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Interview: John Corabi of The Dead Daisies

John Corabi Dead  Daisies 2015Photo Credit: Andrew Treadwell

The Dead Daisies are back with a new album “Burn It Down”. Their first with drummer Deen Castronovo. Joining Castronovo is founding member and rhythm guitarist David Lowy, bass player Marco Mendoza, lead guitarist Doug Aldrich and lead vocalist John Corabi. The “Supergroup” of sorts hasn’t had much down time since bursting on the scene in 2013. “Burn It Down” is their 4th studio album, and they also have the one live album “Live and Louder” released in 2017, which makes for a very productive band. As the band were finishing up tour rehearsals in New York City, John Corabi took some time out for a chat about all things Daisies and More. Ladies and Gentlemen, we bring you John Corabi.

The-Dead-Daisies-Burn-It-Down-LP-Picture-Gatefold-65744-1H2Z: Hey Crab, how you doing?
JC: Hey Man, how what’s happening?

H2Z: Not a lot man, rainy day here in Brisbane
JC: Same here in New York, apparently it’s a very large cloud (Laughs)

H2Z: So how are rehearsals going?
JC: Insane, Insanely good. Obviously, Deen (Castronovo/Drums) has stepped into this s@#t storm we call The Dead Daisies (laughs). He is doing an amazing job man, he is f@#king crushing, so it’s going to be very cool.

H2Z: I have heard the album, been living with it for about a week now, and it’s a massive step up from the previous album, so congrats.
JC: Yeah, it’s pretty cool man. Thanks. I cannot say enough about the guys. Once again, we went into a studio, with no real songs written. I think we put together around 18 or 20 ideas, maybe even a few more. Then Marti (Frederiksen, album producer), guided us, on, I don’t want to say the strongest, but on the ones that all meshed together. And once again, we knocked it all out, and by that, I mean, writing, recording, mixing, mastering, and even did the artwork, in like 5 weeks. So, it’s crazy.

H2Z: It is crazy, but also a testament to you guys, because a lot of bands couldn’t even do half of that in 2 months without technology helping, and this album sounds so natural.
JC: You know, it’s weird, we were all like “Is it a little heavier than the last one, and a little darker”, whether it is or not, I don’t know. It’s crazy the feedback we have been getting so far, from a few of the radio stations, some critics, and they all say the record is definitely a move forward. It’s so cool to receive such great feedback.

H2Z: It’s like the band has grown another set of balls
JC: Its true dude, it’s gonna be awesome. I can’t wait.

H2Z: How has it been having someone else who is a lead singer in their own right added to the mix?
JC: It’s pretty crazy, even live, it’s insane. Before it was just Me, Doug (Aldrich – Lead Guitar) and Marco (Mendoza – Bass) doing all the singing. Now we have that extra voice, and it just opens things up, that much more. Now we have the opportunity to play around a little more with harmonies, and Deen is right on it. He went and listened to everything on the “Live and Louder” album, and he nailed all the drum parts, and then he had a harmony he could sing, and he is just been singing and playing his ass off, and I am really, really stoked, and I can’t wait for everybody to hear it.


H2Z: Speaking of singing, which you are known best for, but I have always been a fan of your lyrics, so what was on your mind when you sat down to write the lyrics?
JC: Honestly, Just life. There is so much, for lack of a better term s@#t going on in the world, it’s kinda hard to not have anything to write about. We obviously have some personal things. “Set Me Free”, is about all of our situations. We are all married guys with kids, and not that being married with kids is painful, but what we have to go through, to do the thing we love to do, we have to wind up leaving all the people we love behind and going out raping and pillaging for the better part of 9 months over the course of a year. So, it’s just about leaving loved ones at home.

Then you have something like “Resurrected”, which is basically about me and Deen. Deen because of everything he went through a few years ago, and he basically had a bullseye on his back, and nobody would touch him for a while. He basically came in, told us everything that happened, was very upfront, honest and foreword about everything.  And in the same vein everything with me and the Motley situation. When I lost the Motley gig, a lot of people wrote me off, and are still kinda writing me off, saying “I’m Done or a Has Been” or whatever, and so “Resurrected” is kind of a polite way of me saying “F@#k You, I ain’t going anywhere”.

H2Z: Knowing you, funnily enough the first thing I imagined hearing that song was you flipping the bird and saying “F@#k You”.
JC: Well yeah, and definitely Deen too. You know what dude, I just love people that get second chances. Everybody loves an underdog, and I refuse to go away. Here I am, 30 years later, with my music and I am doing just fine.

There is also stuff like “What Goes Around”, it’s about the state of the world. “Leave Me Alone” is about anyone who, to some degree, is harping on you about the clothes you wear, the things you are doing, and why you are doing it, looking over your shoulder the whole time. It’s like “F@#k Off, Leave Me Alone”.

