The Dead Daisies - Radiance - Autumn 2022
Back In The Saddle...
The 6th studio album from The Dead Daisies, Radiance, is an epic affair and it’s absolutely no surprise that the quality of this album, coupled with the love of their incredibly loyal fan base, would mean the inevitability of massive success the world over. Radiance is the second album with frontman, bass player and Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Glenn Hughes but it’s a record that also sees the return of drummer Brian Tichy following a 5 year absence. We catch up with Brian at home in Los Angeles to get the full story of how it came together. Of course it’s an absolutely gorgeous stunning day, and it’s a very relaxed Brian that warmly greets us. Wearing a checked shirt and noodling on the Les Paul it’s a very chilled ambience we are brought into. We make ourselves comfortable and our conversation begins…
Firstly I would like to pick up on the incredible success of the new album Radiance. It was Number 1 in the iTunes rock charts in five European countries and in Brazil, Number 2 in France and Italy, Number 3 in Australia, Number 4 in the UK and Number 7 in the US. This is just a snapshot and I could go on and on because this album has made a massive impact on the world over. How does it make you feel to hear what an incredible reception the new album has had?
When I saw a post that included a number of the chart positions, there are about two rows of charts and 20 different countries with different listings. And I was like “Wow! That’s pretty damn good!” I have no idea what to expect with stuff like that these days but I was very pleasantly surprised!
Before we talk more about the new album, let’s just talk about you for a moment. You returned to the band after an absence of around 5 years. How does it feel to be back and what have you noticed in terms of what’s changed and the growth of the band?
It was an easy thing to jump back into. When you’ve played in a band for a handful of years, even though another handful of years has gone by, apart from a couple of member changes the band hasn’t changed. Glenn is singing and playing bass now which wasn’t the case when I was previously in the band. If I didn’t know Glenn at all it would be a different thing but we’ve been friends for a long time. We’ve played together and we’ve crossed paths many times so it’s great! With David Lowy and Doug Aldrich on electric guitars and Glenn on bass and singing, I was like ‘This is going to be great, this is going to be fun!’. I’m not getting into a situation or into a band I haven’t been in before so it was really familiar territory. It was as easy as it could be really because I know the ropes of the band and I know the deal. One of the coolest things is that we got together to make new music rather than “Hey, Brian! Can you jump in and learn a new set and do a tour?” Yes, I could do that but basically I’d just be coming in and filling in to get a job done. But this was like ‘Let’s get in a room with a bunch of music and start hashing through it’. The creative process I think puts you in a tight position as far as being in a unified band is concerned and working together on a common goal. Being creative together is the best way to start that. We record an album together and then the next step is for us all to learn the set and then go on tour, but it’s also about showcasing songs from the new record. That’s been a steady process since we started touring. We are adding new songs in from the record and it’s all about promoting the new record. Of course the band wanted to promote the last record because Covid screwed that up so there is an emphasis on Holy Ground as well. But the big picture is that it’s been fun, easy and I’m really happy it went this way. To get that call when you’ve just kind of, as we all have, been struggling for a couple of years of pandemic and then to say “Hey! It’s the end of 2021, this is what we want to do it in 2022 - what do you think?” and I was like “Yeah! Great!” I want to get out there and play and The Dead Daisies is rock band that was ready to go, to make new music, to record and tour. It just worked out perfectly. In terms of changes it’s more around how we are all dealing with all of the changes, for example, post pandemic touring and all the precautions you’ve got to take, all the paranoia and all the potential rules and regulations that are changing while you’re travelling around the world and in different countries, but that’s a thing everyone deals with though. So it’s been great!
Of course, and returning to the band there’s new personnel with Glenn Hughes but of course your old friend Doug Aldrich was there to welcome you! I’ve had a good fortune to have been in the same room as yourself and Doug on a number of occasions and I do think that you have a very special relationship and Doug once said to me there always seems to be a sense of mischief when you two are together. Would you agree with that?
Yeah, but I blame that all on him! (Laughs!) For me, and the years that go by, if you can still retain a chunk of your youth in whatever capacity, I love that. It’s all a release for me. If I’m going to have fun or goof around or get silly or what ever you want to call it, that just represents trying to have a good time. I don’t understand people who don’t want to get - for want of a better term - immature or goof off or mischievous! There’s a comedian in all of us and some of us want to bring out more than others. It’s important to get a laugh out of it and that’s rock ‘n’ roll too! Humour keeps you living longer. So if I can be around people who let their guard down and you get into that frame of mind, it puts you more at ease with everything around you. I never wanted to grow up.
Well let’s talk about some of the songs because this is a wholly outstanding album that the band have created here. The first single was the title track Radiance which was released in June and it has a highly infectious industrial-meets classic rock-meets grunge vibe, creating a very unique style but still in The Dead Daisies DNA. How important was it for you to explore different sounds and styles on this record. What is this something you are consciously doing?
