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Interview with Doug Aldrich (The Dead Daisies) | "Holy Ground"

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Good evening ladies and gents tonight black velvet radio and I, have the pleasure and honor to host one of the most esteemed and influential guitar players throughout the hard rock genre. A guitar-hero for many. Doug Aldrich and I, we're going to talk about one of the first releases of 2021, hopefully a better year from 2020 for everyone. So, Doug good morning from your end and good evening from my end.

DOUG

Hey Tasos how are you? Hey everybody.

 

So… Fifth studio installment for Dead Daisies “Holy Ground” is due to today how you feeling?

DOUG

I'm feeling excited man, finally you know it's been a long wait, we had had the record ready a year ago, but we had to wait you know because the virus.

 

 

Yeah, I believed so, it was difficult for you making the album, and many difficulties beyond all this that we are living right now with COVID-19?

DOUG:

Well actually we had the record finished, we recorded in November 2019 and it was ready, we finished it, in the beginning of 2020, before everything went crazy, so we were planning on touring and supporting the record fully last year but we just pushed it back and pushed it back. We released a couple of songs, you now throughout the year, we released “Unspoken” in May and then we released “Bustle and Flow” in July, and then finally in December we released the first real single, the titled track “Holy Ground”.

So, what was the original release day for the Album?

DOUG:

The original release date was April of last year and, so we pushed it back till, you know, until now.

 

Yes, I believed so, in many bands, and not only you, had this problem. The new album is due to release for today. Do you believe that (the album) has a new sound in your musical style in comparison with the previous ones?

DOUG

Yeah definitely. It features Glenn Hughes on vocals and bass so there's going to be a big sound change, from where we were on the last album, and we're very excited about that, you know it's really cool what Glenn brought to the band and just lifted it up, and we're you know obviously when you bring a new lead singer in, you're gonna have major change and sound, so we're very excited about it. We think it's great, and it's a fresh start for the band which is awesome

 

Glenn had a very strong influence on you because it's from 2019 on the band, so I believe not only on vocals but on bass guitar too. A more groove sound, a more vibrant 70’s style?

DOUG:

Glenn's bass playing, it's incredible. I had toured with Glenn in 2015 and he's just a phenomenal player, obviously everyone knows he's such a great singer and songwriter but people forget you know his bass playing enough. He's just a ferocious player and his sound on the album is really nice, I really love it.

 

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Okay I made a search about the artwork and not only the sound, but also the artwork has this vibrant 70’s style. it's a statement that is a direction at least for now?

DOUG:

Yeah, we love that you know. we all grew up in the 60s and 70’s and 80’s and but um definitely Glenn he was doing this in the 70’s he was playing that, this music in the 70s and I love that sort of sound as well you know that sound, we didn't really plan it, it's just the songs that we wrote were very simple and open with space, you know there's a lot of space on the album and we just wrote a bunch of songs together and then our producer Ben Grosse and management helped us pick the ones and how they would go together.

 

Well, many of us on BVR have heard “Holy Ground” and we believe, in our point of view, “Holy Ground” and “Bustle and Flow” it's kind a like, signature tracks of the album. That 70s and 80s vibrant style. Do you believe that, the declaration of bringing back rock and roll as you said, on its original roots?

DOUG:

You know, it's up to you guys. I trust what you guys think because, I'm a little too close to it, you know to make an objective call. I mean I love 70’s music, I love all music. I hear new music sometimes that it sounds very modern and I like that too, and I love the traditional blues and everything, but I mean we basically we should leave the opinions to the listener. Let the listener decide and choose.

 

The more difficult questions now…. Your favorite songs (from the album) and why?

DOUG:

They are, I mean, they're all important to me. I think the way the record flows it's a kind of classic in the sense that if you listen to it, from top to bottom, it gets a real strong, a stronger feeling than if you just break it down to signature tracks or something, but I think that “holy Ground” is turned out to be a great opening track, it was a song that Glenn brought to the band when we first started writing together in august of 2019. Glenn brought that song in, and we basically were just getting used to each other so we finished writing it exactly how he planned it and when we then listened to it fresh, when we were recording the album, by that time we felt a lot more comfortable with looking to make changes whatever, so we decided to slow it down a little bit and simplify it a little bit, and just and then I wanted to make the guitars a bit heavier, so it kind of changed the riff a little bit, and all those changes made it into this kick-ass opening track you know, so I love that track. I also love “Come Alive”, I love the lyric on “Come Alive”, that's a song like “Bustle and Flow”. We I brought some parts to Glenn and then Glenn and I and David finished it up when we were in the south of France working on the album, and then let's say I really love the commercial side of “Chosen and Justified” it's a really you know fun song and I really love that, and then stuff like “Like no Other” is a kick-ass heavy groove rock song that was the first song that I wrote

when I was bringing songs in with Glenn in mind and I wanted to do something with that kind of a groove, and I showed them to Glenn he was like “yeah I like that”, so I mean, basically I just wanted to present Glenn with ideas that would help inspire him.

