Kevin Chalfant: Flying To AOR Freedom.

Kevin Chalfant is another artist who should be listened to - as he has been there and done that and he isn't afraid to do it by himself if need be. This interview was done late last year - just prior to the MRF show in October, so forgive me for getting online late. But it is still very relevant and Kevin's new album is still very much a current release - so listen up!

Hey Kevin. I can't even recall the last time we did a formal interview.
It's been too long.

It's been probably since Running With The Wind.
Yeah, it could have been. I don't know if we did anything with any of the Two Fires stuff.

Maybe…yeah. But here we are now again!
Here we are. I was just looking through photos of when we were in Manchester and if it's all right with you I think I'm gonna post some on my website.

Oh yes please do. I don't think there's anything too incriminating there is there? (laughter) Not at all.

That was a pretty fun weekend wasn't it? [Gods Festival, UK 2002]
Oh my gosh, we could have just kept on going. I was talking to Jim not too long ago. We did a show together and we were just recalling how when we got to Liverpool it was like there was music in the air. We were just writing songs like crazy.

Yeah, I quite often bring the whole Liverpool trip up with Jim and also with Kelly Keagy because Gary Moon's a handful isn't he?
(laughter) Just a bit. I haven't talked to him, gosh, since then.

It's been a while for me too but hopefully we can have a bit more fun in October right?
That will definitely be the case.

I really appreciate your contribution in coming onboard Kevin. I think it's going to be a great weekend.
Well, it'll be some new memories and hopefully it'll be something that brings some support to the down under effort and keeps this music going.

I hope so. It's pretty tough out there isn't it? I mean for everyone.
It's brutal, very brutal.

What's your take on that?
Well, I see how it's affecting the people from the top to the bottom. From the way people just write songs, make records, everything down the line. How records are even being promoted and everybody's so conservative right now and it never used to be that way.
It used to be like full steam ahead with guns ablazin' and it's just not like that anymore.

Yeah, people are very worried and they're not taking the risks because they know there's not the chance of the sales.
I think, at least I can speak for myself on this, just making this record. Having a choice of releasing new, previously unreleased songs, it was just so overwhelming at that moment when I was trying to decide what I wanted to do and what was exciting me, you know. And we've been through this before as far as getting down to the production time and how many people you can involve in it that you really want to and it just made sense to make this record now. Because at one time it started out, well you know, if somebody wants to hear me sing a Journey song or two or something, maybe I'll put them as bonus tracks. Then it got to be, OK, well what tracks would it be?
I posed that question to people like; Let's say I'm entertaining the idea of adding a song or two from the Journey catalog on one of my records as bonus tracks, what would be your picks? Well it was just like a wildfire. All of a sudden the word got out that I was making a Journey record and all this stuff and I never really intended to do that.
But so many people came back like, 'Oh that would be awesome.' And 'I hope you do, here's what songs I would pick.' Then of course the band would get together and we said realistically what do we think we could do? Is this something that we would even want to do? And the band, we all looked at one another and said, you know it's not gonna hurt my feelings.
Then the next question was, what are the legalities of it? So once we had that all straightened out we just kinda said, well let's go, fine and you know what? It took the monkey completely off my back. Because trying to come up with new stuff and how do you top this guy and that guy and yourself to be able to do great songs that are proven hits and some songs that weren't necessarily hits by the radio standard but definitely in the deep cut of the fans we just pulled out as many of those, and you know we just could have kept on going. The list was like 25 songs deep and I said there's no way. I can't do a double album. I couldn't afford to pay them.

Exactly, well one of the questions I had for you is obviously the Journey catalog is about as deep as any band could get, so how did you pick the songs that you wanted to do verses the ones that really had to be done?

Well if you, I don't know, I guess Andrew it's not really fair for me to assume that you knew what we did as The Storm. I mean when we went out as The Storm and toured with Brian Adams and Peter Frampton and some of the people that we toured around with we fully exploited the fact that Greg was in Santana, and the guys that came from Journey and then the new stuff.
So it didn't make sense for me to cover anything from Santana because I kind of covered Steve Perry's parts with Greg. But so many people when we would go out and play, I mean I obviously didn't start out by going out and covering Journey songs live, but the thing that I do that maybe a lot of other bands that may have super huge egos or whatever, I listen to what people want to hear me sing. I mean, if you talk to fans. I have a lot of fans that email me personally like you and I do back and forth.
They feed me what I hope and believe is the truth. They don't really have a reason to lie. If they have the opportunity to email somebody that they look to as somebody that they like in music, if I were doing it I would say here's exactly what I would love to hear you do. That's what I took. I took those, you know, I mean, believe me there were other songs that were maybe from the newer catalog of Journey, the later stuff, that we tossed about but because we wanted to keep a little more drive in the sound I think some of the later on Journey stuff got a little softer. And I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I just saying in order to keep some fire underneath the sound with the guitars and the vocals and the harmonies and stuff, we wanted the more powerful stuff of their catalog.
So that kind of was the first basis that we picked. Then as we went along we went OK now what ballads do we do. Well, at the end I was starting to bring people in to listen to the rough mixes.
Family, friends, close people that I could trust that weren't even gonna leak that we did it and they actually keep it under their hats which was really amazing.

In this day and age that is amazing!
I brought in my youngest sister, the baby of the family. I closed the door and said I want to play you some stuff off my new record and I want to get your impression. So I'm playing it and she's like jaw on the floor going holy moly this is great but why are you doing Journey songs?
I mean they've already recorded them. And I said well that's true but again I have to go back to square two which is what do the fans who support Kevin Chalfant want to hear? And these, I don't know, maybe part of it was because there was so much unrest kind of in the Journey scene. Whatever that reasoning is, I just said, you know I'm not gonna allow, I'm a little bit different I guess maybe than just the other singers out there because I have had a long term friendship, kinship with these guys. And they have been very kind to me. I'm not sure if it's maybe because they say keep your friends close and your enemies closer. (laughter) I don't know if I'm friend or foe, OK.
I'm kept pretty close as far as they seem to genuinely care about me by the way that they treat me, embrace me, talk to me, call me. I'm a friend so I was looking at it and saying, well when I look back 15 years ago and I'm touring, and it was all the Journey fans that were supporting us out there then. Nobody knew who the Storm was. They thought this was the closest they were gonna get to Journey. Journey was off the road. So those fans embraced me then and those fans are still embracing me. So I really did make this record to 1) say thank you to everybody, and 2) dedicate it to Herbie who I think, without Herbie's help, none if it would ever have come about.

Yeah, he was instrumental wasn't he?
Great guy, I still stay in touch with Herbie, I love him. He's, I don't know if I really want to call him retired because I think he's more active from his home in the business than he ever was, and probably making more money than he ever was because he's just a brilliant man. When he's been kind enough to invite me to his home on the Pacific Ocean, and I've been out there a couple times and just spent time, days with him and his wife just to relax and to sort through things. And you know, I told Herbie that I was gonna do this, and he didn't really say I should or shouldn't.
He just said, you know Kevin, there's no doubt about it, you can deliver the songs but if it's not right don't embarrass yourself. Don't do it. But you know, I think he wanted to hear it too. So anyway, when I brought me sister in to listen to the stuff, at first she was sort of scratching her head and didn't understand it. But by the time we got through like the fourth of fifth song she totally got it and she goes, there gonna love it. Then she says, OK, play Faithfully for me, and I said, well I didn't cut Faithfully. She said, “You're gonna release a record of Journey songs and you haven't cut Faithfully?” So I had to cut Faithfully. And Send Her My Love, those were the last two songs we cut.

