By Scott Halasz
XENIA — Being influenced by 70s musicians like Led Zepplin, Aerosmith, Bad Company and Grand Funk Railroad, one would immediately wonder why John Corabi would end up in Motley Crue.
Corabi, who replaced Vince Neil as the glam rock band’s lead singer for a short time and now fronts The Dead Daisies, can’t answer that question.
“I haven’t been in the band for 20 years but I’m still sitting here wondering how that happened,” he said via phone from the tour bus prior to a concert with KISS in Green Bay, Wis. “To me the greatest time frame of music is when the Beatles did ‘Revolver’ (released in 1966) until about 1980. That’s the stuff I grew up listening to, embraced.”
But for Corabi, an opportunity to play with Tommy Lee and continue to make music was too great.
“This is all I know how to do,” Corabi said. “I just like keeping busy. I’ve been doing this for 30 years. You don’t want me along in a room with nothing to do. That could be hazardous.”
Corabi and his Dead Daisies bandmates won’t be alone when they take the stage at the Nutter Center Monday, Aug. 22 as the opening act for KISS.
In reality, the band doesn’t need to open for anyone. Sort of a supergroup, the five members all have played with some well-known bands. Corabi also played with The Scream, while guitarist Doug Aldrich played with Whitesnake and Dio; bassist Marco Mendoza with Whitesnake and Thin Lizzy; drummer Brian Tichy with Ozzy Osbourne and Billy Idol; and guitarist and founding member David Lowy with Red Phoenix and Mink.
In support of their third record, “Make Some Noise,” the Daisies headlined sold-out festivals in Europe and began a month with KISS in Green Bay earlier this month. A follow-up to “Revelucion,” the new record was produced by Marti Frederiksen, who has worked with Aerosmith, Def Leppard and Motley Crue.
The new record is replete with strong vocals, bluesy riffs, big choruses, powerful melodies and strong hooks.
“So far it’s been amazing,” Corabi said. “We’re getting really positive reviews from it. Fans are digging it. It’s actually charting, which is awesome. The live shows have been incredible.”
Chemistry has been the key for the Daisies.
“I just think that we’re having fun,” Corabi said. “It’s five guys that have known each other for 15 or 20 years. We’re all great friends. We love what we are doing. The audience is starting to pick up on it. We kid around, we joke. It’s a little contagious to the audience and they’re starting to embrace it.”
Despite what appears to be a revolving door lineup as the band’s official bio lists six former members, Corabi said that’s not the case.
“A lot of people look at the list and go ‘oh my gosh, these guys have had like 107 members,’ ” he said. “Some of the names that are on the list are just buddies of ours that have filled in for whatever reason, did a few shows. This lineup, we’re all very happy with it. The same guys that are touring right now are the same guys that are on the records and we’d like to keep it that way.”
That was the idea when the band first formed.
“Unfortunately, David Lowy, he kind of did this assbackwards,” Corabi joked. “Most of the bands spend their whole life finding the guys to jam with. They get the lineup then they start writing, they prepare for the first records.”
But Lowy and original lead singer Jon Stevens, who became the lead singer for INXS when former front-man Michael Hutchence died, wrote songs, then decided to do a record and form a band, according to Corabi.
“Part of it has been a process of elimination finding people that you can jam with,” he said. “Scheduling conflicts (arise).”
But with a solid lineup and a growing fan base, The Dead Daisies appear poised set for a long run of success. After the month with KISS, the band headlines shows in New York and Los Angeles before heading to Japan for a festival. Also on tap is another series of shows in Europe later this year.
For now, the band is enjoying its time with KISS.
“They’re amazing,” Corabi said. “We all have a long history with the guys as well. Gene (Simmons) tried to sign one of the first bands I was even in years ago. The history is there. I can’t say ‘thank you’ enough to them.”