Category Archives: Hard Rock Daddy Interviews
In early February, when Sons Of Texas was the featured artist on Hard Rock Daddy’s Music Discovery Monday, guitarist Jes De Hoyos shared the inspiration behind the band’s debut single, “Baptized In The Rio Grande.” The album of the same name was released on March 3rd, and immediately rocketed into the Top 10 on the Billboard Hard Rock Album Chart. Check out the rest of the interview with De Hoyos below to learn more about this band on the rise!
You guys come from an area that is not exactly a musical hotbed. How did you manage to put together such a powerful lineup in such a small area?
Because it is such a small area, it wasn’t hard to find musicians that we liked. The first band that our singer (Mark Morales) was in was with our drummer and bass player (brothers Mike and Nick Villareal). The band was put together for the sake of a talent show, and then Mark left to pursue music on his own. Nick and Mike continued Lay In Ruins, and gained momentum through the years on the local circuit.
Jon Olivares (guitar) and I were in a band together with former members of Texas. Lay In Ruins was looking for a second guitarist, so Jon joined at that point, and I jumped in because they needed a bass player. Eventually, I worked on another project called Machete with Mark because I wanted to go back to guitar. We went through a long list of trial and error before finalizing the lineup that eventually became Sons Of Texas.
So is it fair to say that you guys came together naturally by being on the scene together?
Yes, but we were playing in different genres of music though. Machete was more straight-up metal, and Lay In Ruins was heavier and darker, closer to death core. I’ve always wanted to do something that had a more rock and roll feel to it, but with the liberty to add in metal and blues.
Since you and Mark worked together in Machete, did you bring any of that material to Sons Of Texas?
No, it’s all fresh material.
You guys are living proof that location is less important than writing great songs. Despite living in an area not known for its music scene, the band was actually discovered pretty quickly. How did your label (Razor & Tie) discover you?
We had gone up to play SXSW in 2012 with our original lineup (as Texas) which had two other guys on bass and drums. We were approached by someone from a different label who liked the music and asked us for a CD. He pitched it to his label and there was interest. He kept tabs on us for a while, but I guess it didn’t work out.
A while later, the head of A&R for that label had lunch with our current attorney who said that he was looking for a band with a certain “sound.” She told him about us, and gave him our EP. Fast forward to me in bed with my wife at 11 fucking PM, when I receive what I can only describe as a strange phone call from an L.A. number. I answered the call and he goes…
“Hi, I’m looking for someone from the band Texas.”
I thought to myself…“Who the fuck is this!? I’m about to go to bed and you’re calling me now?” (laughs)
He told me that his name was Eric German, and said…“I fuckin’ love your music!”
We were having this long conversation, so as we’re talking, I had my wife Google him to see if he was legit. When she told me who he was, I thought to myself…holy fuck! This guy’s the real deal!
He said… “I want to represent you. I’m going to get you a record deal.”
Mike Gitter from Razor & Tie was in Eric’s office one day when he was playing our stuff, and he said…“what is this!?”
So, Eric calls me while Gitter is in his office, and Gitter yells in the background “I love your music!” Sure enough, a few months down the road, we had a record deal.
I agree, the whole album kicks ass! I was drawn to you guys right away when I heard “Baptized In The Rio Grande” on Octane. About 10 seconds in, I knew that it was going to be a killer track. And, the album has no filler whatsoever, which is amazing considering that none of you really had studio recording experience outside of making your own demos.
The whole experience was fucking amazing! I don’t know what we would have done if we didn’t have our producer (Josh Wilbur) and his wife taking us in and helping us out while we were out in California recording the album. We actually breezed through the entire fucking album in like a month. Although it had its ups and downs, it didn’t feel like work at all. I loved every minute of it!
It sounds like it came naturally to all of you. The album has a really cool, live vibe that doesn’t sound overproduced at all. Josh did a great job of capturing your sound, which I’m sure will translate really well in concert.
