Formed in 2012 in Australia, The Dead Daisies have held a lineup of stellar musicians ranging from Dizzy Reed and Richard Fortus from Guns N’ Roses to Darryl Jones from the Rolling Stones. Current members John Corabi (lead vocals), Marco Mendoza (bass), Brian Tichy (drums), David Lowy (rhythm guitar) and newest member Doug Aldrich (lead guitar) are getting ready to start their tour in July in support of their upcoming album Make Some Noise which is due out on August 5th , oddly enough, their self titled EP and first single Face I Love was also released in 2014 on August 5th. The Dead Daisies have not slowed down since they exploded onto the scene in 2013 as they continue to imprint their psychedelic frenzy of 70’s and 80’s hard rock on everyone they come across.
Joining The Dead Daisies in 2015, Corabi recalls how it all began. “David Lowy and Jon Stevens had started the band originally and Marco had called me. I had just gotten back from doing shows with my solo band and he brought up how he was working with this band based out of Australia and we would love for you to come out and meet everybody.” Although Corabi was having success with his solo projects, he decided to join the band as they ventured off to Cuba. “It was basically part of the audition process to see how I was on stage and how I interacted with everyone. After that, they asked me to sing on their last record called Revolucion and we have pretty much been going non stop since last February.”
No stranger to working with a multitude of other musicians, the members of The Dead Daisies have an unlimited amount of talent and they are focused on one goal, one mission and the relationship has always been rock solid according to Corabi. “We’re all just huge fans of good old fashioned 70’s rock n’ roll,” Corabi says. “Our influences don’t really stray too far outside of the box. We’re all into bands like Queen, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Humble Pie and all those great bands. When I first met the band, I already knew Brian and Dizzy Reed and Marco. It was really a matter of getting to know everyone before I committed to anything, but once we all hung out, we all became friends. I still talk to Dizzy and Richard even though they are no longer with the band.” The newest member, Doug Aldrich (guitar) and Corabi had been friends long before either of them became part of The Dead Daisies. “We actually grew up together in Philadelphia so having Doug come into this, he is an amazing guitar player and songwriter and we were old pals so it was great when he came aboard.”
Recently, The Dead Daisies signed a global distribution deal with SPV Records and are gearing up for their third studio album release Make Some Noise. In this digital age, it is becoming more common for artists to sign distribution only deals which allows more options as well as financial independence. Having been in the music scene for some time, Corabi has been through the different phases of the industry and therefore it was interesting for us to find out his stance on how things have evolved as far as signing with a label are concerned. “Record deals aren’t what they were 20 years ago and we have great management and a supportive team behind us and we trust them so it leaves us with having more of a chance to just go in to write and record the album and not worry so much about the business end of things. The main thing that is different now about putting a new record out or planning a tour is you don’t really have MTV and the big radio conglomerate pushing your music or helping you out. It does make things a little bit more difficult at times.” Corabi continues, “Marco is always talking about waving the flag of rock n’ roll and to some degree it is almost as if we have come back full circle because we are just a group of friends who love to play music and write and perform. Not only are we waving flags from the musical point of view, but also in the business point of view because all of the bands I grew up listening to like Aerosmith, Queen and David Bowie, they didn’t find immediate success. It took them a few records and some time before things really started happening. Bands would just put out a record and tour like crazy and it was all word of mouth.” Corabi feels that things are still the same in many ways, even with the internet. “Back in the 60’s, you didn’t rely on the radio and it was entirely based on the fans. We are very interactive with our fans and our team does so much to consistently post things on our behalf to keep us in touch.” Youtube is the biggest music video outlet right now and while 20 years ago, we had channels like MTV to bring music videos to our living room, it’s a completely different animal. “With MTV, viewers could watch videos, but it wasn’t as wide spanned as it is now with the internet so we are back to the 60’s where bands are just releasing records and touring to gain word of mouth which brings the most loyal and hardcore fans so it’s actually a good thing and it’s between the band and the fans now,” Corabi says.
Working with Producer Marti Frederiksen on Make Some Noise has been an adventure and a great experience according to Corabi. Having known Frederiksen for over 20 years, Corabi says that when the band asked if he knew of any record producers in the Nashville area that they could work with on the new album, he quickly brought up Frederiksen. “When we first talked to Marti, we told him how we just wanted to do a no frills, kick in the teeth 70’s rock record and immediately he agreed to do it. Working together was great. I actually learned quite a bit. He is incredibly mellow and he is a prominent songwriter and easy to work with, but he can also put his foot down when he needs to.”
When it came down to writing and recording the music for both Make Some Noise and Revolucion, Corabi says it was interesting because the members are so spread out geographically. “Most bands will go on and write songs then show up to the studio with partially finished ideas and from there, they finish the songwriting. For us, we usually go in with no finished ideas and a short amount of time to get a record done,” Corabi reveals. “When we recorded the last record, we were down in Australia and in 32 days we wrote, recorded, mixed and mastered 17 songs and this time, we did the same thing. Marco or David will say “check out this riff” and sit there and start jamming. Even when we were tracking the songs, we made changes and came up with new ideas.”
With music festivals and a tour coming up, Corabi confesses that they will more than likely play it by ear when it comes to the set list. “Since we will be playing several festivals, we will alter our set list that fits best. We’re planning an acoustic set as well so that’s what we will be doing.” Right now, rehearsals are in full swing and The Dead Daisies will be making their way around the globe.
Corabi initially became interested in playing the guitar and credits a show his parents were watching and the Beatles were on and it was an eye opening moment. Seeing people go crazy over the Beatles and soon after his parents bought him his first guitar. From there, Corabi joined a few cover bands in Philadelphia and New Jersey. “Really early on, I would say when I was 14 or 15, I had to make a decision whether or not I wanted to be a musician and I knew in order to do that, I would have to write my own songs and forgo the cover bands.”
Corabi has been involved in a list of bands such as The Scream, Angora and in 1992 he joined Motley Crue where he replaced Vince Neil as the lead vocalist on the band’s 1994 self-titled release. However, due to the label’s demand that if Neil wasn’t in the band, they wouldn’t have another album, Corabi was left having to resign as Neil returned to the fold. “I have no hard feelings at all about that. The songs we wrote when I was in the band were awesome and I was tagged because there were only two singers of Motley Crue, either Neil or me,” Corabi discloses. “That tag has allowed me to do what I love to do for all of these years. It’s actually given me somewhat of a name whether it’s with The Dead Daisies or on my solo projects, I have been able to benefit from that. I was able to do an acoustic album and not too long ago, I did a tour playing the 94 self titled album in its’ entirety which was cool. I admit, it was a little confusing when Neil came back but it was an awesome ride while it lasted,” Corabi concludes. Having worked with a range of artists, Corabi has learned patience and that it’s all about the give and take when it comes to working with other musicians. “I never had the intention of being in so many bands, it just happened that way. Some people are on the straight path and others, like me, have to take different paths to get to where they want to be,” Corabi says. “Having done the acoustic solo record, it has taken me away from the expectations people had,” according to Corabi. “People were so used to me screaming and being in a heavy band, it was a welcomed break and gave me the opportunity to show everyone that I could do so much more and I wouldn’t be pigeon holed as much. People won’t know what to expect until they hear the record.”
Corabi has plans to release another solo album later this year, but for now he is concentrating on The Dead Daisies’ new album and their tour. Although pressed to talk further about his upcoming solo project, his level of respect for his bandmates and what they are doing stood strong. Corabi’s loyalty to the band and his upcoming ventures leave no doubt that he will continue to rise to success and for those who are just learning about The Dead Daisies for the first time, welcome to the garden.