Comprised of former members of legendary bands such as Whitesnake, Mötley Crüe, Foreigner and Dio, The Dead Daisies are the prototypical example of a supergroup. Formed in 2012 in Sydney, Australia by guitarist David Lowy and vocalist Jon Stevens, the band has gone through multiple personnel changes in their relatively brief five years of existence. But after witnessing their recent show at New York’s Highline Ballroom (August 17), it’s difficult to believe that the current quintet hasn’t been together for longer than they really have.
Now fronted by ex-Crüe vocalist John Corabi, The Daisies played a blistering, nearly two-hour set, made up of original material from their studio records as well as a sprinkling of crowd-pleasing covers. Rounding out the band was guitarist Doug Aldrich, whose frenzied solos mesmerized the crowd, along with what was as tight of a rhythm section as you’ll find in the charismatic Marco Mendoza on bass and the intense Brian Tichy behind the drums.
Standing out on this particular night of the band’s Live & Louder tour, named after their recently released live album, were set opener “Long Way To Go” and “We All Fall Down,” both off of 2016’s critically-acclaimed Make Some Noise, as well as the infectious “Mexico,” the lead-off track pulled from 2015’s Revolucion. And Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” and the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” proved to be satisfying covers, mixing their own heavy spin on the classic songs with just enough of the familiarity of the originals.
While it would be easy to play any of the dozens of hits that the members of the band have had with their respective former groups, they instead wisely decided to distance themselves from that. This isn’t just a bunch of guys out playing gigs in their spare time; The Dead Daisies are an official unit, with three studio albums, two EPs and another live release to their credit. And they have no plans of slowing down anytime soon as the current intention is to begin recording what will eventually evolve into their fourth full-length studio album at the end of the year for a tentative spring 2018 release.
Royal Flush had the opportunity to sit down with front man John Corabi for a brief chat. He chatted The Daisies, as well his work with Mötley Crüe, Union and what it’s like performing in front of hundreds of thousands of fans in Poland:
Royal Flush: The Dead Daisies recently played the Woodstock Festival in Poland along with the Gorzow Philharmonic Orchestra in front of a massive amount of people; how was the experience and how did the opportunity arise?
John Corabi: It was insane. We did it last year, and we got along with the promoter really well and he asked us if we’d come back. The whole vibe of that festival is like what the one here in ’69 was about – peace, love, freedom. And the festival is one of the largest in the world. Over the course of three days, they’ll get close to a million people there. And it’s all free so I still haven’t quite figured out how they make their money but apparently a lot is done through donations. We were literally seeing tents a mile away from the festival site. It’s all for a good cause. They donate the money to children’s hospitals and things like that. So he asked us to come back and be the main attraction on opening night. We played with a 65-piece orchestra and it was pretty fucking intense and pretty trippy. We really had to do our homework and listen to the Live & Louder record because everything was so precise with them and to the beat. We played to about 250,000 to 300,000 people so it was awesome.
RF: Why did you decide to take songs from different performances for Live & Louder rather than just release one full show?
JC: We recorded about 10 days of shows. Doug actually sat down and listened to all the different shows and picked out the best in Munich, the best in Vienna, and so on, and then he put it all together and we gave it to a good friend of ours to mix, Anthony Fox, who also helped mix Make Some Noise.
RF: Any chance of another Union record with Bruce Kulick?
JC: Honestly we never really split up, we just took a hiatus. If I could be frank, we just weren’t making any money. It was weird because we did great business playing the clubs, but it wasn’t translating into record sales and at that time, in ’98, 2000, 2001, you didn’t really make money playing clubs, you made it on the record sales. It’s kind of flipped now where record sales are irrelevant and the gigs are where you make your cash. Union was cool, I love the band, I’m proud of the records we did. The bass player in my solo band, Topher (Nolen), has listened to everything that I’ve ever done and he says there was nothing better than Union. We’ve talked but Brent’s (Fitz) very busy, James (Hunting) has been out with Roger Daltrey, Bruce is still with Grand Funk Railroad and I’m doing this, but it would be cool to go out and do some shows. As far as recording, I don’t know, because bands don’t make squat from records. We’ll see.
RF: It’s been 23 years now since the Mötley Crüe record you sang on was released. Looking back, what are your thoughts on that album and are you still as fond of it?
JC: I always have been. Marco and I were just talking about it when somebody brought up Mötley Crüe, and they asked me if I minded talking about it and I said no. I’m a firm believer that everyone has a course and you leave shit behind and you grab new shit on the way. I love the record. I wish the guys nothing but success and happiness in the future. My course took me exactly where I’m supposed to be, sitting here with you right now and everything’s awesome. The other thing about Mötley that I’m grateful for is the fact that it probably extended my career a bit, having that tag. Let’s face it, there were only two singers in Mötley, and I was one of them. I’m good with everything.
RF: What’s the status of the project you were going to do with Mick Mars?
JC: Mick had asked me to sing a couple of songs on his record and everybody started getting excited about it and he wanted me to do more but I’ve just been so busy with The Daisies and my solo band. So I really don’t have a lot of time and I told Mick that and he understood. I told him this is going to be his first solo record, and it’s going to be fucking awesome and I didn’t want to hold him up and … give him anything less than 100 percent. So he’s in the studio, he’s working, I know some of the people he’s working with and I’m very excited to hear what he’s going to do. And that’s all you’re getting out of me. You can pull my fingernails out, but I’m not telling you anymore.
Click here for The Dead Daisies’ tour dates.