Singer/Guitarist John Corabi talks about the latest release from The Dead Daisies “Make Some Noise”

For over 20 years singer/guitarist John Corabi has been recording and performing with a number of hard rock acts ranging from Union and ESP to being the replacement for Motley Crue vocalist Vince Neil for a period of time in the mid 90’s. Since that time Corabi has embarked on a successful solo career and also joined the group The Dead Daisies a group whose current lineup also includes Marco Mendoza, Doug Aldrich, Brian Tichy and David Lowy. Media Mikes spoke with John recently about The Dead Daises upcoming album titled “Make Some Noise” which is due out on August 5th and also about the groups upcoming U.S. Tour with Kiss.

Adam Lawton: You joined The Dead Daisies in 2015. What has the first year of being in the band been like for you thus far?

John Corabi: It has been crazy! I got the call originally from Marco as they had been working with someone prior to me and things weren’t working out. They had plans to go over to Cuba and they asked me if I would be willing to go with them. I went and did that and we had an amazing time there. I think that was sort of a way for the guys to feel me out a bit. I think they wanted to see if I was a good fit or not. After that trip I got a call from the guys asking if I wanted to go to Australia and do an album. We got together in March of last year and wrote and recorded the “Revolucion” album in about 33 days. After flying home from that I did some solo shows with my band and the next thing I know I was in California doing a video with guys and also rehearsing for some upcoming European shows with Kiss. We then came back and did a run with Whitesnake after which we went back to Australia with Kiss. We then did the Kiss cruise and went back to Europe again but this time with Whitesnake. I got home at the end of December and by January of this year we were back in the studio working on the new record “Make Some Noise”. Things have been pretty busy. When I’m not out with The Daisies I’m out with my solo band which has a live album coming out in October.

AL: What has the addition of Doug Aldrich been like for the band?

JC: When Dizzy Reed and Richard Fortus got the call to go do the Guns N’ Roses tour we reached out to Doug. He is a really great player who has just jumped right in. I have known Doug since he was about 17 as we grew up in Philadelphia together. With this band it’s about friendship as we all hang out and have known each other for a long time. Doug was able to step in to that as he has a great sense of humor to go along with his amazing playing and song writing ability. With this new record we wanted to go in and do a straight forward 70’s era type rock album. All the guys in the band have similar influences so for us to be able to go in and do that with the addition of Doug was really great.

AL: How did the writing for “Make Some Noise” compare to that of your previous album with the band?

JC: When you bring in a different member things do change a little. Doug fits in with everyone and we all have similar interest so that certainly helped. I think the biggest difference with the new record wasn’t really anything with the guitars but it was more so the fact that we didn’t add keyboards this time around. That allowed the guitars more room to be a little more aggressive. David Lowy made that decision as doing a band similar to the style of AC/DC was his original idea for the band. When Richard and Dizzy left it was decided not to replace them so Doug and David had a little more space to expand on their parts in each song.

AL: Do you prefer working on material that is more stripped down and straight forward as opposed to something with a lot of layers and instrumentation?

JC: I think the song really dictates how much or how little it needs. There was one song we did that we didn’t end up putting on the album that I want to put on my new solo album that had a lot of stuff going on within it. When we looked at what we had this song didn’t really fit in with the others because they are all very straight forward. Again the song really decides what it needs in the way of production. I think back to the first album I did with Union which is a pretty stripped down album as that’s what most of those songs required but there is one on that recorded titled “Let It Flow” which has a bunch of cool over dubs and instrumentation on it because that’s what it sort of dictated.

AL: How was it working with producer Marti Frederiksen this time around?

JC: I had known Marti since he opened for my band The Scream in the early Nineties. I always sort of kept an eye on his career. I realized when he started working with groups like Brother Cane and Aerosmith that he was going to do a lot of cool stuff. We were looking for not just a producer but also someone who understood the writing process and would actually listen to what we were doing with a fresh set of ears. Marti was very open to suggestions throughout the process. We have all been making records for quite some time now so things worked well. We would just record things and if for some reason if something didn’t work we would just take it out after the fact. Marti was great in that he knew when to reel us in and also we to let us keep going. It was a two way street that worked pretty effortlessly.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands upcoming tour with Kiss and any other plans you and the band have scheduled?

JC: We start in the states with Kiss on August 10. Those guys have been really great to us. The shows are going to be very high energy. I am not sure how long we are going to be playing just yet but no matter how long we play its going to be pedal to the metal. We plan to do a mix of both old and new material along with a few covers to get the crowd riled up. That tour goes through mid September then we have a headlining show set in Los Angeles. After that I start rehearsals with my solo band and then we go out on the Monsters of Rock Cruise. From there The Daisies head over to Japan for the Loud Park Festival and we are booked all the way through December. We will be hitting a bunch a places all over.

