Mike DiMeo - The Lizards

January 17, 2005

You're the vocalist for Riot. Are you guys still together?

Yeah, we're still together. We'll have a new record coming out in probably the next maybe five months.

This is a follow up to the one that Bobby played on.

Yeah.

Is that how you met Bobby? When he played on the last one?

Well, actually I met Bobby years ago. That was the first time I worked with him. Yeah, on the Riot record.

Did anyone ever find out who killed Rhett Forrester or why he was killed?

You know what, I don't know if they ever found the person who did it. I think they may have. The only information I have is that it was some kind of drug deal going bad. That's what I heard.

That should be a lesson to people not to mess with that stuff. How did you become part of The Lizards?

Well, Bobby actually just called me up one day out of the blue. I had just done a gig with Riot out in Texas and the day I got home, I got a phone call from Bobby about this situation. I went down there and we started jamming around. Playing together and within two days they asked me to join the band.

When you were doing some of the songs, you came up with some different ideas for the album.

A lot of the songs were already written when I recorded them. They were already written and the singer had a lot of the words and melodies done so I just did what was already there because the record was supposed to be...according to the other guys, I think it was a last minute thing that they had a falling out. We went ahead and finished the record. There's a couple ideas that we wrote together. There's a blues number on there called "Down" that we wrote. There's a couple of things we wrote together. Besides that, most of the stuff was already written.

You guys are hitting the road with Glenn Hughes on February 11. I bet you're looking forward to that.

Yeah, we've been touring a lot which I really like. Which was the one thing about Riot that kind of sucked because we never worked enough. With this band, we're going to be working a lot. Touring is great. I love to tour. I could tour all year.

With the way the music industry is in this country, if you don't get your ass out on the road and go hit all the nightclubs and stuff, people won't even know that you have any music out. It's not like they're going to hear on the radio.

Exactly. True.

With these classic rock stations that play stuff from the '80s and '90s, that's really nice but it would be great if they would play some of these bands' new stuff as well because a lot of these bands are still putting out records.

Yeah, that's one of my oldest gripes is American radio. They have forgotten a whole era of music. Especially here in the U.S. If you play this type of music, forget it. You will never, ever get airplay. Maybe a couple of college radio stations that will play it every once in a while but this type of music is just completely passed over by radio. It's not because there's not an audience out there. It's just that the people at the radio stations, especially here in New York, the main thing they want to play is hip hop and Top 40. You hear Christina Aguilera every 10 seconds and you hear rap on every other station. There's a total void of good, hard rock music played. I can name so many bands. My favorite types of bands like Rainbow and the Michael Schenker Group and stuff like that that you would never hear on the radio here. It's not because they didn't sell records. They sold tons of records. When people say those bands don't sell records, that's not true. They sold big records. It's just that they don't get any airplay.

Michael Schenker is still out there making records.

I bought some of his earlier records and I don't think I've ever heard his stuff on the radio.

I don't think I have either. I just saw the Scorpions a few months back and they're still making records and filling arenas.

I talked to Rudolph while we were in Germany. Bobby is good friends with Rudolph and a couple of the people who work for the band came to see us when we played in Hanover which is where Rudolph is from. They called up Rudolph and he was over here in Seattle and I said hello to him.

He's my favorite member in that band. That guy just knows how to play a guitar.

Yeah, he's cool.

You guys will be out on the road for two or three months with Glenn Hughes. Where all are you guys going to be touring?

It starts in England and it works its way pretty much all throughout Europe but then we're going to be going all throughout Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and we're going to go down through Italy and Greece and I think we're going to do some dates in I think there's Italy and Germany. It's pretty much working its way all through Europe. There's a lot of countries.

When Riot puts out its next record, are you guys going to tour for that?

I think we're going to try and put together a tour of Europe and possibly some stuff in the States. When the record comes out, that's what we're going to try and do. We're going to get some solid tour dates.

You're going to be one busy guy.

Yeah, the busier the better.

You joined Riot in 1993. What were you doing before that?

I played locally here in New York. There's a guy on the Howard Stern show whose name is Stuttering John. He plays guitar and him and I actually had a band together for about four or five years. We played all over the Tri-State area and we worked a lot, that band. It was a good band. Then I got the offer to join Riot and John got his record deal and we split ways and I went with Riot. We did Nightbreaker.

Is Howard Stern still broadcasting?

Yeah, he's up here in New York. I don't really pay attention to him like I used to when I used to hang out with those guys.

I remember when he was everywhere and then one city after another kicked him out. I was wondering if he was still doing his show.

He's not really as funny as he used to be.

You're only funny with shock value for so long and then it gets old. I'll never forget when this Tejano singer Selena was shot and killed. I had never even heard of her. I didn't know who she was. All of a sudden the local radio station was offering their condolences and I'm like who the hell is this person. Turns out he made some tasteless jokes about her being shot and killed and that's what got him into a lot of trouble. I would never have known about her if it hadn't been for him.

I remember that situation. Yeah, I don't really know. He says some crazy stuff sometimes.

Sometimes he was actually on the mark about things.

Yeah, a lot of times I think he is.

What were some of your musical influences? People compare you a lot to Paul Rodgers, Robert Plant, and David Coverdale. I guess these are guys you grew up listening to.

Yeah, I really grew up listening to a lot of blues. When I was real young, I was really into Muddy Waters and all the blues stuff like John Lee Hooker and stuff like that. That's what I grew up listening to. Then I worked my way into southern rock like Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers. I would say I listened to those bands as a kid more than I did anything that was really heavy or even hard rock. I was really into the southern rock stuff. I would say Gregg Allman and that type stuff, that's what I grew up listening to. Then I worked my way into Coverdale. I think my favorite rock singer is probably Paul Rodgers.

Bad Company and Led Zeppelin and Whitesnake had a blues sound to it too. That's why I was into bands like Great White and Cinderella. While they were rock, they did have that bluesy undercurrent to them which I always thought was a cool marriage of music.

Yeah, totally.

You have some bands today that still experiment with different types of sounds but most shy away from that I think.

Yeah, tough market. There are so many bands out there and there's so many different ways to sell your records and I think bands are trying to have a definite sound because if they don't, they get lost in the mix.

Any other thoughts or comments?

I really enjoyed working on the record. I hope that everyone who hears it digs it. We're trying to find a label for it right now. It should be out soon. We're selling it on the Net and we're releasing it on Randy's Hyperspace label right now but we're still looking for a label that's going to release it here in the States.

I think the Internet has become a useful tool in getting music out to people.

Yeah, I know. It definitely has. It's a good way for people who don't get picked up by a record label to sell their stuff.

Plus they get to keep more of their profits. I was surprised when I first found out that you record an album and get five cents per record that you sell. The way you can make any money is through touring basically.

Yeah, and selling a lot of records.

If you only get five cents per CD, then you have to sell millions of them.

A deal like that is usually on your first deal. As you start to sell more records, you can always go back and change the parameters of the deal so you make more money.

The Lizards