Steelheart: Miljenko Matijevic speaks with Ron & Don Higgins.

Miljenko Matijevic of Steelheart Interview
Conducted by Don & Ron Higgins
After the Steelheart Show at Top Cat's in Cincinnati, Ohio on 11/16/06

Don: You know what was cool? I was talking to T-bone, and I said, “The bad part is, you were out there sweating and jamming and we could tell that you were really nailing it, but we couldn't hear a note.
Mili: That was so fuckin' irritating

Don: But the rest of the band sounded great, so we said, “Well, he's got a good band behind him.” Obviously we knew you'd get it worked out once you found the right mic, 3
rd song in, it was, “Damn, the guy can still sing”.
Mili: Yeah, that sucks though. I'm screaming my ass off the first 2 songs…

Don: You even had 2 mics.
Mili: Yeah, I had 3 mics, actually, it was 4 mics.

Ron: That's right, you had the two, then you went to the other one and then you finally got Chris' mic and it worked. Could you tell, because you weren't getting any…
Mili: It was just nonsense. It is what it is.

Ron: What's cool though is, a lot of singers would've gotten very pissed off about that, obviously I'm sure you were pissed
Mili: Nah, I wasn't pissed. I ain't got time for it.

Ron: That's cool. All of that stuff that was happening, you were just rolling with it.
Mili: Dude, you don't understand. This whole tour was hilarious. We played some great places, but the monitors, everywhere we played the monitors were awful. It's just clubs, you know? We're just out here getting our feet wet. It's not the big rock star tour. Nice and easy, we're just kind of floating in. Let me get my feet wet. Let me sing a little bit. True diehard fans, they'll love to come and just hang out. I really enjoy it when I get people to come up and sing with me. I fuckin love that.

Ron: That's cool. I was thinking, “This guy is really classy. He's got reasons to be upset with the sound and everything, it's a small club, he's been in front of the big arenas and everything and here he is having the time of his life. I've seen hundreds of rock shows and I don't think I've ever seen anyone having as much fun up there as you were.
Mili: Oh, yeah.

Ron: And it comes through…

<interrupted by sound guy looking for the mic Mili threw across the stage when it didn't work>

Sound Guy: What general direction did you throw it? We're still trying to find it.
Mili: On the side.

Sound Guy: I hope nobody picked it up.
Mili: I think somebody stole it. It'll be fuckin hanging on someone's wall and I'll come to a party one day and it'll be like hanging on the wall with my number on it, and I'll be like <motions like punching guy in face>, “Give me my fuckin mic back!” <laughs>

Ron: They'll probably ask you to sign it.
Tony: Somebody will put it on eBay because it's got your saliva and shit
Don: Well they tried to sell Paul McCartney's germs so…
Ron: Like I was saying, this guy's got class. For you to pull up strangers, on your stage for your biggest hit, that's awesome.
Mili: That's fucking killer, are you kidding me. It's so incredible. I've been doing it every show. Tuesday night in Hartford, at Webster Hall, it's a pretty big place, they had the big barriers in the front and they've got this big stage and I said, fuck it, and I jumped out to them. It was fuckin incredible to have hundreds of people singing along to me.

Don: Oh, yeah.
Ron: They're singing your songs back to you, that's got to be pretty cool.
Mili: But to have them sing it and to have it coming through them, there's an emotion coming through.

Ron: Sure.
Mili: Are you fucking kidding me? It's amazing. Amazing. I always say, I'll do the hard parts, you just do the easy parts.

Don: Right.
Mili: If you look at them

Ron: Yeah, they're so excited.

<break in tape>

Ron: And do you know any kids that don't sing? All kids sing for just the joy of it. Well, I've got to say, Welcome Back!
Mili: Thank you, thank you.

