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20 Questions with Marc Ferrari, 1/28/03



Keel/Cold Sweat/Ferrari Guitarist Marc Ferrari

(with Vince Neil & Peter Criss, 1987)


Marc Ferrari is a guy who needs no introduction!

Actually, he does, but we’re too lazy to try and think of something to write here. All you need to know is he was in Keel, Cold Sweat, Ferrari, and Medicine Wheel, he worked with Gene Simmons, wrote a column for years in Metal Edge, isn’t a fan of George Lynch, has had his photo taken with Vince Neil and Peter Criss at the same time, and he recently wrote a book called "Rock Star 101." If you need to know anything else, either do your own research or just read the following 20 Questions. Enjoy!

1. This is your only chance to plug your shit, so do it now.

What’s the question???

2. What ever happened to Keel? Why did you leave the group and rumor has it there was some pretty bad blood between you and the other members for a while. What was that all about?

I left the band due the usual circumstances, i.e., not agreeing with the direction of the music and certain business aspects of the band. I don’t think the breakup was any worse than what you hear about in other bands?.there were no fistfights, screaming matches or lawsuits. Yes, there was some friction for a while but it all worked out. Ron even came out to some of the early "Ferrari" shows and didn’t even bad-mouth me too bad!

3. Speaking of bad blood. It was no secret that you and George Lynch had a little problem as well. Is it true that he came to your show and backstage asked your singer at the time (Oni Logan) if he wanted to drive a Ferrari or play with Marc Ferrari? Explain to our Sludgeaholics what really took place.

The story is absolutely true. Lynch showed up at a gig we had at the Whiskey drunk off his ass and cornered No after the gig and made his famous speech, although I wasn’t right there… I think they were trying to keep me away from Lynch ’cause they knew I would’ve slugged him. At the time, he had a huge deal with Elektra and we weren’t even signed yet, so No was just seeing the dollar signs. I heard he got $50,000 to join the band. In retrospect Lynch did me a favor, although it was a pretty shitty thing to do?he’s not on my Christmas card list. I ran into No about a year ago and he profusely apologized to me. I think Karma came back and bit the both of them

4. What hard rock/heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?

I think the whole KISS situation is starting to look like an ad for Spinal Tap if you ask me. Though I’m happy for Tommy Thayer, (who’s been one of my best friends since I moved here to L.A.) I think the constant revolving door of line-up changes is diluting the legacy the band has / had, and that it’s not fair to the die-hard fans.

5. Rate the following guitarists on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being somebody who sucks and 10 being a virtuoso.

Tommy Thayer =

Ace Frehley = 10

Eric Turner =10

George Lynch = 0

Yngwie Malmsteen = 10

Vinnie Vincent = 10

C.C. DeVille = 10

Bob Kulick =10

Bryan Jay = 10

Mick Mars = 10

Steve Vai = 10

Tommy Thayer and Marc

6. Name the 3 highest points and the 3 lowest points of Marc Ferrari’s music career?

Highpoints would be:

1) Playing the Texxas Jam with Van Halen for 80,000 people

2) Opening for Aerosmith outside Boston (where I moved here from)

3) Headlining Japan

Lowpoints would be:

1) Coming off the sold-out Bon Jovi tour (playing multiple nights in the biggest arenas) and 1 week later playing to half-empty clubs then having the rest of the tour cancel

2) Getting second billing to a fish fry (think "Spinal Tap" getting second-billed to a puppet show)

3) Cold Sweat getting dropped while on the road, and spending our own money to get back to town?.ouch!

7. Of all the bands Keel toured with, who treated you guys the best and who treated you like complete shit?

We always got along with the headline bands?most of them would be partying with us after the shows because we definitely were always looking to get a party going. Bon Jovi were great to us for giving us a shot when they didn’t

have to?I remember Jon picked up our bar tab for a whole night in NY City. As big as he was, he was always level-headed around us and was good to us. As far as the "worst" treatment, probably Krokus?even though I became friends with a few of them, there seemed to be a few guys that felt they needed to be reminded who was headlining at the time.