 

Let's talk about the elephant in the room. These are strange times. The consequences of Covid-19 from the start of 2020 to the music industry, and not only, affected many bands labels and releases. What are your plans for supporting “Holy Ground”?

DOUG:

We're definitely planning on touring at some point, we just don't know when if that's gonna be this year, but we hope it's gonna be in the summer time, we've got some dates including I believe Athens

 

 

I think with at Release Festival I know you're supporting Judas Priest so maybe it's a possible date?

DOUG:

Yeah, that's something that looks like it could happen. You know, you never can tell, I don't want to say yes for sure because it's just depends on the pandemic but things are gonna get better soon, I mean we've got vaccines going all around the world now and we've had a lot of people that have gotten sick and recovered which is great. Unfortunately, we've lost a lot of lives too, so that's horrible but I think that we are going to find a way, we need to find a way to get live music back it's essential for people's health.

 

How things going on L.A. (with the pandemic)

DOUG:

L.A. it's doing a little better than it did a week or two ago, because we had people that had traveled at Christmas time, and so they got home and brought some sickness and stuff like this, so it was a little difficult you know, but it's getting better right now, the numbers are coming down a little bit and so that's good, we've been staying in you know.

 

I read an article about U.S.A., that maybe one third of the venues are going to close due to Covid-19 because of lack work and of gigs. What do you believe about that?

DOUG:

I believe that's true and it's horrible and there's some really amazing places that can’t survive because of this, but we have to try and support the ones that do stay open as much as we can, there's a few venues in my area that Ι love, one is called the ‘’Baked Potato’’ and it's a really important venue and of course the world famous ‘’Rainbow’’…. we need to keep the rainbow alive you know

 

 

It's a legend….

DOUG:

Yeah, exactly and then also the “Troubadour” and the “Whiskey” and the “Roxy”, these clubs I hate to see anything happen, but you never know I mean we're going to have to see what happens in the spring. But I think in California we're starting to see that we're not having increasing cases so that's a good thing, but I know it's different everywhere in the world so we just need to get the vaccines out

 

You had on the press release some tour dates for February and March on Europe. Do you believe they are doable?

DOUG:

No those have already been pushed back until next year. It was meant to start in a few weeks actually, but we're gonna have to push that back until next year. like I said we're hopeful that the dates with Judas Priest and Foreigner this summer will stay.

 

If I remember right, please correct me, you already have two videos about the new album I think it’s “Holy Ground” and “Bustle and Flow” right?

DOUG:

Yeah, that's right

Do you have anything else to give us that you are not released yet?

DOUG:

There's going to be more coming soon but I don't know which single is the next one though, it might be “Like No Other” I’m not sure which one it is.

 

 

Ok let ask you something different. It's my personal question. I noticed You have a flowered skull almost in every album right”? We can say like a mascot. Does he or she or it have a name? What do you say?

DOUG:

(laughs) No it doesn't have a name as far as I know but uh that's funny because yeah, it's always there this flowered skull, the dead daisy…   Maybe it’s Daisy yeah why not…

 

 

 

It's like a trademark now for Dead Daisies and believe me I wish we would see you when the summer comes….

DOUG:

Me too. I’m gonna keep my fingers crossed that we will get to do some shows in the summertime, but like I say right now, we just have to take care of each other, take care of ourselves, be safe you know all that stuff .

 

We hope we'll see you on summer because right now some gigs that were planned for march and may on Greece are pushed back for the autumn of 2021 and we don't know about the summer festivals either. We hope seeing you.

let's talk about something else are you going to promote the new album to streaming platforms? I’m asking because artists are starting to get displeased from streaming platforms. What's your opinion about that?

DOUG:

It's difficult for musicians to get paid properly, because streaming, you have to have so many streams but I think that, you know it is here so we have to learn to work with it, and I think in some senses it's good to get the album out, but I mean if I had my wish, I wish that there were still record stores that you could go walk in and buy whatever record you wanted, every album that came out. But it is what it is, it's there you know, for research and other things I think it's really good, but to hear an album that's played digitally is not the same even though it's recorded to digital, I mean we put so much effort into how it sounds but then someone will stream it onto their iPhone speaker… you know it's okay, I mean it's got its good sides too, though like I said, like research when you want to go and find songs that you thought about, that you heard when you were a kid and you don't even remember, sometimes, the streaming will help you find those songs.

