THE DEAD DAISIES – “All About Giving Back To The Audience”

May 22, 2017, 7 months ago

Aaron Small

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THE DEAD DAISIES – “All About Giving Back To The Audience”

Continuing in the tradition of KISS – Alive! and Cheap Trick at Budokan, The Dead Daisies have released an absolutely outstanding live album in the form of Live & Louder. “We had a lot of fun, we did a lot of shows last year,” recalls guitarist Doug Aldrich. “We did several tours, and we recorded the shows that compile Live & Louder at the end. So by that time, we were even tighter as a band; it was getting better and better all the time. That’s when management decided we should capture some of this stuff. That’s how it started. Then, when we listened back to it, the record company (Spitfire Music / SPV) said, ‘We’d love to put something out.’ Here we are.”
 
Live & Louder is comprised of recordings from four separate shows in 2016: Paris, France; Vienna, Austria; London, England; and Hamburg, Germany. “We recorded a few others, but to be honest, there was so much stuff to go through, to listen to – we basically just went for the vibe,” says Doug. “The audiences on those songs were captured well. Sometimes you’ll record and there’ll be a technical issue where a microphone is distorted, or even shuts off. It’s all about giving back to the audience that supports The Daisies – that’s what this record is about really.”
 
A lot of live albums try - but ultimately fail – to bring the concert experience home; Live & Louder is a resounding success! What’s the secret? “The guy who mixed it, Anthony Focx, he’s really great! And what’s really cool is, he mixed the studio record (Make Some Noise) as well. Basically, he knew what we were trying to do live. A lot of times, you give it to a mixing engineer and he has no starting point to think of. It’s pumped up! Live, we play a little bit heavier, maybe a little harder. So the recording’s pretty punchy for that. But Anthony did a great mix on it, the band played really well; especially (vocalist John) Corabi, he sang really great! He sings really great all the time. The fixes that we did on this thing were very minimal. I’ve dealt with a lot of live records with Dio and Whitesnake; those guys are both amazing singers and represent great live. And John Corabi’s right up there; it was a breeze to be listening to that stuff. To hear how consistent he is, it’s really awesome!”

Were the shows captured on Live & Louder festival gigs, opening slots for KISS, or headline concerts? “These were headline shows, by ourselves, in Europe. We have recordings of those KISS shows; I’m not sure if we have any festivals, we might have had one or two. But at a festival it’s always difficult to get things accomplished cause you’re moving so fast. But these were our shows. They were generally big clubs to theatres; that was our European tour. There was a small place we played in Toulon, France… it was a killer show, killer crowd. But one side of the audience mics was out so we couldn’t use it.”

 
Did you ever consider releasing one complete show, start to finish, as opposed to taking the compilation route that is Live & Louder? “Yeah, that would be good to do. I think in the DVD situation you’d have to do that. Well, you don’t have to. I remember seeing a DVD that Foreigner did with (The Dead Daisies drummer) Brian Tichy; they jumped from festival settings to clubs, and it was a cool DVD. But the DVDs I did with Whitesnake and Dio were start to finish, and that is a cool thing. But we just wanted to represent as much of that tour as we could, and we also wanted to grab the best performances. Brian Tichy and (bassist) Marco Mendoza together are unbelievable! But it’s not every day that everybody’s on the exact same page and kicking ass. So the easiest, and quickest way, is to listen to different shows and grab the best vibe.”
 
Seeing as the DVD topic has surfaced, let’s talk about the bonus DVD included with Live & Louder. It includes a tour recap and documentary, which centres on a series of very insightful one-on-one interviews with each of The Daisies. “Anytime you get some footage like that… for people who are really fans of a band, like the way I am with Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, or Deep Purple. If I get a chance to see an interview with somebody from one of those bands, it’s interesting. It’s done a lot today, which makes it a little bit common. But for the fans that are really into the band, it’s something extra and special.”

Returning to the live album itself, “Lock ‘N’ Load” is the only song on Live & Louder that originated on the self-titled debut; and the studio version features the guitar playing of Slash from Guns N’ Roses. You did an amazing job of replicating his tone live! How did you manage to achieve that? “It was purely by accident,” admits Doug. “I know what Slash sounds like live, obviously; he’s killer! I didn’t try to replicate his tone as much as I tried to replicate the vibe that he played on the studio record. I thought it was really cool; it was classic Slash. I just tried to learn it as best I could. When it came to some of the faster licks… Slash does it his way, and only Slash can do that. I just tried to get the feeling the same. If he was going to play a fast passage, I would play a fast passage in that area. But the basic melodies were written by Slash, so I just copied ‘em. Tone wise – we’re both playing the same Les Pauls, so that’s probably part of it. The front pickup gives you that Woman Tone – that’s what Coverdale used to call it – the Woman Tone.”

Again, with a lot of live albums, listeners are subjected to the guitar solo and the drum solo. Maybe when you’re in the arena seeing it as it happens, it’s kind of ok? Realistically, ticket-holders use it for a pee-break or a beer-run. To have that self-indulgence on a CD equates to a skip-track. It’s so gratifying that none of that wankery appears on Live & Louder. After Aldrich contains his own laughter, he answers, “We wanted to have it, there just wasn’t enough room. But yeah, I agree. When you’re in the car driving, you just want to go from kick-ass to kick-ass in the way the records we like, like Aerosmith’s Live: Bootleg, Thin Lizzy – Live And Dangerous, the Zeppelin stuff is a little different cause they were a little more jammy. Also, it moves it along and keeps your interest up. I don’t mind when I hear a guitar solo from Randy Rhoads or Eddie Van Halen; it’s pretty fun. But if you hear it a few times… it’s more something I want to listen to as a guitar player because it’s killer to hear what these guys would do; what Hendrix would do. But when you’re driving in your car, you’re at home, or you’re at a party and you want a live vibe, sometimes that breaks it up too much.”
 
