At the time, there was really a whole new wave of music happening brought on by what I guess we would call the British invasion- The Who, Deep Purple and stuff like that. So the thing that impressed me at the time was Hendrix and with those styles of music coming in and really being something no ones done before, it was just so impressive to me. I was just struck by especially guitar players for some reason. That point in time was really revolutionary as far as the music was concerned. It had all these new styles and new bands, people like Hendrix and Zeppelin and everything coming to the forefront. And it was all sort of guitar driven music and that just really really impacted me, I cared a lot about anyone who was playing guitar, especially lead guitar and so that’s kinda what started my quest on to being a guitar player. Just being so into hearing these amazing soloists that were coming onto the scene, and there was just no question about it- that’s where I was going. Of course convincing my parents was another story, I did not convince them at all- that was just a big ‘no we’re not doing that’. So I was like ‘fine I’m taking my paper route money then and I’m buying a cheap guitar’ and that’s what I did. That’s how it started.
Upon realizing you wanted to be involved with music, did you know you could sing first or did playing guitar come first?
No I didn’t, I had really no clue about singing and I wasn’t even thinking about it at the time. It was all about the guitar. Years and years later of course it ended up being that all of a sudden I’m the singer! And I wasn’t thinking of that from the beginning and it was sort of thrust onto me. We were in a band of guys that all kind of like, took their turns singing a song and as we started progressing as a band it started to become more apparent that ‘Dave has the better voice for this song and for this song and for this song- maybe he should just be the singer’. And that was it, it kinda just turned out that way. It wasn’t like we were looking for a particular singer or anything, or that I was auditioning to be a singer- I just kinda by default ended up being a singer. It definitely wasn’t what I was thinking of when I first started playing guitar.
When did you first realize that you wanted to pursue music as a career, or at least try to?
Really in that time frame when I picked up a guitar. That was kinda it, it was all encompassing, everything was happening in my mind and in my body at that time. It was just this amazing draw towards playing the guitar and being a musician. And I would say probably a year after I started playing guitar- that was it. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. And I remember in high school I was even having to go to the counselor because this straight A student is all of a sudden not doing so well. I was spending most of my time thinking about music and not about studies, and I remember telling the counselor ‘I know what I wanna do now and I know I’m young but I know what I wanna do and I’m gonna do it’. And I think I was fairly convincing because even they were like ‘wow this guys pretty passionate about this’. So that was probably right around the time, I was a junior in high school.
Did you ever have a backup plan, like if the music thing didn’t work out?
Umm, no. It was all about the music and that was it. If it didn’t work out I wasn’t going to think about it not working out, I was gonna push through and that’s exactly what I did. I pushed through the hard times like most musicians do and we just won’t take no for an answer I guess. I mean plenty of people do, don’t get me wrong. There’s an entire section of musicians that are super talented and get frustrated by all the crap you have to go through to make it and it gets to a point where they’ve had enough and look on to doing other things. I didn’t have a backup plan, I never wanted to have a back up plan- call that ignorant or whatever but I was just gonna go. And I didn’t care, I was gonna make it through the hard times and the good times. I guess naivety or whatever you wanna call it, I just didn’t want to do anything but this so I wasn’t going to think of anything but this.
Once Y&T was established you remained pretty under the radar which is baffling considering you guys were and are extremely talented- do you ever think about why that happened?
Well I used to wonder about it, especially in the eighties when we were really competing every day to be on the radio and be in the press. Um, yeah. We had a million excuses, a million reasons and maybe some of them make sense at the end of the day. And I just had to stop worrying about it and go on with life and just keep writing songs and keep touring and let the chips fall as they may. We spent probably five or six, or even seven years of our career butting heads with the music industry and wondering why- why aren’t we getting the breaks and so on and so forth. At some point you have to say enough’s enough, it’s okay, we were dealt these cards and you know, for whatever reasons- whether its our own fault or the fault of people that are working with us or just bad luck, who knows. But I just can’t live life like this anymore, I just have to forget about worrying about it and move on and keep doing the best I can. And in the long run I think it’s worked out okay, it’s worked out more than okay because we’ve got a career that stands through so many years and I don’t think any of us would have ever expected that.
As I said before you’re such a great talent, did you ever get others offers and considering leaving Y&T?