The thing about the live experience is, like I mentioned before, we don’t really have a lot of recording experience, so we’ve always focused on being as tight as we can be when performing live. I think that translated to the recording experience.
You guys definitely have your own distinct sound, but if I had to pick a couple of influences that I hear on the record, I’d say Sevendust and Black Label Society…
That’s fuckin’ awesome!
What bands would you say have the most influence on you as musicians and songwriters?
Definitely those two (Sevendust and Black Label Society). Mark was influenced by Zakk Wylde, vocally, as well as a few others. As far as the rest of us, we all meet in the middle at Pantera. That’s my personal poison of choice. I fucking love them! Our bass player (Nick) and Mark are also heavily into Mudvayne. We have a little bit of a ZZ Top influence in there, and we fuckin’ love Stevie Ray Vaughn!
So, basically, anybody that comes from Texas, right?
(laughs) Pretty much. That’s one of the reasons why we feel the name Sons Of Texas fits us so well.
And you definitely have a big sound, so you did Texas proud…
You have a modern hard rock sound, but your shredding dual guitars are kind of a throwback to 80s metal. You’ve talked about your overall influences. Can you talk about some of the guitar duos that have inspired you?
Pretty much any heavy guitar duos, but I’d say that the major one would be Willie Adler and Mark Morton from Lamb Of God, just because they were so tight from the very beginning. It was different than a lot of the 80s stuff that I listened to when I was growing up. It wasn’t just the leads; the riffs and everything they did was tight.
Jon and I both followed them on our own before we met, and we actually did some Lamb Of God covers when we first started playing together.
Do you have any other personal guitar influences that are specific to your style of playing lead?
I’d say that it boils down to four guys…
Dimebag Darrell – I still try my ass off to play with his style and soul. That ties into Stevie Ray Vaughn, who also has a lot of soul, and could just manhandle the guitar. It was amazing watching him play. And, the other two would be Zakk Wylde and Paul Gilbert.
I think that your influences might be why you guys have such a seasoned sound already, despite your age and this being your first album…
Thank you. Mark is an old soul too. He listens to older stuff like Bob Seger and old Marshall Tucker Band, and he’s a HUGE Beatles fan!
You describe “Baptized In The Rio Grande” as an album about raising hell and surviving hard times. Can you talk about what that means?
The song is gospel from the south, no doubt, but it’s got nothing to do with religion. We come from a place way down at the southern tip of Texas called the Rio Grande Valley. It’s not exactly known as a hotbed for rock/metal music. There are some highly talented musicians and acts that are from here, but you don’t come here to get discovered. We were told by a lot of people that we had to move to a place like Austin or L.A. if we wanted to make it in music. The mentality that we had is that it shouldn’t matter where you’re from; you should be able to expose yourself to the world no matter where you live. Ultimately, the song is really an homage to where we’re from.
Do you feel like being an all-Hispanic band made things more challenging because that isn’t very common in hard rock?
I kind of felt like it might have been an issue at one point. I thought that to be in a band, you had to be from a music hotbed (like Austin or L.A.) That’s why the song “Baptized In The Rio Grande” is kind of a big thing for us. It’s where we’re from, and it’s where we were “baptized” musically. It has nothing to do with being baptized in a river. (laughs)
One of my favorite tracks on the album is “Texas Trim.” I’d say that song is also about “hard” times, but not necessarily enduring difficulties if you know what I mean….
(laughs) A lot of times we hear people who come from other areas tell us that we have some of the best looking women that they’ve ever seen. That’s what “Texas Trim” is all about, kind of paying tribute to the ladies from our great state.
So, are you guys married or single?
Two of us are single and two are married. I’m married, and I have a daughter and a son on the way.
Is it going to be hard for you to go on the road with two little kids at home?
Absolutely! And the crazy part is that we’re expected to hit the road right after my son is born. It’s going to be kind of shitty, but there really isn’t any alternative.
Is your wife supportive of you going out on the road?
