Interview: John Corabi and The Dead Daisies set to ‘Burn It Down’ in 2018
Video provided by Doug Aldrich Net/YouTube

The fourth studio album by The Dead Daisies comes out in April. Burn It Down evokes the spirit of 70s arena rock, with touches of Sabbath, and a smidge of Aerosmith thrown in. AXS had the opportunity to talk with lead singer John Corabi about the new album.

AXS: Your latest album Burn It Down comes out Friday, April 6th, 2018. This album is very raw with a heavy sound. What can you tell us about it?

John Corabi: In true Dead Daisies fashion we went into the studio with absolutely nothing. It is weird how we do sh*t. No one comes to the band with finished songs. We just have ideas, riffs. We were kind of dinking around for a couple of days, showing each other some riffs. Then something happened. Marco showed us a riff for what eventually came “What Comes Around Goes Around.” It was a big, nasty riff. We were all like dude that is f**king awesome, sounds like old Sabbath. So we started jamming it. It is like a think-tank when we are in there, everyone just starts throwing things. Some things stick, but some things spark the direction the record is going to go in. So Marco plays us that riff, then Doug goes well I had this riff but I thought it was going to be too heavy. He had the riff for “Rise Up.” Once again it was very cool with an old Sabbathy vibe to it. So we worked on that. Then I was sitting there noodling on the guitar and come up with the riff that became “You Can’t Take It With You.” Once again, old Sabbathy, a bit of a “Stormbringer” sound from Deep Purple.

Then it was weird because a floodgate opened all these old 70s rock riffs kind of things that had a modern sound just started coming out of the woodwork. We just let the thing go where it was supposed to go. At that point in the recording is when I bring in maps. We had about 15 or 20 maps of songs and then we go in to start tracking stuff. We will lay it down and then Marti and I will start honing down on melodies and lyrics. It all is very quick. All three studio records that I have done with this band we had no material when we started in the studio. We wrote, recorded, mixed, mastered and did the artwork in about five weeks.

AXS: How do you like working with Marti Frederiksen and what does he bring to the table?

J.C.: I am going to throw a few names at you. Marti is our equivalent to these guys. I am going to say Roy Thomas Baker who was Queen’s guy, I am going to say Eddie Cramer who was Jimi Hendrix’s guy, Bob Ezrin, Jack Douglas was with Aerosmith, George Martin with The Beatles. All of those guys I just mentioned were almost like another member of the band when it came to getting sounds but also great at crafting songs. Marti is now that guy to us. He is the guy that comes in and goes you are over thinking this, stop, this song is done. Even with “Burn It Down,” we had the riff, we had the song, we already tracked the music. I was working on lyrics and I was singing it a certain way. Marti was out on the road with Steven Tyler, he called me and said, “Crab, I hope you are cool with this. I was just sitting in the hotel room and I came up with an alternative melody to what you were doing.” He got on his laptop in the hotel room and he took a stab at singing the song. There were a lot of things that he did that I never would have thought of. Phrasing or maybe a completely different melody in spots. It is just one of those things where you go I would never have thought of that. Once you figure out where they’re going you can then run with it, take it from there and make it your own. He is more than a producer. I love working with that guy.

AXS: Deen Castronovo (Bad English, Journey) has joined The Dead Daisies. Is this a permanent position or just for this album and tour?

J.C.: No, it is permanent. All due respect to Brian Tichy, he is an amazing drummer and a great friend. It is kind of weird with this band. It is a curse and a plus. The plus is we have Marco Mendoza, Doug Aldrich, we had Brian, there’s David Lowy, all these guys are so good at their instruments and such great players that it makes writing records and going out to do shows very easy. At the same time, when we get off the road and are sitting around for a few months at a time, guys like Steven Tyler, Don Felder, Mick Jones, all these cats are calling guys like Brian. Neal Schon is always calling Marco saying, “Hey, I want to do this record, I want to this, I want to do that.” The guys are like yeah, yeah! Because being a musician you don’t know the next time you are actually going to make a buck so they say yes to everything. Then everyone is like oh sh*t the schedules are f**ked now. Brian had a tour booked with Don Felder. He was incredibly excited about that because he is a huge Eagles fan. Then we realized the recording schedule and out next cycle were stepping on each other. Brian has also wanted to do a solo record. The thing with Brian is he is not just a drummer, he is equally good on guitar and keyboards. Brian is an insane guitar player! He has always wanted to do a record where he went in and put the drums down and then went in to do the guitar, bass and vocals. He has wanted to do this for a long time. He just kind of came to the band and said he loves us and it was a great run but he’s got the Don Felder thing going on, he is doing a Christmas record and the solo album.

Brian is never going to be out of work, he has a ton of stuff to do. Fortunate for Brian, unfortunate for us, but Doug had a history with Deen and Marco had a history with Deen. His name was on our list. Not getting into too much of Deen’s business, everybody knows the story there. He went through a bit of a dark period and did have a bullseye on his back. He made his amends and we called him and asked him if he wanted to do this. He came out and was very forthright in what happened. He is an incredibly spiritual guy and very humble. He is just a good dude. We all sat there and thought about how sometimes people do things they wish they could take back. I just talked to him yesterday. He said, “Dude, I am at two years, nineteen weeks, three days and four hours now.” He has his sh*t together. To be honest with you, he came in sat at the kit and just slayed the material. He is going to have a great support team around him with us. Marco has been sober now for about 20 years, I am not much of a partier, Doug isn’t much of a partier, so he will have a good circle around him and we are ready to conquer the world.