WELCOME TO THE NUMB! An Interview with Motley Crue's Smokin' New Vocalist, John Corabi
by: Chad White and Heather Hendricks
To obtain any sort of respect as a journalist, there is a degree of professionalism that must be adhered to while speaking with one of rock 'n' rolls most sought after commodities--Motley Crue's newest weapon--a singer that can actually sing, one John Corabi. However, since this is our first interview with anyone, who really gives a shit? It's only rock 'n' roll, right?
Being a musician myself, I had spent three years waiting for my former band, Masdecay, to go on to the "big time." Therefore, that was three years spent preparing to answer questions in an interview, not ask them. Oh well. Shit happens. I guess. Anyway, read on as Heather, John, and I discuss some parts of life that just ain't fuckin' right.
John Corabi: I've spent hours in my hotel looking for a fucking match. I've got cigarettes and ashtrays, but no matches.
Chad: Yeah, I know the feeling. So, how's it goin'?
JC: Pretty good, just hangin' out. I got the day off here in lovely Greenville, South Carolina. Where are you out of?
CW: Uh...Hickory, North Carolina. We drove all the way down to Charlotte the other night, but those damn security guards at Blockbuster Pavillion were being assholes, so we never got back to talk to you guys.
JC: Did you talk with Mike Amato (Motley's tour manager) about that?
CW: Yeah, he called Heather the day after to ask us why we weren't there, so we told him what went on.
JC: Those guys are assholes. You know we just had that shit again last night in Knoxville, TN. I mean, those security guards were telling people who were standing to sit down. So we just wanted some of the kids to come up on stage. Fuck, Nikki just waved up a bunch of kids towards the end of the show and we had about 50 or 60 kids onstage. Fuck it, ya' know.
CW: Yeah, that tends to make it better. So how are things going for you on this tour?
JC: Pretty cool. Ya' know, we're just hanging out and doing our thing. Just tryin' to chip away at the stone.
CW: Well, the new record sounds killer.
JC: That's cool.
CW: How did you feel when Nikki called you to be the new singer?
JC: Well, they originally called and asked me if I wanted to come down and jam. They told me what had happened with Vince quittin' and everything. So, I went down and I was nervous at first but after I met the guys, I was mellow about it. I still don't even think about being in Motley Crue. I guess Motley Crue is a pretty big name in the music business, but I don't think of it that way. From hangin' out with the guys for awhile and recording the album for almost a year, it's just the guys, ya' know?
CW: Well I think it sounds like it should have all along. I don't even miss anything about the "old" Crue.
JC: Hopefully a lot of kids feel that way. You know, they come to the show not knowing what to expect, but they seem genuinely into it. I'm really happy, I just wish the music business wasn't in the state that it's in.
CW: From the corporate aspect?
JC: No, it's not even that. You know, a lot of these bands are going out and just milking the kids for all the money they can get. It's just screwed right now and a lot of tours are suffering because of it.
CW: I heard from what you said on stage that the stickers are pissing you off.
JC: Well, I don't dig that, and there's a lot of things about this business that I don't dig anymore. I think this whole fuckin' censorship thing is gettin' way out of hand. It's hard to explain. I'm from the East Coast, right? You know, up around Philadelphia and New York area. I sit there and I think about this PMRC thing they have going, not that it's any big deal anymore, but it's still a factor. They still label things, they pass judgment on bands, and these people, I'm sure, aren't working for nothing. They've got this little committee with like, expense accounts and fancy cars and all the other bullshit. I sit there and think about how they spend money to get the stickers on records, and to control what everybody's saying and hearing. But there's people in New York City along 42nd street living in cardboard boxes. You know, that fuckin' pisses me off. Shit like that bothers me. I mean, take a kid that's 18 years old and put a gun in his hand, send him overseas, tell him to kill somebody, and then when he comes back here, he can't even get a beer? You know, I don't get it. Alot of shit really fucking bugs me. It's like contradiction to me.
Heather: They're supposed to have amendments for our rights.
JC: We did a show in Kuwait and at Ft. Hood and I just fuckin' went off. I'm like, "you fuckin' guys are trained to come to these places. They teach you to go defend freedom of speech and democracy. But then you come back and they tell you what you can and cannot listen to." I mean, is that called contradiction?
CW: Sounds like it to me.
HH: Like they're tryin' to blame violence on TV. A lot of it's just in the way you raise your kids.
JC: Well, remember that shit that happened with those two boys in the Judas Priest case? Ya' know, these two boys commit suicide, and they were listening to some fuckin' Judas Priest song, and they go (in a redneck voice): "Judas Priest did it. They made my boys kill themselves."