“Rise Up” is another one, where, instead of us bickering on Facebook, about dumb s@#t, why don’t we all just get together, start being nice to each other, and keep the people in our lives together and keep them in check. It’s a little political, but not really. There is a little bit of everything in there for everybody.

Credit Danny Jungslund L1740757
photo credit Danny Jungslund

H2Z: For me “Can’t Take It with You” almost sits alongside Union’s “Do Your Own Thing” to say that possessions aren’t that important
JC: There is an old phrase, especially here in America, because people are so obsessed with “Stuff”, and “Buying Stuff”, and “Having Stuff”, and my Uncle and my Dad used to say, “He Who Dies with The Most Toys Wins, But You Can’t Take It with You When You Go”. So, I talk about all these material things in the lyrics, and I say, “ You Can’t Take It with You, But You Can Have It All Before You Go” (laughs).

H2Z: You picked “Revolution” (The Beatles) and “Bitch” (Rolling Stones) as the covers on this album?
JC: It’s always a group thing. They are such classic songs. With “Revolution” we made it a little heavier, some more aggression, which makes it different. With “Bitch” we all wanted to do a Stones tune, and the riff, even on the original version is pretty aggressive, so we decided to just turn it up, play it a bit more aggressively, and then it will be really aggressive, and we felt it would be the one Stones song that would fall in line with the rest of the record.

H2Z: You have just been announced for the Kiss Kruise. You have toured a bit with them so I’m sure it will be like seeing old family members, are you excited about it?
JC: I love all those guys man! And there are so many people who talk shit about them and I just say to them “They have been doing this for over 40 years, they still give it their all, and I dare anyone in their mid 60s to run around in those outfits for 2 f@#king hours and not be tired, and it doesn’t seem to faze them at all”. I gotta take my hat off where its due to them. They have always been incredibly accommodating to our band on any of the tours we have done with them. Paul (Stanley) would come into our room every day and say hello and ask if we need anything. Gene (Simmons) would always come by and check on us, crack a joke and go on his way. Then you have Eric (Singer), and Andrew, you know Eric’s demeanour (both laugh). Tommy (Thayer) he is a pretty quiet dude, but even then, he would come in and say, “Hey Crab, how you doin’?”. We would talk about his guitar rig, and lots of other stuff. They are just all really cool guys.

This next Kiss Kruise will be so much fun. You have The Kulick Brothers, (Union Band Mate) Brent Fitz, you have Ace on as well. It really is going to be so much fun.

H2Z: Back to The Daisies. You are about to leave for Europe, the band seems to have a strong foothold in Europe, do you agree?
JC: It’s so good dude! We finish up rehearsals, head home for a few days. Then we fly to Glasgow and rehearse another two days. We do that to make sure all the equipment arrived safe and is working correctly, then we are off dude, we’re off to the races. While we have a few little bits where we are off, we are going pretty hard until mid-December. It’s going to be a long year.

H2Z: I want to ask about one particular part on the song “Resurrected”. You have an outro part, with keyboards in it. It sounds like a tip of the hat to “Live and Let Die”, would that be correct?
JC: You know what, that’s funny. That’s exactly what Marti was saying while we were doing it. He said “I’m gonna put some strings in here, it reminds me of Live and Let Die”, so you totally called it (laughs). It’s a great little string thing. It’s the same riff that’s in the song, but for some reason we come back into it again, and we do a half time thing, then we bring it back into normal speed, and Marti was like “This whole thing, reminds me of Live and Let Die, so I’m going to put strings on it”. I was like “Alright, let’s do it, sounds cool”.

H2Z: So, a trip back in time, Union’s debut album turned 20 in February, as you know that band holds a special place in my heart. What are your memories from back then?
JC: You know what dude, I remember we were kind of struggling a bit here in the states especially. But I really remember my first trip to Australia, with ESP, as Union as the band never got to tour down there. Just remember coming down there especially and the friends we made that trip like you, are still close friends to this day. Australia has been so good to me. I have friends here in the states that are from Australia, like the actress Isla Fisher, she is a friend. You guys have your own great vibe down there. I just love coming down there and soaking it up, so that’s one of my best memories from back then.

H2Z: So, to finish up, and in line with your love of our vibe, when do you think we will see The Dead Daisies in Australia?
JC: Dude, tomorrow if we could. The minute shows are booked we will be there.

HZ2: That wraps us up for today John, thanks so much for your time
JC: No worries buddy, talk soon.

We would like to thank John for his time. The Dead Daisies album is out April 6th. You can read our review of the album here. Pre order the album on iTunes here

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Hear2Zen is a "Non Genre Specific" publication that celebrates all things sensory.

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