enuff z'nuff's chip z'nuff
By Jay Oakley
Chip, thank you very much for taking a second to sit and talk with me.
It’s beautiful, I’m glad to be here in Baltimore. I’ve always loved playing this city. I’ve been coming here since 1989.
That’s awesome, man. First off, how was the set tonight?
I thought tonight was a strong set. Most of the people that came tonight, to watch the show, have been fans for years, following the band. Coincidentally, a lot of people that were here showed up at the M3 Festival as well, a couple years ago when we played there with Vince Neil and Ratt, George Lynch, Kix and all the great bands that we had a chance to share the stage with. So, it was nice that the fans haven’t forgotten us; they’ve been supporting us for years. It’s an indication that rock and roll is still throbbing with life here in Baltimore.
Absolutely, you’d mentioned up on stage that it wasn’t that long ago that you put out your last album of rarities (Clowns Lounge) and you mentioned that it was your twentieth album with Enuff Z’Nuff. But, you have a new album coming out so I’d love for you to speak momentarily on what we have to expect.
I’m going to save you all the cliché’s of what most of the bands use, our new record’s heavy, heavier, this is the greatest record we’ve ever put out, all the lame excuses for what people are to expect in the future. It’s a typical Enuff Z’Nuff’s record. The only difference is I’m singing all the songs. But, we wear our influences proudly on our sleeve, we always have and when people ask me what the new record’s like I always tell them because I want to save all the cliché’s for somebody else, I tell them to picture Davis Bowie and The Beatles fighting in an alley and Cheap Trick comes in and breaks it up. It’s a rock solid record that I think shows the best side of Enuff Z’Nuff glitter rock-wise and I think there is a lot of nice guitar on the record and some cool songs about everyday experiences I’ve went through and maybe you have as well and I’m looking to put the record out maybe in June or July of 2018 on our label which is called Frontiers Records and we’ll go out and tour extensively promoting the album the whole year. And, that’s the most exciting thing for me, is to be able not just make the records but to get out there and play them live.
Absolutely, Chip. What’s the name of the album, sir?
It’s called, we haven’t really announced it yet, but the album will be called Diamond Boy.
You’ve mentioned that this record you will be singing all the songs. Singing for you is nothing new, you’ve been used to it for many, many years but how has it been being the voice, currently, for Enuff Z’Nuff and singing the songs in full?
Well, it’s the last voice for Enuff Z’Nuff because when I’m done there won’t be an Enuff Z’Nuff anymore, that’s it. When my brother left the band in 2013, it was devastating to me because I consider Donnie Vie one of the greatest singers of our generation, a wonderful songwriting partner and a man who I sincerely love from the bottom of my heart. So, when he sashay’d it was a really tough call for me to continue to move on, however, after talking with him, he said to me, “If you’re going to go out there and continue with Enuff Z’Nuff, you should front the band and sing the songs. At least when you get to the front of the stage, you walk up there; people are going to know its Enuff Z’Nuff.” And, I wasn’t sure I could do it and after going through extensive rehearsals with the band, I realized that maybe I could do it. I think the guy that really changed the band for Enuff Z’Nuff is a guy named Tony Fennell, our guitar player, who came from a band called Ultravox and he was the one who instilled confidence in me and believed in what I can do, my talents and was able to pull the troops together and make this happen.
Not only everything you’ve been doing with Enuff Z’Nuff, you’ve also been doing some stuff with Hookers & Blow lately with Alex Grossi and Dizzy Reed. How’s that been going?
Yeah, it was great. I love Dizzy. He just got off an extensive tour with Guns N’ Roses, he was playing huge stadiums and it was very flattering to see him be able to put another head on up there and sing the songs. He’s got a wonderful voice and he likes to play. He’s a real musician and to be on stage with him and Alex Grossi from Quiet Riot, Johnny Kelly from Type O Negative and play the B-Side Guns N’ Roses songs and so some Bowie stuff, it was really a challenging gig and the fans came out ever single night and they loved it.
