John Corabi Returns to The Dead Daisies: “The Fun is Back!”

The Dead Daisies released two studio albums in one calendar year, backed with tours, which were quickly followed by the Live & Louder album and another tour. For John Corabi, this manic schedule curtailed his involvement with the band. Fast forward to 2023, and he is back. With The Dead Daisies marking their 10-year anniversary with A Decade Of Rock, Corabi told MetalTalk that “the one thing that I cannot stress enough is the fun is back. Let it begin.”

The Dead Daisies
The Dead Daisies. Photo: Michael Burgess

Live & Louder had MetalTalk proclaiming that The Dead Daisies are a heads-down, no-nonsense rock band with amazing musicians and one of the finest frontmen in the world today in 2017. Burn It Down followed, gaining The Daisies their highest-placed UK chart position to date.

With the band on such a roll, you wonder if it must have been a tough call in 2019 for Corabi to decide he had to leave. “Some people think I’m crazy,” Corabi told MetalTalk’s Steve Ritchie. “I just had to step off the carousel for a minute. Catch my breath. The first year I was in the band, we did two albums and a bunch of touring with Whitesnake and KISS. 

It was a crazy schedule.”

John says there were personal reasons. “I had just gotten married, maybe five months before I joined The Daisies, and it was like, ok, ‘I do’. Great. I’ll see you.

“My son was in my other ear. He had moved out here prior to me joining The Daisies to play drums in my solo band. He’s like, ‘Great, Dad. I moved to Nashville to be in your band, and now you join this Dead Daisies thing, and we don’t ever play’.”

“I just said, man, I appreciate this, guys, but I gotta step off the carousel for just a minute and catch my breath. I still worked, but I did it at my own pace. I put my band together. We went to Australia. We did some shows in South America. I did a bunch of acoustic shows in America. 

I was busy. But again, it was at my own pace.”

John says he remained friends with The Dead Daisies. “We talked through the whole time that they had Glenn in the band. At one point, they were getting ready to tour with Glenn, and he was sick. I don’t know if he had COVID or what his deal was, but he wasn’t feeling well. I went up to New York for a week with the guys, and I helped them. I sang with them to help them prepare for their tour with Glenn, just to get their music together.”

John says that it was April or May that David Lowy visited John in Nashville. “He basically told me that Glenn was going back to do his Deep Purple thing and Black Country Communion,” John said. “He asked me if I was rested and said we’d love to have you come back and keep this train moving. So I said, all right, all good.”

John Corabi - The Dead Daisies
John Corabi – The Dead Daisies. Photo: Robert Sutton

Now John is back, and it’s true to say that the band agree on the way to move forward. Lowry told John that he had invested a lot of time and money into this band and that he wanted to move forward but also to have fun.

“I think we kind of got to a point where we were losing sight of that,’ John says. “I know, towards the end, it wasn’t just me that was burned. Everybody was burned. All the crew guys, the management, the band. I left, they got Glenn, and Marco went and did his thing.

“So David said, I wanna do this, I wanna tour. I wanna keep making music, but I don’t want to lose sight of the fun part, and I don’t want anybody to get burnt out again where they have to tap out of this thing. Then it’s not fun anymore.”

Glenn Hughes, The Dead Daisies.
Glenn Hughes, The Dead Daisies. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

It was an interesting choice to add Glenn Hughes. I suggested to John that, while it’s not a competition, it must have been nice to know that they required someone of the calibre of the voice of rock to replace him.

“It’s funny because I love Glenn dearly. I met Glenn back in 1992 when I joined Mötley [Crüe]. He came by one of the rehearsals. Then he came to the studio when we were recording the Mötley record. He actually sang on Misunderstood with me. So Glenn’s been in and out of my life since ’92.

“And that’s what I was telling everybody. I said, well if you got to leave a band, man, how awesome is is to have the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, The Voice of Rock, Mr Glenn Hughes? That was pretty cool.”

The Dead Daisies. Photo: Michael Burgess
The Dead Daisies. Photo: Michael Burgess

John says the first rehearsal back with David, Brian Tichy, Doug Aldrich and Michael Devin was special. “It was amazing,” John says, smiling. “This is the thing about The Daisies. Not only, on paper, everybody’s a great player, great songwriters, but we’re friends. Doug and I grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I knew Doug when he was 17 years old before he even moved to California. So Doug and I go way, way back. I’ve known Brian Tichy for 20 years.

“Oddly enough, I’ve known Michael [Devin] since probably 1999/2000. We have a weird story buy, it’s funny. We’re friends, but I met Michael through my ex-wife. After I get divorced from my ex-wife, Michael wound up dating her. So I met him one time over at her house, and I thought he was cool. We, we got along great. He had just moved to California, and he was looking for a gig or whatever. So I told him we needed a bass and guitar tech with Ratt. He came out as tech for me and Robbie Crane. I introduced him to Brian.

“We’ve all know we’ve known each other for, God .. years. So as soon as I walked into the room, I go, hey, you bastards, and everybody started laughing. We just immediately started cutting up and just blowing the dust off some of these old songs. It was great.”