HH: That right there is bullshit.
JC: Well, you know what? I got kids too. Most of the kids that I hung out with are dead. They all started doin' drugs and fuckin'...you know what I mean?
JC: Alright, most of the guys that I grew up with are dead. Why am I not dead?
HH: Because you chose not to be.
JC: OK? I chose not to be because my mother and my father pretty much explained to me the difference between right and wrong. You know, my parents were pretty conservative but they talked to me. I'm sorry, but if you have kids you teach your kids that if you jump off a cliff, you're gonna' get hurt, o.k.? If there's 20 kids standing on a fuckin' cliff and they all jump off, you know, your kid's gonna think about it before he does it. He's not gonna do it. It's all in the way you're raised.
HH: People already have their beliefs in their heads and no song is going to change that. I don't see where they get off blaming metal bands.
JC: It's a fuckin' scapegoat. These parents go home and spend thousands of dollars on a lawyer to say that Judas Priest made their kids kill themselves. It's a crock of shit.
JC: And then they find out that these kids were troubled kids. They got into trouble growing up. Their parents fuckin' beat them or whatever. It's like, there ya' go. Bottom line.
HH: My question for that is, if it made two kids kill themselves, why didn't it make everybody else kill themselves? If that's their logic, then why isn't everybody else dead?
JC: Well, let's go beyond that. Name one artist--fuck, I can' t think of anybody that would be demented enough to do an album that would have all their fans kill themselves. (everybody laughs) I mean, we're talking about a career that lasted one fucking record here folks, ok? Get a clue. (everybody laughs again.)
CW: How would you feel if somebody was fucked up and they killed themselves and the finger was pointed at you guys? What would you think?
JC: I would just say "Fuck You, I mean, I would feel bad for the kid, and I would say let's look into the kid's life here. Let's see what the deal is, ya' know? I mean, believe me, I see some kids that come to our shows and I'm like "Where are you comin' from?" And you're lookin' at two assholes here and one of them is bruised and the other one is fine, but they're both fucked. You know, it ain't got nothin' to do with Motley Crue. And I'm a firm believer that nobody's a bad kid. You are made to be a bad kid. It ain't got nothin' to do with music, nothin' to do with your clothing - it's...You're fuckin' made to be a bad kid.
HH: It's like, I've got this image in people's minds. I mean, I've got tattoos and I have my own style, but everybody says, "Well I bet you done this or that," but they don't stop to realize that I'm a person, too. I mean just because I like ink, that doesn't mean a damn thing.
JC: Right on. That's what it's all about. Just being able to express yourself, wear what you wanna wear, just express yourself creatively. I mean, I've got tattoos, my belly button's pierced, my nose is pierced, you know, but that's what I wish to do. And I have a seven year old son, too. He comes out to me and he used to have really long hair. Well, he saw a picture of Tommy Lee where he shaved his head, and he says "I wanna shave my head." I was like "Ok, cool." We shaved his head. Now, I just called my house, and his mother's saying that he saw the "Decade of Decadence" video--well, Tommy's his idol. He saw that Tommy had the mohawk with his hair pulled back and he said he wanted his hair like that. So now he's got that hairdo. And I did that. You know, most parents...My parents were even like this to a degree, where I couldn't get and say "I wanna wear this. " It was always, the clothes are laid out for ya'. This is what you're gonna have to do and this is what you're gonna have to wear." You know, I believe that once the kid is old enough to say "I like those shoes," I mean he's already showing a choice.
Obviously, my kid's already gotten up and put on a pair of snakeskin cowboy boots with a pair of purple baggy shorts and like, a lime green t-shirt, and I'm like, "We need to talk. You're a little off here. We need to get your eyes checked because you may be colorblind." (everybody laughs) But you know, he's like "fuck it, I wanna wear this. I wanna wear what you're wearin, daddy." Well, that's cool. The colors are fucked up but that's what he wants. To change that would make him unhappy. So I try to go with it. Most parents are like fuckin...
HH: No! Absolutely not!
JC: Yeah, it's like you gotta' do what they say or else.
HH: You know, I feel that if a kid respects his parents then they should respect him too.
JC: A kid will respect his parents if his parents give him something to respect. It's Catch 22. It's fuckin' hard being a parent, just like it's hard being a kid. You know?
HH: Yeah, we've got a little boy.
JC: Yeah? Well, actually, I've got two kids. My wife was married before and I've got an 18 year old daughter, too. And I can tell you right now,--that's a whole different animal right there.
