“Livin’ Out Loud” is the newest release from Johnny Lima and it is by far the best release in his 13 year career. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Johnny and he filled me on the new album, producing newcomers Dirty Penny, and getting the facts straight about working with Freakshow.
HRH: Johnny, First I would like to thank you for taking the time to talk to Hard Rock Hideout today.
Johnny Lima: And I want to thank you for all your support and the awesome review.
HRH: It’s been a little over 3 months since “Livin’ Out Loud” was released. What has been the reaction to it so far?
Johnny Lima: The reaction has been much better than I could had ever hoped for. I’ve only read a couple of bad reviews, but that’s expected. The majority of reviews have been outstanding to say the least. Most importantly to me, the feedback from the fans has been really positive. As long as the fans love it, than I’m happy!
HRH: What do you think is the biggest difference between “Livin’ Out Loud” and your past releases?
Johnny Lima: I think the biggest difference was that I felt no pressure when making this album. Mostly due to the fact that I wasn’t trying to meet any record company’s deadlines. I also think that I was more excited about making this album than any of the previous albums, and it shows.
HRH: Do you listen to your albums after they have been released or do you wait a while and then go back and listen to them?
Johnny Lima: Normally I don’t, but since I’m just about finished getting my band together, I’ve been listening to them more often. I need to decide which songs I want to play live and also, need to relearn them because I haven’t played a lot of these songs in years.
HRH: What would you say is your favorite track on the album right now?
Johnny Lima: It’s a toss up between Livin’ Out Loud, Caught In The Middle, and Hate To Say Goodbye.
HRH: I have to ask…Is the subject of “Caught in the Middle” a real life experience or just fiction?
Johnny Lima: (laughing) It’s both. I had a similar incident happen to me a long time ago, but the girl wasn’t married. It just so happened that her roommate was madly in love with her and didn’t like the idea that she invited someone over to bang her. He actually kicked down the door too. Scared the living shit out of me. Julia, if your out there, I hope you’re doing well. HAHAHAHA!!
HRH: Maybe it’s just me, but I can definitely hear some Bon Jovi and Def Leppard influences on “Livin’ Out Loud” What are some of the other bands that have an influence on your music?
Johnny Lima: I’ve been influence by a lot of music from the 70’s and 80’s. Bands like AC/DC, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Poison, Ratt, Motley Crue, Twisted Sister, and the list goes on and on.
HRH: You’ve been playing guitar and writing since you were 12. What band had the biggest influence on you in the beginning?
Johnny Lima: KISS!
HRH: It was 4 years between the release of “Version 1.2” and “Livin’ Out Loud” You spent some of that time producing Dirty Penny and Freakshow, among others. How did you get involved with the Freakshow project?
Johnny Lima: Well, first let me say that I only recorded and mixed the album for Freakshow. I didn’t produce it. I got involved with Freakshow because of my work that I did with Miss Crazy. Markus and I work really well together in the studio, so it was only natural that they’d record the album with me.
HRH: What was it like working with musicians the caliber of Frankie Banali, Tony Franklin, Jeff Lebar, and Markus Allen Christopher?
Johnny Lima: It was an absolute pleasure. I’ve already worked with Markus before, so I knew what to expect. However, this was my first time meeting Frankie and Jeff as well as my first time working with them. So I didn’t know what to expect. I have to admit, I expected the rock star trip. Attitude and Ego. I got none of that. What I got was two outstanding human beings that still love to make music and do so with the BIGGEST amount of professionalism. Not to mention that when you have musicians with that caliber, it’s easy to record. So for me, it was as easy as just pressing a few buttons. I didn’t get a chance to work with Tony as he recorded his bass parts in his own studio in L.A.
HRH: Any chance we could see you working with any of the Freakshow guys in the future on your own material?
Johnny Lima: That would be very cool. Never say never!
HRH: What is the difference in working with a new band like Dirty Penny and a group of veterans like Freakshow?
Johnny Lima: The biggest difference is the experience level. With Dirty Penny, I really have to sit down with them and work with them on their songs and their individual parts. With Freakshow, I just pressed buttons and moved faders. However, my role was different with each band. With Dirty Penny, I was the producer, so I was responsible for how the album came out. So that’s why I had a hands on approach with them. With Freakshow, that responsibility wasn’t mine, even though I was a big part in how that album sounded, I wasn’t responsible for picking the songs or making sure the songs were good enough to be on an album. It’s two totally different experiences, but I enjoyed both of them equally. I love producing, and it’s something that I’ll continue doing. I think I have a knack for hearing something that works, and knowing when something doesn’t.
HRH: Dirty Penny is preparing to release their second album “Young & Reckless” were you involved in that project in any way?
Johnny Lima: Yes, I Produced, Engineered, and Mixed that album as well as co-wrote 4 of the songs.
HRH: I think it is safe to say you are much better known in Europe than here in the U.S. European fans always seem to be ahead of fans in the U.S. especially when it comes to hard rock bands/acts. What do you think is the big difference between fans in Europe and the U.S.?
Johnny Lima: Well, I don’t think Europeans are “ahead” of Americans when it comes to music. I just think that they appreciate music more and don’t give a shit what’s on MTV or what’s “cool”. From my experience from knowing people on both sides of the pond, I came to the conclusion that Americans use music as a way to have background noise when they’re doing something. Be it, driving, cleaning the house, doing the homework, etc. Europeans are more passionate about music. They live for music. It’s a part of their life. Not just background noise. That’s just my opinion. As far as my career is concerned, yes, Europe is a better market for me. Europe is where it all really started. I think America is coming around though. Gives us some time. Eventually we’ll get bored of the Xbox and want to get back into enjoying music again.
