Rewind with Marc Ferrari KEEL guitarist.
It’s June 1st and we’re gonna kick it off with a Marc Ferrari rewind. As many of you know, KEEL has reunited and are doing some summer festival dates. We first did a 20 Questions with Marc back in January 2003 >HERE< Let’s catch up and see what’s new in his world, enjoy.
1. Here is your chance to plug your stuff, shows, sites, projects, etc…
Well, the big news is that 2009 is Keel’s 25-year anniversary and that to celebrate the occasion, we have all come out of the witness protection program to do a series of Reunion dates. The main website address for the band is www.keelband.com, we update it all the time. From there you can visit KeelTV, which includes all our videos and some rare footage of various interviews, etc. Our first show was at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood back in January…for me it was my first show in over 21 years with Keel, the last one being December 1987 at the Country Club with Warrant as our openers. We have since done a few more shows including the South Texas Rock Fest with Queensryche (with whom we played the same venue back in 1986) and next week will be part of the M3 Festival with Twisted Sister, RATT, Extreme, Kix, Y&T and others. Personally, I don’t have any other “solo” projects going on, I am making Keel my priority.
2. We chatted with Ron & Bryan in the recent months about the reunion. Now it’s your turn to fill us in, plans for KEEL in 2009, new record, when, etc..?
We will be starting a new record next month with Pat Regan (Kiss, Harlow, Billy Sheehan, Richie Blackmore, Warrant, etc), it will be released on CD (will update you with label info as soon as the ink is dry) and digitally. Not sure of the release date yet, perhaps later this fall or possibly early 2010. Speaking of which, Universal has made available “The Final Frontier” and “Keel” available for digital download…”Lay Down The Law” is also available and we should have “The Right To Rock” available shortly.
KEEL reunion shoot 2009
3. We asked about a reunion back in 2003 and you said: “As far as a tour goes, I don’t think it’s gonna happen” However, here we are, and dates are booked. How did it come to be?
Well, we’re not doing a full-blown “tour,” rather weekend warrior dates. Also, back in 2003 I had just become a first time father and was full-steam with developing my business so the thought of a reunion was further back in my mind…with our 25-year anniversary here in 2009, it felt like the natural time to do this. In this case, I’m glad I proved myself wrong!
Bryan Jay, Kenny Chaisson, Dwain Miller, Marc Ferarri & Ron Keel (front)
4. The band is 4/5 of the way back. What happened with Kenny Chaisson?
Kenny is our brother in blood and obviously a big part of what made Keel what it was. Sadly, none of us have had much dialog with him in the past decade after we came together in 1998 to finish Keel VI: Back In Action. He has chosen to remain at arm’s length with all of us. That’s his decision and I have to respect that, but for the life of me I don’t understand what his reasons are. I know he’s a devoted family guy and is working hard to support his clan, so maybe that’s part of it.
5. Describe the first 2 hours of your day?
My 6-year old daughter always is the first one up at about 6:00am so that’s how my day starts. Then it’s either at the gym or taking her to school. I’m usually “multi-tasking” on the Blackberry!
Marc Ferarri with Spongbob Squarepants (Marc is on the left)
6. Rate a scab 1-10. This is where you rate guys in bands who are not original members. A 1 being a bloody scab and a 10 being a nicely healed scab.
Bucket Head playing guitar in Guns n’ Roses = Not familiar with him, but I don’t see how you can call it GnR without Slash.
Johnny Solinger singing in Skid Row = Not familiar with him, but if he passed the muster with the other guys he must be good.
Tommy Thayer playing guitar in KISS = 10 Tommy’s the perfect guy for that job. Compared to Ace, he’s got all the riffs without the riff raff.
John Norum on guitar in Dokken = 8 I guess. I saw John in Dokken a while back, he’s a great player.
Robert Mason singing in Warrant = 10 Love Robert’s voice, big fan of the Cry of Love CD he did and the Big Cock stuff.
James LoMenzo playing bass in Megadeth = Haven’t seen Megadeth with James, but I know James is a fine player so lets go with 9.
Kelly Hansen fronting Foreigner = 10 Kelly’s a great singer and has the looks, pipes and stage presence. I’ve seen Foreigner several times with Kelly, they rocked hard.
Robbie Crane on bass in Ratt = He shouldn’t be considered a scab as he’s been with the band so long now.
