It has been a busy time in the The Dead Daisies camp getting ready for the release of Holy Ground which has already seen the release of killer single Unspoken. Now the attention focuses on new EP The Lockdown Sessions.
The Lockdown Sessions contains four tracks: Unspoken, Righteous Days and an amazing version of the Humble Pie classic 30 Days In The Hole with these three exclusive unplugged versions also featuring as powerful Rock tracks on the upcoming album Holy Ground. The EP rounds out with a stripped back version of Fortunate Son featuring drummer Deen Castronovo on lead vocals. Hi Fi Way spoke to guitarist Doug Aldrich in lock down in Los Angeles about the new album and the addition of Glenn Hughes and Deen Castronovo to the band.
How are you guys coping with the crisis?
It’s not so bad where I live in Los Angeles. It’s bad in parts of California but I can’t complain. I can be at home instead, usually I’d be gone at this time of year so I’m happy about being home.
It’s great to see that the Dead Daisies are still going full throttle and working towards another album release.
Yeah man. We’re really excited about the album. We’re going to have to hold it back a little bit now because we can’t do anything to really tour and support it. The good thing is that we’ll have time to work on some new music, extra just in case down the road we want some. At the moment we’re kind of doing these teasers and the first one was Unspoken. We’re really appreciative for all the love that everyone showed that tune.
How much do you think Glenn and Deen coming in to the band now has really sort of changed that dynamic?
Well, it started with Deen. Obviously he came in on the last album. The producer on the last album said, “Man, he’s got so much groove.” Look, I love Brian Tichy he’s an amazing drummer and one of my favourites and so’s Dean. They’re just a little different. Deen also brings a singing factor and a really strong vocal. Seeing Marco and John Corabi leaving and Glenn coming in, it’s bittersweet but I got to say Glenn, I’ve been a fan of Glenn’s since I was a kid then working with him a bit. He’s the big game changer on this album because he’s the lead singer. He does an amazing job as he is so talented the way he plays bass and sings. His song writing is impeccable too obviously. It was great to collaborate with him on some songs and he brought in some songs that were pretty close to being complete already. We all tidied everything up and had a blast. We just unfortunately can’t get it out right at the moment but glad to see that management is putting out bits here and there.
Was it a difficult thing like you talked about with John and Brian leaving or is that part of the Dead Daisies mantra that people will come and go but they’re always part of the Dead Daisies family?
Yeah. It seems like it’s a new idea to have a group of musicians that are kind of a roundhouse. You get on and you jump off whenever you want. Brian Tichy wanted to focus on some solo stuff. I think he’d been doing it a while and wanted to focus on something of his own. John, I think John same thing. He had done a lot of touring and had been working a lot and really just enjoyed doing some solo stuff on his own with just his acoustic. It’s really simple for him. He can do it when he wants and of course Marco too. Marco’s got a really strong solo career going. It was all good but the thing that made it really easy is that I knew Glenn. I knew what he’d want to try and do and so I started immediately writing stuff that I thought he would like. It worked out really well.
How do you think the Dead Daisies sound has evolved now particularly with someone like Glenn doing the vocals?
It is a change. I think that the aggressive musical side of the Daisies and some of the raw sides of it are still there but Glenn brings a little bit more let’s say bit more of an artful structure to his lyrics I think in a different kind of way. It is a little more poem-esque or artsy maybe than what John was doing. Not to take anything away from what John was doing because it was very rock and roll but, John did a great, he was awesome. Glenn’s different. It is like apples and oranges. You cannot really compare them, but he’s done an amazing job on lyrics and melodies and of course his song writing and bass playing too.
It looks like you guys are having an absolute blast with the recording sessions. I think this is probably one thing that the Dead Daisies does so much better than a lot of other bands is actually bring the fans in showing footage of behind the scenes and what goes on in terms of making the album. It helps fans get a bit excited about the album.
Yeah man. Somebody asked me, “Do you think that the whole album’s as strong as Unspoken?” To be honest, I really love Unspoken and I love it because it is the kind of lyric that has a little bit of a hope message for this time. I think it is perfect but it’s not, to me, the strongest song by any means on the album. It is just one of the songs. I think the songs that we were thinking of for singles or the first listen, that one was not going to be it. It just turned out to be a perfect choice at this time. Yeah, it was really fun in the studio and they were filming all the time and a funny thing too was is in the studio people are tired, you get cranky, sometimes you get stuck or there was a little bit of a rough edge or something they were like, “Grab the cameras quick, quick, quick.” They wanted to catch all the stuff.
