The Dead Daisies attempt to duplicate overseas success in United States

Dead Daisies interview


John Corabi of The Dead Daisies.

The Dead Daisies recently toured in Europe and Japan, gathering momentum with each show. These veteran performers bring an energy and personality to the stage that many of today’s acts lack. Hard rocking, good time music combined with likable personas makes for a great combination that is always worth the price of admission.

“We had a little time off; at our age now, they try and give us a little time off so that we can take our arthritis medicine,” laughed a relaxed and well rested John Corabi.

Featuring Corabi on lead vocals, Doug Aldrich and co-founder David Lowy on guitars, Marco Mendoza on bass and Deen Castronovo on drums, the band is starting to approach the same kind of success level, in the United States, they have already achieved, overseas.

“All of the shows in Europe were either sold out or close,” said Corabi, who has spent time in the past in bands such as Mötley Crüe and Ratt. “We’ve got a new album out called Burn It Down, and it’s been very surprising as we’re actually charting on American radio, which is a first for the band, and on the Billboard charts in America. We are charting on a bunch of charts in Germany, England and everywhere.

“It’s weird how the charts work; I don’t pay attention to any of that stuff. I’m just waiting for when they give me the green light and management comes to me and says, ‘Okay, you can start shopping for your Shelby GT Cobra.’ Then I’ll know that things are good (laughs).”

This band often seems to fly under the radar, but that seems to be changing.

“Not to sound weird, but the only country where we are flying a bit under the radar is America. Everything takes time and we’ll eventually get to where we want to be. The music scene in America is different than it used to be. It requires a bit more time and patience and work, but we are definitely seeing growth everywhere that we go, and that’s even here. Hopefully I’ll be able to order that Shelby Cobra soon, but I won’t put a time frame on it (laughs).”

Deen Castronovo’s drum kit.

Does the band feel a letdown going from sold-out European shows to occasionally less than stellar crowds here at home?

“No, not really,” said Corabi. “We’ve all been doing this for so long, we know how it works. This isn’t the first band that I’ve done where I’ve had to work it from the ground up. I’m not sure if Marco, Doug and Deen have ever been in this situation before, but we understand you’ve got to earn your stripes in America just like you do in Japan or Germany.

“America is a little bit of a harder market. It’s such a huge country and there’s a gazillion things to do here. I did an interview with somebody from overseas and I said, ‘When I turn my TV on I have 1800 channels (laughs) and nowhere else in the world will you turn the TV on and have that many channels.’ So trying to get somebody in America to leave their house … first of all, get off their couch … that’s the big one. Put their remote down, get in their cars, you’re spending money for gas, spending money to park, spending money on a ticket or cover charge, maybe have a couple of beers and buy a T-shirt, you’re talking a couple of hundred bucks.

“I’m just as guilty. I’ll have friends text me and say, ‘Hey, we’re in town … come on out and see us,’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, okay, cool,’ and then I’ll talk to my wife and she’ll come home from work and be kind of tired. And by then I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m not feeling it, either,’ and we stay home and watch eight episodes of ‘Sons of Anarchy’ (laughs).

“Overseas, for some reason when a band like us goes to Europe or Japan, it’s more of an event. It’s like the whole, ‘They’ve arrived’ type of thing. I don’t know why it’s that way but if I could figure it out and bottle it, I’d be a very wealthy man.”

When he was a young musician in Philadelphia, Corabi said, “I was playing in the cover band scene/club circuit and we were doing originals and covers and there was this place where Jon Bon Jovi recorded next to one of the clubs, and there was this band that came over from England. They stayed in Philadelphia for a while and recorded and played some shows while there, and I remember those guys would go out and come to some of the rock bars to see who was playing. And then suddenly they did a show with zero press. Nobody knew who they were, we hadn’t heard a lick of music, but they walked into a few of the clubs that we were struggling to sell out and it was like chaos. They were completely sold out and I was scratching my head and even the guitar player laughed and said, ‘It’s amazing how far an English accent will go.’ It was just because people … saw them around town and bopping around the clubs a bit and they told people, ‘We’re in town and recording where Bon Jovi recorded,’ and word got out that an English band was recording where Bon Jovi did his record, and people went crazy. So it can work the opposite way, too.”

With recent proclamations from various publications and online forums that the millennial generation has caused the “death of rock music” by abandoning the genre in droves for techno and hip-hop, does Corabi feel that the audiences have become less enthusiastic about The Dead Daisies or rock music in general?

“No. I think the fans are still there. When you go to these big festivals anywhere in the world, the fans are still there. I think the methods that we the musicians and record labels use now are different. There is no MTV and radio has become very programmed … so these bands are having to figure out how to promote themselves.

“Here is where our management company has been incredibly genius about the whole thing. They figured out, ‘Oh, there’s no MTV so we’ll use YouTube. There’s no radio so we’ll bombard Pandora and Spotify and hit iTunes. We’re going to work the audience through social media.’ They’ve been incredibly smart at not just alerting everybody to our tours and records but they’ve actually brought the fans into our world and they’re great at it!”

Corabi was a member of Mötley Crüe from 1992 to 1996. “I look at when I was in Mötley Crüe, and I think about Nikki Sixx’s house and his toys. Those days are gone. Mötley and a bunch of those bands that made money in the ’80s would not have made that kind of money now because of the way things are set up. Things are just different, but it’s not dead.”

For more about The Dead Daisies, visit

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