Interview with Hard Rock Vocalist/Guitarist John Corabi
Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen
John Corabi, most known for his vocal work and hard-driving rhythym guitar for The Scream, Motley Crue, and Union has recently released an acoustic CD titled “Unplugged.” The CD features acoustic versions of songs with the abovementioned bands, in addition to five brand new tracks. I caught up with John to talk about the new CD, the band, and what the future holds.
Metal Babe: Let’s talk about your recent acoustic solo release “Unplugged.” I’ve really enjoyed listening to the CD and reliving songs I know and love by The Scream, Motley Crue, and Union, in addition to hearing your new songs for the first time. The CD almost seems like a musical resume, of where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going. Was that your thought process behind this release?
John Corabi: I didn’t think of it that way, but I guess you’re right to a degree!
Metal Babe: What made you want to put out a CD with this format at this time?
John: I’ve been doing acoustic shows now, for the better part of two years, and I decided to record the songs I got the best response from live. There could’ve been so many others, but I had to pick just 12! I’ve always written every song I’ve ever recorded on an acoustic guitar. So it comes very naturally to me. But also, when we were doing the ‘Scream’ album, I met Steve Marriott and Peter Frampton from Humble Pie. I’m a big fan, and asked them to help do “something” on the record. Steve Marriott told me he was absolutely into helping, and he thought we had great songs. He also told me, “If you can entertain an audience with an acoustic, then you have great songs! That I will never forget. Great advice.
Metal Babe: I agree completely. Especially live. As far as the re-recorded songs, what were some of the challenges (if any) that came up during this process?
John: The trouble was doing something different, but keeping it kind of true to the original. I didn’t want to change the songs to the point they were unrecognizable, but strip them down as far as I could, and then build them back up with things like backing vocals and harmonies. But, it came together rather easily. My guys in my band are really talented and super easy going to work with!
Metal Babe: Speaking of the guys in the band, your current line-up includes D.A. Karkos, (Guitar) Topher Nolen, (Bass) and Cheney Brannon, (Percussion) How did you all come together?
John: I’ve actually been jamming with Topher the longest, so he’s the veteran. He’s a great bass player, and just a killer buddy. Lots of fun to hang with. I met D.A. Karkos through his brother Andre. Andre played guitar with the band Dope. D.A. and I spoke on the phone a bunch before he moved here to Nashville, and when we jammed we immediately started working on ideas! He is the ‘Mad Professor’ in the studio. That guy thinks of harmonies, and he’s a really talented songwriter and producer. Cheney came in via a mutual friend, and he’s just a super talented good ol’ boy! Really talented Southern gentleman, and he knows his way around the studio. That’s it in the nutshell.
Metal Babe: Very cool.What can you tell us about the original songs on the CD? How do they compare with what you’ve done in the past?
John: They are all just written about my life experiences. I think as you get older, you view things differently than when you were 20, 25, or 30 years old. You live a different life; have different views… So obviously your lyrics and topics will be different as well. But I think I’m much more fickle about what I want to release, so I’ve become a bit more of a perfectionist about the tunes as well.
Metal Babe: Lyrically, what inspires you the most?
John: Life… And everything that life encompasses. The news about the world is so turbulent. So that influences me. And the women in my life have always influenced me, my kids… Just everything! Life… Live it, Love it!
Metal Babe: What are your plans as far as touring is concerned?
John: I would LOVE to get out there on a tour with my whole band to support this record. I can do shows by myself, but with the band, it really showcases the harmonies, and guitars… Everything! So yes! I wanna TOUR, TOUR, TOUR!
Metal Babe: I thought it was a great (and unique) idea to include the Monsters of Rock interview on your CD. What gave you the idea to do that?
John: Joe from Rat Pak suggested that. We discussed giving the fans just a bit of a peek into what makes John Corabi tick. An interview of some sort, kind of a “bonus” I remembered doing that interview and thought, “I’m doing the cruise again this year, maybe that would work here.”
Metal Babe: I heard that you are working on a book as well. How is it progressing?
John: Ugh… I’m the slowest typer on the planet! I started this interview last March. Haha.
Metal Babe: Haha. What can you tell us about it so far?
John: Its definitely not a Motley tell all. It’s a story of my life from the beginning until now. It will explain the meaning of songs like “Uncle Jack.” It tells of my family being homeless and things like that. Plus, some funny ditties about all of the bands and people I’ve met along the way!
Metal Babe: You mentioned that you may be re-releasing The Scream CD, along with a live CD of your last show with The Scream. I do still have my cassette tape, but it would be awesome to have it available again on CD. How is that looking?
John: I’m working on it, but unfortunately there are a lot of business things to take care of. I have to get permission from record companies and such. Hopefully it’ll be soon!
Metal Babe: Is there anything I’ve missed, that you’d like to add, or say your fans?
John: Just want to say thank you to everybody for their support! I truly appreciate you all.
Metal Babe: Thank you so much for your time!
John: Thank you, and hope to see everybody soon!
You can check out John Corabi at the links below: