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Hard Rock Muso Doug Aldrich On Playing In Supergroups, Coping With Lockdown & The Dead Daisies’ New Single ‘Unspoken’

Unless you’ve been living under an actual rock, you probably know that hard rock supergroup The Dead Daisies unleashed their monster new single ‘Unspoken’ on an unsuspecting world, earlier this month. The first track to be lifted from their forthcoming fifth full-length album Holy Ground, ‘Unspoken’ is the type of hard-rockin’ anthem that excites the senses, with enormous hooks and the kind of groove and swagger you don’t hear enough of anymore.

Excitingly, ‘Unspoken’ is the debut recorded outing for new bassist/vocalist and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple/Black Sabbath/Joe Satriani) and the man often referred to as “the voice of rock” does not disappoint, laying down a soaring vocal as he delivers a timely lyrical message. ‘Unspoken’ marks the beginning of a new era for The Dead Daisies, with a leaner, meaner, but no less talented lineup consisting of Glenn, guitarist Doug Aldrich (Dio/Whitesnake/Revolution Saints), guitarist/founder David Lowy and drummer Deen Castronovo (Journey/Bad English) coming together with producer Ben Grosse (Dream Theater/Marilyn Manson) in the South of France to create Holy Ground.

In the wake of the release of ‘Unspoken’ and in the midst of a global pandemic, Doug Aldrich was kind enough to join us from his home in LA for a chat about The Dead Daisies, Holy Ground, his one of a kind rock ‘n’ roll life, and things often left ‘Unspoken’.

MF: Hey Doug, how’s this self-iso existence treating you today?

Doug Aldrich: It could be worse, I mean everyone is healthy, so that’s great, but we are starting to get a little stir-crazy! It’s been about six weeks of lockdown here, so you get a little stir-crazy, but then you get a jolt of energy and go for a run, it’s just getting a little tiresome now, but it’s going to be okay!

MF: Yeah, exactly, it’ll be fine, just as a fellow musician and extrovert I share your discomfort with being home all the time, it’s a weird time. Now you’ve been a musician for longer than I’ve been alive, so you’ve lived through pretty much everything the world can throw at a band, but I’m pretty sure this is the first time you’ve had a record release delayed by a pandemic! How are things in The Dead Daisies camp right now?

DA: I’m glad that we had the record done, that’s for sure! It would have been a bit of a nightmare trying to get it recorded otherwise. It has meant we have to delay the release a little, but it’s also kind of cool being able to release a few tracks at a time, and we’ve been really happy with the response, so maybe we’ll do this again in the future. The response we’ve got to ‘Unspoken’ has been really cool and the lyrical message is just perfect for the time, so there’s some positives in this approach too.

MF: People have had time to listen to ‘Unspoken’ too and absorb the track and its message more fully, simply because they’re being forced to stop and actually be present, as opposed to listening on the go like they normally would.

DA: True, that’s a great point and I know that in times like these, new music can be really helpful in making things feel fresh, so it’s nice to be able to be that for people.

MF: Absolutely. What was it about ‘Unspoken’ that made it the choice for the first single?

DA: I think it’s because the times we are going through make the lyrics more relatable. It’s an unspoken message that you need to learn to let go of what was and just start again. It actually wasn’t going to be a single, originally, but it just felt like the perfect song for the time.

MF: It really is a great fit for this moment. I must admit it surprises me to hear that you weren’t considering it as a single, I mean the melodies are so strong!

DA: It is a good song, and the melodies and the lyrics are strong. Not to sound too big-headed about it, we just feel like we have some other tracks on the record that are even better or perhaps just better suited to being used for the radio. So if the response to this is anything to judge it by, people are going to really love the record.

MF: ‘Unspoken’ is the first original tune you’ve released with the legendary Glenn Hughes on lead vocals and he sure wails on this thing. What’s it been like working with Glenn in the band?

DA: He’s amazing. Obviously he’s an amazing bass player and singer. A real double whammy. Guys like that you can’t really explain how talented they are, using language. It’s just been a real joy to see in person. He’s a super sweet guy too, with a big heart, and his voice is just legendary. It’s been great!

MF: That’s big praise coming from you too, I mean you’ve played with some pretty famous people through the years, you were in Dio, you were in Whitesnake, I mean these are some pretty wild names to be associated with!

DA: How lucky am I! It’s pretty crazy to be able to say that I worked with Dio and David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes, Deen Castronovo and John Carabi. It’s pretty surreal. A lot of amazing musicians, I’ve been seriously blessed. Glenn ranks right up there at the top. For me, I would say that David Coverdale is my favourite hard-rock/blues singer, Ronnie James Dio is by far my favourite heavy metal singer and Glenn is like a wonderchild, the stuff that he does iS stuff that guys in their 20s can’t do, he has perfect pitch and I love his lyrics. As far as singers go, he’s right up there with the best in the world. They call him the “voice of rock” for good reason.

