Journeyman, stalwart or just The Mayor of Rock ‘n’ Roll, John Corabi certainly needs no introduction. As the voice of The Scream, The Dead Daisies, Union and ESP but perhaps most notably, as the voice of Motley Crue during their brief departure from life with Vince Neil in 1994, anything featuring the raspy vocals of JOHN CORABI cannot be mistaken.
On the eve of the release of his autobiography Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, in which he recounts his life from the streets of Philadelphia to the Sunset Strip and beyond, JOHN CORABI brings his intimate solo acoustic show to Australia for the first time in what can be considered a career retrospective of sorts. Fans can expect to hear Corabi perform music from all stages of his career intertwined with stories and anecdotes that only JOHN CORABI can deliver. Ahead of his show in Adelaide Hi Fi Ways speaks to John about the tour and his new book.
It is great that you are finally back in Australian for another tour?
I’ve been looking forward to it and it has been much to long since we have had live music. I’m ready to get out and start playing. My bank is calling me on a daily basis saying ‘what’s up dude’. It is great to be here.
Can you believe how much the world has changed since your last Australian tour?
It has been a very interesting, I guess the last time I was there was three years but it has been a very interesting two and a half years. Here in America and around the world, you talk about a stand still as far as live entertainment goes, I haven’t done shit since March 2020, it is slow but it is starting to pick up. I’m grateful and ready to get back at it.
Do you worry about setbacks over this next period as things start to pick up?
To be honest with you, everything with this pandemic has become so political that all our leaders have thrown their hands up and said, you know what I’ve got nothing! I think this is going to be the new normal. I think we’re going to have to be careful. Obviously, let’s face it, when I’m here and I do a show and somehow whether it is me or anyone on the tour gets it boom that’s it, you have to go and quarantine. I think we have to be a little bit careful but like I said it is the new normal and we have to figure it out as we go. That’s all we can ask which is to do your best and everyone take care of themselves. Be a little respectful of people and their wishes and do our thing and have fun.
I got through the entire two years Covid free, had all the vaccinations and all that shit, hadn’t had any symptoms or anything. Then I did a show right before Christmas and I came home, had no symptoms at all, the first night you know that feeling you get right before you’re going to get sick, a little achy, I went to sleep and woke up the next day and felt great, tested and I was positive. I’ve had other friends who have had it and it was the worst experience of their life.
Having such a distinguished career and having achieved so much how do you cram it in to a ninety minute or so show?
It will be fun, I don’t make up the set list, I just do what I do, I tell some stories, I tell some jokes. I get a bit of a rhythm going and at the end of the day the beauty of it is that you are in a different place each night and once you figure out what works you can steer things and have some fun with it. I think it is going to cool, it’s a really intimate acoustic, it’s naked, there’s stories, jokes and some cover songs that I grew up listening to, we’ll have fun man! It is what it is but I’m really looking forward to it. Danny was talking to me about this before when I was down there in 2019 with the band about bringing me in to do the acoustic thing and finally getting the chance to make it happen so I’m excited about it.
Was it an interesting process writing the autobiography Horseshoes and Hand Grenades going right through your life?
It was funny, there were some things I remembered fondly and other things when I was reading it I was getting stomach aches, you know what I mean! The whole idea came about in 2019 in Australia, Paul Miles was at the shows and we were just bullshitting and telling stories, joking about stuff and laughing and he brought a point, I never really wanted to do a book because everyone and their grandmother has done one, but he said something that stuck with me and he said even though you were in the Dirt there is a lot about you people don’t know. He said you’re like this guy, this enigma that comes out of the woodwork now and then, ‘hey checkout my new music’ and then you completely disappear. Paul thought people would be really interested in hearing your story, that you kind of touched on it in The Dirt but not really, just your time with Motley and nothing prior to that. I said ok, we sat down and discussed it and it was a process, he was there and I was in Nashville, it was like six or seven months of back and forth with the actual transcripts. Everybody so far that has read it, even the book publishing people, has said it is a really great book. I have no idea on how it is going to sell, I don’t if anyone is even interested, maybe they are maybe they aren’t, I don’t know, we’ll see.
Did you have to go back and do some research on your own life particularly if you had forgotten certain things or where you had stomach aches check that detail further?
I had some times and dates, minor things, the story was the story but you tend to forget an exact time or date but Paul being Paul he was incredible at finding this stuff out. He was really resourceful as far as digging and finding things out such as dates, places and would me back saying ‘hey Crab, you know you said this happened on this date? That didn’t jive up dude, I looked and it actually happened on this date’. I’m like OK, awesome. I feel pretty confident that everything in the book is pretty spot on.
When you look back, especially now you have done the book, is there anything you would have done differently if you had your time over?
No! Nope! You know what dude, there are some people that are blessed to be able to write a song and go out and become a global phenomenon’s at seventeen, eighteen, nineteen or twenty years old. Then there’s other people for lack of a better term equally as talented but for whatever their reasons it takes them or their path is a little more crooked or broken and takes them a little bit longer. I still don’t think I’ve got to where I want to be but the one thing that I have realised is that everything I went through made me a smarter person, a better person and it has put me right here right now. I’m just grateful that people like Danny want to bring me to Australia and people like yourself still want to talk to me. I feel blessed so I wouldn’t change anything, nothing except maybe my second wife!
I think it is great to be able to read in the book everything else you have done as well.
It covers everything and the thing of it is and I have had a few people ask me whether there is any dirt? Or anything anyone is going to be upset about? I go, I would hope not as I’m telling the truth. My intention was not to burn anyone or throw anyone under the bus. It was just to tell the truth but mainly, everyone is aware of the law suit I had with Motley back in the day, I’m not telling the story again to say they’re arseholes or anything, I’m just telling the story so people know what my mindset was going through everything that I went through. It’s more about my perspective and not throwing anyone under the bus if that makes any sense at all.
Your new single Your Own Worst Enemy is a cracker, are there plans for more new music this year?
Yeah, I’m getting another new song together, I’m trying to figure out this new method of doing stuff. At some point I will do CD’s and I’ll do vinyl. Just on my phone I have thirty ideas that I have to lay down and record. It takes me a little longer because I’m recording everything myself and I’m new to Pro Tools. The process is a little longer but I’m trying to figure out this streaming/ download thing, it is a whole new world. There is new music coming!
Interview by Rob Lyon
Tickets On Sale Now From: https://www.silverbacktouring.com.au/john-corabi-acoustic-solo/