing great business at live shows but it just wasn’t translating into record sales and again not to be callus or whatever but that’s what we are here for. We write music and hopefully make a living at it and we were just barely getting by. So we just kind of took a breather for a bit and we all got offered better gigs that paid better money. So we never split up we just took a break but Bruce and I and Brant have been talking, you know, obviously when we all have some down time we all that that it would be fun to just go out and do some shows and go out and have some fun kick the dust off of some of those songs.
MGM: That will be good, as I say I love that album really great album.
JC: You know what? Honestly its weird like a lot of people ask me you know what my favourite record is or whatever I love them all man I think I’ve been very blessed to have been in every band that I’ve been in and actually had a great time writing with them and I had a great time you know touring with them and I learned something from everybody I’ve ever been in a band with so I’ve been very blessed to say that I think um you know all the records I’ve done I think they still stand out. I think they still you know they are all great records in their own right so its been cool.
MGM: OK what would you say was the lowest point of your career?
JC: The lowest point in my career? Um you know it was very weird like I had a moment there where I kind of walked away I think it was around 2003. I was just going through my second divorce. My son who is now my drummer he was very sick when he was young he has diabetes. So you know I was playing with RATT and we did a tour…
MGM: Sorry to interrupt but I saw you with Ratt in Belfast.
JC: Ah yes, yes, yes that was in 2007 I think.
MGM: I think we had a couple of Guinness at the show.
JC: Yeah, yeah, yeah – that was a great tour I had a good time with that but you know I think when I was with RATT in 2003 I was kind of personally going through a lot of stuff and we did a show it was a tour with Dokken RATT Warrant LA Guns and Firehouse and we played a gig in Iowa and it was summer you know so they had this big outdoor thing behind this club that probably held about 5,000 people and I’m sitting there you know it was a hot summer day weekend you know everybody was out there talking about it saying its going to be a great show and I literally sat on the sidelines at the side of the stage and watched Firehouse go out on stage and I think you know I think it held 4,000 or 5,000 and you know I think he sold about 200 tickets
JC: … and I was just sitting there watching Firehouse play and then I watched LA Guns play and then I watched warrant play and at the time Jani Lane was singing with the band. Jani was a bit of a hot mess at the time, he was still drinking and partying and you know and then we went up and played and then I watched Dokken play. And I kind of had a – I wont say I had a little bit of a panic attack because I was sitting there and in my head I said to myself “did I peak in 1994?”
MGM: Yeah, yeah…
JC: Now mind you after the Motley record came out and we were doing, we were like I said earlier we were doing really good live shows – like people were showing up but we weren’t selling records. So I just sat there and said “did I peak in 1991”? Like I don’t want to be the guy and I mean this with no disrespect to all of those bands that I played with that day. But I was just sitting there going “I do not want to be a guy that goes on stage and plays songs from 20 years ago like that’s basically it. That’s all anybody wants to hear is songs that I did 20 years ago. I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want to be a, you know, nostalgic act. I never wanted to do that and I sat there I thought about that for a minute and I sat and I thought about. We just did a show in which 5 bands – they sold 200 tickets. It’s been pathetic. And I sat there and I went “if any one of those bands 10 years prior would have sold this place out by themselves.
MGM: Do you think that there’s a danger with a lot of those old bands or that era that do keep going on tour rather than actually recognizing that its time to stop?
JC: Well you know what? Honestly that was just my thought about being a nostalgic act. That was my thought at that moment. At the end of the day RATT Dokken any of those bands you know what any people that still listen to that stuff that will pay to go see you – more power in the world to them. They should do it for the rest of their lives do it for as long as it makes them happy. Me I was a singer at that point where all right – I didn’t sell any records and Motley was the last thing that I did that anybody ever gave a shit about. Union didn’t do anything and in a camp field in Iowa playing to 200 people (chuckle) its like this “nobody cares, why am I doing this?”
MGM: I understand…
JC: So I literally kind of just walked away from the music scene saying I don’t know if I want to do this anymore I don’t know if this is something I want to do. And so you know I just kind of walked away from that scene and kind of had to get my head on properly and then come back and say “you know what? It doesn’t matter. This is what I was put on the earth to do. I’ve been given without sounding spiritual or appreciate your you know – if you believe in God – God gave me a gift and its to be able to sit down and play a guitar sing a song and write a song. This is what I was put on earth to do this is what I’m going to do. Regardless of what – whatever the outcome is I’m going to do it. It doesn’t matter.
MGM: You are moving into festival season you are doing a lot of festivals with the Dead Daisies then you’ve got the tour with Kiss. I just wondered if there’s any sort of – obviously coming from Northern Ireland – people have seen you with RATT. I just wondered. After the tour with Kiss what’s your next plans musically. You’re doing the scream and the Crue tour. Will it be coming across to Europe?
JC: I know we are going over there with Dead Daisies this summer which I’m very much looking forward to doing I think all of the festivals other than the Swedish rock festival I’ve never done any festivals in Europe at all. Did you ask me if I’m bringing my band over too?
MGM: Yes for the Kiss tour?
JC: You know honestly right now my manager has been talking to a promoter in Germany I might be brining my band over to do the Motley 94 show that I have been doing here in the states. They have been talking about it. I don’t know when it’s going to happen but I would like it to happen. All the guys in my band here have never been outside of the United States. So they are all looking very much forward to coming and playing overseas and doing what we do. I don’t know when, I’m thinking it will happen probably early maybe next year. There is talk of us coming at least to do Germany but I would love to go to England, Ireland and Scotland, just all over you know what I mean I love the idea of spending a whole month or two over there and play some shows.
