The Dead Daisies

With band members who have performed with Whitesnake, Dio, Motley Crue and Ozzy Osbourne, the Dead Daisies certainly have pedigree. The group’s riff-heavy, high-octane sound is all over their new album, Make Some Noise, out this August. That said, it’s not surprising that the band has been tapped to open for KISS on the band’s summer Freedom to Rock tour. Doug Aldrich held down guitar duties with Whitesnake and Dio for years before joining the guys of the Dead Daisies. I spoke with him about his guitar collection (“I’ve got dozens of Gibsons in my collection”), the upcoming album, his KISS audition (he actually auditioned for KISS back in the day) and what Gibson guitar has become a family air loom. Rock it!

What do you bring to the Dead Daisies with your particular background in Whitesnake and Dio?

The Dead Daisies toured a lot with Whitesnake last year, and it solidified those fans being in the Dead Daisies camp when another member of Whitesnake got on board. I was with Whitesnake a long time. I made a lot of friends from all over the world, and I think bringing that kind of credibility from Whitesnake helps. From a guitar player’s standpoint, I really love guys like Jimmy Paige and Gary Moore. Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Hendrix. So, I bring a little bit more of a blues element than the lead playing. It was awesome before, and hopefully it’s awesome with me, too.

The Dead Daisies are set to open on KISS’ Freedom to Rock tour. Are you stoked?

Absolutely! They’ve known the KISS guys and have toured together before, and I’ve played shows with KISS with Whitesnake. The funny thing is, in 1982, I auditioned for KISS! They were making a change from Ace Frehley, and I had just moved to Los Angeles and got to audition. I played a couple of songs with them and messed around in the studio a bit on some tracks. It was really cool. I was 18. That was when KISS had been a massive musical force for years. So, yes, we’re all really excited about it.

Your new album, Make Some Noise, is out Aug. 5. What can you tell us about the album?

I would call it a great rock ‘n’ roll record. It’s got killer riffs. It’s a riff-rock record, and people get away from that sometimes. It’s like the old kind of Aerosmith, Zeppelin riff rock stuff. There are big vocals and hooks, and John Corabi is awesome on the record. That’s really a big thing. I think a lot of times, the vocalist is the most important, and he really did a great job on it. It’s fun. There are fun songs, and there are some different songs. I think what we wanted to accomplish is that RevoluciĆ³n was a great record, but there’s no sense in doing that record again. You have to go into new territories, and I think that’s what we’ve done with Make Some Noise.

Let’s talk guitars! You’re a Gibson player. What are your main guitars on the road and in the studio?

I’ve got dozens of Gibsons in my collection. I don’t know if you’re addicted to anything, but I’m addicted to buying guitars and finding deals on them. I figure at my age, I have two kids at home and a wife, and I need money, and I shouldn’t be doing this! (Laughs) I just bought another Gibson guitar, and I love it. It’s a Chet Atkins model and I got it for some acoustic stuff. I have a Goldtop Les Paul ‘57 reissue that’s my main touring guitar. I have a few Godtop Les Pauls, one in particular that I really love. I love Goldtops, because when I was a kid, that was my first good guitar.

What Gibson acoustics are your favorites?

I have a Gibson Hummingbird and a J-200. They’re both amazing guitars. I’ve recorded with them a lot. The J-200 is a killer guitar for touring. I used it and the Hummingbird a lot with Wthiesnake. I also have six Les Pauls.

What Gibsons did you use on the new album?

The ‘56 Les Paul Jr. is sitting with me right now. It just sings. I fell in love with this guitar on tour, and I decided I wanted one with me in Los Angeles and in Vegas, so I bought a ’59 Les Paul Jr. Sunburst. It’s probably my best playing guitar of all of them I have. It’s super light and resonates like crazy. The new Jr. guitars Gibson does are amazing. I would recommend them to anybody. A lot of times, you look at the Les Paul as the go-to rock ‘n’ roll guitar, but I gotta say, a Jr. with P-90s is such a great guitar to have. I think everyone should have one.

What makes Gibson the right fit for you?

Gibson has this heritage and a thing, and I don’t know what it is, but it’s a thing that makes Gibson different. When I pick up a Gibson, whether it’s from a time before I was born or made a few months ago, it has this intangible thing. There’s something about Gibson. It’s always a really warm, fat sound that Gibson guitars put out. I have a little boy who’s 6, and one day, this guitar will be his, and I’ll put in the will, “You can’t sell that ’56. You’ve got to have it!” It’s a family heirloom now.

Photo © The Dead Daisies