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20 Questions with John Kalodner, 6/12/01


John Kalodner: John Kalodner


For those of you who don’t know, John Kalodner is a pretty big name in the music business. He’s worked with basically everyone at one time or another and is probably most known for his work with Aerosmith. He’s also the guy who founded Portrait Records, home of such huge acts as Samantha 7, Ratt, Great White, Mars Electric, and Neve!

We have to thank Wendell Neeley for hooking us up with this interview. Of course Wendell does the Classic Metal Show every Saturday night in Akron, Ohio, and also does our Metal Sludge Song Of The Week. So props to Wendell for the hookup!

Kalodner rarely does interviews and when he’s not slamming us, he says a few interesting things here. Sort of.


1. What is John Kalodner currently up to?

in the process of constructing johnkalodner.com with my web mistress Miss Storm, working with artists and answering these lame ass questions

2. There have been a lot of rumors lately about the status of Portrait. Some say it’s closing, some say it’s being restructured. What’s the real status of Portrait?

The business of selling cds by 80’s rock bands, all though very enjoyable, is not a profitable business. So Portrait will be focused on recording and marketing new acts, such as The Union Underground and the forthcoming release by Spike 1000 (in July). Of course, our profitable older acts, such as Great White and the legendary Iron Maiden, will continue to record and release cds on Portrait. Pam Edwards left the label, which was a huge loss for me and the bands. But just as hard and heavy rock music survives, so will this label.

3. If you could "unknow" one thing you know, what would it be?

That the assisination of John F Kennedy in 1963 seems to have been some unexplained and complex conspiracy that has never been properly explained and resolved.

4. You’ve been in the music business for decades now. And associated with many multi-platinum groups. Most of which had some very strong images! Do you have any idea why Creed, 3 Doors Down, Collective Soul & Matchbox 20 have had so much success with "zero" image?

They have great songs, just like many of the bands I worked with who have (and had) great images. The song is always the most important thing in popular music. Image helps longevity but you still have to have the hit song to sell cds.

5. Rate the following bands on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a band you have no desire to sign and 10 being a band you’d like to sign.

This is a complicated question since all the bands I would like to sign to make music with them. But in the world of the corporate music business, things are not so simple. But I know what hell you guys want to raise, so I’ll play into it and rate the acts you gave me on a scale of 1 to 10.

Slaughter = 5

Tesla = 7

Poison = 10

Warrant = 5

Dokken = 7

Motley Crue = 10

Skid Row = 10 (There is no SR without Sebastian Bach for me!)

Sebastian Bach = 3

Enuff Z’Nuff = 4

Jesse James Dupree = 3 (but, Jackyl: 10!)

Quiet Riot =4

Kiss = 4

L.A. Guns = 4

WASP = 4

John with Aerosmith

6. Will any 80s hair band ever sell a gold record again, yes or no and why?

No. Because their audience, which can be sizeable in concert, wants to hear the 80’s hits and not new music from them. That’s sort of sad, but that’s the way it is.

7. What is your take on the whole Napster situation and how would you handle it?

Napster is outright stealing, especially from the musicians who depend on their royalty and publishing income for their future income. I would put Shawn Fanning, Hank Barry and all the people involved in jail for a few years. As for the artists who support Napster, I don’t see any of them giving their royalty checks to charity.

8. Name the 3 greatest moments and the 3 worst moments of your career?

There are many great moments, these are the first three off the top of my head.

1. Hearing the finished Pump album on July 1, 1989 when it was being mastered.

2. Signing Foreigner in June of 1976.

3. Hearing the finished Whitesnake record in January of 1987, but realizing I had to re-record "Here I Go Again", which we did a week later.

Three worst:

1. The death of Bruce Fairborne.

2. When I realized rap music was not going away in 1993.

3. Answering these fucking stupid questions, Memorial Day 2001.

9. What hard rock/heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?

Who knows, it’s all subjective. It could be your website, or me, for all we know.

10. Rate the following chicks on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a mess and 10 being a hottie.

Pamela Anderson =

Tawny Kitaen =

Pat Benatar =

Bobbie Brown =

Christina Aguilera =

Jessica Hahn =

Britney Spears =

Joan Jett =

J-Lo =

Lita Ford =

I don’t rate chicks on a scale of 1 to 10. Especially celebrities or rock n’ roll singers. My current obsession of the weekend is Bridget Wilson Sampras. And, I think Kirsten Dunst and Reese Witherspoon are twelves.

11. What happened with Cinderella and why was it taking them so fucking long to get into the studio?

Tom Keifer is a very talented musician and has always taken a long time to write a record. In two years, he demo’d some songs, only one of which I thought was good enough to be on a new album after so many years away. Just before we attempted to record some material last winter, I dropped them due to the lack of support from people at my company. Cinderella is one of my favorite bands and I hope they record a record and have great success with it.

