Rock ‘n’ roll journeyman, JOHN CORABI, is no stranger to hard rock fans as vocalist of THE SCREAM, ESP (the Eric Singer project), UNION (with ex-Kiss guitarist, Bruce Kulick), RATT and his current role as the front man of the DEAD DAISIES. Widely acclaimed as one of the great rock voices ever, Corabi’s hypnotic and charismatic live swagger also make him the consummate front man.
It was during his short tenure with MOTLEY CRUE that the band released their self- titled album, MOTLEY CRUE, in 1994 (often referred to as Motley ’94) as the follow up to the hugely successful, Dr Feelgood album. Whilst the album did not reach the heights of its predecessor, it is regarded as a re-invention of sorts and long considered a fan favourite with Corabi bringing extra guitars to the fold and a gruff, ragged edge to the vocals. The album was simply more mature, heavier and rougher.
Now, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the album’s release, JOHN CORABI embarks on his first ever solo tour of Australia, with his band, performing the album in its entirety, a real treat for both MOTLEY CRUE fans and rock fans in general. John talks to Hi Fi Way: The Pop chronicles about his tour which starts this week.
Lots of fans can’t wait for your whirlwind tour to start, is the build up exciting for you as you are about to start your first solo tour of Australia?
I’m looking forward to it, the obvious reason is that it is my first solo tour of Australia. I think more than anything I’m excited because my son is my drummer and he has never been there. It’s a two-fold thing, I can’t wait for him to see what Australia is all about. I wish we were there for a little longer because we literally leave here on the 25th, we lose the 26th, arrive on the 27th and we play the 28th, 29th, 30, 31 and go from the gig to the airport fly from Adelaide to Sydney, Sydney to LA and then LA to Nashville home. It’s crazy but I would have loved to take him to the beach and all that stuff.
How do you handle all those gruelling travel demands and still play awesome shows? Is it a case of it is what it is?
It is what it is on this trip because the Motley show that I do is so full tilt vocally I would normally only do two shows a day off then two shows but there is a financial constraint and I only have this gap. I’m literally on tour right now having my day off in Pittsburgh and I’m doing a show tomorrow driving down in the tour bus to Nashville and two days later I’m flying to Australia. When I come home, I’m home for a day or two and I go right back out on the road again.
I take my hat off to you keeping up with those tour demands…
Thank you, it is pretty intense but on the other hand I have about another eight or ten shows after I get home from Australia until April 15 where I’ll be taking the last two weeks of April off. I’ll be taking my wife and two dogs and going to Key West Florida for a two week vacation, much needed!
After being so busy do you think you will be able to totally unwind and enjoy a break in two weeks?
No, honestly I’ve planned this trip and it is my birthday as well. It’s a planned trip, I don’t usually have an issue with coming home and decompressing, it is once I get decompressed it is like gearing up again and going back to work. It is what it is, I’m a pretty simple guy and when I’m not working I just like going home and hanging with my family and friends and just chilling. It won’t be that hard!
Happy birthday in advance, being a milestone birthday do you get the gold watch or being in the rock caper is there something equivalent?
You know what, honestly I don’t worry about age or getting old or anything. I just do! My wife asked what I wanted for my birthday, all I want is to go to Key West Florida in my motor home which is the size of a tour bus, me you and the two dogs and go to Florida to get some sun, have a whiskey or two on the beach and just relax. That’s my gold watch! Then I’ll come home and do a new record.
Is playing smaller venues on this tour more about reconnecting with Australian fans?
This is my first solo trip to Australia, I’d rather be safe than sorry. My thing is I’d rather go in to a small place and have it be packed than going in to a bigger place and it be less than full. I know that it is my first trip to Australia so we thought it would be safe to go in to the sized places I’m playing and I’m hoping that everyone who comes, it will be a great show, it will be a great time and we will be able to establish ourselves. The end goal is to come back to Australia in the future on a somewhat regular basis and hopefully grow. I get it, it’s my first trip there and I don’t mind, even with the Dead Daisies we did some opening slots with Kiss and we were playing all the big arenas and we did some shows on our own playing smaller places and we had a great time. I’d rather it be so crowded that people couldn’t get in than play in a bigger place and it be half full.
Can you believe that it is the twenty-fifth anniversary of Motley 94? Where has the time gone?
I know! I feel like it was literally only like last year that I did the twentieth anniversary. In between the last lot of shows I did doing this Motley 94 thing and then I recorded the album, the live 94 album and god it’s like five years already. It just amazes me that when you are fifteen years old and you can’t wait to go to a pub and order a beer and that you have to wait until you are twenty one, it seems like that five or six years you have to wait lasts a lifetime. Once you get to thirty-five or forty it feels like you are having a birthday every other week. It’s like, wait a minute where did the time go. It is what it is, I don’t stress or worry about it.
Does it amaze you that album keeps on keeping on? There is something about it that keeps resonating with fans…
I appreciate that, at the end of the day there wasn’t anything that put a time stamp on it. I think it is still one of those albums that is still relevant as we were writing about things that were happening then that are still relevant and happening now. I think the music is for lack of a better term, early Zeppelin heavy riff rock which is kind of timeless. Put timeless music with relevant lyrics, it is still relevant and I’m still really proud of the record. From a production point of view as I said earlier it still sounds relevant and it could be on the radio now.
Is there enough time in your set to fit everything else in from your back catalogue?
The focus will be Motley 94 and be the twenty-fifth of it and with the Motley movie coming out I can honestly tell you that after finishing in Australia I will never do these shows again. This is the last time and I’m putting it to bed. The last show we do in Australia will be the last time we will be playing the Motley record in its entirety which will be in Adelaide.
How wide a ride was it being in Motley Crue back in 1994? Do you still look back and think we did that?
I’m very proud of the record and there definitely was some lunacy with those guys. There’s always some drama, always some craziness happening but I have fond memories of it. It was awesome and I had a great time. I’m hoping for all the guys Tommy, Nikki, Mick and even Vince I wish them well in anything that they do. Life is good for yours truly and like I have been saying I have a beautiful wife, beautiful kids, beautiful grand kids, life is awesome so it is all good dude!
With the Dead Daisies taking some well deserved time off are there plans for another record?
We’ll probably start up again next year, we haven’t heard heard anything from management and as you said well deserved time off, last year was 2018 and I joined in 2015 so in three years we did four records and six or seven world tours playing everywhere. It was a well needed break and everyone is doing some other solo things or been talking about doing which is the same for me. Hopefully we’ll pick it back up again early next year with a record and a tour.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Tickets for John Corabi through Silverback Touring and he’ll be playing the following dates: