FIB MUSIC: What's new, what have you been up to lately and what's in the future?
Eddie: Well, just recently...this past year 2005, I released a solo album Axes 2 Axes, which features Ronnie James Dio on one vocal, Joe Lynn Turner, myself on four songs and three instrumentals.
FIB MUSIC: Wow, so you sing on four tracks.
Eddie: Yeah, I'm singin on four tracks, which I realize I kind of put myself up against some really good singers. I kind of raised the bar and I didn't realize until afterwards (laughs). But I am very happy about the way things came out...the way the stuff I sing on came out....you know, it's in my range and I took my time with it and it came out good. And you know, of course I like playing guitar more and if I do tour I plan on having a singer with me...you know, I would rather mostly concentrate on playing guitar....You know I may sing one song just to do it. I am just used to having a singer and playing guitar and I would rather not have to worry about singing. But Gary Moore, you know, he sings on his records, but usually live he always has a singer. But the cd came out in October in Europe and it came out in the States on January 17th. So it is pretty much worldwide right now.
FIB MUSIC: How many tracks does Joe Lynn Turner sing on?
Eddie: He sings on one track.
FIB MUSIC: How was it working with him?
Eddie: Great. You know him and Ronnie did some great stuff with Rainbow. And Ronnie of course did Black Sabbath. I mean, you know, some of the stuff Ronnie has done...(laughs)...he's done some HOLY records.
FIB MUSIC: Where did you record your new cd?
Eddie: I recorded most of it at a recording studio in Manhattan called Beat Street, but I did a lot of the overdubs at my home studio. Joe Franco played drums on it...he played on the Love is for Suckers album when AJ quit the band. Plus he was in Widowmaker with Dee Snider. He has played on a million albums and commercials, you know Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, to all kinds of.....big session guy as well, but he mostly a real rocker, but he is the kind of guy that can play anything. You know, we did it at his recording studio, it's called Beat Street, it's on Broadway and 22nd Street. Great little studio. Joe has been very lucky, I guess he saw the future coming, but without realizing it. All the big studios are closing and all the small studios are doing really well. You know, with Pro Tools and everything, you don't need those big rooms anymore. And even with all the home studio stuff. I have a digital machine at home...I'm able to do my overdubs at home, then put them on a disc and send them to him and he uploads it up on his system. That is basically how I got Ronnie's track for the album. We just sent him a cd and he uploaded on his studio system and sang the vocals and sent me back the .WAV files and we uploaded it up into Pro Tools. It's great, you don't have to send big tapes anymore.
FIB MUSIC: The New Age is great isn't it?
Eddie: Yeah, it really makes it.....especially when you are doing it coast to coast and you are recording with people who live all over the world.
FIB MUSIC: Anything else you want to tell us about your solo record?
Eddie: Well...basically I am planning on doing some kind of touring. I am going to call it Eddie Ojeda's Band of Steel. I am going to feature, depending on availability, I might get Joe Lynn Turner on vocals, Rudy Sarzo on bass, Joe Franco on drums, myself on guitar and probably another guitarist. You know, I am going to try and get "name" players from different bands, kind of like an all-star band. Quite a few guys are doing the same thing. It's just great, it's exciting. It brings a lot more to the table when people can go see a band with all different guys. It's a lot of fun to work with a lot of different people that you admire and respect and create something new. Plus, you also have, when you are working with guys like that, you have so much material to choose from.
FIB MUSIC: What about the Twisted Sister reunion, aren't you playing shows with them?
Eddie: Yeah, we are doing mostly festivals over in Europe. We have one gig in Las Vegas on April 29th I think....it's on the website. twistedsister I usually them on my site as well at eddieojeda All the Twisted dates are coming up, looks like we are doing a bunch in England this year, with Hanoi Rocks. Still not confirmed yet.
FIB MUSIC: How many shows are we talking about?
Eddie: Probably six or seven shows.
FIB MUSIC: But no chance of a tour of any kind?
Eddie: Well...that's probably like THE TOUR. (laughs) Cause we did a tour with Alice Cooper in the UK. We were there for like sixteen days and I think we did 12 shows. Which that's what it takes to tour the UK. It's not like touring the States, where you can do like 50 shows. Everything we are doing is mostly on weekends, you know, we fly out and do festivals, they're like one-off shows. That is what we have been doing mostly for the last three years.
FIB MUSIC: So nothing for the States?
Eddie: No, not as of yet. It's just everyone has their own thing...it's kind of hard to commit to something for any length of time.
FIB MUSIC: How has it been playing with the original lineup again?
Eddie: Great. There's always a certain chemistry with the original members that you don't have. There are so many bands out there now that have one or two original members and it's not the same group or the same vibe. I mean I wish everyone the best and I'm happy that they are out there playing, but I have just always think there's a certain chemistry that you have with the original band that you made it with. This is a perfect example of...you know, with Ace & Peter it's just different, you know.
FIB MUSIC: Especially when they dress the guys up as Peter Criss and Ace Frehley.
Eddie: Yeah, it is kind of strange. And I'm friends with Ace, so it makes it even stranger for me to see.
FIB MUSIC: Yeah, Twisted Sister had quite a history with KISS. Tell us a little about that.
Eddie: Well. Yeah, we were both from kind of the same area. I mean, they made it quite a few years before we made it. And I knew Ace from the Bronx, from a long time ago, from the old neighborhood. So we have some of the history like that. And actually JJ French had auditioned for KISS.
FIB MUSIC: Yeah there was always that rumor that JJ played with them in Wicked Lester.
Eddie: Yeah, they were called Wicked Lester when JJ auditioned for them. And he almost got in the band. I remember he was jamming with them for about a good two months and then all of a sudden I guess they weren't sure...you know, they were trying out different guys and then they tried out Ace and I guess decided to go with him. So there's a little bit of Rock n Roll trivia. Because, you know, if he would joined KISS, there would have been no Twisted Sister.
FIB MUSIC: That's right, because he was an original member from the 70's right? From when the band first started.
Eddie: Yeah, he was one of the original members. I think right after the Wicked Lester thing, he joined a band...it wasn't this version of the band, it was like the first version of Twisted Sister, then they broke up and then we got this version together and then at first it was just four of us and we decided to get a singer and that's when we got Dee. And then you know, that's when things started to go from there. You know, when Dee joined the band after awhile we started doing originals and just kept building up with the band and the name. We became like a Tri-State phenomena. We would play anywhere within a hundred miles radius on any of the week and get like 2 to 3 thousand kids in a club. It was the late 70's, early 80's.
FIB MUSIC: Who was the original singer?
Eddie: A guy named Michael O'Neil. Yeah, he was in a band called Pretty Poison first, which was a pretty good band, they just never got the break.
FIB MUSIC: Why did he leave the band?
Eddie: I think he left....basically the band just disbanded, the original band was just.... ummm....they were just partying too much I think when they first got together. What happened was they just couldn't get along any longer and they disbanded. And after awhile....JJ called me up about 6 months after they broke up. He said listen, I going to reform Twisted Sister and I want you to be in the band. So I joined, but I remember going to see them when Twisted Sister first got together and they were cool, but we basically picked up where they left off. At first we weren't wearing the make-up, we were just kinda doing the same music...Mott the Hoople, you know, Bowie and stuff like that...a lot of cover stuff. Then Dee got back into the band and he said let's do the make-up thing again. And that's how the make-up thing started back up. And it sort of evolved into a different make-up, not just like a glam make-up, but kind of evolved into a warpaint kind of look. Which is what it is. Dee calls it HID ROCK, instead of glam rock, you know...for hideous. Hideous Make-up (laughs).
FIB MUSIC: Was there a big difference or momentum change once Dee Snider joined the band?
Eddie: Yes, I would definitely say that he brought a certain energy that we needed. Cause at first we were going to try to do it without a singer, because all of us had worked with LEAD SINGERS (laughs)
FIB MUSIC: ...and were sick of it?
Eddie: Yeah. It was like (laughs) no, no, not another singer.
FIB MUSIC: What was the idea. Was everyone in the band going to sing?
Eddie: Yeah, it was basically myself, JJ would sing....I would do the more melodic stuff. And Kenny, the bass player had a good voice. But the thing is we just got tired of doing it. You know, the original band did have a frontman, lead sing guy...so we were doing ok, but we weren't doing the numbers, or we just weren't getting the crowds we wanted to get, so we wanted to add an addition to the band, to spark things up a bit. So we said if we had a singer it would take the weight off of us having to sing and play and be able to jam out and have guy in the front going nuts you know, talking to the crowd and doing what front men do.
