Vocalist STEVE WHITEMAN: KIX 'Is Still A Nice Big Cash Cow'

Blasting-Zone.com recently conducted an in-depth interview with FUNNY MONEY/ex-KIX frontman Steve Whiteman. Several excerpts follow:

Blasting-Zone.com: How do you feel the music FUNNY MONEY creates compares to the music you recorded with KIX?

Steve: "Well, initially, on all of the previous FUNNY MONEY records, I did all of the writing. I guess I enjoyed it at first because it was the first time in my life I had been able to write without someone breathing down my neck telling me that it was wasn't any good or changing it all around. But I wasn't as strong of a songwriter, so I needed help... So when the old guys in the band decided to leave me, I recruited some new guys. I got Mark Schenker on bass and I got Jimmy Chalfant from KIX in the band… and for the first time, it's a total collaboration. Everyone contributed. It's obviously the best FUNNY MONEY record, but it also rivals any of the KIX records as well. I'm pretty damn proud of it… as everybody is. We did it all in house with ProTools, but the kicker is that out of the blue I got an e-mail from (acclaimed producer) Beau Hill. He left his office number and I gave him a call. We talked for a while and I told him what was up. I told him we were doin' a new CD and we were using ProTools. He said, 'Why don't you send it to me? I'm trying to learn how to use ProTools and I'll mix it for ya.' So between Mark and Beau goin' back and forth, Beau mixed the record and Mark taught him how to use ProTools (laughs). We got a great sounding record that was all done in house."

Blasting-Zone.com: What ultimately led to the demise of KIX?

Steve: "It really wasn't one thing in particular. It was a sign of the times with the invasion of the Seattle music and record companies not paying much attention to the genre of music that we were playin'. We just felt like there was a new party in town and we weren't invited. We found that the clubs were paying less money for bands like us and it got to the point where we couldn't even support ourselves anymore. The business pretty much kicked us out (laughs)."

Blasting-Zone.com: Wow… I guess I always assumed it was directly related to the group's contract with Atlantic Records

Steve: "Well, we did have a rotten deal, but that never affected our popularity and out ability to go out and make money. When that got jeopardized and that got threatened, that's when we realized… And it wasn't just our band. It was RATT, CINDERELLA…all the bands that were huge in the '80s and early '90s just got flushed down the toilet. It was almost humorous to like bands like us. We were literally blackballed."

Blasting-Zone.com: So there will never be a full-fledged KIX reunion? You have to admit it's what the fans want…

Steve: "I really don't see it happening. (Original KIX bassist) Donnie Purnell hasn't spoken to me in ten years and that's the way he prefers it. …The FUNNY MONEY project is near and dear to be and I love everyone in the band. I feel real strong about it and I feel this new record that we're about to put out is a strong as any KIX record ever made. I'm pretty content where I'm at and I know Ronnie Younkins is content with his BLUES VULTURES project and Brian (Forsythe) has RHINO BUCKET. We've all moved on and we know that realistically KIX in our area is still a nice big cash cow, so we take advantage of that. We entertain the home fans and go about what we truly love, which is our own projects."

Blasting-Zone.com: What caused your relationship with Donnie to deteriorate?

Steve: "When KIX broke up and I started FUNNY MONEY, I went out with the full intention of playing the new material that I had wrote and the new material that I was writing along with some covers. But to be honest, the crowds that were coming out were so disappointed that they weren't hearing any KIX material, I was having trouble getting the band booked. I had to relent and start playing KIX material and when Donnie got wind of that, he just washed his hands of me and hasn't spoken to me since. I haven't spoken to him personally, but the things that I hear that come from him are very negative and very typical Donnie. When you're on Donnie's shit list, you're on there forever."

Blasting-Zone.com: Man…that's pretty harsh…

Steve: "Yeah, I agree. He was not an easy guy to work with, to be honest. How we managed to survive eighteen years… it still blows my mind. He was a control freak and everything had to go through him, by him and everything had to be written by him…every word, every note. I guess we felt we were still in the best position to be musicians to get out in front of a lot of people, but in our hearts we would have loved to have been somewhere else. We were great actors. We got up onstage and put on great shows, but when we were together, we weren't very happy."

Blasting-Zone.com: Looking back, are you comfortable with the level of financial success KIX achieved?

Steve: "This band never made over five hundred dollars a week no matter how much money we generated. Obviously 'Blow My Fuse' went platinum. We sat down with the record company after an eighteen-month tour, and they told us, 'Well, boys, you've had a hell of a year and finally made a dent in the business. Now you're only in debt a million dollars.' I hit the table and thought, 'What the hell am I doing here?' In that eighteen months, we went out and created a lot of relationships with regional radio and really dug in to make an impact so that the next time we made a record, we could pick up the phone and call them. But then Atlantic switched us over to EastWest (Records) and those contacts were all gone. The whole thing had to be started again. But we knew we were in a downward spiral. I could drive myself nuts sitting around trying to figure out why we never got rich, but I don't. I went into a career that I knew was risky and I generally enjoyed it. I have no regrets whatsoever. I look at it as if I had a hell of a ride, my dreams came true and now I've moved on."

Read the entire interview at Blasting-Zone.com.

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