Oh yeah. She’s always been supportive of everything I do musically. She does everything that she can to help promote us. She’s a sweetheart, and I don’t know what the fuck I’d do without her!
What are your touring plans to support the album?
We’re going to be doing some of the festivals, and getting on some kind of tour in late April, but the details haven’t been confirmed yet. We also did some dates with our label-mates, All That Remains.
I could definitely see you guys opening up for Black Label Society one day…
Thanks man. That would be a huge honor!
Thanks for taking the time to talk, Jes. I wish you the best of luck with the album and your new baby. Definitely looking forward to checking out the live show when you guys are in my neck of the woods!
Hard Rock Daddy recently featured Crash Midnight’s single – “151” – on Music Discovery Monday, and a brief interview with frontman, Shaun Soho. The song was also featured on the Top 100 Hard Rock Songs of 2014. Buckle up your seat belts, and get ready to take an entertaining ride with Soho as we talk about the origin of the band’s name, the impact that they are having in their hometown of Boston and more!
The story behind the naming of Crash Midnight definitely fits with the vibe of your music. Let’s talk about how the name came to be…
It actually happened before we were even a band, when it was just Bo, Alex and me. Alex had only moved out to Boston from Columbus, OH two weeks earlier. We decided that we would start a hard rock, blues-based band that would capture the stuff that Aerosmith was doing way back when, and what Guns N’ Roses hit on with Appetite For Destruction. We had that idea in our heads, but no idea for a band name yet.
You have to know Bo to really appreciate this story. Bo’s the kind of guy that will break an expensive vase and then be proud of himself for sweeping up the floor afterwards. (laughs)
Anyway, it was the middle of the damn night, and I was dead asleep. Bo calls me all fired up, and I think that something exciting has happened. I’m groggily trying to process what he’s saying as he tells me that he’s got a great idea for the band, and that he captured what we were going for.
He said…“what do you think of the name Crash Midnight?”
I’ve got one eye open and I’m half asleep, so I told him that it sounded like a cool name, and asked him if that was it. He told me that he needed a ride. I asked him where he was. Thankfully, he was close to home. He said that his car was up on this rubble after hitting a tree, and that it was leaking gasoline. The tow truck driver said that he couldn’t pull it off because it would drag over the rocks and make sparks, and that they needed to get a crane to the car off.
So, Bo casually told me that he needed a ride. (laughs) And that’s how we got the band name. It’s been a chaotic disaster ever since, but we’ve all managed to stay alive.
Sounds like a throwback to the recklessness of 80s bands…
If there is anything that we took from the 80s bands, it’s that leap-before-you-look mentality. We get ourselves into situations with no thought as to how we will get out of them, but it always ends up working out, so I guess somebody’s looking out for us. (laughs)
How would you define Crash Midnight’s sound?
Old Aerosmith with a little bit of the GNR mentality (but not really as heavy as Appetite For Destruction), mixed with the punk stuff that we are into like Iggy Pop, the New York Dolls, and especially, a band called The Dead Boys out of Cleveland. They really have this great way of making the subject matter sound really authentic.
You mentioned a number of different influences, but when I listened to the album, the one that struck me was vintage Def Leppard, specifically their debut album, On Through The Night, which had a very raw sound…
That’s actually really funny that you came up with that. When I was a little kid getting into music, the two bands that made me pick up the guitar were KISS and Def Leppard (back when they had some “nuts” to them).
As much as I like the record, I can tell that you guys have a sound that really comes alive on stage…
That’s something that makes us feel good out on tour. People come up to us and tell us about how much they like the album, but that seeing us live is just a totally different animal. With so many bands out there not able to live up to their albums in concert, I really like that we are able to surpass ours when we play live. Maybe it just says something about our lack of prowess in the studio. (laughs)
I think that it’s just so hard for us to capture the sound that we’re looking for in the studio. Even though I love Mutt Lange, we weren’t trying to come out with a super-polished sounding album. We wanted something a little more edgy, but it’s really a fine line between sounding over-produced and sounding like a demo recorded in a garage.
