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Q & A with Chip Z'nuff by Jeremy Arundle

Jeremy caught up with Chip Z'nuff at a resent show and set up a phone interview with him. Here is an excerpt of that interview he was kind enuff to let us print here.

Jeremy: Is there a finalized track listing for the U.S. version of Paraphernalia?

Chip: Uh yeah, it's basically the same as the Japanese version, except for a couple new tracks. After "All Alone" is "Save Me" followed by another new track called "No Place To Go," and then a new version of "Everything Works If You Let It" right before "Loser..." So, fourteen songs in all.

 J: Speaking of Billy Corgan, he appears on "Everything Works...", is that right?

Chip: That's correct, he played on two songs and one of them made the record.

J: How did working with Billy Corgan come about?

Chip: I've always liked Billy from Day 1. We never really spent a lot of time together because they're a north-side band and we're a south-side group, and I saw him at a wake, unfortunately, and we spent some time under weird circumstances and we talked about music. So my drummer Ricky (Parent) asked him if he was aware of Enuff Z'Nuff and he said, "Yeah, are you crazy? We got your CD in my car right now. So from there I developed a relationship with one of his friends who works with him and from there I met their road manager who everyone calls "Gooch." He's Billy's right hand guy and he's the one who set it all up. I went out to one of their gigs and cornered Billy and said, "Here's our new record, Rick Nielsen's on it, J.Y. from Styx is on it, and I'd like you to play on it too." So he looked at the record and the first track that he noticed was "Everything Works If You Let It" and he goes, "Oh man, you guys did that? That's one of my favorite Cheap Trick songs." So I told him I'd love for him to play on it and within weeks the road manager called and said, "If you can get a studio, Billy's available." He was kind enough to come on down and bash out guitar on a couple songs, he didn't even know the other song, he played on "No Place To Go" too, but I didn't use it, maybe I'll save it for later. But he's on "Everything Works If You Let It" and he plays great on it.

 J: That's great. I heard you're trying to go to Europe for a tour?

Chip: We don't know what we're doing right now as far as touring goes. We submitted bids into a bunch of different tours that are happening, letting them know we're available. But for right now, nothing's etched in stone. I think it's definite that we're going to Europe eventually, I just don't know when. When the record is released here in North America, it will also be released in Europe simultaneously.

 J: So looking back at 1998, what was the biggest highlight for the band?

Chip:The Japan Tour...no if's or buts about it. Great country, wonderful people. They're very sympathetic toward American rock and roll bands. We found ourselves playing to the size audience that we used to in the States, it was wonderful...and that was with no opening act.

 J: And I heard Paraphernalia is doing really well over there too.

Chip: Yeah, it's doing very good, because we've gotten some radio support. Masa Itoh, Kosa Kai, two big radio guys out there, they're really into the band. They're not only friends of ours, but huge supporters, and they play everything off the records out there. Out there you don't really pick one song like you do in the States, well you try to, but the DJs do what they want. If they dig your band they'll play just about all the songs off every record. It's because of them and the fans that we can go over there and support our tours. It's a bit different in the States. Over there your travel by bullet train and over here it's usually a van or a bus and it makes things a little more hectic. But no matter where, we love to play. So to answer your question, the Japan tour was definitely the biggest highlight for us. And of course this year the highlight is going to be able to put out a record with Billy Corgan, Rick Nielsen, and J.Y. all participating cameo on half the album. It's total flattery and hopefully we'll reach a lot more people because of it. 

 J: Do you plan on making a return trip to Japan later on?

Chip: We've talked about that. It won't be until the end of this year, early next year.

 J: You've been releasing material for 9 years and you've got 9 albums. One can't help but be impressed.

Chip: Thank you. We have more where that comes from. We don't have enough time to put them all out there. Times have changed. Back in the '60s and '70s when we were born, bands would put out two albums a year. The Beatles were, I know that, the better bands, the stronger groups. And then it stopped. And now people rely on one record, with one single off that record. And if the single goes well, you get a chance to hear another song. Otherwise, see you next record. That's basically how it is right now. The fans of the music, myself included, I go out and buy records and listen to the whole thing, but now we're in a generation where it's all singles. So every band gets their one shot to put there song there and see if it catches on, and you hope for the best. And we're gonna get a shot this year, we're really excited about this and that's all we can ask for.

 J: One thing I've always been curious to, is how did you and Donnie meet and decide to make music together?
Chip: Through a mutual friend of ours. I was playing in a band called "We're Staying" and our friend said he met this guy in our hometown of Blue Island and I went down one night, listened to some of his songs and listened to him sing, and I loved him. I drove him home that night and asked him if he wanted to put something together with me and he said he'd love to. He was adopted into the family the next week. He just lived with his mother at the time, he was basically like a father of the household to his two little sisters. And we just have a fine kinship when it comes to songwriting. We would just sit in the basement with our little tape recorder for hours and hours writing tunes, that's how we honed our craft.

 J: Where did the name come from, "Enuff Z'Nuff"?
Chip: Actually it was a saying back with these older guys we were working with, good guys, we were learning the ropes through them. One of the cats in the party mentioned the name, except it was spelled differently than how he wanted to have it. And so we came out as E-N-O-U-G-H Z'Nuff, and we changed it, of course to Enuff Z'Nuff with the funny spelling because it sounded better and I was using the name "Z'Nuff" anyway. So it all seemed to fit and stuck. When the label signed the band, they wanted to change the name, they didn't want "Enuff Z'Nuff", they wanted us to be something else. And so I said listen, I'll just change my name, just call me Chip, I don't have to be Chip Z'Nuff, I don't care. And the company's president called me up a week later after he told me for sure they were changing our name and said "You win." It was great, because it had worked for years and years in the club circuit...and that's how it all started, my friend.

 J: Well, I've taken quite a lot of your time. I really appreciate you letting me talk to you. Do you have a message for the fans?
Chip: The fans are of the upmost importance, we love our fans and they're very important to us. And they're great music lovers. I see fans at our gigs with all sorts of T-shirts on, from Marilyn Manson to Korn, Pearl Jam, Cheap Trick and I've even seen a few Jellyfish and Material Issue shirts recently. We have fans from all walks and we're very flattered. To all of our fans: May the best thing that happened to you last year be the worst thing that happens to you this year. 

The Full Interview is available online at the Enuff Z'nuff Source



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