Wolfgang Van Halen playing bass in place of Michael Anthony = You’re hitting a touchy subject here. He’s got the DNA and pulled off the vocals when I saw him. I’d give him a 10, considering he was just 16 at the time. Lot of pressure for someone that young to raise to that level right out of the starting gate.
Geno Arce playing bass in KEEL = who’s that???
Ferrai w/ Oni Logan on vocals before Georger Lynch stole him for Lynch Mob
7. In your 1st interview you gave George Lynch a 0 in rate a guitarist & had some not so positive things to say about him based on events from the past. Have you ever run into him since, is there still some anger, or is this all water under the bridge nearly 20 years later?
I’d really like to set the record straight here because this question just does not seem to want to go away. I was probably in a snotty mood the last time, because I really admire and respect George as a guitarist. Obviously, he’s one of the greatest players of our genre. I remember getting the first Dokken album some time in 1983 when I was still in Boston and how impressed I was back then. As far as what happened between he, myself and Oni way back in 1989 (yes, 20 freaking years ago) it truly is water under the bridge. If the show was on the other foot, I probably would have done the same thing so I can’t blame him for it. Truth be told, he probably did me a favor, although it wasn’t apparent at the time. Oni was an interesting guy and had to be handled with kid gloves. Various issues with him with the Lynch Mob have been documented, and I can only guess they would have happened with us. And yes, I have run into George several times since, the most recent being last year when we were in line together waiting to see the Van Halen rehearsal show at the Forum. The subject has not come up in the times we have seen each other. I’m sure he’s just as tired as I am of answering this question.
Keel & Queensryche
8. How do you think the internet has hurt, helped or enhanced the music industry over the new millennium?
If you’re talking about major labels then the internet has hurt them, but if you’re talking about the independent artist, then the internet has been their best friend. A classic two-edged sword depending what side you’re on. Eventually, the major labels will have to change the way they market and monetize their product if they want to still have a viable business model.
9. What’s new with your music company Master Source?
Big news on the MasterSource front is that on January 1st of 2007, it was acquired by Universal Music Publishing Group, and I remained on as its president to run it for them. In an interesting coincidence, Keel was distributed by MCA (which folded into Universal) so I started a second career with the Universal family nearly 22 years later. I have the perfect situation because I love what I do and am surrounded by a lot of great creative people who love music. Our CFO has been out to several of our shows and was down in front rocking out harder than most of the other so-called diehard fans! We continue to place music in a wide range of TV shows, films, (we have 2 songs in Wolverine, stick around and watch the credits) videogames, movie trailers, network promos, etc. Check out www.mastersource.com
Marc Ferarri & Tommy Thayer
10. You said this about KISS in your original 20’s with us.“I think the whole KISS situation is starting to look like an ad for Spinal Tap if you ask me. Though I’m happy for Tommy Thayer, (who’s been one of my best friends since I moved here to L.A.) I think the constant revolving door of line-up changes is diluting the legacy the band has / had, and that it’s not fair to the die-hard fans.”Do you still have the same stance about KISS?
At the time of that interview, you never knew which version of KISS would be touring. One tour might be the 4 original guys, the next it might be Gene, Paul, Ace and Eric Singer, or Gene, Paul, Peter Criss and Tommy. At least now, they have “stabilized” with the current line-up. I can’t fault Gene and Paul for wanting to keep a multi-million dollar business entity going…it’s their prerogative and they are certainly entitled to do it. I’m over it!
11. Sadly enough we all grow old, and even worse – some of our brothers have left us far too early. What are your memories of the following fallen comrades.
Kevin DuBrow of Quiet Riot = We toured with Quiet Riot in 1986. Kevin was always the life of the party and very friendly to us. Had a great rock ‘n roll heart.
Randy Castillo of Ozzy Osbourne Band = Got to hang with him on numerous occasions and we did jam a few times. Really sweet guy who was a friend to everyone. Obviously a monster drummer.
Robin Crosby of Ratt = We never played with Ratt, and unfortunately never got to know him that well. I do remember a “power table” at the Rainbow one night…it was me, Ozzy, Bon Jovi and Robin….I was thinking to myself “if my friends could see me now”!
Dave Williams of Drowning Pool = Never met him
Eric Carr of KISS = Wow…talk about guys with a big heart Eric took the prize. He was as much of a fan of everyone else as people were of him. He used to call me just to say hello and see how I was doing. I remember he was very artistic and was working on developing some characters for a TV show…His drumming speaks for itself, he was amazing. Really miss him.
