Intervju med John Corabi!
John Corabi är aktuell för Stockholm Rock Out 10-11 september i huvudstaden, där han kommer att spela tillsammans med band som UDO, Great White, Keel och KIX.
Jag hade nöjet att få snacka med John när han var på väg till Atlanta för sista giget tillsammans med LA Guns och Faster Pussycat. Samtalet kom att handla om kommande plattan, boken, Crüe, LA och en hel del annat.
Hey John, how are you?
John Corabi: Alright Niclas. How are you?
I´m good! What´s going on in the world of John Corabi?
JC: Just driving around the lovely south of America and doing these shows with LA Guns and Faster Pussycat and it´s good. Life is good!
What about the new album? Is it coming out now?
JC: No, actually it´s funny, I´m having an issue with my label right now. I´m actually kind of backtracking and trying to start my own label and I´ve actually got another Universal company called Fontana Universal and they would actually help med distribute it and I just need to get things up and running, so it´s another glitch in the program, but it´s coming. I promise!
These songs then? I´ve read that you´ve been doing stuff in Nashville. Is anything of that on the album?
JC: Yeah, there´s gonna be a couple of new things. Basically the first thing I´m gonna do is start my own record label and I wanna go back and get all my old stuff, like The Scream, Union and repackage it and put it out there. I mean, people are writing to me every day going “I can´t find The Scream album! I can´t find the Union stuff!”, so I want to make that available. I want to license it on iTunes, so if people want it they can have it, you know what I mean? So I´m doing that and I´m trying to get back together while I´m working on some new material and recording some new material and hopefull I´ll have all of this up and running within the next few months.
Right! I´ve heard somewhere that you might be working with some Swedish guys? Any truth in that?
JC: Uuuhmm, I don´t know! Well, actually I did meet some guys… God, it was a couple of years ago at Sweden Rock Festival and they were some song writers and producers and they had talked to me about doing some writing and some recording with them and maybe try to co-producing some of the rock stuff or metal stuff that they were working with. Some of the newer bands they were working with and I said I´d love to, but to be honest with you, I haven´t heard much from them as of late. I don´t know if it´s something that´s just… at this point, a rumour or if there´s some actual fact to it. We´ll see!
Ok! Working in Nashville and I´ve read that you´ve been writing country music and stuff like that too…
JC: No, they´re not really, to be honest, country music here in America right now is so close to rock. They´re so closely linked. I mean, Robert Plant is doing that thing with Alison Krauss and Jon Bon Jovi did a song with the girl from Sugarland, so there´s this very cross, close pollinating thing going on with country and rock. I mean, hell, you could take a song like “Wanted dead or alive” with Bon Jovi and have somebody like Garth Brooks sing it. I just write the way I write and it just falls where it may. I don´t think about it.
Do you write for others or just yourself?
JC: Sure! I´ve actually… I just did a track for a Japanese artist, I had a track on Bruce Kulick´s solo record, a track on an album for Cinder Road. I´ve got some country stuff. You know, I wanna try and focus a little bit more on that. I´ve been kind of letting it… I really wanna try and focus on that because one of the things I´ve realized, living in Nashville, is that there´s a huge market for people that can write music. I never even contemplated doing that, so it´s pretty cool. I´m excited about it.
Cool! I´ve done a lot of interviews with musicians out of LA and they all say that Nashville is really happening and a lot of people, when it comes to song writers and musicians, move from LA to Nashville.
JC: It´s just not LA. There´s people from all over the world there. One of the guys that I just wrote a song with recently in Nashville is from South Africa. There´s a huge population of people from Australia there. Some of the best song writers from all over the world live in Nashville. Robert Plant lives there now, the Nelson brothers, all the guys in Cinderella, the guy from Winger, Mark Slaughter, John Waite. It rocks! It´s huge and it´s just a cool town. It´s not like LA. It´s smaller, but it´s like a small town vibe in a big city. I don´t know how to explain it. It´s just a very cool vibe!