I think that you managed to walk that fine line…
Our producer Kenny Lewis of Mixed Emotion Studios here in Boston ended up really helping us nail it. He’s a huge fan of 70s, sludgy sounding Aerosmith tunes. We tried to capture the sound as if that band stepped out of the 70s into a studio today and recorded an album.
You definitely did. It’s great to hear that classic “dirty” rock sound that makes you feel good and want to go out and have a shot and party. And the funny thing is, I’m not really much of a drinker, but your music makes me want to go drink…
That’s what we’re going for. We’re trying to create a nation of alcoholics, one person at a time. (laughs) A lot of our stuff on the album is very up-tempo and energetic, and lends itself to partying. We were able to capture something with this band that none of us have been able to capture with our previous bands.
Why do you think that is?
We really dissected what we like about all of our influences. Because of that, people tend to reference 80s bands when it comes to us, but we really didn’t draw that much out of the 80s, although I learned to sing along to Joe Elliott (Def Leppard) and Brad Delp (Boston), and we did take a page out of Motley Crue’s social playbook. (laughs)
I really feel like Active Rock radio needs to incorporate more stuff like Crash Midnight into their rotation, but I guess we’ll see if they are forward-thinking enough to push the envelope. Was radio ever a concern when writing the album?
You can try to copy what’s out there the way that bands did the 80s trying to be like Def Leppard, or today where there are a lot of generic hard rock bands with the Nickelback sound, but that was never for us.
If you’re going to get into the music business today, especially rock music, there’s just not the money that there once was back in the day. So, if you’re doing this, you better be dedicated and believe in what you’re doing. I’d rather just do something else than to play stuff that sounds generic to me.
I agree, but it definitely makes things more challenging to push the envelope with your sound…
We were very lucky to get signed by our label (Bronx Bridge). They recognized that we had a lot of momentum going regionally, so they let us record the album on our terms, from the sound of the songs to song selection.
We’re not wildly far off from some of the stuff that’s out there, and I’m happy to see bands like Royal Blood having success with a sound that is not at all generic. Our stuff will stand out (for better or worse), and it’s going to be up to our fans to push it on through.
One of the songs that seems to really capture the essence of the band is “Welcome To Boston,” but you almost left it off of the album. Why is that?
The song was only added as a last-minute switch. It was originally called “Nothing To Lose,” and it was written about the general mentality of people from Boston. We have a chip on our shoulders, and to use a hockey metaphor, we’re always ready to “drop the gloves” at a moment’s notice if somebody looks at us the wrong way.
We originally left it off of the album because it was a little bit “metal-y” compared to the rest of the songs, and we thought that the title was a little trite because many other bands have songs with similar ideas.
Some of our friends in the sports world here asked us if we had any songs about Boston that they could use. Even though it didn’t say it directly when it was called “Nothing To Lose,” the song was always about Boston; I don’t know why we never thought of it before. So, we stopped beating around the bush and just renamed it “Welcome To Boston.”
The song has really taken off. We’ve got the Patriots and Boston College playing it, and we’re working on some stuff with the Red Sox and the Bruins. It kind of became a really galvanizing thing around here for us, and it’s very cool that it became sort of this hometown anthem.
You guys have done support dates with The Pretty Reckless and Adelita’s Way. Do you have any tours lined up to support the album?
We also did a run with Sevendust and Gemini Syndrome. Now, with radio starting, we’re keeping ourselves open to do sponsored concerts and in-studios for rest of the winter. We’re going to be looking to jump on something to the equivalent of The Pretty Reckless in the spring.
If you had your choice of a few bands, who would you like to play with ideally?
You know what’s funny? I get that question most from my mom more than anyone else.
I’m very thorough. I do my research. I called your mom before this interview, and she told me to get this question answered for her.