Keel with Gene Simmons, 1984

8. Gene Simmons produced two of the Keel releases. Tell us your best Gene story that includes sex, money, bullshit or all three.

Gene was always wheeling and dealing when he was recording us?there was always a phone call he had to take. We had to interrupt the recording of "The Final Frontier" so he could finish this b-movie called "Never Too Young To Die", in which he played a cross-dressing hermaphrodite?we were actually used as extras in the film. Another funny memory?he used to love frozen yogurt and took me in his Rolls Royce to get yogurt at "Penguins"?don’t know why that one sticks out so much?probably because you wouldn’t expect that from "The God Of Thunder"!!

9. You have a company that helps to place music in the industry. What is the demand if any for 80s style or hair band tunes in the modern market?

They’re have been a lot of movies made about 80’s-era things (Romy & Michelle, Grosse Point Blank, etc), as well as TV shows set in that era and as we get further away from those years, there will be even more. I have placed a lot of songs that people want to sound like those big bands of the day.

10. Give us a touring memory from the following cities:

Phoenix =
Driving thru the worst thunderstorm ever experienced?thought we were going to drive off the road!

Las Vegas =Keel never played there, but Cold Sweat did?I remember a bunch of washed-up porno chicks came on our tour bus along with Jim Dandy of Black Oak Arkansas..thought I was hallucinating..they probably got on the wrong tour

bus!! It was freaky…

Boston = Our first gig back after I left Beantown for L.A. was a huge radio station festival?total mob scene with fans rushing the stage?it was an amazing homecoming and a feeling of vindication for what I went thru.

Seattle = We opened for Loudness in 1985 and some of the Queensryche guys came down. Also, Cold Sweat played there in 1990 on the 20th anniversary of Hendrix’s death. I tried to get a ride to the cemeterybut couldn’t arrange it?I really regret not making that now?would have liked to have experienced that.

London = Amazing energy?Keel supported Dio 3 nights sold out at the Hammersmith Odeon. I had read so much about the Odeon?a lot of the British Metal bands that influenced me so much played there. It was my first time meeting Lemmy!

Tokyo = Everything that’s said about Japan is true?every Western artist is treated with reverence and the attention you receive is unparalleled. When we played in 1986 it was like a mini- Beatle-mania. My cousin, Jennifer Connelly (Beautiful Mind) happened to be in town the same time?that was a pretty freaky coincidence..she came to the shows. Kiddy Land (the largest toy store in the world), also is a distinct memory

Dallas = Playing the Cotton Bowl (Texxas Jam) with Van Halen, hanging out with Pantera, MCA threw a party which Alice Cooper showed up?he had a wild T-shirt with an alien coming out of his chest, just like the movie!!

Atlanta = Cold Sweat played the Fox theater where Lynyrd Skynyrd’s live album was recorded and it really affected me?I felt the "ghosts" there?

Memphis = We were supposed to play a gig with Cold Sweat but the promoter bailed?we went to Graceland instead.

Milwaukee = Great story about the police who came to our gig at the Moose lodge or something similar trying to shut the show down. Later that night I hooked up with the police chief’s daughter?.she was much more accommodating than her dad. Cold Sweat played there in 1990 and I awoke that next morning to find the news about Stevie Ray Vaughan’s death at Alpine Valley?I was a zombie for the next few days?that hit me hard. I had met SRV a few times and he spent a little time with me?

11. Everyone is trying a comeback of sorts. Twisted Sister has just announced a huge campaign for 2003. Will there ever be any Keel comeback, recordings or anything new or Keel related to speak of?

A few years ago, we released "Keel VI:Back in Action", which consisted of all the unreleased material that we had. There are no other recordings we have available to us. As far as a tour goes, I don’t think it’s gonna happen. I personally would love to get together with the 5 original members and play, but we’re all spread across the country, everyone has families, and some of us have not been very active with music, myself included.

Marc in Cold Sweat

12. In your bio it says you worked with Pantera on two demo tracks that helped them get a record deal. What two songs were those and what do you remember about working with those guys?

