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Eric Singer: October 2006

In Conversation with Mitch Lafon
Photo by Bill Crowe

Eric Singer

Eric Singer and the rest of the Alice Cooper band arrived in Montreal on Oct 15th for a little R&R before their Oct 16th gig at Theatre St.Denis and their hour down the road show in Cornwall, Ontario on Oct 17th. Over the three days, I had a chance to get Eric’s views on a variety topics...

On Gene Simmons’ reality show. ‘Family Jewels’: “Gene’s show is very entertainment. It’s clean cut and soft. Gene’s a smart intelligent guy that’s got it together and his kids are smart and they’re nice kids. He comes off as a real doting father that’s proud of his kids and loves his family. It’s not like the Osbournes – Ozzy’s a character. He’s out there and that’s the way he is and that’s what made the show a success. It never would have been a success if he wasn’t the character he is. Same thing with Flavor Flav – he’s out to lunch and that’s the beauty of it.”

On the possibility of Ronnie James Dio returning to Black Sabbath for a tour: “Well, they’re calling the band ‘Heaven And Hell’ because they can’t call it Black Sabbath. I read that Bill Ward will be playing drums and if that’s true – that will be really cool. I think Heaven and Hell is a great record and I think the best Ronnie ever did was in Black Sabbath. I liked him in Rainbow, but I prefer the Joe Lynn Turner version of Rainbow a wee better because the songs were... better songs, but I think in Sabbath was the best stuff he ever did. I like his first couple of solo records, but still that Sabbath stuff suits his voice. Tony Iommi writes heavy riffs like nobody else. He’s the king/ the godfather of heavy metal or whatever you want to call it and there’s no doubt about it. A lot of people write great riffs like Judas Priest, but the kings are Sabbath and it’s Tony. He wrote those riffs. You can go through all the versions of Black Sabbath with all the different singers – the A, B, C versions of the band – the bottom line is that every record has some cool riffs and that’s Tony. I don’t know anybody better.”

The ESP (Eric Singer Project) Live in Japan CD (featuring former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick): “It was recorded earlier this year. We did two shows in Japan and it’ll be a combination of both those shows. We had to go in a remix a lot of the stuff because it was recorded on the fly. We were using loaner gear and even though it was good gear; you don’t have a lot of control of how stuff is going to be recorded. So there was a lot of work to fix it up and make it the best we could, but it came out great and Bruce put the most time into it. Some stuff we decided not to use from both nights because we just weren’t happy with the performance.”

The ESP Live in Australia DVD (again with Bruce Kulick): “It was recorded in Sydney and it should be out next month, but there’s some legal hang-ups going on with the DVD.”

Alice Cooper: “Alice is planning on doing new record. I know Keri, Damon and Chuck have been working on new material. He has somewhat of a conceptual theme idea that’s he talking about, but that could change.”

His relationship with Alice Cooper: “I want to stay involved and working with Alice if at all possible. I started working with Alice on January 14th or 15th 1990. It was the day after he did the American Music Awards in January 1990. I’ve got a long standing relationship with him and this January, it will be seventeen years on and off. I’ve probably played with him more than anybody in my career. I joined Kiss at the end of 1991, but Alice didn’t tour in ‘92’,’93,’94 or’95. He did one tour of South America (in 1994 with Jimmy Degrasso on drums) and the Wayne’s World thing. That was done while I was in the band, but I wasn’t in the movie because I was recording the (KISS) Revenge record. He didn’t start touring again until 1996 and Jimmy did that. In ’98, Jimmy started the tour, but then joined Megadeth and I came back into the band and I pretty much played with him since ’98 except for 2004 because I did the Kiss Rock The Nation tour nor did I do Australia 2001, but I did Europe and all the US stuff for 2001. I couldn’t do Australia because I was doing the Kiss tour and one date over-lapped. The day Kiss was finishing was the same day Alice was starting and we were both in Australia. We wanted to move one of Alice’s dates, so that I could just stay there and kept on doing the tour because I went right back to playing with him anyways. I’m glad I’ve always kept a good relationship with Alice because the Kiss situation has always been musical drum chairs. Sometimes I’m in and sometimes I’m not. I used to get pissed off about it, but now I take it with a grain of salt because it’s just business. I have a good relationship with Gene and Paul. I like them and I get along really well with them and I realize it’s their band and it’s their business and they’re going to do what works best for their business. They’re making business decisions and a lot of people hate hearing that, but that’s just the truth and anybody that had their own company would do what’s best for their company.”

Paul Stanley’s solo album: “I like it. It’s really good – the bottom line is Paul is a songwriter and he tries to write songs that are going to be catchy and potentially get airplay. That’s what he’s all about. When people expect him to write another solo record from 1978 that’s not only unfair, but ludicrous. How can you expect anybody to be the same person they were 28 years ago? I’m not the same person, the listeners aren’t the same person... none of us are. You don’t just cryogenically freeze your life and stay that same person forever. Fans want everyone to be Peter Pan and stay young forever. They pick the pinnacle time of a band’s career and want them to stay like that forever. If they like Dressed To Kill – they want Kiss to stay Dressed To Kill – that look, that sound, that songwriting, that era – forever, but that’s like treading water. If they made the same record, after a while, people would get bored and go ‘They keep doing the same thing. They never do anything new.  Why don’t they take any chances? This is boring.’ You really can’t win.”

A new Kiss record? “I can’t tell you what they will or won’t want to do. I don’t make any business decisions on what Kiss does.”

Would he like to play on a new Kiss record? “Of course, I would absolutely love to and I wish they would do one.”

Alice’s new material: “I give Alice credit because he still wants to go out a make records and he still has ideas... I think Eyes Of Alice Cooper was really good. ‘Dirty Diamonds’ and ‘Woman Of Mass Distraction’ are good songs and I really like ‘Pretty Ballerina’ – to me that song and it’s all personal opinion – sounds like something that would have been on an old Alice Cooper record kind of like ‘Mary Ann’ from Billion Dollar Babies.”

For more visit: www.eric-singer.com