Welcome to the Fireworks Magazine Online Section (* For Members Only)
25 August 2010|
Enuff Z'NuffChicago rockers Enuff Z ‘Nuff are back on track with the brilliant album ‘Dissonance’, the 14th of an immaculate career.
The band that achieved some big hits back in the 80s still maintain those fresh and cool melodies, and even though they may have fallen a long way since those heady days, they still keep themselves loyal to their melodic and beautiful songs that, yes, which I have to repeat for perhaps the millionth time, contain that irresistible Beatles vibe.
The great news for long-time fans in that singer/song-writer Donnie Vie is once again heavily involved and is touring Europe with the band after a long seven years absence. This is a new start for Donnie, leaving behind the drug problems of the past and gaining the support of his new girlfriend and manager, Lisa.
Isabel Loeches catches up with this reborn Donnie to get all the answers on the new album and current situation with the band. Welome back Donnie!
First of all, congratulations for your 14th album. Wow, how does it feel with such a long and solid career? 14 albums and more than 25 years together is really something to feel proud about.
Yeah, I'm really proud of all the good records and songs that we have written and recorded. I always try to make as good or a better record than last one. We have been together for a long time, and have lost a few guys along the way. I was even out of the band for about 7 years, and the guitar player took over the vocals. I really thought it was time for the band to take a break, but Chip didn't. He went out touring as a 3 piece with John Monaco singing. He sang the songs well but there really was no vibe in the shows. You know that people or fans want to see the guy that wrote and sang the songs. He would tell promoters I would be there for the next tour, and when I wasn’t he would make things up like, "Donnie's too fucked up to do it"
or that I'm not healthy, so I think we have to overcome that period. I thought it was time to do it again and came up with a nice new batch of tunes. I hope you like it and all the others before it.
Do you still keep in touch with Johnny Monaco?
Occasionally I run into Monaco when he comes out to a show. He's a funny guy. I never say never but highly I doubt I'll be doing anything with him again.
But not everything has been a bed of roses. You are back after seven years. What prompted the idea of working together again after all this time?
Well I never intended to not come back and make more records, or play with the band again. It's just that I reached a point in my life where I felt ready again and off all the drugs. Also, I went through a divorce, while at the same time met the love of my life. Those kind of things going on in your life bring new inspiration, some good some bad. To me it was mostly all good. I wrote a farewell song to the ex, Joni Lynn, and a few For Lisa, my new girl and now fiance. I also wanted to play rock star again for her and my own deflated ego, so I dusted myself off and got back out there. There was a lot of big talk from Chip and the guy that was to manage and finance and supposedly put the band on the map, but they just ended up taking all the money and the band was right where it was when I left, if not in a lower state on the totem pole.
It has been a weird process before the album has been finally out: first it was the bootleg 'Lost in Las Vegas', then 'Dissonance' was released in Japan two years ago and now we have the release in Europe, why this strange process of releasing the new album?
Well the recording started off shaky at best, and there were a lot of unsolved issues between Chip and I. We got together because of a VH1 pilot we shot (reuniting the band including Vik Foxx) and we were supposed to all get together and write and record a new record. It didn't end up like that. We wound up taking songs I wrote solo, and started rerecording them, and they just didn’t work. It was a big mess, so I left. Chip and a guy who was acting as a manager started putting together the bullshit we had recorded and were contemplating releasing it (Lost In Vegas). Luckily, inspired, I wrote 5 new killer tunes (Dissonance, Lazy Dazy, Altered States, Joni Lynn, and I had Roll Away already). So I went back to Vegas with Vinnie Castaldo and Jake E Lee, and recorded them. Chip came out later and played bass. In any case, we thought most of the record was pretty good, so we did a deal in Japan. They were ready to jump on it and have us over to tour, so it came out there. England came much later, and now we are touring here and there in Europe frequently. Still nothing here in the US. There really isn't a place for us that's worth signing.
What’s the different between each release?
I think I answered that. Actually anything besides 'Dissonance' is an illegal release. I'm not aware of all those other releases - they are, I believe, CDs that were intended for shopping or just stuff that leaked out, and someone titled them and started selling them. That's nothing new to me ... I've been getting fucked over since I got in this business. Everyone speculates or blames the lack of success of the band on me and my drug issues, but actually it has always been bad business decisions, or lack thereof, or the band just not making sense.
Five years waiting to have a new work from you in our hands is a bit too much. Why so long and why released in Japan first? Didn't you get anyinterest from the European or American companies, or is more a matter of the fans over there?
All I can say is I'll take playing in Japan... and Europe any day over the states, sadly. It's just the fans have hung in there and really appreciate us. Here in theUS, our fans are still great fans but they are spread out so thin that touring is always a humbling experience, and for shit money there are no labels interested in an older band from the 80s, no matter how good the record is. At least in Japan and Europe there are small labels willing to put something into the band, therefore touring is a lot more practical.
