RUSHONROCK editor Simon Rushworth caught up with the former Motley Crue singer ahead of this weekend’s main stage set.
RUSHONROCK: How did you come to be involved with the band?
JOHN CORABI: I know Marco Mendoza and Dizzy Reed well. I’ve known Dizzy for 20 years since I was in Sceam, Motley Crue and Brides Of Destruction. Obviously The Dead Daisies had a great singer and I didn’t know whether Jon Stevens was going off to do other things. But when it became clear he was taking a break my name was in the hat and eventually they called me up and asked me if I would be interested in checking the band out. Marco called me and the next thing I knew I was on a plane to LA to meet the guys. I didn’t really know what was going on with the band but if it wasn’t going to be a fun experience then I didn’t want anything to do with it. Thankfully everybody was really cool and we all clicked straight away.
RUSHONROCK: Does the revolving door line-up keep things fresh or is there a desire to find a settled line-up?
JC: To be honest David and Jon put this band together in the first place and it’s their baby. They wrote most of the material for the first album and put it together but they all have other things going on. I have a solo band in the US and I can understand how difficult it is juggling everything all of the time. It’s taken me three years to get what I’d call a settled line-up – I’ve had a succession of different drummers and guitar players over the years. With The Dead Daisies I don’t think the changes have been for any other reason than a schedule thing. There have been different people in the limelight at different times and they’ve had their growing pains just like any other band – because of the people involved it’s just been more public than it would have been with a new band or a bunch of young guys. But it’s all cool. Take Brian Tichy as an example. Brian did some of the new record in Cuba but he couldn’t get to Australia and he couldn’t commit to the tour. He’s still part of this but he can’t commit full time. So we’ve got Tommy Clufetos on drums in Europe on the Kiss tour to fix that. Because all of the guys are involved with other bands there’s no pressure with the Dead Daisies – this band isn’t going to derail anyone’s career. We all want this band to help our careers and vice versa. If there’s something that any one of us absolutely can’t do then that’s fine. This is supposed to be fun – and it is.
RUSHONROCK: So it’s in no way frustrating?
JC: Not at all. Brian is coming back. Others might come and go. It does look like there’s been a high turnover of musicians but to be part of this band is a dream scenario for me. From everything that I’ve been led to believe the core of the band has always been David, Richard Fortus, Marco and Dizzy and that line-up is moving forward. But when Axl decides to do a new Guns N Roses record and tour I don’t know how that will affect Richard and Dizzy. Those things are always in the background but we’re living for the here and now.
RUSHONROCK: You’ve been concentrating on solo work for the last few years but was it the right time to front a band again?
JC: My solo stuff is still a band so it’s no different in that respect. I’m not one of those guys who says ‘I write the songs so you do exactly what I tell you’. It’s a democracy in my band – I’m always asking the other guys what we should do, how we should do it and what they think. If someone can show me a better route or melody or lyric then I’m always up for it. I don’t see any reason why Dead Daisies should be any different and why I can’t do both. My manager works very closely with the Dead Daisies’ manager – they talk all the time and make sure that I can focus on both bands. I’ve just been reading a book about Rod Stewart and there was a time when he was in The Faces and then cut a solo deal and did both. It can be done and plenty of musicians do it.
RUSHONROCK: Can you give us an insight into what it’s like making and playing music with so many talented and experienced musicians?
JC: In a recent interview Richard said that this was the fastest album he’d recorded in his career. And it was fast! During the first five days there were some ideas for songs already kicking around that the guys had started writing with Jon. In the end we did 16 songs – basically we recorded 16 songs in 30 days. It was pretty intense – I went down to Australia with nothing and the guys just started throwing riffs out. It just all came together and it was a blast.
RUSHONROCK: Did the frantic nature of the recording process help create the vibe that runs through Revolución?
JC: I think so. The first week we wrote the songs and the second week we’d already started laying stuff down. We were all in the room together all of the time and we all had earphones on so we could develop the songs as we went along. I’d hear a part and make a comment and then one of the other guys would chip in. We were literally fine tuning as we were laying it down so there’s a very live feel to the album. We laid down all the songs and then put them to one side. At that point I started writing the lyrics and working on the melodies. The record came out so god in the end because we didn’t try to over-think everything. We just ran with our gut instinct and after it all I was listening back thinking ‘fuck, this thing turned out really great’. And we still had three or four tracks over that we just didn’t know what to do with! I’m pretty amazed with what we managed to do.
RUSHONROCK: It’s the 21st anniversary of Motley Crue’s self-titled album – how proud are you of your contribution t that album?
JC: Every record that I’ve done has a special place in my heart. Obviously there’s a song here or a song there that you listen back to down the line and you’re not real crazy about it but on the whole I’m happy with the work I’ve done. I’m proud of everything I’ve ever done and that record is no different. I’m not one to go back – it’s a diary of that time and where Crue were at that point. I look at the Let It Scream album that I did with The Scream and compare the vocals on that album to the way I sing now. I’m over 50 now and I sing differently. I’m always learning. But that Motley Crue album, in the circumstances, was a great achievement by the band. I learn something from every band that I’ve ever played in and that was no different. I’m incredibly proud of what I achieved in such a short space of time with a truly great band. I know some people hate it but I’m definitely not one of them! That’s why we have different flavours of ice cream – not everybody likes strawberry and some prefer chocolat.
RUSHONROCK: You’re playing Download on the same day as the Crue – will you have time to get up for a song?
JC: I don’t think so. I know that The Dead Daisies are on really early and Crue are on late in the day. I don’t know if we’re going to stay for the whole thing. But I’d love to.