A Rocknworld.com Special
by Keavin Wiggins
with Neurotica's Kelly Shaefer
In early June I had the opportunity
to talk with Kelly about a lot of things including the new album, Ozzfest,
the origins of the band, the new deal with Smackdown and a lot more. So
if you want to learn more about Neurotica, read on as Kelly fills in the
blanks! - Keavin
RNW: First off man, congrats on the
new album, the deal with Smack-Down, landing a spot on Ozzfest, the single
shooting up the charts and your track on the “Forceable Entry” compilation.
It’s seems like things are really heating up for you guys and all I gotta
say, I’m glad it’s finally happenin for you and more people will be in
on the what we’re been saying all along, Neurotica kicks ass!
Kelly: well we sure appreciate
that Keavin, it has been a long haul that’s for sure, we are real excited
to get rolling on ozzfest this summer, get the single bumpin across the
country, RIDE OF YOUR LIFE was the theme for “KING of the RING” in June!
Since we last saw you in LA we had gone through an enormous amount of s***
to get to this point, and we have so much love for you guys, for sticking
with us through thick and thin!!
RNW: Alright, since we probably have
a lot of new readers since the last time we spoke, I think it might be
cool to do some back ground questions so people can get a feel for the
band’s history. So first question, where did the name come from?
Kelly: it came almost like a song
title comes you know, I was searching for a great rock band name and I
am a firm believer that any name with sexual connotations in it, IS A GREAT
ROCK BAND NAME, so NEUROTICA came up and it seemed perfect and it has proven
to be a very cool name I think!
RNW: How did the band form?
Kelly: I put the band together in
94 with Shawn Bowen, and we lost a few along the way, but the lineup we
have now has been around for the “war” so to speak, so its a tight group
of brothers for sure!! They are great musicians capable of many styles
and I love that!!!
RNW: Our long time readers know the
now legendary tale of how you were discovered in a Florida club by Brian
Johnson, can you tell us a little about that?
Kelly: yeah, its been some time
since that happened (1998), but he basically saw us in a small club in
Florida and was so stoked about the performance that he recruited his friend
and our now mgr/producer Doug Kaye to sign us to a deal, and he agreed
to produce it, we feel very fortunate that he was into the band cause we
sound NOTHING like AC/DC, but the one common denominator between the 2
bands is the energy on stage, and he was feeling that when he saw us, we
have gone on to become great friends and he has set a great example for
us on how to last in this biz!!! He is a great person!!!
RNW: Do you still keep in contact with
him? Any chance of you guys working together again?
Kelly: oh sure absolutely, he lives
here at the beach where we live in Sarasota!!
RNW: I was thrilled when I saw the track
listing for your new CD; a lot of my favorite tracks from Living in Dog
Years are on the new CD. As you know that album was a big favorite here,
we even named it album of the year in 1999! So now more people will
get to hear those songs plus some new ones. I know we’re talked about this
privately but I’d like to let the readers in on it. First, why did you
decide to put those tracks on the new CD? And can the people who own Living
in Dog Years expect anything different from the versions on the new CD?
Kelly: Firstly THANKS for
diggin the tunes and as far the inclusion of those songs....well these
songs are like children to us and we felt that they are songs that could/should
last a lifetime like so many of our favorite tunes, so why would we not
include them on the first record with a true financial push behind it like
the deal we have now, and really there is a whole world of people who have
never heard these songs, so it was an easy decision, plus Smackdown was
into, and actually requested that we do so, but we pulled a few off and
added some new ones, ALL MY FRIENDS CRUSH YOU is one of the new ones!
RNW: You guys worked with Doug Kaye
again as producer, who did a killer job on LIDY. And I know you got Kevin
Shirley to mix the tracks, but was there any pressure from the label for
you guys to work with a better-known producer?
Kelly: No not really, there was
never a question that the songs were good, we just needed a world class
mixdown from a world class guy like Kevin Shirley. He was perfect and did
such a great job of making it sound like a huge rock record!! He is also
a producer and was down with all of the arrangements we brought in to mix,
Doug Kaye really had worked with us on those tunes for some time so they
had been through the process if you know what I mean?
