You might say Keri Kelli is one busy guitarist. He plays for Alice Cooper full time and is currently in the studio laying down tracks for the shock rocker's new album Along Came a Spider. For most, this would be enough of a job, but Keri plays with several other bands including Saints of the Underground, Skid Row and more. Bring Back Glam! recently spoke with Keri about Along Came a Spider, touring with Alice Cooper, not having a day job and the love of good beer. Transcription follows.
Bring Back Glam!: Tell me about the new Alice Cooper album, Along Came a Spider.
Keri Kelli: I think there's some great stuff on it!. One's called "Killed by Love." Chuck (Garric, bass) and I wrote that with Alice and another brother of ours, Jim Bocke. I think that's going to be one of the main tracks on the album, in my opinion. Another tune is - well it may be titled "Serial Killer" or "The One that Got Away." It's another cool track that Alice and I worked on...and another is "Feminine Side," we're almost done with that one. Danny Saber is recording and producing the album in the Hollywood Hills as well as Greg Hampton. This record wasn't done the old school way where everyone gets together and jams. It is more like a project, where you work and write in different sections. Some songs are 100% mixed and other still need some tracking to be done. It's been a interesting process, but it's Alice's record and I'm just glad to be involved on any level. It's cool.
BBG!: When will that be released?
KK: At one point I'd heard July, but I don't think that's going to be the case. I think August is what I've heard is the actual release date, I truthfully don't know exactly. It will be well worth the wait.
BBG!: And then you're going on tour?
KK: Yes, midsummer. We leave L.A. on July 4th and we roll out to Bulgaria. There's like four flights to get there. I go from Orange County to San Francisco, then to London...and then to Vienna and then to Bulgaria. I believe the festival is an hour outside the city. We do Europe in July, August and September is the (United) States and then October is Canada and we might do more of Europe again in November I've been told.
BBG!: Do you like going out for long stints?
KK: Yeah its cool, though I like to take little breaks. I think Alice and all the guys do. We're not usually out solid. We're usually out for a few months at a time...it doesn't sound like much, but we'll come home for four days or six, seven days...so you're home for a week and you go back out for four or five weeks. By the time you get acclimated to being home, it's time to go out again, so it's cool. We usually have the winters off, so you can get all your other stuff done.
BBG!: You play with a lot of bands. Do you just like to keep busy?
KK: That's all I do! Let's put it this way, I think I'm very fortunate I've been able to play with so many different people. I have friends who have had great success on their own or with a band, but some dudes have only been involved in one project in literally a 20 year period. Luckily, the last dozen years or so, I've been involved with so many different types of people and musicians...I've been able to spread my wings and experience new things. I dig it. I want to play as much as I
can here, there and everywhere. In between Alice shows, I play with Skid Row and that's awesome. I'll come home, be home for three days, play a couple shows with Skid Row and then go back out for a month with Alice. I'm always ready to play. I also have a home recording studio, so I'm always doing stuff there. Jani Lane and I are always writing for his records or for Warrant or just for song placements. I never just sit at the house and watch T.V. -- I just want to play.
BBG!: Tell me about working with Jani Lane.
KK: He's cool. He's my brother, we get along great! We have a lot of the same tastes in music and a lot of the same outlooks on life. We have a great time when we get together. He's a cool cat. I just played with him a couple weeks ago in Texas and Mexico. He called me up and said "Hey, I need a guitar player, can you help me out?" and I said
"Sure!" It's all about having a good time with your buddies. We really do have the same musical influences...it's easy for us to write songs and develop ideas.
BBG!: What are some of those shared influences?
KK: I like...well very diverse things. I think it's important to have "music appreciation." I like everything from Jazz fusion to rock music...I think Metallica is great as well as a lot of newer bands like H.I.M., She Wants Revenge, Fallout Boy and 80s rock stuff like Bon Jovi. 70's stuff like Thin Lizzy or (the Rolling) Stones. The stuff me and Jani work on always has a story-line, but it is still commercial. If it's like a three minute, great cool pop-song, heavier, a ballad, Fallout Boy or Warrant type tune- it doesn't matter to me as long as its a great song: a story-line within the lyrics. You need something special and have a hook.
