Tom Keifer is on Solid Ground with his new album, The Way Life Goes

Posted: July 30, 2013 in '80s Rock, Blues, Entertainment, Hard Rock, Interview, New Music, New Release, rock, Tour
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TOM KEIFER Press Photo 1 (web)

Growing up in the 70’s/80’s, I listened to a LOT of ROCK n ROLL. One of my favorite bands from the 80’s was the Philadelphia based blues rock band CINDERELLA. I went to many of their concerts to just to hear the raspy, distinctive gritty voice of Tom Keifer. His vocals were incredible and always drew me to their music.  Tom had suffered some nodules on his vocal chords and at one time, left him unsure if we was going to ever be able to sing again.  Tom has succeeded in treating his issues with his vocal chords and continues to amaze us with his powerful and amazing voice.

Earlier this year, Tom released his solo record, The Way Life Goes on Merovee Records (through WMG ILG) and went out on the first part of his tour in support of the album. Tom has two singles out from this spectacular album, Solid Ground and The Flower Song.  We are excited to bring you our interview with Tom Keifer.

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Music Junkie Press: Hi Tom, Thank you for taking the time out to talk with us here at Music Junkie Press.

We have been enjoying your solo record, “The Way Life Goes” and we can’t wait to see you out here on the West Coast. Do you have any upcoming plans to play out here in California?

Tom: Well, we were just out there in May, when we did the Canyon Club  and in Anaheim at the House of Blues. But I am sure we will be coming out that way again. We are actually on a break from the tour at the moment. We have been touring off and on since February, way before the record was released so we are in a bit of a rest period. Other than that, we are playing this week at the NFL Hall of Fame Induction Celebration in Canton.

Music Junkie Press: We got to see for the taping at That Metal Show and you were great on it. Was that your first time on the show?

Tom: Yes, that was the day before we played at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills. I have known Eddie for a long time, I love Eddie. I have talked to him a lot on his radio show but hadn’t done That Metal Show yet. It was a lot of fun.

Music Junkie Press: You were great on the show! Now, your album is filled with passionate and emotionally driven songs, do you have a particular songwriting process or ritual?

Tom: Well, I try to write from real inspirations and it always starts from a lyric for me. Even the hard and heavy songs that you would think that started on guitars actually started from lyrics. So that inspiration can come at any time, you can be driving down the road or in aisle 6 at Home Depot. You got this idea in your head and then you are racing for an instrument to try and figure out what you are hearing. I will hear a lyric, a song title, or a chorus or line or something usually with a melody and it grows from there.

Music Junkie Press: I know that all songs tend to be like our children, we can’t play favorites but which song on your album might be the one closest to your heart or that special one?

Tom: I think the most special one isThick and Thin. I wrote that for my wife Savannah when she was going through a really hard time and it was just my thing that I will always be there for her.

Music Junkie Press: That is a beautiful song. How about one of my favorites, “You Showed Me”, what is the story behind that song?

Tom: Well that is actually the flip side of what I just said. I wrote that for Savannah because she was there for me when I went through a hard time.She was my person who was always there for me so that was my thank you to her, where as in Think and Thin,that was me telling her that I would always be there for her.

Music Junkie Press: Those songs are incredible and beautiful together. How old were you when you started playing music ?

Tom: I first started playing guitar when I was 8 years old. I saw the Beatles on television and also started at that early age watching The Monkees on TV. I loved their songs and I loved Mike Nesmith guitar playing and that is when I first started playing guitar. My Mom had a teacher come to the house and I learned acoustic guitar and the basic chords, and the teacher would make me sing while I played. Then a few years later I heard Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones and that is what really took me down the road to rock and hard rock stuff. That was the 70’s and there was so much incredible inspiration at that time for a young musician learning how to play. I could list the bands, probably all day from the 70’s that inspired me.  There were just so many. From Lynyrd Skynyrd to the Eagles to Janis Joplin, and  Rod Stewart, Deep Purple, Aerosmith, Heart, Fleetwood Mac. It just goes on and on, it was such a great time for music. Also progressive stuff too like Kansas and Yes. Great time for music and that is when I learned about writing, playing and singing.

Music Junkie Press: Can you remember what is the first song you learned how to play in its entirety?

Tom: In its entirety? I don’t know, but I remember when I first starting playing guitar, an older kid in the neighborhood  taught me the electric guitar riff tor Sunshine of Your Love. I didn’t even really know the song, I just heard him playing and said, “That is cool sounding and can you show me how to play that?” and he showed me and of course I struggled to play because it was the first electric, plugged in, blues rock riff I ever played.

Music Junkie Press: That is a great song too! With  musicians there are all kinds of milestones, ; first concert, first recording but we all know with guitarists a major milestone, which is  do you remember your first Les Paul?

Tom: My first Les Paul was and Ibanez copy and it was like a black copy of a Gibson custom. That held me over for a while but I had my eye on a real Gibson custom Les Paul that was hanging on the wall at the local music shop and my Mom actually used that to bribe me to finish high school. I was not the most academic and I had some challenges with academics and she, being a very wise woman, knew that was like the Golden Ring for me, and said if I got through high school she would buy it. And she did and I still have it today. That was my first real Gibson.