Joey Ramone of The Ramones = Never met him
Ray Gillen of Badlands = What an amazing talent and great guy. Cold Sweat was forming/recording around the same time as Badlands…we rehearsed in the same facility and wound up opening some shows for them. I remember having Ray and Eric Singer over my apartment to hang.
Dave Prichard of Armored Saint = Another really nice guy who was very friendly and supportive of me when I had just moved to L.A. He was another one who used to call me just to check in and say hello. We did several shows with Armored Saint.
Cliff Burton of Metallica = Never met him, although we were supposed to open for them in 1986 and that was when James broke his wrist skateboarding. I remember hearing the news about the accident and how bad we all felt.
Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott of Pantera = Not enough space to tell you all the amazing memories of Darrell I have. I was lucky enough to have known him for about as long as anyone outside of Dallas…he was still 18 when they came to the first Keel show in Dallas back in 1985. He made everyone feel like you were his best friend. Of course, he was always the center of the cyclone, like Keith Moon on steroids. Heaven must be partying harder than ever.
BTW, I toured with Minoru Niihara (Loudness), Chris Oliva (Savatage) and Paul Hackman (Helix) all of whom are sadly not with us anymore.
12. Speaking of Dimebag, since we last talked to you he was murdered. You were involved in the early career for Pantera and gave the band a lot of help with their 1st deal, some press, and producing demos. How did this tragedy affect you?
It’s one of those times where you’ll always remember where you were when you heard the news. At first it was disbelief, I thought it was just a rumor or something which could not be confirmed, because that very first evening, the story kept changing. Next day, as I had some contact with some of his inner circle, I just had the feeling of complete dread and sorrow. A certain amount of anger, too as I could not believe there’d be a human being capable of ending the life of someone who had the heart as big as Darrell had. I attended the private funereal which was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. On one hand there was a lot a lot of grief being shared communally, but on the other, an almost circus/party-like atmosphere surrounding the proceedings. (KISS coffin, huge “party” at his house before the ceremony etc, which incidentally would have been just the way Darrell would have wanted it). I chose not to stay for the public service at the local convention center…by the end of the private service I was drained and wanted to reflect by myself so I flew home before the 2nd service.
13. You also said: ”If Van Halen ever got their act together it would be absolutely monstrous, that’s a wet dream for a lot of diehard fans .I hope I live to see it!!” Well, it’s come and gone, minus Mr. Anthony on bass. What is your take on it? Did you go? Was it the wet dream you thought it would be?
Yes I did go, I was invited to the rehearsal which they had at the Forum and got to say hello to Ed before the show. Yes, it was awesome to see Ed and Dave together again. Of course, they are one of the greatest frontman/lead guitar pairings in recorded history. So on that level it was incredible to see them together again. Yes, for the sake of authenticity it would have been “better” to have Michael involved, but if you closed your eyes, you’d never know the difference, as Wolfie sings like Michael and played his parts very closely. So maybe it wasn’t a wet dream but a moist one, and I’ll take moist over dry any day.
14. If you could be a toilet seat for any celebrity who would it be?
I take crap from a lot of people already, but suppose I could take a bit more from Angelina Jolie or Kim Bassinger!
Marc in ‘Steel Assasin’ rocking the backyard parties (1981)
15. Memory Lane with Marc Ferrari. What do you remember about the following years.
1976 = First concert!! Kiss/Brownsville Station in Niagara Falls. Also saw Black Sabbath with Ted Nugent opening that year. I remember the bi-centennial also…I strung up fishing line between 2 trees and blasted a model rocket .
1980 = The year I graduated high school. My band at the time played everyone’s party, we had a great time, the drinking age was 18 back in New York then so everyone was “in the mood.” Lots of great concerts that summer, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Whitesnake among others. Writing to Mike Varney at Guitar Player who would later play a role in my career. Moved to Boston in November of that year.
1983 = Playing all over with my Aerosmith cover band in Boston, recording sessions with Jimmy Miller (Rolling Stones, etc), making trips to New York City to party, listening to Gary Moore, getting early EPs/LPs from L.A. metal bands like Ratt, Great White, Dokken, Motley Crue and thinking “that’s what we need to do.”
