I was born in New York but I grew up actually in a small place outside of Nashville called Hendersonville, Tennessee. Not a small town. It's a fairly large city, but it's small enough. Basically I just started playing piano when I was four and a half. I played classical, blues, jazz. I played some other instruments along the way, but I played everything else and stayed with piano and I really started writing and singing when I was seven. I started playing out in clubs when I was 15 and here I am.
Who are some of your main musical influences?
Don't really have many. I grew up on songwriters. I grew up around songwriters so that was mainly what I listened to. As a child it was whatever your parents have you listen to so I was a big Barry Manilow and Frank Sinatra fan. Harry Chapin. Then there's other stuff like Van Halen growing up and Aerosmith so just it really depended. As far as influences or as something that I can definitely say influenced me to write or do music, my mom.
Is she involved in the music business?
She was a songwriter.
You did an album last year called 5:30 Saturday Morning which was released on September 11th.
Yeah, I've got perfect timing for everything I realized in my life.
What were your thoughts on having your album released the same day there's some wild shit taking place in New York?
That I really am cursed? And that it wasn't just all in my mind? That I truly am cursed? It was an odd day. The album had kept getting moved and moved. There were certain things at the label and they kept moving it and finally I get the date out and the whole world's coming to an end. It wasn't the best timing but some good came out of it I will say. I wound up hearing about a story a day after September 11th where a guy had read an article about me and he worked in one of the top offices of the second tower and apparently there was a Sam Goody at the bottom of the tower and decided to be late to work and go pick up the record. Because of that he was able to hear the first plane hit the first building and was able to run out instead of being up in his office at work where it he would probably not have survived at all. Something good came out of the record coming out that day.
I'd say. You saved a life. You started on a new record back in this past October.
Actually we started the pre-production on the record in May. May we started working on the new record and worked actually all summer on it and just finally finished it. We actually finished it in October.
When are we going to see the new record?
I have no idea. Probably some time next year. I just left Arista.
Can you tell us a little about it?
It's a little bit different than the first one. It's still definitely a heavy rock record but there is less programming where on the first album, every song had programming. It was heavily programmed with lots of loops and instruments of that sort. This one, we went very little programming, more guitar oriented. More just more on rock. I did more background vocals on this one where I did none on the first record. The only way I can describe it is it's more me. I'm happier with it. I'm actually proud of it. I worked with this guy named Al Sutton who did both Kid Rock albums. He produced the record.
How did you like touring with Alice Cooper?
It was great. Never had a bad tour, I will say that. Every tour I've ever been on, it wasn't like the full synopsis of "oh, you're a small baby opening band, we'll treat you like shit." We've always been treated very well and Alice Cooper was no exception to the rule. Him and his crew were incredible. There's a history there. He is one of the main beginners of rock and roll and he's one of the greatest and a nice guy. It's always a show. Every show, he puts on a show. That's something you rarely see anymore on the road, is someone who actually puts on a show.
Yeah, he's one of my favorite performers. How's your tour going?
It's going good. Right now we're in Santa Barbara today. Then we're in L. A. Tomorrow we'll be in Sacramento. It's just been good. We've done a couple of one-off dates on some other tours. We did a Mushroomhead show in Cleveland. It's been really good. It's very surprising. There's lots of markets where we played maybe five or six times. First time we played them, maybe there's 20 or 30 people and after we kept playing them and playing them, we're getting a really great crowd. A couple of 100 people. It's nice to see that being out on the road so long is actually paying off.
You get to open for a wide variety of bands.
Yeah. Thing is, we are mainly a harder band but due to agents, the music business game, bands taking chances, it was very difficult for us to get many of the harder tours. Drowning Pool and Stereomud were one of the first bands' that actually took us on. Played the kind of music that we fit best with. For us, we just want to play so we didn't care. We don't care if we play with Cooper or Tesla. It's a show and I'll tell you one thing. I've played to a lot more people on the Alice Cooper tours. It's great to see what's come from that. When we played with Otep in St. Louis, we never played St. Louis before and there was a large crowd of actually young kids also that I've seen at the Alice Cooper show that came out to the shows for us. There's no kind of limits on the audience. I see older people at the hard shows, I see young kids at the more tame shows. They're just there to see what we do live. It's the same show either way. You don't get a softer show when we play with Cooper or The Cult. It's the same show.
It's cool when people can appreciate different things. Have you toured all over the U. S.?
Yeah, a couple of times. We toured basically for a year and a half last year before the break and have been out steady for about two and a half months now.
Is there anyone you'd like to collaborate with on an album?
I have my dreams. I would love to work with Trent Reznor. I think he's incredible. I'd love to work with him. I really don't care. I just want to keep doing music.