There aren’t many bands that play their first show opening for ZZ Top, but then most bands aren’t The Dead Daisies.
Formed in 2012 by Australian David Lowy and former INXS singer Jon Stevens, the band’s first single featured Slash both as a guitarist and a co-songwriter, and while the lineup has never solidified (Lowry describes the band more as a collective), it has never been short of hard rock stars. In fact, the full member list is a who’s who of the 80s and 90s hard rock scene, from John Corabi (Motley Crue) to Frank Ferrer, Dizzy Reed and Richard Fortus (all of Guns N Roses).
The last five years have seen Doug Aldrich of Whitesnake and Dio fame on guitar, with Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple and (briefly) Black Sabbath joining the band in the run up to the new record – and what a record it is.
We caught up with Aldrich to talk about Holy Ground, modelling amps, and his classic goldtop R7.
The record’s been out for a little while now, how has the reception been? Must be kinda weird to put out a record in 2021 when you can’t really tour behind it like you normally would?
Yeah the record came out in January so it’s now been out for a couple months and we’ve been doing a bunch of press and whatever we could do online social media to kind of promote it, but yes of course always get to play it live that’s gonna be the real pay off.
We’ve been getting a really great response and we’re very very grateful for that grateful for the support of all of the existing fans of the Dead daisies and Glenn and also some new fans we’ve been getting so it’s been really cool in spite of the weird times.
How was it working with Glenn Hughes on the record? He really seems to fit right into the Dead Daisies sound, and of course you guys go way back.
Yeah it was a great opportunity for us to go to the south of France and work together as a band once Glenn got in the band.
We all started putting some ideas together by ourselves and when we got together in the studio in France we sat down and went through everything and helped each other finish all the music.
Glenn went away and worked on lyrics and melodies but he write so fast and a lot of times he has an idea of a melody or a structure just by jamming on a song so it made it really easy.
Can you tell me about how the songs on Holy Ground came about? I understand a lot of it was from working together with Glenn?
Initially before Glenn came in we had some writing sessions – David Lowy and I – and we thought we had some pretty cool riffs but we weren’t really sure what was going to be workable until we could know who is going to be singing.
However, once we got Glenn and I immediately started writing with Glenn in mind.
I started working on Like No Other which I finished for Glenn, and Bustle And Flow was a riff that I thought Glenn would enjoy and Come Alive was something that Glenn, David and I finished up in France.
But like I said we all helped each other with each other’s ideas.
On the other side Glenn had some ideas that he wanted to propose to the band so I went down and helped him arrange some basic demos to get his ideas across and with everything we probably had about 15 songs that we were all thinking could be usable for the album.
You recorded the album with Ben Grosse in the producer’s chair – Ben’s done everything from Depeche Mode to Marilyn Manson. How was working with him?
It was awesome working with Ben. I never met him before but we got to be friends quickly and his style of working is really conducive to making everybody comfortable and bringing out a team effort together, and then he’s got a vision when he’s recording – it only will become revealed at the end when the mix is done.
So gear! What guitars and amps are you using on the new record?
I brought my favorite gold top which is an R7. It’s got my signature humbucker pick ups in it from John Suhr and Dunlop stainless frets.
That through my old JMP Marshall that I’ve had for years and years is always my basic go to sound.
I also brought the Les Paul Junior Guitar made by Leo Scala and a telecaster and a few other bits to France.
When I got to LA I had a couple of other guitars, I brought a double neck for some overdubs and a Strat. It was pretty much my basic similar sound that I’ve always had but Ben mixed it a little differently and he did some tricks to it.
Curious about your thoughts on digital amps in 2021 – more and more players are either entirely using Kempers or Axe FX rigs, or are utilizing them for fly in gigs. What are your thoughts?
To be truthful I think that’s more something for the younger players – at least from my opinion – because it’s basically too deep for me to get into. I’ve played through the stuff and it sounds amazing but I get lost when I start tweaking it.
If I have a Guitar Tech or somebody that would help me so all I had to do is play and just make comments that’s probably the best way to try that but for now I still love my old marshals.
Are there any passages in the new record that you especially enjoy playing that people should check out or think about learning?
I think the song Come Alive is pretty fun as far as the parts go, and the solo is really easy so that could be something fun. Also Bustle and Flow is a fun riff to learn.
You’ve worked on a lot of records over the years, from Mansfield and Lion right through Dio and Whitesnake to the newly released Dead Dasies record. If someone wanted to learn a song from any of your records – which one would you pick?
Aside from the ones that I mentioned from the Dead Daisies I would say Good To Be Bad from Whitesnake is kind of my classic style.
Aside from all of the classic/legacy bands, who are some new bands and particularly guitar players that you like?
Artur Mendez, Tyler Bryant, Chris Bell, Jared Nichols
What’s on the cards for the band for 2021?
We – Glenn and I – got together and worked on a bunch of new music already for potentially some recording but we’re going to start rehearsals next month in April and just keep the dust off of our chops.
We’ll get together once a month for about a week and go through songs and start working on putting together a set list.
We have shows that we’re starting to look at playing live in June and July – local shows in the US.
Later in the year we hope to go to Europe as scheduled and wrap up the year in the UK but we’ll see what happens.
Thank you much for all your support. I really appreciate it, thanks guys!