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. : CINDERELLA - Tom Keifer
Posted by Hellena Mihailidou at 22/11/2009, 8:33 pm
Given the chance by their latest live release had the chance to talk with Tom Keifer of CINDERELLA. Tom talks about the ordeals he went through with his voice, , the upcoming tour and the thoughts on a new album with CINDERELLA, the solo album he intends to release in 2010 and advice for the new vocalists. Read the interview below or download the audio of the interview by scrolling down to the bottom of the page. Hello Tom, Welcome in Metalzone. We’re honored to have you at the other end of our line
Well, I ‘m glad to be here. Let’s begin by your latest news, are CINDERELLA coming back?
We’ve never really gone away. We’ve been kind of in a break because I injured my voice a few years back and I’ve been trying to rehabilitate my vocal chords and train it back to where I can be able to perform a CINDERELLA show again. I though that I was there in the summer of 2008 for the tour for the States here, and we ended up having to cancel that tour because I re injured my voice. Since then I’ve been working on trying to get it strong again which I am glad to say it’s very strong now and we’re looking to be back out on the road in 2010. It sounds strong as you speak but was it difficult for you? How are you helping your voice rehabilitate?
You do it by working with a speech therapist and voice teachers and vocal coaches. I’ve worked with quite a few over the last 3 years, I’d say probably five or six different ones that I’ve gone through trying to find the one that’s really going to address whatever the issue was that I was having. I finally found one this spring that’s teaching me a lot of things about breath control and it’s really helped a lot. How is it nowadays?
Really strong. Do you feel ready to prepare a new album?
I think that’s a little off. It’s not anything in the immediate future. Our immediate plans would be to pick up where we left off when we cancelled that tour in 2008. Just get the band back out on the road, play some live shows and get me confident with my voice again, just be a band again and then we’ll see where that leads us. We haven’t rolled out the idea of making a record, it just has to be the right time and the right place and the right label. So there’s definitely a possibility in the future but not immediately. Tell me a few things about this upcoming tour.
We don’t have a tour booked yet. We’re going to be going into rehearsals in probably next month to see how my voice feels with the band and start talking with our managers and agents towards the end of this year or early January and start putting something together for next year. It will start in the States because we have that tour that we cancelled to make up for in 2008 and we’re hoping that this will set the way to getting us overseas maybe back to Europe and some other places that we haven’t been in a number of years. Are you preparing a solo album?
Yeah I’ve been working on my solo record for probably about 4 years now. I’ve been working off and on it in between tours with CINDERELLA and life in general. It’s been a work in progress for about 4 years and I’m to a point where I’m just about finished with it now. I’m pretty happy with it. I’ve re cut things, and remixed some songs and re worked things and re arranged things for a while now and I think I finally got it where I want it. What should we expect of it? How does it sound? How would you describe it?
It’s a lot like CINDERELLA music because being the main songwriter and the lead singer and I did a lot of the guitar work for CINDERELLA, so that style comes through on this record. So it’s definitely a hard rock record but it has dynamics to it too the way CINDERELLA records do and there’s a lot of very hard driven songs in it but there are also ballads and some acoustic music on it too. It has the peaks and valleys and it takes you on a ride throughout the record so… What about the lyrics?
Lyrically I am just inspired by really what I always have been inspired and that would be life. Real things, real every day things, the blues were a big inspiration for the songs that I’ve written in the past and they still are. I like to write about good times, bad times, and love, love lost, you know, everyday things that people can relate to. Things like what the blues and a lot of bands are influenced by like the Rolling Stones or Aerosmith, those kind of bands. Do you think that this is one of the characteristics that made CINDERELLA stand out in the hard rock scene?
I don’t know. It’s definitely something that was a part of our music. There have been a lot of hard rock bands that have been influenced by blues we’re not the only ones that have been but during the era of the 80s we were one of the few bands that had that flavor really strong. So perhaps it did for that decade. Do you think that the Hard rock scene is coming back? New bands coming in the music business having the same feeling you had when you were starting out?
I don’t think hard rock ever really went away. The 80s hard rock scene kind of went away by a different hard rock scene in the 90s with the grunge and the Seattle movement but I don’t think that sonically or attitude wise, musically that music was a whole lot different than what we were doing. Maybe the lyrics were a bit darker but at the end of the day bands that came out of that era were too loud, with guys ripping guitars through Marshals and screaming into a microphone. I think that the differences were more of a fashion statement, the bands looked different but if you get down to it the differences of a band from the 80s or the 90s weren’t a whole lot different. In that sense I don’t think it really went away but trends come and go and I don’t see a lot of bands that sound the way bands sounded in the 80s it’s always evolving which is kind of a cool thing. There are some new bands that I really like a lot like that band JET and BUCKCHERRY, I think they’re a really great rock band. You’ve been around for almost 26 years, does it feel the same?
In what sense the music? The audience coming into the shows, the way people react to the music.
Well it’s been 3 years because of my injury, the last show we did was back in 2006 but it feels exactly the same. It really does. It’s just as exciting as it was way back and in some ways more. Because we had the changing of the guard in the mid 90s where it seemed everything from the 80s was done – over – forget it – you’re finished. When we were asked to reunite in 97, 98 by SONY records to make anew record and being given an opportunity by a major label once again when you’re sitting at home and thinking that your career is over for a few years was really inspiring. And unfortunately to make a long story short the record never came out because we run into some disagreements with the label that ended up in a lawsuit but the fact that that offer was extended towards us and we started the creative process working towards that record really sparked something in all of us again and especially myself as a writer and shortly after that we started going back on the road tours here in America in theatres and arenas and I think that there was a minute there in the 90s where we were wondering if that was ever going to happen again. To be able to step back out on that stage, have the chance to do that and be able to see things… we reformed in 98 we did 3 successful tours since then, it’s a really great feeling, something we’re all very grateful for. So in a lot of ways stepping up on that stage is almost more exciting. You appreciate it more. Back when it first happened it was such a world win and it was happening so fast that you almost didn’t have time to think about it or appreciate it. That little moment in the middle of the nineties, given the opportunity to come back with an even greater respect for it, has really been nice and we’ve been really fortunate to… Do you get nervous before you step on the stage?