1987 = The year Keel opened for Motley Crue (Theater of Pain tour I think) and Bon Jovi on their Slippery When Wet tour, playing massive sold-out arenas for the first time including 3 nights at Madison Square Garden, actually thinking it might be possible for Keel to do the same some day. 3 weeks later we were back playing clubs and it was the beginning of the end for me.
1990 = The year my 2nd band “Cold Sweat” released its only album, after a nearly 2-year struggle overcoming numerous hurdles no one should have to go thru. Playing with Savatage, Sleeze Beez and Dio, going to Germany to play the Monsters of Rock festival with Whitesnake, Aerosmith, Poison and Dio. Getting dropped by MCA while we were still on the road.
1993 =Trying to figure out what my next move would be, eventually forming a band called Medicine Wheel which would record 3 albums, go to Japan and have moderate success. Shot Wayne’s World 2. Started placing more and more music in TV shows/films.
1998 = Recording the last of the Medicine Wheel CDs, watching Michael Jordan in the NBA finals in the studio. Traveling throughout the American Southwest exploring this great country.
2001 = Meeting my wife, exploring the Canadian Rockies, of course that infamous day in September.
2004 = Figuring out the delicate balancing act of being a dad, a husband and a business person all at the same time trying to stay creative.
2008 = My dad had a close call with some health issues, it was very intense for a while.
Marc with some groupie named Barbara (1984)
16. Kill, Fuck, Marry. (Cher, Sharon Osbourne, Sharon Stone)
How about Cher and Sharon Stone fuck each other, get married and then Sharon Osbourne kills them both?
17. Reality TV has gotten so big, it’s almost a secondary career for some and seems to have helped build some fan base or pro long careers. There are shows with many rockers on them including Ozzy, Bret Michaels, Jani Lane, Sebastian Bach, Ted Nugent and Scott Ian to name a few. What is your take on these shows. And are they good or bad for the music?
I think it’s good. Anytime one form of media (TV) can help another form (Music) reach a wider audience I think it’s a win. As you mentioned, in many cases these TV shows have jump-started stagnated careers. Funny how you don’t see music jump-starting any actor’s careers, though.
18. Speaking of Jani Lane. You said this about him: “I feel bad that he’s gotten tagged with a bad rap.” He returned to Warrant last year, and the band had high hopes for a big reunion, shows, and it all fell apart. Do you think after several more “bad moves” over the last several years that Jani has indeed gotten “tagged with a bad rap” or is this a guy who has thrown it away more times than most could only dream of?
Again, those comments were made nearly 6 years ago, before this most recent attempt at a reunion and you’re right, he has had many opportunities to atone to his friends/fans and for whatever reasons has not taken advantage of those opportunities. I don’t feel bad for him now, I feel sad.
Marc says: "Hey Ron, have you seen my extra tube socks?"
19. Tell us about your rock n’ roll regrets. Have you had some, what are they and why?
I can honestly say that I’ve been at peace with all the decisions I’ve made in my career, from the decision to move west in 1983 to the decision to leave Keel in 1988, to the decision to “retire” from playing music to develop my business to the decision to explore opportunities for Keel in 2009. Do I wish certain things may have gone differently along the way? Of course, but I don’t regret anything.
20. The Last of Marc Ferrari…Part II.
The last famous person you shook hands with = Bill Clinton
The last new rock band you really got excited about = King’s X, sometime in 1989
The last time you had full blown diarrhea = Probably on the road back in 1990
The last time you bought a ticket for a concert = Fleetwood Mac, just last week. $150 !!
The last time you cried = Dropping my daughter off at school a few weeks ago. I was overcome by the joy of seeing her play with her friends and realizing how precious she is.
The last time you got drunk = I’m drunk now, isn’t everybody??
The last time you broke a guitar string live = Probably 1990 the same day I had diarrhea!
The last KEEL song you rehearsed with the band = The Right To Rock, last song in the set….
The last time you bleached a streak in your hair = Funny you mention that. The blond streak has come out of retirement as well, just brought it back a few weeks ago! I had been getting a lot of “peer pressure” about resurrecting it. Even Dee Snider said I had to do it or he’d throw us off the bill.
The last time you heard someone talk about Metal Sludge = What are you, the C.I.A.??
We’d like to thank Marc and KEEL for being down with the Sludge!
The Right to Sludge