MF: Certainly got some pipes on him, an impressive man! Speaking of impressive, ‘Unspoken’ comes off of a record slated for release later this year that you recorded in the South of France! Now that’s rock ‘n’ roll excess! What was that experience like, was it a special vibe in the studio?

DA: It was a great environment. In that element, you can focus on what you need or want to work on for the day. You wake up, have some breakfast and then you’re in the studio, ready to go and there’s nothing else you have to focus on. It has the potential to be strenuous, because you’re around your bandmates constantly or it can be a really creative time for the same reason, and for us, it was a really creative time, we really bounced off each other’s energy, and we made a really good record. This is the first time we’d done it this way and it was a lot easier.

MF: Sounds ideal! One thing I’ve noticed about The Dead Daisies is that the injection of new members on each record is adding new energy to the band. Does it feel that way when you’re writing?

DA: It does, yeah! When we change members, it’s definitely a different energy. We’ve been really lucky because when we’ve got new members in, I’ve already known them previously. When I got in the band, I knew John Carabi, I knew Marco Mendoza, I knew Brian Tichy, and I got to know David Lowy through the process. When we switched drummers from Brian Tichy to Deen Castronovo, I knew him from his time in Journey. The same thing was true of Glenn, I was able to say confidently when the idea came up to have him join that it was going to be amazing.

MF: It sounds it. Now The Dead Daisies album comes out via Spinefarm, which puts you in the company of some hard rock lifers like Killing Joke, The Damned, Venom, but also some of my favourite young bands, Puppy, Employed to Serve, Toothgrinder and While She Sleeps among many others. What made Spinefarm the right choice?

DA: I’m not sure of the specifics of why Spinefarm was chosen, that was more of a management decision, but it is definitely a good label and a perfect for The Dead Daisies. Especially considering as you said it’s not just a traditional hard-rock label, it’s a label with a diverse roster. We’re really lucky to be on the roster and working with Spinefarm.

MF: It’ll be cool to see who you end up on tour with, off of the label.

DA: I think in the beginning we might now just start off on our own, whenever the time is right and it’s declared as safe. We had a full-on tour including dates with Judas Priest, Foreigner and a bunch of festivals with younger bands, but it all got blown out because of COVID-19, so hopefully, we can pick that back up when we’re allowed.

MF: As a supergroup, do you ever have a clash of egos?

DA: No! Thankfully, everyone knows each other and respects each other and openly takes on and contributes to ideas, and pays each other’s ideas respect. We can work with everyone’s ideas, and no one is too precious about it, and then ultimately the producer helps decide what we keep.

MF: That sounds like a good environment. You’re probably all past that ego stage anyway!

DA: One of the things that I’ve learned is that it’s better to try things than to fight or dismiss it. If someone has an idea, just try it, because even if there’s an idea that you’re not feeling initially, it can turn out to be something really cool. I learned that it’s best just to give every idea a fair shot and see where it goes.

MF: Sounds like solid advice for people making music! Now I can hear your kids in the background, so I won’t keep you for too much longer, but what tricks are you using to keep yourself sane during this isolation era?

DA: Hanging out with the kids, it’s approaching summer here in Los Angeles, so they’re out in the pool, and I’m playing guitar as much as I can to keep my chops up, going for runs out here to get some air, just trying to make the most of each day. It’s not often that we stop for this long, so trying to treat it as a bit of a gift.

MF: That sounds like a lovely time, which is exactly what people will be having when they listen to ‘Unspoken’ and the rest of the new record for The Dead Daisies. I know I’m really looking forward to it dropping personally. Thanks for taking the time to speak with Music Feeds, it’s always nice to meet another David Coverdale fan, and we could talk about him forever, but I can hear you have a bit of something going on in the background that needs attending to!

DA: Yeah, he’s the best man, and thanks, my son just found a lizard in the backyard and brought it into the house, and my wife isn’t all that happy that he did that, so that’s all the ruckus you hear behind me!

MF: It wasn’t Gene Simmons was it?

DA: No, hahaha! It was more of a gecko sized lizard! I thought it was a toy at first, but we fished it out and it’s very much real, so my kids are a bit obsessed with it just now.

MF: Well I can officially say that this is the first time I’ve had a lizard interrupt an interview! See! Even with COVID-19 there are still new experiences every day, I love this!

DA: True! I just want to say quickly that I hope that you personally and everyone else in Australia, stays safe and really tries to get through this situation as happily and healthily as they can. We really appreciate your support, Brenton and we look forward to seeing you Downunder as soon as we can get there!

MF: Thanks man! I look forward to it!

‘Unspoken’ is out now.

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