Good choices.
Well, you know, I didn't want to be tunnel visioned and my sister, well, let me tell you this, she's not afraid to say anything to me, and though she paid compliments to me, she didn't understand why I had cut some of the songs that I did, and not cut others. So I had to get into that debate with her and she made complete, total sense. I said you're right. I probably avoided that song just because of the vocal challenge but it was in the end, it was bizarre dude. I thought how am I gonna mix this song and still be able to hold water with Andrew McNeice? (laughter) And out of nowhere I get a call from Beau Hill.

Ah, there ya go.
God sent me Beau Hill (laughter) to mix the ballads, you know?

You can't go wrong there.
It was just a beautiful Godsend and a reconnection of brothers and it was just beautiful. So we've been staying in touch too. So that was a great shot in the arm for me when I was the most tired at the end of the project.

He obviously knows exactly what to do with you and your voice from past experience.
He knows exactly. In fact, he knows so much that I already assured him that the next record would be with him. Well, there's no sense running from what I know is just a dead ringer.

What works, works.
That's right.

And you haven't read my review yet. It's not up on line yet but compliments to you. The mix and the production is the best since the Storm.
Thank you so much.

You know you and I have gone backwards and forwards about production.
Well, you know money can't buy Andrew McNeice, but it takes money to get it to a level where Andrew McNeice responds. That record, you know, I've got a lot invested in it. So anybody who says something positive about it I just about want to mail them something very exciting. I might have to send you something but I'm waiting to see what color that review comes in.

Thanks Kevin! I've always been a fan of your voice and the music. I think this is a really confident record.
Well, you know, listening back you were always right on the money with the records and the reviews, even though I didn't want to face that. As time went on and I got away from things and would go to work on other things, you were absolutely right. I mean just because I wanted to get on an airplane and come down there and pulverize you doesn't mean that I didn't agree with you after I had a chance to get away from it.

Well you wouldn't be the first, but (laughter) I hate that part of the job. I really do. Everybody anticipates the reviews and it's the hardest thing I do out of anything. Well, you know, something else has happened to me since those days. I get a lot of calls because I started a thing for kids here called the Pop Star Boot Camp.
And since I've been doing that I get a lot of calls from all kinds of different organizations around where I live to just come and be a judge, and judge talent, which is a hard thing to do. You meet strangers and they're just putting all their hope into that you'll love what they do and the hardest part for me is when somebody's pouring their heart out and somebody else gets up and pours their heart out, and you've got ten people pouring their heart out and they're all great somebody's got to walk away.
Some people are gonna be broken hearted, hate you, get ugly, you know it's all those things. So it's made me appreciate what you do more. You probably went into it with the best of intentions and then once you're into it you're so overwhelmed with the good, the bad and the ugly that I don't know how you stay focused.

It's hard to be honest. It's the same thing for you guys. It's hard work isn't it?
It is.

It's not what everybody sees on the surface. That's only 5% of it isn't it?
That's true, and that's why I think with the internet I have to say, I have had the time of my life. Managers have kind of always kept the artist at a distance from the public. And I was never one that OK, I'd get a ton of fan mail. If there was fan mail my managers would always kind of sift through that and give you all the 'attaboys- and all the 'I want to kill you' stuff went in the trash barrel. So when I actually, I've been on the internet since maybe '95 before a lot of people were even on there and it just really opened my eyes to how immediately you can have response worldwide.

It's insane now isn't it?
Totally insane.

And getting worse all the time, better or worse, I'm not sure which. Getting bigger, it's getting bigger all the time.
Well now you're turning into a record label. Melodicrock Records is probably the next big launch for you right since you're already kind of releasing records?