Music Junkie Press: Yes, I believe that there should be a place on Facebook for the milestone of when someone gets their first Gibson Les Paul! In the past 20 years, with the technology advancing at a such a rapid rate, with the addition of the internet, social sites, digital cameras, etc  is there something from today that you wish you had when you were growing up.

Tom: Not really. No, not really at all, To be honest, I think we have too much today.

Music Junkie Press: Personally for me it would be the cell phone instead of carrying around pocket full of change to call home if I was late.

Tom: The first cell phone I saw back in the 80’s, I went WOW,that is like the Jetsons, I got to have one of those so I bought one. Of course this was like early in the game so the thing cost like a grand and the monthly service fee was insanely expensive. We all remember those old analog ones. I was one of the first kids on the block to have one because I thought, Oh cool, we are like the Jetsons now. To me now, I think back to the simpler time when it was just the phone on the wall with the coil chord and like Joe Walsh says, “Just leave a message and maybe I’ll call”. I don’t like this anyone can get to you anywhere, anytime, through a cell phone, through text, through Facebook, through email, There are so many ways of communication, I mean it is convenient but I think it also splinters our focus  a little bit. It is a catch 22. It is kind of what the song “Fools Paradise” is about on the new record.

Music Junkie Press:  Yes, especially with the younger generation. I feel they don’t go out as much as we did, they tend to communicate through all these different ways but yet not as much on a personal contact level. It has become harder to get them offline and out there to shows. Do you have advice to get them out from behind their computers/devices?

Tom: Are you referring to the people who just back and watch everything on Youtube?

Music Junkie Press: Yes, that too. Even buying music, they just download one song. There used to be such an excitement level when you went into the record store, put on the headphones and found new music. You buy the album, the tangible product and now they just pick up a song and that is it.

Tom: Well I think every generation has their way and it is not wrong. I think that what would probably help people to be more into whole works of arts or records is that artists create whole works of art or whole records. Like a Physical Graffiti or an Exile on Main Street, or Hotel California – are some of the ones I grew up on. Or Fleetwood Mac Rumors, Aerosmith’s well of them; Toys in the Attic. Those were incredible albums from beginning to end. I think there are still some artists that still do that but I think with the shrinking budgets at record companies, artist development isn’t what it used to be, recording  budgets are nott what they used to be. So I think less and less we are nott getting great full albums. That is the Catch- 22  of the lost revenues from downloading. I don’t know that the average listener out there or fan realizes that by swiping music you kind of hurt the art itself and record companies. I mean, I know everyone views the record companies as the big evil corporate thing or whatever but there is a lot of good that comes from them too. They do help to develop artists and back in the 60s, 70 s and the 80s when we were coming up, they stayed with you and they developed you. They made sure you were working in the best studios, working with the best engineers and the best producers and that is a good thing. That is how you get great albums. That still goes on today, don’t get me wrong, I just think it is less artists get the opportunity for that because of the budgets and the mentality of the record companies have changed, due to lost revenues and we all know why. There are many reasons of why that has happened and a lot of that has to do with the technology we have. The second the first audio file transmitted over the internet we were really all sunk. In terms of what the door it had opened up for causing  problems within the industry.

Music Junkie Press: Yes, I agree. With the good the internet brought, it also brought a lot of evils and the downside of it. We were all excited about it and didn’t think of all the bad things it brought as well.

Tom: There are conveniences. I remember back when if you had wanted to get a song to someone or a file to someone, it was called Fed EX. Now, I love the convenience of if I have a song and I need to send it someone, a musician or the record label, I can just BOOM, send an email but obviously that has opened the door for people to be able to steal music or listen to music anytime they want and it has affected the whole business. I am not just talking about the artist’s and the record company’s pockets, I mean obviously peopled deserve to be paid fairly for their music but I think not a lot of people realize how much that actually affects the money going back  into developing talent as well. That is the flip side of that and to me is the bigger side of the issue.

Music Junkie Press: If we could peak into your iPod/mp3 player what would we be most surprised at seeing in there?

Tom: I like everything. I still listen to all my old favorites from the 70s, a lot of the bands I just mentioned and those artists cause me to dig back even further to Blues, real authentic blues stuff. I listen to Son House ,and  Robert Johnson, and Muddy Waters, and all that stuff that I have more of an appreciation for. And then coming into more current stuff, really current, is Imagine Dragons, Bruno Mars. I have the utmost respect and admiration for someone that can sing like him. I mean he is incredible. There has been some hard rock acts that I have liked in some recent yearsl Buckcherry, I think is really bad ass. The first two Jet Records I just love, I thought they were just incredible, high energy hard rock records.  Unbelievable angst in the vocals, high energy tracks and just really great stuff. So there are a few there that I like.

Music Junkie Press:  Those are all great artists to be listening to and Jet just delivers some solid nonstop energy on those albums. We love the video for Solid Ground which has us excited to see you live, are you working on any more videos from the album?

Tom: We have talked about doing one for The Flower Song. I think at some point we will probably do something for that one.