I definitely got other offers but I never considered leaving Y&T. Although, there were a couple of offers I got when we were sort of broken up for a short period of time. And I could have gone that way because I had no commitment to Y&T at that particular moment but I was also confused at the time as to what I was going to do next because I was now sort of on my own when my entire career had been dedicated to one band. So I kind of refused the offers, I absolutely did. One of them was to put a band together with Peter Frampton, another one was with Don Barnes of 38 Special and years ago when we were together as a band and not semi-retired for the moment, which was for a short period of time of course, I was asked to join Ozzy’s band and a few other people. It never entered my mind when I was in Y&T that I would ever accept anyone else’s offer because I was doing my own thing with our own band, and we were creating our own destiny. And to me that was much more important than making money, being a substitute guitar player or singer for somebody else. That didn’t seem fulfilling to me. I never got into this thing because of the money, it was to follow a dream that I had- to create and be creative on my own. So none of that ‘can you take this guitar players place that either passed away or we kicked out’ kind of thing ever looked good to me. I wasn’t in it for that, it was more for the creative outlet and of course doing your own thing trumps everything else.
Moving ahead to what Y&T’s doing now, what made you want to create the documentary?
Well we had talked about it for probably about five or six years on and off, just saying we’ve had such an amazing past and a pretty unique story to some degree as far as how we got started and the types of things we did as we were starting off our career, all the way to current day. And we just thought that would be an interesting story to document- not for an egotistical thing like ‘hey look at us!’, but more or less like I think this is interesting, maybe other people will as well. So we just embarked on this thing and what it turns out to be, I’m hopeful that it’s going to be fantastic. It’s still months and months away from being finished because the documentary staff is still doing interviews and haven’t even started on the editing yet, so it’s going to be a while but we’re hoping it’s going to be out by the beginning of summer. So that’s at least the goal. They’ve opened up a huge amount of work because all these people wanted to be interviewed for it and there was so much story line and so much video and so much stuff that needs to go into it and I’ll tell you what- I’m glad I’m not editing. It would be a tough gig to try to make it all come down to an hour and a half or two hours.
With what’s done so far are you happy with out its turning out?
Yeah, I mean for the limited amount of what I know is happening. I really only know what has happened as far as what I’ve contributed to it. I was interviewed four different days for the documentary: two days with Eddie Trunk and two days with other people. And I thought that the interviews were fantastic, there was a lot of information, a lot of useful and fun stories- good stuff. I think that the fans that are true Y&T fans are gonna be real happy with it because there’s gonna be some things that maybe they never knew the answers to- or why certain things happened but now the information has come out of our mouths. So yeah, from what I know now I think it’s going to be spot on, I hope it ends up being at least that if not more.
Did you think the Kickstarter would be as successful as it was?
Wasn’t sure. I had never really had any thoughts about Kickstarter, in fact I had to be convinced to do it by our drummer. Because at first I thought wow, it seems strange to me to ask the fans for help. And then he said no no no, that’s not the way it works- you’re basically asking fans to help by giving us money, but they’re not doing it for free, they’re buying the product in advance and helping us at the same time. And of course once I saw the whole picture I was like okay, I could be okay with that. And plus it was starting to become the thing to do so I was like ‘okay! alright! we’ll try it out’ but I really didn’t have an inclination as to whether it would be successful or not, I mean I was hoping that the fans would be there for us and I guess to some degree I was hoping we would hit our mark, but I had no idea that we would go two hundred plus percent over the mark. So that was amazing to have in the span of time that it was up online.
What’s next for Y&T? Are you thinking about doing another album or what?
Well we have taken, I’d say maybe most of the summer, and marked it for us having time off to write. So yes, that’s our plan. Our plan is to write for the next record come June, July and August and we’ll still play a few shows during that time but it’s gonna be down to just a few shows and they’re gonna be local, and we don’t really want to spend too much time away from the home base. Because as I’ve had, over the years, experience in writing, I always feel more comfortable and things get done much more quickly when we aren’t being distracted by outside things such as going away for a couple of weeks or playing or something like that. It’s nice to just get into writing mode and stay there and that’s pretty much what we’re planning on doing for the summer. And of course we’re gonna release this documentary, try to get this next record happening and there’s any number of other things that are in the works as well. We’d like to get a new live DVD kinda thing out there as well, so there’s a lot of things in the works.
Follow Dave on Twitter @DaveMeniketti and follow Y&T @YandTRocks.