I also read that you´ve done stuff for tv?
JC: I´m trying!
Do you get offers to do something or do you come up with stuff and send it out to networks?
JC: No, someone will call me and say “Hey, can you do this?” or “Can you write a song for this?” or whatever. It´s something that I really want to do. I have a very twisted way or viewpoint of what I think is cool and not cool. I don´t know. Most times I´m wrong, but I´m not gonna write a song for something, like a tv-show, that I wouldn´t really be into. Whatever! You know! I´m not gonna write something for Hannah Montana.
I´m wondering, you grew up in Philadelphia right?
Did you move straight to LA?
JC: I moved from Philadelphia in 1985 to LA. I lived in LA for about 20 years and then I moved to Nashville and I´ve been here for about four now.
Were you in a lot of bands in Philly?
JC: Just some typical club cover thing. Cutting my teeth playing the nightclubs. One of those types of bands… I don´t know how it is there (Sweden, but in New Jersey and Philadelphia, where I grew up, bands would go out and they would play in a club from Wednesday night to Saturday and play three or four 40 minutes sets. We would do the old stuff, like Van Halen, Zeppelin, Aerosmith, AC/DC, whatever was on the radio. So I did that. I only had one original band there and then we moved to Los Angeles with my first original band. Most people know that band by Angora. We did some recording, wrote some demos and tried to get a record deal in LA. But when we moved from Philadelphia, those guys became Angora.
So you played all the famous clubs in LA, like The Whisky A Go Go, Roxy and those places?
JC: Yeah! We played Gazzari´s, Troubadour, Madame Wong´s and all those places. I had that opportunity. It was great when I first moved to LA. It was killer!
How would you compare LA today to back in the 80´s?
JC: I don´t live there anymore, so I don´t know. It changed. It was so much more fun and it was just crazy. It was just a wild time. It was the late 80´s and Guns N´Roses was just getting signed. Poison, Hurricane all these bands and everybody was fighting for their inch of space and it was cool. It was a great time and I had a blast. All these girls walking around Sunset Boulevard and huge hairdos and very little clothing. Literally girls would walk around and walk into clubs with big hairdos, long jackets and lingerie. Wearing a pair of panties, you know what I mean. It was awesome! Now it´s a lot more subdued.
Is it more of a struggle these days when it comes to getting your record out and get across to people.
JC: If you just do it with the Internet, no! You can do it yourself. Like my son. He´s got a band and they recorded stuff right in the bedroom that´s amazing. Their stuff sounds as good as any other band I´ve heard on the radio and they recorded it in their bedroom. They put up a website, they got their name and they did everything in house, man. Done, ready to go! If you look at it that way, in some ways it´s easier because you can go out and promote yourself and on the other hand it is harder. The economy here in America has been real bad and it´s kind of affecting everybody all together. I´ve been touring this summer and nobody has spare money to go to concerts, so they´re being choosy about who they go see.
I guess it´s the same thing here, or was the same thing. Another thing. When you read around on the Internet and you talk to people, your album with Mötley Crüe always comes up as a favorite and it´s one of my favorite Crüe albums and a lot of people put it up there with the classic ones. It was too bad that it didn´t go further.
JC: Well, you know. Everything happens for a reason and noit everything happens the way it´s supposed to happen. Maybe I´m delusional, but I still feel that my best years are ahead of me. I don´t feel that I´ve musically have done the best music that I can do. We´ll see what happens. I can tell you right now that this tour is the first real tour I´ve done on my own as a solo artist and it´s been great. The response has been great. A lot of people are coming up “Dude, I´m so glad to see you doing this!”. I´m really looking forward to going over to Europe. I think, once people get wind of the fact, it´s gonna be really cool.
You´ve been here a lot, haven´t you?