 

 

 

Okay… First time I heard you was, if I remember right, on a DVD on DIO “Evil or Divine” … That was the first time I heard you and I was impressed on how you treated the old songs. And I’m asking which guitar heroes are your heroes?

DOUG:

Well, I would say um the biggest ones, are the early ones. Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Richie Blackmore, then later a whole bunch of others all the way, Eddie Van Halen came out and blew everybody away and Randy Rhodes, Michael Schenker, and then I found Gary Moore, and Gary Moore really hit me hard and that might be one of the last ones that I can feel like there's an influence with me.

 

which bands are you listening right now, on this period?

DOUG:

I listen to a lot of everything, i mean I listen to 70s pop just to relax, there's like old songs from the 70s that stuff like that, but I also like some of the newer bands like Greta Van Fleet and there's a band called Tyler Bryant And The Shakedown, Tyler Bryant is a great guitar player/singer out of Nashville and he's got a band called The Shakedown and they're really cool, Rival Sons has been around for a while, Joe Bonamassa is you know, legendary, but he keeps putting out really good music, there's a band called Dirty Honey that I really like a lot, and then of course you know I always go back and listen to the old stuff, Sabbath or Rainbow or Dio I love to listen to still.

 

Any memories you have from the first time you went on stage or any memories from the worst/best show, something funny?

DOUG:

You know I had them all man, i mean one of the greatest experiences was with Dead Daisies in 2017, we headlined a polish festival called “Woodstock Festival Poland” and we did it along with a 60piece orchestra, so it was really cool and there was 500 000 people there that night you can see it on YouTube, that was a great time doing Download festival with Whitesnake was great, also doing Download Festival with the Dead Daisies was great, and Sweden Rock Festival with the Dead Daisies was a great show, with Dio obviously that “Evil or Divine” show was pretty special. As far as some bad ones my very first show with Dio. We had rehearsed and everything was ready, and we were so tight and the intro tape goes, and I was a little nervous, anyways my first show with Ronnie, and my guitar wasn't working, so halfway through the song finally my guitar got back going again. I was really, really bummed out about that, but these things happen you know, and you got to move on.

 

Something that you may regret throughout your career something that “damn I wished I would do that or not?

DOUG:

Nothing really that I would regret that I could think of, i mean everything's a learning experience, whether it turns out good or bad, i mean, I’ve done a lot of different sessions over the years, I’ve I have been maybe something different for me so it was good, I learned something you know. But regarding that, my trademark kind of stuff, that I play and I write, I do it always with the best intention, and I play it as hard as I can and with as much feeling as I can, so that you know in case something happens to me, and I die tomorrow, I can say and I can think to myself that I’ve done my best.

 

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That was beautiful…any last message to your fans here in Greece?

DOUG:

Well, I love my fans, i love our fans in Greece the Dead Daisies fans, the fans that I’ve met from Whitesnake and the Dio all over the world, but especially the times that I’ve been in Greece. i met a lot of friends and through Whitesnake and everybody is just so amazing there, this beautiful heart and soul in all through Greece. I’ve got friends in Thessaloniki and Kavala and obviously Athens. And these people always would do anything for me and I appreciate that, so I look forward to seeing you guys hopefully this year.

 

One last quick question. Any fond memories from Greece?

DOUG:

Well yeah, being on tour with Whitesnake and Def Leppard, we had a day off in Athens and we were just at the pool on top of the hotel all day long, just having a blast. And then one time when I came with Whitesnake, I went up to the Parthenon, me and Tommy Aldridge and Marco Mendoza, and I still have those pictures, it was really cool. And there was an outdoor headline show that Whitesnake did, that was in this beautiful old venue that was amazing, Scorpions and Whitesnake we played in Thessaloniki, it was just fun times those, the Scorpions guys are great guys, just like Def Leppard guys, and then I think with Whitesnake and Scorpions, where we did an outdoor arena or outdoor stadium, a football stadium in Athens, that was great gig, i remember we started the show with “Burn” and there was people lighting, i mean it's dangerous it's not funny, but people lighting fires in the audience and it was just like mayhem.

 

Ladies and Gents, Doug Aldridge from The Dead Daisies, new album out now called “Holy Ground”. Doug, thank you very much I’m honored speaking with you.

DOUG:

Thank you brother, I appreciate you guys thank you so much for all you do, and everyone stay safe and we'll see you as soon as we possibly can.

 

ladies and gents, we'll see you next time, of course on Black Velvet Radio.

Goodnight…

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Chris Mouskos, Tasos Zervoudakis, Kostas Kouris

Black Velvet Radio

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