Warrant’s lead guitarist Joey Allen caught up with us as the band was getting ready to release their latest CD, Rockaholic. Read on….
Q: I could be wayyyy off but I think the last time we spoke you guys were opening up for Crue on the Feelgood tour. You played the Metrocentre and debuted a song called “Uncle Toms Cabin” which went over well….lol…..needless to say a lots happened since then so catch us up with what you have goin on now, feel free to plug anything……
A: In today’s Warrant world we have a new CD that will be released on May17th world-wide titled “Rockaholic” and we will continue playing shows throughout the year. We have several shows lined up with Poison, Whitesnake and Cinderella. You can also find the video for the first single “Life’s a Song” on youtube. Call your local radio station and request the song!!!
Q: I saw a very happy band play World Music Theatre after that……the backstage area was everything the people in the crowd hoped it would be….any memory of that show or any other shows in our midwest neck of the woods? Has our boy Rick Nielsen gotten you drunk at his house and you forget?
A: I barely remember that gig…it was large, so was everything else about it. Warrant loves the Midwest, we have a strong following there to this day. Every time I see a gig in Chicago show up on the itinerary I know I’m going to be hurting the next day…ha, ha! Hopefully we will make it back to Rockford this year as well!
I have never made it out to Rick’s house but I have had a drink or two with him and Tom. CT was the first live band I ever saw and I have been a fan ever since. I never played a ton of covers but when I did I played a TON of CT. What a great band!!!
Q: You guys have gone through a number of lineup changes but are back to basically the classic lineup of Warrant plus new singer Robert Mason (ex Lynch Mob). The new album Rockaholic would be a fine follow up to Dog Eat Dog for anyone who missed everything that the band did following your departure at that time. Was that sort of the vibe you were going for when you were working up the material?
A: Our goal was to make the best CD we could. It was a long process, without a doubt the longest this band has ever spent making a CD from the time the first song was written to the time the last mix was done…at least two years. The vibe was to be who we are and make a solid rock record!
Q: We just talked to Johnny from King Kobra who’ve also put out a new album on your label…also with all original members plus a new singer…. Is it easier to hit on that classic sound if the majority of the music makers are participating and you just have to plug in one new element?
A: Absolutely. If you have the core elements you have the sound. Singers are a tricky one. You have to get one that has a unique enough voice to make a difference. Robert Mason has that ingredient and much more. To say that he is a consummate professional that cares about his fans, voice and body would be an understatement. He embodies what has been missing in this band since I returned in 2004. We finally got it right…thank God!
Q: The new material sounds not unlike something Warrant might’ve performed decades ago at Gazarri’s or Country Club with titles like “Sex Ain’t Love” and “Snake” and the power ballad on the album “Home” sort of still has that clean, uplifting “Warrant” vocal that made the band stand out from all the other bands oozing off the strip in those days. Is it a case of you guys being comfortable with your legacy….if it ain’t broke……..?
A: I don’t know how to answer that one…we are what we are. We just try to do the best we can at any given moment. If this CD reminds you of past Warrant that isn’t a bad thing at all.
Q: How much did Robert have to do with the writing and developing of the material?? Is that a major part of bringing the naysayers back into the fold? Does Robert have to prove he can not only sing good but also write as good?
A: For the most part this CD was written by Robert and Jerry, it just happened that way. You are never going to please everyone. There are so few naysayers at this point that, to be honest, we don’t really give a fuck. Look at Journey and Foreigner and their situations…not unlike ours! Like us, they have original front men that cannot get the job done, period! They moved on the best they could and they are doing stellar…good for Neil Schon and Mick Jones!
Q: This will be YOUR fifth album with Warrant,….at this point you guys know what needs to be in the setlist. You in particular seem to be all smiles on you tube when playing the new stuff. Is that the most fun part of the set for you guys at this point…..were you recording while thinking about what would be good to add to the setlist?
A: Playing new tunes is always fresh and fun. Playing the hits is also fun, but it is something we have been doing for a very long time so it can get old. We understand the legacy of the hits, and we pay homage to it every night. We play them spot on and do not disappoint, that is important to us. While we were recording the only thing on my mind was the task at hand.
Q: You handle more of the leads and are capable of shredding so I have to appeal to your technical side…..technically, what is the biggest misconception about WARRANT from all the Guitar and Rock snobs that have chosen to dismiss you as a “glam” band, a “chick” band, etc…?
A: I don’t pay much attention to that crap. There are guitar snobs but I haven’t met them because most of them sit in a closet wanking and don’t have any personality. I have met some of the most accomplished guitarist of our time, Eddie, Steve, Joe, Rick, etc…they are all cool to me…and very supportive. Those opinions are the ones that matter to me.
Q: The label Frontiers seems to specialize in doing super professional sounding and looking releases….They’re in many ways the only label going that seems to be able to have any real success in marketing things from the classic bands. They are also handling the new Whitesnake and Journey I believe….How has it been working with them thus far and as an insider what makes them different in day to day dealings as opposed to other music distributors?
A: Not bad label mates, eh!?! Frontier has been supportive as a distributor. I do not deal with them on a day to day basis, our manager does. My only experience outside of them is with Sony/Columbia and that was just a different time entirely. I have many found memories of people we worked with at Columbia, that was a great time!
Q: If someone would have told you in 1987 that Black N Blue, Keel, L.A. Guns, Kingdom Come and Warrant would be considered Classic Rock and all still be playing out and recording would you have believed it….BE HONEST
A: No, honestly!
Q: Now that you and your Avatar on the Warrant website are sporting your signature “Mr. Clean” do, are there certain advantages such as free time that Mr. Dixon and Turner are totally missing out on? I know I haven’t missed mine since I got rid of it.
A: Ha, ha, ha…you mean my lack of hair!!! My position is to keep it honest. I have no hair, therefore I keep it ultra short…I’m close to just shaving my head! I don’t know if Jerry and Erik are missing out…I think they like their hair…I would if I had it. BTW…the more hair I lose the more head I get…ha, ha!
Q: I am by trade a Kiss fan so I am comfortable with lineup changes…..what do you consider some of the best lineup changes in rock, changes that maybe even affected the band for the better?
A: KISS sounds great with Tommy and Eric…better than the original. I have seen them dozens of times and I’m friends with Gene, Paul, Tommy and Eric. The last time I saw them they killed it! Foreigner sounds killer, Journey sounds killer…the bottom line is if the original guy(s) can’t swing it professionally then they should step aside or get their shit together!
Q: Ok…..last question, you guys have lots of songs that charted…LOTS…..But, in every video on YouTube there are people screaming “Cherry Pie” no matter WHAT you’re about to play. Have you considered kicking off the set with it just to shut them up?
A: That would be a short set…CP is the one everyone wants to hear…it is very cool to have a song like that to play every night…and…it is nice to see people singing along…every night!
Thanks a lot Joey….any final plugs, links or words to the faithful?
A: Please visit www.warrantrocks.com for everything Warrant. We are also on facebook.com and Erik is a twitterer…ha, ha! Don’t forget that the new CD is available to pre order now and purchase on May 17th at iTunes, Amazon.com, Walmart, etc…Be kind to one another