How was it to work with Jake E. Lee? I understand Steven Adler has also collaborated on the album?
Jake is an amazing talent. He is very much of a recluse, and I don't see him doing anything unless it really has a lot to offer him. We didn't have anything to offer but I gave him some publishing for playing. He is a friend of Vinnie's (Vinnie Castaldo - Drums, engineer, producer and studio owner for this record). He was hanging out and liked the stuff, so I asked would he lay a solo on Joni Lynn and that led to him playing on more. Jake is great. As far as I know, unless Steven Adler is playing drums on that Chip song that I have nothing to do with, he's not on the record. Chip plays in his band and he is a friend. I do love his playing on that Guns N’ Roses album.
Chip, is about to start a tour with Steven Adler’s project Adler's Appetite. How that would affect the Enuff Z’nuff career now you have a great album to promote?
Chip playing with Adler doesn't effect EZN unless he's turning down shows that I don't know about because he's busy. I'm not too worried about Chip's solo ventures, as Ive heard the records and they sound like his typical song ideas that he would have and thought were amazing and ready to go, till I did my thing to them and he would learn that they were not, hahaha. Although I believe that the Adler thing is Chip's bread and butter, because face it, Guns N’ Roses were huge and it's one of those guys so there is some demand. However, I know Chip's true love is the band he broke into the business with and was a part of making all those great records with - and that’s EZN.
You came to tour in Europe past January in which I have the pleasure to see you for the very first time with the band and now just some months later you are back again to this side of the world. Why you back so often now - not that I'm complaining.
We just signed with a new booking agent in Europe so that's why we are playing there more. Its 'X-RAY' and also there still is an income for us over here in the UK. It's a shame we wont really be making a lot of new fans because we are pretty much stuck playing with 80s bands though we are nothing like them at all, but in order to financially make sense of a tour they have to hook us up with other bands. Who knows, maybe someday someone will realise what kind of band we really are, and put us with bands of that nature and we might still have a chance. Anyway, we have been told to do a lot more festivals and things like that, so we'll be back more frequently.
What was it like playing at the Download festival?
Download was great and a lot of fun. Something that's nice to be a part of, to hit that many people at once. Out of all the bands ,new and old, I have to say that Aerosmith - the old men - put everyone to shame. A lot of guys from all the bands kept coming up to meet or say hi to me and wanted to say how much they love the records, or my pipes. That made me feel great. I also got a new tattoo backstage. They offered things like that to the artists. The guy that did my tattoo said he never heard of us so I gave him a CD. I recently got a message from him that he loved it, went out and got more of our CDs and is now a dedicated fan. That shit happens all the time with us, the problem is people just haven’t been exposed to us. 99 times out of a 100, to hear us is to love us.
I have seen you several times with several bands from LA like Faster Pussycat, Bang Tango or Pretty Boy Floyd, etc. Do you feel part of the family even though you are from Chicago ?
Because we came out when those other 80s hair metal bands came out, we got lumped in with them, and usually end up playing with the likes of those bands. They're all cool dudes, so playing with one is the same as the other to me. With no disrespect intended to any of the bands, I hate getting lumped in with them and especially opening for some of them. I really believe we are a timeless GREAT BAND that consistently puts out great records - just not so many people know that.
You seem to have a bit of a down on the 80s Hair Metal bands...
I may seem to get down on 80s hair metal bands, but I don’t mean to. I kinda just don't like being lumped in with them because we are not an 80s hair metal glam band. We are/were a classic rock style band that happened to be good looking and just did the style that was going at the time. It was a big mistake. I have nothing against those bands except being referred to as one, and our fate being stuck only performing with the likes of them. Even the opening acts they get for us seem to be bands like that. I think the band should be catagorised by the sound of the band. We have a lot of melody and a well structured song that we build from, instead of a cliche riff and some party or gettin' laid lyrics, usually shrieked by a dude wearing a wig [laughs]. I shouldn’t talk, we have goofy Chip all clowny, haha.
I see you both are very busy with many projects, like the book Chip is involved called 'Sex Tips from Rock Stars' that is about to be published and sounds quite interesting, and that movie you appear in, 'Nowhere Fast: The Forgotten Story of Approach Control'. How did this come about and what can you tell me in advance about the movie?
I have no comment on the books Chip is in except that I'm disgusted! He's all proud of himself and from what I've read, and the type of books they are, it's just ridiculous and humiliating. More stupid clowny shit that takes away from the coolness of the band. Its just no class. As far as the movie I'm in, I was just in the right time and place. I was living in Vegas at the time and working with a guy named Vince Lauria - a great guitar player and great guy - and he was involved and told the guys making it about me, and that I was a character. Also I believe they were already fans of the band ... and I got in. If that movie ever surfaces, I play my drunken self, hahaha, and sing a song in the movie.