Check out the Video for Solid Ground: 

 

Music Junkie Press: If you could go back to your 14 year old self, what advice would you give to yourself?

Tom: Hmmm, I don’t know. Honestly I think I could turn that around. I think my 14 year old self could probably give myself today some good advice, and that would maybe be to stop and smell the flowers a little more.

Music Junkie Press: That is awesome! Best answer yet. We are always looking back at how we could change things but if we kept our insight back then.

Tom: Ya, Kids do. I mean because I have a 9 year old son now, and I will be stressing out all day taking of business and working, and I watch him and he is not even thinking about the clock.  In terms of wisdom, there is a probably a  lot I could learn from my 14 year old self. Obviously it works the other way around too but there is something very pure about the wisdom of youth. I question around and say that I could probably think I could have learned something from 14 year old me.

Music Junkie Press: I always wonder if we would even listen to advice we give ourselves! I know most 14 year olds would not even listen to our own advice!

Tom: That is the problem. I actually had that thought and lost it and you brought it back to me. You are right, we don’t listen. Because I tell him things all the time and he just looks at me like “I got it covered Dad, don’t worry”. I am like alright, come talk to me when you are thirty.

Fan submitted question from Ryan:  What does a band have to do to catch your eye and make them your new favorite band in today’s world?

Tom: I don’t know. Man, if I could just state that in a couple sentences, I could just put it in a bottle and sell it. I am thinking in every decade there has been different launch methods for artists. I think some of them remain the same throughout the years. I think radio is still a very powerful thing. Obviously in this day and age, social media and Youtube are very powerful. Youtube, I guess is what MTV was for us in the 80s. Fans can go on 24/7 and see their favorite artists constantly, videos, live videos, shows. You name it. That is kind of what MTV was for us only it blasted into your living room.

Music Junkie Press: Ya, we had to wait a while to get it in our area but I remember being glued to the set the first weekend we had it.

Tom: Yes, we were too. We were amazed by it and some of the videos were very clever back then. I still love watching a lot of those early videos. It is what created the whole MTV meeting the music, that visual, it was in the 80s the first time that there was that huge visual aspect. I think it is what created the whole over the top imagery that we all had. And not just the rock bands, but even with the pop stars, I mean look at Cindy Lauper, Madonna, Boy George. Everything, from an image standpoint was just tenfold over the top. I think MTV created that because we were all on film.

Music Junkie Press: Yes, I remember watching and seeing what they were wearing and wanting to dress like them. I remember my 80’s clothes or cut up shirts, so much fashion and fads came from them. It was no longer someone just singing on an album. It was incredible, you got to see them, how they look, dress, act.

Tom: Yes, It was a very creative colorful time because of that visual and everyone was trying to take it to the next level and over the top. It was all genres of music and ultimately, it is what toppled it because it started to become the focus. I mean in the media, or at least the critics, the focus was more on the image and that somehow took away from the music. But NO, actually the music still holds up, so the focus got placed on that imagery because it was so over the top. I think, t was the thing that ultimately toppled the whole thing.

Fan submitted question from Kristi: When you are touring what is your favorite meal to have?

Tom: Usually when I am on the road, it is a pretty physical and intense high energy show so I usually eat light on a show day. And on a day off, it is kind of like I get as much food as I can. I like something pretty heavy, like a nice steak and potato, to kind of refill the reservoir.

Fan submitted question from Vito: What is your biggest pet peave?

Tom: We all have lots of those. My biggest one? I am just going to be very general and just say hypocrisy. It is my biggest pet peeve. There is nothing more annoying than someone saying one thing and doing another so I am just going to go with a very general concept.

Music Junkie Press: I know you just released this album, but we would love to know if you are planning on doing more solo work?

Tom: Yes, we are just getting started. We have another rock single being released I believe in September, is the impact date of that one. Cold Day in Hell is that one. The label will continue t work the Flower Song as a single and we will be getting back out on the road. We are kind of in the middle of the break right now. Like I said, we toured from February and ended about  the end of June, right after the Letterman performance. We wanted a little bit of a break and we will be getting back on the road soon.

Music Junkie Press: We are going to be sharing all your social media links and where everyone can pick up their copy of ‘The Way Life Goes” Lastly, is there anything else that you would like to share with our audience?

Tom: I would just like to thank the fans that have supported, not only my solo stuff here but Cinderella over the years. They are who we make the music for and they are the ones who keep it alive. It is greatly appreciated the support and the energy that they have shown to us over the years.

Music Junkie Press: Thank you very much for your time Tom and your album is definitely one I play from start to finish! Thank you for your great gift of music!

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I am looking forward to catching Tom when he is out on the road again. If you haven’t already make sure to pick up your copy of The Way Life Goes which is available everywhere! Get your copy and then let me know which is your favorite song! Check out Tom’s performance on the David Letterman show. Make sure to check out his social media sites and keep up to date on Tom’s tour dates.

 

~ Keep on rockin, Marisol

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Comments
  1. LizziSixxLovesYOU says:

    your voice has touched me for the past 20 years. i am so glad to be seeing you this year. the new album is incredible. i love CINDERELLA AND YOU TOM!

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