Don: It was a lot of fun watching you. I didn't know if we'd get a chance to interview you before or after the show, but I'm sort of glad it was after and we got to see the show first. I was telling Angela, “You guys had some trouble at first but obviously the first thing… obviously everybody knows your stuff from the early '90s and you were doing some good stuff, but now it's 2006 and the big question is, that guy could really sing, but can he still do it? For the record I'll say, yes you can.
Ron: For anybody reading this interview, yes, he can still sing!
Don: You hit every note and it was a joy to watch
Ron: Both guitar players told me, in fact, you sing better now than you even used to.
Don: And not only did you sing well, but for the entire show. That's something that not everybody can pull off. I was very impressed by that.
Ron: And the Jack Daniels may have helped.
Mili: A little bit
Ron: you are the 1
st singer I've ever seen to pour shots to the audience! Now that was cool.
Mili: Well, why not? A fuckin' drink is a lot of money. I look at it like this, you come to the show, it costs $15-$20 to get in, God forbid you get a T-shirt, you're $45 in, you bring a date, you're $90 in, you want a beer… $9, it's like, what the fuck. So what I do, on the rider I get JD and Cuervo and a case of beer. That's it. I don't ask for much.

Don: You don't need brown M&M's
Mili: Right. A bottle of JD and a bottle of Cuervo. That was nice of those people to buy me a shot. It's nice. Why not.

Ron: Yeah, and if you get a bottle of Jack every night it's like, what are you going to do, start collecting them?
Mili: Yeah, we drink a little bit, the guys drink. You can't drink that shit every night, come on, let's be realistic.

Don: Not the whole bottle! Some people have been known to do it…
Ron: But they're no longer playing. It was a very cool show. The new songs are great. You've got 3 on the new EP and they're going to be on the actual album that's going to be out in March, right?
Mili: Absolutely.

Ron: Do you have a name for that yet?
Mili: I do but I'm going to hold that off until it's time.

Ron: Well, you didn't put it on your web site so I didn't figure that you would tell us <laughs>.
Mili: Right.

Ron: But I had to ask, right?
Mili: That's okay.

Don: I'll also say, I liked the set list. I thought it was a good mix of all your material.
Mili: Yeah.

Don: Stuff from your 1
st album, which was probably your biggest seller, and of course a lot of stuff from the Rock Star movie.
Ron: How did you get involved with that, by the way?
Mili: Tom Werman, my producer.

Don: He produced your 2
nd album, right?
Mili: Yeah, we did the 2
nd album together. So he called me up. Actually, I was in Connecticut and I was leaving for Los Angeles the next day. He calls me up Sunday night. I was at my brother's house and he calls me and says, “Hey Mili, what are you doing now. I'm doing this project, this pretty big movie, and I think you're the guy, actually. I think you could really do a good job.”

Don: Absolutely.
Mili: I said, “All right. I'll check it out.” He said, “Okay, when are you coming to L.A.?” I said, “Tomorrow.” Okay, come to the studio around 1:00. I went to the studio around 2:00 I think it was. I flew in like 11:00. At 2:00 I was in the studio and sang my ass off. They were like, “Okay, that sounds pretty good.” I said, “You know what, let me take that home for a second.” So I took it home and handed in like school work in the morning and said, here, check it out. And they're like, “You're the guy!”

Don: Now, on your web site you say that you actually sang 8 songs for the soundtrack.
Mili: Yeah.

Don: But only 3 of them made the soundtrack.
Mili: Yeah.

Don: So what happened to the other 5?
Mili: I have them.

Ron: They haven't made it to the internet, huh?
Mili: I can't do it. If someone else does it, that's fine. But I can't do it.

Don: Really?
Mili: It's just respect, you know what I mean? I'm surprised nobody's put it up there. I'm really surprised because some of the other songs are fucking great.

Don: The ones that made the soundtrack, the Steel Dragon stuff…
Mili: You know “Reckless”?

Don: Sure.
<Mili starts singing it>

Don: And I was glad to see you play “Blood Pollution”. I thought that was a good rockin tune.
Ron: That was awesome.
Mili: Killer

Don: When you were working on those songs, did you just come and do the vocals or did you have any input working with…
Mili: I had a bit of input but I kind of purposely just chilled back and let them do it.

Don: You guys sounded like a real group.
Mili: It sounded fuckin great. They were going to put the band out on tour.

Don: Really?
Mili: Yeah, but Mark couldn't sing.

Don: Right. He could rap, but. They would want you or Jeff singing.
Mili: I don't know how they would pull it off.

Ron: That would've been cool if you could've gone out there with, who was it, Jeff Pilson, Zack Wylde, Jason Bonham.

Don: That's a good lineup.
Mili: That would've worked well. The whole movie… when 9-11 happened, killed the movie.

Don: Really?
Mili: Yeah. It came out and was #2 in the box office. Friday I went to the premier, the whole big red carpet shit.

Ron: Right. How was that? Was that cool?
Mili: That was excellent.

Ron: Was it in L.A.?
Mili: Yeah. Saturday was the first day in the box office, it was #2 over the weekend and Monday, gone.

Ron: Oh, man.
Mili: “We All Die Young”, which you know is from my last album.

Ron: Right.
Mili: That was going to radio. They did a video for it and they made a single for radio. It went to radio and got cancelled off of the radio because President Bush wouldn't let anybody put anything on with the word die, kill, blood, or anything like that. So that killed that song.

Don: That was some bad luck.
Mili: I've had some interesting bad luck.

Don: You've had a little in your day. But you're still here.
Ron: Really bad luck would've been not coming back from it.
Mili: That's right.

Ron: It's funny, you come across as being very appreciative – I'm here and I'm doing what I love and I know that there's a good chance that I couldn't have been. At least that's sort of the vibe that comes across.
Mili: You know, at any moment. It can all be taken away from you. It's so fuckin crazy. I've experienced it way too many times, from members of my family passing away and just being on top of the world and, boom, you're on the fuckin street. I mean literally, when I had that accident, I mean it was like moments, it was overnight, I'm with $5 in my pocket driving down the road and I'm like, “Whoa”. Overnight. Just like that.

Don: Yeah.
Mili: And I remember sitting backstage and everyone's freakin out and everyone's losing their mind and my head is wide open and I'm sitting there, and it may sound crazy to you, but I really saw all of my steps. What I've got to do.

Ron: Really.
Mili: Unfortunately, it was a little long. I wish it was a little shorter. It was fuckin long. So now, I'm at a good space. It may take a moment to get through this little barrier but hopefully people will say, “Let's give this guy a little love.” I need a little love.

Ron: I hope so. And the music world needs a talent like you. I'm so sick of hearing these guys just kind of growl. Bands without lead guitarists. It's really a shame. Everyone blames Nirvana, of course, but why does it have to be one or the other? Why can't there be room for everybody.
Mili: I think it's slowly starting to, music is changing. Right now everyone is confused, so it's good.

Don: It's cyclical. Things come back. Harder edge rock is coming back.
Ron: Well, yeah. Motley Crue went on tour last year and had one of the most popular tours. A lot of people were shocked by that, but people like us who like that type of music, weren't surprised at all.
Mili: No. It's good energy. What I think people are missing is the energy. The energy the 80s had, was really positive.

Ron: Absolutely.
Mili: The energy now, some of it's really good, there's some deep, deep shit, but then all of a sudden twists too, it's kind of like, I'm not quite sure I want to go over there, you know what I'm saying?

Ron: Well think about what killed the whole grunge movement. It was so negative.
Don: And depressing.
Ron: How long is that going to be interesting to people.
Mili: There's no rock stars.

Ron: Right. Up on stage, you look like a lead singer – a rock star. You don't look like a guy I sat next to in geometry class. When you pay $15 to see a band you want to see.
Mili: You want to see the fuckin rock star.

Ron: I want to see David Lee Roth
Mili: I want to see the circus act <laughs>

Ron: Exactly. I don't want to see some dude in shorts who looks like he hasn't taken a shower and I sat next to in class. I want to see someone that looks different.
Don: And you want them to have the talent of course, and the catchy songs and all that but you what the image that goes along with that.
Ron: You have to have charisma. You have to know how to work an audience. And that's what you do masterfully. You know how to put on a show.
Mili: Yep.

Ron: And a lot of the younger kids that have never experienced that, they don't know what a rock star is. They go to their first real rock show and they're blown away because they've just kind of seen these guys stand there. What's great about it is it's not just the music but it's the lyrics, it's the stage presence. You have real stage presence.
Mili: Thank you.

Ron: With a lot of people, I guess it's just in you, you know what I mean?
Mili: It really is. Music. Either you got it or you don't. If you got it, it takes a lot of work to bring it into the open. You can never get over cocky with it because again, it can be taken away in a second.

Ron: It sounds like you've learned a lot. It's sort of a spiritual awakening.
Don: You've gained wisdom along with everything else.
Mili: Guys. This has been the most amazing journey I've ever experienced. I don't know if anyone has ever experienced it. I'm sure other people have in their own way.

Ron: Unfortunately, sometimes you have to go through the pain to get to something really positive and good.
Mili: Yeah.

Don: Now I know you're going to do the big rock festival in Europe.
Mili: Bang Your Head, yeah.

Don: Now that should be interesting for you guys because it will be a very big crowd and good exposure with people that either remember you or people that don't know you at all. You must be pretty excited about that.
Mili: I'm very excited. I did an interview with a magazine, I can't remember which one but it was one of the biggest magazines, and they're going to do 3 segments, like a 5 page spread. I was blown away. The guy was like, man, we're really excited that you're actually back and doing it.

Don: Absolutely.
Mili: We would love to have you if you're interested in doing a show like this. I'm like, “interested? Are you fuckin kidding me?”

Don: Yeah, we'll see if I can pencil you in.
Mili: It's good. There's good things happening.

Ron: The tide is turning.
Mili: I'm not making any money, that's for sure <laughs>.

Ron: But you're doing what you love. I love that story about how you were going to be a mechanical engineer and you threw your books out the window and said, “What am I doing?”
Mili: I swear to God, may God strike me dead right here, no bullshit. Everything that is there and everything I sing is not made up. I can't make this shit up. I'll never forget it. After I talked to Chris, I was like, “What the fuck am I doing?” Threw them out the window and said, “I'm done.”

Ron: I think they call that an epiphany!
Mili: Yeah.

Don: you can always go back to college. It's always going to be there. But being a rock singer, not everyone gets that chance.
Mili: It's not who I am.

Ron: And the music world is glad that you made that decision. It would've been sad if you hadn't. But you're right, you figured out that that is what you're all about. You may not be making a lot of money right now, but you are still doing what you love.
Mili: I look at it that I'm on my way. On my way back.

Ron: You're still a young guy.
Mili: Yeah, I feel great. I feel 28. I really do. It's weird.

Ron: But you still look good. You obviously take care of yourself.
Mili: Always.

Don: And the main thing is, you can obviously still sing, and that's the important part and you can still handle that. And I'm sure you have a worldwide fan base.
Ron: it's like, in Europe, this style of music is better appreciated than it is here in the U.S.
Mili: Yeah, you know what's really weird? I'm feeling this energy and the first time around I felt the Asian thing, it was huge. And then Europe and then the U.S. picked up. This time it feels like Europe and then slowly come back to the United States. The United States is a very fickle place.

Ron: I think they rely too heavily on someone else telling them what to listen to. Whether it's radio, or MTV, and what was great back in the 80s is MTV learned that it was popular and started showing all the videos and it exploded. But good music, you don't need someone to tell you.
Don: It's hard now because there are so many more options with the internet. And like any band can record a digital recording in their basement.
Mili: Yeah.

Don: So it's hard to weed through to find the good stuff.
Ron: What I find ironic is here we are in 2006 and we're almost reverting back to the music world of the 1950s where artists used to release singles and they'd just throw something on the B-side. It wasn't until the 60s when they started really doing albums. And now with digital downloads it's going back to, forget the album, let's just do singles.
Mili: Digital music is huge.

Don: A lot of new artists, they'll have a hit song and then you'll never hear from them again.
Mili: Yeah.