(Laughs) We got to go out with a heavy hitter who we grew up with in Sevendust, and a relatively newer act in The Pretty Reckless. Each had very different fanbases, which I’m sure had to do with one being younger and female-fronted.
I think that the energy from younger fans makes for a better show from us. Most of the people on The Pretty Reckless shows hadn’t heard a thing from us, but they gave us an incredible amount of support. It was very validating to have all of those kids come up to us after the concert, buying our stuff and asking us to take pictures with them.
That gives me hope for the younger generation! I feel like most rock shows that I go to these days skew a bit older…
It was a really interesting crowd with The Pretty Reckless. You had some young teenage girls, and sometimes even younger than that because of the all-ages shows. They would show up with their dads wearing a Guns N’ Roses t-shirt or something similar. The dads had us take pictures with their daughters, which in my mind, would be the last thing that you’d want to do if you had a daughter. (laughs)
Thanks for a very entertaining interview, Shaun. Looking forward to seeing you guys live when you come to town.
In part 1 of the interview with Tom Keifer, we discussed his latest album The Way Life Goes. In part 2, we discuss his relocation to Nashville, the vocal cord problems that nearly ended his singing career, his duet with Lzzy Hale and the future plans for Cinderella.
You’ve relocated to Tennessee now. How did you end up leaving the northeast for the south?
I moved here in the 90’s when the whole music scene changed. Cinderella had lost the deal with Mercury Records, and we didn’t have an outlet for our music anymore, at least, not the kind we were used to having. We started drifting apart, and I was looking to do something new. That’s when the idea of a solo record first hit me, and I moved to Nashville, and started working and writing with people here. It’s been a very inspirational town…the musicianship, the songwriters, engineers and studios here are just the best of the best, so it’s a good place to be. I was up in Philly and New Jersey when Cinderella drifted apart and we lost our deal. It was the first time in years that I wasn’t part of a band. We were constantly working, so I never really thought about my environment in terms of inspiration. I found myself just sitting in the house in Jersey, and decided that I had to get somewhere to get inspired.
Is there anything that you miss about the northeast?
(Laughs) Well, Tastykakes, cheesesteaks. It always comes down to food, right? Things that you grow up on as a kid, you think that they have everywhere, and then you go out and travel the world, you realize that’s not the case. I remember the first time that I had a cheesesteak in San Francisco, and it was like an open-faced French bread with a filet mignon on it. I was like…“that’s not a cheesesteak!”
So I definitely miss that stuff, but my family is kind of spread out all over the place. My dad and one of my sisters still live up there, but they’re kind of spread out too. It used to be about missing the family because there was a unit there, but since we’re all spread out, it comes down to the food, I guess (laughs).
Nashville’s landscape is actually very similar to what I’m used to, and we have the four seasons of weather changes, so in that respect, there are a lot of similarities, which is probably why I like it here.
You recently had an interesting trip back to the northeast singing with Lzzy Hale at the York County Fair. She’s clearly a huge fan of yours. What was it like doing a duet with her?
It was awesome! That was so much fun. We actually did two shows with them. We did the night before in Atlantic City at the House Of Blues. They’re just great people. I really love the band and their music, and her voice, so getting to sing with her was pretty cool. She’s a great talent. Her voice is insanely good. I really enjoyed doing the shows with them and getting to see them live because I’ve heard really good things about them over the years. That was actually the first time that I’ve gotten to see them live.
Are there any other new bands that you’re into?
I’ve been digging this “Radioactive” tune by Imagine Dragons. I love that track. I like Bruno Mars, and specifically of late, that piano ballad that he has is just classic, you know, “When I Was Your Man.” I just think that he’s an incredible singer. I’m drawn to really great singers because it’s an inspiration to me after what I’ve been through. It’s something to aspire to, when you hear someone like Bruno Mars sing like that.
How did you get into singing?