For more info on John Corabi and The Dead Daisies be sure to head over to http://www.thedeaddaisies.comand also www.johncorabimusic.com

 

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Robert Trachtenberg talks about working on American Masters’ “Mel Brooks: Make A Noise”

Robert Trachtenberg is the Writer, director, producer and editor on the latest American Masters special “Mel Brooks: Make A Noise”. Robert has made several films for “American Masters” including specials on Cary Grant, Gene Kelly & George Cukor. He is a bestselling author (“When I Knew”) and award-winning photographer. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Robert about his work with Mel Brooks and his love for photography.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you end up working on “Mel Brooks: Make A Noise” for American Masters?
Robert Trachtenberg: Susan Lacy, who is executive producer of the series, had secured Mel. She thought my sense of humor would pair up nicely with his, so she called and asked ifI’d like to direct the film.

MG: What is it like working with a legend like Mel Brooks?
RT: The old saying, “comedy is serious business” is true: he’s very professional, actually very “Old Hollywood” in the way he runs things. We’d meet once a month, film for as long as he could stand, and then do it again the following month.

MG: How much footage was shot to make up this 1 1/2 hour special?
RT: We shot about thirty hours of interviews just with Mel alone over a four month period.

What is your favorite Mel Brooks film?
RT: Probably YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN – I think it’s the most fully realized of all his films.

MG: How long did it take to get that excellent shot of Carl Reiner & Mel Brooks?
RT: They gave me ten minutes! Guys who cut their teeth in live television have zero patience for an entire shoot – they expect everything to happen fast.

MG: How does this compare from your American Masters specials for Gene Kelly and Cary Grant?
RT: This time my subject was alive so that made a big difference. It’s impossible to compare in that Mel required a completely different approach – I knew if I asked the questions correctly, I wouldn’t need to rely on critics and academics in the interviews, for example. I really wanted Mel to tell his own story, firsthand. If I did my job right, he would be honest and candid about what worked and what didn’t in his career.

MG: I am a big fan of your photography; what does it take to get the perfect shot?
RT: I think the ability to work on your feet – you go in with one idea, and then it can quickly morph into something completely different due to a variety of factors. And you have to be malleable to that.

MG: I have to ask what was it like photographing Larry Hagman?
RT: Perfect example – for some reason I thought he’d be serious, and he couldn’t have been more of a lovable goofball.

MG: Do you have plans to write and direct more in the future?
RT: Definitely. I love that Director’s Guild health insurance!

 

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DVD Review “American Masters – Mel Brooks: Make a Noise”

Actors: Mel Brooks
Directors: Robert Trachtenberg
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Studio: Shout! Factory
DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013
Run Time: 90 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love Mel Brooks? He has delivers some of the best comedy in the business over the last 60 years.  Whether it is film, TV, music or Broadway.  The man has done it all.  This latest American Masters program takes a look at Mel Brooks’ career in “Make a Noise”.  I grew up watching his films from “History of the World, Part 1” to “Blazing Saddles” to The Producers” and “Young Frankenstein”. This type of comedy always hit home with me and still has as I have grown up. I look forward to sharing these wonderful films with my daughter now as she grows.  They are timeless and will remain that way through time. This program was a great look into Mel Brooks, whether you know everything about him or are just meeting him for the first time.  There is a little something for everyone.

Official Premise: After 60 years in show business, Mel Brooks has earned more major awards than any other living entertainer; he is one of 14 EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) winners. Yet, the comedy giant has energetically avoided a documentary profile from being made, even issuing an informal gag order on his friends – until now. Brooks has agreed to throw himself into a new documentary about his storied career, giving American Masters exclusive interviews and complete access to his film archives.

In the film we get taken through Mel’s life starting from his childhood growing up in Brooklyn to his start in the buisness to his marriage of Anne Bancroft to his Broadway career. There are new interviews with Mel Brooks, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Cloris Leachman, Carl Reiner and Joan Rivers. These are people who know Mel and that have worked wiht him. They give wonderful insight into his career and who the real “Mel Brooks” is.  The program runs 90 minutes but I could have watch for at least 3 hours without becoming boring or repetitive.  The guy has done so much there is no way to sum it up in just 90 minutes.  The bonus feature included on this DVD is over 15 minutes of deleted segments.