Ron: That's all labels want to do. Throw money into an act, have a huge release and if the next one bombs, they're done. There's no more building artists like the used to.
Mili: That's the Untied States. It's all about the almighty dollar. They're focusing on… it's interesting. Managers, executives, they work all their lives maybe doing small gigs and nothing major. Then they find an act and they see the magic and they see it can work. They put their claws into it, and they push it push it push it. And they make their money, and they feel… this is what I've noticed, I've went though this… and it's almost as if they feel that it's okay to take that away from them. Make them big, make all the money and say, okay you're done. Now it's your problem.

Ron: I've gotten everything out of you. Thanks.
Mili: And then the artist feels so raped feels so deeply hurt. To overcome that pain is next to impossible. I've watched it with myself. And its like, “you motherfuckers… so that's how you're doing it?” But that's life. I feel so bad about some of these bands because they drop so low, they go to drugs, and their talent just drops out the window.

Ron: And most people get into music, not to make money, not to be rich, but for the love of the music. And that can be a by-product if you have talent.
Don: Money and drugs can be a distraction. The managers are probably more into it for the money as opposed to the artist who is creating something.
Ron: Well that's it. It's part of you. You've created a song or an album. It's a creative process. It's like your child. But to a business guy, it's just money. It's not personal or emotional.
Mili: But on the other side I respect that as well because you are who you are and I'm the artist. And they're like, you're the artist, you're going to get all the fame and all that energy. We're also feeding on energy. You're feeling all this amazing energy and stuff. And the manager is going, “Fuck, I've got to make a living.” So I can't that away from them, but at the same time, what gets me is they see all the angles where artists are like, when I started out, I didn't know the game. I told those managers, “Hey dude, it's okay you took all my cash, I didn't know the game, that's why I'm okay with it. If I know the game and I got fucked, well it's shame on me.

Ron: But it won't happen again.
Mili: It ain't gonna happen again. That's the only bummer side of it. You see so many incredible artists, it takes them years for them to get over it and sometimes it's too late. Everyone's like, “Dude, turn left. You're still great but we're not feeling the energy.”

Don: How would you describe the energy for your new stuff?
Mili: Full power.

Don: Yeah.
Mili: When you listen to it, you tell me.

Ron: Well I'll say the show tonight was “full energy”. That would be how I would describe the show tonight, from beginning to end, “high energy”, it was awesome.
Mili: I fuckin love it.

Ron: I expected a good show, but I have to admit, it was better than I expected. If you came and you were feeling bad and you still felt bad when you left, you weren't paying attention.
Mili: Every show counts. Every show counts. Again, it took me a long time to get to this point so I'm going to enjoy what's going on. The happiest I am is when I'm onstage.

Ron: And it shows.
Mili: The happiest I am. It really is.

Ron: I've seen concerts back in the day and, we both go to a lot of concerts, and I've seen some of the guy who were really big 20 years ago and they're going through the motions. They're just there for the paycheck. They're not having any fun. Definitely not the case tonight.
Mili: That's not what it's about.

Ron: I guess there's an honesty there. You're legitimately having fun, it's not pretend. Everyone here can tell and that just feeds into the crowd. People know when a performer is just going through the motions. As a fan. I very much appreciate it that you're up there and just having a blast.
Mili: Yep. That's what I do.

Don: And I'm sure it'll translate to the new stuff. I haven't heard all of it, but what I've heard, “Laugh out Loud” and “Twisted Future”, those are both good.
Ron: What's good is it contains the classic sound but it doesn't sound old. It's got the new vibe.
Mili: The whole idea for this album. I just want to give you a quick history. I did all of the guitars on it. I didn't do the guitar solos. I did all the 12 strings, 6 strings, electrics, heavy guitars, everything, I engineered all of it except the bed tracks.

Ron: This is your baby.
Mili: And I produced it. When I say go solo. It was a fuckin lot of work. It was like wow.

Ron: It probably means a lot to you, maybe even more than some of the other ones.
Mili: It is. The song “Twisted Future” we recorded the orchestra at Skywalker Sounds, you know Star Wars, George Lucas.

