CINDERELLA Guitarist Talks Early Tours, Commercial Success
- July 29, 2012
Kris Engelhart of BackstageAxxess.com recently conducted an interview with CINDERELLA guitarist Jeff LaBar. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
BackstageAxxess.com: I know one of the first tours CINDERELLA ever did was with LOUDNESS. What was that tour like and how would it compare to the tours now?
Jeff: Well, that was our very first tour away from home. After we made the first record, but before the first record came out, we were still playing the same clubs that we were playing before we made the record. So this first tour we got was LOUDNESS and I'm a big fan. My mother's Japanese; why wouldn't I be? I was listening to a lot of that type of music then, the early Eighties shredder bands. Yeah, I love LOUDNESS and that was very cool. It was us and POISON, actually, us and POISON's first tour, both of us opening for LOUDNESS. It was awesome. It was a small theater, auditorium type of tour, started in Santa Monica. That was my first time in California and it was just a thrill to be on tour. It was kind of the size of the tour we're playing right now. But I got to know them a little bit, they were very cool. They were very funny, funny little Japanese guys. That was the year that David Lee Roth put out "Eat 'Em and Smile", his first solo record away from VAN HALEN. So it was a big deal. He was putting together his first tour, Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan, and Gregg Bissonette. They were looking for an opening band, us and POISON were up for the slot. That was the best part of the tour. That was getting to know POISON. Now we have a twenty-five year relationship and we've toured together five or six times, something like that. But we were both up for the opening spot for David Lee Roth and we got it. So we did five months with David Lee Roth and he was selling out two nights in some cities in arenas. Then we got on the "Slippery When Wet" tour with BON JOVI. So we were on like the two biggest rock tours that year, '86, '87. BON JOVI and us were on the same label and that was good for Mercury/Polygram. We were selling out like up to five arena shows. So that was a very good year.
BackstageAxxess.com: I remember those tours and it seemed like CINDERELLA just took off like a rocket. Were you expecting "Night Songs" to do that well or was the sudden success a surprise?
Jeff: Well, I had no expectations for "Night Songs", although hopes were high because as we were recording it being a new band, the budget was exceeded constantly. Every time we ran out of money, we had to go back to the label. So the A&R guy would come out and see what we had so far and determine whether we deserved more money. And they would give us more each time. So it was like, "Oh we're doing well." Yeah, I had no expectations. It was all just like, it was overnight for everybody else, but for us, it was a long journey and some hard work. It was gradual for us from the time that we got signed to the time that the record came out was a year. I know a year doesn't sound like a long time unless you're in it. Even after we had done the record, working the same town with the same people in the same clubs. There was a little hype in Philadelphia and south Jersey. Well actually, there was a lot of hype but it was all local. So, I didn't know how it was gonna do nationally, but then slowly but surely the pieces came together. LOUDNESS and POISON and David Lee Roth and BON JOVI. By the time we got on BON JOVI, it was blowing up. The record went gold with David Lee Roth and the BON JOVI tour was ridiculous. "Slippery When Wet" was No. 1 on Billboard and we were No. 3. The label couldn't have been happier.
BackstageAxxess.com: Well, there certainly are a lot of options out there to get your music out. Do you think it's easier for bands now that they can have that immediate exposure?
Jeff: I think it's easier if you know how to do it. It's easier if you're young and you grew up with this technology. Me, not so much. I grew up when we recorded on tape and you were on a label that gave you a bunch of money and said, "Here, make songs and we'll do the rest." It's not like that anymore. Everything is online. Yeah, I have to have younger people tell me how to do it. It's like dad telling his son, "Here. Tell me how to get on Facebook." I do that with my wife. I give her my iPhone and tell her, "Here. Make a phone call for me."
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