Tom Keifer - Cinderella

July 23, 2002

How's the tour going?

It's been going great.

How long have you guys been out?

We started the middle of May on May 16th. We've been touring with Poison for the most part on the Hollyweird tour. We have a couple of nights away from them that we're going to do some clubs, House Of Blues, and some theaters for the next 10 days or so and then we join back up with them and finish that out for about another month.

Is that going to be the extent of your touring or are you doing more touring after you leave Poison?

That'll be pretty much it for this year for us. We were only planning on touring for the summer. We're trying to work on a new record here so that's probably what we'll to focus on.

You're probably one of the very few bands that actually has all of the founding members. How have you guys managed to stay together this long?

We have a lot of dirt on each other. Nah. I guess what's meant to be is meant to be. You look at some bands that change members over the years and some don't. I look at like just for example the band we're currently touring with, Poison, those guys for some reason just stuck together. For some reason we have. There's some kind of bond that keeps it together.

You guys just click.

Yeah. It doesn't work for every band.

I think with a lot of bands, it's more of a business thing than a bunch of friends that hang out. Are you guys thinking about doing any overseas tour dates?

Well, there was some discussion of this Poison/Cinderella bill going over to Europe. I think there's still some discussion about some time in the fall maybe. I don't know that that's solid.

People in the U. K. are hoping to see you guys soon.

Well, I hope so. That's all I can say. We would love to. Certainly when we get a new record out, we're going over to Europe. It's a little hard for us to go over there without the support of a label right now and that's what we're looking for. A new label because we just left Sony about a year ago. Unless our Poison/Cinderella bill goes over there, I think probably it would be better to wait until we had a label.

Why do bands change labels so much?

It's more a question of labels changing bands. We started off on Polygram. Our first four studio albums were on Polygram. We did pretty well for them. Sold a few records there. There's corporate takeovers, people come in, and all of a sudden you find yourself at a company where all the people who gave a shit about you and signed you in the beginning aren't there anymore. There's new people there and they've got their own agendas. You end up being the big D word, dropped. It's funny, a band that sells 12,000,000 albums and has generated God only knows how many millions of dollars for Polygram, the big guy comes and just says "nah, I'm not interested in them anymore." It's the business and that's what happens. We broke up for a while after we left Polygram. I think we were burned out. We had toured and made records for almost 10 years and experienced some extreme highs. I think that was probably an extreme low when the record company dropped us. We kind of separated, not even broke up, just had nothing at that point to hold us together. We didn't have an outlet for our music or a label that wanted to make a record so we all just drifted apart for a few years there. What got us back together was Sony and Jon Kalodner, the A&R guy for Sony, made an offer for us to get together. We signed a deal with them and we reformed the band. We wrote and demoed songs for Sony for three years for a record that ultimately we ended up not making.

That's a lot of work and a long period of time to make a record that never happened.

Yeah. I can't get into all the details of that because there's still some legal issues with them that we're dealing with but at the end of the day we were moving on and looking for another label and the only good news is that we never actually recorded any masters for them so the music that we wrote during that three year term with them we got to keep. That was really the only good news.

That's good. That's your music, not theirs.

Exactly so we can take all of those songs to a new home and hopefully make a hit record at whatever label we end up at.

When might we be expecting something new?

In our minds, as soon as we can get it out and that's going to depend on the shopping process with the label and finding the right label.

Are you in the process of doing that right now?

We're just actually just getting started with that. We've had some labels come down to see the band live on this tour. We're going to take our time because we're not in a hurry to get in the wrong situation like we just were with Sony.

Yeah, no doubt. You think about it, at least on my side of it, it always looks like bands are always having such a good time and I start talking with them and I hear all this horrible shit about people getting screwed over. That's terrible.

It's the business. It's just how it is and it sucks and it hurts. Nobody likes to have it happen but at the end of the day we've been really fortunate and really lucky and had a really great run for 17 years. All that bullshit is a small price to pay for what we've been able to enjoy and experience. We do have a very fun time. I consider us to be very fortunate. The success that we've had and our fans are great. We just don't want to hook up with a label that's going to jerk us around again. We want to be able to get something out to our fans and be on a label that our fans are even going to know that a record exists. That doesn't help the fans either if you go with some label…there's a lot of labels right now that would sign us in a heartbeat but not the kind of labels we want to be with.

You're a great songwriter. Have you ever considered writing songs for other musicians or other bands?

I live in Nashville now and Nashville is a big song town. I write with a lot of people there. I do have some songs that are being thrown out to other artists. I actually just ended up with a cut on a country artist's record, Andy Griggs. He's had one record out that did pretty well on the country market and his second record is coming out and I have a cut on that I wrote with him and with my fiancee actually. She's a songwriter so the three of us wrote the song and it ended up on this record. I've written some things with other people there in Nashville that are ultimately just going through a publisher and being pitched to other artists. Stuff that I feel is not something that I would want to do or that Cinderella would do. It's kind of how I play it. I write something whenever I go into a situation to write a song whether it's by myself or with somebody else. At the end of the day when the song's done, I just think is this something that I would sing or not. If it's not, I just send it off to a publisher.

