At the M3 rock festival Ryo Vie and I, had the opportunity to meet and interview Kix front man, Steve Whiteman, before their show Friday night. Kix will be releasing their first new album since ’95 later this year, and we couldn’t be more excited to hear new music from Kix. Check out what Steve Whiteman had to say about the new album, and more!
Ryo Vie: I saw your show at Starland Ballroom at the beginning of April. Great Show!
Steve Whiteman: Oh Thank you, that’s a cool room. I love to play that room.
Ryo Vie: I loved your rant about Youtube, how there is no surprises anymore.
Steve Whiteman: That’s true, we are playing some new songs, and everyone will have them downloaded…next, bring on the new shit.
Rob Rockitt: Kix is going to release their first new album since 1995.
Steve Whiteman: We took a ten year break as we really thought the music was dead. Our genre of music was totally flushed. There was a new party in town and we were not invited. So we had to just move on and do other things with our lives. In the meantime, I started a band named Funny Money. We put out five CDs. It is not like we weren’t doing anything. four studio albums and one best of CD. Brian was in Rhino Bucket, and they put out a CD about every other week (laughs), and Ronnie has Blues Vultures. We were all writing and doing things but just not collectively. It is not like we weren’t producing music, but this whole concept of new record came from that live DVD, Live in Baltimore. The label we were with at the time, Frontiers, requested a studio album. We hadn’t really thought about it. All the fans, they don’t want to hear new shit.
Rob Rockitt: Yes we do!
Steve Whiteman: I know that now, but our train of thought they just want to see and hear the old shit that they grew up with. cause that’s the case with most bands. We wouldn’t go out and play a new album. We wouldn’t get out-of-town without doing “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah”, “Don’t Close Your Eyes”. That stuff is staples of our live show. Probably a good year went by and we were trying to find Taylor Rhodes, trying to track him down thinking he would be perfect to get involved to steer us in that Kix direction. He was a co-producer on a couple of records and a co-writer on some of the records with Donnie. Since Donnie wasn’t involved anymore. I don’t write like Donnie. That is why my songs weren’t on Kix records.
Rob Rockitt: I know Donnie was your primary song writer on past albums
Steve Whiteman: By command, not by choice
Rob Rockitt: so moving on to your new album, what was the song writing process like
Steve Whiteman: We were always writing, so when time came. We sent 40 songs to Taylor that we all put together and we left it up to Taylor to go through them, and listen to them and narrow it down to 15. We all go together and worked on the 15 as a band in the studio for the first time in twenty years. That was cool. There wasn’t one person running the show. It was everybody’s input and contribution. We worked on those songs, and in about a week’s time, they fell together nice. We thought yeah, we think this will work, let’s do it.
Rob Rockitt: The album has been done for a while hasn’t it.
Steve Whiteman: It has been done since the end of last summer, last fall.
Ryo Vie: What has caused the delay in getting it out.
Steve Whiteman: probably the whole Frontiers situation. They were being sued by the American Frontiers. It wasn’t a label but someone who owned the copyright to the name. Everything was pretty much on hold. We knew Tom Lipski from CMC, that is why we signed with Loud & Proud. We knew Tom would give us tender loving care and that we be a much better situation.
Ryo Vie: There were no ownership rights issues where Frontiers could have said hey those are our songs?
Steve Whiteman: There could have. We had to work out the legality thing to get that shit off the table.. It takes a really long time. Lawyers go back and forth, and back and forth. By the time we got off of it, we will probably pay the lawyers more than we make. But hey, the fans get new music.
Rob Rockitt: Does the album have a name?
Steve Whiteman: We are throwing that around now. We haven’t named it yet. I suggested New Shit.
Rob Rockitt: I love that!
Steve Whiteman: Everyone likes that but the record label. We are a funny band. What you gonna name the album…New Shit. I am campaigning, I don’t know if it will happen or not, but I am campaigning.
Ryo Vie: Switching gears, last year at M3 Kix did not headline that Friday night slot, and the fans were not happy.
Steve Whiteman: That was pretty much W.A.S.P.’s request. It wasn’t a demand on their end. We really don’t care. We have no ego’s whatsoever. We will go on third, we don’t give a shit. As long as we can get up in front of our fans and give them a good show, we know that our fans are going to be out there regardless. At their request, they would like to close the show. It was a little more firm than that, but we said ah go ahead. No hard feelings.
Rob Rockitt: Once the album hits, what are you planning to do touring wise.
Steve Whiteman: It is going to depend on the demand. The demand tells you where to go. If it doesn’t get any airplay, which I don’t know if it will or not. XM will jump on it. Some of the harder edged stations will jump on it. Trunk will play it. It is really going to get mainstream radio interested. I seriously doubt it. Kix? I didn’t play them when they were out the first time. (lots of laughter) I don’t know what to expect. We will go where the demand takes us.
Rob Rockitt: With so many of the classic bands with new music coming out in 2014, I am surprised that a multi-bill shed tour hasn’t been planned.
