Aussie/American rockers the Dead Daisies’ new studio album, Make Some Noise, is a celebration of the ferocious arena sound of the Seventies. The album, which was produced by Marti Frederiksen (Aerosmith, Def Leppard), is set for an August 5 release and boasts an array of intense riffs, huge hooks and tasty melodies.
The current Dead Daisies lineup features an impressive arsenal of notable musicians, including David Lowy (Red Phoenix, Mink), John Corabi (Mötley Crüe, Ratt), Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio), Marco Mendoza (Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy) and Brian Tichy (Ozzy, Foreigner).
From the self-confident, rousing statement of the album’s title track to the infectiousness of songs like “Long Way to Go,” “Song and a Prayer” and “How Does It Feel,” Make Some Noise is the perfect soundtrack for summer driving—and pretty much everything else. The disc also features the Daisies’ spin on two classic cover songs—Creedence Clearwater Revival's “Fortunate Son” and the Who's “Join Together.”
And speaking of summer, the Dead Daisies recently announced they’ll be the opening act for Kiss for a month’s worth of dates on this year’s Freedom to Rock Tour.
I recently spoke to guitarists Lowy and Aldrich about Make Some Noise, the band’s upcoming summer tour, gear and more.
How did the Dead Daisies come together?
David Lowy: I started the band in Australia with Jon Stevens—a great singer/songwriter and performer who took over the lead singer role in INXS after Michael Hutchence died. Jon and I originally decided to get together to write and wound up hammering out 25 song ideas that we later recorded in LA. The nature of the Dead Daisies is that it’s not the only thing the band members do. So when Jon left the band a year ago, John Corabi joined us. John’s been with a few bands, including Mötley Crüe. The lineup’s changed over time due to the nature of the band, but it’s a band for guys who love rock and roll to get together, record, tour and have a good time.
How would describe the sound of Make Some Noise?
Aldrich: For me, it’s straight-ahead, classic, Seventies-influenced riff rock. David and I each took one track (David on the right hand side and me on the left). We did a few overdubs for solos, but a lot of what you hear is taken from the original tracking. We really wanted to capture the initial vibe.
What’s the songwriting process like with the Dead Daisies?
Lowy: It’s a very collaborative process. I always start out with a riff and then I’ll usually get a verse. Then I’ll bring the riff and verse to the band and see if anyone can take a vibe on it.
Aldrich: We all had ideas coming in and picked the ones we liked best and worked on them together as a band. We also had a mini-rehearsal room where we could play and do some demoing. We took each of the ideas as far as we could and then moved on.
Let’s discuss a few tracks from Make Some Noise, starting with “Long Way to Go.”
Lowy: I brought that riff into the room, and we struggled with what it was going to be about. I do quite a lot of things besides music, and there’s always this sense of having a long way to go and no time. I remember telling that to John and he grabbed the idea and ran with it. John really likes to write lyrics about what’s happening in the world today, and you really hear that in this song.
“Song and a Prayer”
Aldrich: That was something we jammed on together. The basic plan was to have a song in B minor that went to D minor in the chorus. Marti said we should have a cool melodic line in the chorus, so I did one in D minor up high on the neck. Then someone suggested we start the song with that progression. So Marti stuck it into a processor that transposed it to B minor and gave it this cool, synthesizer effect. Then I doubled it with the regular guitar sound.
Are there any tracks that stand out to you as particularly special?
Aldrich: “How Does It Feel” is a song I really love. It’s a simple riff and arrangement Brian and I had been working on. We didn’t know what it was going to be about, but John worked on it with Marti and finished up the lyrics and melody.
You’ve also got two covers on the album, “Fortunate Son” and “Join Together." What made you decide to include them?
Lowy: I like to put covers on the albums because they’re people and bands we have a huge amount of respect for. It also ties our past to the present. We also like to throw covers into our live set because it helps fans connect more with our music.
What are the Dead Daisies tour plans like for the summer?
Lowy: We'll be starting in July in Europe and will be doing a few festivals. Then we’ll be going to England for a run of club dates before coming to the U.S. to do the Kiss tour.
Doug, you actually auditioned for Kiss in the early part of your career. What can you tell me about that experience?
Aldrich: It was incredible. I auditioned for them in 1982 when Ace [Frehley] left for the first time. I was 18 at the time and had just moved to L.A. I remember I immediately got a band together and was playing in the clubs when I got an invitation to audition. I was really proud that they thought I was good enough to check out. I ended up going into a rehearsal room with them and even did some recording as a test. In the end, I was really too young to be in that position, but it made me feel like I really had something to offer. It made me want to work even harder.
What’s your current setup like?
Aldrich: I’ve always been a Marshall guy. I’ve got a 1979 JMP that John Suhr modded for me. He also did a one-off prototype I’ll be using. It’s based on a Marshall output section and is really cool. It’s a simple, big, wide-open sound with a dual, master volume situation that I can kick on for solos. I’ll be playing them through 4x12s with just a few pedals: my Signature Majik Box Rocket Fuel that I love as well as The Schaffer Replica, which has a pre-amp that adds gain and compression to set up a cleaner sound. I’ll also be using my favorite Wah—the Dunlop Custom Audio. Guitar wise, I have a 2006 Les Paul R7 reissue. I actually used a lot of Juniors on this record, including a ’59 with a single cutaway with one P90 pickup. It has an interesting sound to it.
Lowy: I prefer simplicity in my setup. I have a 1963 Gibson that has the shape of an SG, but is actually a Les Paul. It’s got a P90 pickup and I just love it. I used it on every song on the album. I’ve also got quite an unusual Gibson Epiphone that I use as a backup. It’s a ’63 Dwight that’s essentially the same as an SG but with a slightly different shape. For amps, I love the Hughes and Kettner and use 36 watt Tubemeister. It really packs a punch.
What are you looking forward to most about this summer and Make Some Noise?
Aldrich: I’m really looking forward to the album getting out. This is a straight-up rock record that’s a great soundtrack for driving and is easy to digest. It’s balls to the wall the whole time!
Lowy: I’m looking forward to getting out there and playing to fans. It can be a long, hard road, but its very satisfying to have people standing in front and singing your songs back to you. Knowing that you’ve had an impact on people is what it’s really all about.
James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, GoJimmyGo.net. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.