BBG!: So you don't have a particular favorite band?
KK: Oh, if you want to talk favorite bands...Thin Lizzy is probably my favorite band of all time...and the Rolling Stones. Those are my favorites if you want to pigeonhole something as a "favorite." I like the Mick Taylor era of the Rolling Stones. For me that was really special.
BBG!: Tell me about forming Big Bang Babies.
KK: When I started that band, I was really young. Like 18 when I was putting it together. The first guy I found was the drummer Freddie. I recorded a six song demo myself and had a friend sing, so I had six completed songs. Then I started looking for the other guys. The next guy was Kit the singer...and then we found Boyd, the bass player. We had a great time, we lived in Hollywood and lived on girl's floors and stuff...kind of like you see in Decline of Western Civilization...it
was a cool time. Looking back it was cool I got to experience that. People always talk about L.A. in the 80s. I think our band was neat for what it was. Unfortunately, I think we had a lot of cool tunes...and we actually demoed something like 122 songs. Probably a third were good (laughs). Problem was the time frame was not right for that type of band.
BBG!: Have you had any crappy day jobs like me?
KK: Um...I really haven't had any jobs at all. I was just a kid when I started the Big Bang thing...Well, one time I was a driver. I drove around packages for a courier service for a few months. That was about it to be honest with you. It was only Tuesday and Thursday...or something. I drove around for a few hours on Tuesday night and Thursday morning I had to pick up some shit and that was about it. I guess I've been fortunate to not have a "job." I don't know...is that good or bad? Like I said, though, literally everyday I'm doing something related to music. I guess my job is music. I've never had to clock in 9 to 5, so I feel very fortunate.
BBG!: What else do you have going on?
KK: I'm an avid beer drinker...and brewer. One of my bros has a drinking show on an HD channel called Mojo. Its called Three Sheets and it's hosted by my boy Zane Lamprey...and he rolls all around the planet...and goes to different bars and breweries to talk to the local people and gets hammered. I think that's awesome. What a job! I'm really into the beer and brewery thing and a couple of my buddies have breweries down here in Southern California. One of them is the Newport Beach Brewing Company - that's my boy Jerry - it's awesome and right by the water. Another is called the Tustin Brewery and my friend Jason owns that place. And there's a company who actually distributes their beer called Stone Brewery, and they're in North San Diego. They have some incredible beers, like Arrogant Bastard Ale, Levitation Ale and the Infamous Ruination Ale and I mean they go the fuck off! These guys are all cool cats, so I'm trying to get Zane to do a show with myself and my buddies at their breweries. I'm really looking forward to that, it would be killer!
BBG!: So, you're going to be a television star is what you're telling me?
KK: I hope so! Or at least I can get on the Three Sheets show and drink a bunch of free beer. I also love sushi. My favorite things are rock n' roll (of course that includes the guitar), drinking good beer... and I mean handcrafted micro-brewed ales and sushi. My other buddy has a sushi place down in Newport Beach, literally a crawl from
the Newport Beach Brewing Company called California Beach Rock n' Roll Sushi. Hide owns that place, and he's been there forever. I've been going there since 1987 [or] 1988 and he's been there since he was a kid also. I've been going there since I was like 15 years old. You could order beer back then they didn't care, it was awesome. He bought the place a few years ago so he's a Cal Beach lifer. That's my place I've been going to since I was a kid and now thank God he owns it. Totally cool...it's a big sushi place and they crank the rock and the sushi chefs get loaded and just have a great time with the customers.. When we go there they put on the Saints of the Underground or Alice
Cooper...we have a blast.
Photo credit: Keri Kelli