Ron: Absolutely.
Mili: Which, it is a magical place. We did the orchestra there and I'm sitting there and they go, “Well Mili, what do you think?” I'm like, “You're doing fine.” I don't even have to say a word. Just awesome. The idea was, I wanted to make a record that was the past, present and future.

Ron: Okay.
Mili: I didn't want to go completely into the future and totally alienate everyone from my past.

Ron: That's smart.
Mili: But I didn't want to go all the way into the past because I already did that.

Ron: Right.
Mili: If I go back there, then they'll be like, “He's just that guy from the 80s,” and I'll be monotone. I want to move into the future even though I have that part of me behind me. That's why the set has a little bit of everything. When people know the movie they can sing along and they can sing along to my old stuff and all the new stuff comes in like, “Whoa, what the fuck is this?” But it still rocks, it's still got the power.

Ron: Absolutely
Mili: That's what I wanted to do with this record. Some of the tunes on this record are really, really heavy but there's one song called “Underground” is a really bizarre tune. It's like rock meets jazz fusion but a futuristic side. You would never think that it would work, but when you hear it, it works.

Ron: It's funny, when I hear your drummer I get that sort of jazz fusion feel. His solo was awesome.
Mili: The guy is good.

Ron: The band you've got backing you is top notch.
Mili: Well Myron, the bass player, played with Santana for 10 years. You know what's really good, you know Chris, he's really great, what's really nice is, they're all really nice. They're gentlemen. I made a vow to myself, when I go back into this and put this together and as you know what it takes to put something like this together, it's a lot of work, I said, I refuse to work with anybody that's not a gentleman.

Ron: It'll make your life easier, that's for sure.
Mili: I refuse. There's not one argument, not one bad word, nothing, this whole tour. Everyone's like, “How are you doing?” Onstage, you see me and Myron cracking up when a chord doesn't work <laughs>

Don: That's what's great. You guys have good rapport and that makes a difference in the overall sound.
Ron: And every time something would happen, you guys just rolled with it. Awesome.
Mili: Fuck it.

Ron: Like you said, life's too short, right?
Don: But with all of that said, even though there were some small problems at the beginning, overall, it was good. It sounded good.
Ron: It sounded great.
Don: The band was good, you sounded tight, you had everyone singing along, and the overall sound was, it was a good show.
Mili: Thanks.

Ron: Now you're supposed to do something with Bret Michaels in December, is that still happening?
Mili: No, we played, it was supposed to be at Goodfellas.

Ron: He's actually going to be in town in about a week.
Mili: We played Goodfellas Saturday night and the owner really wanted us on that bill, but after we played that night they said, “No.”

Ron: Really?
Mili: Yeah, but I don't blame them. They don't need me jumping around like an animal out there when they're trying to do a video shoot. I wouldn't do it either. There's too much confusion I think. Maybe we can do some shows with Poison, that would be cool.

Ron: I would love that. Poison got really smart about 5 years ago. Instead of trying to do it themselves, for $20, to see 4 or 5 bands, and all of a sudden they've got 20,000 people there. These other bands may get a couple hundred. They just realized very quickly, they come through every summer, there's some bill whether it's 4 or 5 bands and people love it because they feel like they're getting their money's worth.
Mili: I'm all about that. We're trying to get on some tour, trying to figure out our next step. That would be great. Personally, I think I need to jump on a real tour.

Ron: Did you consider pursuing, moving forward as a solo artist? You know, billing yourself as… or was it always just Steelheart.
Mili: You know, it was the weirdest thing. I tried so many times to get rid of Steelheart.

Ron: Really? It just keeps sticking with you, huh?
Mili: It's a part of me, it's imbedded in my soul. It's become me. It's really weird. Steelheart has become an individual. I tried, I really did. No I don't want to do it. I said, you know what, it keeps coming back. So one day I just gave up. I accept. You can say all you can say about the 80s, whatever, dude. It'll be all right.