If I might have been struggling with a guitar solo and I’m cussing, I’m like, then we have one more shot, you know. Producer’s going, “No. I think we got it.” I’m like, “No man. I got to get this right for me. I know I can do this.” He’s like, “Doug, we got to move on. I got what I need. I think it is good. I think you got a great solo here.” He may have been right, but I was just like, “No.” We were in a productive place and going at it having the cameras on. Then they edit out whatever they did not think was interesting. I haven’t seen all the footage but there was probably a bunch of moments like that maybe they’ll put it out later.
Did you almost feel like you wanted to break into the high fives as some of these songs started unfolding? It seems like you have really got something special there.
You know what it was too? There is an energy when you bring people together and there is definitely an energy. Something interesting happens when you bring in people and you are learning about each other at the same time trying to make something happen when you’re not sure exactly how everybody wants to do it. There’s an energy that happens and we were living in a house, studio house in the south of France and we were with each other 24/7. It was really cool because we could really focus and get to that good energy spot a lot sooner. If you are going every night going back to your hotel room or whatever you don’t spend as much time together. Get in the studio and it sometimes it takes a minute to warm up to each other again and figure out what you’re doing.
We would be sitting at breakfast, literally just get out of bed, go down because there was a chef and he would cook breakfast at a certain time. If you missed it, you weren’t going to eat. We would all be down there talking about what we wanted to achieve in the day. Then we would go get cleaned up and then meet in the studio an hour later. Then we would have lunch together and dinner together and mostly go back into the studio after dinner. It was really productive. I think the songs and the album as a whole reflects that we were really in a great spot personally.
Is there a time frame in mind for releasing the album or is that still an unknown?
It’s a little undefined right now because of what’s going on in the world and we got to get in a situation where bands are starting to play live again, and people are able to go out. I think there is a way to make it work and it is going to work. People want to see bands play but it’s going to be different. Having socially distance and maybe people will have to wear masks in the beginning, I am not sure. As far as our plan goes its liquid right now. We are basically going to hold off a little bit until we can see a little bit of a time frame when we can get on the road. Whether that is later this year or towards the end of the year or beginning of next year, we will have to wait and see. Meanwhile we are keeping busy working. Being home during this time is a great opportunity to have get in the home studio on our property, I’ve been really creative during this time, so it’s been great.
I spoke to David about some music he is writing, and he is excited about it. He started working on some things and Glenn’s always writing. He is in his house with a bazillion guitars and bass’ and who knows what he’s going to come up with. We just want to keep productive while we cannot be on the road.
I guess to look at the silver lining, 2021, it is going to shape up to be an awesome year for album releases potentially. Hopefully they’re not all about people sitting inside but the amount of albums that will potentially come out is mind boggling.
That is the thing, it is interesting that there are certain songs on the album that are very timely as far as the lyrics that Glenn writes. It could sound like it was influenced by this time in a positive way. There was a lot of positive messages and was all stuff that he has been preaching for years. It turned out to be for the Daisies. The album’s called Holy Ground and man, Mother Earth is our holy ground right now. We are seeing good things happen without all the traffic and pollution.
There will be a lot of people putting out albums in ’21. I think our record will come out prior to the new year but at least I can tell you this. There is some other new music coming down the pipeline that is going to set up the record. We do not want to have people listening to one song fifty thousand times. We want to keep it interesting. That is one thing that the Daisies management always does is they make sure that we have content to keep things interesting.
Hopefully when you get the green light it will be great to see you guys down here in Australia. It has been a little while since you have toured here.
Yeah. I have only been to Australia once and it was a long time ago but it was amazing. What town are you in?
We are in Adelaide, South Australia.
Adelaide, yeah. I liked Adelaide a lot. That was one of the spots I would love to, and I know that we were talking about coming this year to Australia. We really wanted to make that happen. Australia has always been supportive of the Dead Daisies from like you said, from John Stevens, John Corabi and Glenn now. I think the band was there about four years ago maybe. Richard Fortus was not able to make it and they had called me at that time to fill in and I could not. I was working with Glenn. It is all very ironic but eventually they called back and now I am here and now Glenn’s here, it is cool.
Interview By Rob Lyon