Don de Leaumont of The Great Southern Brainfart recently conducted an interview with John Corabi, former lead singer of MÖTLEY CRÜE, THE SCREAM and UNION. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Great Southern Brainfart: Your fans have been waiting a long time for your debut solo album. Did you feel like it was a risky move making your first solo album an acoustic album?
Corabi: I know it’s a bit of a risk after all these years of me talking about doing a solo record and the first one out is an acoustic record. I just wanted to do something different. I don’t like doing what people would expect of me. I just really wanted to expand my horizons and think outside of the box. I want to show people that I’m not just that guy who can get out there and scream “Hooligan’s Holiday” and “Smoke The Sky”. I’m a songwriter and I’m more than just a screamer. My fans have been very supportive of me for 25 years but maybe I’ll pick up some new fans that necessarily wouldn’t be apt to buy a MÖTLEY CRÜE record, a UNION record, or even a SCREAM record.
The Great Southern Brainfart: It’s really cool to hear you doing some of these SCREAM, CRÜE, and even UNION songs in this stripped down environment. It almost gives them all a new life of sorts.
Corabi: Right. When I started doing the acoustic shows, people would be yelling for “Hooligan’s Holiday” and “Smoke The Sky” and I had no idea of how to pull them off. I got together with my bassist Topher and we worked out an arrangement for “Hooligan’s Holiday” and it just morphed into what you hear on the record. It took a bit. It took some time to figure it out and it works. I love this new version of it.
The Great Southern Brainfart: Back in 1994, it was huge news when you were picked to replace Vince Neil in MÖTLEY CRÜE. Looking back on it, did you have a feeling you were walking into something that could potentially backfire on you?
Corabi: Well, I don’t know how you can’t not feel like it could blow up in your face. [laughs]
The Great Southern Brainfart: Were you a fan of MÖTLEY CRÜE at all before joining them?
Corabi: I knew a few of their songs like the ones that I’d heard on MTV or the radio. Honestly, I can’t say that I was fan. I went in there not knowing if it was going to work or not. I will say that by the end of the first week that I was with them we pretty much had “Hammered” and “Misunderstood” written. The writing sessions and the demo sessions for that record were pretty unreal.
The Great Southern Brainfart: You were in MÖTLEY CRÜE for five years. When the split between you and the band came up, was it a surprise to you or did you really see it coming?
Corabi: Well, here’s the deal. Vince Neil said in his book that it was my idea to leave MÖTLEY CRÜE. Just to set the record straight, Vince is only partially right about that. I just told the guys that I was so tired hearing about “Vince would do it this way…” I just told them, “I’m so fucking sick and tired of hearing about what Vince would do from you and your management.” I was just sick of the guys comparing me to the guy that you told me for the last five years to not be. If you get hire for a job and your boss keeps talking about what great job the other guy did or compares you to the other guy, at some point, you just say, “Fuck you. Go back to that person then.” I told them that if they wanted Vince and Vince was the fucking answer, maybe they should call him back and work shit out. If not, we should all just shut the fuck up and try and make this work.
The Great Southern Brainfart: It’s too bad that they chose the later of your options.
Corabi: Man, I’ll tell you what. I don’t give a shit about the money. I couldn’t give a fuck less. I’ll always figure out how to make a fucking living. [laughs] Their money didn’t mean anything to me when I joined the band and it didn’t mean anything to me when I left the band. To me, everything was about what you say. I don’t care if the deal is for $0.10 or for $10,000,000, a deal is still a deal. I hung out with those guys every day for five years and I haven’t seen them more than five times in the last 15 years. That bothered me more than anything. I thought those guys were my friends and that’s what I miss more than anything. I was more bummed out over the loss of our brotherhood than anything. Those guys are just the kind of people that will embrace you when you’re in their circle. They’ve had some many buzzards and vultures picking at their bones for the last 25 years that when they look down and they see me calling them, I bet they immediately think, “What does he want?”
The Great Southern Brainfart: That’s really sad, dude. Then it makes you feel like they never really knew you.
Corabi: Yeah. A good example is this. My son’s band just recently got a record deal and the drums that he played on his album and in his bands video was the drum set that Tommy [Lee] gave him when my kid was like 12 years old. He’s become friends with a bunch of guys like Brian Tichy, Eric Singer, Morgan Rose and Tommy Lee through me, so when he did his video, he was so proud of it and he wrote to all those guys and sent them the video. He wrote more of a person message to Tommy showing him that it was his old kit and thanked him for inspiring him. Every one of those guys responded to him but Tommy. At that point I just said, “I’m done.” I’m not reaching out to those guys anymore. It takes me a little longer to figure things out than most but I figured that there really is no friendship there.
Read the entire interview from The Great Southern Brainfart.