Ron: With some artists, you can tell that they're trying to walk that line. A lot of it depends on who owns the name, of course. It's funny, someone like Bret Michaels, he's walking both lines. He still does Poison but then he's doing his solo stuff. He's been able to that.
Mili: That's okay. That's great for him.

Ron: It's nice that he can do things on his solo album that his Poison fans wouldn't be cool with. It's an outlet for his creativity and his fans let him even though it's not what they would expect from Poison. That's kind of a cool thing too.
Mili: I am truly searching for my team. I don't want to keep changing people. I'm not interested in that. I'm not. I am interested in finding my brothers. My bros. When I go to war, I want to know that I'm going to enjoy myself and they've got my back.

Ron: Absolutely.
Mili: That's what I'm looking for. That's why, with Chris. I thought about it, thought about it. I did this whole record. I actually asked him to come play on it and it didn't work out. He was going through some issues, personal stuff, you know and then finally I said, “Listen, I'm going on tour. I'm doing it. I'm going either with you or without you. I'm doing this.” I said, “I think you need to be with me. For some crazy reason, I feel you need to be with me.” And he's like, “I'm there.”

Ron: Cool.
Mili: Even on stage, we're giving each other hugs. He's come a long way.

Ron: You've been through a lot together.
Mili: And I feel that Chris hasn't quite gotten the recognition he deserves. But it's coming.

Ron: Well, he's a great guitar player.
Mili: All of them.

Don: They're fantastic.
Mili: And they're cool. They're cool dudes. Somebody you want to hang out with, have a beer with. You can have a nice conversation. Gentlemen.

Ron: That's who you want to work with, that's for sure.
Don: And I suspect that in the rock world that's not always easy to find.
Mili: No… all the alcohol and drugs.

Don: Unfortunately, it kind of comes with the job to some extent.
Ron: it's an occupational hazard.
Don: It's funny because your appearance, your voice, it's clear that you didn't get sucked into that world. It's a shame for the people that did because some people are still struggling. Just pray for him and hope for the best.
Mili: Give him some love.

Ron: So one question is, we're talking about Bret Michaels and on his solo he kind of went country… I saw on your web site that you started out as country, of course you were like 7 or 8.
Mili: Yeah, yeah.

Ron: Are we ever going to see Mili the country artist? <laughs>
Mili: Nah, I don't think so. <laughs> Maybe I'll write a couple of songs for country artists. I wrote a couple of songs a long time ago. I think they're good too. One song I wrote with Ramsey McLean. I don't know if you know him. He wrote Sleepless in Seattle. We wrote one song together and it was fuckin killer. The lyrics are hilarious. You know, country songs, it's all about the lyrics. You know what, I drive through the country and I'm like…

Ron: Yeah, when you drive through Tennessee you've got to listen to country music.
Mili: Yeah, it's okay. There's nothing wrong with it. It's got a huge history.

Don: The line between country and pop isn't so well defined any more.
Mili: What I will do, I'll tell you this. I will do techno-electronic.

Ron: Really?
Mili: I already did five songs. After I did the movie, Angela and I went to Germany, Spain, and Amsterdam. We went through all of Germany. This was in 1999 or 2000. I was looking for producers. I didn't want to make the music too. I could. I could make that music. But I didn't want to, it's too much for me. To make the music and then the lyrics. It's too much. So I was like, let me find some producers that are cool because there are songs in that music, there's a soul. People don't know that. Some people are like, “Oh, that sucks.” Certain songs have a magic. It makes me soar. As if it was written for me, know what I mean?

Ron: Sure.
Mili: So we went there and we did all of that and everyone just ran from it when they heard the demo. I thought they'd be thrilled to work with me because this stuff was good. Finally, there was one guy who told me, “You know what, if I let you come into my world singing over my stuff as a DJ, where the fuck does that leave me?” I was like, “Oh, duh!” That's why it never really came together. But I think it will at some point because there's some magic to it.

Don: So you've got some stuff recorded out there?
Mili: Oh yeah. I just have to figure out the right tunes.