JC: Well, I´ve been there with Ratt and Union and with ESP. It´s funny, with all those bands… well, with Union we did one Mötley song and one Screak song. In all fairness… Mötley never toured in Europe with me in the band and The Scream never toured there, so what I´m doing now is I´m doing songs from Union that are 10 or 12 years old and nobody´s played them in 10 or 12 years. If I come to Europe and play, I´m gonna be playing songs from Mötley and The Scream that nobody´s ever seen played. It´s never been performed live, so I just wanna get out there and I don´t wanna do a record and put it out there. I wanna do the homework first. I wanna get out there and tour. I wanna play a bunch of stuff from my back catalog and I wanna shake hands and kiss babies like a politician. And let people know that I´m alive. Let people know that I´m still out there, I´m still rocking and let them know that I do have a record coming out soon.
Excellent! Are you in touch with any of the Crüe guys these days?
JC: Yeah, yeah! I just spoke with Tommy when I was in LA and he invited me over to his house to hear his new record. I didn´t have the time though, which is the thing with both of us. We´re so busy.
They played here this past weekend.
JC: Mötley did?
Yeah, at the Sonisphere festival and it was just nuts. The rain was pouring down for like eight hours. 47000 people. It was cool!
JC: That´s crazy!
Did you audition for the Crüe or did they know about you before?
JC: Yeah, they had my Scream record. We talked and they said they loved the Scream record. Nikki had mentioned it and he just called me and asked me if I could come down and jam with them. I went down on a Monday and on Tuesday they told me I was in the band. It was very quick.
Cool! Do you remember what songs you played when you were jamming?
JC: We did “Dr. Feelgood”… it´s funny, we did “Jailhouse rock” and we did “Smokin´in the boys room”, “Helter skelter”… We just kind of jammed together. Jammed some blues and I played guitar and Mick and I traded off some solos and then we immediately started working on songs. The first two songs we worked on was “Hammered” and “Misunderstood”, so that worked out ok too.
Yeah, there´s some killer songs on that album! Well, what about this book of yours? I read somewhere that it was pretty much done?
JC: It was and then I got the first initial draft and I didn´t like it. I went back and… you know, again, maybe I over think everything, but my mark… maybe I set my bar or mark too high, but I wanna be like super proud of whatever it is I write, whether it´s music or a tv-show or whatever and the bottom line of it is that I have a bar now after reading “The dirt”, which I thought was a great book, my book can´t be any less than the dirt. I read my book and to be honest with you, I thought it sucked! The way it was written, I just thought it was fucking horrible! I scrapped it and I just started over. It is coming. I apologize to everybody who´s been waiting for all of this stuff. Just are with me, it´ll be worth it in the long run. I´m a little bit of a stickler for things.
As you said, if you do something you want to get it right.
JC: Yeah, if I wanna release something not as good as “The dirt”, I could release it right now, but ultimately I want a great book and I´m not gonna do it if it´s not done right.
Are you doing it all by yourself or are you writing with someone?
JC: I´m actually having someone help me with it. What I´m doing is, I want to write my own chapters because at the end of the day no one´s gonna get my sense of humor better than me, or my sarcasm or any of that stuff. I´m like “Let me write it!” and I´ll send the chapters to my friend who´s helping me finish it and then he´ll fine tune everything and make it proper.
Was there any reason for writing the book now and not in another 5 or 10 years?