Basically you've been toying with that then.

Yeah.

There are a number of musicians out there right now who don't really have the same vocal abilities that they had 20 years ago. You still have the same range that you did when you first started. How do you keep voice in such good shape?

Well, I've actually had a lot of trouble with my voice. About 11 years ago I was diagnosed with a paralysis of my left vocal cord. It's just like I woke up one day and just a huge chunk of my voice was gone. Just literally overnight and it actually took a couple of years before anybody really figured out what was wrong. I was going to doctors and voice centers and saying "what the fuck?" They were going "well, your vocal cords look okay." They're telling me it's all in my head. "You need to take vocal lessons." I'm just like "man now something isn't right." Finally a doctor who is a very, very good specialist, world renowned guy, who actually is in Philadelphia…he was right in my own back yard and I didn't even know it. I live in Nashville now but I'm from Philadelphia. I went to see him and he said "listen, I've got good news and I've got bad news." He said "the good news is you're not crazy. There is something wrong with you. The bad news is it's a paralysis of your vocal cords. It's subtle. It's something that's hard to detect. That's why one of the other doctors missed it. It's the kind of thing that can just wreak havoc on a voice. There's no surgery or medicine that can fix it. The only thing that can fix it is vocal therapy and voice training. You may never sing again." I've spent the last 10 years of my life teaching myself to sing again. Really. It's why there was such a long delay between Heartbreak Station and Still Climbing because that didn't come out until '95 and this happened to me in '91. It took me a couple of years to really get my voice to the point where it was even recordable. I wasn't really happy with my vocals on that record but we needed to make a record and I felt I was at least to the point I could record. We kind of did it a line at a time. It was a tough process but I've continued working and it's a daily routine for me. I have to sing scales and do these exercises everyday to keep my voice working. The good news is I've managed to get back pretty much all of my range and it was a tough thing to go through but I think I'm a better singer for it. I've really worked hard and studied with a lot of great teachers and learned a lot of things that I didn't know before I had this problem. In some ways it's still a struggle but in other ways I'm better trained so it's a tradeoff.

Some good came out of it.

It's working out anyway.

Do you feel that '80s metal is making a comeback? That's a question that seems to be on a lot of people's minds.

I don't know. I think every decade or every generation or every music movement, there's bands I think that can continue and I think bands that don't. I think if you're able to transcend the genre, that's what I think could happen. I think that there's some bands from the '80s that could transcend that thing and be able to make contemporary records. I think Bon Jovi just did it and certainly we're going to try to when we do our new record. I'm not so sure it's about a whole movement coming back. I think there are some bands that survive and some that don't. So far we're doing pretty well. We've had some really great success recently with touring and going out on these package tours. I think we've been well received. I think the proof is in the pudding when you put out a record and how well that does determines if you're going to really transcend into a new generation or make something contemporary that's still going to work today and that's what we're going to try and do when we make a record. I just don't know if it'll hold true for every band from the '80s. I guess that's a short answer to that question.

I think every generation has it's own music. It's funny how people complain that their music is out of style but every generation has to have it's own music to call its own.

It does. The '80s thing was just like any other generation. You're right. The whole movement doesn't come back but there are certain bands that are able to transcend and to carry on. Aerosmith's done it for three generations but they had experienced some lows at the end of the '70s and early '80s. Bon Jovi just had quite a little resurgence there with their last record but again I think it's about records. I think, can you record something that still turns people on. It separates who's going to stick around and who's not.

What's your set list covering? Everything that made that made it on the radio?

Pretty much. There's some album tracks in there. We do "Falling Apart At The Seams" and we do "Night Songs", "Push, Push". We've done a lot of looking on our website. Fans will put in there songs they'd like to see and I think it's always the same songs. It's pretty rare that it steers away from and I'm a firm believer in if someone's paying money to come see us, they should get what they want. I think it makes it a better show for the audience and for the band because then you get that feedback going back and forth between the band and the audience and everybody's fucking happy.

Do you collect guitars and what's your favorite one?

Yeah, I've collected guitars for years. Big vintage guitars and I guess my prize possession is my '59 Les Paul Sunburst. Lots of guitars have come and gone over the years but that one stayed with me.

Your shows always kick ass and the previous tour with Poison, fans felt you smoked Poison. Do you get your high energy vibe from the audience? What is it that drives you guys to put on such a good show?

I think it's a combination of the energy from the audience. It really lifts you. The style of music that we play lends itself to play at a high energy. The combination of that and a lot of coffee...nah. I don't drink coffee but it's just when you get up on a stage in front of people and you're playing high energy rock and roll, it just comes natural to me anyway. I hear Angus Young eats a lot of Tootsie Rolls before he goes on. He's like a sugar buzz zombie. I don't have anything like that that I do. I don't know if that's true by the way. I heard that. He's got a load of energy.

Any other ideas or comments?

Just hang in there. We're trying to get a record out. We promise there's some new good music coming.

Cinderella