Ron: I could see that as a solo thing.
Mili: Yeah, totally solo. There's hard edge to it, hard dance. There's still energy, you know, and me singing like an animal through it and then soar and chill back and, and sing really angelic. That's fucking killer.

Ron: I'd love to hear that. That sounds really interesting.
Mili: I could see it in a coliseum where just one guy comes up and sings like an animal.

Ron: That sounds cool.
Mili: You know?

Don: And that's something that you could definitely either possibly release as a solo or a different name entirely. Then people would say, “Did you hear that song by whomever, and hey, do you know who is singing on that?” Especially in European markets where they would be more receptive to that. So, yeah, I wish you luck with that. Anything as an artist where you can be creative. Nothing says you have to be confined to late 80s hair metal.
Mili: No.

Don: You're a good singer and your voice should be used however you want to use it.
Mili: I've got a whole piano album.

Don: Really?
Mili: I'm not a good piano player but I can write.

Don: You can either be a great musician or you can be a great creative songwriter and not everybody can do both. Some people can be great at one but not the other and a few people can do both. The creative part is still there.
Mili: Time is, to me, everything is about time. Life is time.

Ron: I sense that you're one of those guys that has so much going on in your head and it's just how do I get it out? Like you feel a need to get it out.
Mili: Yeah, do I have enough time in this lifetime.

Ron: Exactly.
Mili: You're absolutely right. And while I'm thinking about it, do I have enough time in this lifetime to do everything that I want to do?

Ron: I've got more stuff to do, buddy.
Don: I'm with you. But it seems like you're on the right path. Your band is sounding good, your new songs are sounding good, you sound good, you're looking healthy, you're in shape, you've got a beautiful fiancé, it seems like things are going well for you.
Mili: Thank you.

Don: Full speed ahead.
Mili: I feel good.

Ron: And the coolest mic stand I've ever seen.
Mili: <laughs>
Ron: I've gotta say.
Don: Whether the mic on top of it is working or not, the stand is cool.
Mili: Fuck.

Don: So it's off to Cleveland tomorrow and then back down to Columbus.
Mili: I didn't….

Don: I know.
Mili: You know how it works.

Ron: Yeah, whenever you've got an opening.
Don: Well we probably won't annotate this entire thing word for word <actually, we did> because that will take too long to type.
Ron: I've transcribed longer ones.
Mili: You need to get the word….

Ron: You know, I tried that once.
Mili: Did it work?

Ron: Not at all. Because you have to practice so it recognizes… you have to read something and then it understands how you pronounce certain words. So when 2 different people are having a conversation it screws all up. I even got so bold as to run a wire between my tape player and my computer, converted it to an electronic file and thought I could use voice recognition software without having to do anything manually. Well, that was wishful thinking.
Mili: You know what would be better, imagine this, futuristic. This is a cool interview, right?

Ron: I'm certainly having a good time.
Mili: If somebody else could listen in on this, it would be a lot more enjoyable, because when you re-write it, things change.

Ron: It's funny, when we transcribe these interviews, we do pretty much do them word-for-word as opposed to summarizing. That's one of the things that differentiates from other sites. Sure it might take you longer to read it but you're really getting insight as opposed to answers to the 10 questions.
Mili: Exactly. I can't do that. A lot of people email me and say, “Can you please answer these questions, it's a really big magazine.” I'm like, “Listen, bro, if I have to read these 25 questions and then type it out, it'll never come out right.”

Ron: Yeah, “Who's your favorite artist...
Mili: I can't do that. One time, during the WAIT album, I was in Japan and we were doing a speech press and one of the girls asked me, “So, how did your band get together?” I'm like, “Sweetie, you've got to read like 1500 issues before this. Let's move forward here, you know.”<laughs>. We're in a different time zone.

At this point, it's well after 3:00 in the morning, the entire bar is packed up and waiting for us to finish up so we wrap up, shake hands and wish him well on all of his future endeavors. He and his fiancé Angela or truly two of the nicest people you'll ever meet in the music industry. Thanks for everything, guys, and thanks as always to Andrew for giving us the opportunity. You rule, mate!