A Conversation with John Corabi of The Dead Daisies

If you like the harder side of rock, then you’re familiar with musician John Corabi.

John Corabi of The Dead Daisies; photo by Michelle Snow

Corabi first popped into the public eye in the early 90s when he was tapped to be lead vocalist in Mötley Crüe, following the band’s split with Vince Neil. He recorded the self-titled Mötley Crüe album in 1994, followed by the EP Quaternary. From there, Corabi has been a member of several other bands, such as Union, ESP, and Ratt, as well as performing as a solo artist.

2015 finds him fronting a new band, The Dead Daisies, and he co-wrote and recorded their new album, Revolución. The band is filled with other well-known musicians in the hard rock scene, including Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake), keyboard player Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses), guitarist David Lowy (MINK, Red Phoenix), lead guitarist Richard Fortus (Guns N’ Roses, The Psychedelic Furs), and drummer Brian Tichy (Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol).

The Dead Daisies

The band has been on the road for most of the year, headlining a short tour in Cuba, as well as opening for KISS and Whitesnake. I caught them in concert earlier this month at the Hard Rock Live Orlando, and they are so good live! You can read my review over at CitySurfing Orlando.

A few days later, Corabi called me from their tour bus en route to a show in Texas, and we chatted a bit about The Dead Daisies, his solo work, and what it was like to tour Cuba.

From what I understand, The Dead Daisies existed prior to your involvement. Tell me about how you came to join the band?

Corabi: We’d all known each other through our various bands. The rock music scene is actually smaller than you’d think and everybody knows everybody else. They were looking for a new lead vocalist and my name got thrown in the hat.

I went in and we played a few songs together and we just really connected musically. We all have similar influences from the rock groups of the 70s and early 80s, plus our own experiences playing in bands like Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue. We were very compatible musically, and we liked being around each other.

John Corabi of The Dead Daisies; photo by Michelle Snow

The Dead Daisies recently played Cuba – how was that experience? How did you even get permission to play there?

Corabi: Our manager set the whole thing up, getting all the visas and permissions and working out the shows. We were excited to be one of the first bands to play Cuba. A lot is happening now that America and Cuba are connecting again, and I’m happy that we were a part of the whole thing. In fact I just heard that the Cuba embassy was opening in Washington, D.C., and an American embassy will be opening in Cuba. That’s huge!

It’s a beautiful country and the people we met were so warm and welcoming. We got to meet a few Cuban musicians and it’s amazing how things we take for granted, like guitar strings, are scarce for them to get.

On our days off, we had some great food, and I definitely had some great rum and cigars. But to tell the truth, since I was still so new to the band, I spent most of my time off in Cuba just holed up in my hotel room learning the lyrics and feel of the songs.

John Corabi of The Dead Daisies; photo by Michelle Snow

How did that trip influence your new album Revolución?

Corabi: Well some of the stuff was partially written prior to the trip, but once we got into the groove of doing some shows with each other, we went to Australia and we wrote 17 songs in around 30 days. The vibe was just there.

We did get a really talented young lady…her name escapes me at the moment…from Cuba who played some amazing percussion on a track while we were there. But most of it came together in the studio in Australia, after the Cuba dates, and we felt energized putting the songs together.

John Corabi of The Dead Daisies; photo by Michelle Snow

Now that you’ve had a chance to live the songs on the road, do you have a favorite track?

Corabi: It’s hard to pick one over another, but I will say that “With You and I” ends up near the top of the list constantly. It was the last song we wrote for the record, and I wasn’t sure if I would come up with anything for this lyrically. It came down to the wire, the song had to get done, and the guys were like, “if nothing else bring us what you’ve got and we can work on it together.” But then I had a few cocktails, and it just started coming to me on the last day. It all fell into place, and I think it’s very relevant to what’s happening today in the news.

And you made a documentary about the trip, too, right? Is it available via your site or online stores like Amazon and iTunes?

Corabi: Yes, we made a short documentary, which you can find for free on our Twitter account, and we also put together a book about our trip. You can purchase that from a link at our website. (Editor note: “Revolución – The Dead Daisies” is available in Ebook form for $9.99, and in softcover/hardcover physical form starting at $32.49.)

So what does the future hold for you and The Dead Daisies?

Corabi: We’ve got a few U.S. dates left with Whitesnake – we’re in Midland, TX tomorrow night – then we have about a month or so off where we’re all going to do our separate things. I’ve got some shows with my band doing Motley Crue songs from the albums I did with them. I’m doing the Monsters of Rock west coast cruise, too.

Then the band gets back together to join KISS for a few dates in Australia, before heading back to the States to do the Kiss Kruise out of Miami.

Once we get back on land, we head over to Europe to rejoin Whitesnake for shows throughout November, before headlining a few U.K. dates in December. I think we’re doing a few shows in Isreal after that, too, before coming back to the States for possibly a headlining tour.

Does keeping so busy on the road keep you out of trouble or get you into it?

Corabi: A little of both, I think. *laughs* I know my wife barely sees me, and I get so used to sleeping in the bunk of a bus, I have to adjust sleeping in my own bed. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I get to work and earn a living doing what I love to do and it doesn’t get much better than that.

Thanks to John for taking the time out to talk to me. You can find out more about The Dead Daisies at thedeaddaisies.com, and about Corabi at johncorabimusic.com.

Here for your viewing pleasure, is the Revolución documentary video (it’s about 15 minutes long) :

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About zengrrl

I'm Michelle Snow, the writer and creator of Zengrrl. I write about travel, entertainment, women's issues, health, body positivity, and more, both for this blog and freelance. I have also authored/co-authored four guidebooks on Orlando and Florida. If you aren't already following me, the links are below, as well as on the top right of this page. Thanks!

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1 comment

  1. Jeffrey Wetherington August 22, 2015 at 10:27 am

    I knew nothing about The Dead Daisies, so this was an enlightening interview! 🙂