I’ve been making records with tons of people. I’ve got five records coming out this year. Another band I just did a record with just recently, Zen From Mars. A great band, we’re featuring members from Kik Tracee and Fear Factory and Bang Tango, I think that’s a strong record as well and I’m doing Jon Bon Jovi’s cousin’s album, Mark Bon Jovi, I just produced his album and countless other artists that I’ve been producing and playing with. So, I like to believe that I’ve been very productive in the last three, four years and hopefully I’m not confusing motion with progress. At the end of the day, it’s another record, its more songs out there and that’s what makes me excited to evolve and move ahead and move forward and I wish every musician has that, I want all of them to have that chance to be able to go out and play as much as you can, that’s what’s most important. We’re not all built to do this but the ones that are, go do it.
With the Zen From Mars project that you have been working on for quite a while, do we have a release date for music?
The record’s finished. It will come out sometime in 2018. I think it’s going to be on the EMP label which is Dave Ellefson from Megadeth’s label. I think it’s going to come out on that.
That’s excellent. I always like to touch on a little bit of history but I don’t want to reach to far back for this question. When we spoke last at M3 in 2016 you were playing that weekend with Adler, Steven Adler from Guns N’ Roses’ band. You’re solo album featured him so I’d love for you to talk briefly about working with him.
I love playing with Steven Adler. He’s on my solo record (Strange Time) that I put out on Cleopatra Records in 2015. Incendiary drummer, just solid as a rock, he’s the swing and the backbone of Guns N’ Roses. That Appetite For Destruction record is a classic, it’s iconic. I lived with him for six years, I played with him for quite a long time, I have wonderful stories, I could write a whole fucking book on Steven Adler and myself, traveling around the country, going over to South America and playing all through Europe and the United States. Wonderful guy and I’m grateful to be able to call him a brother and a great friend. We love each other still to this day and I hope to see him out there one more time playing because he still has chops.
Of course, so much time, such distance that you’ve had with Enuff Z’Nuff and it’s your name, it’s your band, you’re going to be the final voice of that band so, for the fans, what has Enuff Z’Nuff, in return, given you?
It gave me a career. I’ve had an illustrious run with this band and when you put a group together when you’re kids you don’t envision it ending but the average life expectancy is five years and we’ve been going for a long time. I’m the only original one left because Derek (Frigo) passed away in 2004 and Ricky (Parent) passed away in 2007 so I’ve lost some troops in there but I know my guys would want me to carry on and that’s what I’m doing and I hope the fans are as supportive as they have been and they come out to the shows and get the records because they’ve provided me with a good life and I’m grateful to be able to say that I’ve been in Enuff Z’Nuff for thirty years.
Absolutely and you’ve built a very strong team around you which is very obvious on stage. You have great chemistry (Tony Fennell, Tory Stoffregen, Daniel B. Hill) and it comes across clearly to us when we watch.
Well, I appreciate your time and I wish all the fans nothing but wonderful health and I hope to see everybody in 2018, on this next tour I’ll be going on which will be starting in June with a bunch of big bands, another Live Nation gig. I toured with Ace Frehley last year and this year I’ll do something just as big with some great bands and I hope the fans will come out and support it and I wish everyone well.
Absolutely, Chip. Thank you so much for your time.
Thanks, brother. Thanks for being patient.
Enuff Z'Nuff's Chip Z'Nuff
By Jay Oakley and Christie Gerber
We're here with Chip Z'Nuff of Enuff Z'Nuff. Chip, How ya doing?
Very well at M3 here in Baltimore. A huge festival, I think it's the seventh or eighth year they're doing this and I feel very blessed and honored to be included with our band, Enuff Z'Nuff at a huge festival like this with twenty-two bands in two days. Can't go wrong.
We are excited to have you here. First time playing?
This will be our second or third time playing. Second time. We'd like to do it every single year but unfortunately they like to switch it up which is good for the fans. But, it was nice of Eric Baker (Co-creator / producer of M3 Rock Festival) to reach out to us and see if we were available. We flew in yesterday, had a great time, OD'd on sushi and now we're here and ready to rock and play a blistering, incendiary forty-five minute set.
So what's going on with you guys besides M3. I know I just watched a video that you directed I believe or produced it.
No, I did a video for "The Stroke." We did a covers record called Covered in Gold. I've never directed any videos per-say but I've been in quite a few. I just don't keep up to date on all the videos I do. Zen From Mars, I did a video from them and a band called Green Denim. Their new record's out right now, I worked on their video.
That's the one I just watched.