I first met Darrel & Vinny way back in 1985..they came to a Keel gig at the Bronco Bowl in Dallas and gave me their tape of "Projects in the Jungle." Back then, they were much different?commercial, melodic hard rock ala Def

Leppard/Motley Crue. I thought they were amazing and began helping them out any way I could. I helped them get signed to our label at the time, GoldMountain, who never released any product and eventually let them go, and got them their first interview in a major publication, Metal Edge. I used to fly down to Texas whenever I could?those guys are the most serious partiers in the world!! In 1987, I played on the "Power Metal CD", producing the song "Proud to be Loud" (which I wrote) and co-producing "We’ll Meet Again" , which I played a solo on. It must be said that Vinny was the real "producer" on the project however?he’s brilliant. One evening while we were cruising around I had to take a leak?cops came up just as I was finishing and I came soooo close to getting thrown in jail!!

13. What rock star deserves a smack in the mouth and why?

Axl Rose seems to me to not honoring the gift that’s been given to him?I think that if you can’t shoulder the responsibilities that go along with being a professional recording and touring artist, you shouldn’t be doing it, regardless of what your "mental state" is.

14. From the looks of your site, MasterSource, seems to be doing some pretty huge business. What was your largest music related check for from Keel and what was the biggest from Mastersource for? Or better yet, what was the difference between the two?

When I was in Keel, I was on salary, making a whopping $250.00 a week. While on the road, I was still keeping an apartment I shared with a cousin and I actually came home owing money every time?I had day jobs in-between tours to just make ends meet. We never made a single cent from the record company, as we were unrecouped..most of our income was from merchandising or publishing advances. Success in the rock world is like playing a slot machine?if you stay at it long enough, it’ll pay off, but most people go broke before the payoff. Starting my own business was the smartest thing I ever did..I took a lot of risks and put all my eggs in one basket, but I believed in myself and my abilities and knew I had a good chance of making it work. I hit on a niche segment of the market and have been rewarded for it. As far as the differences in the biggest checks, let’s just say that it is between 5 and 6 figures!

15. The last of Marc Ferrari:

Last time you talked to Ron Keel =
last week..we’re on great terms

Last drive thru you hit =In and Out Burger about 10 years ago

Last concert you saw = Def Leppard, December 2002?they were great?

Last 80s CD you listened to = Black n Blue’s first CD, maybe about a month ago.That CD was everything I wanted my band to be?great songs, melodic, powerful, passionate, great arrangements?.

Last time you saw Metal Shop = Haven’t seen them yet!! I’ve written with Ralph, though..he’s very talented

Last gig you played =Medicine Wheel @ the Coconut Teazer sometime in 1996

Last time you were on a tour bus = Visted Warrant on the Poison tour summer 2000

Last time you toured with a band = Cold Sweat ?.Summer/Fall 1990

Last time you listened to a KISS song =When I saw them last in 2000

Last book you read =Gene Simmons’s book I think

16. Of all the comebacks and re-unions, what band or bands in your mind has a chance to do what Aerosmith did in the mid to late 80s?

If Van Halen ever got their act together it would be absolutely monstrous?that’s a wet dream for a lot of die hard fans?.I hope I live to see it!!

17. You’ve been pretty close to Gene & Tommy as well. What is your take on the KISS re-union that now finds the band hiring Eric Singer & Tommy Thayer to wear the original members identity. Is it still a re-union? Or is it a sales tactic?

Going back to question 4?KISS has been a huge part of my life?they were the first band I ever saw way back in 1976 and the primary reason for doing what I wanted to do in my life. Their influence cannot be measured. Getting to work with Gene many years later, and also writing a song with Ace Frehley on his Trouble Walking CD was almost surreal in the fact that here was the disciple working with his mentor and the circle had come around. That being said, however, it saddens me to see how the 2 principals of that band have chosen to operate their business. It’s their business, not mine, and I’m not in a position to pontificate on it. However, as a life-long fan, I can only voice my personal opinion and say that I think it’s become a travesty in the way that they have diluted the value of the original entity which was KISS.