Blu-ray Review “Joyful Noise”

Directed by: Todd Graff
Starring: Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Keke Palmer, Jeremy Jordan
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Distributed by: Warner Home Video
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Running Time: 118 minutes

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I must confess, I do have a sweet spot for Dolly Parton.  Queen Latifah is really hit or miss for me, mostly miss.  It is crazy to believe that both of these actresses are in fact Oscar® nominees.  Unfortunately the film runs way to long at 118 minutes.  The only saving grave for this film is the music.  The productions are fun and quite large but not even for keep my interest for the rest of the movie. I feel that this would have been a lot better running at 90 minutes.  Though fans of Latifah and Parton should enjoy this musical comedy.

The Blu-ray presentation looks great with its 1080p transfer and aspect ratio of 2.40:1. Since the film is all about music the audio is very important and doesn’t disappoint with its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Besides the Blu-ray, this combo pack also comes with a DVD disc of the film, as well as an UltraViolet Digital Copy. The special features though are well like the film. There is a brief “Spotlight on a Song” for Dolly Parton’s “From Here to the Moon”. Then there are three also brief behind-the-scenes featurettes: “Inspiration of Joyful Noise”, “Make Some Noise” and “Leading Ladies”. Lastly, there are few extended songs.

Oscar® nominees Queen Latifah (“Chicago,” “Hairspray”) and Dolly Parton (“Transamerica,” “Steel Magnolias,” “Nine to Five”) star in Alcon Entertainment’s and Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Joyful Noise,” a funny and inspirational story of music, hope, love and renewal. The small town of Pacashau, Georgia, has fallen on hard times, but the people are counting on the Divinity Church Choir to lift their spirits by winning the National Joyful Noise Competition. The choir has always known how to sing in harmony, but the discord between its two leading ladies now threatens to tear them apart. Their newly appointed director, Vi Rose Hill (Latifah), stubbornly wants to stick with their tried-and-true traditional style, while the fiery G.G. Sparrow (Parton) thinks tried-and-true translates to tired-and-old. Shaking things up even more is the arrival of G.G.’s rebellious grandson, Randy (Jeremy Jordan). Randy has an ear for music, but he also has an eye for Vi Rose’s beautiful and talented daughter, Olivia (Keke Palmer), and the sparks between the two teenagers are causing even more heat between G.G. and Vi Rose. If these two strong-willed women can overcome their differences and find a common voice, they–and their choir–may make the most joyful noise of all.

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Film Review “Joyful Noise”

Starring: Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton and Keke Palmer
Directed by: Todd Graff
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hour 57 mins
Warner Brothers

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Whether you’re a regular church goer or just drop by on Easter and Christmas Eve, you can’t resist tapping your toes to the music that rises from the choir. In one small Georgia town that choir is run by Bernard Sparrow (Kris Kristofferson), who has guided them to the regional competition of a national Gospel Music contest many times. When Bernard passes away, the pastor (Courtney B. Vance) appoints not Bernard’s widow, G.G. (Parton) but Ms. Vi Rose Hill (Latifah). Vi, a nurse, is raising two children alone, her husband (Jesse L. Martin) currently serving in the Army. Her oldest, daughter Olivia (Palmer) also sings in the choir. However, she and her mother disagree on her style of music. Vi wants all of the voices to blend together while Olivia feels the need to belt out the occasional solo. Son Walter (Dexter Darden) is a young man who has trouble socializing. He has Aspergers Syndrome and is currently fixated on how many one-hit wonders he can name. When G.G.’s grandson Randy (Jeremy Jordan) returns to town the die is cast for a feel good musical. Or a teen love story. Or, possibly, both.

Uneven in every way, “Joyful Noise” is best described as “Sister Act” done by the cast of “Glee” (minus Blaine, thank goodness). Director Graff also penned the screenplay and has apparently decided that all Southern people speak in metaphors. “There’s always free cheese in a mousetrap but the mouse ain’t happy” is a great piece of sage advice that G.G. dispenses. What it has to do with the story I don’t know. Another gem: “it’s like trying to sneak dawn past a rooster,” which was funnier 30 years ago when Sylvester Stallone mispronounced it to Miss Dolly in “Rhinestone.”

I have to give credit to the cast. They seem to be trying hard and the three young leads give fine performances. Cast as the strict mother, Latifah does her best to avoid playing a stereotypical over-protective parent. Parton, who turns 66 next week, hasn’t headlined a film since 1992’s “Straight Talk” and that’s a shame because her personality has always been a plus on screen. The films strongest scenes take place when everyone gathers and lifts their voices. The songs here are powerful. Gospel fans will enjoy hearing not only Latifah and Parton but Gospel legends Kirk Franklin and Karen Peck.

Musical? Love story? I still don’t know. Neither does Warner Brothers, apparently. In the past two weeks their entire television advertising campaign has gone from highlighting the two Oscar nominated stars to featuring the kids with hardly a mention of the adults. If you like Gospel music you might give it a look. If not, I’ll see you in church.