I'm not a video director what so ever. I think I've got some decent ideas that I've pillaged off the best but for the most part I produce records, that's what I do. When I'm not playing with Enuff Z'Nuff, I'm producing records out of my studio usually. The studio's under the same name and I make records, I try to help people out. There's a lot of artists out there. There's terrific musicians and if they ask for my help, my knowledge I try to pass it on to them.
That's very kind of you.
But, I think the biggest thing for us right now is playing these shows and getting geared up for this brand new Enuff Z'Nuff album that going to come out on Frontiers Records. We're hoping to get it out in late summer, early fall of 2016 and I don't have a title for the record yet but it's eleven songs and great material I think. It's a real rock record, very strong and mostly features the hard side of Enuff Z'Nuff. There's a little pop element to it but for the most part it's just a real great, straight ahead rock record. I hope everyone's going to be interested to hearing it. This is a good year for rock and roll right now Guns N' Roses, AC/DC, Cheap Trick inducted into the Hall of Fame is a nice shot in the arm for rock and roll.
Which is needed, absolutely.
Michael Sweet, has a new album coming out.
You know it's going to be a great record. I know his road manager, Randi "Jesus" Scott, a great guy and as a matter of fact, coincidentally Michael's MCing this whole event today so it'll be good. I'd like to see how he's going to pull this one off because it's usually a job for Eddie Trunk or one of those That Metal Show guys, Don Jamieson. But, he's excited. I think he opens this show acoustically which is always a challenge and then the rock stuff starts happening.
So one thing I wanted to ask, if you're able. You are taking over vocals from my understanding.
Well, I didn't choose this gig. But, I've co-wrote and sang on every single Enuff Z'Nuff song and record throughout our career but I've always felt that there was somebody else that could do the job better once Donnie (Vie) stepped away for a little while to take a break. Then, I had my guitar played Johnny Monaco singing the stuff and he's now going through surgery with his hand to get his thumb fixed so he needs to take six months off or a year off. So, we went through the rehearsals and it sounded great and I said, "Well I'm part of the face of Enuff Z'Nuff, it's only fitting that I go out in front and sing these songs." So, it's my gig. I never through I'd be telling people that I'm the singer in Enuff Z'Nuff.
Can we expect to get Johnny back when he's fit?
I don't predict the future. If you talk to that chick that's on that cable TV show who talks to the dead. What's her name, with the blonde hair, she can tell you more then I can tell you. Listen, no one's been fired, Donnie still is the singer in Enuff Z'Nuff, he just doesn't tour with us anymore. He co-wrote those songs and no one would even know who I am if it wasn't for his beautiful pipes. That being said though, I've sang these songs, all of them, throughout or career and it just came to a time where I wanted to continue to keep singing and playing and I took the job. It's not an easy gig. I remember Steven Tyler from Aerosmith saying that he gets up in the morning and he's got no pipes at all. He gets in the shower and he starts singing and he just doesn't have anything at all. He just prays to the Pipes Gods to give him the strength to get through the songs because a lot of the audience that comes out here and sees our bands, our songs to these people are the first times they fucked or they got high or something in their life that was significant and that they'll always remember and they want to get back to that so it's a challenge and you want to make it great every single night.
I think we have a strong band. I have Erik Donner his father is the late Ral Donner who was Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin's favorite singer. He's a terrific lead singer, drummer. I have Tony Fennell from Ultravox, the second singer in Ultravox and he's playing guitar in the band and I have Tory Stoffregen, who's a terrific guitar player and he's been with Enuff Z'Nuff for years. So, I think I have a good band, I think we have something really special here. Two guitars, so it's real strong, powerful and we deliver.
We're focusing on the first couple albums of Enuff Z'Nuff because those albums were gold records. They sold a lot of records and MTV played the videos so I want to focus on the stuff that people know. Maybe later on put some of the other stuff in there as well. We have twenty albums of Enuff Z'Nuff with thirteen or fourteen studio records. That's a lot of material. I'm really excited to see this crowd at M3. You can get seventeen to eighteen thousand people in this place. We go on in the afternoon at five o'clock but if we play to five or six thousand people here that's like going out and it would take two or three weeks to reach that many people on a club tour.
Thanks so much, Chip. It was a pleasure, man.
I appreciate it. Thanks