John Corabi - Winter 2019
Many people will know John Corabi through his work with bands such as The Dead Daisies, Mötley Crüe, Ratt and The Scream, but what many people may not be aware of is that this iconic frontman also has a successful solo career. As a solo artist John tours the world with a full band that comprises his own son, Ian Corabi, on drums, and also as a one-man acoustic show. It’s the latter that we focus on here. Regular Rock Today readers will be familiar with our opinion that there can often be something incredibly powerful about one man and a guitar. John Corabi is absolutely no exception to this. His husky vocals provide a time-served quality that ensures the acoustic tales he tells are delivered with sincerity. John’s performances also exude an authenticity that can only be given by someone who has lived what he is singing about first hand. Overall, it’s a wholly immersive and overwhelming experience. As The Dead Daisies take a break, the new year sees John heading out across Europe to perform at 25 shows almost without any time off to catch his breath. On the eve of what appears to be quite a gruelling tour we catch up with John to understand what it means to be a solo artist and maintain the right to go out there on his own.
The new year sees you going out across Europe on an acoustic your. How important is it for your an artist to have your own solo career and what can fans expect from a John Corabi show?
You know, it’s funny. When I first started doing these – I did an acoustic record in 2012/13 or whatever – it was really important for me to go out and go ‘I’ve got to do these Scream songs and I’ve got to do these Motley songs and Union, some from this record and some from that record’. I’d look at the set and be trying to squeeze in like 30 songs, and then at the end – very much like The Dead Daisies I don’t charge anything for a meet and greets – I’d go and sit at the bar and order a Jameson and the fans would come up to me and go "Hey, so that second song you did, what’s that about?" or "why did you write that?" or "why did you cover that song?". So I found myself most of the time hanging with the fans talking about what my set list was about. So I thought maybe it’s not about quantity, it’s more about quality. I started over and did the set list and now what I do is I tell stories, I tell jokes - like if someone’s talking or I’ll see people going like this (Using their cell phone) and I’ll kid with them and I’ll fuck with them, like "Who are you talking to, buddy?", "It’s my wife", "Tell your fucking wife you’re at a goddamn show, come on!" (Laughs!) So my shows are low key, it’s very mellow, it’s informative, I’ll talk to people and tell them jokes. Like the last time I told a really improper joke, like ‘I really love Kate Beckinsale. I was here in London and I had the day off, I had sex with Kate Beckinsale and I’ve got to tell you 3 things about her: she’s tight as shit! Like it took me half an hour to get inside of her. I can do whatever I want and she never said a word. Number 3, the people at the wax museum have no sense of humour at all!" (Much laughter!). You know what I mean? So it’s just really low key and mellow and if I have any new inappropriate jokes I will probably tell them as well!
There are also 25 already scheduled for January and February - with more to be confirmed - where there is hardly any time off. How do you prepare for and survive such a punishing schedule?
Again, it’s not that hard. Acoustic stuff for me, short of me being sick or something like that, the acoustic shows aren’t that difficult because I can kind of pace myself. I can tell my stories, I can stretch them out a little bit, I can change the melodies, I’m not really pushing that hard because it is acoustic. When I talk to my agent, I say I’ll do 3 shows, 4 max because I don’t want to kill myself. So we do 4, 1 day off, 4, 1 day off or whatever. But I like it. I don’t have a bus. I have a tour manager named Nicholas, we’ll get on a train and go from Scotland to London or take a plane from Heathrow to wherever, and then it’s just trains or cars and just chill. With my acoustic thing I can play with the melodies if I’m feeling a little tired, or I can stretch my stories out a little bit. You’re still going to get a great show but there’s a little more freedom and leeway there. And I’m not working everyday like I do with The Dead Daisies so it’s a little easier. I also want to bring my band over here, (to the UK), my solo band. My son is my drummer and he’s been like "Fuck, I want to go to England" and I would love to bring him. It’s just trying to sort out how I can bring my guys over. Everybody’s like "you just come over and we will hire a band over here" and I’m like "What?!". What did they do like back in the 70s? Ozzy Osbourne didn’t come over to America and hire another Black Sabbath over there. He brought the band over! There has to be a way for me to work this out, bring my band over, still get visas, do everything legally, and still be able to pay people and make money. Everybody is trying to dissuade me from doing that and just come over and hire a band in Europe or hire a band in the UK, and I’m like "No, I have a band. I want to bring my son and my band over with me so let’s figure out how we can make it work." If we can’t then I’m not coming. I’ll do an acoustic thing.
As our conversation draws to a close, we reflect on what a truly special and rare opportunity it is to see this incredibly gifted frontman perform a generation’s worth of material on an acoustic guitar. We simply can’t reinforce enough the overwhelming impact one man and a guitar can have. We highly recommend that you grab a ticket and experience it for yourself.
To find out more and to book tickets, visit www.johncorabimusic.com. In the meantime, enjoy the taster video below of John performing Man In The Moon.