Yeah, I've done my own compilations but that's something I've always wanted to do. The hesitation is that I don't really try anything unless I think I can do it properly. I suppose, like yourself, I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I like things to be perfect and I haven't decided that I can do things perfectly yet or will have the money to do it. That would be good.
Well, that's something that one person walking into your life can change. I know that. That's happened to me a couple times in my life. The first time with 707, Neil Bogart who had just come from Casablanca and he started Boardwalk. This guy just walked into my life and all of a sudden I was touring all over the world with songs playing everywhere. Then the second time that happened to me was with Ted Field with Interscope Records. And you know, I'm a strong believer in three times a charm so I haven't hung it up yet because things in life for me do come in threes.
So something is gonna happen for a lot of people again and I don't know if it's gonna be so much a resurgence but maybe just a new technology that's gonna change the level of the playing field a bit. There always has to be somebody in control. Have you noticed that? It all levels and that's the part of the business that's always made me feel like the people should have the choice of what the pecking order is, not the person who's doling out the cash or whatever. I just believe the people should have control of the pecking order.

I think the internet has definitely cut a few people's control for lack of a better term, hasn't it? (laughter) Also it allows you to release records independently doesn't it?
Yes it does and I've found it to be in some ways, I mean I'm sitting here in this studio and I'm thankful that I have the tools to work with, but you know everything that I purchased a year ago is already obsolete.
It's a constant battle and that what I think is maybe why I was like, I watched this battle going on with the free downloads and everything and I was trying to not be a part of it, not get involved because I didn't know where I even stood in it. But when, I believe it was the Ignition CD, I was just doing whatever I could to pull together the funds to finish that CD because the budgets are so lean for those kind of records that while I was still working on the songs, I hadn't even mixed the record yet, and somehow, I mean I don't know who released this to the hounds but free download sites already had the record.
I wasn't even done cutting the record and they were giving it away for free. And I'd taken a second mortgage on my house so you see, if people really do want to see you hang around it's sort of a, what you put in is what you get out. If you buy that artist's records he'll probably be back next year. If you try to get everything for free and feel like you're gaining something you're gonna end up with an MP3 player full of crap the following year. Maybe one or two decent CDs.

I totally agree. You've got to buy the artist to support the artist otherwise it's gonna dry up.
Totally and the other think I was gonna say is, you have hardly asked me any questions and I'm just spouting off.

I've got a couple of questions for you but keep going…
I wanna say that when we started first talking about the possibility of you doing a concert in the Chicago area, I got very excited and I'm very excited still about this because these are the kinds of things that I would love to be a part of with you in other locations of the world. OK, and the reason is, because there are areas, like in Japan, there're areas of the European community that I haven't been in where people would love to see my band and you're a help to me and I'm a help to you and that's kind of why this whole thing is happening.
We're lending our support to one another to keep it going and give people a closer view of the artists and the music.

Well I'm never closed off to any ideas. I can tell you that. I'm always looking for new ideas and new things to do.
I think at this point in time we have to. One thing I teach the kids when I'm working with these young artists, and when they first walk into the room you can see it, they're in groups, this group over here and that group over there. By the end of it there're all mixed and matched together because the whole time everybody that came in the room that I saw for the three days were all taught about the same thing and that's teamwork. You might be in this band this week, but next week you might be with the other guys and you're gonna find out who are gonna stay, who are gonna leave and who are gonna work together. That's kinda what I see here. I'm sure everybody's gonna go out wanting to blow each other off the map thinking it's all in good spirit and good fun but bottom line is that I've learned through working with Jim Peterik and the World Stage and some of those kinds of projects that man the energy in the room surpasses any kind of competition that's on the stage. It becomes a feast for the listeners. You rise above it and it becomes a team effort. It's really awesome.