Steve Whiteman: I guest it costs too damn much to get on the road these days. Say if you put Tesla, Kix and Great White on the same bill, which is the tour we did 20 years ago, you could put that on a tour today and it would be really good. I don’t think the venues could pay us enough to keep hotels, crew, bus. I don’t think there is enough money to be made to do that. That is why we do the fly dates. You fly out the day before, they supply everything. The drums, backline, we fly home. Its simple, and its better than trucking around in a tour bus.
Ryo Vie: What about doing a residency at Hammerjack’s or somewhere in Baltimore.
Steve Whiteman: Hammerjack’s isn’t even real yet. I keep hearing about Hammerjack’s. It is someone’s dream at this point. We have been playing Ram’s Head for the last five years. It is a great venue with great crowds.
Rob Rockitt: One thing I have been curious about is, what is your work out regimen. You are in great shape.
Steve Whiteman: P90X. I’ve always worked out, and I got tired of doing the same thing. I kept hearing the ads for P90X. Mark, our bass player, his neighbor gave it to him, and he was doing it, and he said you should try this, since you are looking for something new. He gave it to me, and i’ve been doing it for three years. It is vigorous, but it works. I am in better shape now than I have ever been in my life.
Rob Rockitt: It has been well publicized that you were the teacher for Lzzy Hale.
Steve Whiteman: Yeah, I get way too much credit for that.
Rob Rockitt: How do you feel about that? Halestorm is doing great
Steve Whiteman: I am so proud of them. Don’t give me too much credit. The girl has all the talent in the world. She didn’t know how to put it together, how to prepare, or how to warm herself up, how to protect herself, and she didn’t project very well. That is really what I worked on with her.
Rob Rockitt: Do you have other students that you are working with now that could be the next big thing?
Steve Whiteman: I have some female students that are really talented that are 14-15 years old. Just like when Lzzy came to me. That is a special situation with Halestorm as their parents were so behind them. The parents home-schooled them, their whole career, they all worked together as a family to make that happen.. Most kids don’t have that. That is kind of a special story. It sure did pan out well.
Ryo Vie: Yes it did, indeed!
Rob Rockitt: What is the latest music you are listing to?
Steve Whiteman: The Winery Dogs. They blew me away on the boat. They were so good. I have had their CD for a while, but once I saw them , I said oh, now I really get it. It was like when I saw the Stones for the first time. I like the Stones, but when I saw them, whoa. How has anyone not heard Richie Kotzen at this point. He is phenomenal. He had his solo band on the ship, and they were almost as good as the Winery Dogs. They were just amazing.
Rob Rockitt: 35 years!
Steve Whiteman: Yeah so what (laughs)
Rob Rockitt: Did you ever think when you started out in the Shooz that you would still be doing it this long?
Steve Whiteman: that is kind of like saying, when am I going to die. You don’t put a time limit on it. As long as people are digging it, and you are doing it, and having a good time doing it, and making a living at it, you keep going. Stones, Aerosmith, all those bands that continue to do it, cause there is a love and a passion for it. Of course, they make a hell of a lot more money than they do, but they don’t need the money at this point in their life. They just do it because they love it. You don’t put a door or a window up. You just keep going forward. When nobody wants you anymore, I guess its done.
Rob Rockitt: There is an alarming trend right now, where a few bands from the 80’s are starting to put in their retirement notices, and starting to call it quits.
Steve Whiteman: That is because they are old and out of shape (laughs), they don’t do P90X. Going back to your other question, a band that my kids turned me on to, is a band called Fun.
Ryo Vie: That’s a good band.
Steve Whiteman: I really love that band. I’ve seen them live a couple of times. They are amazing. That guy (Nate Ruess) sings better than anybody I have ever heard. He is amazing, he is a good front man, the band is phenomenal. They play great songs. I hear my kids play their music all of the time, so I am real familiar with it. I drove them to the 9:30 club in D.C., I didn’t want them to drive to D.C. by themselves. When I got there, I was blown away. I had a great time. We saw them again here, when they played at Merriweather.
Ryo Vie: So you were the coolest dad in the world.
Steve Whiteman: Absolutely, for that evening anyway. It was a night like tonight, it was sold out. 20,000 people.
Rob Rockitt: In closing,the new album is coming out, what does the future hold for Kix?
Steve Whiteman: I don’t think of it like that. Whatever comes our way, if it makes sense we will do it. If we would get some airplay in Europe or Japan, we would probably hop over and do some shows there. You gotta wait and see what it brings, at this point, we won’t know until its out there an how it is accepted. It may tank, or it may slowly do something. If it does anything like the Winery Dogs, we would be blessed, but those guys are kinda good.
Ryo Vie: You guys are kinda good too.
Rob Rockitt: Get on a bill with them.
Steve Whiteman: We are label mates so that could be a possibility.
Ryo Vie: Kix, Winery Dogs and Halestorm
Steve Whiteman: Wouldn’t that kill!
Ryo Vie: That would be an awesome tour!