FIB MUSIC: ....And threaten the crowd
Eddie: Threatening the Crowd? - FIB MUSIC: Yeah - Eddie: (laughs)
FIB MUSIC: I saw you guys back on the Stay Hungry tour, with RATT in Dallas, TX, at the Bronco Bowl..and some guy was sitting down and Dee stopped the show and pointed this guy out...and then began a tirad of abuse on the guy saying he's a pussy and asking him questions...the guy is shrugging it off and Dee finally says "why don't you come backstage and I'll kick your ass". It was classic.
Eddie: (laughs)...it happened quite a bit.
FIB MUSIC: I was just going to say, I bet you went through that plenty of times.
Eddie: There were times that even in coliseums when we were touring with Iron Maiden in front of like seventeen thousand people and Dee picks one guy, nose-bleed seats...(laughs)...all the way in the back. (laughs)...it was funny....he'd say, "no, no, you, with the purple shirt on....yeah, you" (laughs) like you know, seventeen thousand people and he finds that one guy.
FIB MUSIC: Did anybody ever take him up on the offer to come backstage? Did he ever really piss somebody off?
Eddie: No not really, most people were really intimidated by him, they didn't have the balls to do that. They would like give him the finger and stuff like that....and....sometimes people thought that we used to plant people in the audience to take the abuse. Then sometimes people would just do it that like the band. They would just do it to bust balls that night. It was kind of like they would do it to fire Dee up you know? I guess it was like a plant, but it wasn't, we never actually had someone out there to do that. Sometimes you would talk to the guy and he would say, no I love you guys, then why were you doing that....oh, I was just trying to be an asshole. (laughs)...wanted to get Dee all pissed off. This one guy jumped on stage and kind of got in Dee's face...and they both got in each others face and they did the face thing....you know... and bumped each others chests', you know? And then he jumped off the stage. Everybody was going to kill him.
FIB MUSIC: Why did he get up on stage?
Eddie: Oh, we were saying Disco sucks and this guy goes Disco's great man....in the middle of like two thousand metal heads...saying disco is great.....he had balls, I'll tell you that. This was back in the clubs....he jumped on stage and he had a real disco kind-of-look...a real Saturday Night Fever look going.
FIB MUSIC: So Dee was doing that from the very beginning.
Eddie: Yeah...Yeah, he always did that, it was just something, I guess it became part of a thing. Dee just couldn't stand when people just sat there with their arms folded and not getting into it. And then I guess it became part of a thing that people expected him to do. I think he just enjoyed doing it. I don't think he did it conciously, I think he would just would see that and get pissed off and just go off on somebody.
FIB MUSIC: Well, I mean how great is it when you have a guy in make-up, threatening to kick your ass?
Eddie: I know we got make-up on and meanwhile we're hard as nails.
FIB MUSIC: How did you guys find Dee?
Eddie: Actually, we had this agent named Kevin Brenner. He worked with an agency called CTA. I think it stood for Creative Talent Association and they were a big, big agency...everyone wanted to be with them. But they were hard to get in with. In fact, Cindi Lauper had a band called Blue Angel, before she made it and she was always trying to get gigs for her band and Kevin wouldn't give her the time of day. And when she made it, she used to tell me.."I never liked Kevin"....But to us, he was always great, I guess because we always did well for him, and I never had a problem with the guy, so, you know, some people can get along with one person and hate another...different strokes. For whatever reason, certain bands didn't work out with him and some bands did.
So he was booking a band called Peacock, which is a weird name, and Dee was the lead singer and he wasn't happy with the band. And Twisted already had a name for itself and he had always loved the band and wanted to be a part of it. So Dee asked Kevin and Kevin asked us if we interested in trying out Dee Snider. And it was great from day one. When he first joined the band we were doing all Zeppelin stuff and he looked like Robert Plant from the back of the club...you know from a distance. When you got up close, he didn't look like Robert Plant, but one day I said, "you know, he looks like Robert Plant if you're in the middle of the bar".
FIB MUSIC: Are there any recordings floating around with the original singer?
Eddie: No. I doubt if there's anything at all, because at the time they were just a club band. The only time Twisted recorded, back then, was when Dee joined the band and that was after awhile when we started writing originals, because there was no real reason record songs that were already recorded. But when we started writing originals that's when we started recording, which was in the late 70's. Most of that stuff we released, because we had a lot of stuff in the can. Club Daze I & II. Some of those things we did in one to two days. Because we were playing clubs so much that we could go into the studio and play live and record and be very tight.
FIB MUSIC: How often did you guys play out back then?
Eddie: About 4 or 5 days a week.
FIB MUSIC: So you were you able to pay your bills by just playing music?
Eddie: Oh yeah, we were doing really well. At on point we were one of the highest paid club bands in the Tri-State area. We were making some very good money. For the times.......but even nowadays, some bands now would love to be making what we were making back then. Some of these bands are lucky to get $500.00 or $1000.00 a night.
FIB MUSIC: What were you guys taking in on an average night back then?
Eddie: I don't really want to get into specifics, but it was great. But a lot of these tribute bands now do really well. There's a Queen tribute band and a Motley Crue tribute band. Some of them are really good, there's one who does Alice in Chains...But some of them do really well.
FIB MUSIC: I know, I have a buddy in Dallas that works at some shithole club and they just had a KISS tribute band play there and the band took in something like $2500.00.
Eddie: Right. They make 2 to 3 thousand dollars a night. The tribute bands do well. It's some of these bands that try to make it...unless they get a recording deal and do it that way, get a video out. Get a name for themselves and then they go out and tour. Which you know, there are a lot of different ways to make it. I mean we made it kind of the hard way, we did the club scene first and then when we were big on the club circuit, we evolved to the next level. And got a record deal.
FIB MUSIC: Which was your first album, "Under the Blade". Was that record deal only in the UK?
Eddie: It was a record label called Secret Records, which was a good name for it, because it was pretty much a secret. They were based out of the UK; their first independent label...a guy came and heard about us. We had a big, big buz in the UK. People were selling bootleg tapes of us and that is how he heard about us and he came to the States to see us.
FIB MUSIC: That's incredible, he heard of you guys through bootleg tapes?
Eddie: Yeah. Huge buz on the band. I mean, the first time we went to the UK, we were playing like the Marquee and all these clubs and I mean they would be PACKED. It was like the same feel that we had over here. So we signed with Secret Records...there was a band called the Exploited and they were signed to them as well. First we did an EP with them, called Ruff Cuts, which was some tapes we already used. And then we made the Under the Blade album with them and recorded that out in the UK, we recorded it in a barn, basically with a mobile unit. Did a lot of overdubs inside the studio...I forgot the name of the studio. Paul McCartney had worked at the studio. Somewhere near Battle, a part of England called Battle.
FIB MUSIC: How long did it take you guys to record Under the Blade?
Eddie: About two months. I don't know, it was probably more like a month. We used to pop things out pretty quickly, because we didn't have to learn anything, we had been playing these songs for awhile in the clubs there was nothing to learn or write. When we went into the studio we were ready. It was probably more like a month for the first album and I think our second album we also did in England, You Can't Stop Rock n Roll, took about two months.
FIB MUSIC: But you guys were signed to Atlantic Records by that point right?
Eddie: Yeah at that point we were signed to Atlantic....we lost our deal with Secret Records.... or they went belly up....I think that's what happened, so we had to get a new deal. And then we ended up doing this show called The Tube, which 8 million people watched. It was one of the biggest shows in England, at the time. So we did the show and Lemmy from Motorhead came up and jammed with us on It's Only Rock n Roll but I Like It....there's videos out there, some bootleg dvd's of it. And Phil Carson and Mick Jones happened to be at the studio that day, they were doing an interview about Foreigner. Phil Carson was the VP of Atlantic in the UK and he basically was responsible for signing Zeppelin, YES, ACDC, ABBA, Foreigner...a few successful bands.
FIB MUSIC: Yeah really. (laughs)
Eddie: So he was with Mick Jones and Mick, who had an apartment in New York, says you know, I keep hearing about this band, I want to stay and watch this band....they are always on the radio, they're playing this place, they're playing that place. Because they used to advertise the hell out of us on the radio, because we were always playing these big clubs. So they stayed and watched it and the next day Phil Carson offered us a record deal.
We were actually offered three record deals and we decided to go with Atlantic. Phil didn't even want to meet us, he just wanted to sign us. But he gave in....he likes us now. I think it was more of a running joke. But he said, I don't want to meet them, I just want to sign them. So we signed with Atlantic.....and of course, he came down to meet us...he was just joking. And that's how it happened. So the second album we did at Jimmy Page's studio.....to be continued.
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