Ok, so…a couple of questions for you. With the Journey record obviously you talk of Journey. Your association is long and varied with the guys. Is there a reason to put you in the hot seat? Has your name been in the mix to take over for them? You know they've gone through a couple of vocalists and here they are again!
Well as you know there's only one person or maybe two or three or four that could answer that question but I'm not one of them. (laughter)
I've always had an open relationship with them and I've been there to help them whenever I could. You know, sometimes my help was just to be at a show to give them energy when they were beat from the road. I would be there for them, no strings attached. I love them, I love their music, I feel fortunate that they let me drink from their cappuccino machine backstage (laughter) and hang out and have a great time.
You know, come on, if I ever got that phone call, and though I haven't I've been told on the internet that I have, so maybe they know something that I don't.
I'm just, I'm layin' low and doing my own thing and hey, who knows? It's not gonna be because I didn't want it or something. I would love to do it even if it was for a season.
I think the problem with, and you know I feel bad, I feel bad for Steve Augeri and Jeff because to have that and to lose it is like I tell people sometimes it hard for me to go to their shows because it's like going to see an old girlfriend.
You know, you fall in love again, and wait a minute, this is my wife sitting next to me (laughter) and she's enjoying watching my old girlfriend or something. (laughter)
I worked with them and now it's almost as if it's a conflict of interest or something. If I tried to so work with them it's almost like I would create trouble in both of our camps, so I really just keep my friendship open and I don't really ask anything of them other than 'Hey can you give me some tickets' once in a while and I just don't pressure anybody. It's just not worth it. And if they were in a situation, and honestly before Jeff got the role I thought, 'well maybe I'll get a call to do a fill-in spot, kind of like what he ended up doing to sing for a season. And do you know what? I would take it and cherish it, love it and when it was over I would still love them because I can't have anger for people I love. Even though I don't work with people, you know there are a few people that I can say that I wouldn't work with again, but that wasn't because I created that situation. They've never slammed the door in my face. They've never given me a reason to hate them. I can only be thankful that they've given me worldwide exposure. I've got nothing to complain about. I'm a blessed man.

Is Journey a band that could continue to rotate singers just because the songs have a life of their own?
Well so far they're doing pretty good at it. I can't see why they just don't take two or three guys out with them and then when one guy gets a sore throat they could work seven days a week. (laughter) I'd get on that team.
I've got no problem doing two, three nights a week. (laughter) I think it's like this man, it's what the fan wants, the fan loves, you know I love it. I wasn't able to see the band while Jeff was with them I had prior commitments the couple of times that I really could have. But whenever I would go to the shows I was in a position where, knowing I could pull off the job it's like I had to beat that monster in me down.
I got to know Steve Augeri and he's a great man and just a beautiful individual. You couldn't hate him. You can't hate him. I've had what happened to him happen to me where I'd be sick for an entire season. People would go oh he's washed up, and all this and that, and then you know once you've had a season of rest you come back and your stronger than you were. So I wish him the best. I hope he comes back.
I know Jeff's got a huge following worldwide and hopefully he'll land on his feet and move on. I have no preconceived notions of what's gonna happen. Nobody's called me to say 'Hey you wanna come join the band?' They're on vacation man. They have worked so hard that they just deserve to not even think about music for a while and have backyard cookouts. Let 'em breath for a while.

So the rumor that you were called in May to do that one show in Virginia was just a rumor.

Aside from Journey, the Storm, there's always been a call for you to reform the Storm as because there was always a sense of unfinished business there wasn't there?
Well not by our choice.

Oh no, absolutely not.
We really had a long term plan, and again, having Herbie Herbert be kind of at the helm of that. Things started happening that were beyond our control if you look back at the timing. We had grunge music in America starting to kick in and then cop killer rap music kicked in and when you're at the end of an era of music, which is kinda where we were, but it could have kept going if this new introduction of sounds hadn't been put in place right at that crucial moment. I think, you know, a band like U2 could have still forged ahead and done that but our label kind of hesitated.
Like, 'I think we're gonna wait on releasing your second record,' If they would have kept it I think we probably would have survived it and got through it and we'd still be making records today. But because you had a label that was new and couldn't afford, well they probably could have afforded to take and have a few hits because they had a billionaire backer behind them but I think that the staff was in the process of regrouping and wanting to take more control of the company away from the owner and say we can do this on our own.
In doing that, I think because Beau Hill left the company and Jimmy Iovine sort of took the helm, I don't think that Jimmy Iovine wanted anything that Beau Hill had his hands on to succeed. I mean, that's the simplest shortcut verbally I can make on it is that why would this man want somebody else's work to succeed instead of saying 'Why don't I produce the next record?'. So, that's where it was. I have a loyalty to Beau. He's a great man. He helped me at a time in my life when I really needed that break. He heard it. He got it. He heard what Gregg and I were doing. The first two songs Gregg and I wrote were I've Got a Lot to Learn About Love and Show Me the Way.