No, for me not at all. And it’s for a simple reason, that I’m the drummer and those guys had a ton of music already to go. Based on the fact that this is The Dead Daisies and it’s David Lowy’s band, I know for the most part where David is coming from as far as what he wants to be as a guitar player in a band which is a big loud rhythm guitar player. I couldn’t imagine the band straying too far from that style and I think what Glenn did, he’s going to come in with lyrics, melodies and music and Doug’s going to be bouncing of that. They’re all going to have bits and pieces to throw around but that was all pretty well organised before I got in the studio with them. They sent me a bunch of demos with somewhat random drum machine bits which was cool but it was an open pallet. I always ask a lot of questions because if you’re like the songwriter, or a part of what made the demo what it was, then I’m gonna ask you guys where you hear things. The great thing about Doug and Glenn is that Doug and I have worked together, and Glenn and I have worked together but not in the studio tracking on original new music. So I would ask Glenn a lot of questions like “What do you hear?”. He was surprised when I asked him when we were jamming if he would sing over the chorus because how he was going to sing over it affects how I’m going to play. I could make up something fine to the music but if I understand his vocal line and the melodies and I can catch that vibe from him, then maybe I could play a little bit more appropriately or tastefully. Glenn was surprised about that and maybe that’s not a normal thing for drummers, but that totally helps me because I’m trying to make the music move as much as possible and the drums are integral in there. So I knew it would be big loud guitars, Glenn will do his thing and I think that this record represents historically what we do very well. We didn’t try to write a prog concept record and we didn’t try to write a metal record. It’s big , loud guitars, man! It all makes sense to me and it would still it made sense if we’d have gone gone deeper into a funkier direction or deeper into more acoustics. It all makes sense, it’s The Dead Daisies and we’re a rock band, and this is also the kind of band where we want to be able to play all the songs live.
The single Face Your Fear was released in early September and it’s a perfect song to open the album. I think what’s interesting is the songs simplicity. It’s a wonderful example of how simple can also mean incredible. Would you agree with that and was this something you were specifically trying to achieve with this track?
I think that’s something that is an element of this band that’s always there. It’s okay to do the simple side of things because there’s always a balance. They will be hard rock bands and heavier bands where it’s a lot busier and the music is consistently busy but sometimes leaving space and keeping it simple, that’s the Yin to the Yang. It’s tension, release and excitement and with this band you can do that. Don’t be surprised if you’re going to hear something in this band that’s similar to the simplicity of Bad Company or AC/DC.
Your drumming on this album is of course absolutely spellbinding but there is one particular track which for me is all about the drums and that’s Born To Fly. I could just listen to that drum intro all day, and it was interesting to hear how you are writing your drum parts having regard to how Glenn might want to sing a particular chorus. How challenging is it to be able to stay so fresh and creative and to produce amazing new drum sounds and parts?
If you’ve done something your whole life and that’s what you do… If I could say one thing, it’s that I play drums, that’s what I do pretty much better than anything else I do. So fast forward to getting in a studio with a set of drums, a great producer and a great band, there are things that should just be given. I know the drum sound that would work with ‘this’. Ben Grosse the producer, he’s got his vision and we’re all kind of relying on him. Recording now is so not like recording in the 70s on 2 inch tape when you hit record and the editing was a pain in the ass! Literally cutting tape to edit. Or punching in and that punch had to be perfect! This is so easy now! It gives everybody endless options of changes and editing and rearranging which I love because I’ve had ProTools for like 20 years now. I know what I’m doing on ProTools. I don’t know the fancy stuff I love the basic stuff of recording music and that’s how I use ProTools. I love engineering and I love working in computer recording for rock and how immediate it is. It’s up to me to hit the drums consistently and it’s up to the guys on the other side of the window, the engineers and the producers, they take it and they mix it and there’s the record. I’m not hired to be that guy. I might have my opinion or my own thoughts or to be able to do it to an extent but I’m here to work with the band and Ben. I’ll ask a lot of questions and listen to what they’re saying, but one of the cool things about taking advantage of computer recording and digital recording is that will do a song like Born To Fly and we would finish the track and Ben would have notes. We talk through it and understand what works and do a handful of takes and see which one is the best to call the main drum take. And he might say “Hey Brian, after chorus 2 when it goes to the thing, just do something different or at the end give me different fills or you know when you went to the bell? Go to the crash”. We can do it that way because we can and because it’s so easy. We are also working on inspiration so it’s also about how it feels that day, in the moment and what’s working well. But that doesn’t mean if a couple weeks later when Doug is doing his guitars and if Glenn sings something a little differently, it might suggest the attitude has changed and that a little busier drum thing here or there is needed. Ben had all this at its fingertips to select from later. I don’t think he did a ton of taking from all those extra bits, I think it was just a few little things. That’s one of the advantages of digital recording these days and it would’ve been a pain in the ass back in the day! (Laughs!) But from a drumming perspective, the guys know what I’m doing, they trust me and I’ve been doing this a long time!
The great news for fans is that you’re coming back to play a 9 date UK and Ireland tour this December. What are you looking forward to most of these shows?
I can’t wait! I’m psyched! I haven’t been there in 5 years, since 2017. I’m psyched to play and it’s going to be 9 shows in 2 weeks. We are going all over the place and we are playing some great places. And what a way to wind up the year!
As our conversation draws to a close, we reflect on what an incredible album Radiance really is. Our thoughts also turn to how a Dead Daisies show is always something truly special and the UK is fortunate that as a band they have consistently visited our 4 corners. The 9 date winter tour which commences on 3rd December in Nottingham is understandably experiencing a massive sense of anticipation with the billing also to include FM and The Graham Bonnet sharing stage with these awesome rockers. It is with the highest of recommendations that we invite you to buy a ticket! To find out more head over to www.thedeaddaisies.com and in the meantime enjoy the video to The Dead Daisies latest single Born To Fly below.