John Corabi: Unplugged & still screaming

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John Corabi has had an amazing career as a musician having been on the music circuit since 1985 playing clubs in the south Jersey/Philadelphia area with Angora. Later on being the singer for The Scream, Motley Crue, Union, and guitarist for RATT. John Corabi has been a busy man lately playing on tour supporting his acoustic album unplugged John Corabi is working on an electric solo album to be released later this year on RAT PAK Records. John Corabi is also preparing for a summer run of tour dates. I had the pleasure to catch up with John Corabi to talk about the early days, his time in Motley Crue, & what’s ahead as there are plans for John Corabi to keep on rocking.

Angel Alamo: How was the music scene in Philadelphia/South Jersey area when you were first playing in the early days? Did you ever play on the same bill as Britney Fox or Cinderella? What are your memories of performing at the galaxy in Somerdale, New Jersey.

John Corabi: When I started with my band Angora we would play Friday nights at the galaxy and Cinderella would play on Saturday nights. The galaxy was a cool place and had a bar to hang out. The Empire and the galaxy where the only two places for bands that where trying to make it in the area.

Angel Alamo: Is it true that you were asked to be the lead singer of Skid Row? If it is how did that almost happened?

John Corabi: I wasn’t asked to be in Skid Row. Dave”Snake” Sabo was trying out different singers at the time. I had moved to California. My band was getting interests from record labels. They didn’t ask me to be the guy. Dave just said Jon Bon Jovi is helping me out. I was tied to my band. With Britney Fox it was the same thing. I had already gotten a record deal with my band.

Angel Alamo: When you first started recording the Motley Crue album what was the first few months like as far as writing and recording knowing that suddenly Nikki had another lyricist and Mick suddenly now had another guitarist in the band? 

John Corabi: Working on that record was easy. We went into a room and just jammed. We didn’t say we were going to do a record that sounds like this or that. We just jammed and that is pretty much how the songs came out. It was a really creative time.

Angel Alamo: Misunderstood is a great song. How was the making of that song both lyrically and musically. Did you do the acoustic arrangements?

John Corabi: Mick came up with the riff. They had the riff already. Misunderstood was the second song we had worked on. Hammered was the first song we worked on. The acoustic part had already been written. I suggested lets have an acoustic part and then a heavy part. We wanted to do like a Stairway to heaven type thing where we have an acoustic then an electric part. Then we decided to have the orchestra in it.

Angel Alamo: How was it working with Producer Bob Rock?

John Corabi: I don’t care what anyone says, I liked working with him. He got into your head and would make you give him his best. Bob Rock made you want to do better.

Angel Alamo: I remember 20 years ago I read an interview on Metal Edge magazine where Nikki Sixx said Motley Crue didn’t add the song 10,000 miles away because everyone was saying it was a #1 song. If you had things your way would that song had been on the album?  

John Corabi: We put a strong album together. It’s not unusual to have a few songs not make the record for whatever reason. Bands like the beatles and the Rolling Stones always have a few songs that don’t make the record. 10,000 miles away ended up on the European version of Quaternary EP.

Angel Alamo: It’s been 20 years since the release of Motley Crue self-titled album how do you feel about that record 20 years later?

John Corabi: It has blossomed into a record that even fans that didn’t want to give it a shot are giving the record a shot now and they like the album.You have fans that say I listened to the record when Vince came back. Those are true signs of a great record. The production was great. The lyrics were ahead of their time. We were writing about relevant times. Times that people can still relate to even today There’s no dated songs on the album. It f*cking rocks.

Angel Alamo: How is your autobiography coming along is there a release, time frame?

John Corabi: It’s itching along. I started out with a couple of different writers. My girlfriend tells me that I write a good story and says you should just write it yourself. You have to get an agent and a publisher. I am working on it just one bit at a time. I hope to eventually finish it.

Angel Alamo: What do you do to maintain your voice in great shape after all of these years of singing and touring?

John Corabi: I don’t have any set regiments. I don’t like talking on days that I have a show. I get lots of sleep when I am on the road. Sleep is very important. I don’t drink before a show but I will drink after a show. I do little vocal exercises.

Angel Alamo: Would you ever do a tour where you would do an entire album from start to finish from any of your past albums?

John Corabi: I have been approached by my agent two weeks ago to do a summer tour where I do the whole 1994 Motley Crue album. Welcome to the numb would not be able to be done because of all of the pro tools and guitars that were used. I can’t do welcome to the numb but I could add a song like 10,000 miles away that fans always ask me about, friends or another song from Motley Crue 1994 era.

Angel Alamo: Your solo album is coming out this year did you write or work with anyone?

John Corabi: I wrote a couple of songs with Matt Farley and I wrote some of the songs alone. I have time off after this week to work on it. My father had passed away two weeks ago. Going to rehearse for the Motley stuff.

Angel Alamo: What are your favorite songs to perform live?

John Corabi: Acoustic version of misunderstood always gets a huge response. Hooligans holiday. I like to joke around with the audience and do a storyteller type of thing. I also like to perform man in the moon.

Angel Alamo: Is there any song from your catalog from Scream to your solo stuff that means the most to you?

John Corabi: It’s so hard to pick a favorite it’s like deciding which finger in my hand I don’t need. It depends on how I feel some days I feel like welcome to the numb other days I like something else. It is so hard just to pick one song. Right now with the passing of my father. Father, mother, son means a lot to me right now.

Angel Alamo: What is better for you being in a band or being a solo artist?

John Corabi: I like both being in a band and a solo artist. I had time in Union and I spent a while in RATT. I took a break and I just wanted to get back to singing again. It wasn’t ego or anything. I don’t need total control. I always ask my band what do you think, and I always ask my manager. I get to make the final decisions.

Angel Alamo: If you could sing in any band what band would it be?

John Corabi: Led Zepplin and the Beatles. I would just be happy playing the Xylophone for the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.

Angel Alamo: When your career is all set and done how do you want the fans to remember John Corabi? 

John Corabi: I just want the fans to look at the body of work. I compromised with bands. At times it has cost me. I have taken the long road when I didn’t compromise. The scream album was released 23 years ago and the album still sounds like a great record. I am still proud of that record. The Union stuff that I did sounds great. I want the fans to remember I was a credible and relevant songwriter.
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