Jailhouse is Matt Thor, Michael Raphael, Danny Simon & Dave Alford
PLEASE COME BACK TO ME
Legendary Sunset Strip band Jailhouse re-unites after all these years.
By Gerry Gittelson
Metal Sludge Editor at Large
HOLLYWOOD – What a great band Jailhouse was back in the day, a five-piece led by pin-up boy singer Danny Simon and guitarists Amir Derakh and Michael Raphael.
No band one was bigger during the post-Warrant era on the Sunset Strip, thanks to a flashy rock-star image, great songs like “Sweet Angel” and “Please Come Back to Me” and generous backing by passionate manager Richard Rashman.
Jailhouse was this-close to making it, signing with Restless Records in the wake of Enigma’s merger with Capitol Records, and though Jailhouse had some MTV play and toured nationally, the big pay day never came, and eventually the group broke off into different factions, the most successful of which were Derakh’s band Orgy, which would go on to sell millions, and Raphael’s group Neve, which had a hit single and toured with KISS before unfortunately fading away.
Well, Jailhouse is back, just in time to be included next month in the Monsters of Rock tour in addition to a series of new dates expected to be announced soon.
New life has been breathed into the project, and it’s going to be fun to see Jailhouse again. METAL SLUDGE checked in with Danny Simon, who is all grown up now but is ready and willing to start this thing all over again and see what happens.
Who knows, for once a great band never given its due will find a break. Murphy’s Law has always pervaded the music scene, but the one thing everyone knows for sure is that anything is possible.
Classic Jailhouse – Amir Derakh/Guitars, Michael Raphael/Guitars, Danny Simon/Vocals, Dave Alford/Drums & Matt Thor/Bass
METAL SLUDGE: Hey, Danny Simon. Jailhouse is back together. This is big news.
DANNY SIMON: We actually first got together a couple of years ago when did a 17-song compilation for a CD for Demon Doll. We decided to write a new song, “Straight to the Light,” and that was included. That kind of got a buzz going, and VH1 Classic starting playing the old videos “Modern Girl” and “Please Come Back.” You got a lot of hits on youtube because of that, and all of sudden people are interested in Jailhouse again. We’ve all remained good friends, and that has helped, but Amir Derakh is too busy, and he has reasons why he doesn’t want to do it, but it’s turning out OK because I’m playing guitar now; we’re a four-piece.
DANNY SIMON: It definitely sounds similar to the way it did 20 years ago, but there’s a new flavor to it, and the excitement is definitely back. We’re ready to go. We’re going to play an hour set, 12 songs, a lot of jamming and audience participation. All the stuff people want to hear will be there. We’re really excited.
SLUDGE: Everyone including myself really thought Jailhouse was going to be the next gigantic band from Los Angeles after Warrant. Never happened. Were you heartbroken?
DANNY SIMON: At this point in life, I’ve learned to accept things even for reasons I might not understand. The definition of happiness is not worldwide success. You’ve got to have some perspective, but back then, we were ambitious, and we worked hard. Whatever happened happened with the whole transformation of the music business, with grunge, and we all kind of ran our own way and dispersed. But all of us did remain connected all these years. We all learned to become friends once we no longer were working together. So now we’re friends who are getting back together to go to work.
Simon Daniels = Danny Simon
Jailhouse video for "Modern Girl" from Vh1 Classic
SLUDGE: I’ve got to ask you about your old girlfriend from back in the day, Samantha Forrest, from the TV show Fun House. She had a twin sister, Jackie, and both of them were so beautiful. Did you ever, you know, convince both girls to join you?
DANNY SIMON: I guess that’s every man’s fantasy. I can dream, can’t I? Samantha I still keep in touch with. She’s married with two kids, and I’m still good friends with her mother. Jackie, I’m not sure what’s she’s doing, but I think she still lives in L.A.
SLUDGE: You were the singer for the biggest band in Hollywood back in the day. Did you live it up, Danny?
DANNY SIMON: Oh absolutely. I just had the best time in those days. I was the new guy in town, and everything was just so happening, there was so much to do. I don’t remember hearing about everyone’s financial difficulties, it was just a big party. There was a serious music scene and so many shows. You know, Gerry. You were there. We must have hung out 20 times together outside the Roxy.
SLUDGE: You had a great manager, Richard Rashman. He’s still around, and he’s very successful now with British boy bands like McFly and Busted.
DANNY SIMON: Yeah, I’ve kept in touch with him on and off. He’s so busy living in London most of the time, but I did come see him about a year ago. I went to the office.
SLUDGE: Was Waddell Solomon there? He still works there, too. He’s a great manager, too.
DANNY SIMON: No, I didn’t see Waddell Solomon there, but I still run into Waddy at parties here and there. He and I used to go to a lot of shows together, but that was a while ago. Richard is doing really well with his bands but he doesn’t have to do with us. He’s into to teen bands, and we’re not one of those anymore.
SLUDGE: What’s going on with your personal life? Are you married? Single?
DANNY SIMON: I would say I have a girlfriend. That’s how I would put it.
SLUDGE: There were so many girls hanging out with Jailhouse back in the day. Did you ever get a sex disease?
DANNY SIMON: No, believe it or not, I never did. I had a girlfriend for a lot of the time, Sam, but I had my little “tours” here and there, and I guess I just lucked out. I didn’t touch anyone who wasn’t kosher.
SLUDGE: Amir, the one guy who is not involved in the reunion, is the one who has found massive success with Orgy and the other things he’s doing. How do you feel about that?
DANNY SIMON: I think he’s very talented. I was in Flood, and we were signed to Interscope for five years. I think he deserves the success. He’s in a different frame of mind now, and he certainly tours a lot.
SLUDGE: What about your drummer Dave Alford. He’s back, and he had such a great, over-the-top personality back in the day. It must have been so fun to be in a band with him, right?
DANNY SIMON: He’s just very entertaining. He’s the kind of guy who can make you laugh for quite a while.
Jailhouse promo 8×10 from back in the day
SLUDGE: And your guitarist, Michael Raphael. We’ve remained through the years. Really talented guy.
DANNY SIMON: Yeah, he’s a producer and song writer. He’s done some work with Richard’s bands like Busted and McFly. He’s had a lot of success, and he’s worked with Disney, too. Matt (Thor) has also done some producing. He’s worked with the Eeels and Red Tape, which I think went to No. 1 on Billboard.
Michael Rapahel "20 Questions" with Metal Sludge from May 24th 2005
SLUDGE: Oh, one thing, what about your name? I’ve known you as Danny Simon, but you switched to Simon Daniels.
DANNY SIMON: Yeah, for all the people who’ve known me the last 15 years, I’m Simon Daniels. But now we’re going back to Jailhouse when I was Danny Simon, so I don’t know what you think we should do.
SLUDGE: All those great songs like “Sweet Angel” and “Please Come Back” from the very first demo, you’re playing all those songs again. Does it make you feel young again, Danny?
DANNY SIMON: That’s a good question. The whole thing makes me feel younger, not just playing those songs but being together again. It feels different because there’s not that kind of pressure like there was back then. It’s like traveling back and feeling the way you did at that time, and we had so much fun. But yeah, the music transports you back to that era. We’re also going to be playing a show at House of Blues in Hollywood, maybe with Steel Panther, and maybe the M3 festival. We’re going to do more shows, not just the Monsters of Rock cruise. We’re talking to a lot of people that want to book us. It’s going to be great.