TOM KEIFER On Performing Classic CINDERELLA Songs: 'They're As New As They Were 30 Years Ago For Me'
|Posted on October 8, 2019 at 7:45 PM|
Chris Akin from "The Classic Metal Show" recently conducted an interview with CINDERELLA frontman Tom Keifer. You can listen to the entire chat below:
A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether he has "found his groove" with his second solo album, "Rise":
Tom: "I think 'focus" is a good word for it. We actually kind of said that we set out to do it. I love 'The Way Life Goes'. I think probably what makes that one feel slightly unfocused is that there's 14 songs on it. We consciously decided to make this one have less songs and kind of a more concise, compact package. The fact 'The Way Life Goes' had 14 tracks, there's just a little more variety on that one. It's a little bit broader in some ways, but this one certainly has that variety as well. I would say that I think 'more focused' is a good way to put it. I think, also, what helps with it is the fact that it's recorded with a band that's been touring together for six years. It was very easy to find that… We have a groove and a chemistry together now whereas 'The Way Life Goes' was created with session players. It was more of an overdubbed kind of vibe, and this was really the band jumping off of six years of touring and going straight into the studio. We purposely took over and locked out a small, tight studio room, and we set up in the room together and really cut these tracks for the most part live. There's not as much overdubbing on this record as records I've done in the past. That's probably the continuity or the focus comes from that as well."
On the "live" feeling of "Rise":
Tom: "Going in and going for the performances and letting everybody just feel their way around on their parts and all until it feels like a track certainly lends itself more to having to overdub less. We were going for performances, and when I say 'performances,' literally, some of these songs from the drums up to my lead vocals are right from the tracking session. It's very much a live record and I think that was what we were trying to capture because we've been doing that for six years. [Laughs] Obviously, everybody's playing basically what we did in the studio. It's not a highly layered record. Even some of the big vocal stacks, obviously, there's some overdubs going on there, but we have six amazing singers in the band. A lot of that stuff like on 'Rise' was us around one mic, the out-section of 'Rise', just singing very much what we do live on 'Shelter Me' or when we do '[With] A Little Help From My Friends', we have that big, gothic gospel blend between all the singers in our band. It's us."
On whether he feels like more of a "musician" today versus in CINDERELLA's heyday:
Tom: "I got to be honest, we've never, or I've never, CINDERELLA never did and I certainly don't now, have been dictated by a label. Actually, the label gave us complete creative freedom back with CINDERELLA and obviously we still control that with the solo records. We basically create them on our own and give them to the label. I think maybe what you're referring to is that there's kind of a classic structure to the songwriting. It's like the verse, pre-chorus, chorus, and most of the songs that I've written or been involved in writing. I would say in terms of experimental, I think that's actually starting with 'Long Cold Winter', I think a lot of things came in that were pretty different for the time, like the 'National Steel' intro on 'Bad Seamstress Blues' starting the record, which was not very '80s. [Laughs] It was pretty broken-down, intimate, Robert Johnson kind of thing and the title track itself was a straight-up heavy blues song. I don't know…I feel like an answer to your question, I've always created music that was in my heart and that felt real. A lot of it has that formula that you're talking about, but I get that from probably listening to, I grew up on Rod Stewart, I grew up on THE ROLLING STONES. There was a formula to the writing where it was verse-pre chorus-chorus, verse-pre-chorus-chorus. It's like that, I guess 'pop' song structure, but they're hard rock songs. Yeah, I think that structure is in there that you're talking about, or that formula, but it's not something I do intentionally for success or because a record company told us we had to. I think it comes from my influences, I guess, is what I'm saying. My influences were great songwriters."
On whether he thinks it's possible to please longtime CINDERELLA fans with music that he finds "viable" to him as a solo artist:
Tom: "What people choose to like or not like is out of anyone's control, or what their expectations are. The only thing I can say is that this is a new band. It's a new entity. Part of it involves my past because I wrote and sang those songs. I did the majority of the guitar work; I was heavily involved in the production. They're a part of me. I love playing and singing those songs, still to this day. They're as new as they were 30 years ago for me. And the fans make it that way because they want to hear them. I cannot sing at all and just hold out the mic and they sing every word. Clearly, that's something that's always going to be a part of me and I want it to be, and I'm going to perform them. But this is not CINDERELLA; it's a new band. There's two new albums now, which both of which the material has gone down incredibly well and we had great success with the first and so far doing pretty well with this one. That material is mixed in with the other songs. It's a whole new energy. It's a new chapter. It's a new band. In terms of performance, the show, if you come out and watch it, the way I perform and sing and play guitar is still the same as it's always been, and the show is very high-energy, but it's a new band. It's a new entity and I think that without the new material, I think the fact that there's new records being made and fresh music being injected along with the stuff from my past, I think that makes it legitimate."
"Rise" came out on September 13 via Cleopatra Records. The disc sees Tom joined by his #keiferband — Savannah Keifer, Tony Higbee, Billy Mercer, Kendra Chantelle, Jarred Pope and Kory Myers.