Hericane Alice frontman Bruce Naumann is ready to get back in the music game, thanks to growing kids and some good friends in the business. Bring Back Glam! recently chatted with Bruce about reforming the band, family and that famous name change. Transcription follows.
Bring Back Glam!: Tell me what’s going on right now with Hericane Alice.
Bruce Naumann: Basically, I put together another version of the band, with three new members – none of which are original. I live in Minneapolis right now, and I kind of picked some local guys around. The local talent around here is just awesome. We learned some old stuff, and we’re going to write a new album. The first thing is to get the band up and out. I guess stylistically, we’re going to be a hard rock band. We’re still doing the old stuff. I’ll tell you what: it’s a challenge. The guys are really good at it. We’re listening to current stuff, like Chris Cornell or Audioslave. I wish I could sing like him (Cornell) he pisses me off, he’s so good. Directionally, we’re still rocking and still having a good time.
BBG: Tell me about the new members of the band.
Bruce: Chris Lakey is a drummer. Johnny Holiday is a guitar player and Super “J” (Johnny Kytee) is a bass player.
BBG: Have they played with another other bands?
Bruce: Just local bands, no national stuff.
BBG: Are you beginning the recording process?
Bruce: We’re just now having the ProTools system set up in our studio. I’ve always been writing. There’s a lot of material kind of laying around. The first step to bringing this back was to see if I could still sing like that. I had to get the vice grips out…to hit the high notes again. I had a couple of good nights during rehearsal. Get up, get out, do some traveling and some touring. Here in Minnesota when it gets cold out, it’s a perfect time to be inside working on artistic things.
BBG: There’s been a large gap of time since the last album and now…so why now?
Bruce: Basically…if you want to say I retired…well I didn’t really retire. I walked away from things. The music business got very fickle in the early 1990s, and it was kind of like trying out for a heavyweight bout, and trying to get in at the table and being a rocker…and suddenly having all the rules changed on us and what we were doing was out of style. There were a few projects going on for me personally, that didn’t develop all the way. The main thing for me is that I had kids, and I’ve been raising my kids all these years.
BBG: How do you support your kids?
Bruce: I have a little company, it’s a contracting company. I moved back here (Minnesota) in the early 1990s and I worked in the film business. One of the guys who worked on our videos…invited me to a (film) set and I ended up becoming an art director for about ten years, and I ended up working on a lot of nameless television shows and rock videos. The problem with that…you work sometimes 24 hours a day, really intensely for weeks at a time. Then you have down time. It was increasingly hard for me to be a father, because I’d have to leave for three weeks. I thought it was more important for me to be there for them.
BBG: You say you want to get out and gig. Are you hoping to just stay north, or do you want to hit areas all over the country?
Bruce: It’s interesting. One of my friends is John Domagall, and he’s the president of ARM Entertainment. They have about a dozen artists signed exclusively like Bret Michaels, Poison, Dokken…John was actually in Hericane Alice before we made the move to L.A. Anyway, he’s one of my best friends and we run together everyday and talk about stuff. He books tours for L.A. Guns, Warrant, Firehouse…little runs all over the place. He told me that if I put Hericane Alice back together, he could book us as an opening slot. We don’t have name recognition or hits, we were a good up-and-coming band that had some good songs and exposure…and a hit breakout in a few areas. We’re in no misconception about our popularity, but we just to love to do what we do.
BBG: Do you think grunge killed your chances of stardom?
Bruce: That’s the feeling I come away with. Bad timing. We actually had a record in the can a year prior to the release (1990s Tear the House Down. Hurricane Alice released a self-titled debut in 1986). We had some pending litigation from the band Hurricane regarding the name. That delayed our release date by a year.
BBG: Why did you just re-spell your name?
Bruce: You know, Hurricane was probably right because there’s always issues with charting if the names are spelled the same. We just changed the letters because we didn’t want to drop Hurricane Alice. I was in a local band here (in Minnesota) in the 1980s and I had a decent following. With a separate band, when we broke up…I put together a recording project with a few guys. I kind of had a great deal of success and draw in town. We were together for a year. That was the Hurricane Alice with the “U.” After we broke up, I went to L.A. and got some interest…got signed. We were sitting around on our hands, not doing shows or anything. We wanted to go back to the Midwest, where we had a good following and we could make good money. Go on tour and develop our show. So then the debate was about “What should our name be?” We just used the old name. It was kind of my following personally that developed the name Hurricane Alice in the first place.
BBG: Are you looking for a record deal, or do you not really care?
Bruce: At this point, no, we’re not. We are going to record and we are going to have a record that we self produce. We’re not actively shopping or anything like that.