12. Tell us a story about the following guys:

Sammy Hagar =

Don Dokken =

Steven Tyler =

Agnus Young =

David Geffen =

Gene Simmons =

David Coverdale =

Jon Bon Jovi =

Jesse James Dupree =

Steve Vai =

Don’t you know about rock n roll rules? You never tell stories about people. Rock n’ roll rules are very important and should not be broken. That’s one of the reasons I’ve lasted so long.

13. Which one of these was the main cause for Samantha 7 being such a failure:

A: CC’s Management

B: It’s Portrait’s fault

C: The fact that CC DeVille was actually singing!

D: All of the above

C. CC’s singing. The songs were great but people want to hear Bret Michaels sing those great songs.

14. Are there any John Kalodner groupies that you know of?

No, you tell me.

15. Here are a few of the bands you signed to Portrait. Tell us why you signed them, the final results and what could’ve been done to make a difference in the projects outcome.

Damn Yankees =

Mars Electric =

Neve =

Pat Benatar =

Great White =

Ratt =

Iron Maiden

Union Underground =

Don’t have enough time or will to answer this question.

16. Of all the bands you’ve signed, what band didn’t have the success you’d thought they should have?

Black and Blue, a band from the mid-80’s that I signed to Geffen.

17. What rock star deserves a smack in the mouth and why?

What, do you want me to get beat up now? You answer that

18. Which do you prefer:

Epic Records or Geffen Records =

Jackyl or Great White =

Playboy or Penthouse =

Lit or Blink 182 =

Shavers or Scissors =

"Up All Night" or "Give It To Me Good" =

White robes or Levis =

Nikki Sixx or Gene Simmons =

Gerri Miller or Lonn Friend =

"Just Push Play" or "Nine Lives" =

This is another question that is nothing but trouble. Ask it to some other moron.

19. Do you regret being the one responsible for exposing the world to Jackyl?

No. I love Jackyl, their music, their stage show, their image and especially Jesse Dupree. He is a great musician and a great friend. Do you regret having these stupid questions on this stupid website?

NOTE: We don’t regret having these stupid questions on our stupid website since we get more hits in a week then most bands on Portrait sell CDs. But hey, thanks for asking!

John with Jackyl

20. Yes or no, has John Kalodner ever….

Tasted urine =
no, have you?

Ate Sushi with Motley Crue = I don’t eat sushi.

Drove drunk = never had a drink in my life, so therefore the question is D.N.A.

Shoplifted =no

Wore women’s clothes (besides the videos) =
no, but if I wanted to, I would

Considering shaving = sometimes, just too superstitious to do it

Gotten vaginal juices on your beard =many times, but probably not enough

High fived a midget = I don’t high five anybody

Punched an artist = no, but I bet most of them would like to punch me

Enjoyed the smell of your own farts = too stupid to answer

Touched another man’s penis = only with a rubber on, through the membrane of a woman’s private areas.

21. Time for Metal Sludge’s Word Association. We mention a name and you give us your thoughts.

David Lee Roth =
very talented front man with a superstar image, but has wasted his talent for many years. I wanted "Slam Dunk" to be on the Armageddon soundtrack, because I thought it sounded great, as a number one rock track, but he said no.

Journey = One ot the greatest American rock bands of all time. I wish Steve Perry was still with them as the singer, but that won’t happen, so it’s great that they are moving forward with their new singer, Steve Augeri, so that people can hear their music.

Iron Maiden = Great band, great performers, I don’t understand very much about their music, but I appreciate their longevity and appeal.

Cher = One of the most talented people I ever met. Can do anything she puts her mind to: sing, act, pretty muchanything artistic. But she’s one of the laziest artist I ever met and fairlythoughtless.

Kid Rock =Liked him when I’ve met him. At least he’s trying to be a rock star, unlike all the other douche bags in many other new bands.

Desmond Child = Really great songwriter and good producer too. Distracted by doing too many (business things).

Fred Durst =Great marketer.

Dana Strum =Nice guy and good musician.

Jani Lane = Don’t know him.

Rick Rubin = Great marketer as well, good producer when he’s focused. People think I’m him. I should start charging stuff to his account.

Tommy Lee = Cool guy, good musician, should go back to Motley Crue.

Bret Michaels =Star front man, good guy, still relevant.

David Geffen = The smartest person I ever met, ever. Knows more than I forgot. I’ll always be indebted to him, because he allowed me to be famous enough for people to want to know my answers to these questions.

Ahmet Ertegen =A legend in the music business. Gave me my start in A&R. I’ll always be thankful to him for that.

Now this could have been a great interview had Kalodner not puss’d out on a few questions. There is no excuse to puss out of "Which Do You Prefer?" That’s a softball question. Yeah, we know he rarely does interviews and that we should be happy with what we got, but since when have we ever been satisfied with anything? So instead of a great interview, we get an ok interview. Oh well, that’s sludge.

Well if you are interested in finding out more about Kalodner, you can go to his new website at www.johnkalodner.com.

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