If I’m not wrong, you started working with Britny Fox in 1990. What were you doing prior to that?
I was living in Las Vegas, working in a recording studio. I was a recording engineer, I had a band called Jillson and we were shopping for a deal. A friend of mine, this girl who had played in a couple cover bands with me, brought in a trade magazine and said that this 80’s band had just lost their singer and that they were going to audition new singers. She gave the magazine to me and told me to check it out and I was really like- ‘eh, I’ll see’. So I took it and didn’t think much of it, but I called and got a hold of their manager Brian Kushner. I didn’t hear back so I left a message every day for like, seven days. Finally on like, the eighth day he called me back. I had just figured he was gonna blow me off because they found somebody but he called me back and said ‘if you can get yourself out here, we’ll audition you’. And I was like, cool. I had a friend Jamie Borden, he does the Rush/Neil Peart lesson videos, he was in my band Jillson with me, he’s a dear friend of mine I’ve known him for like five billion years. He’s friends with Neil Peart as well. Anyways I was completely broke, dead broke, so I was gonna sell my car so I could go get a ticket to audition for the band. He gave me the money for the flight; he’s really a phenomenal person. So I get to the audition and I do, you know, “Girlschool”,” Long Way to Love”- the things they were doing at the time. “Dream On” and whatever. And I went back and they were like ‘that was cool, that was good’ but they were auditioning a few other guys too. Bret Michaels had a friend he sent back, a bunch of guys were getting tried out. Then they called me again and said that this time they were going to fly me out and re-audition me- have me write some songs with the band and things like that. So I did, and we worked on some songs. I took them back to Vegas with me and they were still trying other guys, some LA guys. So I started writing on these songs and I figured maybe they found somebody, but I sent back the songs- one of them was “Over and Out” that Bill had written the music to and I had sung. They liked that and told me to come back and we all started talking. It was shortly after that, that Kushner told me you know, if you want the gig it’s yours. You can be a full member of the band if you want to.
And how was it coming into an already established band as the new singer? Did you ever get shit for it?
Oh absolutely. It’s okay because I knew I could cover his stuff but I wasn’t trying to sound like him- because I don’t sound anything like him.
You don’t think so?
Do you think I sound like him?
A little bit, definitely.
To cover those songs, you know they sound a certain way, so they kind of need to sound like that to be close to what they were doing. A lot of people said he sounded like Keifer, but not to me. To me he sounded like Udo Dirkschneider from Accept. If you listen to him on the first record and you think of Udo, that’s Udo to me. He might have been doing Keifer but it came out as Udo. Anyway, I could cover him enough. And when we started doing ‘Bite Down Hard’ I was the new guy, so I was pushing down a road I wanted to go which was still heavy and all that, maybe a little heavier than they wanted to go, but maybe not because they loved the heavy stuff too. They we’re just trying to keep the band sound intact without going too crazy. So that’s what ‘Bite Down Hard’ was, all I could get away with without them losing themselves.
I hear that Britny Fox started working on a new album last year, is that true?
How is it going?! Can you give me any information about it?
We’re still writing songs. Here’s what would happen if this was a different period- like a while back. If it was a different time we would get right on it and get it out. But with the way the music industry has changed so much and switched to downloading and all that stuff, a band’s commerce happens at the venue now and nowhere else. One hundred percent at the venue- okay maybe like ninety-nine percent because once it’s out, it’s gone. But physically in the venue, if you’ve got hardware like shirts and CD’s and shit like that, it’s sort of your own portable store and that’s where the money comes from. We haven’t made it a priority to get something recorded as much as written. We want to start playing the stuff live.
Before you release it?
Before we release it. We’re more interested in doing live shows right now than recording just because of the return. It’s all about return.
Can you tell me about Count’s 77 and your involvement in it?
I play keyboards and backup vocals for Count’s 77. There’s a show on the History Channel called ‘Counting Cars’ and the host’s name is Danny “The Count” Koker, it’s a really popular show on there where they like hot rod vehicles and stuff like that, if you haven’t seen it. They were making their first record at the studio and a friend of a friend got me the job- it was a hire on, just some session work. I played my keyboard and got all the tracks done and made my money then took off, and that was it. They got to thinking- this guys a singer and he plays keyboards, if we ask him to be in the band he can cover these organ parts and do the background vocals. So they got together and asked me if I wanted to be a full member and I was like- if I can take care of my family, I’m in 100%.
So what’s Count’s 77 doing right now? Touring? Album?
Yeah. We totally tour. We’ve been touring for a couple years now, we’ve played Canada and all over the US. If you go on the Count’s 77 website all the dates are there. I play on the first record but on the second record I’m really on it.
I’ve also heard that you’ve got a solo album going on. Tell me about it.
I have samples of it that are just rough mixes I was going to try and bring to let you hear some, I have these wireless headphones that you could have listened to it on but there was just too much shit going on today I couldn’t pull it together. Anyways I’m just really excited about it, I’ve got ten songs, and they’re all done and all written and recorded. I’m just mixing them in the studio right now.
What’s the styling of it?
It’s hard rock but it’s melodic- short songs, like three minute songs. Real wham-bam-bam.
When do you think that’ll be out?
I don’t know. That’s another thing, I’m putting a new band together for this that’ll play in-between Britny Fox and Count’s.
Oh, so you’re gonna tour this out too!
Yeah! I know a ton of guys that have been in other bands, so it’ll probably end up being ‘this guy from that band and this guy from this band’ when I put the group together. You know how it is, all for the marquee value and blah blah blah. I’ve been jamming with Jeff Young from Megadeth, he was in Megadeth for a while and he’s a great guy. A couple other guys like that, a lot of unbelievable names that are interested which I’m really excited about. I don’t want to say anything yet because I don’t want to make a fool of myself, haha.
Yeah you don’t want to name drop and have them not end up on the record!
Okay, well look, look- Ringo said no. That’s all I can say!