No not really. I can’t think of too many times that I have. I started to get a little nervous on the last tour that we did because my voice was going. It was just about shut when we started the tour and I was having problems in rehearsals. It was a 20 year anniversary tour and we were doing it with POISON because it was their 20 year anniversary. It was a really big tour and in a lot of ways in retrospect I probably should have not gone on that tour. And gone and got with some teachers and fix whatever the problems I was having at the time. I got on the road and my voice just started spar rowing down hill during the tour. And that’s something that I never had to deal with.. And I was walking on the stage and singing and not sounding like the records. I had to change melodies and talk through things and kind of just get through it. I started to feel nervous about doing that. I guess understandably but… I guess that was the time that I really started to feel nervous… Do you self criticize?  Do you reflect on what you did on stage? Are you strict on yourself?
Well yeah, I think most musicians do that. You do your best up there. People that come to see you play you want to give them the best performance that you can. Yeah I am pretty self critical. I record just about every show and listen to it later that night to critique my vocals or playing whatever… Are you satisfied with the results you listen to?
Most nights. We’ve been touring for a long time and most nights it’s enjoyable to listen to. There are nights that are rough when I say I could have done that better or that better but a lot of times I just learn things with all the voice problems that I had. The vocal problems that I’ve experienced over the last 3 years, it’s not the first time that I’ve had problems, it started back in 91 and the result of it is a neurological condition called paresis which is a partial paralysis of one side of my voice box. Singing’s been a constant struggle for me since 1991. We came out on the scene in 86 and I just sang night after night no problem from 86 to 1990. And in 1991 on our third tour I was stricken with this paresis condition that there’s no cure in the sense of a surgery, you just have to work with vocal coaches and kind of re train your self how to sing so it’s been a constant battle since then but it really went down hill on the last tour. I am a little self conscious about it and probably one of the reasons why I record the shows and listen and try to critique and see what sounds better. What would you advice a new vocalist?
Probably to get with a great vocal coach and they’re hard to find cause I’ve worked with tons of them since 1991 and I think I just found back in May the guys who is actually fixing my voice. There are a lot of people who can do things but there are a lot of people who are good at the things they do. I learn more from him in one lesson than I did with all the previous ones… so it’s important to have the right coach but if I had been trained prior to when I had that, paralysis, or partial paralysis I probably wouldn’t have affected my voice this much and I probably wouldn’t have bring this much mayhem on my voice. Because I would have had a better understanding of how the muscles work and how they’re supposed to feel like. When you’re never trained and you don’t know how you’re producing that sound, you’re not really aware of it because it comes naturally. That’s how it was for me in the beginning. If you go and train you get in touch with that and you have a little more sense of how it works and if you are stricken with something… I can see how it would have helped me through that if I had training. That would be my best advice for anew vocalist. Find a good coach and at the very least be aware of how you create the sound that you’re getting naturally. So if you have a problem you know how to get back to it. Tell me about your aspirations for the future. Where do you see yourself in the near future?
In the very near future I am looking towards the next year 2010. I really want to get back out on the road I’ve been working for 3 years to get my voice back in shape and get out there with CINDERELLA and tour. I’d like to release my record some time next year, it’s almost finished. I’ve kind of been holding it till my voice is strong enough, I don’t want to release a record that I can’t tour behind. Do you already have a record label? Any timeframe?
This was produced independently of a label. I just really didn’t want a label breathing down my neck about when the record will be finished. I wanted to make this record and keep making it until it was the way I wanted it and then be able to shop it as a finished record. That would be the next step, to find the right home for it. Would you consider releasing it over the internet without a label interfering?
I’d rather have a label. That would be my preference. How do you see the internet in general?
It’s like anything, there are good things about it and there are some negatives to it. It’s a good resource tool and communication tool it’s great, overwhelming. Some of the negatives are… Just a simple thing like how people buy music. I am watching record stores closing across the country. To me that’s a negative. The online shopping thing even though it’s convenient there’s going to be a price paid for that eventually. This is actual businesses where you can actually go and spend a day. Walking around, looking at things and actually picking things up and touching them, getting out in to the world and interacting with people. I fear a lot of that is going away because of the internet. There are pretty much no record stores in Nashville here. You can count the record stores in less than one hand. When I moved here 11 years ago there were tons of them. It’s sad to see that go away. It’s a direct result of the internet and as convenient as shopping on line is that’s going to ultimately be the effect, businesses going out You do have an old school feeling about it. You like the process of going to the record store, getting the record…
Oh yes. It’s nice to just get out into the world and interact. Would you release your release on LP, on a vinyl?
That would be the record label’s decision, not mine. You don’t have any special preference about vinyls.
Ultimately a vinyl sounds better if you have a great turntable and stereo but most people don’t. CDs have a great sound so that’s what most people… Thank you for the interview last words are yours…
Thanks to all our fans for always being there and supporting us. We’re going to try to get over there to Europe see all of you out there and play a show.

Download To The Audio Of The Interview Here

Interview by Hellena Mihailidou

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