Is it true that you wrote 90's hit classic "To Be With You" in your teens? What made you wait to record it with Mr. Big?
Yes I did write, "To be with you." It was a song I wrote while trying to get my sister's friends attention. I sat on the lawn playing it when she was around in hopes that she would notice it was about her. It didn't seem like a Mr. Big song, it was more of a campfire tune and I never pitched it to the guys until the Lean into it album. Paul Gilbert, our guitar player, liked the song and suggested we throw it on the album. The producer agreed to put it at the end of the album since it was so different from the other songs. A DJ found it as a "b side" single and played it. The rest is history!
What is your songwriting process like? Where do you draw inspiration from?
I have been writing with my songwriting partner, Andre Pessis for years now. Most of the time we just sit down and drink too much coffee and talk. We tell each other stories about our week, the past, love, funny moments, etc. and these always seem to create the beginnings of a song. One of us will say, "that's a good lyric, or that's a good story" which puts us directly into writing mode. Other times, I may have had something occur in my life which will make me want to get home and start writing immediately. There's really no formula for me, it's all about the moment.
Your first band, Kid Courage, opened for AC/DC's first show in the US. Another band you fronted in the late 70's, 415, opened for acts like Rick Springfield, Hall and Oates, and Foreigner before you were even signed. What kind of advice would you offer to new artists/what is a key ingredient in achieving that kind of exposure?
Every band needs to self promote. There are so many tools now with websites, facebook, twitter, myspace, etc that help build your network. In the old days, we used to walk around handing out hand bills and putting up posters every possible place we could. This really helped build our fanbase which helped us earn enough to make records which lead to getting our music out to more people and eventually led to getting a label's interest. These days, it's not all about the label. In fact, labels aren't offering close to what they used to offer artists. In my opinion, the best path is to build up your following and earn enough money to make your own record under your terms and put it out through your website, cd baby and some download sites and then promote through your social networking sites.
You're currently on a worldwide tour for the Mr. Big reunion. What is it like to play in countries like India, Japan, and the Czech Republic. Do the shows have a different feel compared to your North American gigs?
It's great to be back on the road with the guys playing our tunes again. Fans are different all over the world and I can't say one place is better than the next, they're just different. I would love to get back to playing the states more often to soften the hit of being so far away from my family all the time as well as having to stand in line once a year to have more pages added to my passport!
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