Exclusive interview – hellfest.fr: THE DEAD DAISIES [John Corabi (vocals) & Marco Mendoza (bass)]
« Le Hellfest est parfait pour nous : nous allons bien y figurer »
Marco Mendoza – Le Trabendo, Paris – December 08, 2016
Good evening, gentlemen. I interviewed Airbourne’s Ryan and David last week and I asked them which question I should ask you. They said: “Red or White with your dinner?”. So?
Marco: No wine: I don’t drink.
John: He just does heroin. (laughter)
Marco: Whenever I can. (smiles)
What was the last bit of music you did chose to listen to before that interview?
John: I was actually listening to, in my room, some Paul McCartney’s Greatest Hits record. I love the song “Maye I’m Amazed”. So I was listening to this.
Marco: Beautiful stuff.
John: Yeah, it’s a great tune.
Marco: I was in a hurry, trying to get packed and… I like my jazz stuff because it’s all over the place. It gives me that… Herbie Weather’s Weather Report. I know the songs and I’ve played some of the stuffs. And it’s fun.
Your official biography mentions that the reason to be of The Dead Daisies is to pay tribute to bands such as Bad Company, Aerosmith or Foreigner. Is it really the reason why you gathered together? Isn’t there another goal behind it?
Marco: Well, the way this band came together, to be honest… David Lowy (guitar) put it together. He’s the founding member with another singer, Jon Stevens. I didn’t ask to be part of it. We were in Australia, I was there with Thin Lizzy on the Mötley Crüe/Kiss package and David was opening up. To make a long story short, David told me: “Marco, we have an album, we have new songs, we wanna put a band together and go and play some of the tunes. If you have time, we would love you to be part of this”. So I heard this stuff and I loved it. And then, later on, it was like, “Well, it looks like Richard Fortus and Dizzy Reed (both Guns N’Roses) were leaving – they’re my friends” – I worked with the guys. “So it looks like we might have an opportunity to open up for Aerosmith on that tour”. So I said: “I’m in”. So it was like, I think initially – and you might wanna ask David – it was just put together to do a little run, dates and all that. And we realised after three or four shows that we had something special. We started looking at each other going “Yeah!”. And our manager, David (Edwards), said “You know, we could do something cool. What’s your schedule like? Would you be interested?” And I said “OK but I just have prior commitments”. So before you know it – boom! – we were recording and touring the States on the Uproar Festival tour with Alice In Chains and Jane’s Addiction. So one thing led to another. The point is: we all love music from the seventies into the eighties. We all have that in common. And we fly that flag and we celebrate it: that’s what kind of kept us together because we all come from the same place. Then later on, we called John (Corabi) and John fitted in like a glove, he was perfect and he was exactly what we were looking for. And Then Doug (Aldritch – guitar) and so, here it is. We’re doing music, you know: this is what we do, we are all in it for life. This is what we do. So that’s the reason, I guess… It’s a long answer but the short answer would be…
John : The short answer would be : “Yes !”. (laughter)
A lot of members have been joining and leaving the band since its inception in2012. Is today’s line-up the right formula? Will it be a stable one or the line-up is to change constantly due to members’ other commitments?
John: The thing that it is, like Marco just said, when they put this band together, they asked Marco to play and then, Marco said yes but there was some shows that Marco couldn’t do because he had prior commitments. So – I wasn’t there – Darryl Jones filled in at the time. Last year, when we did Revolucíon, Brian (Tichy – drums) couldn’t do a few of the shows so we had Tommy Clufetos (Black Sabbath). The thing about the Daisies is that in America, we say that the whole is greater than the parts. It’s about The Dead Daisies. The length of the names that are on the list is misleading. Some were not really members but they’re friends of ours. They came in and helped us out in a pinch to fill in for a few shows. Even last year, right before we went to Australia to do a tour with Kiss, Richard (Fortus) – at the time our guitar player – was in a motorcycle accident and he broke his collarbone and his ribs. So he couldn’t do the tour. So we said : “Do we wanna cancel the tour? No!”. So we just got another guitar player to fill in for him – Richard was cool with it, you know – and we went and did the tour. So a lot of the names that are on there are just friends of ours that filled in for a few shows here and there. But they’re a part of the family now, you know what I mean. It’s a little misleading.
Marco: Yeah, it’s misleading and one of the reasons why we wanted to do the album (Make Some Noise – 2016) this year… We were all ready for it but we also wanted to solidify the line-up with Doug, Brian, David, John and myself. So I think: mission accomplished because we’re all here. I think it’s a great album and the more we play it, the more I dig it. The fans are just going bananas: they’re singing the songs. It’s like they were all ready for that album. It’s doing well, more than expected. It’s like “Wow!”. So we’re happy, very happy!
