TOM KEIFER On His Years With CINDERELLA: ‚I Don’t Have Any Regrets‘
CINDERELLA frontman Tom Keifer recently spoke with Jesse Bruce of 93.1 WMPA’s „In The Basement With Jesse Bruce“. The five-part conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On his new album, „Rise“: Tom: „Stylistically, it’s hard rock — blues-inspired hard rock like I’ve always written, kind of a straight-ahead, driving rock record with all the same kind of dynamics that I’ve always had on records that I’ve been involved with in the past — ballads and acoustic songs, as well as very heavy songs. There’s a lot of variety, but it’s all in the same style of what I’ve done for years. I just call it rock music.“ On his „#Keiferband“ backing band: Tom: „We have a seven-piece band — two guitars including myself, bass, drums, keyboards, my wife Savannah and Kendra Chantelle sing with the band. We’ve got six really great singers on stage, so everything’s live. That’s something that I’ve always kind of traditionally [done] — not run tracks or any of that stuff. A lot of records I’ve been involved with from CINDERELLA through the solo stuff are layered and complex productions, shall we say, so it’s really nice with this band having seven people. We’ve got the keyboards, the guitars; everybody sings; having Savannah and Kendra really fill out the vocals, and they play percussion as well. It sounds like the record… The band really delivers.“ On how he takes care of his voice: Tom: „I had a lot of struggles with my voice over the years, so I had to train with vocal coaches to get it back. Basically, what my vocal coaches did was help me find my way back to where I had started, and kind of put that blueprint back in there. That happens to a lot of singers. That really helps with the training and finding that placement again, because there were a lot of years for me where it was lost. In recent years, since I’ve been touring with this band, it’s been really strong, and it was really strong making this new record. A lot of those vocals are live [and] were cut when we were actually tracking the album.“ On the modern music industry: Tom: „We’re doing all the same things in terms of creating and what we do as the artist, shall we say — we get on a bus and go on tour and play a lot of shows, and that’s pretty much the same as it always was. We’re still creating records, and we do that in the same way — you write songs, get in a room with the band, throw up some mics and you record it. Of course, I’m simplifying that process — it’s a little more involved than that — but it’s basically the same process. We’re still making videos, which is an art form that I still really enjoy… In so many ways, it’s still the same. We’re still releasing songs to radio. Radio’s a little more focused now. The rock format has a very particular sound that’s very heavy. I would say a big difference is that we’re only really able to work heavy tracks to radio, where we used to be able to work ballads and things that had different styles. Rock radio had a little bit broader spectrum in the ’80s. Modern rock is more focused toward very heavy stuff… The way people get their music and listen to it is very different. It’s shifted to streaming a lot, although physical product still does sell a lot. We’ve sold a lot of vinyl and CDs, but I think that the streaming thing and online listening is more of the norm now. A lot of people just simply listen to music on YouTube. Not all of it always generates the money that the record company wants, but if you kind of adjust your thinking in terms of how you measure your success, rather than looking at sales like we did years ago, just walk on stage and play a new song and see how many people are singing it. We’ve found with both the solo releases touring worldwide that way more people seem to be familiar with the songs than if you compare it to the hard sales. The good news is the music’s still getting out to people; it’s just in a different way, and you have to adjust your thinking.“ On CINDERELLA: Tom: „I don’t have any regrets. We worked with an amazing producer; I’m proud of the records that we made; I’m still proud of the songs, and I still play them all live. I guess if I wasn’t proud of them, I wouldn’t. [laughs] I still enjoy playing all of those with my band and the fans still love them. The era got kind of pegged with a particular look and a label, and you go back and look at anyone’s yearbook picture and kind of have a laugh. Obviously, there’s some pictures you cringe at here or there, but for the most part, that’s what was going on at the time — that was the look of the day. I think the ’80s were an extension of the glam rock that all the artists in the ’80s grew up on. I was influenced not just musically, but visually too — by [Mick] Jagger and Janis Joplin and Rod Stewart and AEROSMITH… I think in the ’80s, it was just kind of that on steroids. It was the flavor of the decade, and I feel like we grew out of it. I think we matured, and our look and sound, production and all kind of grew. I think that’s what you need to do as an artist. I think we evolved from day one — we just kept evolving.“ On Jon Bon Jovi: Tom: „He took an interest in the band. He was recording his second record, ‚7800º Fahrenheit‘. This was before ‚Slippery When Wet‘. He was in Philadelphia, finished a session and just went out to have a drink and wound up at a club where we were playing. He put in a word with his A&R guy, and in true A&R guy fashion, he wasn’t convinced — he had to come down and see the band, and he had to sign us to a developmental deal and made us write more songs and all of that. He really put us through the ringer, but the catalyst that got all that started was Jon going and putting in the good word for us. We’ll always be appreciative of that.“ Keifer’s second solo album, „Rise“, was released in September via Cleopatra Records.
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