HRH: Were you offered any slots at any of the big festivals (i.e. Rocklahoma, Rock Gone Wild, etc) that took place this past summer?
Johnny Lima: No I haven’t. It wouldn’t have been able to work out anyway since I don’t have my band completed yet (just need a keyboardist).
HRH: Are you planning a full blown tour to support “Livin’ Out Loud” here in the U.S. or will it be more pick and choose?
Johnny Lima: If by full blown tour you mean me getting in a van and playing in every dive bar across the U.S., leaving my family behind to fend for themselves while I go play rock star for little or no money, and come back home broke as a bum, the answer is no. HAHAHA!! I’m getting a band together, and my intention is to play close to home for now. If opportunities arise in other areas I’m not opposed to playing there, but I can’t play for free. I have a mortgage just like everyone else. So if it makes financial sense, I’ll play anywhere in the world.
HRH: What about European tour plans? We have a lot of readers from Norway at HRH so any plans for some dates there?
Johnny Lima: I’d love to play in Europe again. And I’m sure eventually I will. However, it all comes down to money. Who’s going to foot the bill for the show? I’m not. So if people from Norway want me to play there, the best thing to do is start telling all their friends to go out and buy the album. You can get it at my website, and I ship all over the world. If I’ve got great sales figures for Norway, I can approach a promoter with those sales figures and the chances of the promoter booking me after seeing great sales figures are pretty good.
HRH: Your first major band was called Attitude. Can you tell me a little about that band?
Johnny Lima: Well, I wouldn’t say that the band was major. We never got out of the Bay Area. It was a fun time and a great experience. Unfortunately, we were a little too late for the party. Just when things started going well for us, Grunge happened, and our drummer got in a car accident. It just wasn’t our time.
HRH: Did the band ever release any albums?
Johnny Lima: No we had a 10 song demo that’s now floating around the internet. So if anyone finds it, you have my permission to download it as it’s something that I will never release.
HRH: You are online at Myspace and JohnnyLima.com are there any other ways fans can keep up to date with what you’re up to? Facebook, Twitter, etc?
Johnny Lima: Facebook, Reverbnation are the only two other sites that I’m active in.
HRH: Johnny once again thank you for taking the time to talk to us today. Is there anything you would like to say before we let you go?
Johnny Lima: I would just like to thank you and the fans for all the support. And for those of you who haven’t bought my album, you can do so at johnnylima.com. Rock on!
Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist/ Johnny Lima is back after a 3 year absence, which he spent producing other bands such as Miss Crazy, Dirty Penny, and most notably the newly released debut from Freakshow. Appropriately titled “Livin’ Out Loud” is the best album Lima has released in the 12 years he’s been a solo artist. Well known throughout Europe, the fact that the U.S. hasn’t caught on to this California native’s music is mind boggling. With a vocal style similar to Tuff’s Stevie Rachelle, Lima takes touches of glam and mixes it with early Bon Jovi and Def Leppard influences to produce catchy, well written songs filled with melody, hooks, gang vocals galore, excellent solos, and enough rhythm a dead man would be tapping his foot along.
“Livin’ Out Loud” starts off with “All I Wanna Do” which is a catchy foot tapping rocker with a excellent solo and chorus. “Wildflower” follows up with a great thumping bass line followed by a great guitar intro, before the vocals kick in. This is the type of songs you would find playing in a hundred strip clubs back in the day. It has catchy sing-a-long lyrics with another great solo. Heavy guitars and keyboards dominate the opening of “Hate To Love You” which I think is a great touch the keyboards also kick back in at the bridge and chorus. Another catchy sing along that is a little heavier than a lot of the other songs included here. If you can’t hear the Def Leppard influence on “I’m On Fire” you definitely need to get your ears checked out this song could have came straight out of the Hysteria/Adrenalize era. Lima slows things just a tad with “Somebody To Love” but this mid tempo track does not lose any of the power or catchiness that has preceded it. “Caught In The Middle” is a tale of a man getting caught with a married woman by her husband, it boasts more great guitar playing and another excellent chorus. “Gimme Some Rock So I Can Roll” pays tribute to 80’s hard rock while trashing the state of the music industry and commercial radio today. On the title track “Livin’ Out Loud” Lima gives another nod to Def Leppard while singing about living life to the fullest because we only get one chance.
With 12 tracks abouts girls, rock ‘n roll, bad relationships, more girls and life in general,13 if you get the import version, “Livin’ Out Loud” is a fun, catchy, well written album that is absolutely filler free and a great summer time album. Any fan of 80’s style hard rock should definitely have Johnny Lima in their collection, not only “Livin’ Out Loud” but the rest of his catalog as well. You will not be disappointed in the least bit. You can check out all things Johnny Lima at www.johnnylima.com or www.myspace.com/johnnylima
Livin’ Out Loud is for sale at CD Baby.com.
Rating: Out of 10
- All I Wanna Do
- Hate To Love You
- I’m On fire
- Somebody To Love
- Caught In The Middle
- Gimme Some Rock, So I Can Roll
- Livin’ Out Loud
- Still Waiting For You
- Long Way Down
- Hard To Say Goodbye
- ‘Til Love Is Gone
Musicians on Livin’ Out Loud:
Johnny Lima – Lead & Backing Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Craig Takeshita – Lead Guitar
Bernie F. Diaz – Drums
Danny Danzi – Lead Guitar (2nd guitar solo on “Wildflower” and guitar solo on “Caught In The Middle”)
Christian Wolff – Lead Guitar on “I’m On Fire”, “Somebody To Love”, “Still Waiting For You”, and “Hard To Say Goodbye”
Brandon Baumann – additional Backing Vocals on “All I Wanna Do”, “Wildflower” and “Gimme Some Rock, So I Can