John: Or “Yes!” (laughter)
The Dead Daisies. That’s an intriguing name for me. What’s the story behind such a name?
John: The old singer, Jon Stevens, had some health issues. I guess apparently his doctor said something to him like: “If you don’t slow down, your life style a little bit, then…”. In America, we say, when they put you underground that “You’re pushing up the daisies”, OK? He just told him that he needed to chill out. So they came up with the name The Dead Daisies. Like he’s pushing up the daisies or whatever…
Marco: Yeah. That’s where it came out. And they put the logo together and it looks very cool.
The current tour now: nearly all venues have been sold out so far. Aren’t you surprised and even slightly disappointed that bigger venues were not booked?
John: No. Personally, I would much rather… You have to remember that, to a lot of people and music fans, we’re still a new band. So I would much rather go into a smaller place and have people outside who can’t get in then go into a bigger place and have it only be half-full. We don’t know: maybe we could have done a bigger place. But at this point, we’re very happy. We’ve probably done twenty shows, we did all the UK, a bunch of shows in Germany and all but one of them I think were sold out. So it’s been amazing. We’re very happy, the fans have been incredibly enthusiastic. Some couldn’t ask for more. Maybe the next time we’ll come back into a bigger place, you know?
Marco: Obviously, what’s been happening – if you follow the Daisies – we’ve been doing big arenas and we talked about it and we all agreed, you know, that there’s something about intimate clubs, where you’re very personal and intimate with the fans. That’s where you really build your core. In the arenas, we were supporting some big bands: Whitesnake, Kiss, Bad Company, Lynyrd Skynyrd… And, to be honest, I think we did some numbers where we were doing 20-25% of the audience, our audience. But the rest was theirs. So we wanted to build it from the bottom up. Plant some roots, plant some seeds and, so far, so good: it’s been great. And like John said, it’s better to be a bit conservative and it looks good to for the promoters: “It’s a new band but they sold out!”.
John: Every show!
Marco: “So let’s bring them to Le Bataclan!”. Why not? That’s a step up: so that’s the idea, you know?
John: Or “Oui!” (laughter)
This is a co-headlining tour (with The Answer). Is there some kind of competition between the bands?
John: No! I think both bands are… We’ve had a good time with The Answer. They’re a great band. I think we’re different enough from each other. We’re not stepping on each other’s toes. We’re having a good time with them and our fans, their fans, everybody’s having a good time: it’s been very cool.
Marco: Although one of them wanted to touch my bum the other day but I won’t get into that, you know! (laughter)
John : “Si!”. In Italian now! I’m gonna say “Yes” in every language!
A date now: 11/29/2016. Does it ring a bell?
Marco: We were… In the UK?
Nope. In Switzerland. Someone paid you a visit.
John: Roger Glover (Deep Purple)!
Marco: Me, personally… We’ve toured with Thin Lizzy with Deep Purple: we did a lot of dates all over the place. So he’s like a friend. But I had no idea he lived there. I guess Doug is still in touch with him and he said: “Oh, you’re coming to this venue? I’m up the street, I live there!”. So he came and said hello, that’s simple. And he was off. He’s very supportive with the band. And he IS Roger Glover! Roger fucking Glover! He’s a friend too: he’s one of us when it comes down to it. We respect him so I gave him accolades to the point where he was live: “OK, enough Marco, I get it!” (laughter).
John: I met Roger before. That was probably my third or fourth time meeting him. Because they did their last record where I live, in Nashville, with Bob Ezrin. So I met him a few times at some clubs and he is really approachable, a very nice guy, very normal, very down to Earth. So it was cool seeing him again.
Marco: He really loved the show. We got to do a little tribute thing for him. It was a nice visit, a nice surprise to me. That was very cool.
John, you probably want to add a word, don’t you?
John: In Japanese: “Huuuuuu!” (laughter)
Hellfest now. Marco already played there with Thin Lizzy…
John: And I have never done it before so that’s gonna be my first time. I’m excited about it!
Marco: I put it up there with the bigger ones like Download UK or Sweden Rock. And I have to say that Hellfest is really well put together, man! It’s amazing! How many stages? Six! Amazing! From the moment you get in, you see that everything is well put together and I appreciate that. I’m sure we will have a good time. When our manager told us about it, I said : “It’s perfect for us: we will do well”. So we’re definitely looking forward to it.
Many thanks to Olivier (Replica).