I kind of fell into it. I started off singing and playing together when I was really young on acoustic guitar…Beatles songs and American folk songs. That’s what my teacher taught me. And then as soon as I heard Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones, I gravitated more towards the guitar, and then I came back to singing and playing when I started writing my own music.
You touched upon the vocal cord problems that you’ve had. Do you feel like you’re back to where you were before the problems with your vocal cords?
In a lot of ways I am. It’s not 100%, because where I once was, I didn’t have to maintain it for an hour-and-a-half every day. I have to do an incredible amount of therapy and voice exercises to keep it in this place. I thank God every day that I was able to figure out a way to get around this, but it’s not an exact science learning how to sing again. I was told that I would never sing again, so I’m more than happy to do the work in therapy that I need to do. It’s pretty much every day whether I’m on the road or not. And even on a show day, my warm-ups and exercises are usually longer than the show, but it’s worth it.
How do you usually feel when the show is over?
(Laughs) It depends on how I sang. Most nights pretty good, because it’s gotten more and more consistent. It’s not something that I have 100% control over. I can do everything right, get all the rest that I need, and eat all the right things, and hydrate and do all of the exercises. When I’m about to walk on stage, my voice can feel like a million bucks, and then at some point in the show, the neurological condition can rear its ugly head. It’s hard to determine night to night why that happens. Some nights I kind of struggle a little bit, but for the most part, it’s pretty stable. Most nights I come off feeling really good and really grateful, and then there are other nights I come off a little frustrated thinking… “man I thought I was gonna soar tonight” (laughs) and then it kind of just doesn’t happen.
Do you find that it’s more of a challenge hitting the higher notes on the Cinderella songs?
No, it really affects all areas of my voice. Really, the area most affected is the middle part of the voice more than anything. But overall, it’s really been stable in the last three of four years. It’s just occasionally still frustrating when you do all the therapy and exercises and you still have those challenging moments. And you never know when it’s going to hit. The same notes that you hit one night might not be there the next.
What’s going on with the legal issues that prevented you from making a new Cinderella record?
That’s clear now. It was a re-record restriction surrounding the record deal that went south, but that’s all behind us now. During the course of the re-record restriction period, we all started working on individual projects. Mine took 10 years, so in terms of new music, I was really just focused on this record. The band has just toured in recent years. Now it’s more a situation that if we were to make a new record, it would just have to be the right label and the right deal before we jump into that pool again.
You made “The Way Life Goes” before you had the record deal. Did you find the creative process to be more liberating without having to worry about what the record label thought?
Well, yeah. The reason that I made that decision was because of the record deal that went bad with Cinderella. I just didn’t want to deal with a record company, with lawyers or any of that bullshit. I just wanted to make music. This record really was about the music and having fun. I made it with Savannah. She wrote a lot of the record and it was co-produced with Chuck Turner and me. It was about just making music, and to make it as good as we could make it. We didn’t care how long it took, and we didn’t care if it ever came out.
Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and the direct connection that artists have with fans now through social media has allowed bands to bypass the labels altogether if they choose. Is that something that you ever considered?
I didn’t want to do that for the release or the marketing or any of that, so the idea was, if we ever got the record finished (laughs) – like I said, we took a long time making it – that once we got it to something that we felt was something, the idea was to eventually take it to a label, and find a home for it with a label that believes in it, and really wants to go to the wall for it, and we found that with Merovee Records. They’ve been incredible. They really believe in the record, and have really supported it, so we’ve got a great home there.
What are you future solo tour plans?
We’ve just been doing some one-offs here and there right now, but we’re looking to get back on the road full bore at the end of the year or early next year, and tour through the year supporting “The Way Life Goes.”
I’m looking forward to catching the show when you come around next time. Congratulations on finally getting your record out there. I think that I speak for all fans when I say that it was definitely worth the wait!
Hard Rock Daddy recently spoke to Tom Keifer about his solo album entitled The Way Life Goes (see album review). The posting of the interview was delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, but that’s “the way life goes” sometimes.
