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A Rocknworld.com Special 
by Keavin Wiggins

Interview 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



 
 

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