Great songs.
You know, and starting there I think it could have gone to the stratosphere, but without having the backing and the support of a company to be your legs it's really hard to do that. I think originally your question was something to do with reforming.

Yeah, obviously it wouldn't be an easy or cheap thing to do, but could it happen?
I believe it could. I believe it's gonna take another Ted Field or Neil Bogart to make it happen because, well I don't know exactly what the numbers were but they were in the millions to break the Storm. And you know, just to make a record at half a million dollars and have the production sound of that record, I mean I think with this last Fly 2 Freedom CD we did a pretty good job of a sort of facsimile by doing some sound replacements and some things like that that brought it to a nice level. But if, let's say George Tektro and Beau Hill and Kevin Chalfant started that same record in the same room in a place like George Lucas's studio where the Storm started, it could even be better. I mean I don't want you to adjust my numbers down from that (laughter)
No, no, (laughter) but from the get go you know I would love to have the level of backing of a major music lover like, I mean Ted Field was a musician himself, Neil Bogart the same thing. These are guys who had enough clout to just get behind the guys that they knew had the juice to pull it off. I think Gregg Rollie, when he got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Santana, I think he took that as 'Hey you know what? This is what I'm most famous for. I'm in the Hall of Fame. I'm gonna go back to my roots'.
That's the record roots or those records that followed and it's the more Latin oriented music that he's back into. Not to say that he couldn't follow the same history path given the right financial backer to say well look following that same natural curve you went more into a Journey, split off into a little bit more contemporary rock. I don't know. Gregg's a businessman. He's a music genius guy, I had a great time working with him. Our relationship is still kind of an open book. We're not hanging out because he lives on one coast and I live on another, but I don't think he hates me and I certainly don't hate him. I think it's all workable so God only knows.

I know Josh Ramos would be there in a heartbeat.
Are you kidding me? He'd be delivering the pizza to that session. On the way in he's grab the pizza guy, take the pizzas and carry them in with his guitar. (laughter)

Oh, you've gotta love Josh. I'm really pleased he's coming along for the October show.
I am as well. He's a, he's contacted me several times to talk about songs and how we want to go about doing it and I'm like, you know Josh just practice the tunes and when you walk in there won't be anybody in your way. Don't worry. Just step back into your own shoes and go for it. It'll be great.

It will be great. I'll ask you a couple things about the show towards the end of our conversation. But back on the questions, I enjoyed the Shooting Star record. Is that just gonna be a one off by the looks of it?
Well you know, when I was approached to help them finish this record, Circles, the intentions were, like you know if there're some tour dates and I'm available then that would be great. So without getting into all kinds of business discussions, we made a deal and then when the time came to do the shows that had slightly changed and for me to be expected to do some things that weren't agreed upon, and I'm not saying it in a spiteful way, it's just sometimes that's just the way the chips fall you know.
It's all budgetary stuff and for me to be away from my business here it has to financially make sense. They weren't at that level to, you know we all had hopes that everything would be at a certain level, and because they're not a full time touring act, I think that caused promoters to look at it as a part time thing, or whatever, I don't know. The bottom line was that I loved all the guys.
We hung out together and had a great time. We even shot a video together and all that stuff. But you know, economically it has to make sense and I just can't afford to invest in a bunch of different bands. I can only afford to invest in myself.