It sounded like a natural process, but there John says there was a bit of learning too. “I had to memorise all these lyrics again and even some of the stuff for them. Glenn came in, and Glenn kind of handpicked three or four songs from my catalogue. So there was a bunch of stuff that they hadn’t even touched since 2018 when I was with the band.

“So there was a bit of learning for everybody and going, ‘Oh, wait. What did I play there?’ But we figured it out. We did a week of rehearsals in May. We did another week in July. It sounded killer. Vocals, everything sounds awesome, and I’m looking forward to the tour.”

John Corabi - The Dead Daisies
John Corabi – The Dead Daisies. Photo: Robert Sutton

You will hear some Glenn-era Daisies songs on tour. “As much as I love Glenn, I wanna punch him in the throat,” John jokes, laughing. “He’s just a freak of nature. I kind of got caught up in trying to sing this stuff like Glenn. I gotta be honest with you. It wasn’t working.”

John asked for the tracks from the studio recording with Glenn’s vocals on. “I took the tracks home,” he says. “I sat here in my studio, and I played around with it. Basically, the integrity of the songs is there. It sounds awesome. But there are a couple of little spots where Glenn just goes up into the ozone. I didn’t feel like dropping my testicles into a meat grinder. So I just gonna do my own thing and make it John Corabi singing Glenn Hughes. Everybody seems pleased with it. It sounds awesome.”

That is going to be exciting to hear. The new compilation draws a line under the ten-year anniversary yet. John Corabi is now a key component in taking things forward. Presumably, the plan now is to get gig ready, play some shows and then start working on new material.

“Yeah, everybody’s been asking us about the new material,” John says. “But at this point, the one thing I love about The Daisies is it’s like we’re in the moment. Right now, this moment is putting a kick-ass set together, promoting this record, and just getting out and having some fun and getting that energy back that we used to have. I have to brush up on some of my stupid jokes and different things like this.

“We have talked about when we do a record, but there hasn’t been any definitive scheduled date for that. It’s gonna happen, but we’re just focused on today.”

The Dead Daisies - A Decade Of Rock
The Dead Daisies – A Decade Of Rock

A Decade Of Rock compilation is out on Double CD and Vinyl in nine days’ time. Again, while it’s not a competition, a majority of the songs on the album are the ones that John sings. “But you know what I love about this idea?” John says. “They did kind of have this set when I went up and started rehearsing with the band the first time. The manager said we’re gonna do this marker, this ten-year thing. And I was like, all right, cool. 

“I love the fact that they’ve got a few songs on there from Jon Stevens, from my time with the band and with Glenn. If I may use my wife as an example, she’s a rock fan. She likes everything. She heard the record, and obviously, she knows who I am. But she knew nothing about Glenn Hughes, and she knew nothing about Jon Stevens.

“Now, after hearing the record, she’s like, wow. These other two guys are great. So I think it’s gonna be cool because there may be some Glenn Hughes fans that don’t know who John Corabi and Jon Stevens are, and vice versa all, all across the board.

“I love the fact that this is gonna open people’s eyes to Jon Stevens. You know, a lot of people in America don’t really know who he is. So it’s just a great idea. Here’s what we’ve done in ten years. There’s more to come but check out these three singers that we’ve had. I think it’s going to enlighten people as well.”

The Dead Daisies
The Dead Daisies. Photo: Michael Burgess

It is a great subset of the band’s songs. But it’s cool that John Corabi is back in the driving seat and pushing the band forward with his vocals and songwriting again. There’ll be massive interest in the UK and Europe in seeing him back on stage with the guys again. There will certainly be animated discussion among the MetalTalk about who will be covering the shows. 

John is certainly looking forwards to getting back on the road with the band. “The one thing David, as I said, could not stress enough was he realised like we were really burning hard during my first tenure with the band. He said, ‘I wanna go out. I wanna have some fun’. Obviously, we wanna work, we want to get out there, we wanna play for people. We want to write and get new music together but not to the point of burnout.

“So we’re gonna do it in a different manner now. We’ll go out for maybe a month, come home to our families for a week, and go back out again for a month so that we’re not killing ourselves.

“I’m looking forward to it, man. I cannot wait to come over to the UK and see a bunch of old friends again. It’s gonna be a lot of fun.”

John is excited and certainly sees this as a long-term commitment. “I’m in for the long haul,” he said. “None of us are spring chickens anymore. We’ll see how it plays out. But I came back, and I’m committed to the Daisies. 

“I told David, I still want to do solo music. But what I’m gonna do is I’ll write my music, and then I’ll offer the songs to the Daisies first. The ones that they like, we’ll keep. The ones that they don’t, I’ll still record at my home studio and continue to put music out there and do solo shows and stuff like that. But I’m fully committed to the Daisies. It’s number one, and I’m ready to go.”

It promises to be an exciting adventure. 

“I can’t wait to see you guys,” John says in his message to the fans. “And the one thing again that I cannot stress enough, the fun is back. Let it begin.”

The Dead Daisies – A Decade Of Rock – is out on 18 August 2023. Available on double CD and vinyl, pre-orders are available from https://thedeaddaisies.com/BestOf/.

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