The Dead Daisies’ Doug Aldrich Reveals Rock And Roll Is Alive And Well
Rushonrock faves The Dead Daisies are back in the UK this month – Doug Aldrich took time out from the Daisyland tour to catch up with Simon Rushworth.
RUSHONROCK: How’s the latest UK tour panning out?
DOUG ALDRICH: We don’t hang around – we’re already right into the swing of things again after arriving in the UK last week. This is the third time we’ve been back over on the back of the new album Burn It Down and every time it’s so exciting.
RUSHONROCK: What can you tell us about your new rig?
DA: I’ve stripped it right down and I’ve just brought over a couple of pedals. I’ve only got three guitars with me and a 1979 Marshall JMP amp. It’s a pretty simple setup but it still sounds totally kick ass!
RUSHONROCK: At a time when so many of rock and metal’s big names are returning is the future of live rock and roll under threat?
DA: There are a lot of big bands calling time on their careers but there are quite a few new bands that are really starting to pick up the baton. And from a personal point of view I’m hoping that some of the mid-range bands like The Dead Daisies and Inglorious start to move up a rung or two and help to fill the void.
RUSHONROCK: What’s prompting so many big names to stand down?
DA: I get it with Kiss. We’ve just come off the Kiss Kruise and all that make up and those costumes – it’s so much more than just getting on stage and playing a show. I understand why they’re ready to take a break. Then again bands like the Rolling Stones keep on rocking and seem happy to do so. But I’m not sure why Slayer think they need to stop – those guys are still pretty young!
RUSHONROCK: Who can keep the flag flying?
DA: We’ll see what happens. I just hope that some of the upcoming bands gain more popularity. There are some great new bands threatening to make a big noise: I’ve just come across a band from Michigan called The Wayland – they’ve got Nigel Dupree, son of Jackyl’s Jesse James Dupree, on drums and they’ve got a great vocalist. I’ve finally seen Vintage Trouble for the first time and those guys are amazing. Then there’s Greta Van Fleet. As a huge Zeppelin fan I’m interested to see what they can do and they are one of the few new rock bands getting radio airplay in the US right now. That doesn’t happen often. But there’s a cool groove to Great Van Fleet.
RUSHONROCK: What drives The Dead Daisies to reach that next level?
DA: We’re working really hard and we’re committed to connecting with our fans. On the Daisyland tour there’s a chance for the first few fans who turn up at each show to get in early and see us do an acoustic set. It’s like an extended jam and it’s just another way of saying thank-you to the people who come out and support us. Stuff like that really pays off and we love doing it. But to get to the next level you simply have to put out new music. A new record is pretty much the driver for another tour these days. But as far as The Dead Daisies is concerned the desire is there to write new songs and release more records. It’s what keeps me going.
RUSHONROCK: How’s the band’s profile Stateside?
DA: We’ve spent some time in the US trying to crack that shell a little bit and I think we made some progress. We were doing morning shows on the radio, playing acoustic shows in the guitar shops in the afternoons, having a quick break and then doing the two-hour show in the evening. We were really busting our butts over there. But hard work pays off. It’s not really a choice any more.
RUSHONROCK: And is there time to pursue projects outside the Daisies?
DA: I’ve just wrapped up another project – we’ve just finished the new Burning Rain record which is due out in the UK on March 24. Now that’s done it means I can switch the focus back to The Dead Daisies. But I’m always working on new music. I’m always pushing myself. Most of the time I don’t know who or what the song is for – it could be for The Dead Daisies or it could be for Burning Rain or even for someone else altogether. I helped out on the new Doro album – she’s a good friend of mine and she asked me to perform a solo on one of her songs. She’s one of the metal greats. I couldn’t say no! When someone like that calls you up and asks for your help it’s a no brainer. It’s always nice to get asked and although there are times when I’m just too busy I always do my best. New technology means it’s possible to contribute from wherever I might be in the world.
RUSHONROCK: As regular visitors to the UK this year how have you upped your game on the Daisyland tour?
DA: The new shows are completely different. We’ve mixed things up in terms of the setlist and the stage setup. It’s going to be totally different to anything we’ve done before this year. There’s an acoustic set in the middle to break things up a little bit and I’m really excited about how that’s going to work out.
RUSHONROCK: What are your plans for the next few months?
DA: I’ll get some time off at Christmas and then I’m appearing at the NAMM show in Los Angeles in January. I’m playing with Simon Wright from AC/DC so that should be a lot of fun. I’ve also set aside time to properly promote the new Burning Rain album. I was busy with Whitesnake when the last record came out and it frustrated me that I couldn’t push it more. This time it will get my total focus for a few weeks. It’s a great record. Keith [St John] is back on vocals and Brad Lang from Y&T is playing bass. Blas Elias, who was with Slaughter for 15 years, is playing the drums and there’s even some Brian Tichy on there! They’re the coolest guys and they all played fantastic. There are some really good songs on there and it’s very different to the Daisies.
I’m a journalist specialising in sport and rock music. Can’t play either so I write about them instead.