RNW: Speaking of the label, you guys
are the first major release from the new Smack-Down Records, a label started
by the WWF (now known as the WWE). That’s gotta be pretty crazy, how is
that going and how did you land the deal with them?
Kelly: We had to wrestle the “ROCK”
for it, hahaha no really it was as a result of playing the showcase at
the Viper Room in LA and someone from ARISTA seeing us there and suggesting
to his friend Benjie Gordon from Smackdown records to check us out and
he did and we played for him here in Florida at a festival for about 25,000
people and they were convinced that we are the real deal and we can handle
ourselves in any situation! We feel great about the possibilities of this
record company, it’s never been done like this before with marketing a
rock band on television like this, so it should be interesting to see how
it all plays out!!!
RNW: Your first single, “All My Friends
Crush You” went to radio a few weeks ago, how is it doing so far?
Kelly: DOING GREAT!!! We are starting
to get spins nationwide broke the top 20 on aggro active rock radio last
week, and from what we hear it may be a “theme” for a new wrestler starting
in July, its a very different kind of tune than what’s out there right
now, so it will be a little strange on first listen, but I feel good about
people vibing on it after a while!!! It’s a fun live song!!!
RNW: I know this is a bit premature
but any thoughts on what the second and third singles might be? My favorite
would have to “Stars In Your Eyes”, any chance of that becoming a single
or is it too mellow?
Kelly: Its a little early to tell,
but I am certainly into “Stars In my Eyes” being a single, I have loved
that song from day one, and I think it will touch a lot of people, its
a very personal song “lyrically”. It’s possible that “Ride of your life”
will be the next single.
RNW: You guys landed a spot on Ozzfest,
I know that’s gotta be a dream come true! What are you most looking forward
to on that tour?
Kelly: Just the whole thing, we
are so happy to be out with bands that we dig, and to share a festival
with Ozzy, for us being HUGE! Black Sabbath fans this is so big!!! This
is a perfect scenario for the band with the release falling right around
the start of the tour, we are just very lucky to be in this position, and
we plan on taking full advantage of all of this, and we plan on f***ing
s*** up daily!!!!
RNW: After Ozzfest what would be your
dream tour? What band would you most like to play with?
Kelly: I would love to do the Guns
N’ Roses tour if it happens, Stone Temple Pilots, TOOL, Staind, any of
those tours would be dream tours for us, but really we will do anything
that allows us to play for as many people as possible
RNW: Now you guys have stayed pretty
much clear of the whole rap-rock thing that seems to be dominating hard
rock these days. I know your roots with Atheist help you keep your focus
on the rock side of things. But how would you describe Neurotica’s
sound to someone who hasn’t heard you? Where do you think you fit
in the musical spectrum?
Kelly: I am not sure we fit into
the “current” musical spectrum, cause I believe this is a combination of
so much of our roots in Sabbath and Zeppelin, all the way to Janes Addiction,
Alice in Chains, and with my roots in Death metal this all makes for a
weird combo that does not really fit into any category, so we will carve
our own spot, I would describe NEUROTICA as beautifully crushing!!!.
RNW: What do you think of the current
state of popular music? You think the world is ready for rock to take over
again and put these pop and hip-hop performers in their place?
Kelly: Well, it’s no secret that
the rock stars of today are the hip hop guys, I am a huge fan of hip hop
actually, and I have seen the so called rock stars of today relinquish
control of the star factor, every rock band today has this kind of “anti
image” which is getting a little boring if you ask me , I love the showman,
the David Lee Roth’s, the Rob Halford’s, guys who f***ing LOOKED
like no one else in a room you know, I believe that people do not want
to come and see people for 40 bucks a ticket that look like they could
be on the road crew, I think rock has always been fashion orientated, and
its just faded onto the hip hop community and that’s cool, but I want to
be the band that brings back some fun in hard rock, it does not have to
be so fashionably lame!!! You can maintain musical integrity and come correct
with some style as well, so to answer your question, I think it’s boring!!!
Go To Part
II of the Interview