On occasion throughout Live & Louder, The Dead Daisies will partake in cool bits of improvisation and noodling. “Yeah, it’s funny man cause ‘noodling’ is accurate. When you play a song so many times, you have to find a way to keep it fresh. You don’t want to mess around with the main part of the song, but if there’s an opportunity to throw a little something in, we’ve definitely found a way to do that.”
 
The cover songs played by The Daisies are older, classic rock tunes such as “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, and “Join Together” by The Who. Have you ever considered doing something newer, more modern? “Not so much. I mean, we would definitely be open to it, and maybe in the future we’ll do that. But the thing about The Daisies is – even before I got involved with them – they would always do a couple of covers on the record, mostly as a tribute to the bands that The Daisies were influenced by, and the bands that the guys in The Daisies liked. Even though it might be fun to do a cover of say, an Adele song, cause she’s got a little bluesy vibe to her. Or, an Alicia Keys song – it might be cool to do that. But they’re not necessarily our influences when we were growing up. That’s kind of the reason that (founding guitarist) David Lowy decided he wanted to do that. He wanted to turn those songs onto people for the first time. In fact, a lot of younger kids that would come to the shows don’t know that ‘Fortunate Son’ or ‘Join Together’ are covers; they think they’re Daisies songs, then they find out…”

In the band intros on Live & Louder, when introducing Doug Aldrich, John Corabi says, “We used to call him The New Guy, now we just call him Golden Boy.” It’s hard to believe you’ve only been in The Dead Daisies for 16 months (Doug replaced Richard Fortus, who went on to tour with Guns N’ Roses). Do you remember the first time you heard of The Daisies? “Marco (Mendoza, bassist) told me about the band at some point; this was even prior to John Corabi coming in. I saw a video and I thought it was really cool. Eventually, Brian (Tichy, drummer) was involved, and they brought John Corabi in. These guys are all my friends. Not only did I work with Marco with Whitesnake, but Brian and I also worked in Whitesnake; in a different era. Those guys are both just so talented! They’re amazingly gifted players; I thought that must be really cool for Fortus and David (Lowy, guitarist) to jam with those guys. Then Corabi came in and they did the remake of ‘Midnight Moses’ (originally by Alex Harvey); I thought that was just killer! What a great move!” 
 
“And, John Corabi and I grew up together. I’ve known John Corabi since the late ‘70s. He was in a local band; we used to sneak in the clubs and see Corabi play. He was underage too at that time. His band used to do a version of ‘Midnight Moses’ and it was always really cool. When he got the job, I texted him to say, ‘Great job man! I know that was your idea.’ Cause nobody really even knew The Alex Harvey Band; that’s who wrote that song. I had actually stepped out of Whitesnake at that point, and was doing a thing in Vegas called Raiding The Rock Vault. It’s a really fun gig, and it allowed me to spend more time with my son, which is really important. Then I started to take offers to tour. I went out with Glenn Hughes; we were doing a power trio kind of thing. I was on tour and Marco called me, saying that Richard had gotten in a motorcycle accident; they needed someone to fill in. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do it; I had dates with Glenn. They got somebody to fill in, and Richard got better. Then, a couple months later, they called back and said, ‘There’s a possibility we might be making a change, because of Guns N’ Roses – you can’t say anything, but it looks like Richard and Dizzy (Reed, keyboardist) are going back to work with them.’ At that time, they said, ‘We want to make a brand new record with you and make a fresh start.’ That sounded great, but the key was I knew all these guys and I’m friends with them. So basically David Lowy and I got on the phone a couple of times and talked – in detail – about guitar styles, and what his vision of the band was. I told him what I felt like I could do to add to that. I knew the chemistry would be good because we’re all friends. He said, ‘Let’s go for it!’ We sat down and wrote, and here we are with a studio record, and now a live record.”
 
Has writing begun for the fourth studio album from The Dead Daisies? “Individually, we’re always writing. When you get an idea for a song, you need to find a way to capture it, cause if you don’t it will go away and you’ll forget about it. The thing that I really liked about The Daisies was that we did everything together. We haven’t been in the same room together for three and a half months now. We will be touring first to support the live record. At that point, I’m sure we’ll start to bang around individual ideas. Say for example, I had a riff, or a chord progression that I thought was kind of cool for The Daisies. John Corabi would take it away and do his thing with it. Then David Lowy would say, ‘What if we changed that chord to this?’ Then Marco would say, ‘I hear this kind of melody on it.’ And Corabi would change it. Then Brian would say, ‘I hear this kind of melody’. Brian plays guitar too, so everybody gets input into the song. It makes it really easy, and really creative. When you get five guys to agree on something, it’s usually pretty good.”
 
When that, as yet to be written fourth studio effort eventually comes out – presumably sometime in 2018 - it will mark the first time The Dead Daisies have released two studio albums with the same lineup. “I think David really committed to this lineup,” comments Doug. “It was about a year ago, we were doing a lot of interviews to support Make Some Noise and people were asking, ‘So this is a collective? People come and go?’ It’s been that way, but it’s not how we want it to be. We want to make it into more of a band vibe. People kept asking that and David eventually said, ‘This is The Dead Daisies lineup.’ That’s not to say that somebody might have a commitment and we get somebody to step in, but it’s a good lineup. It’s really strong on all corners. We have a lot of respect for each other, and we have a hell of a lot of fun playing music together.”
 

 

 

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