JC: It was just weird because I had gone through a couple o divorces, the stuff with the Mötley guys and all this shit and one of my managers actually sat and told med “Dude, you should write a book!”. I thought about it and… I´m not like a typical rock guy. My story doesn´t read like one of those “VH-1: Behind the scenes” thing, like musician is poor, gets together with three other poor musicians and they struggle and write songs, then they become huge and this massively famous band and then they do tons of drugs and the they argue with each other and then they fall apart and wither away and then they get back together again and conquer the earth. It´s not my story! Things are a bit more complicated. Initially everybody said “Oh, I hope this is a kiss and tell Mötley book!”. No, Mötley, as great as Mötley is, it´s only a small portion of my life and this is more about where I grew up, some of the things that happened when I was younger growing up in Philadelphia. It goes into detail about about where the song “Uncle Jack” came from and that person. Just crazy, crazy stuff in my life, but the whole time my music career was running parallel to all of this crazy shit that was going on in my life. I feel like, if anything, it´s just a book that is no punches, no bullshit, it´s not coloured. This isn´t about John Corabi sleeping with four models in Tokyo. I´m not sugarcoating anything. It´s just, here´s my life, here´s where I came from, here´s what I meant when I wrote this song and here´s what was happening in my life. It´s just really a very straight forward honest thing! But I think it kind of gives people a perspective on having perseverance of you wanna do and enjoy doing. Win, lose or draw whether you´re making money or you´re not making money. It´s just about perseverance and believing in yourself. It´s been a long time coming. I started it and each tour and each thing that I do is like another little story that´s interwoven into it. I´m just gonna keep writing and at some point we´ll sit down and edit it and figure it out. I´ll let my buddy sit down and edit it and figure out where the beginning is and where the end is. Make sure that it just reads right. It´s all good!
Do you have a title for it yet?
JC: Well, I was gonna call it “The dirt”, but that´s taken. (laughs). No, I don´t know. We´ll figure it out as we go. It will present itself.
I´m looking forward to and I´m gonna make sure I get a copy of it.
JC: Yeah, that´s another thing. A lot of people were like, “You know, we can print the book here in America!”, but I don´t want it just in America! I want people in Sweden be able to buy it, France and Russia or whatever! I´m not saying I have tons of fans everywhere, but I would like them to be able to get it in their own language. There´s just some details. Just get it done or “Take care of business!”, as Elvis would say.
Exactly! Do you remember the first time you heard yourself on the radio?
JC: Yeah, actually I was driving in my car in LA and I almost freaked out. It was weird. It´s pretty strange hearing yourself on the radio or seeing yourself on MTV. At one time I walked into a club when we were on tour and there was a cover band playing my song. “Wow, that´s crazy!”. It was pretty cool! I get it now too, like on YouTube there´s pictures of a band, actually in Finland, they´re recording an album and they sent me a YouTube video of them playing “Love (I don´t need it anymore)” from the Union record and I just thought it was really cool. They asked me if they could record it live and I was like “Yeah, sure!”.
So, this tour you´re doing now with LA Guns and Faster Pussycat, how long have you been out?
JC: Let me see, it started around the second week of July and it´s been going pretty good. In the beginning it was a little bit shaky, but I think it´s one of those things where I think once people catch on to it and go “Ah wait, they´re touring together? That´s cool!”. The attendance has been great. All the places we´ve played, everybody´s been happy, everybody´s been making money and all the club owners and theatre owners are all stoked. Hopefully we can bring the package overseas. I know we were supposed to do something in Korea together, but it got postponed till October. But we´re doing the Stockholm Rock Out.
Yeah, there´s a lot of cool bands on there. Keel, Kix, Great White… Just some cool bands!
JC: Where is it at? Is it outdoors or indoors?
I think it´s indoors and it´s pretty close to down town Stockholm.
About the tour, are you playing for another month or…? Is it all over the US?
JC: Yeah, we pretty much covered the entire US and actually tonight, is my last show with the guys. Then I head to Canada in about a week. I´m playing Atlanta tonight and then we´re gonna cut out of there and head back to my house in Nashville and I´m gonna sleep all day tomorrow and get reacquainted with my beautiful girlfriend. I´m very much looking forward to that.
Oh, so you´re playing tonight and you´ll be back in Nashville tomorrow? How far is that?
JC: Maybe 250 miles. It´s not far. We´ll finish tonight and I´ll be home in my bed at about 6 in the morning.
Alright! Well, it´s been an absolute pleasure talking to you John!
JC: I hope I´ll meet you there and we´ll have a Guiness together!
Yeah, most definitely! Thanks John! Have a great show tonight and best of luck with the album and the book!
JC: Thank you very much!