Well, that's where you should be investing.
I do help other people you know. I'm trying to stay open to young people and help them develop the right skills when their going in because I figure 15 – 20 years down the road I still what people to say Kevin Chalfant once in a while. Even if it's in an interview saying the guy helped me learn how to sing right, or whatever. Fifteen or twenty years from now if they're still saying my name and it's not attached to a cuss word I'll be so happy. (laughter)


I think you're safe. You've been getting a good bit of praise in the last few weeks for helping out Mr. Dennis DeYoung.
Well, I got another one of those calls like Shooting Star, because as people say 'If the shoe fits'. I heard from Tim his manager and I'd never spoken to Tim before, but Tim called and it was kinda funny because he said 'Is this Kevin Chalfant?' and I said yeah. 'The singer Kevin Chalfant?' I said yeah, 'Are you a singer that does studio singing?' (laughter) and I'm like 'What's the nature of this call?' (laughter) I thought it was a prank call at first, then he said Dennis DeYoung is gonna call you right back and I said, 'oh splendid'. I waited and about two minutes later Dennis called and we sat and told jokes to one another.

Oh I love that guy's sense of humor.
I had never met him, and this was really funny. This is a funny story. I went up to his home. He's got his studio in his home, and I got there and the first thing he did was throw the highest, most challenging song at me and I just nailed it. And he went OK, you've got the job. There's nothing higher on the record so it's all down hill from here. (laughter) I said, God I'm glad you caught me when I was fresh. So that kind of really inspired m because you know, when you look at a guy like Dennis who's now 60 and I've been listening to Dennis since I was in high school. I mean, he's a few years older than me.
I've always looked up to him and I've sung some of his songs when I was in the cover bands and whatnot, and I always thought it would be great to meet him. This was the funniest thing. When I got through singing the first couple, two, three songs, he said, 'I still don't know who in the hell you are. Who are you Kevin Chalfant'? (laughter)
So I had to talk about myself and this and that, and he goes 'I'm drawing a complete blank. Why don't I know who you are?' and I said, that's the problem. That's the problem. Kevin Chalfant has always been a part of a band. So it's time for Kevin to just be Kevin and my band's fine with that. They actually encouraged me. They said you know what dude, forget the band stuff man. It's been you. Why don't you just be you and we'll back you up. How many times do you actually hear a band say something like that?

Not too often.
Not too often, so I said if you guys are serious that would be great because they don't have anything to write on my epitaph at this point. (laughter)

I remember when I brought the show up with you, you said you'd love a chance to give my band a chance to show everybody what we've got, which I think was a fantastic idea.
You know, they're very patient guys. And I do a lot of stuff with Jim and I'm guesting with people and this and that, and every time I take my band out they just, if you took any one of us and put us in a room individually everybody would be yawning. But for some reason when you put us together, we've known each other all of our lives, we're just old friends that grew up together, that kind of thing, and we all played in different bands, but now we just kind of come together and it all fits. There are two guys in the band who actually sing as high as I do.
There are six mates altogether and everyone sings and two other singers in the band are actually lead singers, actually three. So there are four lead singers in the band and six singers total and it's a freight train. So we just love going out and we walk in like this junior league team playing against the major league. We just love coming in as the underdogs and playing and having a good time. And if we're having a good time, most likely the crowd is gonna love it. If we're having a rough night the crowd will have a rough night, so we don't take it seriously. We just have a good time and try to play at the level we know we can play, and relax.

You've got some big harmonies, I guess, in there.

Well, what you hear on the record is real. There were a couple of songs where one of the guys had to leave town for a family function and I had to bring in a couple of other guys just to get through a couple of the tunes, I don't remember, maybe Lights and something else, but other than that it's basically what you hear live.

Well, that's something to look forward to then.
It's a lot of fun. We have a great time. I love 'em, they're just good old boys man, and we laugh a lot. You know, when we started the Storm Gregg Rollie had one rule and I carried that same rule into this band, which is; If we ever have to have a band meeting we're breaking up. So everybody knows that if you do anything that would require a band meeting that means the band is going to break up. It works like a charm.(laughter)

I like it.
He's a genius, I told you.

