Who the hell are the Dead Daisies anyway?
The new issue of Classic Rock comes with the FREE debut album of a band featuring members of Guns N’ Roses, the Rolling Stones and more – and featuring a guest spot from Slash. But who ARE the Dead Daisies?
Words: Rob Hughes
Given that his CV includes Thin Lizzy, the Psychedelic Furs and Guns N’ Roses, it takes something special to make Richard Fortus animated. But he reckons he may have found it in the Dead Daisies. “The whole concept was basically to play new music for classic rock fans,” explains the songwriter-guitarist, who’s been GN’R’s six-string king since 2001. “And that was very attractive to me, especially when you’re playing with cats like these. It’s a dream band, to be honest. It just doesn’t get any better than this.”
Co-founded by ex-Noiseworks/INXS singer Jon Stevens and former Red Phoenix guitar player David Lowy, the Dead Daisies dish out the kind of roistering blooze‘n’roll first patented by Bad Company, The Faces and Humble Pie.
Lowy has called it “new seventies music,” equating their reboot-rock to the current vogue for updating classic European and American cars. “We’re like those old bands in that we’re following the music and listening to each other,” adds Fortus. “The Dead Daisies is a conversation between us.”
Completing the line-up are Fortus’s GN’R bandmate Dizzy Reed (keyboards), Rolling Stones bassist Darryl Jones and ace drummer Charley Drayton, who’s kept the beat for everyone from the X-pensive Winos and The Cult to Divinyls and Cold Chisel. The band’s self-titled debut – free with the new issue of Classic Rock – is a spirited conflation of their combined chops and experience, brought to bear over a dozen songs that pack in as much melody and nuance as they do hard licks and big choruses. And as if there weren’t enough impressive names aboard already, Slash even pops up on the swampish Lock‘N’Load, co-written with old buddy Stevens.
The Dead Daisies may appear to have sprung from nowhere, but Stevens had always wanted to hook up with fellow Australian Lowy. “David and I threatened to write together six or seven years ago, but the planets didn’t align at that point,” explains the frontman. “But last year we got together with a view to doing something and it just seemed to work. We wrote a bunch of songs, got real excited and it ended up being quite organic and naturally happening.”
After completing the album in LA, the band (whose early roster included sometime Thin Lizzy man Marco Mendoza and Nine Inch Nails drummer Alex Carapetis) opened for ZZ Top in Queensland and Sydney. Then came a coveted support slot on Aerosmith’s Australasian tour, followed by a berth on the huge Rockstar Uproar Festival that swept through the US and Canada this summer, where they shared stages with Alice In Chains, Jane’s Addiction and Coheed & Cambria. “The response has been fantastic so far,” says Fortus. “We feel like we’ve won people over, it’s that type of buzz. It’s so much fun to play with musicians in a situation like this, where you’re allowed to breathe and it’s different every night.”
With Fortus and Stevens already having written a handful of songs for their second album, it seems like The Dead Daisies are here to stay. “All of the guys have been playing for a long time and just want to do something new, something fresh,” Stevens offers. “The camaraderie is awesome. We’re just playing rock‘n’roll and having fun. We’re older, wiser musicians and we’re not working for the man or the money. It’s purely for the excitement. This thing really could really go anywhere.”
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“When we first got together, we discovered we all loved the same stuff,” says singer Jon Stevens. “Those bands from the seventies – Free, Bad Company, The Faces, the Stones – that’s the shit. It’s the real deal. I’m just trying to maintain that.” Guitarist Richard Fortus adds: “It’s music that I grew up on and we’re unabashedly giving a nod to those influences.”
The new issue of Classic Rock (on sale tomorrow) features two free CDs – the Dead Daisies debut album, and Shoot To Thrill featuring 18 new bands – plus a free magazine on rock’s timeless icons and classic looks.
Be a rock star for the day with the Dead Daisies http://www.teamrockradio.com/competitions/be-a-rock-star-for-a-day-with-the-dead-daisies
The Dead Daisies play Camden Underworld on November 20, supported by Leogun and The Graveltones. For info, visit http://www.ninelivesuk.com/