With a wealth of experience between them and a lineup which is second to none, The Dead Daisie’s truly encapsulates the spirit of rock n’ roll.
Last year the band released their latest album Make Some Noise, and don’t they just. Doug Aldrich is the latest recruit in this outstanding supergroup. Having had a long and successful career in the music industry including stints with the likes of Whitesnake, Dio, Glenn Hughes and Revolution Saints to name but a few – Aldrich was arguably the missing piece of the puzzle for The Dead Daisies.
National Rock Review recently caught up with The Dead Daisies lead guitarist Doug Aldrich whilst on tour in the UK to talk about the band’s latest album, his career and the band’s plans for 2017.
NRR: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak to us here at National Rock Review we really appreciate it.
NRR: So you guys are currently out on tour across the UK, you’ve been hitting the road pretty much all summer I think. You are touring in support of your new album Make Some Noise, I was just wondering how have the shows been going so far?
Doug: It’s been great, you know it’s really cool. When we were here last time it was prior to the record coming out, we were playing some new songs, but now the record is out people know it and they are really into it. So it’s fun to have the fans hearing the songs live for real again. They might have known them a little bit by seeing us play, but it’s different when you get the record. It’s been great.
NRR: This tour is a co-headline tour with The Answer, and you’ve also got Lynne Jackaman opening up for you – it’s a really good combination of three great bands. I couldn’t believe our luck when I saw that lineup it’s so good.
Doug: We all had heard her but she is stripping it down with just an acoustic guitar and it’s beautiful.
NRR: You should hear Lynne with her full band as well, she has six or seven guys in her band, it’s incredible, she has such a great voice.
Doug: That’s cool.
NRR: Obviously, being a co-headline tour, how much competition is there between the two bands each night?
Doug: I will tell you there’s a lot, we fight it out every day, we get in fist fights (laughing). No, they are friends and it’s really cool, it’s a great pairing you know, it’s different bands but the fans love them both for different reasons. It’s an opportunity for us to play for their fans and for them to play for ours. I met those guys 10 years ago, they had just won the Classic Rock New Band award and they were on tour with Whitesnake, they are good guys and it’s a great band. There’s no competition at all, it’s really so relaxed, it’s awesome.
NRR: You must be one of the busiest guitarists in rock. In the last five years or so I’ve seen you with Whitesnake, with Glenn Hughes, you released the Revolution Saints record and now The Dead Daisies. Does it feel great to be in such high demand?
Doug: I feel very lucky about stuff like that, but I try to keep busy, but originally I wanted to be more at home because I’ve got little ones there. That was one of the things that was difficult, where I felt like I really needed to take some time away from touring and doing stuff with Whitesnake and focus on family for a little bit and I did that.
I had this gig in Las Vegas, it was really fun, but I started to get crazy just staying in one spot. When I was in Las Vegas I did the Revolution Saints record, then Glenn called me and some other friends called me about some other things and I started dabbling.
Last year as you know when they were making plans for The Dead Daisies for this year, Richard obviously was going back out with Guns n Roses, so he was going to be gone. They were talking about who to get, and my name came up and they called me. They had actually called me before that to fill in for Richard because he had gotten hurt in a motorcycle accident and I couldn’t because I was working with Glenn, but we talked about starting the new year fresh with the new record together.
I thought this will be cool, it’s all my friends – I mean I knew Marco and Brian, I have just met David. I’ve known John Corabi since I was 15, we met in Philadelphia in 1979 and it was a no-brainer to play. Obviously, everyone is great players, Brian and Marco together …we had all been in Whitesnake, but not at the same time, so that was pretty exciting. Like I said I’ve known John so long, but I’ve never done a stitch of music with him until this record and it worked out really well.
NRR: Just going back to Revolution Saints, I mean obviously that was a great debut album. You are tied up with The Dead Daisies right now, but is there any chance of that project ever kicking back off again?
Doug: Actually there is a chance that maybe we will do a follow up at some point when we have time next year. The Dead Daisies are going to take a little break just so that people can get with their family and do some things like that, so I’m talking to Dean about it, we would love to do it. I’m not sure if Jack is available or not, maybe if we could pull together it would be great.
NRR: Obviously, being the newest member of the band, I think by the time we had heard you had joined the band you were already in the studio recording Make Some Noise.
Doug: That’s right.
NRR: I was just wondering when you joined the group, did it feel like you were jumping straight in at the deep end going right into the studio with the band to record an album after such a short period of time?
Doug: It was definitely a situation where we had put a date on the start, we were going to convene together in Nashville and we were going to put together a record. Everyone had ideas, but we had never sat down yet together and played, but basically the first couple of days was like a free for all. There was all of this music coming around and everyone was playing the guitar, you know acoustic guitars, it was like hey what about this, what about this?
Finally, we kind of latched on to a couple, David wasn’t there on the first day, so we thought to be fair let’s work on one of his ideas. So “Long Way To Go” was one of the first ones that we had kind of got a start on and then little by little we started to hone in on different things. Eventually, we ended up with about 22 ideas and we could tell actually pretty much right away that it was going to work. But we got lucky, you never know when you get together, even when you’ve got a lineup that’s been doing records for a while, sometimes you get together and people aren’t inspired or whatever, but it was a good time for us.
You know we weren’t trying to make a record to change the world or things like that, but we basically wanted to take a stamp of that time period, with these five individuals and this is what we created, this is what we came up with. So I look forward to doing it again at some point and see what we come up with at that point.