JC: It's like, teenager, OK. I wanna kill her, ya' know, but I don't. But a kid don't come with an owner's manual. There's a lot of hittin, and there's a lot of missin. I mean, I used to smoke pot with my friends, and I drank. You know, just experimenting. But I sat around and watched all my fucking friends become vegetables. They just did stupid shit when they were high. And I was like, I don't wanna do that. I mean, I was handed a syringe with fuckin heroin in it and the guy was like, "Here, try this!" And I was like, no, that's cool."
CW: Man, that's fucked up.
JC: And it's like, I know the difference between right and wrong. I choose not to do that.
HH: Well, I think it's the person's choice to do drugs or not to do drugs. I mean, parenting has some influence on their decision, but it's still their choice.
JC: You know what? I believe there are certain things out there that you can do that are not as dangerous. But there are things out there if you just want to fuckin' kill yourself. You know, all four of us have been in rehab, and I can tell you that 99% of the people in there are in there because of something that happened early on in life. Something just fuckin' pissed 'em off, ya' know what I mean?
JC: Like Nikki. Take Nikki for example. Nikki's the type of person that if you tell him not to do something, he'll do it because you told him not to do that. And he'll admit it. He's just got this fuckin' thing about his childhood and he's like--fuck it. Forget it, ya' know? So, it all starts back in the beginning. There's a reason why, you know, that you won't eat fuckin' spinach. There's a reason, like, every time you look at it you say, "Fuck it, I'm not even gonna try it." Probably because your mom sat over you and shoved the spoon down your throat and made you eat every bite.
CW: So that's it!
JC: Wait a minute. Did we just go from censorship to spinach?
HH: Yes, I believe so. (everybody laughs)
CW: So what do you do to keep from going crazy out on the road?
JC: Actually I just kinda' sleep alot. You know, watch TV, just hang out. I've got a lot of music on the road with me. We might go to a movie or somethin'.
CW: Do you get recognized a lot now?
JC: Nah, not really. I mean, if you saw somebody that resembled Steven Tyler walking around downtown Greenville, you would go, "I know it...Well, it might be...Nahh, what the hell would he be doin' down here?" That's what people do, it's weird.
HH: Yeah, they'll look at ya' but they don't wanna make an ass of themselves.
JC: They'll sit there and wait for him to start singing "Dream On" or something. (everybody laughs) It's funny. We were down in Myrtle Beach the other night and this lady--I don't know how she did it, but she totally screamed her way backstage. She had a t-shirt on that said "96 Rock" and she told everybody she was with this radio station. At the end of the show, I'm walking off-stage out to the trailer and she's standing with the promoter and some other people. Now by this time, she's a bit buzzed cause she's been drinking, right? Well I'm walking and she's like (in a drunken voice) "Hey, are you...Are you with a band?" And I'm like, "Yeah." She goes, "Well, what band are you in?" And I go "Uh, Motley Crue." She goes, "Uh, do you...Do you know that singer's name?" And I go, "John Corabi." "Well, do you know where he is?" (hysterical laughter) And, I mean, this shit happens everyday.
CW: Do you guys have any trouble with those fuckin' high and mighty security guards?
JC: We were in Tulsa, OK, and the stage is on the ground and, like, fuckin' 50 feet away is the first row. And there's a fence, they're lookin' thru a cyclone fence. We get about four songs into our set and Nikki's like, "This fuckin' fence is bullshit, rip it down!" These kids start goin' nuts and the security guards start their shit...They tried to nail Nikki for inciting a riot.
HH: Have you played Cleveland yet?
JC: No, why?
CW: They've just got this thing in Cleveland that mostly affects local bands where they like to shut shows down. I don't know if it's a promoter or some fuckhead at city hall, but they like to pull the fuckin' plug.
CW: Yeah, they were having a benefit or some shit for the Cleveland Institute of Art up there in a place called "The Warehouse." I mean there were big time investigators at this thing, and the Cleveland police shut it down. The next night, Heather, John Woods and I went up to set up our booth at a show with Environmental Hazzard and Screwtractor. Well, thanks to some dickhead who has it out for heavy metal, the whole fuckin' thing was shut down before it got started. I mean, the fuckin' cops were waiting for a chance to start swinging their nightsticks. I think Cleveland has a major fucking problem that somebody needs to deal with.
JC: Watch and see what happens. I mean, if they think they can tell us what to do, just watch. They're gonna' get bombarded.
CW & HH: Thank John for taking the time to talk with us.