Given the amount of time that it took to complete “The Way Life Goes,” was it difficult to settle upon the final tracks?
Well, most of the songs were selected when we started to cut the tracks and produce the record. We didn’t over-record and then select the songs. It was probably harder at the beginning of the process to say which 14 songs we would choose. Actually, it started out being more like 12, and then there were a couple that we added in. “Mood Elevator” and “Welcome To My Mind” were later additions when we were actually in the middle of recording.
With 10 years of material to choose from, it couldn’t have been easy picking the final cuts for the album…
A lot of the writing was done prior to the recording, but as I mentioned, some of the songs were written during the recording. It’s always hard, because I had a lot of songs to choose from and sometimes you just don’t know which ones are going to come out the best until you actually start recording and producing them, so it’s always a tricky process. I like to pick of mix of songs that create dynamics and give you some variety.
Lyrically, the album shows the highs and lows that you’ve been through as far as relationships are concerned. Your wife, Savannah, is a big part of this record. You seem to have great musical chemistry with her. What was it like working with her on the record?
Very easy. She’s so talented, and an amazing songwriter and producer. She co-produced and co-wrote a lot of the songs. What’s really cool is that we approach music the same way. I know some songwriters who feel that they always have to be writing a song, and kind of forcing it, but I’ve never been that way. I’m very happy not to write a song for a year-and-a-half, because I just figure that I’m not supposed to be writing one at that moment. Sometimes, the break allows you to fill the well and get inspiration. Savannah approaches songwriting the same way. I don’t think that either one of us could stand living in the house together if one of us was a pushy songwriter.
You can definitely feel the love between you and Savannah on the album, but there is also some hate on various songs. Were those inspired by one bad relationship or several?
I think when those things get written, it’s cumulative. Those are feelings that we’ve all felt throughout our lives many times. From high school on, we all experience many heartaches and anger about bad relationships. With songs like “Cold Day In Hell” and “Ain’t That A Bitch,” I can’t really point to any one person in particular. It just builds up in you through the years from the time that you’re an adolescent. “Nobody’s Fool” was like that too. It wasn’t about one thing. It’s more about capturing an emotion that we all go through many times over in our lifetimes.
There’s a disclaimer on “The Way Life Goes“ about someone from high school not really becoming a drag queen.
(Laughs) – Well the title track is a little tongue-in-cheek about the irony of life. There are real people in that song, people that I grew up with in high school, but as far as I know, he did not become a drag queen. It was kind of a funny way to make a point because they were the all-American couple, you know, the prom queen and captain of the football team. I had to find a way to have it end in despair in an ironic way, so it was pure fiction.
The storyline of the song actually reminded me of Billy Joel’s “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant.”
Oh, well, thank you! That’s a compliment. I love Billy Joel, and his ability to write about the slice of life. I’ve always been a big fan of his. Growing up in high school, The Stranger was huge album that I loved.
You do a great job of capturing a slice of life on this record. One of the things that I appreciated most is the way that you do it with a social conscience, while hitting on things going on in society today. For example, the way that you highlight the short attention span that exists today due to technology on “Fool’s Paradise.”
I think that technology is a catch-22. Good or bad, it’s changing our society drastically. I think that a lot of our modern conveniences are opening the door to not such good things.
On the song “A Different Light,” I think that you really captured a lot of what is going on in America today, in a sympathetic, positive kind of way.
I’ve been asked about the meaning of that song a few times. To me it comes down to non-judgment. People are sometimes guilty of looking at someone’s situation, and judging them on the situation while forgetting that there is a real person there, and maybe there were circumstances that were out of their control. You might see them very differently if you look at their situation in a different light. Basically, we all want the same things out of life, and sometimes people end up in unfortunate circumstances that are beyond their control.
Check back on Friday for part 2 of the interview with Tom Keifer to read about the vocal cord problems that nearly ended his singing career, his duet with with Lzzy Hale and the future plans for Cinderella.