Bring Back Glam! recently interviewed drummer Jimmy Phipps of Every Mother's Nightmare. The Tennessee based band is back on tour and gearing up for a main stage slot at Rocklahoma. Jimmy talks about the old days, a potential Rocklahoma set-list and the trouble with outside songwriters. Transcription follows.
Bring Back Glam!: Tell me what Every Mother’s Nightmare has been up to recently.
Jimmy Phipps: Basically we’ve toured on and off through the years. We took a break from touring – but we’re always writing, like constantly. Rick’s (Ruhl, vocals) got a couple studios and he’s just been writing. We’ve got a catalog that is huge – filled with material. The last record we did was Live Songs from Somewhere and here lately our tour manager has gotten us back together to do a reunion tour, so we are doing a string of dates leading up to Rocklahoma.
BBG!: So, you are touring to try out the new songs or to practice the old stuff?
JP: We are definitely going off the old records and [also] playing some new material.
BBG!: You are playing around 1 or 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 12 at Rocklahoma?
JP: That is what I hear. I am not sure of the exact time…I think we are second.
BBG!: Yes, you play after Pretty Boy Floyd.
JP: The last time we were in Oklahoma, we played the Diamond Ballroom and that was years ago. I don’t think we’ve been back since then!
BBG: How did you get on the Rocklahoma bill?
JP: Our tour manager kind of knew a dude who knew the promoter and they got in touch. Turns out, the promoters said they were looking for us…and that was that. We are stoked about it.
BBG!: How long ago did you know you were you locked in to play Rocklahoma?
JP: I think on the press conference day (March 4)…when they had the lineup announced in L.A. That’s when I knew.
BBG!: So, you didn’t actually know you were playing until your name was called?
JP: Exactly. We didn’t have a representative to go out to L.A. We were going to, but schedules conflicted. I figured that if maybe we’d had a representative there we might have gotten a better slot…but I’m not terribly uncomfortable with the slot – because we get to play a festival!
BBG!: You’re in Tennessee and Every Mother’s Nightmare came along at the end of the Glam craze, so did you ever venture to the Sunset Strip to play gigs?
JP: We did a lot. Our first couple of records, we spent a lot of time out in L.A. We played Hollywood Teaser, the Spice Club, the Roxy, The Palace…I think we played the Viper Room. After EMN was released from Arista in 1995, we kept touring in both L.A. and Vegas. Our last run was in 2004…and we did 26 cities and it was pretty fun. We had great responses some nights, and some nights little response. You know how that goes.
BBG!: Did you tour with other bands, or was this all on your own?
JP: It was all on our own. We had a management company that booked us and we got into about 26 or 30 cities and just had a really good time.
BBG!: What are some of your favorite memories?
JP: The biggest buzz for our band –just four guys from Tennessee – and we had a manager by name of Doc Fields, and he got us everything we wanted. He made our dreams come true. We wanted to be rock stars. So, we put a band together, wrote some songs, and played Nashville. The manager liked us and he moved us to Memphis. Within a year we had a major label deal. There was a bidding war between [several] labels.
BBG:! Which labels?
JP: Capitol, Atlantic, Arista and back then…Chrysalis.
BBG!: Why did you pick Arista?
JP: The best way to describe that is Atlantic had 5,000 rock bands and Arista had two…plus Clive Davis signed Aerosmith, so we thought “How can we go wrong?” And we made a good decision. Arista pumped the hell out of us. They put us in every industry magazine…they did a good job. Our songs were on the radio and they put us on tour. Four kids from Tennessee: our dream came true. To me, that’s incredible. That was a great ride. I’m around every day people now, and in the back of my head I think “hey – I did something pretty cool!”
BBG!: Do you think it was harder to get a record deal being in Tennessee versus the west coast?
JP: I think it was not. We went from Nashville to Memphis and I think it was easier there. Rock n’ roll was predominant there.
BBG!: Rock was everywhere back then, period. What do you think of music these days?
JP: I think there’s some clever stuff out there. There are political bands and bands with things to say and I like a lot of it. There is some stuff I can do without…I think all the urban and suburban and skate bands…there are just way too many. They all have the same message and they have the same haircut – and I guess people can say that about us back then... Creativity is creativity.
BBG!: Do you still play drums everyday?
JP: Pretty much, when I can. We started rehearsals a month ago.
BBG!: How many times do you get together during the week?
JP: We go every weekend.
BBG!: Tell me about your Rocklahoma set list.
JP: Well, I know we’ll play a couple off the first record. “Love Can Make You Blind” was a big hit. “Walls Come Down” was a big single. “Long-Haired Country Boy” is a cult favorite for us. Second record: “House of Pain…” and I don’t know the extent of that record. That record was a weird time in our lives.
JP: A lot of negativity. There was negativity between label, drugs and alcohol. We took a year off from our first record to record our second. It was tough, Arista was pushing us. We were pumping out material left and right and they hired song writers for us!
BBG!: How did that make you feel?
JP: Not very good at all.
BBG!: What was that like, trying to collaborate with someone outside the core group of members?
JP: We ran them all away.
BBG!: Are you still with Perris Records?
JP: I am not sure. I haven’t had any contact with them.
BBG!: You’ve recorded quite a few albums for Perris.
JP: I think we owe them a record! I’m not sure.
BBG!: Have you considered making a live DVD?
JP: That is in the works right now.
BBG!: Will you be using your Rocklahoma footage for that DVD?
BBG!: Do you have a tentative release date planned?
JP: I am thinking August.
BBG!: I’m assuming you have friends from the business. Is there anyone you are looking forward to seeing again at Rocklahoma?
JP: Well, I am friends with the guys in Cinderella. They live down the street from me. I haven’t seen their show in a couple years. Kix is a band I used to love! Are they playing Saturday night?
JP: Great! I really want to see Kix. They are a real band…they were out before we were. They rock…they have longevity. I have never seen them live and I am excited about them being on the bill.
BBG!: What else do I need to know about Every Mother’s Nightmare?JP: Just that we’ve never left and that we’re America’s hidden secret. We’re really excited to be a part of Rocklahoma.
Visit Every Mother's Nightmare on Myspace.