18. Cold Sweat opened up for Love/Hate at one time. How did it feel going from opening for Bon Jovi in arenas to opening for Love/Hate in clubs?

Well, first, it was different bands?Keel opened for Bon Jovi, Cold Sweat opened for Love/Hate, and to be exact, it was Cold Sweat/Love Hate and Dio?.we never toured with Love / Hate by themselves. Nonetheless, I thought it was a

privilege to be able to tour and play, regardless of the stature of the venue. I had no problem with getting back into clubs..I used to live by a motto: "from clubs you were born, and to clubs you shall return." !! Too many "artists" let their ego get in the way of things?

19. You recently put out a book called "RockStar 101: A Rock Star’s Guide To Survival And Success In The Music Business." Do you really consider yourself a rock star?

Why not????.I think that people are what they are even after they step away from what they do. Ex-presidents are still addressed as "Mr. President" Doctors, professors, monsignors, esquires and others are all addressed as such at all times. Although I may not be as active in the public eye as I once was, I still I think I am what I am. Besides, it wouldn’t sound as good if I said I was a baker or a cab-driver! BTW way, the book has sold out its first run and is doing great!

20. Time for Metal Sludge’s Word Association. We give you a name and you give us your thoughts.

Michael Wagener =
Great producer, funny guy, always laughing?pleasure to work with. Produced a lot of my favorite albums from the 80’s.

Kevin Beamish = I really admired a lot of his work..I was the one who suggested working with him for Cold Sweat as I had done a single with him in Keel, but he really disappointed me by not defending my position with some intra-band disagreements in making the Cold Sweat CD, which I think was way over-produced and watered-down. The demo versions of some of the songs had a lot more grit to them.

Oni Logan =Amazing voice?I remember hearing his first demos when he was living in Florida and doing construction..there was a certain magic there that was very evident?I flew him out to L.A. and he lived on my couch for almost 6 months. I was shattered when he left the band the way he did?I hope no one else has to go thru the shit I experienced because of his actions?

Steve Plunkett = Gifted writer, arranger and producer. Keel & Autograph did a show together once and we’ve been great friends ever since. He sings and co-wrote the theme for the hit TV show "Seventh Heaven"?great guy.

Jamie St. James =One of my oldest, dearest friends, along with Tommy Thayer. Jaime & I share the same birthday (Jan 27th) and for many years we celebrated together. As you know, he sang on a Keel song and I returned the favor by

appearing on a Black n Blue track. Great voice (reminds me of Michael Lee Smith) and has a heart of gold.

Jani Lane = Always loved Jani’s voice?.I thought that out of all of the "L.A" singers, he had the most powerful and clearest set of pipes. Obviously a great frontman too and I feel bad that he’s gotten tagged with a bad rap.

Axl Rose =What can you say about one of the most charismatic frontmen of all time? He’s wrestling with demons which most of us can’t relate to, and that’s what makes artists of his caliber so dangerous and exciting. It’s really a

shame for the people who love him for his talent that he can’t seem to accept the responsibilities that go along with the business end of things. I hung out with him a few times way back in 1985/1986 and he was always nice to me.

Michael Mulholland = Musical chameleon?can sing Rock/Country/Dance/Pop great

Paul Gargano =Huge fan of music and very passionate about what he believes in..I admire that, even though I don’t share his preferences with some of his musical tastes, but hey, that’s what makes music so interesting. Has a huge

responsibility with being the editor of Metal Edge..that would drive me nuts!! I was a contributing editor for nearly 7 years.

Mike Meyers = I’m assuming you mean the Mike Meyers from Wayne’s World , not Halloween!! Well, I had a blast working on both Wayne’s World films. Mike Meyers kept to himself pretty much, whereas Dana Carvey would get behind the drums and jam with us and was definitely a lot more accessible. I do remember talking hockey with Mike Meyers one day?that seemed to perk him up!!

Marc doesn’t have his own webpage, but if you need him to score music for your next big TV show or movie, you can visitwww.MasterSource.com for info on that.

If you want to buy Marc’s book "Rock Star 101" you can go to Right Here

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