NRR: On that record, there’s a lot of very classic rock inspired sounds in there. The first time I listened to it I was picking out bits of Aerosmith, bits of Van Halen, AC/DC and even a little bit of Queen I thought was in there somewhere. I was just wondering was that your intention when you went into the studio, to channel that kind of sound?
Doug: Not really, I mean there’s certain things that we like – all of us, and it’s basically classic rock kind of stuff, which is everything that you’ve mentioned and we are all fans of all of those bands. Sometimes for example John loves Aerosmith more than maybe Queen, maybe I’m just guessing, and I love Led Zeppelin more than Aerosmith, whatever Deep Purple, but we all like that kind of stuff and we found some musical bits that we could start with. Then just one thing led to another and the only thing that we planned on was making a record of classic rock sounding stuff because not a lot of bands are doing that these days, not a lot of bands are doing new records with this type of music.
NRR: I think it’s got those classic rock undertones, but at the same time it sounds fresh.
Doug: We tried to, thanks. We had a few different kind of ideas, we had a ballad, we had some different style things. Marti Frederickson who produced the record basically said this is the group of songs I think we should focus on and let’s just keep it straight up rock, straight rock all the way through from the top to bottom and let’s not try to cover too much ground, let’s keep it simple. So that’s what we decided on for this one.
NRR: You’ve recently released a new video for “Song And A Prayer” which is a short film. I was just wondering if you could tell us a little bit about that song and the concept behind the video?
Doug: That was really interesting because originally, well first of all the song it was one of the songs that we liked and we liked them all equally, but the record company really felt that this song could be a single and they were really excited about it.
So we set up the whole process with “Long Way To Go” and then we put “Join Together” out and then I think we might have done a little something with “Make Some Noise”, but setting up this gave us time to get the footage filmed for the thing.
We had talked about originally doing a regular kind of video situation where it would tie in and you would see the girl and the guy that’s going to war and you would see shots of the band. Then we decided you know what, that’s been done so much, let’s try and do something a little different. The band had already done something like that on the last record with the song “Lock and Load”, so management found a team and we put together a video which is really cool because you look at it and it makes you think about different things. It does relate to the song, but it also opens up a lot of different possibilities in the mind about what the song could be about.
NRR: The opening riff of that song is just off the scale.
Doug: You know that was actually John’s idea. What happened was that we had the original song and it started with just the guitar part (mimicks the riff). Then Marti Frederickson said can we put some kind of a little melody line in the chorus and I said yeah sure. So we figured it out and worked it out (mimicks the riff) underneath the chords. Then John said what if we did something like that for the intro, and so just for fun, I was in the other room doing some other guitars, just for fun they took that which is in a different key and they transposed it to the right key and stuck it on the front of the song. So it sounded a little bit messed up because the computer generated it, but it was just to give me an idea.
Then they said hey come in, what do you think about doing something like this? This is not what you do obviously, you would have to redo it but what do you think? I said that’s a great idea, so I just basically played it again in the proper key and I asked them can we keep what they had done the computer one and just tucked it way underneath almost like an effect and that’s what’s on the record.
NRR: It’s incredible.
Doug: Cool, thanks.
NRR: What’s your favourite track to perform live and why?
Doug: I mean, because I’ve learnt that simple things are actually more fun sometimes than technical things, like of course if you go to see somebody like Yngwie Malmsteen or an accomplished musician like that it’s fun to hear that, but it’s also fun when you have a simple riff and you just go bash, bash, bash. So right now “Make Some Noise” is really fun, it’s just simple and people get it right away. I noticed it when we were doing the shows with Kiss over the summer it almost has a Kiss like quality about it, it’s very simple and that type of stuff works great in arenas.
NRR: You’ve had a really long and successful career in the music industry, and I was just wondering looking back and with the benefit of hindsight is there anything that you would have done differently?
Doug: I mean I’ve been really lucky, there’s been a lot of different experiences together that has built into one lucky guy playing the guitar. I mean there’s always some things you go hey it might have been cool if I had done that.
One thing, for example, was I had a band in the 80s and I wanted to keep together because it was my mates, and I really believed in it and I wanted it to happen. I had some offers that were really good offers coming in and I was a little naive to think that this band is the one for sure, maybe I would have just kept my options open a little bit.
One of the offers was Dio asked me to play back then and we jammed and it was really cool, it was when Craig Goldy left the band. I was like I don’t want to let down my friends and so I was trying to stay loyal. I think it’s important to stay loyal, but also in a business like the music business, I think you need advice and that’s something that I would have gotten earlier. Some advice from outside like an attorney or management saying look, Doug, this band is cool but you know this is a really good opportunity you might be in a situation where you can help that band more, so anyway the band ended up breaking up. As fate would have it Ronnie asked me ten years later.
NRR: What does The Dead Daisies have in store for the rest of this year and into next year?
Doug: Well right now this is a great way to cap off this year and like I said being able to come back to some of these territories and play now they know the songs and we are having a great time. This is a really cool package if people get a chance to come and see this with The Answer and Lynne it’s a really fun night, it’s a great night. It’s been great crowds and it’s perfect because the holidays hasn’t kicked in yet so we are enjoying that.
We are actually going to record some shows and who knows that might lead to something next year, but we are excited the band is really on fire right now so we want to capture that for maybe down the road. Like I said we are going to take some time off at the beginning of the year so that everyone can catch up with family and do stuff and then we will reconvene in the spring and we’ve got actually some touring planned already for spring time.
NRR: So it’s all happening, and you’ve got lots going on, and that all sounds really great.
The Dead Daisies
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