MGM: Ok I’m still having technical problems here but lets wrap up by saying thank you very much for chatting with me good luck with the album and good luck with the touring.
JC: Alright buddy thank you and hopefully we will get over there to Ireland because you know I’ve been there I’ve been to northern Ireland and you know so hopefully I can come back I think it’s a great country and I love the fact that everyone is a national drinking champion. You guys definitely gave me a run for my money both times that I have been there so…
MGM: Ok Cheers John thank you very much again, thanks bye.
The Dead Daisies Destroy Europe, Excited To Announce UK & FRANCE Tour In December
New Album “Revolución” – Out Now
The Daisies have just completed an impressive European tour with KISS on the latest leg of their 40th Anniversary World Tour. Along the way, they left a pile of fans in their wake with monster sets at the largest rock festivals in Europe including Download (UK), Rockavaria (Germany), Graspop Metal Meeting (Belgium) and more. Kerrang! Was on hand and observed, “Sunday morning at Donington Park is rarely the most energetic of moments but The Dead Daisies all-star cast do a sterling job of banishing hangovers with slick-as-a-Vaselined-otter classic rock.” Witness the massive crowds and extensive video footage at the band’s website.
Following their massive success in Europe, The Daisies are excited to announce a run of UK shows and a special performance in Paris, France. The tour kicks off on Nov 27th in Paris, after a whirlwind media tour and show with KISS at Le Zenith left the Parisians wanting more. The band then heads to South Wales on December 4th to play the 3rd annual Planet Rockstock. The Daisies will be playing alongside rockers The Darkness and Danko Jones, amongst others at the 3 day festival of live rock ‘n’ roll hosted by Planet Rock radio. The band will be doing a special signing for the fans after each and every show so be sure to come along and say hi.
The Daisies’ powerhouse lineup for this tour will be John Corabi (Mötley Crüe, RATT), Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake), Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses, Hookers & Blow), Richard Fortus (Guns N’ Roses, The Psychedelic Furs), David Lowy (Mink, Red Phoenix) and Brian Tichy (Ozzy Obourne, Billy Idol).
“Been enjoying The UK Fans for a quite a few years now” says bassist Marco Mendoza. “I have a strong connection with the UK having been there with many different projects for quite a few years. This time I’m especially excited to come to the UK with The Dead Daisies in support of our new release ‘Revolución’, I know it’s going to be GREAT!!!, CAN’T WAIT!!!”
The Dead Daisies – UK & France Tour Dates:
Fri 27th Nov Paris, Divan du Monde
Fri 4th Dec Trecco Bay, Planet Rockstock
Sat 5th Dec Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms
Sun 6th Dec Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
Tue 8th Dec Glasgow, Cathouse
Wed 9th Dec Newcastle, Academy 2
Thu 10th Dec Manchester, Academy 3
Fri 11th Dec London, Garage
Tickets go on sale on Friday 3rd July 2015 @ 9:00 AM
Tickets available here: thedeaddaisies.com
The UK & France tour will come off the heels of a follow up European tour as special guests to iconic rockers David Coverdale and Whitesnake on their Purple Tour.
“We destroyed Europe” proclaims singer John Corabi. “It’s awesome, we are bringing the Revolución back to the UK.” Keyboard player Dizzy Reed proclaimed “As always, the Europeans put the fan in fantastic. Always great.”
Their new album Revolución, was released in June with critical acclaim across Europe, scoring 9 /10 in Classic Rock (Germany), as well as high praise from Classic Rock Magazine (UK,) Aardschock in Holland, and Hardforce in France amongst others. The first single from the album is “Mexico” and now just released is a Paul Boyd directed video, shot in the infamous Jumbo’s Clown Room neo-burlesque club in Los Angeles, California. View/Share the video here: https://youtu.be/5oPNwmfYTzI
To celebrate the single “Mexico” The Dead Daisies in association with Classic Rock Magazine are currently running a competition to win an all-inclusive holiday in Mexico. Time is running out… click for a chance to enter.
About The Dead Daisies:
Influenced by 70’s and early 80’s hard rock, The Dead Daisies sound is soulful and accessible-equal parts The Faces, Bad Company and Foreigner: muscular vocals, bluesy riffs, big choruses, powerful melodies and strong hooks. With stellar musicianship and pulverising live shows, fans across the globe are discovering the band that is bringing back Rock & Roll!
The musical collective is created by a rotating line-up that features some of the best Rock musicians on the planet. This includes: Richard Fortus (Guns N’ Roses/The Psychedelic Furs), Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses/Hookers and Blow), Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones), Charley Drayton (The X-pensive Winos/The Cult), Jon Stevens (Noiseworks/INXS), Brian Tichy (Ozzy Osbourne/Billy Idol), David Lowy (Red Phoenix/Mink), John Tempesta (The Cult/Rob Zombie), Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy/Whitesnake), John Corabi (Motley Crue/RATT), Alex Carapetis (Julian Casablancas + The Voidz/Nine Inch Nails), Bernard Fowler (The Rolling Stones), Jackie Barnes (Tin Lids/Jimmy Barnes), Frank Ferrer (Guns N’ Roses/The Psychedelic Furs) and Tommy Clufetos (Ozzy Osbourne/Black Sabbath).
For further information:
Duff Battye: [email protected] – off: +44 (0) 20 7736 7611 – mob: +44 (0) 7904 385308
Valeria Laghezza: [email protected] – off: +44 (0) 20 7736 7611 – mob: +44 (0) 7449 705650