The important question I guess is once the dust settles from this, where to from here?
I do have one thing that I probably will do before I get to the holidays. I'm gonna remix a lot of tracks that I've already previously release. But I'm gonna have Beau and some of the other guys, maybe George, I'm gonna have some of the songs that I feel like maybe got lost in the mixes remixed and I'm gonna do a kind of 'Best Of' and maybe put some new tracks to it. I don't have time to start a completely new project but I'm about 4 or 5 songs deep into a new record already and I'm going to maybe feature two or three of those in a compilation disk. So that'll give some new stuff and then some of the favorites too. And I'm even considering some of the songs that we play live. Storm tracks that I've changed the feel of to fit the band that I'm in now. So I might do some of that as well just to fit into the 'Best Of'.

That's all I pretty much had to ask you actually.
Well, um, we'll just say that I'm continuing to stay busy. I'm helping to produce some other artists, which I probably will still send you to look at and listen to.

Please do.
Some blues stuff and I know you're not a real country fan and you don't even have to put it on the website or anything but I'll send you some of the other product that I'm helping to just try to get a toe hold. I've got a power pop band that I'm working with right now. It's a cross between, I don't know if you're familiar with the All American Rejects and like Green Day, they're right in that vein and the singer is just fantastic.

That sounds kinda cool.
Very memorable song,

That sounds interesting.
They're really good and they're young. I think the youngest member is 17 and the oldest is 22 and they just blow my mind. They just woodshed and then when they come in they're like, they're going in and playing their parts one at a time and when it all comes together it fits just like a puzzle. It blows my mind.

And where do those guys come from?
The band is called Fickle's Lot. They've just got a huge following in this area. They will play for pizza parties. They will play anything. They're just doing it for the love and the excitement and to build up their fan base and it's working.

Well that's how it used to be isn't it? That's how Survivor did it.
Yes it is.

I think that's about it. I just wanted to basically promote the record. I suppose the one thing I didn't ask you is about the title, Fly 2 Freedom.
Where it came from?

Well it started out when I finally just connected with Dave he said, well you know I have a Journey cover that they never accepted and I don't know why they ever passed on it but it's pretty cool. And I said just send it over so he sent it over to me and it had the scarab on the bottom and I said well obviously I can't use that, but if we were to change, because it is like a tribute record, maybe we could change it to a different insect. Then I thought, OK, what is kind of translucent? Well I can't use a Japanese beetle because that's what the scarab basically is.
I said 'Oh, hey, how about a shit fly?' (laughter) A green shit fly and how fitting for me to use something like that. And he laughed and while I'm taking to him he's already on the internet looking for these green flies and it was just like an iridescent fly was the idea. We laughed so hard. So the record was actually just gonna be called Fly and then after I sent a preliminary drawing to my son in Nashville he writes back and says, 'You know pop, Herbie had planned on naming Raised on Radio, Freedom and they never used that title.' And I thought wow, Fly to Freedom.
So once we said, OK that sounds even better, Fly to Freedom, it's kind of funny because one night I was looking at it and I said wait a minute, I've got those “e's” there and I remember on Escape the flipped it over and turned the E into a 3 and the A was a 4 and all this and that? So I said to Wavid, just put the Escape kind of look to it. Because as long as it's a tribute record we can do that can't we, and he said absolutely. All of it in good fun, you know, just to be kind of fun and interesting and the fly is so ugly compared to the streamlined looking rock and roll scarab that they used that we laughed so hard.

Well…great record, and long overdue.
Well, I'm happy with it. I can honestly say that I can listen to it over and over and my blood pressure stays pretty level. And I can't say that for everything that I've recorded and you'll attest to that. (laughter)

No comment, no comment here.

c. 2008 / Interview by Andrew McNeice / Transcribed By Sherrie!
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