The Dead Daisies formed in 2013, but it feels like they’ve been around for much longer. For one, they’re already up to album number five, Holy Ground, which is due in January 2021. They’ve also notched up a live album, a covers album and a handful of EPs during that time, including this year’s The Lockdown Sessions.
Then there’s the fact that The Dead Daisies have been omnipresent on the touring scene throughout the last seven years, supporting the likes of ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Jane’s Addiction, Alice In Chains, Lynyrd Skynyrd, KISS and Def Leppard. They’ve also carried out multiple headline tours of Australia, America, the UK and Europe and played at every hard rock festival you can think of, from Download UK to Germany’s Rock Hard Festival, Woodstock Festival Poland and Japan’s Loud Park Festival.
But the thing that really makes it seem like The Dead Daisies have been around for decades is the collected experience of the band’s members. Formed by guitarist and businessman David Lowy and Noiseworks’ Jon Stevens, The Dead Daisies has been something of a revolving door operation throughout its existence. For instance, their 2013 debut album featured contributions from Slash and Vanessa Amorosi, while 2015’s Revolución featured Jimmy Barnes and Guns N’ Roses members Richard Fortus and Dizzy Reed.
Ex-Motley Crue vocalist John Corabi replaced Stevens ahead of Revolución and remained with the band for 2016’s Make Some Noise and 2018’s Burn It Down. In fact, Lowy is the only member who’s been there through it all – current guitarist Doug Aldrich (Dio, Whitesnake) joined for Make Some Noise and drummer Deen Castronovo (Journey, Ozzy Osbourne) came along for Burn It Down.
So it’s to be expected that some personnel changes preceded Holy Ground. This time, Corabi made his exit along with bassist Marco Mendoza. In their place is Glenn Hughes, one time Deep Purple bass player and co-frontperson, who’s also made records with Sabbath’s Tommy Iommi, supergroup Black Country Communion and as a solo artist.
Fans got their first taste of the newly updated Dead Daisies lineup in April this year courtesy of the Holy Ground single ‘Unspoken’. They followed up with live-recorded Lockdown Sessions EP in July and finally delivered the second single from Holy Ground, the fist- pumping ‘Bustle and Flow’, earlier this month.
Music Feeds caught up with Aldrich to chat about the new album, the lineup changes, his love of British guitarists and the band’s continuing desire to make people forget about their troubles.
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MF: ‘Bustle And Flow’ just came out – the second single from Holy Ground. It’s been a weird year, but how is everyone feeling in Dead Daisies camp?
Doug Aldrich: It’s exciting. When we’re just in the thick of the COVID-19 extravaganza everything kind of blows, but we just released the animated single and it’s exciting – I’m really happy about it and hope the people enjoy it.
MF: Glenn Hughes joined ahead of this album, replacing John Corabi and Marco Mendoza. Were you able to maintain the existing energy of the band despite the changes in personnel?
DA: When you make a change on vocals that’s a big deal, that’s a key part of the sound of the band. The thing that I was really excited about was, we weren’t trying to replace John with a similar thing because the band had a sound that we wanted to be. So when I heard that they were speaking with Glenn, they asked me what I thought and I thought that would be really bold and I thought it would be cool. And if we could write together, then it would be awesome. We got together and wrote and it came together really easily. It’s interesting that it’s Glenn because this band is in a similar place to when Deep Purple started – it was kind of a roundabout, people would come in for a couple of albums and then go, including Ritchie [Blackmore] himself actually in the end. So it was an easier transition than I thought just because Glenn brought so much.
MF: Do you think the fact that Glenn is British – and that he’s been involved with some of the most influential bands in British heavy rock history – injected something different into the writing of this record?
DA: It’s natural, yeah, he’s got a certain thing that he does. For Holy Ground, Glenn had four ideas that he wanted to knock out really quick as demos before we got over to France where we recorded. And so I took my travel recording rig down to Glenn’s house and I just said, “the easiest way to do this is just for you to play guitar and I’ll program you some drum beats and I’ll record you and we’ll get the idea down and I’ll replace the guitar later.” So we did it that way and Glenn really had a unique [sound].
It’s not because he’s a bass player, it’s because he’s English. I consider myself somebody that’s tenacious, so if I work really hard I will figure out how somebody did something musically. And so I noticed when I replaced his guitar on the demo, it had a vibe – it wasn’t a difficult riff, it was just the way he attacked it and timing that he had. He had a certain swagger to it. I had to really break it down and figure out, what the hell’s he doing that makes it unique like that?
MF: Were you able to put your finger on what was so unique about it?
DA: It’s an English thing. It’s like the way Tommy Iommi plays, the way Blackmore plays, [David] Gilmore, they all have a thing that’s very English about them. Then you’ve got the Australian guys that have their thing and you’ve got the German guys that are very precise and melodic and then you’ve got the American guys who are more technical guys.
I really grew up on, the majority of my guys were British guys. But something about the way Glenn plays is really unique and I think he maybe gets that from not only being English, but being from a certain part of England, near Birmingham, which is where Tommy’s from too.
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MF: Are you still influenced by the same bands and guitarists that got you excited about music when you were younger? Or do you look to new artists for inspiration?
DA: I still get inspired all the time, but the thing that happens a lot is I’ll get re-inspired by things that I forgot about. My buddy called me today and he goes, “Hey you wanna hang out and listen to a record?” And I’m like, “You know what? That sounds like a great idea. What do you want to hear?” And he was talking about something Allman Brothers and I go, “What about Dark Side of the Moon? I haven’t heard that top-to-bottom in forever.”
And I know that when I hear it I’m going to hear stuff that I loved about Gilmore and their whole production, their whole songwriting and stuff. But Allman Brothers would be cool too, early Sabbath would be cool or even something like AC/DC High Voltage, some Lynyrd Skynyrd – those albums were meant to be played top-to-bottom.
MF: The Dead Daisies seems like an easy band to sum up – you make fun, hard rocking music that pays tribute to your predecessors like Led Zeppelin, The Who, Creedence and The Beatles, while also drawing on the vast experience of the band members. Was that the general approach to Holy Ground?
DA: Pretty much and also to create music that we hoped would inspire people to forget about their daily troubles. If you’re going through something – and right now we’re stuck in this thick soup – music definitely helps relieve and take the pressure off and make you feel better.
For me, running and getting the blood going and listening to rock music, it feels great. That’s what we hope to do, to put music out there that inspires people to get through their day.
‘Holy Ground’ was recorded at La Fabrique Studios in the South of France with producer Ben Grosse. It will be released on January 22, 2021. ‘The Lockdown Sessions’ is out now.